In Popular Woodworking Tool Tests

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Festool markets the new T 12 + 3 Lithium-ion cordless drill set as a five-in-one drill. The set includes an eccentric chuck, a 12” keyless drill chuck, a quick-change “Centrotec” chuck and a right-angle chuck (the fifth in the set is a depth-stop chuck; it’s optional), but that’s not all this drill is about.

At 914” tall and with a 712“-long body, this drill sits squarely in the compact category. It has a two-speed gearbox (0-450 and 0-1,500 rpm) and switches between gears with ease. It also has a drill/drive mode selector switch that, when set in drill mode, overrides the clutch to provide the maximum power and torque.

When the T 12 + 3 drill is in driver mode, the clutch is activated and there are 25 torque settings from which to choose. The clutch is not the normal mechanical clutch. This tool has an electronic clutch that the company says is superior and more sophisticated than the standard fare.

Additionally, and this is a big difference in compact drills, the Festool drill has a brushless motor. Brushless motors have several advantages over brush-type motors, the most important of which are reduced noise and extended service life.

The kit includes the aforementioned chucks, two batteries and a charger, all packaged in a Festool Systainer. The batteries recharge in 70 minutes and the charger works with all Festool batteries, past and present.

This might be the only drill you need. However, it’s a Festool and while that name says great-quality tools, it does require a larger cash outlay than most drills require.

— Glen D. Huey


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