Not all of our favorite tools are inexpensive. In fact, Milwaukee’s V18 was one of the more expensive drivers to grace TM’s shop last year. And that’s saying something, because if there’s one tool we see a lot here at TM, it’s cordless drill/drivers. But the V18 won over even our cheap-ass hearts. Read on past the jump to see why it’s one of our top ten of 2007.
With at least four or five drivers in the shop at any one time, we find ourselves reaching first for the V18. Why?
Four words: kick-ass metal chuck.
Sure, the V18’s 20V lithium-ion power cells last a long time, both in use and in the toolbox. And it pushes enough torque to drill big holes in masonry. And its now-ubiquitous battery charge gauge makes it easy to keep the tool ready-for-use. But it’s the V18’s metal chuck that kept this driver out of the cabinet and in use constantly.
The chuck’s ratcheting mechanism is first class and makes tightening the chuck around a new bit painless and effective. It’s one of the few keyless chucks that really tightens down well — without leaving marks on your bare hand.
One downside: don’t drop the V18. Milwaukee’s battery mount system suspends the battery below the tool, and it’s relatively easy to break the battery mount if you drop it onto concrete. So don’t drop it.
As you can see from the photo, our V18 has seen massive use throughout 2007. It’s our go-to choice for drilling holes in steel — and especially for driving large wood screws because the combination of its accurate clutch and sensitive trigger speed control make it easy to wield high torque in a controlled manner.
At a street price of around $300, we view the V18 as a long-term investment — made easier by the fact that you can use the batteries that come with the V18 in your existing 18-volt Milwaukee tools, upgrading them to the current battery tech and lending them new life. Plus, Milwaukee offers a variety of other options in the V18 line in tool-only form, so if you’re not already a Milwaukee user you can stock up.