Builders’ Show: Craftsman's 3-minute battery charge

Consumer Reports News: January 14, 2011 02:13 PM

The Craftsman line of 12-volt, lithium-ion NexTec cordless tools is giving a boost to the casual do-it-yourselfer with a three-minute charge that replenishes a dead battery to 25-percent capacity—long enough to drive some last screws or cut some more lumber.
The QuickBoost Charger, which should hit Sears stores this May and cost $30, takes 30 minutes to charge a battery to full capacity. But for a homeowner who’s frequently distracted by the phone, a crying baby, or other obligations, getting extra time to complete the task at hand can be more than welcome.
For the right-angle impact driver, one tool in the NexTec line, the company said in a demo at the International Builders' Show that the 25-percent charge would allow enough time to drive another 70 1.25-in. screws. Other tools in the line include an auto hammer, multi-tool, circular saw, sander, drill/driver, and LED light.
While in use, the charger’s diagnostics monitor the charging progress, indicating battery statuses such as "charged," "charging," and "over temperature" using red, yellow, and green LED lights.
Fast battery charges, we’ve found, typically shorten overall product life. The company, however, insists that its testing has shown no differences in product life whether they performed only QuickBoosts (never a full charge), no QuickBoosts (only full charges), or any combination of full or QuickBoost charges.
So far, the company says it has no plans to develop a QuickBoost charge for its 19.2-volt line of more robust cordless tools, since users of those tools (including contractors) are more likely to own multiple batteries and chargers.
—Ed Perratore


From the labs: See our tests of cordless drills and tool kits.

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