When the Milwaukee M18 1” pistol grip Impact came out last year, the first thing people said, “Awesome! When is the D-Handle coming?” Looks like the 2868-22HD ($1299) will be here by August with the Extended Anvil version coming later in Q4 2020.

Just a little history, Ohio Power Tool founder Jim worked for Ingersoll Rand for 10 years prior to opening OPT. Our first 15 years in business, we focused heavily on repairs of pneumatic tools with a lot of tire guns sold and serviced even still today. This first launch, also including bare version 2868-20 ($799) are not for removing truck tires, but more aimed at construction, steel erector and bolting applications. Big question, can these cordless tools replace pneumatic?

Milwaukee M18 and even M12 cordless tools aim to replace air tools, and they’ve done a very nice job across many applications. For many years, mobile service trucks and many farmers would always have a 13 HP gas powered air compressor mounted on back of their rigs and use a lot of air tools. Many have switch to cordless solutions for their tools and would never look back. Construction very might be the same, unless they’re doing demo work close to a pull behind compressor onsite, which is still a serious pain. Even in many shops where air lines are right there, many mechanics will just grab that 3/8”cordless impact over pneumatic every time. Will that be the case with 1”?

Air Tools Vs Cordless

Air Tool brands like Chicago Pneumatic, Ingersoll Rand and others aren’t doing themselves any favors in fighting off the cordless competition. As their markets are shrinking and so are their production. They are forced to make some tough decisions. The IR 2190Ti-6 impact was one of the most popular tire removal impacts, the 14 lbs package and “chain saw” grip made this a favorite but it’s been discontinued and customers are redirected towards the 2850MAX-6 ($599). It’s a terrific gun and more powerful but also 30% heavier which is not a great solution if you didn’t need the additional power. At heavier weight this air tool is also much closer to the M18 cordless solution which would have been one of the biggest selling features to stick with air vs cordless that weighs 25lbs.

Power & Runtime

Power of 2,000 ft/lbs break away torque means these cordless tools are right inline with many of the premium pneumatic competitors. Runtime for these units should not be an issue claiming 200x bolts 1-1/4” size. That is a lot of runtime for 12.0Ah, However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the 8.0Ah used in a lot of applications to shave a little off the weight. For those already in the M18 platform with High Output batteries the price tag is not so much higher than premium pneumatic impact. That being said no hoses, tool oil, maintenance, moisture in line, temperature issues, etc. Also, this has a full 2 year warranty. Good luck getting warranty on any air tool 20 months after purchase.

ONE-KEY & Tool Settings

Air tools can be touchy. There are many variables that can affect the power of an pneumatic tool, which can greatly affect performance. The M18 options have 4 very consistent DRIVE CONTROL modes and ONE-KEY actually allows you to customize your tool. The extended anvil version coming later this year will be equipped with a lug nut tightening mode for 350-450 ft lbs, so no over-tightening.

Time to Cut the Cord

Did you know that in the late 1800’s New York City US post offices sent much of their mail through 27 miles of elaborate pneumatic tube systems. Similar to what you still see at a bank drive-thru, but on a much much larger scale. It was a system that went away as technology changed and they realized maintaining huge air compressors and air lines was a lot of work. There are trade-offs with going away from air, sure. But, do the benefits outweigh the costs?

With many switching to cordless for various reasons, does it make sense for these tool companies to invest in more pneumatic tools or switch their development efforts to cordless as we’ve seen with IQV Cordless? As battery technology and brushless motors continue to improve performance and runtime, while cutting price, how long until corded or pneumatic tools become obsolete?

Ohio Power Tool

Don’t misunderstand where we’re coming at Ohio Power Tool, we still fully stock, continue to support our air tool customers and servicing what we sell, always! We also would say the days are numbered for some air tools and that list gets longer every year. While air compressors will obviously need to stick around for all their other applications, we would say with companies like Milwaukee Tool looking at air tools and specifically saying, “how can we convert those users to our cordless platform”, it certainly expedites the process. If you’ve got any questions on Air Tools or M18 Cordless, the Team at OPT is always here to help 800-242-4424.  

M18 FUEL™ 1” D-Handle High Torque Impact Wrench w/ ONE-KEY 2868-22HD ($1299)

•             Anvil Type: 1” Friction Ring w/ Thru Hole

•             Fastening Torque: 1,900 ft-lbs

•             Nut-Busting Torque: 2,000 ft-lbs

•             DRIVE CONTROL™: 4-Mode Customizable

•             360° Tool-Free Adjustable Handle

•             RPM: 0 – 1,200

•             IPM: 0 – 1,440

•             ONE-KEY™ Enabled: Yes

•             Tool Length (w/ battery): 17.94”

•             Tool Weight (w/ battery): 24.4 lbs

•             Warranty: 2 Years

Includes M18 FUEL™ 1” D-Handle High Torque Impact Wrench w/ ONE-KEY™, (2) M18™ REDLITHIUM™ HIGH OUTPUT™ HD12.0 Battery Packs, M18™ & M12™ Rapid Charger, Tool Free Adjustable Handle, Lanyard Loop, and Contractor Bag

*Also available as a bare tool 2868-20 ($799)