Massive 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Comparison – Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee & Metabo

oztooltalk has never undertaken anything so awesome, so comprehensive or so blatantly stupid before. We’ve attempted (and almost certainly failed) to produce the best 18v Premium Hammer Drill comparison video test in the history of, well history. Because no one will ever click on a video that is 26 minutes long, we’ve tried to trick you make it more accessible, by dividing it into two videos:

  • Part 1: Testing & Features
  • Part 2: Scoring & Final Thoughts

Please feel free not to criticise or disagree without having watched both. If you’ve watched both …. be gentle ;) Without further adieu (skip to the bottom for results):

The Tools:

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As you can see, the Bosch and Metabo are longer than the others, but its the Makita and Bosch that feel the heaviest. The Metabo is light enough and weighted nicely so that it handles as well as the Dewalt and Milwaukee. Click on the table below to see ALL the specs and features you could want.

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The first thing to note is that the Bosch drill isn’t brushless like the others. We wish they had one out already but they don’t, and we just couldn’t leave Bosch out of any self respecting drill comparison. In terms of features: the Metabo has bells coming out of it’s whistles. The Dewalt has a handy middle speed and the Bosch has Electronic Rotation Control. As you may have spotted, the charge times do vary wildy, with Bosch and Makita being the clear leaders.

Testing:

We wanted to test the tools in the main ways they would be used: timber drilling/driving, steel and masonry. We reject the notion that a ‘hammer’ drill’s main use is masonry drilling; that’s what a rotary hammer drill is for. To keep our testing as accurate as possible, we used a brand new bit for every test with every tool, which meant a LOT of bits.

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Runtime. Because we were testing 5 tools with high capacity batteries, we needed a tough task to bring down the total time. A 38mm Milwaukee Switchblade is a super tough test for a cordless tool, and also allowed us to swap tips and blades for each test. We figure if you are mainly using the tool for light-duty applications then: a) the runtime will be huge anyway and, b) you should go grab a compact drill.

Timber Drilling. As well as timing 10 of the switchblade holes, we thought a 22mm auger bit would be a common use for this sort of tool. Using self-feeding augers on both of these tests makes it far easier to be consistent, because you can let the bit pull into the wood rather than trying to apply even pressure every time.

Timber Driving. Despite the popularity of impact drivers, driving fasteners is still a common activity. We wanted to give it a standard test (bugel batten screws) and a truly tough test (12mm coach screws without pre-drilling). The difficulty with these tests is that one tool might be faster, but fail to drive the screw as far.

Masonry. Drilling into concrete or brick is a crappy job to do with a regular drill. So we want to get it done as fast as possible, with as little vibration as possible. 6mm to 10mm is probably the regular size range I would ask of these tools, so we tested these. You can of course do larger diameters with these drills, but you’d have to be a masochist.

Steel. Testing performance in regular steel drilling (1/8″ and 8mm) was never going to show much difference, but we thought it important to check anyway. Drilling holesaws through H-beams might have been interesting, but we weren’t keen enough to attempt it.

Scoring:

Scoring is of course subjective. But we’ve tried to be as fair and logical as we could, and between the two of us, think we’ve done ok. Some of our categories were marked out of 5, because they were less important in our opinion, than the categories scored out of 10. A total of 50 then, was available to each tool.

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The Summary:

1st: Metabo SB 18LTX BL - 48/50

PROS: Equal best performance in most tests. Huge Runtime. Removable chuck and pulse mode.

CONS: Clutch mode can be bumped accidentally.

2nd: Makita DHP481 / XPH07 - 46/50

PROS: Equal best performance in most tests. Best masonry performance. Super-fast charge times.

CONS: Less comfortable in the hand.

3rd: Milwaukee M18 CPD / 260443/50

PROS: Great performance in every test. Best side-handle. Great Warranty

CONS: None

4th : Dewalt DCD99542/50

PROS: Great performance in most tests. 3rd Gear.

CONS: Masonry drilling vibration.

5th: Bosch GSB 18VE-2LI / HDH181 – 38/50

PROS: Electronic Rotation Control (safety feature). Super durable. Fast charge time.

CONS: Brushed motor runtime not competitive. Less comfortable in the hand. Masonry drilling vibration.

 

Brushless 18V Grinders – Makita vs Milwaukee

Cordless grinders used to be a novelty: fun, but not particularly useful. They were underpowered and didn’t last long enough to get any real work done. Well the brushless grinders from Milwaukee and now Makita, combined with high capacity batteries, are a game-changer

We didn’t test runtime, so we can’t tell you which one lasts longer. But we can tell you about their power, comfort and features.

Some specs:

Makita DGA504                         – 2.5kgs, 8500RPM, 5″ M14

Milwaukee M18 CAG125XPD  – 2.4kgs, 8500RPM, 5″ M14

THE most important feature of a cordless grinder is power. We’re pleased to report that both of these units have it in spades. We had to really lean on the units very hard to get them to stall with a 5″ flap disc. Having said that, the older Milwaukee is a little harder to stop, so it wins the power category by a whisker.

They are also both super comfortable. The Makita gets points for having a nice slim handle large enough for your whole hand, but then loses them again, because that handle is a long way from the business end. What this means in reality is that you’ll reach for the side-handle more on the Makita, but I call it a draw.

The main other item of note are the paddle vs switch. The Makita comes in a switch or paddle version, as does the Milwaukee. BUT Milwaukee has only made the paddle version available in Australia, not the switch. Although the paddle versions have obvious safety benefits, we just prefer a switch. A paddle version is fine for grinding & polishing (horizontal disc), but not great for cutting (vertical disc).

Otherwise, they are both well-built, have tool-free guards and look great. Actually the Milwaukee may just be the sexiest tool in existence.

Who wins? Not Australia. We judge the Makita to be the winner because of its switch. If Milwaukee’s switch version was available, it would be our winner.