AEG 18V Cordless Combi archive

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Mark Baker gets drilling with the new heavy-duty cordless combi from AEG

Drills at the ready! The new AEG 18V cordless combi drill is a real workshop pleaser

AEG are making an impact with a whole host of power tools available at a shop near you. Now, AEG have been producing excellent quality power tools for the serious amateur and professional user for a long time, but they have been largely confined to specialist outlets so only those in the know would have been aware of them.

Well happily, that seems to have all changed. AEG have gone in with a massive product awareness offensive, with hard-hitting and hard to miss adverts, and product displays in good-quality stores. What's this all about then? I asked myself. Curious as ever, I reasoned that if someone is shouting their presence as AEG certainly are, I should be finding out what they are up to and what they are producing.

Where better to start, then, than with one of the most important and commonly used tools in recent years for any toolkit, the cordless hammer drill/driver.

I obtained the cordless BSB 18STX 18V Heavy Duty Combi Hammer drill to try out with both Li-ion (Lithium ion) and NiCd (nickel cadmium) batteries, both of which should have the power to tackle most of the drilling and screwing projects which one might encounter around the house or the workshop.

The tests

The torque adjustments are finely tuned and I screwed glass to the wall using the No.2 setting; it stopped and clicked nicely when the screw was fully set, without cracking the glass. On the No.22 setting it had enough oomph to drill a 25mm (1in) hole in wood with no signs of stopping; on the drill setting a 38mm bit was wound into softwood without a hiccup. So power delivery in this 18V drill is not a problem.

The handle, which can be rotated into various positions, is a boon when drilling large holes or masonry. Simply alter its position to suit your support and drilling needs, and away you go. Long gone, it seems, are the days of screwing the handle in on the right or left side of the drill and having only two positions.

The casing seems rugged and rigid, and survived a couple of inadvertent drops from the bench onto the floor - in one instance the drill landing battery section down; and in the other, it coming down sideways on and bouncing between the front chuck and the rear of the casing.

Power options

The drill operates off a GBS (Global Battery System), where one battery fits all of that power size. As mentioned above, there are two power options: Li-ion and NiCd batteries.

Both versions were tried here. They feature self-cleaning contact and rubber protection on the underside, which also prevents slippage on surfaces. The charger will accept 9.6V, 12V, 14V & 18V batteries. As one would expect, these batteries fit a whole host of AEG products.

The verdict

I liked this drill. AEG have thought carefully about what users really need and want from a drill and have delivered those in spades. The price of this unit is very favourable when compared to others aimed at this market sector. It is going to function for years and the lifetime service agreement provides peace of mind that there is back-up should something go belly up.

Whether you opt for NiCd or Li-ion the choice is yours, but you may find our key pointers for each useful. Pro users may opt for the Li-ion while the serious amateur might prefer the NiCd. To help you come to a decision all we can suggest is that you look at how much you are going to use the tool and the cost differential, and weigh up the options for yourself. Whatever option you go for, however, you'll be getting a superb drill that will serve you well.

Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

Mark Baker , Drills , AEG 18V

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"Whatever option you go for, you will be getting a superb drill that will serve you well"

The Numbers

AEG 18V Cordless Combi Drill
Prices (inc. VAT, correct at time of publication):
BSB18STX without batteries: £172.50
BSB18STX with 2 NiCd batteries & charger: £248.50
BSB18STX with 2 Li-ion batteries & charger: £345
No-load speed 1st/2nd gear: 0-450/0-1650rpm
Drilling capacity in steel/softwood/masonry: 13/38/18mm
Keyless chuck: 1.5-13mm
In-service weight with battery and keyless chuck: 3.1kg

Both the NiCd and Li-ion batteries are great performers

Contact Details

Contact: AEG Power Tools
Tel.: 01442 261202

The Choice Is Yours

- Cheaper
- Efficient charging
- Only small variation in discharge voltage
- Will tolerate storage whilst discharged
- Lower weight for a given quantity of energy (80% more runtime than NiCd and 30% less weight)
- No memory effect
- Slow loss of charge when not in use
- Costs more but sweeter power delivery for a longer time
- May be damaged if discharged below critical level but has internal protection circuits to prevent this from happening