KT200A 18v Drill-Driver
Kobalt's 18v drill-driver includes a belt hook and bit holder as standard gear and has an all-metal chuck
Major retailers offering house-brand power tools is nothing new, but Lowe’s decision to release cordless power tools under its Kobalt brand—which is focused mostly on hand tools and accessories—was a surprise. Kobalt is offering several power tools, but I decided to take a closer look at the 18v compact Li-ion drill-driver.
It’s not clear whether the new Chinese-manufactured Kobalt KT200A drill is being made in the factory of another major North American power-tool company, but in terms of looks and specs, it’s not a direct clone. What’s more, a review of the specs and some shop testing indicate that the Kobalt is a serious entry to the marketplace.
Features: Compared to major-label competitors, the Kobalt boasts some pro-level features. For instance, unlike the Milwaukee 2601, the Kobalt includes a belt hook and a bit holder as standard gear. Also, unlike the plastic chuck on a comparable Bosch model, the Kobalt has an all-metal chuck. It has more torque than the Porter-Cable or Ryobi models, and it beat the Makita for holes drilled on a single charge in my shop test. Also, rather than interpreting a blinking light on the battery charger to determine charging status, the Kobalt setup has a digital readout that displays time until fully charged, and a graphic that shows how “full” the battery is, similar to a cell phone or a laptop. To round out these features, the battery itself has a charge indicator.
Flaws: I found the hand grip to be slightly bulky, probably due to its bulged shape. Also, unlike the models with separate modes for drilling and driving, any clutch settings that you have dialed in for a certain task on this tool are lost when you spin the clutch collar to the drilling position.
Bottom line: At $150, this drill won’t be bought as a trade-off between price and life span—the rationale many pros use when choosing a bargain-priced consumer-grade tool. So the question will be about this tool’s long-term performance. If Kobalt can deliver longevity, I believe the drill will be a worthy contender.
Visit our Tool Hound Blog to see this drill in action.