Kobalt KID 324B-03 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The results of our extensive testing are clear — Kobalt designed a terrific cordless impact driver when they made the KID 324B-03. Where it truly stands out is its fantastic battery life. It is able to drive more fasteners on a single charge than any other driver that we've tested.
One of our favorite things about the Kobalt KID 324B-03 is that it's lightning-fast at driving fasteners. To test speed we performed several trials driving 3-⅝" ledger screws into a stack of plywood that allowed for ample space to completely drive each screw and determine an average time. The Kobalt zipped through this assessment with an average time of 4 seconds.
The Kobalt smoked most of the competition in this race as well — it was able to completely sink the bolt in 13 seconds, and only took 5 seconds to remove it. To put these numbers in perspective, the average time for the whole group was 30 seconds to drive the lag bolt and 12 seconds to remove it.
One of the best reasons to own an impact driver is the amount of torque that they deliver. For this assessment, the KID 324B-03 did not disappoint.
To test torque we used an I-beam that we modified and welded ¾" bolts onto, then we measured how tight each model could get a nut, and then the maximum torque that each driver could loosen.
The Kobalt maxed out our 300 ft-pound torque wrench during both tests, earning it a perfect score for this metric.
Convenience is a metric that combines measuring specs that we can attach a numeric value to such as size and weight but also encompasses more subjective assessments of any added features or elements that make the tool easier to use. Convenience isn't the strongest metric for the KID 324B-03, it finished right about in the middle of the pack.
There are a few features on the Kobalt that add a level of convenience — one is the option to set it to three different RPM modes. The different modes permit better control of the impact driving action and are useful as the head of a fastener approaches the level of whatever you happen to be working on. In finish mode, each succession of the variable-speed trigger will result in a very short impacting burst. However, we found that the button is very difficult to press.
Like most modern cordless impact drivers the KID 324B-03 has a light — on this model, it's located above the trigger. The light is bright and it stays on for 10 seconds. This may seem like ample time, but we found that it's nicer when they stay illuminated for a bit longer. Also on this model, the light won't turn on until the driver is activated whereas some other models the trigger only needs to be slightly depressed to turn the light on.
The KID 324-03 isn't terribly bulky-- with an overall length of 143 mm, it is just below the average size for the drivers in our review. At 2.6 pounds without the battery, it is a bit on the heavier side. If size and weight are a real deciding factor for you, we suggest you go with a more compact and lighter 12-volt model.
The Kobalt also lacks a bit quick insert that allows the user to attach the bit easily and using only one hand. It does have a slot that holds two bits, a Phillips is included with the driver. We find that belt clips really help with workflow — this model comes with one included.
To test batteries, we alternated between driving 14 ledger screws and then 1 ½" x 3" lag bolt in and out, then repeated the process until the batteries were completely drained. The Kobalt displayed an impressive showing during our tests and easily outperformed the other models.
It was able to complete 5 sets of alternating between the smaller ledger screws and the large lag bolt, and even drove another 7 ledger screws on its' 6th set before the battery was completely drained.
To measure noise we used a sound pressure meter to take 4 readings while driving ledger screws into wood, then calculated an average from the measurements. Nearly all of the impact drivers in our review are what we would consider being loud, so we hardly gave out decent scores to any of them.
The Kobalt produced an average volume of 99 decibels, which is very close to the average for the whole group which was 98 dBa. However, because a few models were substantially quieter we had no choice but to give this model very few points for this metric. This tool definitely warrants researching the type of ear protection that Kobalt recommends.
The Kobalt KID 324-03 is a high-performance impact driver, but it isn't much of a bargain compared to the cheapest models. That said, it is far from the most expensive and is a good value when considering the impressive test results that it achieved during our review.
The KID 324-03 is a powerful, fast, and the battery life is spectacular. After putting it through the testing wringer it was apparent that it was deserving of an Editor's Choice award. However, it is very loud and we wish that Kobalt would have thought to include a quick connect for bits.
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