Craftsman’s Bolt-On system is a new modular power tool system where you swap tool heads for different functionality. Our experiences with the Bolt-On tools have been quite good, but there are of course some compromises in terms of features and performance. Since the base handle is to be used with all of the various tool heads, it should be comfortable, and it is. The QuickBoost charger is a welcome accessory and will fully charge 20V battery packs in 30 minutes.
While not as comfortable or versatile as the Craftsman Nextec cordless jig saw, the Bolt-On jig saw attachment works well for light duty cutting tasks. The oscillating tool had makes for a very awkward-looking tool, but it’s actually quite comfortable to use. The basic inflator allows for quick topping-off of bike tires, sports balls, and inflatable toys.
After having used and tested the various Bolt-On attachments, we are convinced that Craftsman has indeed put together a very versatile modular tool system. Most homeowners and DIYers should consider purchasing an additional battery and the impact driver attachment with the starter kit.
The tool heads all have their strengths and weaknesses, but overall none of them seem to be lacking in terms of ergonomics or performance. The starter set is priced at $120 ($80 on sale), and the tool heads $30-40 ($25 and $35 on sale).
Honestly your better off buying a drill off Ebay, as most drills these days are made in China and other places as well. I can’t tell you about the batteries, but the heads are said to be interchangeable between brands.
Between Matrix and Bolt-On, the Craftsman system has a couple of exclusive attachments worth considering, with the hammer drill at the top of the list. You do realize that Black & Decker manufacturers the Bolt-On system for Craftsman, right? One attractive benefit of the bolt-on system is that Sears sells both cordless and corded bases.
Now that the Bolt-on system has been out for a year, it would be great to see an updated review of these tools.
My doubt is that in the specification the motor is 12volt nominal…someone know how it Works with the battery of 20v max ???? BUEN DIA ALEJANDRO A MI TAMBIEN ME PASO LO MISMO CON EL MOTOR DE MI TALADRO SI PUDISTE ARREGLAR TU TALADRO. If a little wiggling isn’t enough to separate the two parts, maybe something inside has bent or broken off, preventing the release button from fully depressing. Craftsman has just announced a new series of Bolt-On modular power tools that aims to save DIYers time, storage space, and money. Although it seems gimmicky at first, QuickBoost chargers do come in handy when we need *just a little more juice* for a project. The starter kit (16496) comes with the QuickBoost charger and single 20V Li-ion battery pack.
The 2-speed hammer drill attachment is one of several that are exclusive to Craftsman’s Bolt-On line. While not the most comfortable-looking jigsaw we’ve seen, the attachment looks compact for use in tight areas.
Normally we like to use super-compact impact drivers, but DIYers will appreciate how the Bolt-On attachment is a fraction of the price of a standalone driver. Triangular sanders are excellent for light sanding or detail work, and we expect this oscillating one to be no different. The oscillating tool attachment features a tool-free blade change and includes enough accessories to get you started: 1 plunge cutting blade, 1 sanding base, 1x 60-grit sanding sheet, and 1x 240-grit sanding sheet.


Craftsman’s Bolt-On modular system is not designed for advanced DIYers who already have a full selection of power tools.
Some of the tools look less than ergonomic, but there seems to be very good value built into the Bolt-On platform. You can preorder the starter kit now, via Craftsman, or wait until mid-October 2012 for the products to become available in stores.
So Stanley and SHC are BFFs again, how long until they underbid Apex for hardline production?
I like the lithium ion, was scared that they may have crippled it out the door with ni-cad. While battery technology does improve in big jumps rather than gradually, you have to be careful which big jumps you take to the consumer and how often.
I just don’t like having a bunch of tools, and then when one wears out, and I need a replacement, If I want to get the latest improvements (like brushless motors) I have to get a new battery system, with new chargers, etc, all the while the battery is actually running the same voltage. Maybe if they could make some sort of adapter, so a person could use the new battery, on an old tool? Actually, for the past three years Sears has stuck with only two different battery types for the most part.
Comparing Craftsman 19.2V to Dewalt is a bit unfair as well given the differences in tool performance and price. Isn’t this Craftsman Bolton the same as the Black and Decker Matrix featured at the bottom of the article? Nobody will tell me whether the Bolt-On and Matrix tools and base handles are compatible with each other, so I’ll have to find out on my own in a couple of weeks. There is no excuse for Milwaukee having two 18V LiON lineups, I think this was done merely to facilitate their transition from US manufacture to China.
For someone who’s trying to become a DIYer and begin building a toolkit, which would you recommend, the Craftsman Bolt On or the Black&Decker Matrix Modular system? If I had to start over again, I would still purchase each tool I needed separately rather than going with a modular set like this. Whether you're reaching in between rafters, balancing on the edge of a deck or standing behind a work bench, this powerful saw packs a combination of high rpms and versatility that's tough to beat. This allows DIYers to have the versatility of many tool types without having to budget for separate full-size tools.
Many of the cons are not intended to be complaints, but point out some of the features that you don’t get that you would with full-size corded or cordless tools. The balance is good, the handle is ergonomically shaped, and the grip texture is soft and comfortable.
The QuickBoost charger allows for partial charges with no risk to the battery’s longevity. Our preferred method is to grip the rear of the tool so that the top-mounted release button can be toggled with a quick thumb press.
One of the few complaints we heard about the Bolt-On system is that the tool can turn on just before removal or after it snaps in. We always recommend taking the battery out of a cordless tool when changing bits, blades, or accessories. Of course they don’t perform as well as full-sized tools, nor do they offer as many adjustments and features, but their capabilities are reasonable given their affordability.
Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.
The QuickBoost charger is also a very good reason to buy the Craftsman Bolt-On starter set instead of the B&D Matrix. I actually bought the drill and was disppointed afterwards to see how cheap it was at Home Depot. Go ahead and buy Black & Decker and find yourself wishing you would have spent a little more. I have used different attachments before and had no problems switching from one to another.


You could try contacting Craftsman customer service, and if that doesn’t work, send them a note through public social media services such as Twitter. The Bolt-On system consists of a 20V Max lithium ion battery pack and 9 interchangeable tool heads. Sure we could also yank partially charged batteries from their chargers, but doing so isn’t exactly good for the battery packs. It features a 14-inch hose, 120PSI peak max pressure, and comes with one needle nozzle and a beach ball nozzle. It spins at 0-7500 oscillations per minute and comes with 2x 60-grit, 2x 120-grit, 2x 240-grit sheets.
The various attachments can handle most light to medium duty tasks budget-conscious DIYers may come across. We’re actually quite eager and excited to see what the new modular platform is capable of, and anticipate that many DIYers will share this enthusiasm. Manufacturing a battery platform is a calculated decision and if you tried to throw in every minor improvement or efficiency gain once it’s available you would see them changing tech a lot more often.
20V Max distinction in the USA is to avoid confusion since the new slide-packs are not compatible with the previous 18V battery packs. There are possibly other forward-looking engineering benefits but Dewalt product managers wouldn’t readily discuss such matters, at least not publicly.
I’m not sure about the 20 volt Li-Ion, but it more customers buy it, then it will stick around. They just launched a new addon ( the angle grinder) and have shown no signs of stock drawdown (besides the Lithium Ion batteries, which will probably be replaced with higher capacity versions in the near future, from what I can tell).
Still, there are a number of Craftsman exclusives that make the Bolt-On system slightly more appealing.
I’m the type of person that will develop very specific requirements, and with the amount I use tools now, the power and ergonomics of a modular set would probably fall short.
If you purchase a set and use it for a project but find out the tools are insufficient for your needs, you can always return it. Our only complaint is that rotating and adjusting the clutch across a wide range of settings leads can lead to a bruised thumb if you grasp the chuck too far back and hit the ledge in front of the trigger. The impact driver holds its own against many full-size tools and we wouldn’t be surprised if Craftsman decided to offer a new starter set that comes with it. Will the accessories of the Black & Deckers work in mine, because I’d rather not spend the money for the same thing?
So while I’m waiting for the batteries on the cordless system to recharged, I could in theory just use the corded base instead. Back in March 2012 Danaher and Cooper Tools announced that they were looking for a buyer for their Apex Tool Group joint venture. Short-term it will be inconvenient for those with large 18V tool sets, but long-term many such users will likely upgrade to 20V. This is probably a one or two year gimmick, just like the 16v lithium ion, just like the v4, etc., etc. Or better yet… I think the test version was at Manards last spring for much much less. The Matrix is not without their own exclusives as well, such as the 12V and corded power base handles. It might be possible that the handles and attachments are compatible with each other, but nobody from Black & Decker or Craftsman will confirm this. I understand this is a drill, but for a tool that also plays roles as an impact I expect much more.



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