Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver CMCF820 Review


Hot on the heels of our hammer drill review, the Craftsman V20 Brushless Impact Driver 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.

Pros

  • Brushless motor
  • Mid-range Pro-level specs
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • LED light surrounding chuck
  • 3 speed modes

Cons

  • Higher pricing structure than Prosumer competition

Recommendation

Craftsman is going to appeal mainly to DIYers and Prosumers and has the muscle to keep up with Pros. As a guy with access to premium models, I don’t mind using the CMCF820 at all. With better ergonomics than Ryobi, it’s going to have to rely on style points to overcome the price gap, though.

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Feature Set

The overall feature set isn’t the deepest we’ve ever seen, but Craftsman does a good job with what they include. Having a brushless motor has its benefits that you can read more about here.

3-Speed Motor Controls

Going with 3 speed settings isn’t groundbreaking. However, Craftsman puts their 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 push-button models we’ve used in the past.

Craftsman Impact Driver

One-Hand Chuck Entry

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. It’s a little thing that makes it just a bit more convenient to use.

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.

Craftsman Impact Driver

Additional Features

  • Reversible belt hook
  • Forward/lock/reverse rocker switch

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.

Craftsman Impact Driver

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.

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.

Pricing

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 bare tool price at $99 at Lowe’s. Here’s how some of its brushless competition fits in the picture:

  • Craftsman Impact DriverKobalt 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.

*Prices as of December 14, 2018

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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 V20 Brushless Impact Driver Specifications

  • Model: Craftsman CMCF820
  • Power Source: Craftsman V20 battery pack
  • No Load Speed: 0-1,300/0-2,600/0-2,900
  • Impacts/Min: 3800 ipm
  • Torque: 1700 in-lbs
  • Chuck Size: 1/4″hex
  • Number of Speed Settings: 3
  • Width: 2.76″
  • Length: 5.51″
  • Height: 7.82″
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds bare, 2.9 pounds with 2.0 Ah battery
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $99 bare, $149 kit with two 2.0 Ah batteries

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris Philhower
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Some of the brands listed have the Same Parent Company. Dewalt, Porter Cable for example. Craftsman was sold to Stanley Black&Decker. I can say from Personal Experience, Ryobi Cordless Sucks. Worked for Amazon Robotics last summer. The contractor supplied us with Ryobi Impact, Drill and Reciprocating Saw. All cordless. Most of the time the Impact wasn’t strong enough to loosen the bolts on the workstations we disassembled. The Reciprocating saw, Broke the Blade Chuck off two units. While cutting Crates apart. The 1.5A battery lasted about 5 minutes. The 4A almost the entire crate. Even the AC powered saw broke… Read more »

Perry
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Perry

I think they’re counting on “made in america” to carry the price difference for awhile, but eventually they will have to either improve performance or drop pricing to compete.

Imo, it was the issue with kobalt and porter cable. Neither had a consistent value across their product line to compete.

Michael
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Michael

Craftsman tools are long on marketing bravado and short on quality and performance. Their “innovation” is generally characterized by useless gimmicks that sound good to the diy crowd, but deliver nothing to the pro.
It used to be a quality brand many years ago, but cheap bearings, bad switches, lack of precision, etc. slowly crept in as manufacturing was moved overseas and fancy marketing campaigns along with the use of the much undeserved “Craftsman Professional” logo was used to intise unsuspecting buyers.

Tim B
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Tim B

Have you tried the new 12v brushless line from Skil. And man to be honest I tried both and for the price the size and the versatility I take my Skil 12 volt power core two Tool Combo for $ 129 over Craftsman 20v 2 tool combo for $99.