Milwaukee M18-Fuel Cordless Right-Angle Drill
Even in a world of cordless drills and impact drivers, plumbers and electricians still need corded right-angle drills for getting through plates and multiple studs quickly. But with Milwaukee’s new M18-Fuel Hole Hawg, that has changed. This 18v right-angle cordless drill, which is sold in bare tool ($250) and kit form with two batteries ($450), has the power of a corded tool. I recently used one to drill hundreds of 3/4-in. holes while I rough-wired an entire house.
The M18-Fuel Hole Hawg is heavy and well-balanced, and the handles are designed exceptionally well, making the drill easy to use and easy to hang onto. This is important because it cranks out an incredible amount of torque. I ran a 3/4-in. self-feeding auger bit (that had seen some use) through five Douglas-fir studs, and the motor didn’t slow at all.
The drill comes in two versions: one with a standard keyed chuck and the one I tested, which has Milwaukee’s Quik-Lok chuck. The Quik-Lok model accepts 7/16-in. hex-shaft bits, which is the standard shank design on large wood-boring bits. These bits come in two styles: some have straight sides, and others have a reduced diameter top. I found that the chuck holds both types securely, and I liked being able to swap bit sizes so easily.
With 4.0 amp-hour packs, I got about 120 3/4-in. holes through new Douglas-fir 2x4s. I like that the packs have a fuel gauge, so you know if you have enough power before you enter an attic or a crawlspace.
I found it much quicker to drill holes for wires when I didn’t have to set up and drag around a power cord. For the sheer numbers of holes needed when roughing-in a whole house, I’ll probably continue to use my corded right-angle drill to save my batteries. But for attics, crawlspaces, and remodeling work, this is the tool for the job.
Cliff Popejoy is an electrician in Sacramento, Calif.
The Milwaukee M18-Fuel right-angle drill is powerful enough to replace a corded right-angle drill. It's available with a Quick-Lok chuck (shown) or a conventional keyed chuck. The models for electricians spin a little faster than the models for plumbers, who drill larger holes.
With a very narrow housing, Milwaukee's M18-Fuel Hole Hawg is a perfect fit for tight spots and has enough power to drill through multiple studs without slowing down.
Milwaukee's Quik-Lok chuck, which works much like those found on cordless impact drivers, accepts both styles of hex-shanked wood-boring bits and holds them securely.