If you’re a regular TIA reader, it’s not breaking news that Mac recently revamped their cordless line with a pretty impressive lineup powered by Dewalt’s proven 20V Max platform. You may have even read my recent review of the 12V Ractchet from said lineup. If you’ve come here from Google you might also be aware that TIA is currently the only tool blog on which you’ll find reviews of Mac’s new cordless lineup. That’s important right? I mean, almost 6,000 people have summited Mt. Everest, but Sir Edmund Hillary is probably the only one you can name.
Features & Design
As you would expect, the BWP050 was designed with professional users in mind. It’s a full size gun, but with a light weight and handle forward design, it doesn’t strike you as bulky and is remarkably well balanced for a big gun. The “glass filled nylon” body feels distinctly different than it’s Dewalt cousin and is designed to better resist automotive fluids. The rubber grip is comfortable and bumpers adequate for their purpose. The variable speed trigger and electronic brake make the operation smooth, even in more finesse applications. I like that the bell housing is finished in satin rather than full polish as it will stay looking better, longer. The selector switch is positioned nicely. It allows for easy, one handed, directional changes, but doesn’t get in the way like some do, especially with gloved hands. The LED light stays on for :20 after the tool is disengaged and is merely adequate. It’s located under the bell housing which does cast a shadow, but I suppose it’s better protected there. Unlike the 12V line, the 20V line does feature the on battery status gauge. It also includes a multi-volt charger (20V/12V), a kit bag, and the same 1 year free service deal that the other Mac cordless tools offer.
High torque impacts are very hard to test in an end user setting. Even in professional auto shops and industrial environments it’s difficult to replicate the insane levels of torque these guns are capable of. There are certain fasteners like rusty trailer hitch balls and Honda crank bolts that have a reputation for being stubborn, but even then the results are less than conclusive. To provide a unique test, I removed my trailer hitch ball using the BWP050. I applied High Strength Red Loctite (271), and reapplied the nut with all the force of my Proto J150WP which we know currently shares the title of “strongest 1/2″ air impact on the market” with the Mac AWP050. I let the Loctite cure for about 6 hours, and put the BWP050 in charge of taking it back off. My point was to try and simulate a few years of rust and crud in the threads.
Check out the results for yourself:
As you see the BWP050 came through without much hesitation in what was in reality, a pretty tough test. For shiggles, after re-applying the nut with the BWP050, I put the J150WP back on it to see what happened. I got about 1/2 a turn or so. I reapplied the nut and Loctite in the same fashion, and repeated the test with a 12 hour cure time. It wouldn’t bust it that time, but I really didn’t expect it to. I performed the same test on the W7150 awhile back and had pretty much exact results. Our kit came with 2 XR 3.0 batteries. With intermittent use we had all day run time out of one pack. The charge time is 1 hour, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever have to worry about out pacing your batteries.
The Dewalt Connection
On more than one occasion when discussing Mac’s new cordless line I’ve heard/read someone suggest they were merely rebadged Dewalt tools. In a side by side comparison it quickly becomes evident that isn’t the case. The chart below shows how the BWP050 specs out against Dewalt’s high torque gun, the DCF889:
Looking at the physical characteristics it becomes even more evident they aren’t the same tool. Aside from the battery, there really isn’t anything alike between the two:
Mac vs. The Competition
With competitors like IR and Milwaukee publishing eye opening numbers regarding “Nut Busting Torque”, it’s perplexing that similar to Dewalt with their UWO (Unit Watts Out) ratings, Mac doesn’t claim a “Nut Busting Torque” rating. I’ve got hands on time with all 3 and quite honestly, it’s a dead heat as far as power is concerned. The Mac has the best balance in my opinion, but there are things I like about all 3. The chart below compares the specs of the 3. I’m not certain exactly what the weight is on the Milwaukee without the battery, but it is the heaviest of the 3.
Looking at the chart we see some very competitive numbers. Though the Milwaukee is the only brushless model, the Mac bests the Milwaukee in every statistical category with the exception of the 1/2″ difference in length. When compared to the IR, Mac comes out ahead in 3 categories, though they are almost identical in length and weight. We’re really splitting hairs here though aren’t we? In the grand scheme of things the differences between the 3 are pretty negligible.
Still, the lack of a “nut busting torque” rating keeps my wheels turning. We see from the known stats and our tests that the BWP050 is a perfectly capable gun with seemingly nothing to hide, but I couldn’t stop wondering why they don’t quote a “nut busting torque” rating. So I called and asked them.
We know that there is no industry standard as to how torque ratings are calculated for power tools, but it turns out that developing some of these ratings is kinda like a choose your own ending novel. There are so many variables like bolt type and size, thread factors, air pressure, CFM, etc., that ratings can be easily manipulated. Back in November, CopTool did a side be side comparison of the 7150 and 2763. Even using a Skidmore machine they were reluctant to confirm or deny the manufacturers torque claims. As with Dewalt, Mac has taken the high road by simply not publishing an unstandardized rating to grab your attention. Am I saying other manufacturers are being dishonest in publishing one? Certainly not, but it does make me want a standardized method of measurement before we go handing out accolades to one gun or another.
Mac vs. Snap-On
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Mac has the nicest cordless line on the trucks. The chart below compares the BWP050 to Snap-On’s new high torque CT7850M (rumored to be Bosch built).
Though the stats are fairly close, when you factor in the additional 2 years of warranty, the $100 kit savings, and the Dewalt compatibility, the BWP050 is an attractive option.
Overall the BWP050 is a nice gun. The combination of Dewalt technology and Mac’s automotive know how delivers plenty of power, in a well balanced, user friendly, package. If you’re in a shop along a Mac route, or just heavily invested into Dewalt’s 20V Max line, the BWP050 is certainly worth your consideration. The level of torque we’re seeing from cordless guns these days is pretty amazing when you think about it. Sure, there are stronger air guns out there like the J150WP or AWP050, but for the vast majority of users the Mac, IR, Milwaukee, or Snap-On, offer true air gun replacement. The real winner in this torque rating renaissance is the end user. We’ve seen some great tools over the last couple of years and I can assure you it’s only going to get better. As far as critiques, we’d of course like to see a 5 year warranty, and the LED could be better, but overall we’re completely satisfied.
As always, stay tuned to TIA for more from Mac Tools!