Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg Review

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M18 FUEL™ HOLE HAWG® 1/2″ Right Angle Drill Kit with QUIK-LOK™

Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2708-22
Price: $449
Power source: 18V Li-Ion
Motor size: Brushless Motor
Weight: 9 lbs
Cordless power tools continue to push the limits into larger tools that once were only available in corded versions. Milwaukee continues to expand it’s M18 FUEL lineup including their all new M18 FUEL Hole Hawg 1/2″ Right Angle Drill. Recognized as a must have tool for electricians, the Milwaukee Hole Hawg has been roughing-in houses for more than 40 years, and now it’s time to cut it’s cord! We’ve been using this new Hole Hawg for the past couple of months and want to share our thoughts and experience so far.

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.

Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg

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

Todd Fratzel using Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg

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.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hole Hawg 2708-22

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.

Hole Hawg Using Large Auger Bit

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.

Hole Hawg Handle

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!

Where To Buy

Milwaukee M18 Hole Hawg



About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. I’m looking at the V28 right angle drill vs the new V18 Fuel. My application is marine and torque is the objective as is battery life, as charging on board is done through power converters not a simple, always available wall plug.
    What can you tell me about torque comparison of the two. Same on battery.
    As an FYI it will be used with a special bit to power sail winches that at times require two hands and the leverage of a 16″ handle to manually turn under sail load. The 28V has been reviewed and used, but the ergo of the new 18 appear much better, plus weight and water resistance is being claimed.
    thank you

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Frank – I’m going to pass your question along to Milwaukee and see what they say. Stay tuned!

    2. Todd Fratzel

      Frank – Here’s what Milwaukee had to say:

      “In comparing the 0721-21 and the 2709-22 (Super Hawg), the RPM on these is practically the same (50 RPM difference) but the 2709 has more torque and it has the added benefit of FUEL technology – the POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor, REDLITHIUM™ XC5.0 battery and REDLINK™ Plus Intelligence Hardware and Software – to deliver unmatched performance, durability and run-time.

      They’ll also be better off with the M18 battery for two reasons: the 18V battery has gone through many generations and each one is better than the prior and we are leaders in lithium-ion technology. The second reason is that he can use those same batteries on any of our 18V tools on our M18 line, now consisting of over 125+ tools.

      We would recommend the 2709 with the new 9.0 HD battery.”

      I hope this helps.

  2. Matt McDonnell

    My only issue is that in cold weather applications it will not work. Maybe I have a dud. Was told this is a common issue. Today it’s plus 1 (celsius) and works off and on. Unfortunate that a tool this price can only be used half of the year(roughly)

    1. Todd Fratzel

      The key is not letting the batteries sit in that weather overnight. I know that posses a logistical problem, but we have that problem with all our large batteries…they have so much mass that they don’t warm up quick and then they don’t charge well.

      1. Matt McDonnell

        I don’t think it’s the batteries. Every other tools I have (milwaukee) works and all batteries. I think it has something to do with the thermal overload protection.

        1. Todd Fratzel

          What size battery are you using?

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