Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg Review
M18 FUEL™ HOLE HAWG® 1/2″ Right Angle Drill Kit with QUIK-LOK™
Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg
Model number: 2708-22
Power source: 18V Li-Ion
Motor size: Brushless Motor
Weight: 9 lbs
Milwaukee offers two versions of this drill. We tested the model with QUIK-LOK™ chuck system but they also offer a model with a standard 1/2″ chuck system.
M18 Hole Hawg Features and Specifications
- POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor – Provides constant power under heavy load to complete holes faster than corded drills.
- REDLINK PLUS™ Intelligence – Ensures optimal performance and overload protection to prevent damage to the tool or battery during heavy applications.
- REDLITHIUM™ Battery Pack – 4.0 Ah battery pack (kit comes with 2 battery packs) with new upgrades including electronics coating to protect against water and condensation, shock responsive separators, and a water protection barrier to redirect water.
- QUIK-LOK™ Chuck: For keyless, one-handed bit changes. Accepts most 7/16″ hex flat or groove shank bits.
- Capacity in Wood: Auger Bits; Up to 1-1/4″ and Self-Feed Bits; Up to 2″
- Warranty: Tool = 5 years, Battery = 3 years
- Charger: M18 and M12 Multi Voltage Charger
- Canvas Storage Bag
Speed and Power – No Need for A Power Cord
When I first saw this new tool at the Milwaukee Media Event last Summer I was a bit skeptical until I had a chance to test it side-by-side with the Milwaukee corded version. At the Media Event we tested them against each other and the M18 cordless Hole Hawg consistently beat it’s corded brother in speed even when drilling through multiple layers of framing lumber.
I also has the opportunity over the last couple of months to get some hands on time with this new tool while wiring a finished basement project I have going on at home. The project consists of approximately 2,000 sq feet of new walls, electrical and plumbing so the project gave me ample time to test the Hole Hawg’s performance and run time.
The M18 FUEL Hole Hawg easily drills through framing lumber including engineered beams. I was able to drill 7/8″ auger bits through multiple studs (in one situation 5 studs with a 18″ long bit) with ease and no signs of the tool straining to finish the task. It’s hard to imagine a cordless tool performing these type of drilling tasks with ease but the M18 Hole Hawg powers through as if it had an invisible cord attached!
I was very impressed with the run time of the 4.0 Ah XC battery packs. With both battery packs fully charged I was able to do the entire rough-in of the 2,000 sf space with 2 bars of power still left in the 2nd battery pack. I didn’t count the individual holes but based on the length of the walls on the project I’d estimate somewhere between 250 and 350 holes in total. The holes were drilled in mostly spruce framing lumber, and some holes were drilled in engineered joist webs and LVL beams. While a majority of the holes were in single framing members, 20% or so were made in multiple laminated members.
For those that argue they will be charging batteries all day I’d say you’re likely wrong. This kit ships with two 4.0 Ah battery packs. If you have one battery on the charger while drilling holes it will be fully charged long before you’ve drilled enough holes to drain the other battery pack. Furthermore, if you upgrade to one of the new 5.0 Ah battery packs you’ll be able to drill even longer between charges. From my experience it’s unlikely someone will drain more than two battery packs during a full days work.
For my evaluation I used a combination of Milwaukee 7/8″ x 6-1/2″ and 7/8″ x 18″ auger bits.
Ergonomics – No Arm Twisting
While the power and performance of the new M18 FUEL Hole Hawg is certainly impressive I feel the ergonomics of this new drill is just as impressive. Traditional Hole Hawg drills were heavy and extremely strong and always had the potential to twist your arm off if you were not extremely careful. The new M18 cordless version is very different in this sense as it doesn’t produce the extreme reactionary torque of it’s predecessor.
I’m not going to suggest or even condone using the M18 FUEL Hole Hawg with one hand but I can tell you from experience that it’s possible! When you combine the lack of reactionary torque with the unique top handle design you get a very comfortable drill to use. The compact size of the drill and handle make it smaller and easier to get into tight spaces compared to it’s older brother. The new M18 version is almost 3 lbs lighter than the corded versions which equates to almost 25% weight to carry around all day.
The bottom line is the new M18 FUEL Hole Hawg is lighter, more compact, and more comfortable to use than corded versions and it has the power to get the job done.
Overall Impression | Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hole Hawg
Cordless drills continue to evolve with greater power and ergonomics to further expand into tasks I never though possible. The new Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hole Hawg is very impressive and every bit as powerful as it’s corded predecessor. This tool is lighter, more compact, faster, and best of all completely free of a power cord! This is a must have tool for electricians that want to finally free themselves of the hassles of dragging a power cord around the job. Priced just under $450 for a kit including two batteries and a contractors bag we feel it’s a solid value.
It’s very important to note that this Hole Hawg is designed for small to medium size bits and NOT large bits that plumbers and HVAC contractors would use. Milwaukee tells us another version will be released soon that’s specifically designed for larger bits so if you’re in the HVAC trades you’ll need to wait a bit longer.
I would have scored this a perfect 5 star rating if the kit included the new 5.0 Ah battery packs. The larger capacity packs would have been a great fit for the high power demand that the Hole Hawg requires and we hope to see Milwaukee include them in the future. As I said, if you’re an electrician this is an absolute must have, you won’t be disappointed!
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