We brought our top-performing impact drivers into the shop for another challenge. That’s right, it’s DeWalt vs Makita vs Milwaukee. This time we wanted to see which of these impact tools is the fastest impact driver out there, and we did so by testing how fast these models could sink 8” RSS Rugged Structural Screws. Our material of choice is ¾” OSB, which we layer up. It’s a really consistent material, and that’s what we need to make this speed test as fair as possible. So who do you got? Milwaukee 2853? DeWalt DCF887? Makita XDT16? Find out how your favorite pro-level impact driver placed in this week’s impact driver speed challenge!
In this test, we’re making the shift to structural screws. Specifically, we used GRK RSS Rugged Structural Screws at 3/8“ in diameter and 8” long. They’re a replacement for larger lag screws and are designed to penetrate and install more quickly. This makes them much easier to use with an impact driver. We also like the non-slip T40 drive that gives us more consistent time results.
Our material of choice is 3/4“ OSB which we layer up. It’s not as hard as LVL, but it’s really consistent. That’s what we’re looking for to make as fair of a test as we can.
Also to keep things fair, we’re starting with freshly charged 5.0Ah batteries for each tool.
Comparing Basic Specs and Features
If you’re not familiar with these impact drivers, let’s take a quick look at how they stack up on paper.
The DeWalt DCF887 is a 3-speed model that maxes out at 3250 RPM with 3600 impacts per minute and 1825 in-lbs of torque. It’s also what DeWalt uses as the base for the DCF888 that includes Tool Connect.
Makita’s XDT16 is the lightest and most compact of the group and has performed consistently well in our tests. With 4 standard modes and 4 assist modes, it tops out at 3600 RPM, delivers 3800 impacts per minute, and has 1600 in-lbs of torque.
The Milwaukee 2853 is the third generation M18 Fuel impact driver and it’s just a millimeter longer than Makita. This 4-speed impact driver also has an assist mode and boasts a 3600 RPM top speed, 4300 impacts per minute, and an eye-popping 2000 in-lbs of torque. If you like smart controls, it’s the base for Milwaukee’s 2857 impact driver with One-Key.
OK back to our test—which is pretty straightforward. I’ll time how long it takes each impact driver to set the screw head flush with the top of the material. We’ll run the test 5 times and take the average. If we run into anything like a screw sticking out the side or I just happen to mess one up, we’ll redo that test.
Fastest Impact Driver Results
Let’s take a look at those final results. All three impact drivers started out of the gate with their fastest times in the first test. That’s not a surprise, though. When your battery is fully charged, it’s at its Max voltage. Once they do a little work, they settle into what’s called nominal voltage.
Even though the branding on these gives us two 18V tools and one 20V max, they all started the test at 20V Max and then settled into an 18V nominal state. If you don’t believe that 18V and 20V Max are the same voltage, be sure to check out this video where we break it down for you.
DeWalt’s first effort was an impressive 7.28 seconds and its last test was its slowest at 9.57. After crunching those numbers, it averaged 8.41 seconds.
Makita had a slightly slower start at 7.68 seconds and was a little more consistent through the middle before ending with its last test at 9.59 seconds. That gives it an average of 8.49 seconds. That’s margin-of-error-close to the DeWalt.
Milwaukee crushed its first test with a test record of 5.32 seconds and its slowest time was in the middle at 6.43 seconds. After seeing those numbers, it was no surprise to find the M18 Fuel at the top of the charts with an average of 5.84 seconds.
Confirming Our Results
Just to be on the safe side, we ran a few confirmation tests after the tools had some rest time. Our fastest impact driver results remained—showing similar results. We also ran the test using smaller 1/4“ x 6” RSS screws and Milwaukee still held a significant advantage.
So while Milwaukee’s power worked against it by breaking adapters in our strength challenge, it helped it maintain higher speeds in this soft torque fastening test.
As for DeWalt and Makita, their final results are so close that it’s effectively a tie considering 8-hundredths of a second is well within timing errors on my part. Let’s not discount their efforts—they were both very quick, and as we test more impact drivers on our rig, we’ll see just how good these three brands are compared to some of the other options out there.
If you have any questions or feedback for us, feel free to leave those in the comments below, and as always, thanks for watching!