The 3.6-volt Black & Decker LI4000 is best for light-duty jobs. Its lower torque and Li-ion battery keep the tool small (it's the lightest driver in our report) but do not supply enough power for drilling medium holes or working with larger hardware. Users like the low price, saying it's a great choice over larger, more expensive drivers that offer more power than needed. Plus, its straightforward settings make the LI4000 a good choice for beginners.
Good power, but don't mistake it for a stronger tool. The Black & Decker LI4000 isn't meant to replace a 12-volt or larger drill/driver; many users like it because it's so small and easy to use. At 3.6 volts, the LI4000 has the smallest voltage in our report but still manages 70 inch-pounds of torque.
With one speed setting that spins at 180 rpm, experts say the LI4000 drills and drives slowly but powers through light-duty jobs well. It has "good power for most basic household tasks," says ToolReviews.ca. They note the driver is able to "drill 1/4-inch holes 1-inch deep in softwood without much problem" and can drive up to 1.5-inch screws in predrilled holes.
Other users and experts also say power is limited, but plenty of owners still stand by the LI4000 as a great cordless screwdriver as long as you keep these limitations in mind. It is a favorite on Amazon.com, where it ranks on the power tools bestseller list and has a 4.2-star rating from more than 130 users.
Built-in lithium-Ion battery. Experts say the Black & Decker LI4000's lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery has decent run time; the editors at ToolReviews.ca report they "sunk and withdrew 72 1-inch screws in softwood on a single charge." Most users at Amazon.com experienced similarly long run times and claim the Li-ion style battery keeps its charge longer than Ni-Cd batteries when not in use.
Users like the battery's light weight. Unfortunately, with the built-in battery, you can't switch out batteries to keep working.
Cradle-style charger holds driver and bits. The battery charger for the Black & Decker LI4000 is a cradle style: Rest the entire tool on top for easy charging. You can mount the charger right on the wall, and it even includes slots to hold your bits. The charger is an easy spot to store the LI4000, but if you plan to leave the driver in for longer than a day, unplug it to prevent damage to the battery.
Only a few users back the manufacturer's claims that the charger takes less than one hour; expert testers at ToolReviews.ca say it takes about three. Even so, this is faster than the three to six hours needed to charge some comparable models.
The only form of battery diagnostics on the charger is a simple red light that changes to green when the battery is charged, but several users say this feature does not always work well.
Simple features are uncomplicated and helpful. The most unique feature on the Black & Decker LI4000 is the screw holder: a small tray that "extends out about 2-1/4 inches, enabling you to easily hold screws of just about any length," according to ToolReviews.ca, which also says the tray's built-in magnet is "strong and easily holds screws in place" while you line them up. Gizmodo.com says this is an added bonus for the carpenter who's "nothing but thumbs."
However, the extendable screw holder receives mixed reviews from consumers. One user at Amazon.com called the screw holder "hit or miss," while another states, "the magnetic screw holder has come in handy more times than I can count." Another user says if you don't like the bit holder, you can take it off the driver.
Pros like the large trigger, saying the LI4000 is comfortable to use, and many consumers find the built-in blue LED light helpful. Weighing less than 1 pound, this is the lightest driver we review; many users say it is small enough to fit in their pockets -- a handy trait when working on ladders.
The clutch has six settings with a clearly illustrated guide on top of the driver to help users select the best setting for the job. "For a cordless screwdriver this is about as uncomplicated as it gets," says ToolReviews.ca. Also on top of the tool, a window shows which way the drive is turning (forward or reverse). The switch to change direction is near the trigger. A few users from Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com say it is easy to hit accidentally.
Many cordless screwdrivers come with two driver bits (a Phillips head and a flathead), but the LI4000 gets you started with your own hex-head bit set. It includes nine driver bits, one nut driver, one hex drill bit and one bit bar. However, the LI4000 doesn't have a place to store bits right on the driver, a feature some users find inconvenient.
Decent warranty and good customer service. Black & Decker includes a basic two-year warranty for the LI4000. There are few reports from users on using the warranty, but according to one user at Amazon.com, customer service quickly sent out a replacement retractable bit holder that was missing from the box.
Though the Black & Decker is a popular brand, a survey by J.D. Power and Associates says it does not come with a high satisfaction rating. They include seven different cordless drill brands in their 2012 customer satisfaction survey, and Black & Decker ranks below average.
Review Credibility: Excellent As part of their guide on cordless drill/drivers and combo kits, editors at ConsumerReports.org test 11 cordless screwdrivers at their labs. Evaluations include time trials, power tests to evaluate torque and measuring battery run time with a dynamometer.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
2. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent The editors of J.D. Power and Associates ask customers who bought a cordless drill in the last year how satisfied they are with their tool and why. About 1,000 surveys in all are tallied with DeWalt and Craftsman taking the lead. Black & Decker ranks fourth, underneath the average score.
Review: 2012 Cordless Drill Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good At Amazon.com a large percentage of reviews on the Black & Decker LI4000 are 4 stars or more, with more than 130 reviews and an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. Most users say for basic household tasks this driver has enough power and great features -- one owner even uses the driver to mount cabinets. Several users do warn it is not up to medium- or heavy-duty tasks.
Review: Black & Decker LI4000 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion SmartSelect Screwdriver with Magnetic Screw Holder, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good A handful of owners review Black & Decker's LI4000 at HomeDepot.com, giving it an average score of 4.4 stars out of 5 (with no scores lower than 3 stars). Most say the tool works well for their light-duty jobs. However, one reviewer successfully used it to "install custom closets, take apart washing machines and interior auto panels and even in the local junk yard."
Review: Black & Decker 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4 in. Cordless SmartDriver, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Good In this single product review, ToolReviews.ca discusses the pros and cons of Black & Decker's LI4000. They say the tool is best suited for homeowners and small do-it-yourself projects. More specifically, after testing, they find the tool can drive screws up to 1.5-inch long and drill quarter-inch holes 1 inch into soft wood.
Review: Black & Decker 3.6V SmartSelect SmartDriver (LI4000), Editors of ToolReviews.ca, January 2010
Review Credibility: Fair Jack Loftus with Gizmodo.com says the LI4000 "screws perfectly every time." He doesn't go into detail about testing the screwdriver but recommends it for any "butterfingers handyman" like himself. He also likes the extra features of the LI4000, such as the LED light and extended arm.
Review: Foolproof Black & Decker LI4000 SmartDriver Screws Perfectly Every Time, Jack Loftus, Dec. 14, 2008