This Black & Decker PD600 is geared towards do-it-yourself users who need a light-duty tool, though some tradespeople (like computer technicians) also say its combination of power and versatility is ideal. It's inexpensive and lightweight with a built-in LED light and bit storage; plus the handle pivots from straight to pistol-grip style. Several owners report the built-in nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery holds its charge well -- although it can take up to six hours to recharge.
Enough for household use. For light household screwdriving jobs, users say the Black & Decker PD600 is one of the best. This 6-volt cordless screwdriver packs 80 inch-pounds of torque -- more power than most budget drivers. Owners found it had plenty of power for assembling furniture or installing window blinds but may be too weak for drilling. One Amazon.com user explains, "(in comparison to) newer higher voltage cordless drill/drivers, it lacks power and speed, but if you're only looking for a lightweight automatic screwdriver, this is the one for you."
The PD600 has two speeds, one for driving (0-180 rpm) and one for drilling (0-600 rpm).
Ni-Cd built-in battery. The Black & Decker PD600 uses one built-in Ni-Cd battery. Ni-Cd batteries are less expensive than lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, keeping the cost of the tool lower, and many owners say the Ni-Cd battery holds its charge well. "The charge seems to last forever. I very rarely charge the battery and it always seems to work, even after not using it in a while," notes a user on Viewpoints.com.
Not all users like the built-in Ni-Cd battery though. Jon Sevenson with Power Tool Reviews states he would rather have removable Li-ion batteries." He also notes when the battery wears out -- as all batteries eventually do -- you have to replace the entire tool instead of buying a replacement battery. Though Black & Decker says you can replace the battery by opening the body of the tool, one user at Amazon.com reports that buying a completely new tool is about the same price. Users at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and Sears.com all mention the batteries can fail in a few years.
Built-in batteries. Because the battery is built-in on the Black & Decker PD600, you'll have to plug the entire unit in to charge, and you can't use the drill while charging. Naturally, several users find this inconvenient.
The PD600 has the longest charge time in our report, taking three to six hours for each recharge and nine hours for its first charge. The longer charge time doesn't bother all users. "It does take a long time to charge, but seems to hold the charge forever, I can just pick it up and it always works," explains one owner at Amazon.com.
Versatile handle. The Black & Decker PD600 is an articulating cordless screwdriver: The handle pivots so you can hold it straight or pistol-grip style. The PD600 has three locking positions. "Being able to adjust the handle will allow you to reach into tight places such as drawers or small cabinets," notes Sevenson with Power Tool Reviews.
Other features include a built-in bit holder and LED work light, two things many budget drivers lack. One user at Amazon.com, who is replacing his PD600 of five years with a new one says Black & Decker changed the LED light in their last update. "The original model had a nice, bright white LED. This one is yellow in color (like an old incandescent bulb) and not as bright." The trigger does not automatically turn on the light, like with many drivers. On the LI4000, you slide a switch underneath the screwdriver to turn the light on and off.
At 10.5 inches and 2 pounds, the PD600 is comfortable for many different hand sizes, and a few owners with arthritis say they have no problems using the driver. The forward and reverse settings are two separate buttons -- not a switch with one trigger -- which one user at Amazon.com calls "intuitive to use."
Two-year warranty. A few owners report the driver died after a year or two, but many others at Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com claim the Black & Decker PD600 lasted five years or longer before they needed a replacement.
Black & Decker includes a two-year warranty on this tool. A few users at Amazon.com had problems during that period (most often with the clutch or the battery charger) but were unable to use the warranty. Some websites, like Amazon.com, don't honor Black & Decker's warranty, so it's always best to find out what is covered before purchasing a tool online. One user at HomeDepot.com says that Black & Decker customer service was helpful and polite concerning warranty issues, shipping the replacement part the next day.
According to a survey from J.D. Power and Associates, the Black & Decker brand does not have a very high customer satisfaction rating. They surveyed more than 1,000 cordless drill owners in 2012 who rank the Black & Decker brand below the industry average.
1. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent J.D. Power and Associates surveys actual customers to find out which brands they are happiest with and why. In this 2012 survey of cordless drill owners, Black & Decker ranks lower than the average score for customer satisfaction.
Review: 2012 Cordless Drill Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Averaging 3.9 stars out of 5 from nearly 300 owner reviews, the Black & Decker PD600 ranks as one of the best budget cordless screwdrivers at Amazon.com. Many say this cordless screwdriver is ideal for most household jobs, calling it comfortable to use and durable. The most common complaint is that the battery charger stops working.
Review: Black & Decker PD600 Pivot Plus 6-volt Nicad Cordless Screwdriver with Articulating Head, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good More than a dozen owners rate the PD600 at HomeDepot.com; every one of them recommends this cordless screwdriver. With a 4.7-star score, users say the tool is durable, useful and affordable.
Review: Black & Decker 6-Volt PivotPlus Rechargeable Drill/Driver, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good The PD600 receives only a 3-star rating out of 5 at Sears.com, where a handful of users comment on its performance. Comments range from 5-star reviews that say it works well to 1-star reviews calling it "not very good."
Review: Black & Decker Pivot Plus(TM) 6 V Rechargeable Drill/Driver, Contributors to Sears.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Good A handful of users review the PD600 at Viewpoints.com, giving it an average rating of 4.75 stars (out of 5). All comments here are from homeowners who say the tool does a great job replacing a hand screwdriver for everyday tasks around the house.
Review: Black & Decker PD600 Pivot Plus 6-Volt Nicad Cordless Screwdriver Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Good There are just a handful of reviews for the Black & Decker PD600, but they echo reviews at other retail websites, awarding it 4 stars out of 5. Most of the reviews are from 2010 or earlier, so comments may not match up with PD600 updates. More recent reviews are less than kind, saying the driver either was broken when it arrived or died shortly thereafter.
Review: Black & Decker Pivot Plus 6V High Performance Screwdriver -- PD600, Contributors to Target.com, As of April 2013
7. Power Tool Reviews
Review Credibility: Good Retired contractor Jon Sevenson reviews and ranks the PD600, giving it a score of 3 out of 5 stars. The driver gets the highest marks for its torque (though Sevenson doesn't perform side-by-side comparisons or discuss any hands-on tests). The built-in Ni-Cd battery gets the lowest mark; Sevenson says he prefers removable Li-ion batteries.
Review: Black & Decker PD600, Jon Sevenson, March 20, 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In this video review of the Black & Decker PD600, a user displays the driver and some of his favorite features. The reviewer does not discuss hands-on experience of using the tool and only compares it indirectly to other cordless screwdrivers. Overall, he recommends the PD600 for its convenient size, swiveling head and long-lasting battery.
Review: Black & Decker PD600 Pivot Plus 6-Volt Nicad Cordless Screwdriver with Reviews, "Ryan E.", Jan. 23, 2008