Craftsman NEXTEC 12V Lithium-Ion 4 Piece DIY Combo Kit Review

By Todd Fratzel on Power Tools, Product Reviews

Craftsman 12 Volt Lithium-Ion 4 Piece DIY Combo Kit

The folks at Craftsman recently sent us their 12V Lithium-Ion 4 Piece Combo Kit to test. We’ve previously tested the Auto-Hammer and Multi-Tool which are all part of the Craftsman NEXTEC 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless System. The entire line of NEXTEC tools is designed around their 12-volt lithium-ion battery system for Do-It-Yourselfers.

The 4 Piece Combo Kit Includes:

  • True FinishTM Sander
  • Circular Saw
  • Drill/Driver
  • LED Work Light
  • 2 Batteries
  • Storage Case

NEXTEC 12 Volt Lithium-Ion Battery System

All of the tools in this kit run off the new NEXTEC 12 Volt Die-Hard Lithium-Ion battery system. In fact, the same batteries also run any of the Craftsman NEXTEC tools. This kit includes two batteries and the charger which fully charges the batteries in 30 minutes.

LED Work Light

The LED Work Light is a nice bonus to this set. Most cordless tool sets now feature some type of work light. The NEXTEC LED Work Light features:

  • 24 bright LED lights
  • 35 degree Head Pivot
  • 5 hour run time on a single charge

The LED Work Light is a very nice feature in this kit. I recently used it when we had a power failure while I was setting up a portable generator on a stormy night. The light creates a very nice wide lighting path. The light sits nicely and the adjustable head makes aiming the light easy. This work light will surely get used a lot in my shop.

Drill Driver

The Drill Driver includes the following features:

  • 2-Speed Gearbox (0-1300 Hi and 0-400 lo) – provides high speed for fast drilling or high torque for powerful driving.
  • 3/8 inch Single Speed Keyless Chuck – accepts conventional 3/8 inch round and 1/4 inch hex bits
  • 195 in/lbs Torque
  • 18 position adjustable torque clutch – allows precise torque adjustment
  • Integrated LED work light

The 12 volt drill/driver that comes with this kit is a good quality drill that will tackle most jobs around the house. The two speed gear box is essential for a 12 volt tool like this, allowing you to easily switch from drilling holes to installing screws. The only thing that we’d like to see improved on this type of drill is better balance and configuration which allows you to set the drill up-right.

True FinishTM Sander

The True FinishTM Sander features:

  • Delivers a consistent sanding finish over the work surface by evenly distributing tool weight over the entire pad and work surface.
  • Built-in dust port.
  • Fuel Gauge – integrated battery fuel gauge indicates the charge status (green = full charge, Yellow = half charge, Red = empty)
  • Positive On/Off Switch – recessed dual button, sealed on/off switch with positive lock
  • Integrated LED work light

The True FinishTM Sander is a very capable palm sander. This is a great little sander for doing small projects and even trim applications. One of the things that I liked best was the sharp pointed nose which allows you to get into some really tight spaces. The only complaint on this tool is it only comes with one sanding pad. So if you buy this kit you’ll need to buy some packages of sand paper to go along with it.

Circular Saw

Last but certainly not least is the circular saw. The circular saw features:

  • 2400 Revolutions per minute.
  • Fuel Gauge – integrated battery fuel gauge indicates the charge status (green = full charge, Yellow = half charge, Red = empty)
  • Electric Brake – quickly stops blade when trigger is released.
  • Quick Release Depth Control – allows for easy blade adjustments.
  • Blade Guards with dust evacuation, lower blade guard features anti snag tooth to help reduce hang ups. Upper guard allows for quick connection of a 1-1/4 inch vacuum hose.
  • 0-45 degree Bevel Capacity with a cutting depth of 15/16 inch at 90 degrees and 3/4 inch at 45 degrees.
  • Integrated LED work light.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was VERY skeptical about a 12 volt circular saw. I get the drill and even the sander but a circular saw? seriously? Well I’m also the first to admit when I was wrong and I’m here to tell you I was very impressed with this little cutting tool!

Check out the quick video I made of me cutting some 5/8 inch thick OSB sheathing with this circular saw and you’ll see what I mean.

Now I’m not suggesting that one of these circular saws replace all circular saws but it certainly is capable of cutting wood for home improvement and DIY projects. If you’re one of those home owners that occasionally need to cut a shelf or small pieces of trim work or even hobby wood then this little saw is very capable.

When testing the circular saw I was able to cut a 15 inch wide piece of 5/8 inch thick OSB more than 15 times on one charge. That’s over 225 inches or almost 20 feet on a single 12 volt battery charge. In simple terms that means you could actually rip down two sheets of plywood (the long 8 foot dimension) on a single charge. That may not sound like a lot but when you consider that it’s being done on only 12 volts I’m very impressed.

The only complaint we had with this tool is the fact that it only came with one blade. So just like the sander you’re going to need to pick up some extra blades when you buy this combo kit so that you’re prepared. This tool definitely was the biggest surprise in the kit.

Final Thoughts

I was a bit skeptical about a 12 volt cordless combo kit like this at first. However, after testing the tools over the last several weeks I’ve certainly changed my mind. This is a great kit for the DIY’er looking to get a versatile cordless combo kit at a great price. This kit is priced at just $169.99 which is a great value when you consider what individual tools of this type typically cost. The added bonus here is you can use the batteries with any of the Craftsman NEXTEC tools.

The Craftsman NEXTEC 12V Lithium-Ion 4 Piece DIY Combo Kit can be purchased at Sears Stores and online here.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Deborah says:

    Pretty good price for all that’s include in this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lane says:

    Know where to get sandpaper for the Mouse sander included in this set? Sears doesn’t seem to sell it, and you can’t just buy any mouse sander paper because the holes for the dust collection don’t line up.

  3. Frank A Szot says:

    Where can I buy the vac attachment that you see sticking out of the back of the Tru Finish sander?


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