Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver Finishes in Top 5 Against Pros, Falls Just Short of DIY Crown
Hot on the heels of our hammer drill review, the Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver (CMCF820) is up for its evaluation. It boasts mid-range Pro level power, so let’s see if it rises to the level that Pros expect across the board.
Craftsman puts together a package that is in the bottom half of performance but makes up for it with light weight and excellent value. That’s against Pro models. In the DIY class, it goes back and forth with Harbor Freight’s Hercules model and ultimately slips a bit due to its higher price. This is a great start for Craftsman under the Stanley Black & Decker umbrella and we’re looking forward to the cordless line’s development.
Craftsman CMCF820 3-Speed Motor
Going with three speed settings isn’t groundbreaking. However, Craftsman puts its switch above the battery. Normally, you’ll see electronic push-button control down there or a mechanical switch above the motor. What I like about this design is that there’s an obvious click when you move from one mode to the next and it seems less likely to fail over time than some of the blister buttons models that are susceptible to cracking in extremely cold conditions.
One-Hand Bit Insertion
Craftsman’s 1/4-inch collet is a one-hand effort, letting you slide the bit in without having to pull the collet out to receive it. You also get a spring-loaded ejection. They’re a couple of little things that make it just a bit more convenient to use.
Craftsman CMCF820 LED Lights
Finally, the Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver uses a three-LED configuration that surrounds the chuck. I love this style for eliminating shadows and getting a lot of light on the fastener.
- Reversible belt hook
- Forward/lock/reverse rocker switch
Craftsman V20 Impact Driver Ergonomics
Like the hammer drill, Craftsman’s new impact driver shares a DeWalt-esque handle design that contours to you hand well. The slide back battery style gives it more flexibility there. Textured rubber overmold helps secure your grip and helps with comfort.
Without the battery, the driver weighs 2.1 pounds. The compact 2.0 Ah battery adds just 13 ounces to make it ready to work at 2.9 pounds. Keeping it under 3 pounds with a battery is a win in my book.
Craftsman CMCF820 Impact Driver Performance
Impact drivers do most of their work driving screws and that’s where the speed and impact rate come into play. At 2900 RPM and 3800 IPM, it’s in the range that we expect our Pro models to live in, though it is short of what premium models have. It’s also a little short of what Ryobi’s P238 brushless model has.
That said, there’s enough driving speed here that you shouldn’t feel slighted in the least. It’ll handle everything from drywall screw to deck screw easily and quickly.
When you want to go beyond a basic 3-inch screw to something like a timber screw or lag screw, you’ll need more torque. Our minimum baseline is 1500 inch pounds on a Pro model and Craftsman gives you 1700 to exceed some Pro models, even Makita.
Arguably, you should move up to an impact wrench if you’re doing a lot of work with longer, thicker fasteners, but this will work for occasional use on them. Realistically, you’ll want to stick with 1/4-inch screws or thinner. You might get away with a 3/8-inch lag, but you’ll be pushing it.
The Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver sits between Pro and DIY/homeowner models with a kit price of $149 with two 2.0 Ah batteries and a bare tool price at $99 at Lowe’s. Here’s how some of its brushless competition fits in the picture:
- Kobalt KID 1324A-03: $139 (kit with 2.0 Ah battery)
- Porter-Cable PCCK647LB: $139 (kit with two 1.5 Ah batteries)
- Ryobi P238: $99, $149 (kit with 4.0 Ah battery and brushless hammer drill)
- Ridgid R9603: $179 (kit with two 1.5 Ah batteries and brushless drill)
- DeWalt DCF887: $139 bare, $199 (kit with two 2.0 Ah batteries)
- Bosch IDH182: $199 (kit with two 2.0 Ah batteries)
Craftsman matches up well on the Prosumer/entry level Pro side as a bare tool and even as a kit.
With Porter-Cable stepping aside for Craftsman and Kobalt having less shelf space in Lowe’s, its biggest challenge is that Ryobi is selling their kit with a bigger battery and throwing in a brushless drill for the same price.
To get the comparable kit from Craftsman, you’ll have to pony up another $100 or drop down to a lower-powered brushless kit that’s still $50 more.
The Bottom Line
The Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver suits the needs of DIYers, Prosumers, and Pros with solid specs and an ergonomically excellent design. There are some luxury features missing that you’ll find on premium (and much higher priced) models, but I really like the overall design.
The biggest challenge for Craftsman is going to be setting itself apart enough to break out of Ryobi’s pricing shadow.
Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver Key Features
- Proudly made in the USA with global materials in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Part of the V20 Cordless System
- Brushless motors provide up to 100% more runtime and improved durability
- Quick release chuck for easy one-handed bit changes
- Variable 3-speed settings
- 3-light LED system surrounding the chuck
Craftsman CMCF820 V20 Brushless Impact Driver Specifications
- Model: CMCF820
- Power Source: Craftsman V20 battery pack
- No Load Speed: 0-1,300/2,600/2,900
- Impacts/Min: 3800 ipm
- Torque: 1700 in-lbs
- Chuck Size: 1/4″hex
- Number of Speed Settings: 3
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.5 x 2.8 x 7.8 in.
- Weight: 2.1 lbs. bare, 2.9 lbs. with 2.0 Ah battery
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $99 bare, $169 kit with two 2.0 Ah batteries