Some companies already use the phrase "extreme cordless" to describe their 18-volt lines, so what's a fitting moniker for a 36-volt cordless tool? Super-mega-double-happy-number-one cordless? Well, Hilti just calls its powerful cordless rotary hammerdrill the TE 6-A. It's the first 36-volt cordless tool I've ever tried.
You can switch the tool's hammering action off for drilling in wood and plastic. It comes standard with Hilti's TE-C chuck, and also accepts an optional 1/2-inch, Jacobs-style chuck for smooth-shank bits.
This hammerdrill is all about portable power. It will drill holes up to 5/8-inch-wide in concrete, 3/4-inch-wide in wood, and run a hole saw as big as 4 5/16 inches in diameter. It broadcasts a feeling of durability–this is one tough tool.
Like lots of high-voltage cordless tools, the TE 6-A deserves the same respect as a corded version. You definitely need two hands on the tool at all times. The hammering mechanism is the same piston-and-crank-shaft type used in Hilti's corded hammer line. The company says some manufacturers install lighter-duty wobble or spring mechanisms in their cordless hammers.
Of course, all that power only lasts as long as the battery does, but the TE 6-A comes with a new charger that helps you get maximum power and life from the big battery. Many nicad battery problems result from the way individual cells are charged. There are 15 cells in an 18-volt battery and 30 cells in a 36-volt battery. Sometimes the cells farthest away from the charging contacts don't receive full power. This imbalance can cause other cells to get overcharged and overheated, which shortens battery life. Hilti's new software-driven charger monitors each cell to ensure even charging and long battery life.
No, it doesn't come cheap. The drill, battery, and charger cost between $847 and $1,115, depending on where you buy the tool and how many units you purchase. The tool weighs 10.4 pounds with the battery installed, but an optional accessory keeps the battery on your belt so you only hoist the drill body and a cable. This drops the weight to around 6 pounds.