Festool CDD12fx Drill Review


The Festool CDD12fx drill has a somewhat unique configuration among cordless drills. The overall form is known as D shape, most drills (and another Festool one as well) are of the T shape. In this D shape drill, the motor is actually in the grip and the L shaped battery pack is on the front instead of attached at the bottom. The Drill comes in a Systainer, included is a fast charger, two batteries, a bit holder that clips onto the drill, and (at the time of this writing), one of the accessory chucks. The drill is very powerful, I've never had a need for any of the 24v monster drills in my shop, in fact all my previous cordless drills were only 9.6v (Festool offers this drill as 9.6v also). I've not encountered any reasonable task in my shop this drill would not handle; for woodworking I don't think you need much more battery than this; besides, smaller drills weigh less and are easier to maneuver.
Festool Drill Kit
Like the other Festool products I've used, the CDD12fx exhibits the same level of quality as its partners. The unit is well balanced, well made, has loads of power, and is well designed ergonomically. I've found that it has a little different "feel" than other cordless drills. I think this in part due to its compact nature and probably because my paw is gripping the drive section. In any case I like how it feels, I've not noticed there being any extra heat in the handle due to the motor.

This D type drill is very compact for its voltage class. With the standard chuck installed, it is less than 8" from tip to tail. When using hex drivers the chuck can be removed and then it is less than 6"; very compact for a drill. There is a direct benefit to the compact size. It's not unusual for a cabinet maker to build tight quarters for drills to work in. The standard setup of the drill will allow a few more of these spaces to be worked in.

The drill is equipped with a 1/2" capacity chuck, most drills this size are only 3/8". While 3/8" is all one will usually need there are rare occasions before where I've wished I had the extra capacity. Like most cordless drills the unit is equipped with a clutch to set the torque; this unit has 18 settings so you can tune it to what is needed pretty well. Also like other drills, the tool has a high and low speed setting, from 0 - 380 rpm on the low end and 0 - 1100 rpm on the high.

The drill accepts a couple of other noteworthy accessories in the form of replaceable chucks. All the chucks are exceptionally easy to remove and install, a tug on their ring and it pops right off. The eccentric (off center) chuck is for drilling into corners or close to other obstructions. With this fitted you can use the drill as close as 3/8" away from an obstruction, most drills cannot get any closer than about 1 1/4". The eccentric chuck accepts only hex shaft tooling like drivers or the drills mounted in hex holders.
Right Angle Chuck Eccentric Chuck
The other chuck is for drilling at right angles. This chuck also accepts hex tooling but the normal keyless chuck will also fit onto this one. The right angle drill gets pretty close to an obstruction too.  Using hex tooling you can get as close as 11/16" away from an obstruction.

Both the accessory chucks have a detent device built into them that allow them to be securely fastened to the drill in several different degree positions relative to the body of the drill. Both chucks are very well made and impart a great deal of usefulness to the tool. At the time of this writing, one (of your choosing) of the accessory chucks is included with the drill package. I have been using a corded Sioux right angle drill for close quarters work, Lets just say that the Festool drill with the right angle chuck is a FAR superior tool and leave it at that.

The charger itself is noteworthy among its competitors. The Festool design is what is known as a "fast" charger, it will charge a battery in 15 minutes or less; about the time it takes to take a coffee break. This charger also accepts the batteries from the two other cordless drills offered by Festool. There is yet more to the fast charger story. Once upon a time a few other makers offered fast charger technology for their "pro grade" gear. Aside from the time savings on a charge itself, fast chargers are better for batteries as well. Inside the charger is a controller that pumps as much juice into the battery as it can take then it reverts to a common trickle charge after it detects that it is fully charged. This method prolongs the service life of the battery. I've not been able to find any fast chargers among the offerings from other popular cordless tool makers, they seem to have abandoned them due to cost competition.

I can't complete this article without mentioning cost, the CDD12fx is expensive for a cordless drill. At a glance the CDD12fx doesn't seem to do anything a cheaper drill would not. However, there is a real difference and it ultimately boils down to quality. The drill itself is a very well made and powerful tool that lends itself to being used in confined spaces. The performance of its supporting equipment (charger, chucks) is top notch and add a great deal of value to the basic tool. Consider also what a quality 12v drill and a separate right angle drill would cost, add to that the fact that you would also have to keep track of and tote around two separate tools instead of one tool in one systainer.  Ultimately, I think you get what you pay for here, if you are in search of a top-notch drill, this is it.


In the interest of full disclosure Festool provided this product to facilitate this review.