Metabo 120Nm German-made Hammer Drill – SB 18 LTX BL I

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Metabo have long been focusing on metal manufacturing trades, so it will surprise exactly no one that their drills are made for metal. However, the SB 18 LTX BL I is also a hammer drill (‘SB’ means hammer drills, non-hammer drills are ‘BS’). No, that’s not a joke.

Metabo also have a long history of making quality rotary hammer drills. Most of the Germany brands do, as much of Europe uses concrete (or concrete products) throughout commercial and residential construction.

So how do Metabo’s hammer drills go? With a whopping 120 Nm of torque, you’d think pretty well. But the results are a bit mixed.

Incredibly well made? Of course. Great ergonomics? Check. Run time for days? Tick.

But the performance depends on the material.

Its features make it excellent for driving fasteners and drilling in steel. The clutch is the best around, and the lower setting have lower RPM as well. On the same wheel, is the Impulse mode (the ‘I’ in the name). Impulse mode makes accurate steel drilling so much easier. Not quite as good as punching first, but it minimizes the bit wandering very well. After starting the hole you should switch back to regular drilling mode, as the Impulse drilling isn’t as fast.

In timber, it has plenty of power. BUT I confess I think the 120 Nm rating to be exaggerated, which is unusual for Metabo. It’s power is actually very similar to the previous model, which was rated around 90 Nm. This is only noticeable in really large fasteners and auger bits well over 25 mm. It’s got more than enough grunt for me though, and for most tradies. You can certainly hurt your wrist if you’re not paying attention.

In concrete, it’s just not that great. Compared to it’s American and Japanese competitors its slow and uncomfortable. Fine for 6 mm and 8 mm holes, but uncomfortable at 10 mm and larger.

So for metal workers and tradesmen who need a high-quality, precision drill, this is easy to recommend. If you’re looking to do lots of work in concrete, or a plumbing rough-in, there are possibly better options closer to home.

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