Tool Test: 18v Li-Ion Hammer Drills
Three testers, three sets of tools, one common task: Evaluate the flagship drill from each major too brand.
Synopsis: Three reviewers — FHB senior editor Justin Fink, woodworker Andy Beasley, and finish carpenter Kit Camp — examine the top-of-the-line hammer drill-drivers from each major tool brand. Their consensus for best overall drill-driver is the Milwaukee 2602, one of two Milwaukee drills tested. The reviewers appreciated the 2602’s compact size and smooth power delivery, along with features such as an LED light and a gauge that monitors the strength of the battery charge. Also tested were drill-drivers made by Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, and Ridgid.
Would you buy a pair of work boots without trying them on first? Would you just pick them up, look at the tread, feel the toe, and make a decision? No. You would lace them up and see how they feel. Shopping for power tools is the same way.
The trouble is that it’s pretty hard to form a meaningful opinion about a power tool when it’s strapped down to a store display. Even if the tool — say a cordless drill — can be picked up, it’s unlikely that the batteries are charged. Even if the batteries have juice, how much can you really tell by pulling the trigger and letting the empty chuck spin? The value of a tool review is that the tester becomes the eyes and ears of the market, offering buyers what they can’t evaluate on their own: a tool’s real-world performance.
When we set out to test 18v Li-ion hammer drill-drivers for this review, we wondered if there was a way to pack more value into the article. But what’s better than an unbiased, real-world evaluation of the seven top-of-the-line drill-drivers on the market? How about three unbiased, real-world evaluations?
Threee testers, three opinions
We armed three of our most analytical testers with their own sets of…