My friend and man behind the scenes here at The Bloke Cave has recently been in the market for a new drill. He came across the Stanley FATMAX range and they looked great value, being such good value in fact that he bought the Brushless Drill and Impact Driver combi pack.
I must admit to not knowing much about this FATMAX range previously but I have had a chance to get some hands-on time with the drill and wanted to give my honest feedback.
Please note that for the purposes of this review the drill was purchased with our own money. We have an affiliate link to the drill below and if you make a purchase through that we will get a small commission. Stanley has not paid for us to write about this drill so this is my own opinion entirely.
So with that out of the way let’s have a look at the FATMAX brushless drill. If you are interested in the brushed version we have a Stanley FATMAX Drill Review here.
Stanley FATMAX Brushless Drill Review
I think a good place to start is with a little background info on Stanley themselves. Now everyone is familiar with Stanley hand tools but powertools? not so much. But they actually have a huge amount of industry experience when it comes to power tools.
Stanley you see is actually owned by Stanley Black & Decker Inc. Formed by a merger of the two tool powerhouses.
So they have all the experience of Black and Decker on board, but it gets better. Stanley Black and Decker are like the Coca Cola of the tool world. They actually own a lot of brands you will be familiar with.
Household names such as Irwin and DeWALT. And that’s where these power tools get interesting, they are made by the same company that owns DeWALT so surely some of that design and knowledge has gone into these tools? Let’s find out.
Brushed V Brushless
This is the set Dan bought and the drill I will be test driving for a little while. The Stanley FATMAX Brushless Combi Drill with a 4Ah battery.
With this being a brushless drill it is nice and compact and even with a hefty 4Ah battery it is still nice and light in the hand.
So what’s so good about a brushless motor? A brushless motor is more efficient, more powerful and lasts longer than a brushed motor. A brush motor uses carbon brushes to generate movement whereas a brushless motor uses magnets.
The brushes on a brushed motor wear out over time and need replacing, they also create a lot more heat than a brushless motor. They are however cheaper to manufacture, which is why cheaper tools, even by the big names, often have brushed motors.
I happen to have the FATMAX Brushed drill on test at the same time, which makes it really handy to compare the size difference. You can see how much more compact the brushless drill is there at the back.
Another difference between the two is that the section just behind the chuck is metal on the brushless drill but plastic on the brushed version.
I have recently become a bit of a battery nerd, you might have seen my video about Makita batteries on YouTube. So with this battery deep dive still recent in the memory I was excited to see what batteries Stanley are using in these tools.
The V20 platform is all new and one of the major features Stanley are pushing is the new and improved batteries.
The battery and charger themselves are pretty standard fare. They seem well built and sturdy. The charger has indicator lights to let you know when the battery is charging is and also when it is full. The battery itself has three push-button activated LED’s which show the power left in the battery itself, always a handy feature to have.
But I want to know more, I want to know what 18650 cells Stanley have gone with and also how the pack itself is built. So for that, I need to crack one of the batteries open.
So before we get to the cells let’s talk a little about the pack construction. You can see that the cells connect to the board in a few different places, rather than just each end. In my head this can only be to allow for load balancing on the cells, which will improve the overall life of the battery back.
Now the cells themselves.
So as you can see from the wrapper on one of the battery cells Stanley are using Samsung 20R 18650 cells. This is great news if you plan on buying into the FATMAX V20 range. The Samsung 20R cells are some of the best on the market and are what I actually found in my Makita batteries. Just from the cells themselves, I can confidently say this will be a great battery and should last really well over time.
Testing The Drill
So now it’s time to see how this drill gets on with a little testing. To start with I wanted some time to get hands-on and familiar with the drill, so I could give you my honest opinion. There’s only one way I know how to do that and that’s to take it onto site with me. So I carried this drill around with me for a couple of weeks and it got up to all different kinds of jobs from stud walls to kitchen fitting. I managed to take a few snaps of the drill as it was out and about on its travels.
So after getting hands-on with these tools for a while I really like them. They have all the quality and features of higher-end tools like the Makitas I normally use but at a much cheaper price tag. I’m firmly sold on the Makita platform now, owning countless tools and batteries but if I was just starting out again and had a play with these V20 tools I would be really tempted to use them, even as a professional joiner.
Beyond just using them every day we actually did a bit of testing against some other drills to really put the Stanley FATMAX Brushless drill through its paces. You see we have a lot of drills up at the workshop at the minute, thanks to our testing of the best drills under £100.
Here you can see one of the tests, auguring straight into the end grain of a piece of solid oak, a tough task for any drill. Beyond this, we did Forstner drilling, concrete drilling, and even a battery test.
I have included the results below for this test along with some other comparable drills.
Drilling Into Oak Results
- Stanley FATMAX Brushless 0:20
- Stanley FATMAX 0:22
- Ryobi 0:29
- Bosch 0:32
Forstner Drilling Results
- Stanley FATMAX Brushless 0:28
- Stanley FATMAX 0:31
- Ryobi 0:29
- Bosch 1:12
Drilling Into Concrete Results
- Stanley FATMAX Brushless 0:05 average
- Stanley FATMAX 0:06.2 average
- Ryobi DNF
- Bosch DNF
Battery Life Test Results (more screws is better)
- Stanley FATMAX Brushless 102 Screws (with 2Ah battery!)
- Stanley FATMAX 74 Screws
- Ryobi 62.5 Screws
- Bosch 90 Screws
So what does this mean? Well the brushless FATMAX wins pretty much every test. I know these aren’t against the best drills on the market, but they are similarly priced and the FATMAX blows them away. The last test for the battery I did with a 2Ah battery in the brushless drill, the same one that comes with the brushed drill. I did this to see whether the brushless motor does actually make a power efficiency difference. And well the result is clear, it lasted so much longer than the brushed version of the same drill even with the exact same battery.
This is a great drill at a great price, I would not hesitate to recommend or even purchase it myself. We even have the V20 random orbit sander at the workshop now such is our confidence in this tool platform, you can read a review on that here.
A little note about purchasing the drill, it can be found as part of a bundle with the impact driver included. This makes it a great priced deal and you even get the 4Ah batteries instead of 2Ah. Dan bought this deal and he got it from his local toolstation, so it may be worth checking at yours!