Review: Hitachi WH18DL 18v

Bare-Tool Hitachi WH18DL 18-Volt Li-Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Tool Only, No Battery)
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Lots of power, rugged construction, and backed by a lifetime guarantee. All reasons why Hitachi’s 18v impact driver is a top pick among professionals and hobbyists alike. Along with great performance and a handful of extras, a 2-speed switch sets it apart from others in its class.


At a Glance
List price $228
Sale price $49.99 (as of 9pm, 09/20/2017)
Voltage 18v
Torque 1330 in-lbs
Drive size 1/4″ hex
Weight (w/o battery) 3.5 lbs
Length 6.58″
Battery Li-ion
Impacts/Min 0-3200 ipm
Speed (no load) 0-2600 rpm
Resources Manual
Mfr Data Sheet
Warranty Lifetime tool, 2 yr battery
Description

With 1330 in-lbs of torque, the Hitachi WH18DL matches the Makita and DeWALT 18v cordless impact driver offerings. In use, the power is great – long screws in hard wood are no problem, and it even works quite well on 5/16″ and 3/8″ lags.

A 2-speed switch is unique to the Hitachi. While speed in generally controlled with the variable-speed trigger, the switch allows you to slow down the top-speed and thus gives even greater speed control. This can be useful when you work on smaller screws and fasteners, or working with drywall, to help prevent over tightening.

The top speed – 2600 rpms – beats out most of its competitors. This helps give the impact driver an edge when it comes to drilling. While it might not be able to replace a dedicated drill for high precision tasks, common and quick drilling tasks are handled with ease. And because of the impact-action, hogging out large holes with a spade or auger bit causes less bogging down than with a cordless drill.

Hitachi WH18DL Belk hook with Light

A belt hook with an integrated LED light is another unique feature of the WH18DL. The hook/light has 5 positions, allowing you to adjust the position of the light. The light is always coming from below, whereas most other brands have the lights right up under the bit, or around the collar ring. We prefer a thinner hook, but this one gets the job done – and is far better than no hook!

Construction wise, this one is pretty good. Some people love the color/design, while others complain that the bright green makes it looks like a toy. We think it looks just fine, the grip is comfortable and it’s well balanced. Some with smaller hands may have a bit of trouble where the grip gets larger at the base.

Whatever your opinion of the look, it certainly doesn’t feel like a toy! Very strong build, and feels quite rugged. The motor has what Hitachi calls a “cool flow system” to keep the motor cool while under load. And it has replaceable brushes and armature, so if anything happens – or you log lots of time using it – service is a breeze.

Batteries

The intended batteries – and the batteries you get if you buy the kit – are HXP Lithium ion batteries, boasting 3.0-Ah. They last a very long time and use Hitachi’s Over-Current Protection, which is supposed to protect against voltage spikes or other surges.

If you already have a Hitachi cordless tool kit but don’t have HXP batteries, you can buy the bare tool – it is compatible with Hitachi Lithium Ion, NiCd and NiMH 18V batteries

Additional Features
  • Integrated LED light and belt hook
  • Variable speed trigger with 2-speed switch
  • Replaceable brushes and armature
Problems
  • Larger than almost all of its competitors. While it’s smaller than a normal 18v drill, if you need or want a more compact impact driver, you might want to look into the Bosch 25618B or Makita BTD141Z
  • Some might not like the bright green look
  • Small hands might have trouble with the wide bottom grip
Bottom Line

Hitachi makes an excellent 18 volt cordless impact driver – high power, high speed, and excellent performance. Hitachi has shown they are thoughtful with their design decisions, from the replaceable brushes, to the 2-speed switch. With a lifetime warranty, it’s hard to find a reason to say no.


Hitachi WH18DL info and prices at Amazon

18v cordless impact driver, bare tool (no battery)
Hitachi WH18DL 18-volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Discontinued by manufacturer) Hitachi WH18DL 18-volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Discontinued by manufacturer)
18v cordless impact driver, two 18v HXP li-ion batteries, 18v charger, carrying case
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