PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt MAX Lithium Cordless Power Tools

A few months ago Porter-Cable released a new line or lithium powered cordless power tools.

I’m a big fan of the 12 volt cordless tool line as they offer professionals and do-it-yourselfers a compact, light weight and powerful tool that doesn’t break the bank.

Porter-Cable sent me three 12 Volt MAX* tools to review.

1. PORTER-CABLE® 12 Volt MAX* Lithium 3/8-inch Drill (PCL120DDC-2),
2. PORTER-CABLE® 12 Volt MAX* Lithium 1/4-inch Impact Driver (PCL120IDC-2),
3. PORTER-CABLE® 12 Volt MAX* Lithium ClampSaw™ Kit (PCL120CRC-2).

These three tools were designed for and are perfect for lightweight and medium drilling, fastening and cutting applications in small workspaces, as well as overhead applications.

I personally found the drill and impact driver indispensable when installing kitchen cabinets, hardware and especially drawer slides.  The size of both tools fit into places that larger cordless tools can’t.

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

New PORTER-CABLE® 12 Volt MAX* Lithium Cordless Tools


All three tools are ergonomically designed to fit and feel comfortable in your hands.

The ultra compact size and light weight is ideal for fastening, light-duty drilling and overhead applications. A 3/8-inch single sleeve chuck with spindle lock provides high grip torque for easy bit retention and a two-speed gearbox allows for high-speed drilling (up to 1,200 rotations per minute) and high-torque fastening on the job.

The interchangeable metal belt hook allows for easy storage on my belt but the drill / drivers are small enough to fit right into my tool bag pouch.

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

A magnetic bit holder located on top of the motor areas of both the drill and driver was surprisingly strong and held onto the bit even after I  shook the tool violently and dropped it.

All three tools have variable speed triggers and an LED work light to light up the work area. A slight pull on the trigger activates the LED light without engaging the tools motor. I found this useful when setting up the tools position prior to using it.  Equipped with an adjustable clutch with twenty settings that permit versatility in a wide range of materials and fasteners.

The clamp saw is a unique, compact and lightweight saw for applications not accessible with large reciprocating saws. The ClampSaw includes a distinctive clamping shoe that holds small diameter objects like medium-duty wood, metal, PVC, copper pipe and threaded rod. The beauty of this clamp is that it holds the material [pipe] to reduce vibration from the cutting operation.

The Clamp-saw also has a really cool folding positions.  The handle adjusts to three positions which can come in handy in tight spots. The pivoting handle enables the Clamp-Saw to have a  minimum length of 9 1/2-inches and a minimum height of 3 1/2-inches. Weighing less than 3 pounds, the tool is going to be very useful to plumbers and remodelers. A tool free blade collar enables quick and convenient blade changes

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools


The 3/8-inch drill driver weighs 2.4 lbs and has two speed settings of 0-315 RPM and 0-1200 RPM. It has a maximum torque of 220 in-lbs

The 1/4-inch impact driver weighs 2.6 lbs has an impressive  950 in-lbs of torque, a speed of 0-2400 RPM

Soft-sided storage case

Two PCL12BLX Lithium batteries

PCL12C 30-minute charger

Metal belt clip and a Phillips #2 screw bit for both drill and driver

The clamp saw weighs less than 3lbs and is only 9 1/2″ long when in it’s folded position. It two comes with Two PCL12BLX Lithium batteries, a PCL12C 30-minute charger and a soft storage case.


I used the 3/8″   drill to bore ¾” spade bit holes through 3.5” thick framing material without an issue. The 1/4″ impact driver drove 3” screws into a triple LVL beam without a problem. I will stress that these tools are designed more for light to medium duty and not what I put them through. They are comfortable to use and have decent power.

The clampsaw was slow cutting but was able to cut thin gauge tube steel and copper pipe with little vibration.

The 12 Volt MAX* Lithium batteries hold charge for extended periods, and the batteries seem to hold their charge nicely when stored in the bag. The chargers recharge batteries in 30 minutes as well as Intelligently control the charge to extend battery life and performance of cells.

I was not happy with the quality of the LED light, especially on the driver.  The light seems to cast a shadow on the driver bit and illuminate the lower section only.  This is one area that can use improvement.


PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

These 12 Volt Max tools are outstanding for light duty maintenance, install and finish work. I can see professionals using these tools to compliment their larger corded and cordless tools as well asa nice tools set for tight quarter installs and remodel work. The drill and impact driver also make a great in shop assembly tool for your work or wood shop.

For me these threes tools are a great size for light to medium cabinet installation work.  For the home owner and do-it-yourselfer this is the only tool you’ll need for most applications.


All 12 Volt MAX* tools will be available this October 201 at Lowes or online sources.

1. 3/8-inch Drill/Driver Kit (PCL120DDC-2) – Drill/ Driver by itself (w/2 batteries/charger), $89.97

2. 1/4-inch Impact Driver Kit (PCL120IDC-2) – Impact by itself (w/ 2 batteries/charger), $119.00

3. Compact Lithium Two-Tool Kit (PCL212IDC-2) – Two tools listed above in one kit (w/ 2 batteries/charger), $139.00

4. Compact Lithium ClampSaw™ Kit (PCL120CRC-2) – ClampSaw by itself (w/ 2 batteries/charger), $129.00


All 12 Volt MAX* tools will come with a three-year limited warranty, one year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee. For more information about the warranty or available accessories, visit http://www.portercable.com.

This review contains my opinion of a product. I take pride in providing my readers with an honest and objective information as well as a practical approach to using a product. I never accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Many of the tools and products are provided to for free by a manufacturer for review.

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools


PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

PORTER-CABLE 12 Volt Cordless Tools

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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