Well the Red team is at it again updating their FUEL brushless Hammer Drills for the 3rd time, they say 3rd time is the charm! The 2704-22 generation 2 was a huge leap forward on the power side GEN 1 was 750 in-lbs to 1,200 in-lbs for GEN 2. When we look at the power change GEN 2 to GEN 3 2804-22 specs are pretty flat, with the same 1,200 in-lbs stated. That being said we weren’t really looking for more power here, already one of the most powerful in the market the 2804-22 really focuses on some other areas for improvement, going more compact and some other improvements.
From looking inside and out you can spot changes to two of the most common warranty issues we’ve seen from GEN 2, the switch is different and the chuck is different. Not to say these were big issues but when thousands of units go out clearly some come back. Having used the new chuck, it really feels better and we’re optimistic it’s going to be an improvement for the longevity of these tools. Also case with the M18 Drill/Drivers 2803-22 that use the same chucks.
Another big change is on the clutch, no longer a 2 ring system where first had drill/drive/hammer and the other had 24 torque settings. For the GEN 3 it’s all in 1 ring, Drill, Hammer, then 1-14 driver settings. Thank goodness, K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) this works great, less parts to break and 14 options is plenty to set the torque output for driving screws especially since most people carry an impact for driving and these are more often drilling anyway.
In the demo above we also compared a few drilling applications where the GEN 3 seemed to outperform GEN 2 even though power specs are roughly the same. Of course every application will have different results but our guess would be that most of the time GEN 3 is going to outperform in part from improvements to power delivery here.
Lighter and more compact is always a welcome change, as long as the build quality remains high and heat dissipation is achieved which both look to be the case here. Shorter tip to tail means getting into tighter places which can be a real job saver. Also the LED light moves to the base of the tool which means better light on the work area, another small but welcome update.
Overall many of the changes from GEN 2 to GEN 3 are small but all together lead to a much better tool, not as big of a change as we saw in the M18 FUEL Impact Drivers 2753-22 to 2853-22 where there was lots of small tweaks but also noticeably more power. We are not going to recommend running out and trading in your GEN 2 Hammer drill for the new one but when it comes time for the upgrade you will be pleasantly surprised.
Launch Pitch on GEN 3 Drills from the Milwaukee NPS18 Event