Festool has a new “Quadrive” 18V cordless hammer drill that they’ve been promoting as their “best drill ever.”
I reported briefly on the new Festool Quadrive hammer drill last month, in a post about several new Festool tools and accessories.
Festool is also launching an updated track saw, an updated router, updated guide rail accessories, a Bluetooth speaker tool box that launched overseas 2 years ago, and updated vacuum accessories.
I keep waiting for Festool PR to provide some context, as they’ve been promoting the drill on social media for weeks now, but there’s been nothing so far.
The big thing about this Festool 18V “Quadrive” hammer drill is that it has a 4-gear mechanism that offers drilling speeds up to 3600 RPM.
The max torque is… a meager 442.5 in-lbs. How utterly underwhelming.
Update/Correction 3/28: Festool USA advertises 442.5 in-lbs as the max driving torque, but they have additional torque (but not speed) specs on a technical data page: Max torque wood/steel: 442.5 in-lb / 663.8 in-lb (50/75 Nm).
Retailer listings say that the Festool Quadrive offers:
the best gear change you have ever operated
From product photos, the gear change looks simple, but awkward. Are users going to be able to change gears while wearing gloves?
The drill features a brushless motor, anti-kickback tech, and a FastFix modular attachment interface.
The kit is priced at $549, including a Systainer 3 tool box, charger, and 2x 4Ah batteries.
As for the attachments, you get a drill chuck, right angle drill chuck, and a bit holder.
Festool says that the new TPC 18/4 hammer drill delivers “More torque compared to the previous model for greater rotational torque with 5/16 In. (8 mm) screws.”
Microprocessors monitor and control the temperature, voltage and current consumption of the motor, electronics and battery.
Just like every other brushless cordless drill on the market today?
No other cordless hammer drill offers this much variety!
Taking this at face value, perhaps not, but you can equip an even more versatile and capable kit for the same $549.
How important is variety if a cordless drill lacks the muscle for higher torque applications?
Here’s how they describe the 3 different speed ranges:
- 1st gear: Demanding tightening of screws up to 3/8″ (10 mm)
- 2nd gear: Quick screwdriving up to 5/16″ x 11-13/32″ (8 x 300 mm) in size
- 3rd gear: Powerful drilling with auger bits of up to 3/4″ (20 mm)
- 4th gear: Quick drilling with medium and small drill bits up to 1-3/8″ (35 mm), for example Forstner drill bits.
The first gear is going to be high torque mode, and the fourth gear is going to be the high speed mode. The other gear settings are somewhere in the middle.
Most cordless drills do their best larger-diameter spade bit and auger drilling at lower torque modes. More powerful cordless drills can perform well at higher speeds as well, but lower powered drills usually falter.
Faster drill speeds are often used for smaller diameter drill bits, not “auger bits up to 3/4-inch.” 3600 RPM also exceeds the recommended speeds for larger drilling accessories.
You don’t need a lot of power for drilling through OSB or single sheets of plywood, but it takes a lot more power to drill solid wood, steel, and masonry materials, especially at higher speeds.
We are confident that this is the best drill that Festool has ever built!
That may be, but while this might be Festool’s best cordless drill, it doesn’t look very competitive.
The Quadrive feature is the main feature, but it looks awkward to use – at the least for glove-wearers – and it seems compromised from the start with limited power.
Festool makes some great tools, but this looks to be solely aimed at Festool 18V loyalists that don’t want to have to buy into another brand’s cordless system.
I keep waiting for something to change my mind.
One more thing – where’s the adjustable torque clutch?! Festool tools are often aimed at cabinetry, carpentry, and fine woodworking applications, right? So how do you adjust the torque for when you want to drive fasteners to repeatable depths? There’s usually a small dial somewhere, but where is it in this drill?
Update 3/28: It seems that there is a clutch dial located at the rear of the handle, close to the battery connection.
I usually recognize the utility of Festool products, and have purchased some of their problem-solving and frustration-easing tools and accessories. But here, I fail to see the appeal of this new Festool Quadrive hammer drill.
Maybe the problem is that I cannot see who could benefit from this drill, aside from users exclusively committed to Festool’s limited 18V cordless power tool system exclusively.
Would you use this? Why might you choose this over all of the other cordless drills currently on the market today?
Price: $549 for the Kit (576778)