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!

DeWALT DCF880 18V – 1/2″ Impact Wrench Review

A couple of weeks ago i had a box waiting for me when I got home from work. I’m not sure there’s anything better than new tools at your doorstep.

I was really keen to see how well the 18V XR DCF880 performed. If it could take off my ute’s wheel nuts, then I couldn’t ask for anything more. Well, it does. It’s unbelievable that such a small tool (its the same size as the impact drivers) can pack such a good punch. I like it so much that I’ve sold my Bosch high torque wrench, I’ll just never need more power than this.

If you’re more sensible than us, you might not need this AND an impact wrench. If you’re mainly driving screws, get the impact driver plus a socket adapter. If you’re working with nuts and bolts more often, get a 1/4” hex adapter for the wrench.

We love this little tool, and the fantastic LED lights will just be so handy under the bonnet.


Video: Dewalt 18V XR DCN690 Framing Nailer vs Paslode & Makita Gas Guns

Dewalt have recently produced the first ever 18V framing nailer – the DCN690. That’s right, no gas, no cords, just a Dewalt lithium-ion battery. So how does it stack up against the common gas powered nailers?

Firstly, like all the common models, the Dewalt takes 90mm, 34-deg nail clips. None of these models take two full clips, which annoys us no end. It has tool-less depth adjustment and stall release (not that we managed to stall it). It is about 1” shorter than the Paslode and Makita model, but weighs significantly more.

  • Dewalt DCN690  – 4.5kgs
  • Paslode B20543 – 3.3kgs
  • Makita GN900     – 3.6kgs

That extra weight would really get to anyone wanting to use it all day. Also, though it can fire two nails per second, it is a tiny bit slower than the gas powered nailers we tried. It will also cost new users ~$880 for a full kit, or the bare tool is about the same as the Paslode and Makita ($550-600).

However, there are several distinct advantages of this gun.

  1. Operating Cost. You’re going to save $8-$13 in gas per 1000 nails and the tool is meant to be maintenance free.
  2. Compatibility. The batteries and charger are full compatible with the rest of Dewalt’s 18V XR line. So you can grab a bare drill etc. to throw in your tool bag.
  3. Convenience. If you don’t use your framing nailer often, you don’t have to worry about if you have gas, if you’ve charged you’re 7.2v batteries etc. You just check the Dewalt battery indicator and start nailing.

We feel that tradies holding the gun above their head or at arms reach all day may be better served by the lighter, well-balanced Paslode. The Makita is a very similar gun to the Paslode, though a little heavier in the nose and with a belt hook that doesn’t suit lefties.