In an effort to make their tools more adaptable to the different needs of consumers, the new Black & Decker MATRIX Quick Connect System was launched. While this isn’t something we think we’ll be seeing on the jobsite anytime soon, it’s good to pay attention since Black & Decker, Porter-Cable and DeWalt are so closely interconnected through Stanley Black & Decker. So what is the Matrix? (sorry, I couldn’t resist) It’s a new type of modular tool system that goes even farther than similar systems like Festool’s TI system with its FastFix Interchangeable Chucks.
The Black & Decker MATRIX Quick Connect System is built around three different base power units (12V, 20V and a 4.0 A AC base power unit). It also comes able to work with any of 6 new attachment heads. The changeable attachments allow you to drill, cut, sand, rout, and more. Compared to purchasing the tools separately, the new Black & Decker Matrix Quick Connect system looks to be a versatile solution for jobs that may not demand as rigorous a tool to accomplish. When the flexible Ridgid JobMax system was released, we were quickly impressed by the quality of the heads. And now we know why – that tool also adapts to 12V, 18V and now even pneumatic platforms.
Each of the new platforms (12V, 20V and 4.0 A) will be sold with the drill/driver attachment as the default. All of the cordless models use, as you’d expect, lithium-ion batteries which hold a charge up to 18 months. Now let’s look at the 6 attachments which are going to be available for purchase as individual SKUs (and yes, the Craftsman Bolt-On system is identical to this in every way except the labeling):
Black & Decker MATRIX Quick Connect System
Impact Driver Attachment
Up to 1,300 in-lbs of maximum torque (varies with platform) for tough fastening applications
Oscillating Multi-Tool Attachment
Up to 18,500 OPM (oscillations per minute) for sanding, cutting, scraping, grinding, or paint removal. Tool-free release (similar to Porter-Cable’s Cordless Oscillating Tool) that allows users to quickly change between accessories
Up to 2,800 SPM (strokes per minute) for use with wood, metal and plastic
Detail Sander Attachment
Compact tool for access into tight spaces
Hook and loop sanding pad attachment to the triangular base
Up to 9,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). This won’t be anything you’ll want to use on larger woodworking projects, for for rounding over edges or adding small detail work it will be quite handy.
Trim Saw Attachment
Up to 3,400 RPM (revolutions per minute) and primarily designed for use on plywood, paneling and fence boards. This is a very handy attachment that I see coming up more and more in my tool travels. Small ~3″ blades are becoming very handy for cutting out floor vents in underlayment, replacing small sections of wood flooring or any number of jobs which require a bit more control than that often possible with a rotary tool or larger saw.
The Final Word
The new Black & Decker Matrix 12V MAX and 20V MAX base units each with drill/driver attachment will be available in October 2012 for $49.99 and $69.99, respectively. The 4.0 Amp AC base unit with drill/driver attachment will be made available in January 2013 for $39.99. The retail cost for each of the six attachment heads will range from $29-$39, which is really where the budget nature of this tool – and its subsequent value proposition, shows its face. You’ll find the Matrix modular tool system at The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-mart and Amazon.