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.

Slide2Slide7Slide5Slide4

Slide6

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.

EGO 56V Battery MOWER!

Nod at the screen if you’ve ever done any of the following:

  • Flip your mower on the side and had it billow smoke
  • Put 2-stroke oil or fuel in your 4-stroke mower
  • Forgot to buy more oil or petrol just as you pull out the mower
  • Tweaked something while yanking on a pull-cord
  • Paid someone else because it’s just too messy, loud or painful to start

Well stop nodding at the screen like an idiot and take a look at EGO’s 56V battery powered mower. If you’ve been put off by feeble attempts at battery mowers before, try to keep an open mind. This is 56 Volts of power, over three times that of professional cordless circular saws, grinders and drills.

If you want to know every feature & specification about the mower, head on over to EGO’s website. Here is the important info and some of our key thoughts:

  • $599 kit comes with mower, 4.0Ah battery and 80 minute charger
  • Up to 45 minute run-time
  • Sturdy mesh 60L catcher plus mulcher and side shoot
  • 49cm(!) cut width
  • No oil, petrol or fumes
  • Super quiet – we didn’t feel the need for ear muffs

We love that is has a 49cm deck. It’s the widest of all cordless mowers, wider than my 4-stroke mower in fact. This really helps cut down the time it takes to do your lawn.

We also like how easy it is to set-up and use. You really need to watch the video to understand this. It folds up in about 5 seconds, and starts in 2. If you manage to stop it (because it will protect the mower and battery from abuse), you just won’t care because it takes 2 seconds to restart again.

What makes this setup special (and what makes us excited about the other EGO tools) is that the battery system is super advanced. The cells follow the ‘C’ shape of the battery, giving it greater surface area for cooling. Even better, every cell is wrapped in a ‘phase change’ material, an enclosed (and secret) substance that changes from solid to liquid at 50deg celsius. This means that heaps of heat is taken away from the battery as it’s being worked hard or charged fast (both of which heat the cells and reduce their life).

There are a couple of improvements we’d like to see.

  1. I feel like they could have easily put another hole or two in the sliding aluminium handle that would make the mower easier to use for the vertically-challenged folk among us.
  2. The safety bar on the main handle that you have to hold down can add to user fatigue. Especially when trying to use the mower one-handed in awkward spots etc.

The second one is really a safety feature that will probably become the norm, but as it is new to me, it annoyed me a little.

The most important thing about a battery mower is the power and runtime. This unit has plenty of it. It will struggle/stall if you run the blade into dirt, but that is to be expected. We think that it will last 45 minutes with a gentle cut, but probably closer to 30 if you’ve got some serious work to do. I’ve got a large backyard by modern estate standards, and it had more than enough juice for my block.

We think this is very well suited to small blocks, particularly in all the residential estates popping up. Go and check one out if you’re in the market for a mower, you won’t be disappointed.

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.

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.