Milwaukee has been making huge changes to their M18 series with the hammer drills being their most improved tools so far. Gen 2 and Gen 3 hammer drills have powerful upgrades including increased transmission speed and higher load-torque delivery becoming some of the market`s most preferred hammer drills. The original Milwaukee M18 hammer drills were over 8 inches long weighing up to 5lbs with a torque rating of just 725lbs. These were quite heavy and not suitable for tough projects especially treated concrete.
The company introduced the second generation which included the Milwaukee 2704-20 Hammer drill reviewed here, famous for its strong bit grip and rapid performance with 1/2 by 3-inch screws and drill bits. This hammer drill features an electric clutch, a metallic mode collar separate from the clutch and a side handle that made it easy to control. It is just 7.7 inches front to back and weighs 3.2 lbs., way lighter than the first generation.
The second generation has a torque rating of 1200in-lbs and speeds of 0-550/0-2000RPM and a hammering function speed of 0-32,000BPM. This made their hammer drills the most powerful drill in the market at the time. Professionals and DIYers still love it for its ease of use even on the toughest applications but Milwaukee went ahead to make further upgrades bringing their latest 3rd generation hammer drill.
Milwaukee 2804-20 is the most famous M18 3rd gen hammer drill in the market at the moment measuring just 6.9 inches front to back and weighing 3.2 lbs. It is more compact than the 2nd generation with a more powerful side handle. It also retains the electric clutch but the independent mode collar is removed as its function is integrated into the chuck. It is also rated at 1200in-lbs in torque with 0-2000RPM and 32000BPM speed ratings as the 2nd generation.
While some people prefer the power and sturdiness of the 2nd generation, some feel that the 3rd generation, compact and still powerful is way better. 2804-20 and 2704-20 are the best sellers of the M18 series but many DIYers and Professionals can`t really agree on the one best of the two. This is why we created a performance-based review to analyze the features and how each hammer drill performs on-site to help you make a choice.
Comparing Milwaukee 2804-20 to 2704-20 Hammer Drills
1. Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2804-20 Hammer Drill
This is one of Milwaukee`s latest introductions in the market, smaller, lighter but more powerful than the earlier generations of M18 hammer drills. It measures 6.9 inches front to back and weighs just 3.2lbs which make it easy to lift and operate just like a regular cordless drill. It also includes a strong side handle standing at 90 degrees to help control the torque at the bit especially at the beginning of driving.
This hammer drill is more compact thanks to the electric clutch which combines the functions for mode control as well as torque settings formerly handled by the independent mode collar in generation two. Some people complain about control problems with the electric clutch because it needs some time to get used to. This hammer drill, however, has better communication between the clutch, battery, and motor delivering a better finish than standard manual models.
It features an all-metal single-sleeve ratcheting chuck which still clamps sturdily on the bits. Its Powerstate motor plus Redlink intelligence also prevent overdrive and stripping of screws. The chuck has 14 settings plus the hammer function for accurate torque settings. It also features variable speed settings with a high torque setting of 0-550RPM and 0-2000RPM for fast driving and drilling applications. Its 1200lb Torque combined with high impact speed of 0-32000BPM allow it to drill through mortar and treated concrete better than earlier models.
The hammer drill has a slim rubberized handle that allows one-handed bit exchange and control. Its LED light is also located at the base of the hammer drill for better illumination of your workspace. It is also protected by a tough external casing that protects the hammer drill from the elements. The impact driver has 5-year warranty protection. It also uses the M18 battery system with higher productivity per charge than earlier battery models.
What you get with this hammer drill
- 1 Fuel M18 2804-20 Hammer Drill
- 1 side handle
- 1 belt clip
- Redlink tapping intelligence
- It is light and compact
- Metallic chuck with one-handed bit exchange
- Strong all metallic chuck
- 90-degree auxiliary handle
- The electric clutch is hard to set
- It is harder to balance with large batteries
2. Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2704-20 Hammer Drill
This is also a professional user-design hammer drill with a high torque and speed rating for the most demanding projects. It is part of Milwaukee`s second generationM18 Hammer Drills measuring 7.7 inches front to back and weighs 4.1lbs. It is also compact featuring a strong metallic chuck with one-handed bit exchange for easy operation. Its Chuck clamps have a strong grip on the bits and resistant to corrosion.
It has a brushless motor with Milwaukee`s screw tapping intelligence which helps prevent overload and overdrive. The motor technology has a higher transmission on load than the first-generation models and also lasts longer than brushed motor impact drivers. It is also made of premium metallic and silicon parts including the external casing to protect from the elements especially in an outdoor work environment.
This hammer drill has an independent mode collar with an electric clutch that makes speed and torque setting easy. It has three functional modes at 0-550RPM for high torque applications, 0-2000RPM for high-speed drill/drive applications and o-32000BPM hammering function speed for masonry applications. Its high torque of 1200in-lbs allows it to drill through brick and concrete with ease making it the right tool for your toughest projects.
It comes with an auxiliary handle to help you manage the vibrations that come with the giant torque. Its handle is also slim and rubberized to improve your grip when handling high speed and torque operations. Its LED light is located behind the chuck, bright enough although it lights with shadowy visibility, especially where lots of dirt is emitted.
What you get with this hammer drill
- 1 Auxiliary handle
- 1 M18 Milwaukee Fuel 2704-20 Hammer Drill
- 1 belt clip
- It has Redlink plus tapping intelligence
- Four-pole brushless motor
- Tough external casing
- Separate mode collar
- all metallic chuck with a strong bit grip
- It weighs over 4.5lbs with batteries included
- only 2 drive speed settings
Q: Can this hammer drill drive 3-inch-long screws?
Q: Does it come with a case and batteries?
A: No. This is a tool only purchase
Q: Is it compatible with Milwaukee M18 2AH batteries?
A: Sure, but xc5.0 will give you the best results
Direct Comparison Between 2804-20 and 2704-20 Hammer drills
The no-load torque rating on both tools is 1200In lbs. Milwaukee 2804-20 has more improvements that give it an upper hand when handling tougher loads. It peaks in at a higher torque able to handle tough surfaces especially treated concrete better than 2704-20.
Both hammer drills are fitted with a variable speed trigger and three separate speed modes. You can set at 0-550RPM for high torque, 0-2000RPM, and 32000BPM hammering speed. At high speed, the bit grip is weaker on 2804-20 than 2704-20. Overload protection kicks in earlier on 2804-20 than 2704-20 when handling high load projects. Both tools have a high impact at the handle at top speed which makes the auxiliary handle a necessary addition on most demanding projects.
Clutch and Chuck
Both hammer drills have an electric chuck which has better communication with the motor than the regular manual clutch. The chucks have 14 settings plus the hammering function for accurate torque setting depending on the project you are handling. In 2704-20, the mode collar is separate from the clutch which makes setting and operating easier although it makes the hammer drill bulkier. The clutch for 2804 is smaller because it also acts as the mode setting collar. It is easier to handle once you understand it but it may be more stubborn for first-time users.
Size and weight
Milwaukee 2804-20 is probably the most compact hammer drill you will find measuring just 6.9 inches and weighing 3lbs. Its reduced size is because of the Milwaukee`s remodeling which reduced both the handle size and the head. The smaller head has poor balance when large batteries are used but it is easier to handle and also reduces fatigue to the user.
Milwaukee 2704-20 Is more similar to other hammer drills in the market measuring 7.7 inches front to back and weighing 4lbs without the batteries. Its balance with xc5.0 batteries is good making it easier to handle. Its weight with the batteries included is however higher reaching 4.5lbs which causes more fatigue to the user.
Most professionals disagree on whether the earlier Milwaukee 2704-20 or the more recent 2804-20 hammer drill is the better tool for the job. The difference between the two is quite small and comes down to whether you love more convenience of setting or better control. 2804-20 is a great upgrade but it doesn’t necessarily root out the advantages enjoyed by those used to 2704-20. This review explains this difference and how each will affect your productivity when working on site.