BLACK+DECKER LDX120C Review
Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight
Cons: Weak, minimal features
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Our Analysis and Test Results
To determine which tools we would bestow awards upon, we bought all the most promising and popular products, then tested them head-to-head in close to 20 different evaluations. We split these assessments into four weighted rating metrics, with the LDX120C's performance described in the sections below.
Starting off, we evaluated and compared the drilling performance of each cordless drill, which is responsible for 35% of the LDX120C's and every other drill's total score. To do this we drilled holes in wood boards with a 1" paddle bit, used a 5" hole saw in a solid core door, and drilled through a steel sheet with both ¼" and ½" twist drills. Regrettably, the LDX120C didn't do all that well, earning a 4 out of 10.
The LDX120C actually did moderately well with the 5" hole saw in the solid door, drilling it to the full depth. However, it did take about 90 seconds to this — the top tools only took 17 or so — and it definitely protested and struggled the entire way. It started to smell quite horrific while drilling and the air coming out of the exhaust vents was incredibly hot — hot enough to burn you. The entire drill body was also exceptionally warm afterward.
The LDX120C struggled even more when it came to drilling through the steel sheets. It made it through the 16 gauge sheet with the ¼" drill bit in about 4 seconds, though it definitely struggled a bit. It struggled substantially with the ½" bit, but it eventually punched through the steel sheet after 12 seconds of drilling. However, it did protest and struggle quite a bit throughout.
Of our three drilling tests, the LDX120C had the hardest time with the 1" paddle bit.
We were drilling holes in a 2x12 and the BLACK+DECKER definitely was not happy in the slightest. It took a long time to drill the holes compared to the rest and was a bit of an overall struggle fest with this drill.
Our second set of evaluations are designed to test the driving performance of each drill when it came to installing fasteners, with this metric also accounting for 35% of the final score for each drill. We tested out the LDX120C with both wood screws and lag screws, awarding scores based on how quickly and easily it drove in these fasteners, as well as if it could set the heads properly. It again didn't do all that well compared to the burlier drills of the bunch, earning a 3 out of 10 for its performance.
This drill actually didn't do too bad with the normal wood screws — we used 3" long, #9 screws for this test to attach a pair of stacked 2x12s. It drives them into their full depth and sets the countersunk heads flush with the surface of the wood without struggling all that much. However, it definitely isn't the fastest at this, taking quite a bit more time than the top products.
Unfortunately, the ½" lag screw proved to be a bit too much for the LDX120C. We drilled a pilot hole through a 2x4 and into a 4x4 to drive the 5" long screw into it, but the LDX120C couldn't sink it to its full depth — no matter what we tried.
Moving beyond the drilling and driving performance of the BLACK+DECKER LDX120C, we next rated and scored the battery life of this drill, as well as the time it takes to recharge. Additionally, we also awarded some bonus points if there were extra batteries included. Altogether, these account for 20% of the BLACK+DECKER's final score. The LDX120C delivered another somewhat poor set of results, earning a 3 out of 10.
To test out the battery life of each drill, we started each one with a full battery, then alternated between drilling three 1" diameter holes with the spade bit and driving in 16 of the #9 screws until the tool died. The best drills made it through over 10 cycles of this, while the BLACK+DECKER didn't even make it through two. It made it through the first set but only drove in all the screws and drilled two holes in the second set before dying.
The LDX120C's 1.5 Ah battery also has one of the longest recharge times of the entire group, taking about 3.5 hours with the included charger. However, you can buy a fast charger separately if you really want to speed this up. This BLACK+DECKER drill also only includes a single battery, but again, you can purchase extra batteries separately.
For the last 10% of the total score for each tool, we looked at all the little things that make them more convenient and easier to operate. In particular, we looked at the maximum bit size that the chuck could accept, if there were different gears to maximize speed or torque, and how much each drill weighed, as well as if there is a belt clip, built-in light, battery indicator, and how easy it is to swap the batteries. The LDX120C did a bit better than the last metrics, but it still wasn't awesome, earning it a 4 out of 10.
This drill lacks a belt clip and only has a single operating speed. It also has one of the smaller maximum chuck sizes, only able to hold something up to ⅜" of an inch, instead of the standard ½".
The LDX120C also lacks a battery status meter, but it is fairly easy to install or remove the battery. The locking mechanism is a good balance between holding the battery securely and allowing it to be easily released. This drill also is fairly lightweight, weighing a little more than 2.5 lbs. It also does have an integrated work light, but it is a little on the dim side.
If you are only doing light-duty tasks, then the LDX120C is a phenomenal value.
If you want a bare-bones tool that can handle light to moderate DIY projects without spending a ton of cash, then the BLACK+DECKER LDX120C is an absolutely fantastic choice. However, it does have plenty of flaws and pales in comparison to the top products when it comes to drilling or driving performance. It's definitely on the underpowered side for DIY enthusiasts or professionals but is usually more than enough for the casual homeowner.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer