For less than the price of the top-rated light-duty cordless impact driver, you can get a cordless impact driver plus a cordless drill in the Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 kit. Taunton's 2012 Tool Guide calls this "a steal," especially since the Porter-Cable tools have no problems driving long, thick lag bolts in tests.
Drill and impact driver work best for small, light-duty tasks. Fine Woodworking editor Asa Christiana calls the PCL212IDC-2 "compact and versatile," saying it is the "ultimate cordless kit for a woodshop." She tests the drill and the impact driver in her workshop, noting that "both tools easily sank long, 5/16-inch lag bolts into fir studs with no pilot holes." She concludes that it has "more than enough power for woodworking -- and all but the toughest carpentry tasks around the house."
Porter-Cable's 12-volt combo kit includes cordless drill PCL120DDC, impact driver PCL120IDC, two Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, a battery charger and nylon storage bag. Capable of 950 inch-pounds of torque (which is significantly less than the 1,400 inch-pounds of torque from the Milwaukee 2650-21), ProToolReviews.com says both tools in the PCL212IDC-2 combo kit "demonstrate plenty of speed and power for their pint size."
Average reserve. Most users are happy with the PCL212IDC-2's run time. As one Amazon.com customer put it, "I'm a novice in the tool department, but I can tell you the batteries will run all day working on the car and home projects."
A major consumer organization notes that, similar to other 12-volt cordless tolls, the cordless drill in this combo kit has mediocre run time. During their testing of the impact driver, ProToolReviews.com says, "Although it does not have quite the battery reserve of the larger 14.4v or 18v driver's that we have tested, the Porter-Cable PCL120IDC Impact driver got the job done well enough to be a very handy tool." None of the reviews mentions how much time to expect from each battery.
For longer battery run time -- and more power -- consider an 18-volt combo kit like Milwaukee's 2691-22 ($260). More details are available in our section on best combo kits.
Rapid charger for fresh batteries in half an hour. The PCL212IDC-2 combo kit includes a 30-minute smart charger, which automatically shuts off when the battery is charged to prolong the battery's lifespan.
Bonus LED light and belt clip. The 12-volt, two-tool kit contains all of the usual amenities: two Li-ion battery packs, a 30-minute smart charger, built-in LED task light and a soft storage case. At 2.5 pounds each, these Porter-Cable tools are exceptionally light.
Many tool kits come with molded plastic cases to carry the tools, but Porter-Cable's PCL212IDC-2 carrying case is a heavy-duty nylon bag with a zippered closure. ProToolReviews.com likes that bag has "handy compartments for all the included items in this kit (and some space to spare should you throw in some extra gear to go with your new setup)." One reviewer at Amazon.com prefers the hard cases because they can "take abuse and save the tools if they should fall off the truck or something similar."
Porter-Cable covers the PCL212IDC-2 combo kit with a three-year warranty.
1. Taunton's 2012 Tool Guide
Review Credibility: Excellent The publisher of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding recommends the best tools in this 2012 guide. After putting the Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 combo kit through "the nastiest tests we could cook up," the editors say both tools have more than enough power for woodworking -- and all but the toughest carpentry jobs around the house."
Review: Best Tools, Editors of Taunton's 2012 Tool Guide, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors don't test both tools in the Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 combo kit, but they do review the kit's cordless drill, Porter-Cable PCL120DDC. The comparison is part of their review of 61 cordless drills, where they rate each tool for speed, power, handling, battery life and noise.
Review: Cordless Drills and Tool Kits, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good ProToolReviews.com explores both the cordless drill and the impact driver in Porter-Cables PCL212IDC-2 combo kit, testing both in their workshop. They give the kit a 7 out of 10 rating for both performance and value, saying the kit "is a pretty good replacement to full size tools in many applications."
Review: Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 12V Max Cordless Compact 2-Tool Kit Review, Matthias Gaige, June 5, 2012
4. Fine Homebuilding
Review Credibility: Good This review goes into more detail than the parent-publication Taunton review above. Asa Christiana uses both the drill and the impact driver in the Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 tool kit to drive long, thick lag bolts into fir studs (without pilot holes) and hard maple (with pilot holes) and concludes that they offer "more than enough power for woodworking."
Review: Porter-Cable - PCL212IDC-2 12v Compact Lithium Two Tool Kit, Asa Christiana, Dec. 9, 2010
Review Credibility: Good This drill/impact driver kit maintains an overall 4.2-star rating in about 20 owner reviews posted. Owners like the tools' light weight and surprising power.
Review: Porter-Cable PCL212IDC-2 12-Volt Max Compact Lithium-Ion 2-Tool Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013