The Festool TID 18 cordless impact driver is one of the most unremarkable tools I have ever used. That said, I parted with my TID 18 test sample today, and I miss it already.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have been working to tidy up my workshop, and part of this process involves offloading older test samples.
The local high school woodshop was in need of impact drivers, and so I added the Festool 18V TID 18 to the list.
I first wrote about the Festool TID 18 nearly two years ago, after putting it through some early testing.
Although far from being the best of the best, the TID 18 is a highly capable machine. It’s comfortable to hold, reasonably powerful, and easy to use.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the TID 18.
It has rubber bumpers to protect delicate surfaces when you set the tool down, the 1/4″ hex chuck works exactly as it should, and the LED light is basic but adequately bright.
The battery interface is a pleasure to use, though, with the insertion and removal action being far smoother than most other brands’ cordless battery interfaces.
The TID 18 can drive in construction fasteners with ease, and its speed and torque settings slowed things down for use with smaller fasteners. I generally use impact drivers with fasteners up to around 5/16″ x 4″.
2 years ago, when I first reviewed the TID 18, I was stuck. Who is this for? Festool 18V cordless power tool users? It wasn’t an exceptional performer, but neither was it disappointing.
I’ve made an effort to grab the TID 18 on occasion, but after all this time, I still feel no better or worse about it, which is odd.
I gave the driver a whirl before packing it up for donation, and that’s when I knew I would miss it.
This past September, Festool ran a product tester search on social media, where they were looking for people to review this impact driver. It seems to me that Festool has been really trying to go after the general contractor crowd.
Maybe it can survive rough handling by tradesmen, but I don’t get the same “drop it off a ladder and it’ll be okay” vibe from the Festool TID 18 as I do from other brands’ impacts. I wasn’t willing to put my lone sample on the line to test this.
I sometimes use cordless drills and drivers to gently nudge things. With this impact, I’d stop everything to grab a hammer.
It has average specs on paper (1593 in-lbs), a brushless motor, and speed controls. The kit comes with 2x 3.1Ah batteries, a charger, and a Systainer3 tool box.
As an aside and annoyance, this comes with a Systainer3, but Festool still bundles some of their pricier tools and equipment – such as their vacuum clamps with clunky classic Systainers. Why?!
The TID 18 isn’t fancy, it’s not a top-performer, and it doesn’t have many bells and whistles. It’s compact, although not by modern benchmarks.
It’s perfectly unexceptional, and there’s a sort of elegance in that. I usually like for tools that blend into the background, and it’s rare for this to be the case with cordless power tools.
There’s no “gotcha” here. No obvious compromises. It’s as if Festool upper management decided one day that their 18V lineup needs an unobtrusive impact driver.
The lack of selection is also refreshing. There’s no single-speed impact (at least not that I know of), no higher-voltage model, no fancy 12-mode premium flagship model that is updated every other year, and no holiday season “special buy” with lesser features and lower capacity batteries.
Festool has the TID 18, and that’s it, at least for USA shoppers – I try not to look at international offerings too often, lest I be disappointed, but please correct me if I’m wrong.
Because of all this, the TID 18’s simplicity belies the complexity behind its existence. Or, maybe I’m overthinking things.
It’s strange that I feel I miss this particular impact driver. It wasn’t particularly convenient, as I rarely use Festool cordless power tools (and never for personal use), and it’s far from being my favorite. But, it was reliable and unobtrusive.
The modes are easy to navigate – there are 3 speed/torque settings and a self-tapping screw mode. I never had to whip out an online model to decipher what the different settings mean.
I bet I would like this a lot more if Festool 18V tools were a regular part of my work, or at least I bet would rely on it a lot more.
Maybe this all answers the who is this for? question for me.
Perhaps the Festool TID 18 is best for Festool 18V cordless power tool users looking for a comfortable, easy to use, reasonably powerful, reliable, consistent, and completely unobtrusive impact driving experience.
There are few reasons why Festool 18V tool users might seek a cordless impact driver outside of the Festool 18V ecosystem, except perhaps if pricing is a factor. At $349 for the 2-battery kit, this is not an inexpensive option.
But, are there any reasons why someone might want to buy into Festool’s 18V cordless system just for this tool? I don’t think so.
That all said, it was a pleasure to use the times I occasionally dug it out. It was generally comfortable enough, compact enough, and powerful enough. I didn’t find any legitimate reasons to be concerned about durability (although I did baby it a bit), and I took the exceptional smoothness of the tool-battery interface to be a sign of high manufacturing tolerances.
I don’t regret parting with this sample, as it’s more convenient for me to stick to a limited number of brands when it comes to project work. I do regret holding onto it for so long, but I kept hoping for greater clarity.
That clarity never came, and here I am trying to make sense of a tool that was only exceptional for how boring it is.
“Boring” and “simple” is actually very atypical for Festool. Some Festool tools are so complex to use that some have user manuals and also additional supplemental manuals. The TID 18 is the rare Festool tool you can just pick up and use.
If I ever buy into Festool’s 18V cordless power tool system, something I really don’t see myself doing anytime soon, I might strongly considering adding a TID 18 to my kit.
Festool has always struck me as a brand for people who enjoy the Kool Aid. I have one buddy who bellows praises for his vacuum system and I have to wonder if he is unreasonably impressed with it based on how incredibly much he spent for it. And while I admittedly haven’t used any of the tools, they look cheap in the pictures, which makes the premium pricing seem even worse.
Their dust extractors are absolutely excellent, as are some of their other tools.
Some Festool owners do try to constantly justify their purchases, just as many naysayers refuse to keep an open mind.
Well said, Stuart.
The closed-minded festool haters are equally as irritating as the green kool-aid addicts.
I have the new TS 55 FEQ and love it, and in the past I had a domino 500, and still regret selling it. A CT Midi will be my next festool purchase, followed by one of their sanders (still deciding on that one). Festool’s cordless line I don’t really have any interest in.
I’ve been using a variety of power tools probably starting in the late 1950’s. I reserve words like “love” mostly for family members not tools. Over the years I’ve been appreciative of the work that I have been able to accomplish with a variety of brands. In woodworking, I once really liked the offerings from Porter Cable – but they have nothing new that I would buy today. I’ve bought 2 Festool items – a TS55REQ and a Domino 700 – and like both of them – but think that there are other track saws that now offer better bang for the buck. My painter runs 4 crews and has Festool sanders and dust extractors in each of his trucks. I’ve never seen him use any other Festool tools. If I were in the market for new sanders – Festool would certainly be on my list – but as it is my old PC sanders, newer Bosch Sanders and newer Mirka-Ceros sander have me well covered. My take on things is to not become so enamored of one tool brand so as to exclude the thought that some other brand might not offer some advantage – or that what I find useful may be different than some other user.
Years ago, I got the Festool Pro 5 LTD sander on the promotion. It was nice, after pairing it with the CT15 dust extractor last fall to re-do the drywall in a small room I’m sold on the sander and dust extractor combo. I initially tried it with a 1.5hp ridgid and the dust was visible in the air. I’m not really interested in the rest.
I have a few Fein dust extractors of different vintages. I haven’t compared them to Festool – but compared to old Craftsman and Ridgid shop vacuum cleaners it’s like night and day. I think that many shop vacuums are great at sucking up the dust and debris – but not all of them have filters that can keep their exhaust air clean – so you end up spewing a lot of fine particles back into the air
You just riled up a lot of Milwaukee fans.
I have quite a number of Milwaukee M12 and M18 tools – plus many of their corded tools dating back to the 1970’s or “80’s. Some of my favorite cordless tools include a M12 2401-20 and at the other end of the spectrum a 2765-20. But I also own many other cordless tools from both Milwaukee and Makita, plus a few from Bosch, Metabo. Metabo HPT and Ryobi. I have some older Dewalt corded tools – but never jumped into their cordless – as I didn’t want another battery platform. The same was true for Festool, Ridgid and other cordless brands – where nothing they offered piqued my interest enough to invest in yet another battery platform.
As festool owner I would say it’s garbage, looks cheap and not realible and way overpriced. The good thinks it’s integrated. That’s it.
I always had disdain for Festool tools, I hate price control / manipulation. I wanted to buy their track saw for years and didn’t, I absolutely refused. Then a couple of very nice people bought me the cordless track saw, tracks, Domino, Router, Miter Saw, etc and it was love at first use. The first time I cut a finished panel chip free and perfectly straight, pure heaven. They are expensive, others can argue if they are worth it, for me the answer is, I wished I would have bought them sooner. I have been buying and using tools as a contractor / furniture & cabinet maker for 45+ years and there are a lot of great products out there, Festool is Festool, not everything is perfect, but always darn good, the best or close to it.
I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can afford a Festool product even for occasional home use. The interesting thing for me is that in my day job I’m a licensed professional so have only limited time to use power tools for anything – I’m far less skilled at woodworking and carpentry than most of the commenters here but the Festool products I have enable me to do at least average work when I don’t make as good a work product with other tools. After 10-11 years I still enjoy using them and their per-year cost goes down with time, and their sanders are light years different from their competitors and the dust control system is spectacular. Having said all this, I understand why so many people are turned off by the cultish adulation so many people have for Festool – it’s good but it’s not magical!
Festool is solidly nice.
Even though I has lots of various Milwaukee drills and impacts it wasn’t until I got the M12 Fuel Surge that I stopped using my 12v Festool thing. And the Milwaukee equivalent that they call a cabinet installer is nothing compared to that either.
Koko The Talking Ape
You mean the Milwaukee cabinet installer is nothing compared to… the Festool? Or to the M12 Surge?
Both, but the cabinet installer is clearly a direct competitor to the Festool (both have four attachments including an offset one, etc).
But the M12 Surge does almost everything I need in one tool, so it’s the once I usually grab. Before, I would grab the Festool.
The cabinet shop I work in got a couple of those m12 drivers with the multiple heads meant to compete with the festool. Been using them for a few weeks now, mostly installing drawer slides and hinges, some light drilling. They are nice but hands down i prefer my festool csx for the same work. Smoother and more control. Also whoever put the forward and reverse button on top of the m12 instead of near the trigger should be fired. The m12 is nice and we have a ton of their batteries in the shop. Been making myself grab it to get used to it, but think i am already done trying and will leave it in the drawer personally.
I hate the position of the forward/reverse buttons on the M12 driver too, but another reader here on Toolguyd suggested the solution. Hold it like a drywall screw gun, not like a traditional drill. Now your thumb easily reaches the buttons.
Festool has always been like Hilti to me. The build quality seems very solid. What’s actually inside is kind of middle of the road. Probably fine, but just not for me.
I somewhat feel the same? I find that Festool and Hilti tend to have such major fanaticism attached to them, more as a status symbol for ownership, than for their actual functions being superior to other brands.
If we go by quality alone, build, performance, quality control, I find their tools are wildly inconsistent. They don’t make a lot of tools, so this is weird. This is, of course, only true of Festool, Hilti actually has a wider scope that spans along the lines of DeWALT or Milwaukee, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Festool has a couple “Legendary” level quality tools, a handful of “Well, they have one” tools, and one or two “Well, that’s… a thing…” tools. Mention the “Domino” to most Festool users, and you’ll get a reaction like you own 20 pitbulls, who all know it’s either dinner time, or it’s time to go for a walk. It’s wild, and remarkably strong how much the Festool Domino series and their Dust Collection/Vacuum systems get the attention and fanfare as “Best in the Industry” level or “Legendary” levels of quality. There is no denying those two tool lines are certainly high enough quality to justify their price.
Then you get every other Festool/Systainer product, and Hilti. Hilti,I will give credit where credit is due. They are right along side DeWALT and Milwaukee when it comes to quality, and durability. They are, for all intents and purposes, a company that produces a great number of tools, many of which are not offered by either DeWALT or Milwaukee, because Hilti is a European brand, with many of their tools designed for the European market, with European building standards and techniques in mind. There is nothing wrong with this, as that makes them a very good tool company. Where this goes astray, is exactly where the rest of the Festool/Systainer lineup goes astray. Those who own them have paid a premium to have them in North America, or outside of Europe. The expectation is that A) They will naturally outperform the designed-for-the-foreign-market brands used around the world, such as DeWALT, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Etc. In reality, Hilti performs pretty identically to the top-tier DeWALT and Milwaukee, and that is a very high standard to hold to. But the added price on Hilti really only covers the Import fees, it doesn’t mean higher quality.
Flip that sentiment over to Festool/Systainer, and… They regularly underperform next to the top tier DeWALT and Milwaukee products, and where the tool exists in Makita, Metabo/HPT, and Bosch tools, but not DeWALT or Milwaukee. Their Systainer system is not any better, or worse, than the DeWALT TSTAK system, and it regularly is over-rated for durability compared to the Milwaukee Packout, and DeWALT ToughSystem containers. Yet they still demand a significantly higher pricepoint than these superior products. Festool deserves the fan service for their Domino and Dust Collection/Vacuum systems, of course. But, that’s where the parity with other brands for price point ends. They’re more expensive for very good reason, but only there.
The rabid fans of any brand, and I have been guilty of this myself for DeWALT and Dremel, is entirely undeserved. I have had to learn enough perspective to respect other brands for their own merits. And where they’re due, they get my respect. Something is just… Off? Strange? about just how rabid Festool and Hilti fans (and to some degree Milwaukee as well, from time to time.) tend to demand that all people should have unconditional respect for their brand. I’m sorry, I just don’t see that kind of blind loyalty being earned over the Domino series, some Dust Collector/Vacuums, and an imported brand that can be swapped out 1:1 with either DeWALT or Milwaukee equivalents for significantly less. Remember, the phrase is “Credit Where Credit is Due” not “Credit Where The Most Money Was Spent.”
And remember… Think of this when you might be drawn to a company due to the amount of money you have invested: If Investment Price dictates respect and quality of work… Why don’t you see more Bentley and Rolls Royce models parked at Construction sites? Is it because these extremely high end vehicles are an investment you have to protect by not bringing them there to work? Or perhaps it’s because, regardless of the job that has to be done, the appropriate tool or vehicle is priced appropriately to how well it fits the job on a daily basis, not whether you had to invest more to own it.
Some of the pickup trucks you see at a construction site may cost more than a Bentley …
Festool’s cordless line up always seemed like an after thought to me on their part. Something they could sell in addition to the other tools they make really well, to keep users in the brand. When you think of track saws and dust collectors. Festool is usually regarded as the best. They are the only game in town for dominos at least for the next couple years.
But when a person thinks about drill/drivers, impacts, or cordless in general. Festool is no where in the conversation. Big Box stores don’t carry them. Their variety in their platform is limited for the trades. And the price puts it out of the reach of most DIY’ers.
So this review doesn’t surprise me. To me it was a given that it was going to be a well made and serviceable tool, but nothing to make the big three worry about. Especially at those prices.
I agree. I think their real niche is the dust collection, sanders, and specialty tools like track saws. But most of their cordless line doesn’t seem like it’s anything special. This impact driver seems like another me-too sort of tool, just another SKU to pad out the catalog.
Festool is great for people who haven’t used tools since Makita 7.2 cordless. Modern cordless tools, are a joy to use, and get so much done they are at least equal to corded tools, the edge goes to the convenience and mobility of cordless. I have bought underwhelming tools, but not anymore, Festool never appealed to me, they always seem to be specking a 10 year old tool, and look like lazy industrial design.
Are you talking about ALL their tools, or just the cordless line? I haven’t used any of their cordless stuff, because I have cordless stuff that I like just fine for half the price. I have used a LOT of Festool corded dust collectors, sanders, jigsaws, and tracksaws and in each case I felt like they were about as good as it gets. Worth the price? Well, that’s harder to judge. For their sander/dust collector combos I say yes they’re worth it. For the rest, they do seem rather overpriced, but I have very few user complaints about anything Festool I’ve actually used.
How is the rest of the tidy up coming along?
2 steps forward, 1 step back, which I guess is good.
I’m not done, but I’ll soon be able to shift to “gradual progress” mode.
Any progress is good. Your updates are a good reminder for me to stay motivated on my own clean up, even if it is just a little bit each week.
I have had 4 makita impact drivers that have all died different ways one was resurrected by makita after a fight with them over warranty
decided to try festool as my 2nd makita multitool also bit the dust along with the terrible jigsaw they had needing 2 buttons pressed just to turn the thing on
anyway have bought the jigsaw which I feel is better than the mafel p1 which I also have biggest letdown of my life that was then multi tool and the tid18 which I managed to break the hammer mechanism through the casing
it was repaired no problem and to no cost to me I have dropped it out of windows kicked it about back of the van it’s around a year old and looks 10 but keeps coming back for more my old makita was smaller and lighter but this one feels good in the hand and has took a beating so far
One thing that’s been left out of this conversation is “coolness”.. there are a few of us who “need” little more that “ homeowner “ quality tools but enjoy neat tools , even pretty ones that we have no use for and will seldom if ever use them . I for example would rather have fewer quality hi end tools than many of lesser.Its not to have the most shinny to show a neighbor either. Sometimes it fun to have cool tools just to play with. Mikey
That’s okay too, I guess, but there are far better “shelf queens” than this one.
If it had a high coolness factor, I wouldn’t have donated my test sample.
Given the other Festool products most people consider, they’d have to either pair it with a heavy saw battery or use a dedicated 3ah.
Charge them overnight, okay fine, but what’s the actual advantage over using a more versatile platform?
I have had the chance to use most Festool products over the years. I agree with the reviewer. The Festool drill/ drivers are generally poorly engineered. One model has a big hand guard on the handle that usually just gets in the way. The first brushless models they released, they match with ni-cad batteries. Ni-cads are not a good power match for brushless technology.
I’ve used a ton of corded Festool tools and been very pleased with them. I think their sanders and dust collectors are the best on the market. Same for their track saws, although I haven’t used too many other brands to compare. I’ve never used any of their cordless stuff, not sure I’ve ever seen anyone using them. I just never saw anything that would justify the price and another battery system over my DeWalt/Milwaukee standbys for drills, drivers, circular saws, jig saws, etc. Much greater variety of options in one of the big systems, plenty of good tools.
I also had to laugh at you using your impact to “gently nudge things!” I was whacking some parts into alignment earlier today with my poor old DeWalt impact driver and thought, “I should really grab my hammer for this.” But I didn’t, sorry DeWalt.
I’m glad to amuse!
I’m a big proponent of using the right tool for the task, and so “gently nudge things” seemed like a more forgivable and less shameful way of putting things.
Just buy a DeWalt hammer to keep in the box, that’s what I do. Not my fault if I use the wrong one, they both say “DeWalt” right? If I need a real hammer, I’m grabbing one of my estwings anyways lol
If you need to put a hammer in a Festool Systainer – thern it might as well be a Martinez to help keep the price in the same relative ballpark.
Just kidding of course – since I have heard lots of good things about Martinez hammers despite their price point.
I’d like some Festools, but I’m not spending that sort of money on tools with applied stickers looking either crooked or as I’d they are lifting on the edges.