Just about every do-it-yourself homeowner will need a good cordless power drill to complete tasks around the house. I purchased the Craftsman C3 Cordless power drill with Lithium Ion Battery around 2 years ago. After rigorous testing, I am finally ready to give my honest opinion on the performance, durability, and pricing of this power drill.
This drill has several notable features that deserve a mention. Keep in mind that many of these features are not exclusive to the Craftsman C3 and can be found on other cordless drills.
Comfort and grip
A rubberized pistol grip makes this device easy to hold while a relatively short shaft makes it easier to get into those hard to reach places. From the butt of the drill to the driving tip measures 8.5”. The C3 has an overall weight (including the battery) of 4 pounds. While this drill could be a bit lighter, it is certainly not the heaviest cordless drill that I have handled.
Battery life and power
Perhaps one of the most talked about features of any power drill torque and the voltage rating. The C3 drill comes standard with a 19.2 Volt DieHard battery. I believe you are able to choose from the NiCd (# 11375) or the Lithium Ion (# 11374 or 17300). Here is an article that does a fairly good job explaining the difference between Nickle Cadmium and Lithium Ion Batteries.
Prior to purchasing this drill I did my homework and decided to go with the Lithium Ion battery. While you will pay a bit more for this feature it is well worth it. I noticed that this battery will hold a charge longer while being stored than a standard battery. It also seems to last for a long time between charges. It has been 2 years and I would say that the battery is just as strong as the day I purchased it. One of the coolest features this drill has is a button that you can push that allows you to determine the condition of the battery – red = recharge while green = good.
One thing that I do not like about this drill is the battery protection feature. When the power gets too low, the drill will shut off and will often not turn back on. This often leaves you unable to finish the hole or screw that you are on. You then have to wait for the battery to charge before finishing the job.
Charging is simple; just snap the battery into the provided charger and around 30 minutes to an hour later you are ready to go. The charging station has an indicator light that lets you know when a full charge has been reached. There is really no need to own an extra battery if you purchase the Lithium Ion. The long battery life and quick charge will keep you working all day long.
As for power, with a full charge the manufacture claims that it pushes 340 lbs of torque. There is a high and low switch that allows you to switch between 440 and 1600 RPMs. The variable speed trigger operates fairly smoothly and allows you to take control of how fast or slow it turns. Overall, this compact drill packs a powerful punch.
Like many other variable speed drills, this one has 24 torque settings which comes in handy when tightening screws.
In addition it has a convenient bit holder on each side above the battery it has a built in level that will give you a straight hole every time.
Another handy feature is the drills ability to be tightened without the use of a drill chuck. Simply set the switch to forward, grab a hold of the end and gently squeeze the trigger.
Cost and recommendation
The sticker price on this bad boy is rather hefty but is well worth it to the serious do-it-yourselfer. A new C3 from Sears will set you back around $120. For those who only occasionally use a power drill and would like to save a bit of money, I would recommend a cordless drill from a retailer such as Harbor Freight. These drills are for light duty work and will give you a few good years of service. Best of all, you can catch them on sale for around $20 with a charger.
• Compact and comfortable
• Long battery life and storage life
• Fast charging
• 19.2 V provides adequate power
• Variable speed trigger
• Could weigh less
• Low battery shut off is bothersome
• A bit on the expensive side