Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Cordless Drills Review

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Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Cordless Drills Review

Kobalt has expanded their venerable 24 Volt Max line of tools with the new XTR series that takes advantage of new and more powerful battery packs. To see the capabilities of the XTR batteries, Kobalt sent me two of their new flagship cordless drills for review. The XTR 1/2″ Brushless Cordless Drill Model #KXDD1424A-03 as well as XTR 1/2″ Brushless Hammer Drill Model #KXHD1424A-03. These two drills are my first tools from Kobalt.

XTR 24-Volt Max 1/2" Drill/Driver & Hammer Drill

4/5
Manufacturer: Kobalt
Model number: KXHD1424A-03 & KXDD1424A-03
Price: $169.00 & $199.00
Power source: XTR 24-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Batteries
Weight: 2.4 Lbs. & 3.2 Lbs.

Kobalt tools have continued to impress the #ToolBoxBuzzCrew at many of our recent Head-2-Head test days. At the recent Best One Handed Reciprocating Saw test, Kobalt stood out as a powerhouse. The new XTR cordless drills and other tools from Kobalt build upon that reputation.

Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Drills Review

Features and Specifications

  • Capable of 1,200 Inch Pounds of Torque
  • Anti-Kickback Technology
  • 2 Speed Gear Boxes & 24 Position Clutches
  • LED Work Lights
  • Warranty: 5 Year Tool / 3 year Battery
  • Weight: 3.2 Lbs. (Hammer Drill) / 2.4 Lbs. (Drill/Driver)

Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Drills Review

Standout Features of the XTR Cordless Drills

Ergonomics

Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Drills Review

Both drills are very comfortable in hand. I have extremely large hands (XXL) and both tools felt spacious and not cramped. The variable speed trigger as well as the forward and reverse selector are tightly fitted and responsive. the rubber over molding on the exterior also provides excellent traction and reduces hot spots.

Mechanical Clutches

Kobalt XTR 24V Max Drills

Both the drill/driver and the hammer drill feature a traditional twist style mechanical clutch. Both clutches are smooth to operate with positive click setting and easy to read indicator marks. Dialing in a specific torque rating for even the most delicate fastener was effortless.

Kobalt XTR 24V Max Drills Review

The XTR hammer drill features a separate three position selector lug to chose a dedicated drilling mode. Driving Fasteners, drilling holes, and hammer drilling each have a easy to change manual switch. This extra selector is intuitive and easy to use as well.

Bright LED Work Light

Kobalt XTR 24V Max Cordless Drills Review

Both of the Kobalt XTR cordless drills feature a bright white LED work light on the base of the tool. This light projects upwards towards the work surface and does and excellent job. The light stays on momentarily after releasing the trigger as well.

Kobalt’s XTR Battery Upgrades

Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max

To give life to the new XTR line, Kobalt improved upon their existing 24 Volt Max series of batteries. The XTR batteries feature 21700 cells that offer a much higher discharge rate and produce 50% more power. Again, thats 50% more compared to the original 24 Volt Max batteries. Each tool came with one 4.0 Ah battery. These battery packs are streamlined and compact.

Most importantly, these new XTR batteries are backwards compatible with all generations of chargers and tools. Kobalt users can upgrade their batteries to XTRs in the future and still get good use out of their older version tools.

XTR Cordless Drills Performance

Kobalt XTR 24 Volt Max Review

Having never used a Kobalt product before, I was not sure what to expect when I began using the XTR cordless drills. I had heard Kobalt was making some powerful stuff but really could not speak to anything from their line. One of the first tasks I performed was drilling a series of drainage holes through thick gauge sheet metal water troughs for a landscaping project. It was hot as hell and all of the troughs required between 275 and 300 holes total. Using the XTR Drill/Driver for this task, it breezed through all of the sheet metal while barely using two bars of energy. That is extremely impressive.

Afterwards I found zero issues with either drill while performing a variety of tasks. Whether I was drilling holes or driving fasteners, neither wood or concrete could stand up to the XTRs. More notable was the fact that the batteries lasted forever. A full day of intermittent use was easily achieved on a single battery charge.

Pricing and Availability

The full line of XTR tools from Kobalt including the cordless drills is available now from Lowe’s. As with all Kobalt tools they are exclusive to Lowe’s and are available in stores and online. The XTR 1/2″ drill/driver is currently available for $169.00 and the 1/2″ hammer drill is available for $199.00. Both tools are sold as a kit with one 4.0 Ah battery pack, battery charge, large bulky plastic case, and a detachable side handle.

Both kits represent a good value for the dedicated or hardcore DIYer. Check out the Buy it Now link below for the full XTR Lineup at Lowe’s.

XTR 24-Volt Max 1/2" Drill/Driver & Hammer Drill
$169.00 & $199.00

Overall Thoughts on Kobalt’s XTR Cordless Drills

Kobalt is a brand that has developed a die hard following for being affordable and powerful. The original 24 Volt Max line of batteries built that lineage and now the XTR is bringing them forward into a new weight class. The XTR drills are a great example of Kobalt looking to punch up to the pro class above them. While the DIYer and entry level tradesman has always been the go to market for Kobalt, the XTR line may be what black and blue needs to take on the pros.

Kobalt XTR 24V Max Drills

The two drills I got the chance to evaluate were solidly built and powerful machines. They featured excellent construction and ergonomics. The XTR batteries give them exceptional run time and power. However in my opinion they still felt big and bulky compared to the top of the line drills from other pro grade manufacturers. The Kobalt line of tools is also lacking compared to many of the pro brands.

That being said, the XTR series of tools are a great step forward for the Kobalt 24 Volt Max line. Both the 1/2″ drill driver and hammer drill were proof positive of that. Check out either of these tools if you looking for a value priced, powerful, extremely capable tool.

About the author

Wes Bartosik

Wes Bartosik is a Connecticut native with strong family ties to the construction world. Wes’ father and grandfather both were builders and developers and taught Wes the values of doing things right from an early age and getting hands on experience with every facet of the construction industry. Wes apprenticed with a carpenter throughout high school and would later attend Central Connecticut State University earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management all while working for a large excavation contractor throughout. Wes would go on to work for a local heavy-highway construction company and gain further experience with all the skilled trades associated with large civil engineering and utility projects. Though working as a manager now, Wes’ true passion is working in the field alongside the tradesman and laborers on site. Wes has been involved in community based service projects throughout his life as well as emergency services. In his spare time he takes on serious DIY projects for himself, friends and family. He is a firm believer that with a quality tool in your hands and some grit, you can accomplish anything.

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4 Comments

  1. Christian

    Is Kobalt going to expand their xtr line?

  2. Joshua Sutton

    I am interested in the line mostly because of the value it offers, but I have concerns about the durability and longevity of the tools with professional use. You’ve got to cut corners somewhere to hit that price point . Do you have any thoughts on long term use compared to Dewalt, Milwaukee, Makita, etc?

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Joshua – I had a set of the first generation Kobalt tools on one of my crews and the tools lasted a long time and exceeded all of our expectations. I haven’t tested this set, but you may be pleasantly surprised.

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