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:

Hammer_Drills CROP3Hammer_Drills CROP2

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.

Hammer_Drill CROP1

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.

drillsbits

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.

 

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.

 

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.

   

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.

Bosch Brushless Review – Drill and Impact Driver/Wrench

Over the past few weeks we’ve been lucky enough to review the brand new brushless Bosch Compact Drill and Impact Driver. Models numbers are GSB 18V-EC and GDX 18V-EC (or DD182 and IDH182 for our friends across the pond).

Bosch makes good stuff, everyone knows it and these are no exception. These come in a pack with 4.0Ah batteries (or 2.0Ah slims), and a fast charger.

First up, the compact drill. We already loved the previous (brushed) version, often known as the ‘Striker’. It had as much power as any compact drill, and was very short and compact. The only drawback was the plastic chuck (though nice as far as plastic chucks go).

Is the new one an improvement? Not really. The motor is brushless but the handle went backwards. It’s still one of the best compacts out there, but we just hoped Bosch would make their terrific drill even better.

The new impact driver / wrench hybrid on the other hand just went to a whole ‘nother level. The previous GDX hybrid was an innovation, but lacked power to match it’s ‘hybrid’ nature. The new model is that innovation perfected (near enough).

It still sports the same 1/2” socket drive on the outside, but that is about it for similarities. First up, it has good power now, about on par with the brushless impact drivers from Dewalt and Makita. The unit also looks and feels better. Its got a more streamlined appearance (looks thinner) and the handle is just fantastic! If only the compact drill received the same handle…

So there you have it. One awesome product still awesome, and one good product turned awesome.

Makita 18V DHP481Z Review – Brushless Hammer Drill

Write-up edited for accuracy upon further testing.

Makita has a tonne of 18V drills, and this isn’t the first brushless one. But it IS their first brushless heavy duty drill, and they are making some big claims about it, 125N.m. of claim.

Newton metres (N.m.) is how torque is measured, and that’s a good 50% more than any of it’s competitors claim. To quell your doubts about it”s torque, Makita have included a side-handle long enough you could unblock your toilet with it (not a suggestion).

We like the feel of this drill, and it certainly ripped through some redgum with a 16mm and 24mm auger bit. However it’s electronic protection seems to prevent it from shining in really intense torque tests. It was also able to pull down huge coach bolts into treated pine easier than competitors.

Does it live up to Makita’s claims? No it doesn’t, but it is a great drill Yep I think it does. The weight and length put it right inline with the competition, and the power is a cut above. So feel free to use the side-handle however you want. Ignore the side handle at your peril!