Milwaukee M18 Fuel Mid-Torque Impact Wrench Review
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Mid-Torque Impact Wrench Displays Versatile Size and Power
As part of the Pipeline new product series, we got our lug nuts on the next-gen Milwaukee M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrench. Not only is it much smaller than the previous model, but you’ll find that it’s the most versatile cordless impact wrench in Milwaukee’s impressive arsenal.
- 550 ft-lbs of fastening and 650 ft-lbs of loosening torque
- Incredibly compact design for this performance level
- Much greater power than a compact impact wrench without a huge size penalty
- Enough power to eliminate the need for a high-torque impact wrench for many Pros
- Just 6.0 inches long and 5.1 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery
- New tri-beam LEDs
- Increased lanyard hole size
- 3 drive styles available
- No One-Key option yet
RecommendationIf you’re thinking about starting big with the high-torque or going small with the compact, give the Milwaukee’s mid-torque impact wrench a close look first. It’s much smaller and lighter than the high-torque and still has the power to cover a surprising range of applications that you might not expect from a mid-torque model. Even though the compact version is nice for close quarters, the mid-torque won’t leave you wishing you had more power and it’s only about an inch longer.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Mid-Torque Impact Wrench
Right out of the gate, this 2nd-generation Milwaukee M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrench has more power than its predecessor. Its 650 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque are 50 ft-lbs more. When it comes to fastening, you have 550 ft-lbs to work with.
We like to test those nut-busting claims on our test rig. We have 7/8-inch, grade 8, hardened steel nuts and bolts and we use a digital torque wrench with a 6x torque multiplier to set them at specific levels.
All the way up to 500 ft-lbs, this new mid-torque zipped them off like it was nothing. It worked so fast, we couldn’t even get a good stopwatch time to measure how long it took to break.
That’s when we found the limitations of our bolts. Somewhere between 550 and 600 ft-lbs, the threads finally failed. Unable to test any further with our current setup, we looked at each other and realized just how impressive this tool really is.
Consider for a moment how often you legitimately need to break more torque than a 7/8-inch grade 8 bolt can hold. It’s certainly possible, but outside of heavy equipment and diesel mechanics or industrial applications, it’s pretty rare.
Even with rusted lugs on many passenger vehicles, we find it’s more likely you’ll shear off the stud before you reach the limit of Milwaukee’s mid-torque strength.
Size and Weight
Compared to Milwaukee first-gen model, the updated version is 0.8 inches shorter in our measurements, putting its head right at 6.0 inches. That’s really compact for an impact wrench with this kind of power.
There’s a little weight loss that comes with the smaller size as well. Dropping 0.3 pounds, it’s now 3.5 pounds bare and 5.1 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery.
On smaller jobs, we like popping a 3.0Ah High Output battery on for even more weight savings. With it, you’re looking at 4.8 pounds for the weight.
A new auto mode takes center stage among the updated feature set. In addition to the standard three electronic speed settings, this mode functions differently in forward and reverse.
In forward, it prevents overtightening by automatically shutting off after the first few impacts. For torque-specific bolts, use this mode to get your fastener in place, then switch over to your torque wrench to finish it off.
When you’re working around a $100,000 car with so much power available, it’s a huge help to make sure you don’t create an expensive problem to fix.
There’s bolt removal assistance in reverse. With it, the impacts start light and slow and ramp up until it senses the bolt is loose. It doesn’t stop at that point. Instead, it continues loosening at a low-speed rate.
Tri-beam LEDs are fantastic and we love that Milwaukee has brought it to their mid-torque impact wrench!
3 LEDs surround the drive, lighting up your work area much better than any foot-mounted LED can, and nearly eliminating any shadows.
The lanyard hole size is a bit larger on this model. It might not be a big deal to mechanics on the ground, but it makes tethering easier for tradesmen working at height.
- Brushless motor
- Standard 3-speed electronic controls (plus the auto modes, 4 modes total)
- Reversible belt hook
- Variable speed trigger
- 3/8-inch friction ring (Milwaukee 2960)
- 1/2-inch friction ring (Milwaukee 2962)
- 1/2-inch pin detent (Milwaukee 2962P)
Milwaukee didn’t release a One-Key version of the Gen 1 mid-torque impact wrench and there’s been no word if Gen 2 will get the nod. However, it wouldn’t surprise us to see one coming considering this should be the new go-to model for most users.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Mid-Torque Impact Wrench Comparison Chart
|Previous Gen||Next Gen|
|Max Torque||600 ft-lbs||650 ft-lbs|
|Speeds||0 – 510/2100/2400 RPM||0 – 1250/1950/2575 RPM|
|Impact Rate||0 – 3000 IPM||0 – 3100 IPM|
|Auto Modes||None||Auto Shut-Off/Bolt Removal|
|One-Key Option||No||Not Yet|
|Head Length||6.8 in||6.0 in|
|Weight||3.8 lbs||3.5 lbs|
The current mid-torque impact wrenches sell for $199 as a bare tool and the updated models will a little higher at $219. The extra $20 is totally worth it for the extra performance and smaller size in our opinion.
Here’s a breakdown of your kit options:
|3/8-inch Friction Ring (2960)||$219||$319||$419|
|1/2-inch Friction Ring (2962)||$219||N/A||$419|
|1/2-inch Pin Detent (2962P)||$219||N/A||$419|
The Bottom Line
If you’re thinking about starting big with the high-torque or going small with the compact, give the Milwaukee’s mid-torque impact wrench a close look first.
It’s much smaller and lighter than the high-torque and still has the power to cover a surprising range of applications that you might not expect from a mid-torque model. Even though the compact version is nice for close quarters, the mid-torque won’t leave you wishing you had more power and it’s only about an inch longer.
When you put it all together, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrench is easily the most versatile in their lineup. All models should hit the market in November 2020.