Hitachi Brushless Impact Driver WH18DBFL2 Review
The big deal for this Hitachi brushless impact driver centers on getting a solid value on a brushless model. It's not going to wow you with features and performance, but it's not going to disappoint you, either.
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Just this past weekend, a buddy of mine and I were discussing how much better our world is with cordless impact drivers. That led to a conversation about specific brands and about how Hitachi’s most recent generation of cordless tools has been a major improvement. Hitachi’s Triple Hammer impact driver is a breath of fresh air both for the impact driver class and for the brand. But what about the newest Hitachi brushless impact driver – the WH18DBFL2? Does it continue a run of solid performers?
Let’s take a closer look from top to bottom and see what we find.
Hitachi includes a brushless motor in this model. For the extra expense, you get greater efficiency and longer tool life.
This Hitachi brushless impact driver and its brushless drill counterpart use an optical trigger. This isn’t the first time Hitachi has used this trigger style – we saw it early in a 2012 brushless drill model as well.
You’ll notice that the trigger and rocker switch seem to fit somewhat loose compared to normal triggers. On the surface, it’s a little disconcerting. I’d like to see Hitachi tighten it up more, but we’ll have to see if there are any long-term issues. If the optical trigger does what it claims – to have better wear resistance – it should actually be a long-term benefit.
- Belt Hook
- LED Work Light
Additional Field Notes
Hitachi is a little behind other Pro models with their battery indicator. It’s on the tool rather than the battery and only has a two-light indicator. I’d like to see this move to a three- or four-light indicator at the least, and to the battery pack at best.
There’s no multiple speed shift on this model. Hitachi is relying on that optical trigger to give you enough control over your drive to skip putting that feature in this model.
There’s no question in my mind that Hitachi has the best handle design on their drills and impact drivers. It contours to my hand better than any other brands and is very comfortable to use.
For weight, Hitachi weighs in at 2 pounds, 1 ounce bare and 2 pounds, 14 ounces with a 3.0 Ah compact battery. The bare tool weight is slightly higher than Makita’s, but still one of the lightest in the class. Since Hitachi’s 3.0 Ah battery is now a slim pack, the weight with the battery is about as good as it gets right now.
The Hitachi brushless impact driver settles in with 1522 inch-pounds of torque. That seems low when you look at models from Milwaukee and Ridgid that hit the 2000 inch-pounds mark. However, keep in mind what you’re doing with an impact driver most of the time. If you’re like me, you use it to drive screws and then turn to an impact wrench when it comes to lag screws, bolts, and other socket-loving fasteners. So while there isn’t an eye-popping number to work with here, I don’t see it as underpowered.
At 3100 RPM and 3400 IPM max, it’s right in line with our expectations for a Pro model. Again, there are bigger numbers out there if you want to go after faster driving speeds. It’s something you’ll likely only notice on long timber screws or larger diameter screws.
Price and Value
The Hitachi WH18DBFL2 will set you back $162.99 as a kit with one 3.0 Ah battery. It’s also available in a 2-tool, 1 battery kit for $239. The prices are solid in both cases compared to what you can expect from Makita or Milwaukee, though many users will ask for a second battery. Hitachi’s Affordable Battery Program helps here with that compact 3.0 Ah pack for just $40.
The Bottom Line
The big deal for this Hitachi brushless impact driver centers on getting a solid value on a brushless model. It’s not going to wow you with features and performance, but it’s not going to disappoint you, either. For users that want something less expensive than the Triple Hammer impact driver and still be able to take advantage of Hitachi Affordable Battery Program and lifetime warranty, the WH18DBFL2 is an excellent choice.
Hitachi Brushless Impact Driver Key Features
- Professional grade power with 1,522 in/lbs of turning torque and up to 3,100 RPM with 0-3,400 BPM
- 1/4 In. tool-less hex drive for quick and simple bit replacements and secure holding power
- Optical trigger switch for a more responsive variable speed actuation and wear resistant trigger assembly
- On-tool battery indicator and LED light
- Metal belt hook so the tool is always close at hand
- Ergonomic grip, center balanced design and lightweight at 2.9 lbs (with battery) to reduce fatigue during extended or elevated use
- Includes: impact driver (WH18DBFL2S), BSL1830C compact 3.0 Ah Li-ion slide battery, charger, carrying bag
Hitachi Brushless Impact Driver Specifications
- Model: Hitachi WH18DBFL2
- Voltage: 18V
- Drive Size: 1/4″ hex
- Impacts per minute: 3,400
- Maximum RPM – No Load: 3,100
- Maximum Torque: 1,522 in-lbs
- Weight: 2.9 lbs
- Warranty: Li-Ion Lifetime (tool) 2-Year (battery), 1-Year (charger)
- Price: $162.99