Drill and driver bits are consumable items and we know that some perform better than others. Every head in the office turned when I read out loud that new Milwaukee Shockwave Matrix Carbide bits come with a lifetime tip guarantee. It’s part of an accessories expansion that also includes the next generation of Shockwave bits.
- Milwaukee Shockwave Matrix Carbide bits have a carbide blend combined with Shockzone torsion zone
- Bits will be available in Phillips, square, and Torx sizes
- Phillips bits and magnetic bit holder available April 2019
- Square and Torx bits available October 2019
- Pricing $1.99 to $9.97 plus a 25-piece kit for $49.97
- Gen 3 standard Shockwave bits now feature Custom Allo76 Steel with a Wear Guard Tip
Milwaukee Shockwave Matrix Carbide Driver Bits
Impact drivers and impact driver bits are one of those combinations that don’t seem to make sense. Why have all that torque then buy a bit that absorbs it?
It’s more absorbing the violence of each hammer blow in the impact driver, but it leads to some interesting product development. Original impact bits helped avoid shearing off screw heads in metal fastening, but they couldn’t come anywhere near to the performance you got from a standard bit in wood. They just weren’t hard enough and they’d round off or break more easily.
As Milwaukee moved from their Gen 2 and into Gen 3 Shockwave bits, they improved the durability as they tweak the steel blend. But it’s an even bigger jump for the new premium bits.
It’s All About the Carbide
With Milwaukee Shockwave Matrix Carbide driver bits, you’re looking at what Milwaukee calls Matrix Carbide Steel.
Carbide is the same material we use on rotary hammer bits and saw blades – it’s incredibly hard and tough enough to stand up to metal cutting. The most common form we see in the tool industry is tungsten carbide, but there’s also titanium carbide and many others.
It’s not just a carbide tip, though. The entire bit is one piece so the carbide blend runs evenly throughout. Milwaukee is so confident in the strength of the tip, that they’re backing it with a lifetime guarantee. They’re betting that you’ll snap the torsion zone before you shear off the tip.
Even when you’re not putting so much torque into driving that you risk damage to the bit or fastener, the extra strong tip will also resist rounding off.
If you happen to damage a bit tip, just snap a picture of it and submit it through Milwaukee’s online claim service and they’ll send you a new one. Easy.
Even though the steel blend is harder, these bits have almost identical flex to the Gen 3 Shockwave bits. In practice, the additional durability won’t feel any different when you’re driving, each bit just lasts longer.
When you look at#2 Phillips Milwaukee Matrix Carbide Bits and Shockwave bits side-by-side, the heads look a little different. However, the parts that actually engage the screw head fit identically, including their depth of engagement.
We don’t see any difference in the amount of side-to-side wobble (which is pretty small) and there’s still no play in the forward/reverse turning motion.
One Bit to Rule Them All?
Impact bits are designed for metal fastening. In the past, we’ve proven that standard bits will actually outperform impact bits in wood.
But Milwaukee isn’t backing down, talking about applications like drywall, decking, and pre-fab. The hardness of this bit, particularly in the tip, might just be the ultimate all-rounder bit for nearly every application.
We’ll have to see what happens once we get our hands on them.
Milwaukee’s Internal Testing
Milwaukee set up what they’re calling an “aggressive use test.” We’ve seen other companies talk about how long their bits stand up with 100 in-lb proof load, but that’s not exactly real-world.
The test involves a 4-station cycle of various wood and metal fastening and each cycle drives 150 screws. The results are interesting.
Of course, this is what Milwaukee’s team came up with and we’ll withhold final judgment until we do some wear testing of our own.
Prices will range around $2 to $50 (25-piece kit) with most packs falling in the $2 to $10 range. In general, these are going to run 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 times the cost of Shockwave bits.
Like using a premium saw blade, if we get more drives per dollar of cost, the upgrade is worth it.
Milwaukee Shockwave Matrix Carbide Driver Bits
- Phillips: PH1, PH2, PH3 (available April 2019)
- 3″ Magnetic Bit Holder (Available April 2019)
- Square: SQ1, SQ2, SQ3 (Available October 2019)
- Torx: T20, T25 (Available October 2019)
Milwaukee is focusing their efforts on the most common bit styles that get a lot of wear, so don’t expect to see anything too far away from what’s currently on their release schedule.
Gen 3 Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Bits
Standard Milwaukee Shockwave impact bits are getting an upgrade as well. They’re using a new metal – Custom Alloy76. It pairs with Milwaukee’s Wear Guard Tip to improve on the current generation.