This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.
My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction, framing, electrical and renovation, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
So let’s talk about this month’s MAJOR TOOL CRUSH, the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill & Impact Driver Combo Kit (2-Tool) w/(2) 5Ah Batteries.
This kit, though a big initial investment is a fantastic value. I paid a little less for my (other brand) 18V drill/driver kit a few years ago and they served me well, but now having used several of Milwaukee’s tools on their 12v and 18v battery platforms, I’m making the switch to Milwaukee everywhere it makes sense. Their battery-powered grinders are nice, the flood/spot light comes in extremely handy, and the random orbital sander has earned its spot in my traveling farm tools bag. I’ve been slinging these tools around the farm, in the shop, and around the tiny house build for the past six months and I love them.
“There is a $179 version of this kit on sale this weekend at Home Depot. What makes these different? As a weekend warrior, do I need the more expensive kit?”
The biggest difference is that the drill motors in these cheaper options are not brushless. As I was trying to find the right words on how to explain the difference between brushless and standard drill motors, I found this awesome article in Popular Mechanics that explains it way better than I could. Will the weekend warrior ever be able to tell the difference between a brushless and non brushless motor? That is debatable, but the real difference between the two kits, at least for me, is the 5ah batteries that come in the more expensive kit. I was a little worried that the 5ah batteries would make the tools a tad too heavy, but that hasn’t been the case. The battery life is great and the weight is surprisingly low considering the power and amp hours available.
As I tend to do, I’ve used the drill and driver for a few unconventional applications, and they performed exceedingly well. I got a lot of flack for using the ½” driver with a paddle to mix my drywall mud for the tiny house, but it worked like a charm, and since I didn’t have power cords at the build site this time around, it genuinely was the only option available. The hammer drill has loosened quite a few rusty nuts around the farm (I’m still curious as to why the previous farm owner used assorted sized nuts and bolts SO frequently in the place of regular screws and nails). It’s drilled quite a few holes because it was the handiest option and I happened to have square drive drill bits.
I used the drill and driver quite a bit in my shavehorse build, installing the subfloor, drywall, steel roofing and concrete board in the tiny house, as I was shoring up the roof of the metal shop, and on the chicken coop build, and I’ve found zero complaints thus far.
Awesome Features on the Hammer Drill:
· Light and compact- allows for access to tight spaces while still delivering surprising power
· ½” chuck expands the applications of the tool significantly
· Variable speed trigger
· 2 speed gearbox, 1200 lbs of torque
Awesome Features on the Impact Driver:
· Single handed bit insert on the ¼” hex chuck
· Self-tapping screw function for metal roofing screws
These tools retail for $379. Would I buy them?
Absolutely. It is definitely an investment, but a valid one, especially if you’re already on the Milwaukee battery platform. If you’re not, I’d strongly encourage you to look at the brushless options within your current battery platform before making the investment. The Ridgid and Makita brushless drill/driver kits are also really great options.