When you hear the name Porter Cable, thoughts of quality tools usually come to mind; so when we heard about the Porter-Cable PC418C-2 18-volt NiCd cordless combo kit we were pretty excited to check it out. This combo kit comes with most all the tools needed to dive into your own home remodel project including a 1/2″ Drill/Driver, 6-1/2″ Circular Saw, Reciprocating Saw and a Flashlight.
As we began to remove these tools from their packaging we quickly noticed their quality. Standard features include gray hard molded ABS plastic bodies with black overmolded rubber grips. All of the tools had a decent heft to them that seemed to communicate that they contained robust internals and were ready for business. To store the tools there is a heavy duty ballistic nylon carry bag with enough room for the tools along with some accessories like bit boxes and blades. With a 3 year limited warranty on the tools, Porter Cable obviously stands behind their work. Porter Cable will also maintain the tools and replace any worn parts caused by normal use, FOR FREE, during the first year. And for the short term, if anyone is on the fence on which cordless combo kit to buy, Porter Cable is also offering a 90 day money back guarantee.
The best way to check out this Porter-Cable PC418C-2 18-volt NiCd cordless combo kit is to take a closer look at each of the tools by themselves:
Porter Cable PC1800D Cordless Drill/Driver
- Chuck: 1/2″ Keyless Chuck
- No Load RPM low: 0-350
- No Load RPM high 0-1400
- Torque: 440 in-lbs
- Weight: 5lbs 1oz
The overall design of this Porter Cable NiCd drill is just excellent. This drill is equipped with a high performance motor and a 2-speed gearbox. The 1/2″ all-metal single sleeve chuck design helps hold any drill bit securely. As we began using this drill we noticed it had plenty of torque. From driving 2″ lags to drilling 2″ holes, the PC1800D drill operated flawlessly. The thing that we really enjoyed the most was the integrated LED that is positioned just above the trigger. I never realized just how great of a feature this was until I used the drill.
- No Load RPM: 3,700
- Bevel Capacity: 0-50 deg
We used this saw on several projects that involved cutting 1×6 and 2×4 boards and even ripping through a 2×12. It operated without binding or slowing up in the least. The great thing about this particular saw is its ease of use. Its great balance and comfortable overmolded handles make this saw simple to control while making long straight cuts. The PC186CS cordless circular saw is equipped with a 6-1/2″ carbide tipped blade, which makes it possible to cut through thicker materials. As we continued our projects, however, we did begin to experience the limits of the batteries. Having the second battery close by and with Porter Cable’s rapid charger handy, it never really seemed to slow us down. The sight lines are also pretty good on the saw with good visibility of the blade and the cutting guide.
- SPM (Strokes per minute): 3,000
- Stroke Length: 7/8”
This saw is equipped with a high performance single speed motor that produces plenty of cutting power. With a large padded handle and overmolded gripping area on the front end, holding this saw securely was not a problem. Very little vibration was felt while operating this saw, which really helped in preventing user fatigue. Some of the lack of vibration can be attributed to the fact that the PC1800RS reciprocating saw does not have orbital action, but rather only a straight stroke. While this is not a problem for most, in some instances, especially when doing demolition work, the lack of an orbital mode will make this tool less productive. As we continued working with this saw we had the opportunity to change out a couple of blades. The tool-free design implemented on this saw made changing blades a very simple and quick task.
- Bulb Wattage: 5 Watts
- Run Time: up to 5hrs
It is obvious that in many of the combo kits we see, the flashlight is the weakest link or the least important part. This seems to be the case here too. With just a regular incandescent bulb, no tilting or rotating head, this light is kind of plain. Perhaps in future kits, with the lower and lower cost of LED technology, they will give us an LED flashlight. This light will operate up to 5 hours on a single battery and is still a handy tool to have available while working in poorly lighted areas like attics and crawlspaces.
We used each and every tool in this kit in the manner it was designed for and every tool performed well. The biggest disappointment was not so much in the tools or their direct performance, but rather in the lack of Lithium-ion batteries. We find it curious that manufactures still insist on supplying new cordless tools with outdated battery technology. We know the bottom line is to keep costs down, but we think that the additional benefits offered by Lithium-ion would be a small price to pay. For our performance rating we gave this combo kit a 6/10 because, while it did do the job it needed to do, it did it with huge, clunky Ni-Cad batteries which added to weight and limited the usable life of the tool. For our value rating we gave the set an 8/10 due some great features like the LED and all-metal chuck on the drill and the large side circular blade that makes this kit still a good value for your hard earned cash (though we would still encourage you to pony up the few extra bucks and get the same kit with the Lithium-ion batteries).