Festool PDC 18/4 QuaDrive Cordless Drill Set Review
PDC 18/4 QuaDrive Cordless Drill Set
Festool QuaDrive Cordless Drill Set
Model number: 564597
Power source: 18V Li-Ion
Motor size: EC-TEC Brushless
Weight: 4.1 lbs
The cordless drill category changes faster than the car market due in large part to extremely fast developments in the lithium-ion battery market. Festool recently introduced a serious workhorse cordless drill in their PDC 18/4 QuaDrive Cordless Drill Set featuring a 5.2 Ah 18v lithium-ion battery pack.
According to Festool they set out to design the most versatile drill on the market with a huge range from low torque applications to high speed drilling tasks.
- Variable Range – The QuaDrive offers a four-speed gearbox designed for low end torque applications like large diameter drill bits in wood or high speed drilling applications like hammer drilling concrete.
- Versatile Drilling Options – The QuaDrive is extremely versatile when combined with a set of FastFix interchangeable chucks and the Centrotec bit change system. These options allow the user to quickly change between a wide range of drilling applications without any special tools.
- Motor Type – EC-TEC Brushless motor.
- Battery – 18 V / 5.2 Ah Li-Ion
- RPM – Setting 1: 0-400 rpm, Setting 2: 0-850 rpm, Setting 3: 0-1,850 rpm, and Setting 4: 0-3,850 rpm.
- Chuck Capacity: 1/16″ – 1/2″
- Max. Drill Diameter (Steel): 15/32″
- Max. Drill Diameter (Wood): 1-31/32″
- Max. Drill Diameter (Brick): 13/32″
- Toque Setting Range: 4.4 – 106 in-lbs
- Max. Torque in Steel: 531 in-lbs
- Max Torque in Wood: 354 in-lbs
- Weight: 4.1 lbs
The kit that we reviewed (Item# 564597) includes the following:
- TCL 3 Battery Charger
- Two (2) 5.2 Ah 18V Li-Ion Battery Packs
- Right Angle Chuck
- Centrotec Chuck
- Centrotec Bit Holder
- FastFix Keyless Chuck
- Side Handle
- T-Loc Systainer SYS 2
This drill can also be purchased in two other configurations: one without the right angle chuck (Item# 564596 for $525), and one without the right angle chuck, batteries and charger (Item# 200005, for $330).
Performance and Power
After using the Festool QuaDrive Cordless Drill Kit my first thoughts are performance and power. It was clear from the start that Festool packed this cordless drill with more options, power, and versatility than any cordless drill I’ve ever used before. The range of speed and torque surpass any cordless drill on the market that I’m aware of in an easy to use platform.
Below is a picture of the settings control on the QuaDrive. The first lever closest to the chuck switches the drill from drilling mode to hammer drill mode. The middle selector switch controls the gear box (gear 1 is the slowest and gear 4 is the fastest). The last switch closest to the back of the drill is the torque control (Festool calls it a torque thumbwheel). I love the simplicity and intuitive design of these controls, something that Festool always does a great job with.
In order to evaluate the wide range of applications that this drill was designed for I used it on several different tasks:
- Concrete Drilling – The QuaDrive made quick work of drilling 5/8″ diameter holes through Bluestone caps and concrete slabs for post bases. Set on high speed and hammer drill mode the drill performed really well. It drilled the hole quickly, the side handle provided good leverage, and the 5.2 Ah battery allowed for multiple holes without changing batteries.
- Wood Drilling – Need to drill some large diameter holes? No problem with the QuaDrive as it easily bores auger bits and even large diameter Forstner bits. I really like the right angle chuck and the ability to use a large bit in it in tight spaces.
- Fastening – The QuaDrive had no problem installing 4″ deck screws into pressure treated lumber. While this may not be an impact driver, the lower speed/torque setting makes this drill more than capable of driving large fasteners like deck screws and TimberLock fasteners.
Most Versatile Cordless Drill
I get to try so many cordless drills that I’ve lost count of how many. Today it seems as though most cordless drills are aimed at a fairly narrow user group. This is likely true in large part due to the explosive impact driver category that has relegated most drills to the job of drilling holes vs installing fasteners. In fact, some may argue that impact drivers may be the beginning of the end of most drill drivers on the market because you can drill holes with impact drivers as well.
The Festool QuaDrive makes a good argument that a drill driver can still be a viable option. This is by far the most versatile cordless drill on the market from my perspective. With a four speed gear box, torque control, and hammer drill mode, this drill can install heavy duty fasteners, drill through hard concrete and masonry, and bore large diameter holes in wood without breaking a sweat!
Combine the wide range or power and speed with their easy to change chucks this drill can tackle almost any project on the job site or in the shop. Festool definitely makes the best quick change chuck systems on the market and I’m always impressed with the ease of changing between all the options. The simplicity of the chucks should not be overlooked when comparing to other drill systems on the market.
You might be wondering how the QuaDrive compares to some of the other options on the market. Two cordless options that I would compare to would be the Hilti SFH 18-A and the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Model 2704-20. Both of these are sold in two battery kits with the Hilti offering a 5.2 Ah battery and the Milwaukee coming with 5.0 Ah packs. The Hilti offers 3 gears with speeds ranging from 370 rpm to 2,140 rpm and the Milwaukee offers a 2 speed gear setting ranging from 550 rpm to 2,00o rpm. The Festool clearly offers a wider range of gears and speed settings.
The QuaDrive weighs in at under 5 lbs including the 5.2 Ah battery pack and adjustable chuck. I believe this makes them the lightest in the models mentioned above with Milwaukee being just over 5 lbs and Hilti coming in about 5.7 lbs. The drill is well balanced and offers a comfortable grip.
The QuaDrive as a LED light mounted just above the battery pack on the front. It’s controlled by a switch just to the side of the light. While being able to shut the light off may be handy at times, I do prefer lights that come on with the trigger versus this type that must be turned on and off each time you want it.
The LED light also acts at the battery indicator for the battery pack. By toggling the LED on/off switch it changes from work light to battery life indicator.
I really like what Festool did with this Systainer storage box. The small storage compartment on the top of the box is excellent for storing small bits, fasteners, and other items that users might want in the kit, but not bouncing around inside the box with the drill.
Overall Impression of Festool QuaDrive Cordless Hammer Drill
The Festool QuaDrive Cordless Hammer Drill is a serious workhorse, you might even call it a beast! The range or torque, speed, and easy to change chucks makes this one of the most versatile hammer drills on the market. Packed with power and a brushless motor, powered by a 5.2 Ah li-ion battery, this drill comes to work ready for anything thrown at it. It’s hard not to be impressed with it’s performance, flexibility, and versatility. The only down side to this tool is the price tag. Coming in at $600 it’s twice the cost of the Milwaukee, and almost $200 more than the Hilti. While the Festool does offer more flexibility in the chucks and a nicer storage box, the price does seem high to me. However, if you’re already on the Festool platform, and you’ve got some extra cash, this cordless hammer drill is tough to beat!
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