We got an email today from the DeWalt Owners Group who had an Admin do some hands-on testing of the new Milwaukee ShockWave bits vs. DeWalt’s own Impact Ready bits. The test involved simply taking 5 #2 bit packs from each company and driving 3-inch GripRite exterior screws into two pieces of 9-1/2″ x 1-7/8″ LVL material that was nailed together. It’s a good test because that material is very hard. The test set out to see which bits would last longer before breaking. What we found interesting in the conclusion was how each bit failed – in a completely different way. While DeWalt’s solution ran through an average of 25 screws before snapping, Milwaukee’s ShockWave bits only got through around 12 screws before the head was sufficiently warped and stripped (a fact we have confirmed in our own bit testing).
Here is the video:
2″ DeWalt DW2022IR5 Impact Ready #2 Phillips Bit Tip (left);
2″ Milwaukee 48-32-4602 ShockWave #2 Phillips Bit Tips (right)
While each 5-piece bit pack retails for under $10, you can also find them as part of multi-packs and various driver bit sets in your local home improvement warehouse or online. ShockWave technology is designed to work by literally reducing the stress on the bit itself – allowing flexing of the bit neck to alleviate the forces that would snap to tip before it happens. It’s not an infinite solution, but it’s designed to give longer life. The problem is, the bits have proven to be, in our experience, a tad on the soft side. As a result, they strip out long before they get to the breaking point. This video seems to bear that out.
DeWalt’s solution is designed as a heat-treated solution to provide a stronger bit. They also design the bit in a full tapered hex design that has the bit looking like it literally emerges from a billet hex-shaped piece of steel. These bits lasted quite a bit longer and eventually snapped off at around 25 screws. At one point the author states that he got up to 32 screws in before the bit tip wore down too far.
I think Milwaukee may have something in its design – but until they can figure out how to make the bits stronger than the softer material on which their premise is hung, they are going to have limited success in the screwdriving category. We’ll have to do our own testing down the road and see what results we can come up with. In either case it’s a nice video that demonstrates the two products well.