18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

For this head to head we here at Tool Box Buzz requested 5-piece cordless tool kits from the top tool manufacturers, for an evaluation of a brand’s ability to deliver a comprehensive, quality kit of five primary tools, with adequate storage, and a price that (hopefully) saves you money. Ultimately, our goal was to help you navigate the manufacturers, tools, batteries, and sticker prices to guide you to the kit that best fits your needs.

As always we are looking at a wide range of features and characteristics to ensure you have the hard data AND the professional opinion of our crew of contractors to guide your purchase. If you’ve started looking into purchasing a “tool kit” versus purchasing multiple tools individually or bare tools to establish yourself into a new cordless platform, you quickly learned that there is a lot more to consider than just the brand and the size of your kit. Don’t fret, our team of professionals provide a thorough review of each platform and weigh in on the kits to name the coveted best in class. But before we get to that let’s consider some key facets you’ll want to look for in a cordless kit.

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How about storage? When it comes to tools, lots of guys will choose one manufacturer over another simply because the tool also comes with a case rather than a bag, or no storage at all. This simple feature, which you often pay for, extends the life of the tool and in general makes the owners life easier. If you are just starting out with a cordless tool collection, storage may be a concern you need to address, since you probably don’t have a ton of tools in your arsenal yet.

Of course, when talking cordless tools, you have to consider batteries. How many? What size? What’s the cost to purchase more? Runtime? Charge time? Battery technology seems to be ever changing right now and can make a big difference in the performance you get, and the price you pay. Thinking long and hard about the platform you’re buying into can really save you from making the wrong choice. Speaking of savings, does a kit really save you a lot of money?

Manufacturers use different SKUs, which stands for Stock Keeping Unit or in laymen’s terms, a distinct/specific item, to build these kits. The saw you get in a kit may not be the exact saw you buy individually, they are different SKUs. And furthermore the price differences may not make the savings worth the sacrifice in quality. These marketing schemes only add to the difficulty of making a truly informed decision. That’s where we here at Tool Box Buzz come in…

 

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This article highlights some great cordless tool kits from the top tool manufacturers for professional contractors or anyone looking to make a worthwhile investment in a cordless tool platform. We selected some complete 5-piece kits, 4-piece kits with an additional add on tools and batteries, and even pieced individual tools together to compile a 5-piece kit.

To review the kits in details click the link(s) below, or you can read on,  manufacturers include:

Unlike our past head to head tool comparisons, this test was more about the complete package, not only was the hard data considered but also the soft aspects of each tool kit. We focus our Head to Head’s on intensive professional scrutiny to help you make the best decision on your next investment.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Video Intro

 

We’ve looked at Circular Saws, Cordless Multi-Tools, and more! With this head to head we’ve taken on a larger investment, an 18-Volt Cordless Combo Kit, consisting of 5 tools; drill, driver, light, recip, and circular saw.

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With single tool comparisons you can focus on apple to apple comparisons, pick apart each tool, and choose a clear winner. With this head to head we looked at eight kits, from seven companies, and 40 tools. Ultimately this head to head had so many variables and varying kits that it became difficult to compare them objectively. But still, we deliver our overall professional opinions fairly and objectively on which kit is the best fit, for you. So sit back, enjoy the reviews, and trust the pros.

To see the results click the link(s) below, or you can read on, categories include:

Bosch 18-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Tool [Purchased Individually] 5-Piece Kit

No Model # – $737

1 Year Limited Warranty

Bosch is very focused on promoting their L-BOXX or “Click and Go” system, and been pushing their customers to embrace the integrated storage system by including them with a purchase of certain tools. This is a rugged, stackable storage box,  that has become their main focus of Bosch’s brand and cordless tool platform, as a result we decided to pair the Bosch tools with their respective L-BOXX’s, to present the unique way Bosch approaches tool storage. Now this concept comes at a price, both literally, and figuratively. The kit compiled clocked in at a whopping $737 average price and if you aren’t a L-BOXX kind of person, maybe you prefer bags or rugged cases that get abused in trucks or job-boxes, this may be too niche for you. Regardless these Bosch tools are top of the line and well worth the cost.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

We looked at the following Bosch 18-volt tools:

  • CCS180BL Circular saw [4.0 Ah battery with charger] Paired with Exact-Fit tray, and L-BOXX-3.
  • CRS180BL Reciprocating saw operates at 2700 SPM, has a 1-1/8 inch blade stroke and weighs 6-pounds.
  • IDH182 Impact driver [IDH182-02L] [2- 2.0 Ah batteries with charger] features the Socket Ready all-in-one tool holder, which combines a 1/4-inch hex and 1/2-inch drive into receiver and “Performance Control System,” [PCS].
  • HD182 Drill driver delivers up to 1,700 RPMs for drilling applications; alongside the additional hammer drill function for drilling in masonry
  • CFL180 Work light is a lithium-ion flashlight, uses a Halogen bulb, and operates for 4 hours on one battery charge.

Bosch’s CCS180 18-volt circular saw was the crews favorite tool in this 5-tool kit. It is heavy duty, powerful, and ideal for the professional contractor. We tested run time on 3⁄4-inch AdvanTech sub-floor plywood and this saw ripped 228 feet on one battery charge. Read more about this test in A Concord Carpenter’s 18 Volt Cordless Circular Saw Head to Head. The saw is paired with an L-BOXX3 and weighs 15-pounds. The 6 1/2-inch saw blade just makes it through framing material. The lower guard has an anti-snag design that allows easy thin material and angle cutting, easing into the work piece. I found this saw accurate, controllable, light, and the best part extremely long runtime. This saw came with a Bosch 4.0Ah Lithium-ion battery and charger, a $ 100 value if  purchased separately.

The Bosch CFL180 lithium-ion flashlight uses a Halogen bulb and is the weak link in this Bosch cordless kit. It’s almost as if the Bosch engineers outsourced this tool design to Fisher Price. Operationally, it hangs easy, gives 360 degree coverage and is compact but the wide angle beam and light quality is not great. The light operates for 4 hours on one battery charge. Having a compact, durable high quality light is important in my book. Bosch needs to rethink their strategy on this one.

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The Click and Go system allows several L-BOXX’s to be clicked together allowing you to move and transport tools using two transport modes; a four wheel cart called a L-DOLLY and a two wheeler called an L-CART. Although these are add on accessories, we felt this aggressive strategy to incorporate storage system is worthy enough to include with Bosch’s kit.

We give the Bosch cordless kit a 4 out of 5 stars, it was a top performer in our testing and definitely professional quality. The L-BOXX kits provide a unique way to improve productivity by allowing customizable organization, better transportation and storage. The L-BOXX is the double edged sword for Bosch providing innovative storage solutions but trending blue away from a complete kit. Perhaps with a 5-piece kit including all L-BOXXes and accessories Bosch could score a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

DEWALT DCK592L2 20V MAX Premium 5-Tool Combo Kit

Model DCK592L2 – $548

3 Year Limited Warranty, 1 Year Free Service Contract

Kit Includes: Impact Driver, Hammerdrill, Circular Saw, Reciprocating Saw, Work Light, (2) 3.0 Ah Batteries and Charger.

While this kit is called “Premium” by DEWALT that is a bit misleading as we consider the XR line to be the premium option. While this kit isn’t the XR line it is a good quality kit featuring their new 20V MAX battery platform. This kit offers excellent value as it’s only 10% more than the Ridgid kit and also includes two batteries.

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The DEWALT 20V MAX 5-Tool Kit we tested included five tools: LED Work Light, Impact Driver, Hammerdrill, Circular Saw, Reciprocating Saw, two batteries, a charger, and large canvas storage bag.

  • LED Work Light #DCL040 – LED work light delivers 110 lumens of light output.
  • ¼” Hex Impact Driver #DCF885 – 1,400 in-lb torque, compact design, 3 LED lights, and quick release bit anvil.
  • ½” Hammerdrill # DCD985 – 3-speed all-metal transmission, heavy-duty 1/2″ metal ratcheting chuck with carbide inserts, 34,000 max blows per min, and LED light.
  • 6-½” Circular Saw #DCS391 – 3700 RPM motor, magnesium shoe, and 50 degree bevel.
  • Reciprocating Saw #DCS380 – 4-Position Blade Clamp, 1-1/8″ stroke length, variable speed trigger with 0-3000 spm, and pivoting adjustable shoe.

The DCK592L2 kit a very good contractor grade 5-tool kit. The circular saw, impact driver and hammerdrill are all very good quality and offer PRO grade performance. The reciprocating saw performed well in our tests but doesn’t appear to offer the PRO grade fit and finish as some of the other brands “premium products”. The adjustable shoe seemed too loose and wobbly to be effective in extreme conditions.

The highlight of this kit is the combination of the ¼” Impact Driver and the ½” Hammerdrill. Both tools have great fit and finish and definitely earn the PRO label. While the impact driver performs very well, it doesn’t offer some of the features on the new XR models (most notably 3-speed selection). The hammerdrill offers a metal 3-speed transmission making it an extremely versatile and useful tool on any job site. The entire hammerdrill has the fit and finish of a heavy duty commercial product.

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This kit does come with a very good quality, large, over the shoulder canvas storage bag. The bag has plenty of room for all the tools and a few accessories.

This kit does offer a decent value priced at $548. However, because the kit comes with only 3.0 Ah batteries you’ll want to consider that when comparing the price of the other kits and their larger batteries.

Overall we’d give this kit 4.5 out of 5 stars. The majority of the tools are heavy duty with very good fit and finish. This kit would likely score a bit better if it included larger 4.0 or 5.0 Ah battery packs.

Hitachi 18 Volt Lithium Ion [Purchased Separately] Combo Tool Kit

No Model # – $497

Lifetime Lithium Ion Tool Warranty, 5-Year Limited Warranty (Flash light)

Hitachi offers a wide range of professional grade tools to contractors and commercial construction professionals. In the cordless realm Hitachi has been offering contractor grade tools with premium, but affordable options, like brushless motors, and nice to have high end features. Their lithium ion tools deliver professional grade power and run time, in a job-site ready package, at an affordable price.

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The Hitachi tools evaluated for the kit included a drill/driver, impact driver, circular saw, recip, and flash light

  • DS18DSDL Drill/Driver – Adjusts from 90° to 45°, weighs 4.6 pounds, 22-position clutch, LED light, 814 in-lbs. of torque and up to 1600 RPM.
  • WH18DSAL Impact Driver – No-load speed up to 2,600 RPM & a 3,200 BPM impact rate, 1280 in/lbs of driving torque, quick change 1/4″ hex chuck.
  • C18DSL Circular Saw – 6 1⁄2 inch blade diameter, 50 Degree bevel capacity, Depth of cut @ 45 degrees = 1.56 inches, Depth of Cut @ 90 degrees = 2 1⁄4 inches.
  • CR18DSLP4 Reciprocating Saw – No-load speed of 2,100-SPM with a 1-1/8-Inch stroke length. Tool less blade change and reversible blade insert, indicator light warns when the run time is low.
  • UB18DAL Flash Light – Low-power setting uses 14.4-volts, the more powerful setting uses 18-volts, outdated use of incandescent bulb, swivel head.

This kit is a good fit for the serious Do-It-Yourself homeowner or a contractor starting their career on a budget. We found it to have decent power and runtime but ultimately our testing found these tools to be best suited for medium duty tasks. Although Hitachi does offer some premium features in some of their models, many cost cutting choices are obvious in their tools as well, but these choices are enthusiastically reflected in the price.

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These tools are bare bones, rugged, and affordable.  The WH18DSAL Impact Driver is light and powerful, the saws, theC18DSL and CR18DSLP4,  in this make shift kit are not the top of the line but certainly perform well enough for the professional job-site. The batteries are only 3.0 Ah but charge in 45 minutes. Hitachi is currently no longer offering combination kits greater than two tools, but because of Hitachi’s aggressive affordability, even purchasing these tools separately the grand total is under $500.

Overall we give this kit a 3.5 out of 5 stars for an affordable, professional grade set of tools. The lack of available kits, and therefore intentional storage options, at this time, coupled with medium duty tools, keeps the overall score down. These Hitachi tools can definitely score higher with a comprehensive kit, including storage, and upgrading some tools/features like the outdated incandescent bulb flashlight. Hitachi does offer a very good warranty program with a Limited Lifetime Warranty on each of the tools we tested except the light.

Makita 18-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Tool [Purchased Individually] 5-Piece Kit

No Model # – $704

3 Year Limited Warranty (Tool), 1 Year Limited Warranty (Battery)

Heavy Duty, Brushless, a 18V x2 36-Volt tool, LEDs, and 4.0 Ah Batteries. This Makita kit has it all, except you have to buy each tool solo to put this combo kit all together. This is definitely a premium kit, at a premium price.

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Includes: LED Flashlight, Impact Driver, Hammer Drill/Driver, Recip Saw, Circular Saw and (4) 4.0Ah Batteries.

Makita Tools is a titan in the commercial construction field, and continues to innovate and perform as benchmark for professional grade tools. As of late Makita has been releasing premium tools in many diverse categories that have been easily considered by many as the best in their class. But perhaps most relevant to this head to head is Makita’s lighting fast charge times for both their 3.0Ah and new 4.0Ah 18-Volt batteries, 30 minutes and 40 minutes respectively.

In lieu of their 4-Piece 18-Volt Combination Kit with the ability to purchase an individual tool Makita took advantage of their premium line of drills, flashlight, and 18V x2 36-Volt circular saw to create this very impressive piece meal kit. But overall this approach lacks storage and overwhelms you with the complexity of purchasing single tools, bare tools, and batteries separately. Even then you have no bag for all your loot. But here’s what you do get.

  • Impact Driver #LXDT06Z – 1,500 in-lbs of torque, 3-speed Brushless Motor, with a compact design at 5-1/8″ long
  • Hammer Drill #XPH07M – 1,090 in-lbs of torque, Brushless motor with Hammer function adding 0 – 31,500 Beats per Minute for fast masonry drilling.
  • LED Flashlight #LXLM03 – Upt to 22 hours of 240 Lumens from 12 LED lights on a single 18-Volt battery. Features two modes and convenient hook and/or strap to get light where you need it.
  • Recip Saw #XRJ02Z – 0 – 2,900 strokes per minute and 1-1/8″ stroke length. Rafter hook, LED lights, and two finger variable speed trigger
  • Circular Saw #XSH01Z – 2 18-Volt LXT Lithium Ion Batteries makes this a 36-Volt tool. 4,800 RPMs, weighs only 10.1 lbs, and features LED battery and temperature indicator lights.

The old adage that “you get what you pay for” really rings true with these tools. Makita delivers premium brushless drills, one of the best work lights I’ve ever used, and two heavy duty cordless saws that make you forget you aren’t plugged in. Between the high end features, speed, and power of the recip saw and the 36V power of the circular saw this kit’s saws are definitely contenders for best in class.

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This kit is a tough comparison to the rest of the field though, high quality tools, but the piecemeal nature of this 5-piece kit collaboration makes for an extremely high price tag. Of course Makita does boast an industry leading charge time, and top quality professional tools, but without the combination kit this option suffers with no adequate storage solution, and the complexity of maximizing kits and bare tools to get the right amount of batteries and chargers.

With DEWALT and Milwaukee boasting premium tool kits, we wouldn’t be surprised if Makita updates their combination kit offerings to contend with it’s yellow and red competitors. Until then, this tool combination is definitely a tough sell for those on a budget.

Overall we gave this kit a 4 out of 5 stars for it’s top quality tools, innovative 36-volt circular saw, and super fast 4.0 Ah batteries. This kit could easily score higher if it was a true kit, with a kit price, and some storage.

Milwaukee FUEL Brushless 4-Piece [Circular Saw Purchase Separately] Combo Kit

Model #2796-24 – $649 Added Circular Saw Model #2730-20 – $200

5 Year Limited Warranty (Tool), 3 Year Limited Warranty (Battery)

Milwaukee Tools has put a significant emphasis on developing and promoting their premium FUEL tool line. Between their 12-Volt and 18-Volt lines, Milwaukee ensures that the label FUEL translates into best in class performance. The M18 FUEL brushless combination kit, showcases the latest technology and design all in one package. We evaluated the Milwaukee FUEL 2796-24 a 4 piece combo kit with the addition of the M18 FUEL circular saw 2730-20 to create a complete contractor kit.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

  • 27350-20 Compact LED light – at 8.5” tall, with a solid aluminum head, and a well designed small hook to fit any object under 1”
  • 26530-20 ¼” Hex Impact – Red Link Plus Electronic Intelligence for 3 modes of fastening capabilities, Compact and lightweight at 5 ½” and 3.6 lbs
  • 2604-20 ½” Hammer Drill/ Driver – With 725 lbs torque, 8.1” in length, 24 speed modes, includes Side Handle
  • 2720-20 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw – 1-⅛” stroke length, heavy duty rubber sleeve, keyless shoe, and keyless blade change, Quick Lok technology
  • 2730-20 6 ½” Circular Saw – 50 degree max bevel cut, Blade Guard and Shoe made of Magnesium, Integrated hook

Milwaukee backs each tool with a 5 year warranty, to give you the confidence to use those tools like the should be used. The complete set comes with LED Worklight, ½ “ Hammer Drill/Driver, Impact Driver, Reciprocating Saw, and we have added the 6 ½” Circular Saw to complete the kit. Each tool is designed with all the bells and whistles that are nice to have, with the power, runtime, and durability that comes with premium motors, electronics, and battery packs.

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All around Milwaukee has been investing in motor technology, electronics (both in the tools and batteries), and a significant emphasis on their battery pack technology, making them more resilient in the field and launching a 5.0 Ah pack. Milwaukee tools really do stand up to their tag line “Always Heavy Duty” but these advancements and features come at a price, which eventually ends up impacting the consumer.

The tools included in this kit define premium, everything is brushless with the exception of the work light and each brushless motor is designed specifically for each tool to ensure the optimization of the power and runtime to the tool. The impact features an electronic 3-speed adjustment, which is great when you need a lot of power for heavy duty tasks, and a lighter touch for more delicate work. The FUEL saws in this kit are top of the line with rafter hooks and built in LED lights to make your work go faster, safer, and easier.

The price of the kit is a whopping $849, certainly you get what you pay for with these tools, and Milwaukee does offer 4-piece kits that provide the user with a legitimate storage option. Although the 4-Piece Kit bag with the saw is very tight compared to some of the other brands reviewed. Overall we give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars for premium tools offered in a kit format, although this kit would be eligible for a perfect 5 out of 5 if the tools were more affordable.

Milwaukee M18 Cordless Lithium-Ion 4-Piece [Circular Saw Purchase Separately] Combo Kit

Model # 2696-24 – $429 Added Circular Saw Model 2630-20 – $119

5 Year Limited Warranty (Tool), 3 Year Limited Warranty (Battery)

Milwaukee Tool Company is well known for producing some of the best cordless tools on the market. Generally they’ve catered to the electrician and plumbing trades but they make some excellent tools for carpentry as well. Milwaukee has made a big impact with their premiere brushless FUEL line, but their brushed M18 line is a shining example of professional grade tools and compared to the cost of the other premium options out there, the M18 line is great choice for almost all trades.

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Milwaukee’s M18 line tools we tested included 4-piece Combo Kit, drill/driver, impact driver, recip, and flashlight, with the addition, of the circular saw.

  • 2607-20 Compact ½” Hammer Drill – 1/2 in. metal single sleeve ratcheting chuck locking mechanism, LED light, 500 in-lbs of torque, mode selector which allows quick transition between driving, drilling or hammer modes without changing the clutch setting.
  • 2656-20 ¼” Hex Impact Driver – 1,500 in-lbs of torque, LED light, ¼” hex quick-connect chuck.
  • 2620-20 Sawzall Recip Saw – Patented gear-protecting clutch, Lever Action Quick-Lok blade clamp, variable speed trigger.
  • 2735-20 LED work light – Sealed aluminum head: designed for impact- and weather- resistant durability, 135 degree, rotating head, provides flexible, focused illumination, integrated hook for hands free use.
  • 2630-20 M18 Circular Saw – Heavy-duty magnesium guards, electronic brake, aircraft aluminum shoe, 50 degree maximum bevel capacity.

The circular saw performed well but, compared with the other tools in the kit it doesn’t quite have the power and runtime of the other tools. This makes it fine for plumbers and electricians for cutting some blocking or notching some framing, but might leave a carpenter, or framer frustrated. However, because the circular saw is a separate bare tool, you can upgrade it. For about eighty bucks more than you’d pay for the saw we’ve included in the kit you can get yourself a Fuel circular saw. Or depending on the trade a metal cutting circular saw (2682-20) or a band saw (2629-20) might be a better fit. If you do a lot of wood cutting and want a cordless saw with excellent performance the Fuel is a worthy upgrade. And in any case you can opt for a full kit with one or two more batteries, charger, and case or bag for the tool.

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The kit bag is good sized but only barely large enough to hold the 4-tool kit it comes with adding the circular saw makes the bag a little cramped for the tools. It’s a decent bag as far as those that come with kits go. But if you’re going to add to your cordless kit or want to carry a lot of accessories you’re going to need additional storage. With all 5 tools batteries and charger in the bag the whole kit weighs in at 29 lbs making it pretty manageable to carry to and from the jobsite.

The batteries that come with this kit are 3.0 amp hour which means a shorter run time. However it also means a shorter charge time. A couple of kits we tested come with 4.0 amp hour batteries (Milwaukee FUEL, and Ridgid) which is definitely something to consider when buying a cordless kit.

Our expectation was a solid all around cordless tool kit with good performance and that was exactly what we got. Overall we give this 3.75 out of 5 stars. While the kit is slightly more suitable for plumbers and electricians due to the setup of the Sawzall and the circular saw isn’t up to the new standard set by the Fuel circular saw the kit is easily tuned with the purchase of a Fuel saw to be a great kit for the carpenter. The tools in this kit may not be premium tools but they still get the job done better than most of what’s out there and for less money than the top-of-the-line tools.

Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool [Impact Driver Purchased Separately] Combo Kit

Model #PCCK614L4 – $229 Model #PCC642LA – $89

1 Year Limited Warranty

Porter Cable’s 20 Volt MAX line is aggressively geared towards the serious homeowner, DIYer, or pro-sumer. These cordless tools, as one of our crew members put it, “Should not be the first choice for professional contractors but should be high on the list for DIY-ers. This kit brings a wide range of tool options all with the convenience of being cordless at an UNBEATABLE price.” The PCCK614L4 includes a drill/driver, impact driver, circular saw, reciprocating saw, and flashlight.

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  • PCC601 1⁄2″ Drill/Driver – Variable speed ranges of 0-350-rpm and 0-1,500-rpm, Keyless 23- position chuck.
  • PCCK640LB Impact Driver – 0-2,900 RPM, 0-3,100 BPM, Easy-load chuck allows user to insert bit with 1 hand.
  • PCC660 Circular Saw – Lightweight, motor operates at 3,700 RPM’s, has a 6-1/2″ carbide tooth blade ( 2-1/8′ cutting capacity) and beveling shoe (50 degrees).
  • PCC670 Reciprocating Saw – Variable speed trigger controls the 0 to 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute), twist style – tool free blade release.
  • PCC700 Flash Light – contoured over molded handle, stands up on battery pack, features 4 LED bulbs (120 Lumens), pivoting head

The Porter Cable Kit was overwhelming seen as a DIY kit, but our crew appreciated the low price of entry. Furthermore the impact driver impressed the entire team, each time we drove a screw or ledger lock with the PCC642LA the user quickly lifted their head in surprise at how well it performed compared to the other tools in the kit.

Overall the kit delivers solid drills and an effective light but lacks powerful saws. The circular saw was flimsy and the blade was very difficult to install and change due to the low clearance between the arbor and guard/shoe. The reciprocating saw, which are notoriously underpowered in the cordless class, was too small and very underpowered for professional job site work.

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We gave this kit a 3.25 out of 5 stars for it’s quality drills, affordability, and accessible kit. Overall this is not a pro-grade tool kit, with the exception of the drill and impact drivers, but is a solid choice for a homeowner, with some upgrades to the saws in this kit, the PCCK614L4 and PCC642LA have the potential to score higher and be considered an entry level pro set.

Ridgid X4 18-Volt Hyper Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit (5-Tool)

Model #9651 – $499

Warranty is HUGE: With free registration, this tool is covered for life. FREE Batteries. FREE Parts. FREE Service. FOR LIFE

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Kit Includes: Work Light, Reciprocating Saw, Circular Saw, Impact Driver, Hammer / Drill Driver, (2) 4.0 Ah batteries and charger.

For years we’ve been saying that Ridgid is a hidden gem for contractors and PRO’s. Their 5 tool combo kit epitomizes that statement when you consider the quality of the tools compared to the overall price point. Combine that with one of the best warranties on the market and we feel this combo kit is definitely worth consideration for any contractor.

The Ridgid X4 18V Combo kit we evaluated includes five tools: LED work light, 6-½” circular saw, reciprocating saw, impact driver, compact hammer drill, charger, and two 4.0 Ah battery packs. The kit comes with a large canvas storage bag with ample room for all the tools.

  • LED Work Light #R8691 – Dual mode switches between spot light and area light and includes a retractable rafter hook.
  • 6-½” Circular Saw #R8651 – 5,000 RPM motor speed, 50 degree bevel capacity, trigger light, blower port for dust removal and electric brake.
  • Reciprocating Saw #R8641K – On/Off orbital action, adjustable tool-free shoe, ¾” stroke length, and grip light.
  • Impact Driver #R86034 – 1,750 in-lbs of torque, ¼” hex, removable belt hook, grip light, and one handed quick-load bit change.
  • Hammer Drill #R8611501 – Compact ½” hammer drill, 1/2 in. single sleeve ratcheting chuck carbide locking mechanism, grip light, 25600 blows per minute, mode selector which allows quick transition between driving, drilling or hammer modes without changing the clutch setting.

This kit may not be considered “premium” like some of the others, however Ridgid is certainly a contender for entry level Pros, medium duty use, or contractors looking for an affordable cordless kit option.

The impact driver and reciprocating saw were notable standouts among the five tools. The reciprocating saw is the only 18V cordless saw among the tools we tested that offers a switch to change from regular cutting motion to orbital motion. This feature opens the kit up to both carpenters and mechanical contractors.

This kit comes standard with two 4.0 Ah battery packs which adds to the overall value of this kit. Some of the other kits come with smaller batteries (Dewalt is (2) 3.0 Ah). The Ridgid battery packs also include a fuel gauge which is a nice added feature and the included charger only take 50 minutes for a full charge.

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When it comes to durability Editor Todd Fratzel feels the kit holds up very well. Both he and his crew have been using the X4 platform for over a year and the tools have performed very well. Out of all the tools in the kit the circular saw is the least “robust” with it’s lightweight shoe.

Overall we’d give this kit 4.5 out of 5 stars due to it’s value, warranty and overall performance.

 

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

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Best DIY Kit – Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool [Impact Driver Purchased Separately] Combo Kit

Model #PCCK614L4 – $229 Model #PCC642LA – $89

Porter Cable’s PCCK614 4-Tool Kit is genius for the homeowner and DIYer, unlike the other 4-tool combo kits we reviewed this kit lacks only an impact driver, which although makes driving any fastener much easier, your average homeowner doesn’t really need that power. So this kit can be purchased at the low price of $230, well below half the cost of the next most expensive kit in our review, and it provides the user with all the tools needed to execute most tasks.

The impact driver was the stand out for Porter Cable in the eyes of our crew, so if the extra $90 is feasible for you, we highly recommend adding the impact driver to the kit. Although the impact driver delivers professional quality performance, the rest of the kit doesn’t have the power and performance you need to bring these tools to a job-site.

Overall this kit delivers an extremely accessible kit, in regards to price, geared towards your homeowner and DIY audience. Pros could consider the impact driver to augment their tool arsenal or provide an affordable single task solution to their tool kits.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

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Best Plumber/Electrician Kit – Milwaukee M18 Lithium Ion Combo Kit

Model # 2696-24 – $429 Added Circular Saw Model 2630-20 – $119

The tools offered in this kit is a great option for an entry level trades person, reliable, powerful, affordable, and even gets you going with a large contractor bag. But we found the circular saw to be the difference maker for a framer  since it doesn’t quite have the power and runtime of the other tools, due to the heavy duty applications, like cutting sheet goods or engineered lumber.

The kit is fine as is, for plumbers and electricians for cutting some blocking or notching some framing. However, because the circular saw is a separate bare tool, you can upgrade it to the FUEL line if you are a carpenter, or what makes it perfect kit for the Plumber/Electrician is the option to augment the kit with trade specific tools like the metal cutting circular saw (2682-20) or a band saw (2629-20).

And of course since Milwaukee’s core users include plumbers and electricians you can count on the platform to cater to your needs with application specific plumbing and electrical tools that you can buy into as bare tools or add to your battery collection with additional kits. The low cost of entry.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

ComboKitTest_026

Best Framer/Carpenter Kit – DEWALT 20V MAX Premium Combo Kit

Model DCK592L2 – $548

DEWALT offers a set of tried and true cordless tools, with an exceptional storage solution for the framer. With an oversized over the shoulder strap framers love the ability to climb ladders and haul their gear up several flights, the bag is also large enough to slip your belt in with some additional accessories. Additionally, DEWALT has one of the best cordless saws and a name that contractors and carpenters trust.

The value of the kit is one of the main reasons it stands out among some other well known favorites of the carpenter breed. This quality kit features great tools, a solid battery platform, storage, and a price that makes it worth investing in the kit. DEWALT also offers a lot of options to upgrade the batteries for this kit, for example a 4.0 Ah battery for the circ saw or a 5.0 Ah battery for the recip. Perhaps the ultimate upgrade would include the 20V Max cordless AND gasless framing nailer, a unique offering from DEWALT.

Ultimately DEWALT takes this category for its focus on the carpenter, with its ergonomics, and crew favorite circular saw coupled with the reasonable cost of entry and potential upgrades.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

ComboKitTest_010

Best Customizable Platform – Bosch Lithium Ion 18V and L-Boxx System

No Model # – $737

Bosch offers a wide array of pro-grade cordless tools and batteries boasting serious run time, these tools paired with the innovative L-Boxx system allows users to build kits that satisfy their specific tooling and mobility needs. The ability to customize your kit with an integrated storage system is a pivotal part of Bosch’s focus for it’s users and the L-Boxx with it’s interconnectivity is a major upgrade from a stack of loose tool cases.

Bosch’s competitors are following their lead with systems similar to the L-Boxx, but are still well behind the slim, single action interlocking cases. The compatibility of these cases makes them the leader in this category, the major downside, well for Bosch at least, is the cases are compatible with any other tool and battery platform.

Bosch has made the right move here pushing their unique and very effective storage system with their cordless tools, keeping their users invested in the brand and the system. Even if you buy into the L-Boxx without running their cordless platform, the impressive inter-connectivity and efficiency of the system may lead you to re-consider Bosch as your go to tool brand.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

ComboKitTest_044

Largest Battery Platform – Makita 18-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Tool [Purchased Individually] 5-Piece Kit

No Model # – $704

When it comes down to Cordless Kits you are buying into platform more so than just buying a new tool. When it comes to battery technology Makita has a significant advantage with their lightning fast charge times. But more importantly this platform includes over 80 tools available, this is an easy call for largest battery platform. A great choice when you need a depth and diversity of tools.

When comparing 4.0 Ah Battery Packs, which for heavy duty use and professional level run-times, the current industry baseline, Makita mops up the competition with charge times. Being the clear winner in this category makes the platform much more efficient as you reduce down time, and reduce the time the battery is on the charger, which is critical since with this platform you could carry so many different tools.

Makita 4.0 Battery and 18V Platform

The Makita 4.0 Ah Battery charges 15 minutes faster than the next big name cordless competitor and just about half the time as the rest of the field. Taking advantage of their air cooled rapid chargers and a proprietary combination of lithium ion battery cells, Makita’s battery platform with well over 80 tools is the clear best in class for largest battery platform.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

ComboKitTest_084

Best Value & Entry Level Pro Kit – Ridgid X4 18-Volt Hyper Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit (5-Tool)

Model #9651 – $499

This category is a one two punch for Ridgid, their kit delivers high quality tools, with high end features, and a storage solution that works. All at a price that any professional looking to get their career started would be happy to pay. Because these aren’t bargain tools, they aren’t homeowner tools, they are professional grade tools. Perfect for a new professional as bare tools and additional kits usually fall below comparable professional grade tool brand price points.

The value, whether a pro or not is quite evident from our overview of the kit that we believe the value from Ridgid is unmatched. The Warranty is HUGE: With free registration, this tool is covered for life. FREE Batteries. FREE Parts. FREE Service. FOR LIFE. Tough to beat this kit with 4.0 Ah batteries, high end features, and heavy duty performance.

As we’ve said before, Ridgid is a hidden gem in the professional tool category, despite the up turned nose of many professional contractors, we see Ridgid on the job-site all the time, and more importantly when you ask the users what they think of the tools, we often hear great reviews. The tools are solid, the price is right, and warranty makes this kit well worth the accessible price for both pros and homeowners.

 

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head Results

Trust the pros and check out our recommendations for best in class and best kit for your specific needs:

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

 

Best in Class – Milwaukee FUEL Brushless 4-Piece [Circular Saw Purchase Separately] Combo Kit

Milwaukee’s FUEL line delivers premium quality tools and performance to users looking to invest in a cordless platform with the convenience of a comprehensive but flexible kit. Milwaukee’s investment in it’s FUEL line is showcased by it’s almost across the board dominance of cordless categories. The tools are professional grade, include high end features, and are ALL brushless, ensuring a long productive life for your tools.

The Milwaukee FUEL Brushless Kit stands out against other premium tool brands in our head to head primarily because Milwaukee is one of the few who offer their top of the line, premium, i.e. brushless tools in a kit. Our review focused on more than just tools and so when considering a kit, the whole package, including it’s availability, is important. Storage was another big discriminator, when reviewing 4 or 5 tools together, transporting them is important so having logical storage was key. Finally a kit takes the hassle out of establishing a new tool platform, you get the right amount of batteries and chargers in one shot, no need to decipher SKUs to get bare tools versus kits, it all done for you in a comprehensive kit.

So to win best in class, a true kit is necessary, but regardless of the kit, these Milwaukee FUEL tools are extremely impressive. FUEL is synonymous with sexy tools that deliver superior performance and run-time. This best in class category was a no brainer for our crew, Milwaukee’s FUEL Combination Kit was a standout during testing and it’s availability as a 4-piece kit with the option to upgrade a saw to fit your needs made this true kit our best in class.

About the author

Philip Benevides

Phil is a 28-year old Air Force Veteran who decided to transform his passion for construction and home improvement into a career. Inspired by his Grandfather who built his home from the ground up with his bare hands in Portugal, he received his formal training in Carpentry at the North Bennett Street School in Boston, MA. Phil continues to grow his skills as a lead carpenter, managing job sites in and around Boston, and a Captain in the Air National Guard bettering himself as a leader. He loves exploring new building products and construction methods to solve job-site problems and reviewing tools for the pro-contractor and serious DIYer.

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11 Comments

  1. Bryndin

    Sorry but I disagree with the ridgid even with the warranty it’s brutal batteries suck and either are stuck in tool or won’t click in and if you take it back chances are the warranty is life time but they will hold on for ever in getting it fixed and back to you if it breaks just go but something else really.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Bryndin – I’ll have to disagree with your assessment. I use Ridgid cordless tools all the time, and my crew does as well, and they have performed very well. We’ve never had trouble with batteries getting stuck or not clicking into place. If you properly fill out the warranty there really isn’t an issue at all getting them replaced.

      1. Bret T

        I agree, although I own Milwaukee M-12 and M-18 lines, I’ve been purchasing Ridgid tools for my individual crew members who don’t take care of their tools . . . i.e. misplace and or trash them rapidly . . . I clean and where possible service my tools weekly, most of my men do not. That being said, I’ve used and watched Ridgid tools being used and abused. Rigid is a quality product and the value is truly outstanding. Are the Ridgid products as good as the M-12 and M-18 line???? Certainly they are not as extensive, not quite as powerful but they feel solid in ones hands, they do the job asked of them, albeit not quite as powerfully as the M18’s. If the Ridgid line were as extensive as the Milwaukee, if it updated and offered new selections of tools more frequently, there is no way I could justify buying M-18 line because of the $$ premium one has to pay for the Milwaukee line. The truth is, from my experience . . . Rigid, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Makita, and Bosch all offer tools that I could only dream of 20 years ago . . . . heck , , I’m not even sure I could dream of these tools 20 years ago they are all so good. For me, the most important determinant of tool line is “one battery for all tools” and extensive tool line. If I were starting from scratch . . . and I will be doing just that in a few months . . . It would be a very difficult decision on which line to build a foundation on.

        1. Todd Fratzel

          Bret – Couldn’t agree more. Ridgid is a hidden gem in our industry. Not many people realize, but Ridgid is owned by the same parent company that owns Milwaukee (TTI).

  2. Michael Frontera

    Great review guys! I know this was a tremendous amount of work. I am an electrician and have always been a DeWalt guy But Milwaukee as of late has really been killing it. I already have some M12 tools but I just can’t do another battery platform. I have already invested in about 9 or 10 DeWalt 20v max batteries. Thanks Guys!

  3. […] Milwaukee M18 Sawzall. It is replacing the previous model, the 2620, which we covered during the 18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head2Head article. The FUEL line and brushless tools in general get plenty of electronic ink around the tool world […]

  4. […] Milwaukee M18 Sawzall. It is replacing the previous model, the 2620, which we covered during the 18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head2Head article. The FUEL line and brushless tools in general get plenty of electronic ink around the tool world […]

  5. Aaron

    I’ve used rigid cordless tools for the last 11 years. My first set, including the hammer drill, impact and sawzall worked great and lasted 8 years. Since then I’ve been replacing tools one after another. If I could I would replace them all with the originals. Despite their weight and size they were by far the best I’ve ever owned. The new ones weigh less are more compact and break far too easy. Now I have to decide weather I go with the Milwaukee m18 fuel or the dewalt.

  6. Steve

    Just a comment about battery voltages. ALL the tools have 18-volt batteries. Some claim 20 volt, but that’s misleading. Li-Ion cells are all 3.6 volts. All the tools have 5 cells. 3.6 x 5 = 18 volts. Sure, after a full charge you might be about to read 20 volts with a meter, but that would be the case with any of the manufacturer’s batteries.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      You are correct Steve. Marketing mumbo jumbo!

    2. Erik Van Hofwegen II

      Spot on. Which is why the Dewalt line is name 20 volt Max. Kind of the opposite of misleading to one who uses most of their brain.

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