Milwaukee M18 FUEL Grinder – 2780 / M18 CAG125XPD

Not long ago, cordless grinders were a convenience tool, for small tasks that would be over before you could get out the corded grinder. They were pretty easy to stall, especially with a flap disc or grinding wheel.

Enter the FUEL, the first ever brushless 18V Grinder. We lent on this grinder and it just did not want to stop! This unit felt closer in power to a corded model than to its M18 predecessor. The standard M18 is certainly respected so far as brushed units go, but it just isn’t in the same league (or country) as its FUEL counterpart.

Specs:

  • 8,500 RPM
  • 5” / 125mm disc diameter
  • 2.4kgs with battery
  • M14 Spindle

So much for power. What of comfort? It has a nice slimmed handle and has kept the great tool-free guard from the original. The rubber moulding is also very nice in the hand. I also want to give it a vote for sexiest cordless tool.

What we don’t like is the ‘deadman’ paddle. It’s cumbersome to hold for long periods, is downright annoying when holding on it’s side (for cutting) and has changed the safety lock direction from the original. It’s now harder to start accidentally, but also less intuitive to start.

No, we do not like the paddle trigger. But the rest of this tool is so damn awesome that we’d happily put up with the trigger. If only Milwaukee brought the switch version into Australia like the US have.

Another great FUEL from Milwaukee.

Milwaukee M12 FUEL Rotary Hammer Drill – M12 CH

What’s 1.9kgs, brushless, and eats concrete for breakfast? If you said an M18 Milwaukee rotary hammer drill, you’d be close. But at this size and weight, it could only be the FUEL M12 CH – Rotary Hammer.

It looks small enough to give to your kids for christmas (which would be an awesome gift by the way, just don’t provide any bits). While this may be the most portable rotary hammer drill known to mankind, it still packs a mighty punch.

Official specs:

  • 6mm holes in concrete; stealing candy from a baby.
  • 10mm dynabolt holes in clay bricks; arm-wrestling your 4 year old niece.
  • 12mm holes in concrete; not as fun as above mentioned activities, but still pretty easy.
  • Easy to throw to colleagues on above floor
  • Red

Other useful stats:

  • Max Capacity : 16mm
  • Blows per minute : 0 – 6200BPM
  • Speed : 0 – 900 RPM
  • Weight : 1.9 kg
  • Length : 254mm
  • On-tool fuel guage

We only wish it had a belt hook. Also, it has no stubby holder. We recommend getting some 4.0ah batteries with this unit. Despite being brushless, you are asking it to put holes in concete, which is traditionally a substance that resists damage fairly well.

With a street price of $270ish, if you have the M12 line and need to put in anchors regularly, this is a no-brainer. Seriously, stop reading this rubbish and go buy it, it’s amazing.

Milwaukee 18V FUEL 26mm Rotary Hammer Drill – M18 CH

Reviewing rotary hammer drills isn’t my favourite job, because it usually means drilling lots of holes into concrete (though it’s more fun than comparing grinder discs!). Concrete strikes me as the type of material that wasn’t made for drilling, and doesn’t want to be drilled.

Nonetheless, review it we did, and it wasn’t too painful, because this tool eats concrete quicker than Mike eats smarties. This FUEL 26mm unit (and its 28mm big brother) are really taking another step towards eliminating the gap between cordless and electric tools. In fact in some tests, this tool reportedly beats very good electric models.

Specs are as follows:

  • 26mm concrete drilling capacity
  • 2.4J blow energy at 4,900 BPM
  • 1,400 RPM
  • 3.5kgs with large battery
  • Anti-vibration system

It’s about $350 as a bare tool, which is actually not bad when you consider the price point of it’s ‘competition’ in cordless and corded models. Milwaukee have a ripper tool here.

 

Makita Brushless (TINY) Impact Driver – DTD148

Makita has lots of 18v impact drivers, so why bother reviewing the umpteenth revamp? Because this one is a groundbreaker. Its so tiny! At a length of just 119mm (that’s 4.7” for the unhappy folks living in the 19th century), its hardly bigger than your hand.

You could (but won’t) be excused for thinking its a toy, but its specs put it ahead of the competition.

  • Length: 119mm
  • Torque: 175Nm
  • 3-Speed: 0-1100, 0-2100, 0-3600 RPM
  • Weight: 0.88kg (bare) or 1.4 kg with full size battery
  • Built-in LED battery indicator

It feels great in the hand, is super fast driving all sized fasteners and will fit almost anywhere your hand can. Its basically a smaller, torquier version of the previous (awesome) brushless impact driver, the DTD145.

Any dislikes? Only the price. At $270ish you’ll be walking crooked (I’m not sure that’s a thing), so it might pay to wait for a price drop. Watch the video!

 

Makita Brushless Grinder Review – DGA504Z

Makita has forayed into brushless 18v tools before now, but never outside the standard tools. They’ve got brushless drills, impact drivers and rotary hammer drill, like many other brands. But Makita is launching brushless technology into other important tools, and spearheading the move with the brushless grinders, DGA504Z and DGA505Z.

This is a great move from Makita because while their standard 18v grinder (DGA452Z) does the job, it is criticised for being a little underpowered. The new brushless models are anything but underpowered. As you’ll see in the video below, stopping this cordless grinder is no easy talk, it just refuses to give up. You may consider leaving your corded grinder at home with this in your toolbag.

With great power and longer runtime, the most important boxes are ticked. Other nice features of this tool include:

  • Available with regular switch (504) or paddle (505)
  • Reduced size handle for better grip
  • Toolless guard rotation and removal
  • Rotatable head for angle flexibility
  • Compatability with 1.5Ah, 3.0Ah, 4.0Ah and 5.0Ah batteries

On the downside the new grinders are about 45mm longer and 400g heavier than the previous model, but neither of these bothered us much. As can be expected, the price is significantly higher than the old one at AU$250+ for the tool only.

Makita have hit a winner with this great grinder,and they’re one of the first to make one brushless. Can’t wait to see the brushless circular saw, jig saw and others that are bound to follow.

Bosch Green Sanding Roller – PRR 250ES Review

Today we got to play with a tool we’ve never seen the like of before, Bosch’s sanding roller – PRR 250ES. This has been released and priced for the DIY range, but may also appeal to a lot of tradies.

This is the most versatile sander you’ll ever use. It has a variety of attachments that allow you to sand just about anything. You wouldn’t use it to sand a whole table top, but it has no equal in getting into tight places. it also does very well polishing stainless steel (and probably aluminum) and removes heaps of material with an 80G sleeve on the drum/shank.

It’s very light at 1.3kg and comfortable in the hand, if a little long. It doesn’t make enough noise to warrant earmuffs, but glasses are a must. The guard looks bulky and annoying but its actually quite handy because you can easily move it around as you work, and it has a dust extraction port.

This is a tool i want on my shelf. You have to watch the video to get a real appreciation for just how much punch has been packed into this tool.

DeWALT 18V 5Ah Battery & DCD995 Brushless Hammer Drill

Dewalt has recently released 5Ah batteries in Australia, 5Ah! That is one helluva gas tank.These batteries will of course work with any of Dewalt’s 18V XR range, but will be especially welcome news to users of the high-draw tools such as the grinder and circular saw.

We got to test it out with Dewalt’s latest and greatest drill, the DCD995. This is a serious tool. It builds on the very successful 3-Speed DCD985 heavy duty hammer drill, but with the following differences:

  • 250g lighter (1.6kg bare tool)
  • much shorter (213mm)
  • combined mode selector
  • more powerful (80Nm!), and
  • Brushless.

The stylings on Dewalt’s brushless tools are sexy too. We still love having a middle speed for tasks that are too difficult in top speed, but a little slow in first.

What can we complain about? Ocasionally the gear selector doesn’t want to move the first time you try, but it’s never a real issue. We couldn’t really find any other fault with it, except that it took a while to get here. Some people might miss the separate mode selector and clutch ring, but we don’t. This really shouldn’t be your main tool for drilling fine fasteners!

Another cracking tool (and battery!) from Dewalt.

Milwaukee Gen II Compact Drill & Impact – M18 BDD & M18 BID

Milwaukee has FINALLY brought out a compact ‘compact drill’ to their Australian 18V line in recent months. Users of the red tools have always had great premium drills available (including the amazing FUEL) but never a good compact drill, until now.

What’s in the box?

  • M18 2606-20 Compact Drill Driver
  • M18 2657-20 Impact Driver (2-Speed)
  • 2 x 2Ah slim batteries
  • M18/M12 charger
  • Blow-moulded plastic case

M18BPP2D 202C 3 Reviews From OZ: Milwaukee Gen II Compact Drill & Impact   2606 20 & 2657 20

M18 Gen II Compact Drill Driver

SPECS

  • Model number:              2606-20                |             M18 BDD
  • Weight (no battery):      2.9lbs                    |             1.43kgs
  • Length:                          7-1/4”                   |             196mm
  • Torque:                         500 in lbs              |             60 Nm
  • No-load Speed:            450 / 1,800 RPM
  • Motor:                           Brushed 4-Pole
  • Chuck:                          13mm ratcheting metal sleeve

This drill is what Milwaukee users have come to expect, elegant and powerful. It had no trouble in our tests driving a 16mm, 250mm auger bit deep into treated pine, though it did heat up. I’ve never had a drill pump out hot air that was uncomfortable to the hand, but this did. I suppose I’m glad the heat was coming out rather than staying in the tool.

The metal chuck on this unit is really nice. It has no wobble at all and is very comfortable to use. If chuck crush were a real thing, I’d have it bad. You get two gears, both of which do an excellent job delivering the drill’s hefty punch.

PROSRock-solid chuck, Powerful, Compact

CONS: Puts out a lot of heat

M18 Gen II Impact Driver

SPECS

  • Model number:              2657-20                  |              M18 BID
  • Weight (no battery):      2.2lbs                      |              1.00 kg
  • Length:                          5-1/2”                     |              140 mm
  • Torque:                         1500 in lbs               |              169 Nm
  • No-load Speed:             2,000 / 2,750 RPM
  • Impacts per Minute:      2,450 / 3,450 IPM
  • Motor:                            Brushed 4-Pole
  • Chuck:                           1/4” quick-change

In refreshing the M18 brushed drill and impact, I’m pretty impressed Milwaukee has gone beyond the standard single-speed impact driver. Their 3-Speed FUEL impact driver is of course still top dog, but having a 2-Speed brushed unit at this price point is sweet.

It’s also a powerhouse, at least the match of the brushless impact drivers we tested against.

What else is there to say? It’s comfortable, well-made and simple. My only disappointment with this tool is that Milwaukee has stuck with a single LED light, rather than the popular three-LED ring setup.

PROS: Powerful, Compact, 2-Speed

CONS: Single LED light

Final thoughts on the kit:

On sale this twin pack can be had around AU$300, an absolute steal. The slim 2.0Ah batteries are great for keeping down the size and weight of the tools. We were surprised that Milwaukee has supplied this basic kit with the dual voltage charger, capable of charging M12 and M18 batteries.

At this price point, and backed by the Milwaukee 5 year tool, 2 year battery warranty, I can’t recommend the kit enough.

   

18V Planer Comparison – Makita BKP180 vs Bosch GHO 18V-Li

A cordless planer is not a tool that everybody sees a need for. Yet I bet that anyone who has used one won’t want to give it back. They really can be a pleasure to use, and the Makita and Bosch planers are exactly that.

The main specs are as follows:

Bosch GHO 18V-Li  –   2.6kg, 82mm blade, 1.6mm cut depth, 14,000RPM

Makita BKP180       –   3.3kg, 82mm blade, 2.0mm cut depth, 14,000RPM

The Makita’s extra weight is noticeable, but also excusable as you get a much heftier base plate that should serve tradies well. Other than this, the Bosch has two unusual features:

  1. It only has one cutting blade. This does keep blade cost and maintenance down, but is probably the reason it doesn’t have quite as much grunt, and a just-respectable cut capacity of 1.6mm
  2. It has left and right dust chutes! This means that users can direct the chips/dust in whatever direction is least annoying to clean up. It also make fitting a dust bag or dust extraction vac too easy.

Both machines gave a very sharp finish. Both gave very good run times (69.5m and 66.5m for the Bosch and Makita respectively on 3Ah batteries). The Bosch is often a little more expensive . The Makita has a more user-friendly safety-lock.

So, which do we recommend? Well, we love both. If keeping mess to a minimum is vital to you, then the Bosch. For everyone else, the Makita is probably the better choice.

FEIN 4 Speed Drill Review – ASCM 18 QX

Do you need a high-end cordless drill? Do a lot of steel drilling? Look no further than FEINs new 4 speed drills, the ASCM 18 and ASCM 18 QX.

Not everybody is able to justify up to $700 for a cordless drill kit, but if you’re livelihood depends on the speed and precision of your steel and aluminum drilling, maybe you can. I wish I could, this tool is superb.

What makes it so good for drilling in metal? 3,850 RPM! As you might expect, we can hardly fault this unit. It has great power, great feel and terrific batteries. The German’s sure know how to make quality stuff.

We also did a short review on the impact driver, impact wrench and compact drill that fills our their 18v range.