Drywall is considered to be one of the newer building materials on the market. Even though it was developed in the early 1900's, it wasn't until the later half of the 1900's that it became a common fixture intoday's buildings. Now looking around at any residential or commercial property, you find it unusual if you didn't see any drywall. While there are many reasons that the market has switched to drywall, one reason is cost. Drywall is for the most part inexpensive, since it's primarily rock. Drywall is also easy to shape into 4′ x 8′ sheets, which makes it easy to hang. There is a lot more to drywall then just this, but we are here to talk about the Milwaukee Drywall Screw Gun. My whole point is time is money and having the right tool for a job can save you money. So when picking a tool to hang job, you need to find the best tool that increases your productivity. Which means you need speed, ergonomics and a tool that will last. So let's see if the Milwaukee Drywall Screw Gun model 2866 fits this.
Milwaukee isn't first to market with a cordless screw gun. In Fact Hilti, Bosch, Dewalt and others have their own version of a drywall screw gun. Now before we jump into this, I have to say while I am excited that Milwaukee has a screw gun available, I am a huge fan of the Bosch and Hilti guns. So I am interested to see how this screw gun stacks up.
We all know the advantage of having a cordless screw gun because you don't have to deal with the cord getting stuck on things or just getting in the way. How bad does it suck being on a scaffolding 50′ in the air having to deal with a cord. However if you watch some of these guys hang rock, the speed these guys work is amazing, so you have to have a tool that will keep up with them. Having a cordless screw gun doesn't provide any value if you have to change batteries every hour. So when Milwaukee designed this tool, they designed it with a brushless motor to help make the tool more efficient and the battery last longer between charges. Less battery changes, means more productivity.
The brushless motor spins at 4,500 rpm which is the same as the Hilti, a 100 rpm faster than the Dewalt and 300 more rpm than the Bosch, so they are all pretty much the same in regards to speed. However the Milwaukee has something interesting that the others don't have, it's called Auto Start. No it doesn't come with a key chain remote and start up the tool. Auto Start is a system that is designed into the tool. If you have every hung Drywall or watched guys hanging drywall, you can hear the drywall guns screaming all day long. That is because the user locks the motor in the one positions and the motor stays on constantly. When the user puts a screw into place, the bit is stopped, but the motor is on. Once the user presses the screw into the drywall, it engages the motor and spins the bit, which spins the screw into the drywall and stud. With Auto Start, the motor isn't on until the gun presses against the drywall. There is still a trigger to manually start and stop the gun, but when you lock the gun on, this is when Auto Start does it's magic. So Auto Start does two things. First, makes a quieter working environment. Second, it saves on the battery and time between charges.
Most drywallers are subs and they sometimes get paid per sheet of rock they hang. So the faster they can hang rock, the more money they have in their pocket, so it only makes sense they want to hang sheets as fast as possible. So with that said, I think Milwaukee created a great drywall screw gun that is not only fast and ergonomic, but a tool that will help the user work longer. I have to say that I love the feel and balance of this tool. I know some people get on me because I talk about ergonomic of a tool, but this is a tool that a user has in their hands for 7 to 10 hours per day. So yes, I think ergonomics is very important to talk about with any tool. Milwaukee stats that a user can hang 64 sheets of rock per charge using a 5 Ah battery, which is a ton. For me, I think this tool has a much better feel and balance to it with the compact M18 2Ah batteries. Yes your work per charge will decrease, but I just like the feel much better.
Milwaukee Drywall Screw Gun Specification
- Speed – 4,500 RPM
- Length 9.0″
- Weight 4.1 lbs
- Height 9.9″
- Width 2.2″
- Warranty 5 Years
The bottom line, this is a great drywall screw gun. The tool is comfortable and fast. While the Auto Start is a new technology in this type of tool, I believe it will hold up over the long haul. I love not having to hear the drywall gun screaming in between setting fasteners. Plus with the Auto Start feature, you should get a nice long run time with this tool. While you can use any M18 Milwaukee battery on this tool, I think it feels the best with their M18 compact battery packs. My favorite cordless drywall guns are the Bosch and Hilti, but now I can add a third to my list.