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Cordless, Powerful Tools

Cordless tools continue to not only grow more powerful but also lose weight while operating twice as long between charges, due to the use of lighter lithium-ion batteries. Here are three of these latest advances. 

18-volt grinder indicates loading
One of the hallmarks of recent cordless tool introductions is the use of electronic controls. For example, the Ridgid 18V Grinder provides a Load-Level LED indicator to warn of grinder overload. 

The 18-volt model R86040B delivers a no-load speed of 9,000 rpm, spinning wheels up to 4½ inches in diameter. Features include a toolless guard design that allows the guard to rotate easily for optimal grinding, a spindle lock to quickly change wheels, and Hex Grip microtexture for a secure grip. 

The grinder (without battery or charger) is offered with a suggested retail price of $119. Included with purchase is a lifetime service agreement. For more information, go to

Lightweight wrench has two power modes
Weighing just under 4 pounds, Hitachi’s ½-inch impact wrench generates up to 188 foot-pounds of torque. A two-step power switch alternates between full and power-saving modes, which is ideal for doing repetitive jobs that don’t require full output. The feature also allows you to work faster by preventing full throttle when quickly moving from workpiece to workpiece when the applications don’t call for it. 

The impact driver delivers a no-load speed up to 2,600 rpm and an impact rate up to 3,200 bumps per minute.

The model WR18DSDL driver with a lithium-ion battery has a retail price of $299, which includes a lifetime tool and a two-year battery warranty.

750 pounds of torque
Rivaling both corded and pneumatic tools in working oomph, Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel high-torque impact wrenches employ a new generation of Powerstate brushless motors. Brushless engines are more durable and also convert more battery energy into working power.

Pairing a brushless motor with Milwaukee’s Red Lithium batteries allows the M18 Fuel wrench to deliver up to 750 foot-pounds of fastening torque.

For removing stubborn nuts, the ¾-inch anvil version of the tool offers up to 1,200 foot-pounds of peak torque. The M18 is also equipped with onboard software. This Drive Control feature allows you to select between multiple speed and torque settings. 

For example, one operating mode delivers the full 500 to 750 foot-pounds of torque. The other mode limits the tool to 100 to 375 foot-pounds of torque to prevent overtorqueing a fastener.

The M18 Fuel is sold in four models with either ¾- or ½-inch anvils. 

The list price for a ¾-inch anvil M18 with pin detect (without a battery) is $364, which includes a five-year warranty. For more, go to

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