Porter-Cable 18 Volt Lithium Ion Drill/Driver Review

18 Volt Lithium Ion Drill/Driver – Porter-Cable Model PCL180CDK-2

Earlier last Fall Porter-Cable introduced several new tools including a Compact 18 volt Drill/Driver, Model PCL180CDK-2. They sent us this new drill/driver to test and evaluate which we’ve been doing in our new workshop. Below are my thoughts on this delightful new offering from Porter-Cable.

Features and Specifications

  • All metal 1/2 in. keyless chuck offers excellent bit retention and jobsite durability
  • Integral L.E.D. work-light provides additional light to work area for greater visibility
  • 2-Speed high torque/high speed gearbox (0-350, 0-1,500 RPM) for increased productivity and for heavy applications
  • High output motor delivers 424 in/lbs of torque – The power to complete jobsite applications more efficiently
  • 22 Position clutch allows the user to properly set torque which reduces over-driving and stripping of fasteners
  • Compact 8.1 ” Drill length easily fits into tight drilling and fastening applications
  • 3.8 lbs with LX battery pack reduces user fatigue during extended periods of use
  • Contoured handle with over mold provides better fit in user hands and minimizes rubbing and vibration
  • Low Impedance 1.3 amp/hour Lithium Ion Batteries optimizes drill performance by providing more energy to tool during heavy applications
  • 30 Minute Multi-volt charger quickly charges both Lithium Ion and NiCD batteries to keep the user working
  • Compatible with Porter-Cable Lithium Ion and NiCD battery packs allows user to use all Porter-Cable 18 volt batteries regardless of chemistry


There are more cordless drills on the market than sock choices at the store! Seriously I feel bad for folks trying to pick out a cordless drill these days as the process must seem daunting at best. However, the beauty of such competition is the end result of more powerful, more useful and more comfortable tools. Porter-Cable has proven that with the PCL180CDK-2.

I’ve spent the last couple months testing this drill/driver in my new woodshop. I’ve used it while building cabinets, assembling machinery and general shop tasks. I’m really impressed with the drills power, speed control and adjustable clutch. This drill/driver has such a range of speed and torque that I can drill holes in multiple materials (wood, aluminum and steel were tested) and also install all kinds of screw types.

Compact & Comfortable

The real wow factor for me on this drill/driver is the compact size and comfort. Most serious 18V drill/drivers today are huge, heavy and not always well balanced. On the contrary, this little devil is light-weight and extremely comfortable. This is impressive to me when you consider it has an all metal chuck and some serious power.

One of the tasks that I’ve been using this drill for is pocket screw joinery. As you can see above I’ve been using it to drill pocket screw holes for cabinet frames. Kreg Jig drill bits are large and auger lots material (look closely at all the saw dust). It takes a decent drill to do this efficiently and the PC PCL180CDK-2 does it with ease. I also love to use it when installing the actual pocket screws because I can set the clutch just right so I don’t blow out the screws in the face frames. This is something that I previously had a hard time with on larger 18V drills.

Video Review

Check out a short video on my thoughts about the Porter-Cable PCL180CDK-2 18V Drill Driver.

Overall Impression

Overall I’m very impressed with the Porter-Cable PCL180CDK-2 18V Drill Driver. I have a wall of cordless drill/drivers in my shop and I find myself picking up this one over and over again. The reason is simple, it’s light-weight, comfortable and more compact that many of the other ones. Combine that with the power and speed of this drill and it’s a winner.

This drill/driver is perfect for lots of different applications and users. I would recommend it for both professionals and DIY’ers. It’s great for tradesmen in the field, in the shop, and around the house. If you’re looking to buy a smaller/compact 18V drill driver than this one should be on  your short list. Priced around $160 it’s a good value as well.

Where To Buy

If you’d like to buy this drill/driver than I recommend you check out the pricing and availability at Amazon. I’ve included a simple affiliate link below for your convenience.


About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. Ron Jennings

    I have no problem with the drill. Heavy duty yet lightweight. The problem is with the batteries. I purchased mine three years ago and wore the batteries out in three years. Buying new 18 volt lithium retail at (approx) $90 EACH.

    I thought the goal is to keep using the drill but replace the batteries. The drill, 2 batteries, and charger retails at Lowe’s (where I bought mine) for around $125. The drill is still in great shape but the batteries crapped out. PC needs to come up with a recycle program for the batteries so they just don’t wind up in a landfill (even though we are NOT suppose to put them in the trash). And so consumers can purchase new batteries without having to buy a whole new kit.

    With that said the drill is great for the next three years (of course depending on use). After that expect to buy a new one.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Great feedback Ron. This is a completely new drill that was just released. It includes the latest battery charger and cells. Likely they are completely new in design compared to your 3 yr old version. I can tell you that within the industry batteries have come a “lifetime” in just the last three years. Li-Ion keeps making huge improvements.

      1. Ron Jennings

        Todd I get all that. My main complaint is the replacement shouldn’t be more than buying a whole new drill kit. I tend to use tools until they wear out and can not be repaired. Now I have the new drill and the old one and just two batteries. I also understand there is a lot of engineering going into making the battery better. However should one battery cost nearly as much as a whole new drill?

        1. Todd Fratzel

          I don’t disagree with you. I was interviewed by Remodeler Magazine this week about Cordless Tools and their current state of affairs within our industry. While I think these tools are now powerful enough to put many corded tools in their grave I think there are some definitely cost issues. I completely understand that batteries are expensive to manufacture. I also can understand how they are probably more expensive than the tool itself in many cases. However, for all the competition in the market you’d think the pricing would come down. Frankly I don’t see it changing, all companies know you have to have the batteries so there is huge demand.

          As I said, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s a good thing!

  2. daniel smith

    nice drill

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