When you’re trying to set screws to a specific depth using a cordless drill/driver, more often than not, the adjustable clutch settings aren’t going to do the job that you want. In fact, with wood being harder in some spots than others, I end up pulling the trigger in little short bursts to set the screw to the correct depth, and completely ignore the clutch settings in the process. With the Black & Decker 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver, there’s no need for setting clutches or working the trigger to set the screw – you’ve got Autosense technology. It’s sort of like having a drill/driver with ESP.
The Drill/Driver that Knew my Name
I’ve seen a few weird tools in my day, but the day I opened the package that contained the 20VMAX Lithium 3/8-inch Drill/Driver sent to us via our friends over at Black & Decker, I wasn’t sure what to think. It looks a lot like other 3/8-inch drill/drivers I’d seen in the past except without the gaggle of clutch settings on the chuck. There was no countdown sequence spiraling around the chuck on this clairvoyant tool, just a big omnipresent glowing blue light on top.
Did I just use the word clairvoyant to describe a power tool? After charging the provided 20V Max Lithium battery pack, I drove a few screws, and, to my amazement, the driver stopped just as the screw head was flush. That’s right; this power tool knew when to stop driving the screw. Does that mean it knows what I’m thinking too? Oh god; it might even already know my name!
Before I threw this enchanted tool down and waited under my bed for the impending doom of the coming Steven King-esque Maximum Overdrive power tool overlords, I thought first I’d better read up on how Autosense technology works.
The Layman’s Guide to Autosense Technology
From what I could gather out of the instruction manual, magical shaman from an ancient underwater city somehow constructed a powerful device with help from an advanced alien technology. The device radiates a super intelligence simply dubbed “Autosense Technology” that can detect when the head of the screw is flush with the wood. By using extra-sensory perception and making micro-adjustments, the Black & Decker 20V MAX Drill/Driver auto-magically sets the screw to the desired depth. While my interpretation of the instructions may have been a bit paraphrased, I have to admit, it’s almost like magic how the driver knows when to stop the screw.
While I really do like the way it senses if the screw is deep enough and then begins to make short bursts of rotation to slowly set the screw, I found that it doesn’t work perfectly with all woods. I also noticed that the harder the wood or the bigger the screw, the more micro adjustments the driver has to make. That means you have to hold the trigger down longer, taking time and battery power in the process.
For soft woods (and for drywall especially), this tool works excellent. However, when I tried to screw in a few larger screws into some OSB plywood, the Autosense Technology was beginning to have a tough time and stopped prematurely before the screw was set. I had to release the trigger and start again a few times, and I was beginning to think it wasn’t such a magical device after all. The nice thing is, if you run into materials that Autosense isn’t working it’s magic on, you can always just disable it and run it like a regular drill/driver the old fashioned way.
For a magical price tag at around $80, and an already glowing batch of reviews on Amazon, it’s a hard deal to pass up. Just be careful not to let it memorize your ATM PIN or other passwords, the darn thing got me for $50 worth of pay-per-view movies.