Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key Dominates in Raw Hard Torque Power
Out of 30 impact drivers that we brought in for head-to-head testing, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key (2857-20, 2857-22CT tested) came in 3rd place overall. A ranking that high takes a combination of power, speed, ergonomics, and much more.
Milwaukee 2857 Overview
The two main areas we tested for on each impact driver included speed and torque. Head over to our Best Impact Driver article to get more details on our testing methods.
On paper, the third-generation Milwaukee 18V impact driver looks solid with 2,000 in-lbs of torque and 3,600 RPM available. It’s definitely in the top tier, though there are some models that go a little higher on the torque side.
Speed Under Load Testing
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key is able to maintain 479 RPM in our speed test. That’s good enough for 8th place and the group ranges from 307 RPM on the low end to 651 as the fastest. Even though Milwaukee is in the middle of the pack, it’s still closing in on 75% of the winner’s speed and its getting close to the elite group that can hold 500+ RPM.
Realistically, none of the 18V tools in the test had to strain on a 1/4″ diameter ledger screw. Anything over 400 RPM meets our baseline Pro expectations to drive larger fasteners like timber screws and ledger screws effectively.
The Milwaukee 2857 stands alone at the top of our fastening torque test, needing 2656 in-lbs of torque to break what it fastened. Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt Triple Hammer Impact Driver is the only other one to eclipse the 2500 in-lb mark and it’s a long way ahead of the bottom of the standard models at 1413 in-lbs. Only about half (8 of 15) were able to push past 2000 in-lbs.
We really like to see at least 1500 in-lbs of torque in this test and Milwaukee is clearly hitting much heavier than that.
Milwaukee takes 2nd place in nut-busting torque and shares that position with Kobalt’s 24V Max impact driver. The standard impact drivers range from 2760 in-lbs to Skil’s 4200 in-lbs.
Coming up with a Pro baseline for nut-busting torque is tough since there’s no direct formula that converts it into fastening torque. That said, if it’s hitting above 2750 in-lbs, it’s going to get the job done easily in this class and Milwaukee gives you power to spare.
One thing you’ll want to look out for is metal fastening. There’s enough power in the Milwaukee 2857 to shear screw heads or break socket adapters pretty easily. Be sure to create some custom settings in One-Key or use a lower speed mode for those tasks.
Weight and Footprint
At 2.3 pounds bare and 3.2 pounds with its compact battery, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key keeps it pretty light even though it’s in 7th place. Mac Tools comes in the lightest at 2.8 pounds, just half a pound lighter. On the heavy end, Ryobi’s 4.4 pounds is more than a pound heavier.
While we really like the weight of those that come in under 3 pounds, using the Milwaukee 2857 isn’t going to fatigue you quickly.
Milwaukee also does a nice job keeping their model compact at 4.6″ long (only 1 mm longer than Makita’s XDT16) and 7.6″ tall without the battery. It’s able to get into some tight spaces that most of its competitors can’t.
While all of our 18V impact drivers are noisy, some do a better job controlling it than others. Milwaukee’s 102 decibels is in the louder half, tied for 11th place and 5 dB(A) higher than the best.
Milwaukee is going to be louder than some of its competition, but it’s not going to be a big deal on the professional jobsite.
Milwaukee’s feature set is really set apart by its One-Key controls. You can customize each of the standard modes in a variety of ways.
- Custom Drive Control
- RPM (1900–3600)
- Precision mode (on/off, 1 – 10)
- Trigger ramp up (shorter or longer slider)
- Self-Tapping Screw
- Screw diameter and length (SAE or metric)
- Head style (flat, hex, pan head, or wafer)
- Steel gauge (14–26)
- Starting speed (slower or faster slider)
- Trigger ramp up (shorter or longer slider)
- Universal Settings
- LED worklight duration (always on, 60, 30, 15 seconds)
- LED brightness slider
- On-tool reset (hold for 5 seconds to factory reset)
One newer feature is that you can save your custom settings in the library for later use if you want to go back to factory settings or adjust which custom settings you want for a specific job.
One-Key also still offers its inventory and tracking features.
- M18 Fuel brushless motor
- One-hand bit insertion
- Belt hook
- LED light
2857 Impact Driver Value
We tested the Milwaukee 2857-22CT – the kit with two compact batteries with a price tag of $279. It’s also available as a bare tool for $179 and as a kit with two 5.0 Ah batteries for $349. Milwaukee earns a good score (78 out of 100) for its value, packing a lot of performance for the price.
Take the Prosumer brands out of the mix and Milwaukee sits in 3rd place for value behind Ridgid and DeWalt.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key earns an overall 2nd place finish and shows why it belongs in the conversation at the top of the food chain. If pure power is what you’re looking for, there’s none better than the Milwaukee 2857. It’s a solid performer across all screw diameters and no slouch in the ergonomics department, either.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver with One-Key Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2857-22CT
- Power source: Milwaukee 18V battery
- No-load speed: 0 – 3,600 RPM
- Maximum torque: 2,000 in-lbs
- Impact rate: 0 – 4,300 IPM
- Bare weight: 2.3 pounds
- Weight with 2.0 Ah battery: 3.2 pounds
- Dimensions (LxH): 4.6 x 7.6 in.
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $179 bare, $279 compact battery kit, $349 5.0 Ah battery kit