The new SKIL 2895LI-2018V Lithium Ion Cordless 4-Tool Combo Set is a homeowner dream come true, with tools that have professional qualities at a price almost anyone can afford. Offering plenty of power, light weight, quality design and the latest 18V lithium ion battery technology, this set is ideal for anyone just starting out with their first home or the seasoned do it your self type.
As we were unpacking the various tools included with the SKIL 2895LI-20 system, one of the first things we noticed was how lightweight they felt in our hands. Now some might take this as a negative point, but we liked what we saw because the tools still had good balance, were easy to hang on to and appeared to be well made. The main body of all the tools is made of tough ABS plastic with black rubber overmold in the places that you usually require extra grip. To keep all your tools organized, the set comes with a large zippered nylon carry bag. When these nylon carry bags started to be the norm for tool storage, I was a little slow to follow the logic. I liked my sturdy blow molded tool cases (for which some tools still have to have) but for most tools, I have slowly come around and actually appreciate the nylon bags because they take up less space and are easier to store and have space to throw in those extra accessories that go with the tools.
One of the other interesting features of this set is the PowerPlus battery system that makes these tools both lithium and NiCd battery compatible. Unlike some other manufacturers that have introduced new battery technology and new battery styles that are not compatible with the older tools, the SKIL 18V set is backward compatible with previous SKIL 18V NiCad tools. The two new lithium-ion batteries that come with the set are supposed to be able to hold a charge for up to 18 months (of course we have not tested this one out yet and for the time being we will have to trust the folks over at SKIL on this one!) One of the things that we really like is the LED battery level meter, this is one feature we wish more companies would provide. How many times do you grab a drill, test it real quick to see if it has power, and then head out behind the house to fix this or that. Two minutes later you find you have to come back inside to look for your other battery because there really was not enough juice left to even drive a screw all the way? Those days can be over if you choose to get this set because now you have no excuse to not know how much power your battery has in reserve. And to just make all you “green” people happy, the charger for the batteries is Energy Star rated which means it meets the government standards for energy efficiency.
Model 2895 2-Speed Cordless Drill/Driver
- Chuck Size: 1/2″ Keyless Chuck
- Clutch: 20+1 Position
- No Load RPM Low: 0-450
- No Load RPM High: 0-1,400
- Torque: 400 in-lbs
- Weight: 4lb 1oz (with the battery & handle)
To start off with we took a look at the 2895 Cordless Drill/Driver that came with the combo set. This drill features an all metal gear train, a 1/2″ keyless chuck and delivers up to 400 in/lbs of torque, which was on par with our independent testing results within 15-25 in/lbs. In addition to the power, there are over 20 settings in the clutch and a two-speed transmission that will allow you to adjust from driving the smallest screws up to drilling with big drill bits. There is a removable side handle that can be fit on either side of the drill for when you need that extra stability and accuracy. On the top of the drill is a nifty bit storage area with a built-in level. This little unit is removable with the backside having a screw and bit index so you will know what size drill bit to use. The drill has good balance and weighs a good bit less than most other 1/2″ full size cordless drills on the market. To test our drill, we used it for a few small jobs like drilling pilot holes in plywood so that we could do some jig saw cutouts and also for installing some 3-1/2″ deck screws while we were making repairs and alternations to a backyard swing set. In our swing set repairs one of the tasks was to use a 3/8″ ship auger bit to bore though a 2×4 and a 4×4 so we could add on the new monkey bars. We drilled 4 holes for the carriage bolts and did not have any trouble. The drill had more than enough power and torque to send the bit through. We did all our alterations with just a single battery; this helped us demonstrate that not only was the drill capable, but it also had the battery capacity to handle our project.
Model 5995 Cordless Skilsaw
- No Load RPM: 4200
- Bevel Capacity: 0-50 deg
- Weight: 5lb 13 oz 9 (with battery)
Out of all the tools in the set, we gave this one the biggest workout. Our project was to put up some 3/8″ thick b-board plywood on the ceiling of a porch. We had ten new 4×8 sheets to install, along with cutting out sections of the old ceiling. To do all the cutting we used only the 5995 Cordless Skilsaw. Now this saw comes with a super thin kerf 5-3/8″ 18 tooth Carbide-Tipped Blade which we think really helped this saw shine. We hope to see these Skil blades on the shelf along with the tools in the stores. After adding up all the cuts that we did, it totaled nearly 100 linear feet. The even more amazing thing was that we did it all on a single battery! The saw was very easy to use with great visibility. The patented anti-snag lower blade guard also worked great and allowed us to start the saw with ease and never have to manually lift the guard. As with most cordless circular saws, having a sharp blade designed for cordless tool use will help guarantee better performance and cuts so make sure to replace it with a new one as soon as you begin to notice your saw’s performance going down.
(Image for blade illustration only – make sure
to keep the guard in place when using the saw)
Model 9350 Variable Speed Orbital Reciprocating Saw
- Speed: 0-2800
- Stroke: 7/8″
- Weight: 5lb 8oz (with battery)
The 9350 Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw has several great features. The first one is the tool-less blade change system. The reason we find this so important is because for most reciprocating saws, we find the blade change system to be the weakest link. With the SKIL Reciprocating Saw we did not have any trouble loading blades or releasing them. All you have to do is push back or hold down on the red colored tab. The blades were held in place very securely and in all the cutting tests, we did not have a blade fall out or come loose. The only trouble we had was on a few of the new blades we tested, the little hole in the tang of the blade had some extra paint in it and it would not allow the pin in the saws blade holder to pass though very easily. Using a small screw driver we reamed the paint out of the small hole in the blade and then we had no trouble loading it into the saw.
The other feature that surprised us at this price point is the “turbo” setting. This setting really is what we call orbital action, which gives up to 20% faster cuts according to the SKIL. We would like to point out that if you are cutting hard materials like metal, you will need to leave it on the “standard” setting since this is a linear “in and out” motion. The turbo setting will work better if you are cutting soft materials like wood and plastic and want to finish fast. Also, the turbo setting does not make the motor run faster, as the name might imply, so it should not require any extra energy to use it. On the top side of the saw, there is removable blade storage that might hold two or three blades. To us, this tool felt the most lightweight for its size when we compared it to other cordless reciprocating saws; even at that, the saw felt sturdy in the hand when we were using it.
Model 2897 Pivoting Head Flashlight
There is not too much to test here, other than to say it works and is handy. Generally, however, it is one of those types of tools that is not often used, but when it is needed, it does the trick! The swivel head is a nice touch and will add to its functionality, but compared to all the other tools in the set, we wished this one had a few more cool features, like maybe an LED light.
Basically, if you are out shopping for the best bang for the buck, the SKIL 2895LI-20 18V Lithium Ion Cordless 4-Tool Combo Kit delivers. We liked the many quality features that were packed into a very value targeted set of tools. While many heavy duty homeowners will like the set, we think that many budget conscious contractors can also benefit from the performance. For our Performance rating we gave it a 8/10 because of all the quality features that brought the tools closer to what a professional might expect and for our Value rating we gave it a 8/10 because we think it will be hard to beat what you get with this set for the money spent!