If you need a cordless drill than can drill holes in brick, concrete or masonry, a hammer drill is a specialty drill that has an advantage over regular cordless drills.
Small but very powerful, the Milwaukee 2602-22 impresses expert testers as the best 18-volt cordless hammer drill on the market. This type of drill "hammers" at the bit to power through concrete, brick and block, and the Milwaukee aces professional drilling and battery-endurance tests. In fact, it outperforms bigger, heavier hammer drills, even though it's not much bigger than an ordinary cordless drill. Experts find it very comfortable to use, with a strong LED light and helpful gauge that tells you how much battery power is left (it comes with two Li-ion batteries).
The Milwaukee hammer drill isn't perfect: One tester accidentally hit the switch that changes between drilling and driving mode, for example, and some owners say they got dud models with bad batteries or wobbly chucks that couldn't hold the bit steady. If you're drilling mainly through wood and other soft materials, you might prefer the lighter weight and lower price of a regular 18-volt cordless drill like the top-rated DeWalt DCD760KL (*Est. $220).
Fine Homebuilding includes the Milwaukee 2602-22 in its cordless hammer-drill comparison test, which is the most thorough test we found for this type of tool. Wired conducts a smaller test. Owner reviews for this hammer drill at Northern Tool and Equipment are overwhelmingly positive, but some owners at Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com report faulty batteries or chucks.
1. Fine Homebuilding
Three experts here independently test 18-volt hammer drills from six different manufacturers. They don't have any contact during the testing -- but they all pick the Milwaukee 2602-22 as a favorite.
Review: Tool Test: 18v Li-Ion Hammer Drills, Justin Fink, Andy Beasley, Kit Camp, Nov. 12, 2009
The Milwaukee 2602-22 wins this four-drill shootout, with ample power and almost twice the battery endurance of the first runner-up.
Review: Cordless Drills Deliver Builder Brawn in Nimble Packages, Grayson Schaffer, June 10, 2011
At the time of this report, more than half of the 34 owners who review the Milwaukee 2602-22 here give it a perfect score, but some complain that the batteries don't last or the chuck wobbles and won't hold the bit steady.
Review: Milwaukee 2602-22 M18 18-Volt Cordless 1/2-Inch Hammer Drill/Driver Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com
Only about half a dozen owners have posted reviews here for the Milwaukee 2602-22, but their comments follow the same pattern as at Amazon.com: Most say it's great, but two report the wobbly-chuck problem.
Review: Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium 1/2 in. Hammer Drill, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
5. Northern Tool and Equipment
Just over a dozen owners have reviewed the Milwaukee 2602-22 hammer drill here, and all say they'd recommend it to a friend. It averages 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Review: Milwaukee M18 Compact Cordless Hammerdrill/Driver -- 18 Volt, 1/2in., Model# 2602-22, Contributors to Northern Tool and Equipment