Milwaukee recently launched their newest and best-ever M18 Fuel brushless hammer drill and impact driver combo kit, 2997-22. Not only that, they’re saying that these are the highest performing tools of their kind in the industry.
Home Depot sent along a combo kit for review consideration (thank you!) as part of our paid partnership with them. I’ve done some testing so far, and I have a little more to go, but now seems like a good time to share what I know and think about them this far.
The new Milwaukee 2804 brushless hammer drill is powerful, but smaller than I expected. Yes, this sounds silly seeing as how I previewed it at NPS18, but still – it’s more compact than I remember it being.
The newest high-powered hammer drill can deliver up to 1200 in-lbs of max torque, while only measuring 6.9″ in length. You’ll want to use the auxiliary handle, which is included but not shown in my photo, at least for higher power applications.
It’s plenty speedy too, with 0-550 and 0-2000 RPM ranges.
This is the most powerful cordless drill/driver I have ever used. And, according to Milwaukee, it’s the most powerful drill in the industry. It blows through my more demanding test bench applications, and I’ll be looking for more opportunities to push it towards its limits.
(As usual, I’ll be happy to consider any testing scenario requests!)
The newest Milwaukee M18 impact driver (2853) also impresses, with its extremely compact length. It measures just 4.59″ long, which Milwaukee says makes it the most compact impact driver in the industry.
It features multiple speed and torque settings (3 + 1 self-tapping screw mode), and LED work light (so does the drill), and feels really good in-hand.
I have been testing it with 5.0Ah battery packs, but will probably swap them out for compact packs, to save on weight.
The impact delivers up to 2000 in-lbs or torque, which is a lot more than my personal Bosch impact, and more even than the brushless Hitachi I love to use, reviewed by Ben here.
You really have to see the impact in person to get a true sense for how compact it is. Milwaukee has broken records with this design, and I’m sure that engineers at competing brands have been busy tearing it down and studying it, trying to figure out how it was done.
These tools are Milwaukee’s best of the best, and the kit comes with (2) 5.0Ah battery packs, a charger, and hard carrying case. As Milwaukee’s press email says, they’ve set the bar. As such, it’s not easy on the wallet, but if you need the highest-performing tools money can buy, this is the kit to get.
Personally, this combo is more than I typically need – way more. I like my drills compact and lightweight, but there are times when I have to bring out the big guns, and this 1200 in-lbs beast certainly fits that description.
The impact is lovely to use. Is that strange to say – using lovely to describe it? It’s powerful and compact, and a pleasure to use. I can’t find anything to complain about yet. I just love it when a tool fits perfectly in my hand and blends into the background as it gets work done.
I have spent more time with the impact than the drill, but so far, both have been working flawlessly.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
There’s a new holiday special, featuring the latest generation M18 Fuel hammer drill and impact driver, pairing them with a Packout tool box, and a mix of compact and XC battery packs.
This looks to be an incredible deal!!
As mentioned, I like the idea of a compact battery pack anyway. The drill pairs well with the XC battery, benefiting from higher “XC effect” power, and the compact drill can shed some weight when paired with the compact battery.
There looks to be an error in the product description, referencing the previous generation tools, but the photo, parts of the description, and the model number (2997-22CXPO) have me nearly convinced that this these are the latest tools, discussed above. (I’m waiting for verification.)
I’ve heard from Home Depot, and this kit definitely includes the 2804-20 hammer drill and 2853-20 impact driver.
Coupled with the Packout tool box, as well as the discounted price, this is a great promo. Milwaukee doesn’t discount their M18 Fuel tools often, especially not the newly released latest-generation tools.
See Also(Packout Combo via Home Depot)
These are good tools, Milwaukee claims alot of things though – their impact driver is 1mm shorter than Makita’s DTD170 – big deal.
The way the describe it you’d think its inches shorter.
That little? It feels more compact than other impacts I have immediately available, but seeing as how Milwaukee measures the length to 2 decimal places, I figured it was a small difference. Improvements in impact driver length have always been small, at least in premium offerings. A few years ago, even 1/4 inch was a huge improvement.
Looking at specs, the Milwaukee torque rating is 30% higher than the Makita.
I recently acquired that impact driver and it’s awesome. Looks wise, they definitely got it spot on. However, it does feel somewhat a bit bulky. I’m a big Makita fan and in fact, I’m pretty invested in their battery platform. I like the feel of Makita alot.
This Milwaukee impact driver is in direct competition against the Makita XDT12 (4-speed). I believe you posted an article about it awhile back. Measuring the two drivers side by side, it really is about 1mm or less of difference in length as Rory stated. You can barely tell. Makita released a new 4-speed impact driver with two special mode (wood/metal) in Japan, the TD171. check that out, I can’t wait to get my hands on that once it’s available here in the US.
High torque ratings and other specs are all good and all, but the screws can only take so much beating. I normally use it in speed 2. Only use speed 3 when using impact sockets with it.
I love these compacts… I’m not a Milwaukee guy but just like Makita’s sub compact line I’m super impressed. Bulky battery tools are a turn off to me. All I can say is I wish they said Craftsman on them. Very impressive!
Thing is; these tools are flagship models, not compacts. Often the compacts are the same size or larger… in fact Makita’s Subcompact is longer and less powerful than their top of the line – maybe a little lighter. IMHO its all marketing to sell tools people already have.
Wow. I really didn’t think the 18 volt drills and impacts could get much smaller and lighter. After awhile you get to the point of atrophy. You eat away at the muscle of your tools; the motor and gear train. That Milwaukee keeps moving the bar and succeding is testamemt to someone at TTI who really does give a damn about the professional tool market.
Don’t get me wrong. The other brands are not exactly putting out junk. There are various niches in every category of tools and they are not being ignored. Makita’s sub-compact 18 volt models immediately come to mind. However, Milwaukee has approached this with a blitz mentality that has virtually left them alone at the top of the tree. When people talk about the best cordless tools they are always the first name that comes up.
Like you I don’t need this level of power. However, plenty of framers, remodelers, and steel building erectors do. I think between the weight savings and power levels these are likely slam dunks in the construction world. And honestly, at this level performance the priced are fully in line with industry. And the kit you linked to is better than good at 299.99.
I’m waiting for them to update the Surge, not that there is anything wrong with the current iteration.. just you know, new tools are nice. Maybe lighten it up a tad as it is heavier than the traditional hammer/anvil drivers. I can’t remember the last time I used one of my regular impact drivers. As for the drill driver, I have read it gets hot rather quickly. I have Makita’s 1,090 in/lb drill, bought it with a damaged box from HD for pretty cheap. I must admit, the big torque number is the only reason I bought it. It does have a ton of power, but when you bring it all to bear, both the tool and the battery gets really hot, really fast. I know it isn’t good for the batteries and I assume the same is true for the Milwaukee, if not more-so as it has less area to dissipate heat. I guess it’s nice to have the power on tap, but putting Hole Hawgesque power in a drill that fits in your back pocket seems odd to me.
I have a brand new Surge after the last one ate a bit and then wouldn’t give it back smh! Took the entire drill apart (felt like AvE all up in her guts! Check him on YouTube one of my fav subs for all around tool fun!) with no success so I took advantage of HD love of their customers! I look at this exact kit with packout & I want it…yesterday! But really the surge gen 2 would be my goto! Why are they taking so long to pump out a second one?! Killing me Smalls! Have you heard anything I haven’t? She is such a quiet sexy beast! LoL
I don’t think there is an AvE video I haven’t seen, he’s hilarious and also drops some serious technical and mechanical knowledge bombs. I’ve broken 1/4″ hex nubs off in a few different impacts (old Bosch 12v and a Makita brushless) and was able to get both of them out after lots of time and foul language. Both were with well worn 3/8″ square drive socket adapters with 9/16 or 3/4″ impact sockets, which are well out of the “realistic expectations of use” realm. Both did the same thing, guess you could call it a half strip, so they ended wedged on the locking ball mechanism so they wouldn’t allow the release collar to retrace the ball. I remember I drilled and pried the one out of the Bosch, and I think I was able to knock the one in the Makita back where it belonged with a small punch then it popped out like normal.
Haha yeah his vids are great! I took that drill all the way apart, & have no clue what could still be keeping it in there!? Bugged out man… before going to the Milwaukee store out in Queens I said let me take it back to the depot and see what’s good. Lady seemed chill but gave me a few wierd looks before store credit, exchange for another surge. So I lucked out you could say but I haven’t opened it yet and want to invest into the gen3 one key impact/hammer drill combo!! Make it gen3 impact/hammer/super* sawzall one key pack out combo! But that will never happen I even the one key gen3 isn’t on any Black Fridays I can find smh come on Will-NOPE-E bring some of the big toys to the craziest sale time of the year, enough with that gen 1 brushless non-fuel bullshit! Sheeesh
Hitachi (Metabo HP)does a 1205in/lb drill
I own the first generation of these which sports the same specs (1200 in/lbs etc) and love it, but if I had to change one thing it would have been the size, which is exactly what Milwaukee has done, smart move. I bought into their M12 system to get the weight savings and find those models do 90% of what I need. They are my go to drivers now and I reserve the beasty M18’s for the big jobs only. I do wonder if there’s much more that can be done to shrink them I think they’re about at the limit at this point. Looking forward to your full review.
I currently own the dewalt dcf887 and I am very happy with it. It is a true beast and can take & dish out punishment on a daily basis and I bought it when it was released a while back. It’s 5.3″ in length, so this is ¾” smaller which isn’t that much of difference at the end of the day. This sorta has me wondering if they (milwaukee) are possibly removing or cutting corners on the motor and the impact mechanism components in order to achieve such a short length. If the weight and length have been reduced, then parts either shrunk or metal components are now plastic ones within the motor or rotational hammer assembly. Worst case scenario parts got left out that they didn’t feel was necessary during the testing phase which may or may not have been adequate. Either way I’m sure this would be a nightmare to take apart, repair, and put back together if a failure were to occur.
Are you kidding? You really think that they’re just leaving parts out?
No, they redesign everything, and test test test same as other brands would do.
Dewalt was the brand that was really proud of a 1/4 inch improvement they achieved years ago. 3/4 inch is a massive improvement. Any fraction of an inch that’s saved on the length is appreciated when it comes to working in tight spaces.
How much corner cutting do you think Milwaukee does with a 5 year warranty on these tools?
What people don’t realize is that warranty costs a company lots, not only in money but reputation too. The internet makes it too easy to spread bad reviews. So they aren’t going to use parts and materials that are cheaper and have a higher potential for failure.
Not a fan of this new drill’s electronic clutch. On the lightest setting, it has way too much torque. Also, no one-key?
One-Key versions are coming soon.
Wish they would stop making up to 4 versions of a tool. One key and brushless is all they should have, drop the brushed and Fuel.
I wish that all brands only had 4 levels of drills.
Makita td171 is shorter and a much more precise impact with class leading vibration and bit wobble….less torgue but much more precise…..
..The drill has the same numbers are last year just shorter…ad if you watch reviews,it gets hot fast with load on it…real.hot.
….the difference between dewalt and Milwaukee is that Milwaukee pumps out a generation every year and Dewalt spends more time testing or putting a product in Europe for a while first., Then releases it here . Generally a dewalt product is class leading for a couple.years before the competition can beat it….
I’m not on Milwaukee’s platform (and since I just upgraded all of my core tools probably won’t be for many years, hopefully) but this is really impressive. And exciting because you know it’s going to lead to further competition. If that $300 kit had been available when I started upgrading a year and a half ago I may have red tools right now. It’s all about timing of need/funds for me but each of these major brands make good tools so I don’t understand the color x vs. color y stuff.
I have a first-generation Fuel drill (non-hammerdrill version), and I’m seriously considering upgrading. Acme is running a free battery promo on the 2803-22 kit, so for $279.00, you get the drill and three 5.0Ah batteries.
The 2997-22CXPO kit that Stuart mentions is probably a better deal if you need the impact, but I don’t.
Also, it looks like they’ve started selling the Packout tool case with a foam insert by itself. I really wish more companies would do that.
That’s actually a specially designed Packout, different in that it’s optimized for a little extra internal space.
Good to know.
I’m just glad one can buy an empty case to pack tools in, even though I no longer do on-site work that requires transporting tools.
Milwaukee in my opinion tend to be a little loose with actuality in their power specs. Don’t get me wrong here as I still have over a dozen Milwaukee tools after swapping brands, and they are great tools, but the reality is that in almost every case, they are no better or more powerful in real everyday use.
So – which of these deals is the better deal?
They list the One-Key versions on their website, so when are those coming out, and would there be a reason to wait for those instead of jumping on one of these deals?
What sort of performance difference (power, runtime, work achieved) between the 2804 and the cheaper drill that has been on sale a number of times for $99 (the 2701)? Sure – one is hammer and one isn’t – excepting that – how would one characterize the differences between them?
I have (and LOVE) the Makita XDT14 – that seems to be about the smallest and yet fully featured / capable and hard to beat impact around (its been great for me at least). How does this impact compare to that one?
And – my experience between Milwaukee vs. Makita – my Makita seems to do a lot more work on a charge than my Milwaukee (the battery seems to run down a lot faster for Milwaukee). Anyone have any real-world experience using both battery systems to throw in their own $0.02 on the topic?
The latest I heard is November 2018 for the One-Key models.
While I have not actually done any scientific testing, my Milwaukee Surge with a 2.0 battery doesn’t seem to get as much work done per charge as my Makita Sub-compact impact driver. I often run through 2 batteries in a day with the Surge where I could generally go a day or two between charges on the Makita. One factor could be (and likely is) the surge works very well with hex shank spiral drill bits and countersinks, so I tend to use the Surge for things I typically would have been switching between drills. I still think the Makita does more work per charge, but swapping a battery takes 20 seconds at most, if it’s on the other end of the house or something and I’m sure I save much more time just switching bits out. Now, I have the Fuel 10″ sliding miter saw, and on the 9AH batteries I have never once used up more than 2 bars of battery in a day. I built a ~60′ redwood fence a couple weeks ago, cut the ends off, then cut to length little over 100 7″ redwood pickets, 5 pressure treated 2×12’s, 5 4×4 pressure treated 4×4, 15 2×4 and 200ish 2×2, little over 650 cuts (yes its redwood which is soft) and just barely got the battery down to 1 bar. Pretty incredible really considering how much power it has. My x2 track saw or rear handle saw with 2 5.0’s also do a lot of work on a charge, but I feel like the Milwaukee 9.0 on the miter saw will make more crosscuts than the rear handle saw with 2 5.0’s. No hard data to support this but its just how it seems.
Short story long, Milwaukees batteries are good, as are Makitas so I say buy both!
How the chuck runout on the drill? I have the last-gen fuel hammer drill and it has basically the same specs but a little larger. However the chuck runout was terrible and has gotten worse as the gear train has worn. Planning to replace it at some point.
I’m M12 + M18 invested with a Hitachi nailer and maybe also needing the Makita drywall cutter – that thing looks perfect for the reno I need to do at home with my new baby… Anyway…
I have both G1 and G2 M12 kits and the impacts seen a lot of use as an electrician and just doing things around the house. The M18 impact while nice, was big and heavy and powerful but also loud.
I’m thinking about upgrading my G1 M18 kit, but I’m wondering about Surge AND if there’s a G2 Surge coming soon… US pricing is super tempting to make the 3 hour drive (6 round trip) though with gas savings will be negligable, but the kits are far more compelling. The G3 kit, with Hackzall and PO checks many boxes. The only PO kit we get is G2 based. HD is also offering a free battery with the G3 but it’s also $500 or $550 for Surge but no battery. I’d really like a One Key version because one of these days the drill is gonna grab on something and the automatic stopping would be nice. I think that’s exclusive to One Key??? You’d think with an e-clutch you could also do that… Bloody drill has more power than a hole hawg…
I think this 3-tool kit is the better deal:
You get the same impact; hammer-drill; PLUS the new Fuel Hackzall – AND – the 5.0 battery; a 6.0 battery; and the much larger packout tool box – for only $100 more than these…
Yes, I seen that one. I totally agree, makes the drive somewhat tempting. I’m not sure my wife would agree as she’d be home with our 10 week old son… Is the Hackzall updated as well?
To Tech and Service Department Manager
I brought a second hand FUEL BRUSHLESS M 18 A WHILE back and during the storm it got some water damage. I would like to know how may I get it repaired and how much it may cost. Please give me a estimate first before a billing receipt.
Perhaps try contacting your local Milwaukee service center?
I do believe that this is not the “BEST” Milwaukee has to offer.
Look at the 2806-20
Same hammer drill, plus the One-Key.
The One-Key are based on the same tools, but offer user customizations. That adds features, but not any more power or speed.
I wish they made the one key for the gen3, either that not gunna take off like I thought it was or they are waiting to sell a bunch of standard gen3s then will drop the one key later 2019
I was thinking about buying the Gen III but Ive been reading some worrying reports about the drill having serious overheating issues over the Gen II. Anyone have any problems with the Gen III?
Hey nah nothing yet on my end & I just put her to worrrrk! I’m a finish carpenter but was doing some hardware in a house I worked on. Entire house was porcelain (hardest material in tile form) there was a very small area of marble and some ceramic in the basement. So in total I’ve probably drilled 50 holes atm and if you have ever drilled porcelain it’s a friggin bitch! I had my gen2 m12 fuel & gen3 m18 fuel double loaded going back and forth bc I did consider the fact I’m running these drills under a ton of pressure. But had no issues I could notice yet. There is always a small % of products that have issues so keep that in mind but if that % becomes to high the. Is when the major neglect on the companies part comes into play. I’ve only heard good things about dewalt & Milwaukee’s customer service so I wouldn’t stress to much just if you buy buy from a authorized dealer. Atm Home Depot has the 3 pc gen3 impact/hammer/hackzall fuel packout kit for $399 which is what I bought for $379 but wait, they just released a deal the other day @ 399 which includes an additional 5ah battery & rapid charger!? So that the new 6ah battery 2x 5ah batteries regular charger, rapid charger gen3 impact & hammer drill + fuel hackzall & 1 large packout toolbox!? That by far the best combo kit I’ve seen. I’m kinda pissed I bought the “regular” deal ? good luck though & tell me if you hear more about the overheating issue I’m interested to know more.