The trend in cordless tools is small. We’ve seen compact drills and drivers from Bosch and Milwaukee, and we’ve been impressed. This new generation of tools puts the power and performance of a traditional 12v cordless drill in an easy-to-use, lightweight and compact package. Last week, representative from Craftsman dropped by our shop to show us what they are launching this November. We liked what we saw, and we’ve all added the kit to our Christmas lists.
What you see is a new line of 12v Lithium-ion powered cordless tools that Craftsman has named NEXTEC. The drill is similar in size and feel to the entries from Bosch and Milwaukee, but has added a keyless chuck so you aren’t limited to using hex-shank bits. In the upper left is a flashlight with an array of LEDs that provides a lot of light. But the big news in our book is in the center of the picture , a compact cordless jigsaw.
I immediately thought back to my days of installing cabinets on job sites and what a great tool this would have been to have in my tool box. You can grab the upper portion in your fist and squeeze the trigger to use it as you would a conventional jigsaw. Change your grip 90Ã?Â° and it’s a miniature reciprocating saw that takes both T-shank and hook-shank blades. It will fit in tight places and the lightweight and comfortable grip make it easy to control.
Details and specifications are being finalized, and the production models should be very close to what we saw. The tools will be sold as a kit, with the drill, flashlight and saw, along with two batteries and a charger, in a soft-bag organizer. That’s a nice combination of tools and the expected price of $139 makes it even more attractive. If you’re thinking of a new drill, start thinking of a new drill and a new jigsaw, and be patient because you’ll have to wait a while. I think the wait will be worth it.
- Bob Lang