You can save money by buying tools in a combo kit. We’re reviewing these two kits from DeWalt and Makita to make sure you know what you’re getting before you lay down the cash. Let’s look at them both to see which is the best for you.
DEWALT DCK340C2 20V Max 3-Tool Combo Kit
The DeWalt DCK340C2 20V Max Combo Kitcontains a drill, an impact driver, and a flashlight. All three tools run off the two included lithium-ion battery packs. DeWalt doesn’t specify what the batteries’ capacity is, but we speculate that it’s 1.5Ah. That guess is based on three factors: their size, the fact that they recharge in 35 minutes, and our prior experience with similar DeWalt combo kits.
But you’re not in this just for the batteries. You want tools. This kit’s drill is the DCD771. It’s suitable for most jobs around the house or at work as long as you don’t need a hammer function or serious speed and power. Its chuck has carbide inserts to grip even round shank bits tightly.
The DCD771 has a 2-speed transmission with two gears: 0-450rpm and 0-1500rpm. Its maximum power is 300 unit watts out. There are 16 clutch settings to choose from and a variable-speed trigger so you can get just the right amount of torque. You can change bits one-handed with a keyless ratcheting chuck. The drill weighs 3.6 pounds with the battery pack and measures 8.7 inches back to front. It has an LED light above the trigger that powers down automatically when the drill is not in use.
This kit also contains the DCF885 impact driver, winner of “Editor’s Choice Best Overall” in the 2014 Taunton Tool Guide. It’s lightweight, much more compact than the drill, and much more powerful. It also won’t twist your wrist.
The driver weighs 2.8 pounds with the battery and is only 5-1/2 inches long, so it fits into tight places.It also has a nice, balanced feel. The brushed motor has plenty of torque: with no load at 2800rpm it has 117ft-lbs or 1400in-lbs of power. The ¼-inch hex chuck spring-loads with one hand and accepts 1-inch-long bits.
Instead of just one, there are three LED lights on the driver’s chuck collar to eliminate shadows on your work area. The lights power down automatically after 20 seconds when the driver is not in use.
Speaking of light, the flashlight in the kit is the DCL040 that also uses an LED bulb for top efficiency. It puts out 110 lumens, which is less light than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. It runs off the same battery packs that the other tools use. Its head rotates 120 degrees and it can stand upright on its foot or hang from its hook.
More features of the DeWalt DCK340C2 kit
- Comes with drill, driver, flashlight, two battery packs, charger, and a soft contractor bag
- DeWalt offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, a 1-year free service contract, and a 3-year limited warranty
Makita LCT314W 12V Max Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-Piece Combo Kit
When you see that this Makita LCT314W kit is only 12V compared to DeWalt’s 20V, you might automatically think it’s got to be underpowered. You would be partially right and partially not. Yes, its tools are less powerful than those in the DeWalt kit above. But for 12-volt tools, they are right on the money. In fact, you may prefer this smaller, lighter, more battery-efficient kit. And the aluminum case is a sweet addition.
But let’s get down to details. The FD02W drill has a 3/8” chuck and a 2-speed transmission. It delivers up to 200 inch-pounds of torque and speed up to 1300rpm. All of this in a 2.2-pound drill with a rubbery grip that that fits nicely in one hand.
The DT01W impact driver is a pleasant surprise as well. It weighs only 2 pounds. Although it’s rated for just 800 inch-pounds of torque (compared to DeWalt’s 1400in-lbs), it can handle 3-inch screws in hardwood. It has a variable-speed trigger that controls up to 2400rpm and 3000ipm (impacts per minute).
Finally, the LM01W flashlight has an LED bulb and runs up to 9 hours on a charge. Makita rates its brightness as 800 Lux instead of lumens. Lux depends on the size of the area being illuminated. This means there’s no easy way to tell how bright this little light actually is without knowing how large the area was where they tested it for lumens. A rough calculation shows that 800 Lux distributed over 2 square feet is about 148 lumens, so it’s possible that Makita’s light is brighter than DeWalt’s.
More features of the Makita LCT314W
- Makita offers a 1-year warranty on the flashlight, batteries and charger and a 3-year warranty on the drill and driver
- Kit includes drill, driver, flashlight, charger, two battery packs, and a kit box
- Charger fills the batteries in about an hour
If you want compact, lightweight tools for light-duty work, consider getting the Makita LCT314W kit.
If you want more power and speed to finish tasks, get DeWalt’s DCK340C2 kit.