Inside Look | Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hammer Drill 2704-22 vs 2804-22

M18 FUEL Hammer Drills

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.

M18 FUEL Hammer Drill

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

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  1. Christopher Waskin says:

    The chucks are worse in my opinion. The chuck wobble is far greater with the gen 3. the wobble is insane due to Milwaukees ridiculous tolerances that allow these wobbly basturds to pass inspection.

    • Rich says:

      Say what? Are you a machinist? No issues for us working men, none at all. I asked 3 other co-workers this “wobble” question. They joked, “he must be a Dewalt Man”…LOL

  2. Chuck has extreme wobble.

  3. Nick says:

    If I pull the trigger really fast let off then hit it again it cuts out ….anyone else notice this? It’s the gen3 hammer drill

    • Aaron Martin says:

      Yes I have the same issue, I contacted Milwaukee and they said it’s not an issue it’s a protection feature to stop you burning out the clutch. Well for me it’s a massive disappointment and I don’t feel like it works well enough.

  4. Scott F. says:

    After only using the 2804-20 three times out of the box, the Chuck completely seized up and could only be undone with two sets of strap wrenches. Considering I have never actually used one of the Gen 2 drills, I can only imagine what the chuck must have been like before the Gen 3 “improvements”.

    • bob mcbob says:

      my gen 2 chuck had one of the teeth start to seize up. it was off by a click (stuck out about 2mm farther) and every drill bit would wobble.
      the gen 2 chuck also seized up sometimes. I’d have to take a pipe wrench and put it in the vice to get it undone.
      Perhaps you got a dud chuck on your gen 3.
      I just got mine in the mail (only 20 bucks more than a replacement chuck to buy a brand new 2804 drill) so I can’t compare for you yet. Reports are that it fails less though.
      The transmission is said to be weaker though, and can fail when trying to auto-stop larger (6″+) hole saws.

      • MC says:

        Are you serious? What transmission wouldn’t fail trying to auto stop 6”+ hole saws? That’s a lot of mass spinning around, especially on high.

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