In an effort to gauge U.S. interest, Festool brought their Quadrive PDC 18/4 percussion drill to this year’s JLC LIVE show in Providence, RI. Along with a yet-to-be-released (anywhere) cordless track saw it was easily one of the most interesting new tools at the show.

It differs from competing models in a number of ways. The chuck is easily removable and can be replaced with a right-angle, offset, or Centrotec bit holder. Festool drill/drivers have had this feature for years and recently Metabo and Fein have begun to do something similar—but they don’t offer the same selection of chucks.

I saw the percussion drill demonstrated at JLC LIVE and was impressed by several things about it. It’s only the second drill/driver I have ever seen with a 4-stage mechanical clutch. Fein makes the other; its tool was introduced to the U.S. earlier this year. Festool’s drill is very compact. It’s not until I saw what it could do in low gear that I realized how powerful it is. As you will see in the video below (about the 2:20 mark) it is capable of powering large bits in softwood. With a top speed of 3,800 rpm this tool spins and hammers about twice as fast competing cordless hammer/drill drivers. Seeing it used to drill CMU—which admittedly, is not that hard—it was evident that the tool can drill very fast.

As it was explained to me by Brent Shively, a Product & Application Specialist for Festool, the Quadrive PDC 18/4 is currently available in Europe and has proved to be popular there. With its compact size, power, percussion feature, and interchangeable chucks this tool makes it possible for a contractor or tradesman to perform almost any operation with a single cordless drill.

s unclear if or when this tool will be available in the U.S. The folks from Festool wouldn't say; though it seems unlikely they would develop a cordless product and not eventually offer it here.

Quadrive PDC 18/4 Specs (from Festool’s UK website—may not apply to tools sold elsewhere)

  • Motor: brushless
  • Battery: 18-volt; 4.2 Ah
  • Modes: drill; percussion drill; driving with multiple clutch settings.
  • Gearbox: 4 speeds
  • Speeds (rpm): 0-400; 0-850; 0-1,850; 0-3,800
  • Maximum blows per minute (BPM): 76,000
  • Features include: battery gauge; manual LED light; and belt clips that flip out from either side of the base.