Steady Performance, No-Nonsense Design Defines Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill
Metabo doesn’t enjoy the same kind of market share that more popular brands do, but our German friends make solid tools. Such was the case for our Best Cordless Drill Shootout. A few of their drills showed up for competition in various categories and performed pretty well. The Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill, (Metabo BS 18 LT BL) showcases a lot of what we’ve come to appreciate about the brand: consistent performance delivery and premium quality workmanship.
The BS 18 LT BL features a brushless motor, as well as an all-metal, ratcheting, keyless chuck. Swapping out bits is relatively quick and painless. The drill also has a two-speed gearbox that you can switch via the mechanical switch on the top of the unit. The drill/driver collar is separate from the chuck collar and easy to manipulate. The features wrap up with an onboard LED light and reversible belt hook/bit holder that you can install on either side of the battery.
While these are pretty standard features for any Pro drill, they all work well and seem better built than most of its competition.
We don’t see any premium features on this bad boy, such as smart controls or tracking. This drill doesn’t connect to any smartphone app, and it doesn’t have any extra assist modes or electronic bonuses.
Looking beyond the drill to the power source, you can pair this Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill with LiHD batteries. These advanced batteries have upgraded lithium-ion cells, pack builds, and electronics to get more power and energy storage. In our testing, we used the LiHD 4.0Ah slim pack to keep the weight down and still get plenty of runtime.
Check out our Best Drill Head to Head Review for the details on how we test soft torque and speed under load.
The Metabo 18V Cordless Drill compressed our spring to 159.6 in-lbs of soft torque. That’s almost dead center between first place and last and a far cry from the 312 in-lbs Metabo HPT’s compact model hit.
There are a couple of takeaways here. First, Metabo HPT wrecked the rating curve for everyone considering second place was a distant 220.8 in-lbs and third was 190.4 in-lbs.
The other is that Metabo’s electronics are very proactive in protecting the drill. Its specced soft torque is 301 in-lbs and we can feel the electronics shut the motor down when it still has more to give. So even though the testing method limits this drill, there’s still more to gain from a look at its speed under load.
Speed Under Load
Using a 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit, we checked the drill’s high-speed performance. The Metabo BS 18 LT BL averaged a respectable 1299 RPM, which amounts to 65% of the no-load speed we tested. Again, we have a curve-wrecker thanks to DeWalt’s DCD797 and its 1948 RPM performance. Second place was a distant 1409 RPM, making Metabo look much more competitive.
The 65% efficiency rating tells us that we’re getting close to the comfortable edge of this compact drill’s high-speed ability.
In our low-speed test, we moved onto a 1-1/2″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit. The Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill managed an average of 364 RPM, which, again, sits right into the middle of the group with a 9th place finish. DeWalt sets the bar at 550 RPM before the majority of the group settles into a 350–450 RPM range.
Metabo’s efficiency is at 64% in this test.
The takeaway is that the Metabo BS 18 LT BL is geared to do what most compact drills are used for—light drilling and driving. They spec the drill to max out at 1/2″ in steel and 1-1/2″ in wood and those numbers seem right on to us.
Size and Weight
Metabo does a fine job of keeping its footprint genuinely compact. Its 7.9″ height without a battery is right on par for this class. It pulls its length down to 7.0″. Only four models are shorter and two of them are sub-compact drills.
The Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill doesn’t do quite as well in weight, but it’s not what we would consider too heavy for this class. Bare, it weighs 2.70 pounds and 3.58 pounds with its 4.0Ah LiHD battery. For a drill that has this level of build quality and an advanced battery, this top half ranking is a good showing.
Metabo puts together a premium tool that carries a premium price tag. As a kit it runs $210 with two 2.0Ah batteries.
By comparison, many of the other Pro brands run $119–$129 bare and $159–$229 as kits.
Currently, no kit option includes the LiHD batteries we used, but you can pick up the 4.0Ah pack separately for $115.
The Bottom Line
The Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill is a steady performer with a no-nonsense feature set that keeps its price in check. Grab this one for your light-duty drilling and fastening as a supplement to Metabo’s heavy-duty drill and hammer drill options when you want to work with a lighter tool.
Metabo 18V Cordless Compact Drill Specs
- Model Number: Metabo BS 18 LT BL
- Battery Voltage: 18V
- Max Soft Torque: 301 in-lbs
- Max Hard Torque: 531 in-lbs
- Adjustable Torque: 6-71 in-lbs
- Capacity (steel): 1/2″
- Capacity (wood): 1-1/2″
- No-Load Speed: 0-600 / 0-2100 RPM
- Chuck Capacity: 1/16 – 1/2″
- Weight: 2.70 pounds bare, 3.58 pounds with 4.0Ah LiHD battery
- Warranty: 3-Year
- MSRP: $210