Black and Decker 20v lithium cordless drill – How good is it?

My earliest memories of power tools came from my dads collection back in the 80’s.
Whether he was putting up shelves, fixing doors or repairing the car (which he seemed to do quite often), there were always a bunch of heavy orange and black shaped ‘toys’ with the barely legible words ‘Black & Decker’ laying around.
Excited to grab and play with them I was quickly given my remit, becoming an expert tool passer at 4 years old.

From what I remember (and subsequently inherited) was an orange drill, which disappeared one day, a jigsaw, a heating gun, a sander and foldable work bench, which met an unfortunate demise after years of excellent service.

For years I couldn’t recall any other tools that stood out in the small cupboard under the stairs… until one day I saw a rather large yellow and green box turn up with the word Bosch plastered in red across the top. It turned out to be a reciprocating saw. Obviously Black & decker didn’t have one at the time…obviously, but better still, I still have that very Bosch saw and use it without any issues. So add to that the heating gun and jigsaw, I can confidently say, you look after the tools and they’ll look after you. For a long time.

Classic B&D No frills drill with missing chuck key as standard
Fetching petrol blue heating gun, still breathing hot air
Been there, done that - the ever reliable yet underpowered jigsaw
Solid and dependable orbital sander

Black & Decker – more than just a household name

These guys have been making power tools for over 100 years and I believe have built a number of excellent tools that have given families across the world a chance to better themselves and importantly gain confidence in home improvement jobs.
They were integral to the DIY revolution that didn’t just empower people to pick up a tool and have a go at constructing something but played a crucial part in how in the way be think about doing things for ourselves in general. From repairs to making music, the DIY formula works on many levels, saving money being the vital to its evolution. Coupled with learning new skills can only be a positive thing.


In the power tool arena there are more brands and makers of equipment than ever. So how do you choose?
What makes you want to buy something from Black & Decker when Porter & Cable, Worx, Hitachi, Milwaukee, Makita, Skil, Bosch, (I could go on) are all making reliable, competitive and affordable tools, in many varieties, with many features and to suit almost every pocket?

The answer:
Keep making reliable, affordable and effective tools as you’ve always done and ensure your customers are happy to come back, generation after generation regardless of the many temptations from all around.

Of course, there will be occasions when something is too good to miss out on, or you’ve been handed something for free (thats always nice) but when needs must, either for yourself or a friend, where do you go? Who do you turn to? Who makes the stuff that your dad bought? What name is at the forefront of your mind?
For most of us Generation X’s we may call the vacuum a Hoover, a posi-screwdriver a Philips or a stick food in the Crock Pot, but how does the mind index our needs when it comes to power tools?

If you were on Family Feud and was asked ‘who was the most popular name associated with DIY’, it would be hard pressed to find something other than Black & Decker as the number 1 answer.

So, is the Black & Decker cordless drill worth it?

Ok, regardless of my indulgence into the merits and longevity of a brand that I and countless others grew up with we need to know if they still make tools that made them.
You are here to see if this drill is actually worth the moolah compared to its nearest and dearest.
Lets find out.

Who’s it for?

Black & Decker have 8 models of cordless 20v drills and are all part of the 20V MAX system meaning you can interchange batteries with devices also part of this system.

You will probably know from reputation and price band that Black & Decker make capable DIY, home enthusiast and infrequent-use power tools. Personally, I have every confidence their tools could sustain an onslaught of tasks in quick succession but the general consensus is they are not professional grade tools and should not be treated as such.

Buy these for occasional, light home use and you’ll be alright.

Design & Ergonomics

Looking at most hand held power tools we use today I doubt very much you’ll come across something entirely revolutionary so as to change the way we may use a drill.
You may be surprised to read that this drill range is not breaking boundaries nor setting the world alight with a some kind of memory foam grip or steady-cam like balance BUT what it does give you is adequate comfort, good balance and is light enough to hold for sustained drilling.
Its distinctive grill and iconic orange & black scheme gives you the quick heads up whether to choose or ignore it for the next job.


I’ve never had reliability issues with any of the Black & Decker tools I’ve used. The ones highlighted from the archives are still going strong and used on pretty needy projects.
The jigsaw was used to cut 2 x 6 joists, 18mm ply and a number of other materials over 5 weeks. I occasionally use the sander and heat gun and deliver when required. If I don’t deem anything worth keeping I’ll attempt a repair. If I can’t resurrect it, it goes to PD. If he can’t do the magic then its out.

What Black & decker offer with their drills is a 2-year Limited Warranty that should see you through, should you use the tools sensibly.

Keyless Chuck issues

I have read from a number of sources citing difficulty with the keyless chuck on some models. Most people complain that it doesn’t hold the drill bits securely

clutch settings

When tightening the chuck it is important the screw setting on the barrel is selected against the arrow. This will ensure maximum torque and tightness.
If you a see number selected instead of the drill icon, you are set to torque clutch setting, which is used for drilling screws. You will not get the most tension when tightening.
This applies to all makes of cordless drill.

Battery Life

The 20v MAX battery should be enough to get you though at least 3 hours of constant usage though be aware that 20v MAX is a peak rating (4v per cell)
What you will get is an 18v battery (5 rows of x 3.6v Li ion cells), which is the nominal rating of the cell.
If you fully charge an 18v battery it will initially have a MAX rating of 20v but this is a temporal effect.

Advantages of Lithium Ion batteries (li ion)

  • Higher energy density – for their size and weight they can store more energy than other rechargeable batteries.
  • Operate at higher voltages than other rechargeable batteries.
  • Builtin electronic controllers that regulate charge and discharge – these prevent overcharging and overheating that can cause lithium-ion batteries to explode in some circumstances.

The Range

Black & Decker has spoiled us with no less than 8 offerings – some include extra batteries, some don’t. Either way, their 20v Max powered drills will cover all your home improvement and DIY tasks for years to come.
Have fun!

11-position clutch11-position clutch11-position clutch11 position clutch
Integrated LEDIntegrated LEDIntegrated LEDIntegrated LED
Onboard storage
for fastening bits
Onboard storage
for fastening bits
Onboard storage
for fastening bits
Onboard storage
for fastening bits
Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 3/8″
Single SpeedSingle Speed2-SpeedVariable Speed –
650 RPM (No load)
Weight – 3-4 lbsWeight – 3-4 lbsWeight – 3-4 lbsWeight – 3-4 lbs

11 position clutch11 position clutch11 position clutch11 position clutch
Integrated LEDIntegrated LEDIntegrated LEDIntegrated LED
iOS and Android
app for Bluetooth control
30% smaller
than GC1801
35% smaller
than GC1801
Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 3/8″Chuck Size: 1/2″
Variable Speed –
650 RPM (No load)
2-speed 2-speed 2-speed
Weight – 3-4 lbsLightweight at 2.64 lbsLightweight at 2.5 lbsWeight – 3-4 lbs

What to do, what to do…?

Unlike The Cheesecake Factory menu, the choices of offer from Black & Decker won’t cause too much confusion nor make you indecisive about what to choose.

Yes, there are 8 types on offer though these do vary albeit slightly.
Key differences are single speed vs variable speed vs 2-speed and variations on weight
A couple of drills are light-weight, there’s a bluetooth battery model and also one with a 1/2 chuck model for heavier tasks.

I’d say thats a decent range of drills, designed for occasional DIY use and certainly will not break the bank.
Whether I’m writing another post in 25 years time giving kudos to the same bunch of tools, only time will tell but like I opened with… you look after the tools and the will see you through. For decades.