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.

 

Comments

  1. NERemodeling says

    WOW!! Insane!!! you guys killed it that was obviously a ton of work and I (and I’m sure everyone) appreciates the time and effort you put into it!
    well worth the wait :)

    can’t say i was shocked but i was very glad to see Makita come out on top!! that drill is a power house

    I’m looking forward to part 2!

    why no side handle on the Makita while using the switchblade bit

      • NERemodeling says

        Part two was great! I love watching your reviews, in my opinion they are some of the best out there! I also like that you guys do a decent amount Makita and typically get the new tools before we do in the US so its a nice way for me to get excited about whats to come from Makita

        now that you have conquered the Everest of reviews time to go back to quick fun day hikes.. pump them out, no stress and no pressure. we cant get enough OTT!

        that side handle is definitely a must when doing any larger diameter holes or drilling/driving that might bind.. that thing will do some damage!! good luck finding it

  2. says

    Awesome review guys, thanks for putting in the hard yards with the head to heads, I know that must take some time and effort, so much appreciated!

    Keep them coming.

    Cheers James.

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