The Metabo HPT VB3616DA Cordless Rebar Cutter/Bender is a battery-powered version of the manufacturer’s corded cutter and bender (the Metabo HPT VB16Y). Although it has cut the cord, the folks at Metabo HPT maintain this battery-powered version performs even better than the VB16Y, attributing this enhanced performance to a new brushless motor as well as the powerful 36-volt MultiVolt battery.
In use, the new bender/cutter delivers on this promise. After I measure, mark, and align rebar up to 5/8 inch thick (that is, #5 rebar), the cutter breaks the piece cleanly in a few seconds. The manufacturer claims that the tool will deliver up to 270 cuts in #5 grade 60 rebar on a single charge (I did not test this).
The bending feature is even more impressive. Here, Metabo promises a whopping 520 bends in #5 rebar per charge. Like the cutting operation, the bending function takes just a few seconds per bend.
The precision of these bends, however, is the main selling point of this tool. It has a dial that you can set to any angle from 0 to 180 degrees. But it doesn’t stop there. You can fine-tune the bends a degree or two at a time with the dial until you get the exact angle you need. There are other, less-expensive electric bending tools available, but none of them offer this kind of precision.
The crisp 90-degree angles I got really sped up the process on a footing I did recently. In the past, I’d bend the steel, place it in the trench, and invariably have to take it out and rebend it to make it fit the footing. I’d often go through this time-consuming and annoying routine a few times before I’d get it right. With this bender, the steel followed the corners correctly on the first go-around.
The Metabo HPT VB3616DA is the only battery-powered cutter/bender on the market. The list price for the cutter/bender, two 36-volt 4.0-Ah batteries, a charger, and a case is $2,400. This is $400 more than the corded version, so if you anticipate having power readily available on all your jobs, you can save money by going with the original, corded model. If you’re willing to fork over the additional $400, though, you’ll avoid the hassle of running a cord and still have plenty of power for any residential job. metabo-hpt.com
Photos by the author.