First Impressions of the CXS Compact Drill

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | Reader Comments | Cordless Drills | New Products | Reviews | Paint

We sent Brice Burrell, a carpenter living in the Pittsburgh area, one of our CXS compact cordless drills to test out. The CXS is being introduced on June 1st and offers the benefits of the FastFix interchangeable chuck system found on all Festool drills. The CXS is just under two pounds and offers exceptional battery life and ultra-fast charge times. If you're considering a compact cordless drill, check out the Festool CXS! Here's what Brice had to say about his use of the CXS over the past few weeks...

After a few weeks of use here are some of my thoughts on the new CXS drill.  The first thing I noticed is that it’s smaller than it looks from the pictures I’d seen.  With the same form as the Festool C12 the CXS isn’t going to fit in a pocket.  That’s fine with me since the D shaped handle has storage space for additional driver bits and allows the LED to be placed lower than other drills, making the light more useable.  Of course, what really sets the CXS apart from other compact drills are its interchangeable chucks.  The CXS comes with a keyless chuck, the Centrotec chuck and the set comes with the right angle chuck.  For the smallest possible configuration you can insert a bit directly into the driveshaft.  That allows the CXS to get into some very tight spaces. 
In use the CXS performed wonderfully on tasks like driving pocket screws, attaching cabinet hardware and other lighter duty jobs.  A battery could last for days between charges with this kind of assembly work.  I will admit to being pleasantly surprised at how well it worked driving larger screws (without predrilling).  On a partially charged battery I was able to drive an entire 1 lbs. box of 3” Spax screws (70 screws) on a small framing job.  I didn’t have any trouble driving those same 3” screws into red oak.
It might seem odd to some people but my favorite feature is the belt clip.  In the past I would have to be careful managing my other drills when working on a ladder.  The CXS has the longest belt clip I’ve seen on any drill.  This keeps the drill securely attached to my belt and that give me a piece of mind that I’m not going to lose my drill when I’m working at the top of 40 foot extension ladder.  Even when I’m not on a ladder the clip keeps the drill right at hand on my belt instead of my having to constantly set the drill down and bending over to pick it up.  Also, the CXS is small and light enough not to be an inconvenience carrying on my hip.
The CXS together with my collection of Centrotec bits has some far proven to be useful for a surprising amount of my day to day drilling/driving needs.  I find myself reaching for the CXS more and more since it is so small and light.  It’s an added bonus not to have to give up the versatility of the Centrotec system and right angle chuck on a drill this size.  The CXS is perfect for jobs like assembly or small punch list tasks but it’s nice to know it can handle a whole lot more."

Thank you to Brice for his assessment of the CXS. Visit our website for more information about the CXS compact cordless drill and the entire family of Festool cordless drills.

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