The BLACK+DECKER BDC120C is not the most spectacular impact driver that we've ever seen. It's a bit noisy and it doesn't deliver much torque. It has a battery that dies fairly quickly, it's a bit slower than most, and it doesn't include many bells and whistles. However, all of the scores in our review are based on a comparison with the very best of the best cordless impact drivers — this is still a very powerful and useful tool. It will easily handle most jobs you can throw at it, and at a fraction of the cost of most tools in this category. For the performance it offers compared to its price, we can't imagine a better deal. For this reason, we've given the Best Buy award to the BDC120C.
BLACK+DECKER BDC120C Review
Pros: Affordable, magnetic bit holder
Cons: Unimpressive torque, noisey, slow
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're looking for a cordless impact driver that won't hit your bank account too hard but still offers a good deal of performance we think you should consider the BLACK+DECKER BDC120C. One feature that sets it apart is the magnetic bit holder that is located on top of the tool body.
To score each impact driver for speed we divided the metric into two tests — one using ledger screws and one using a large lag bolt. For the ledger screw portion, we drove 5 3-⅝" screws into a stack of plywood, timed each trial, and then calculated an average. The BLACK+DECKER did fairly well for this assessment. The average for the whole bunch of impact drivers was 7 seconds, this model's individual average was 6 seconds.
The second half of the speed test was comprised of drilling an 11/32" pilot hole into a stack of 2x12 boards, then timing how long it took to get the lag bolt fully driven, then how long it took to remove it.
The BDC120C didn't perform quite as well during this experiment. It took 45 seconds to sink the fastener and 13 seconds to remove it. Slowly or not, it did eventually get the job done.
In order to test torque, we welded some ½" grade 8 steel bolts to an I-beam to measure how much twisting power each impact driver can produce. First, we used each impact driver to tighten three nuts onto three bolts at their highest setting for 5 seconds.
We then used a torque wrench to measure the tightness of each nut. The BLACK+DECKER was able to tighten the nuts to an average of 115 ft-lbs of pressure.
We then used the torque wrench to tighten the nuts to a measured amount of tightness to see how strong each driver was when it comes to loosening ceased fasteners. The BDC120C was able to break nuts free that were tightened to 175 ft-lbs of pressure but failed to break the nuts tightened to 200 ft-lbs.
In order to score convenience, we began by weighing and measuring the dimensions of each driver. Next, we moved to more subjective scoring based on what types of extra features and any innovative elements of the design of every model.
The BLACK+DECKER has a measured length of 168 mm — it's one of the bulkiest drivers in our review. Weighing two pounds without the battery, it's not especially heavy. One way in which the BDC120C fell short was the lack of a belt clip. We've found that belt clips are very useful, so it's a bit disappointing that the designers of this tool chose to leave this feature out.
The light on the BLACK+DECKER is a tiny bit on the dim side, but it does the trick when it comes time to light up a fastener. One thing we loved about this model is that you can turn the light on by slightly depressing the trigger but without activating the actual driver. This is useful in instances where you need to see what you're doing before tightening or loosening a fastener.
One feature that sets this model apart from the others is the magnetic bit holder on top of the tool — it's very useful to be able to have an extra or alternative bit ready to go at all times.
To test batteries we used each driver to sink 14 ledger screws, then drive and remove one ½" x 3" lag bolt. We repeated this process again and again until the driver batteries died.
Unfortunately, the BLACK+DECKER was only able to complete one entire set of our trials, on the second trial it completed the 14 ledger screws and it was able to drive the lag bolt but died before removing it. If battery life is a large concern of yours it would be wise to go with a model that lasts longer.
Using a sound meter we took 4 individual readings while driving ledger screws in order to calculate an average. Impact drivers are loud in general, and the BLACK+DECKER BDC120C is no exception. This model produces 97 decibels while in operation, which is below the average of 98 that we measured across the whole group. However, because we've tested impact drivers that are much quieter, we had no choice but to give this tool a poor score for the metric. We recommend that you check with the manufacturer about ear protection.
The BLACK+DECKER BDC120C is a great value. While it isn't the most spectacular impact driver, it still easily handles most jobs — especially lighter duty projects. Considering the price, we would recommend this tool to anyone who would like to own an impact driver but doesn't want to break the bank to purchase one.
The BLACK+DECKER BDC120C wasn't the most impressive impact driver during our testing process, but considering the price, we think that it's a great choice for those people that don't require professional-grade performance and would like to save a couple of bucks.
— Ross Patton and Austin Palmer