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The Milwaukee 2601 - 22 18 - a Cordless Drill Worth the Effort.

Updated on April 2, 2020

I work in the trades as an industrial electrician, and I use these cordless drills every day. They stand up to the abuse of constant work with reliable, long-lasting service. I am so impressed with the lightweight but heavy-hitting power of these drills, so I bought one for home. You need the right tool to get the job done safely and correct the first time. This Milwaukee 2601 - 22 18 volt Li-Ion Drill is the one for the job.

My cordless drill wishlist:

  • It must be 18v or more - one needs power.
  • It must have a Lithium-Ion battery. Lightweight and powerful.
  • It must have a 1/2" chuck to accept more significant bits and drivers (like a 3" hole saw)
  • It must have variable speed.
  • Have a fast charger.
  • Have a good warranty.

This Milwaukee covers all these bases and more.

The best time to get this drill is now. Milwaukee has introduced a new line-up called Fuel, so all the current model drills are on sale or marked down. Just because there is something new doesn't devalue the old, but it does give you a higher quality drill at an attainable price for the home budget. It's one thing to go into a price war with your competition, but when you are this good, you are your competition.

What I Like About This Cordless Drill

First off, the lithium-ion battery pack. It charges faster, holds a charge longer and is lightweight compared to the Ni-cad batteries of the last decade. They don't have a memory like Ni-cads so that you can put them on the charger at any time in their duty cycle. They also provide full power right to the end of their charge cycle. Ni-cads would gradually wear down, reducing power output. You also had to manually drain the battery completely before putting it back on the charger, so the "memory effect" would not rob you of the full potential of the battery pack. With lithium-ion batteries, the reverse happens - they get stronger, and last longer the more you use them (until they reach their peak - about 5 -10 charge cycles in)

The other thing I like about this drill is the 1/2" chuck. Looking at the size of the drill, you would think it doesn't have the power to use a more substantial bit that would warrant a 1/2" chuck, but it does. I have seen the drill force a man off his feet because he wasn't expecting the torque behind such a small drill. It may be light enough for use with one hand but always use two when drilling larger holes. If the bit catches, the torque of the drill may cause sore wrists if you do not take precautions.

Little things like the battery power indicator and the LED work light when drilling just make using the drill that much more enjoyable. One of the requirements of being an electrician is to have three hands and to be able to see in the dark. I know from experience this is more true than false. Having a light on the tool gives me that much more freedom.

Milwaukee 2601-22 18-volt Li-ion Compact Drill Kit
Milwaukee 2601-22 18-volt Li-ion Compact Drill Kit
There are many things that make this cordless drill the winner it is. It is lightweight, due to its lithium-ion battery. It is powerful, also due to the lithium-ion battery. Finally, it is a workhorse due to the 1/2 inch chuck.

My Recent Drill Adventure

Like I said earlier, I used these cordless drills every day and put them to uses that would kill your typical hardware store drill. These are made to handle extremes, and they do so reliably. For home, I have a little single-speed drill I received for a present a while back because it fit the budget and, let's face it, I don't usually need a drill that will last all day, just the time it takes to finish small household chores.

Every time I started a project, though, the drill seemed to fail in so many ways. It was too slow or not strong enough to drive a 3-inch deck screw or the latest frustration - the chuck was too small.

My latest project required a 3-inch hole so that I could install a vent. The hole saw I borrowed had a 1/2 inch arbor, but I found out that my drill had only a 3/8" chuck. After asking friends and neighbours and even going back to the hardware store a few times to price out a new drill, to price out a rental, eventually, I bought a new hole saw for a 2-minute job. That was a lot of running around and a lot of wasted time and money that could have been solved if I had the right tool the first time.

Last week we were on a mini getaway, and I stopped in this hardware store to get something for a quick fix project I had at home. On display was this beautiful 18volt cordless drill for almost half the listed price. Now for a change, the roles were reversed in this little visit, as my wife was standing beside me reading off all the specs and telling me that my last project would have gone a lot smoother if I had this drill. She was listing off all the things I said I wanted in a drill, and here it was. I was surprised she listened to me and remembered. It was me that decided not to buy the drill because we were away from home on a mini holiday.

A week later, I was still kicking myself for not buying the drill. I am trying to cut down on impulse buying, saving my money to buy some solar panels for the camping trailer. My thoughts kept returning to the drill. Finally, I had enough, and we went in search of that drill in our local store. No dice. After 25 minutes of searching, the customer service rep found a store that had a few in stock, but they were in a town 40 kilometres away—Saturday morning road trip.

So in all my drill is in my possession but it took $5 worth of coffee and donuts, 3 hours of driving, getting lost and found and $45 worth of ribs and beer for a lunch break to get a drill that I should have picked up when I first saw it. Factor in the lost time, the gas money and such and the drill ended up costing me about the same as one not on sale, but hey, what an adventure.

Check it out in action....


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