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Milwaukee M18 2-Tool Combo Kit

by Ryan MatthewsMarch 14, 2011

MSRP $554.13

We like building things around here and to build things you need to commence to drilling and driving, and we like that too. We like boring holes, driving nails and spinning screws with absolute precision at lightening fast speeds. That’s why we’re big fans of the new Milwaukee M18 2-Tool Combo Kit. We’ve always been big fans of Milwaukee.

It’s a 2-Tool Combo Kit so you’ve got two tools, naturally. First, there’s the 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver with a 4-pole frameless motor that can bring down as much as 550 in-lbs of torque on an unsuspecting screw head. Then there’s the 1/4” Hex Compact Impact Driver and it’s own 1400 in-lbs torques of bad-assness. These drivers may be slightly heavier than other lightweight drills we’ve used, it’s hard to say, but it’s doubtful that either one weighs more than four pounds soaking wet (Don’t get them wet). The difference is negligible, however, and is hardly worth mentioning because it is more than made up for in the way the M18s handle in action. The increased run time (thanks to the lithium-ion battery, more on that below) and easy to hold contour grips (very ergonomic) means we could spend more time drilling and driving and less time massaging cramped hands. This can be crucial for professionals on the job where time is money, but helpful as well for those  working on their own home projects. Both drivers feature easy action triggers (variable speeds of up to 1700 RPMs for the Hammer drill).

The helpful charge level indicator will let you know how much juice you’re working with and when the driver is ready to call it quits. The drivers work right up until recharge time when they will simply cut off. There’s no teasing trailing off of power. When it’s time to recharge, you recharge. Speaking of recharging, the 30 minute charger (included) is extremely kind to what can be very expensive batteries. Kind in the sense that it will not kill the battery even if you let it sit on the charger long after the driver has got it’s juice on. This is thanks to the Digital Power Management feature which protects from charge overload. You can concern yourself with other things without that particular worry weighing on your mind. There’s also a charge indicator on the battery itself.

About the battery, one of the best attributes of the high energy density lithium-ion is its ability to conserve power when the drill is not in use. You want to get the most out of your charge but sometimes you have to take five. You can do that without worry thanks to slow charge loss. Milwaukee, the company, has always been ahead of the curve on lithium battery technology much in the way that Milwaukee, the city, is ahead of the curve on beer, brats and baseball. Well, maybe not baseball (no offense Brewers fans).

Like all Milwaukee tools, these drivers are built to last and the kit comes with a five year warranty. The carrying case is a durable hard plastic shell that can take a whacking from 2x4s all day long and not give an inch. It could surely take a good fall from scaffolding, although we didn’t put it to that particular test and we DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING SO. Points is, if your tools are going to get knocked around, (and they are) you’re going to want them safe and snug in a box like this. Some kits come with a contractor bag, so if you have a preference then you have a choice.

Other attributes worth mentioning: bit retention on the drill is fantastic and bit loading is a breeze. There’s no need to set the drill down as one-handed bit exchange is no problem, especially with ample bit storage built into the drill itself. A handy glow ring allows for improved accuracy in situations where lack of good lighting might be problematic. In addition to punishing screws and bolts the driver is also useful for running wire or pipe.

In sum, these drivers have a great lightweight feel that will be easy on the wrist and arm, they get plenty of power from a charger that won’t fry your battery and they both have ample torque so you can drive and drill like a son-of-a-gun. And, as insurance, there’s the five year warranty and the Milwaukee name to back it up. So get building.

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