Milwaukee 2703-20 M18 Fuel 1/2″ Drill/Driver Review – The Next Generation

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milwaukee 2703

If you’ve looked for a drill driver lately, you know the number of cordless drill drivers on the market is mind-boggling. There are almost as many choices as there are Republican presidential contenders. If you just need a drill driver for occasional DIY projects around the house, there are several models that can get the job done. If you use your drill regularly, though, and want one that can take on the big jobs, join us as we make some holes with the new Milwaukee 2703 – 20 M18 Fuel 1/2″ Drill/Driver.

The new Milwaukee 2703 – 20 drill driver

The Milwaukee 2703 drill driver is the new bulked-up version of Milwaukee’s 2603, which came out early in 2012, and which has excellent reviews. Milwaukee added 475 in/lbs. of torque (from 725 to 1,200), giving this drill the highest claimed torque of any drill on the market. They also added 150 RPM to the top speed. Pretty impressive, considering they accomplished all that and still managed to shorten the length by almost ½”. Every little bit counts when you’re trying to squeeze in between two studs (me and Mark Wahlberg, for example), or into some other tight spot.

Milwaukee 2703
The Milwaukee 2703 has a nice compact profile

There’s one other change to the Milwaukee Fuel 2703 that really made my day: It has a bit holder! It may seem like a little thing, but the disappearing bit holder has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. Most drills used to come with them, then they suddenly became harder to find than a pay phone. It also comes with a belt hook, and the two are reversible, for you southpaws. Thanks for responding to my incessant rants, Milwaukee!

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Woohoo – the bit (holder) is back!
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The bit holder and belt hook are reversible.

Inside The Milwaukee 2703

The Milwaukee 2703 is powered by Milwaukee’s POWERSTATE™ brushless motor. Brushless technology is becoming more common, as the cost of the technology comes down. Aside from reducing maintenance time and costs, since there are no brushes to wear out and replace, brushless technology allows for a much more efficient, cooler-running, powerful motor. It’s coupled with Milwaukee’s REDLINK PLUS™ Intelligence, which prevents damage to the tool and battery due to overloading or overheating. Here are the full specs from Milwaukee:

M18 FUEL 1/2″ Drill/Driver (Bare Tool) (2703-20)
Chuck Type: 1/2″ Metal Single Sleeve – Ratcheting Lock
No Load RPM: 0-550/0-2,000
Peak Torque: 1,200 in-lbs.
Length: 7.50″
Weight: 3.14 lbs.
Belt Clip
Bit Holder
Side Handle
Tool Warranty: 5 Years
Battery Warranty: 3 Year

The Milwaukee 2703 Goes To Work

We received the bare-tool version of the Milwaukee 2703 to review, the Milwaukee 2703 – 20. It’s also available in kit form, with a charger and 5.0 Ah Li-Ion battery, as the 2703 – 22. If you’re reading this in December 2015, this sweet set is this month’s giveaway, so don’t forget to enter!

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The full Monty – and we’re giving one away!

Advanced though the new model is, it still needs a battery to operate, so I borrowed a 5.0 Ah battery from my Super Hawg; it was happy for the break. Pretty much any decent drill driver can drill smaller holes and sink a fistful of drywall screws. Since the Milwaukee 2703 is billed as the most powerful drill in the galaxy, I decided to give it a bit more of a challenge. I grabbed my super-long 1” diameter ship auger bit and a 2” hole saw, and headed out to the driveway.

Since the Milwaukee 2703 is billed as the torquiest drill around, and I was using such large bits, I clamped the auxiliary handle on. Trying to drill such large holes one-handed would not end well, for the average human. I stacked a couple of 2X4s, and dug in with the ship auger bit. It bit in and powered through both boards with no trouble. I moved down a few inches and repeated the process. No bogging down, no smell of burning drill motor…all good.

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The 1″ ship auger prepares to meet some lumber…
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Easy peasy. Next?

Hole saws are the true test of a drill’s power, since there’s such a large contact area. I chucked up a 2” hole saw that has seen sharper days, and dug in. Despite the dull teeth on the saw, the Milwaukee 2703 pushed it all the way through, again with no bogging down. This time there was a bit of a burn smell, but it came from overheated wood due to the dull saw, not from the drill.

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The 2″ hole saw ripped through, despite dull teeth…

One Chill Drill

My impression of this drill? It’s a red and black beast. For many tradespeople, a drill driver is one of the basic tools of the trade. I take a drill along on every job, even those where I don’t think I’ll need one. The effortless power of the Milwaukee 2703, along with the super-long run time the 5.0 Ah battery will provide, just made this my new daily drill. (The bit holder pushed it over the top!)

The Milwaukee 2703 is comfortable to use, compact, and has enough power for almost any drilling job that doesn’t require the massive torque and power of something like the Hole Hawg or Super Hawg (review coming soon). The drill looks and feels very well made, and I’m betting the Milwaukee 2703 will provide years of reliable service. If there should be a problem, the drill is backed by Milwaukee’s solid five-year warranty.

The bare tool is $130 at HomeFixated sponsor Ohio Power Tool, and in December, take advantage of their FREE SHIPPING PROMO on all Milwaukee cordless tools with promo code: CORDLESS (Minimum $99 orders)

Buy Now - via Ohio Power Tool

The kit is $280 at Ohio Power Tool

Buy Now - via Ohio Power Tool

And if you order by the end of December, they’ll throw in a sweet freebie – a 5.0 Ah battery

milwaukee 2703

Photo of author

About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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5 thoughts on “Milwaukee 2703-20 M18 Fuel 1/2″ Drill/Driver Review – The Next Generation”

  1. I would like to get one but my current Milwaukee just won’t seem to die .Might have to give it away so I can justify this one

    • I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs as I use it for an extended period. Given my experience so far, I’m guessing I’ll be a happy guy. I’ll post an update down the road.


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