Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

12V Impact Drivers

Speed Under Load
Measurable Torque
Weight
Feature Set
Value
Final Thoughts

Dominating the performance in the 12V class is one thing, but it defeats the benefits of 12V if you can't keep the tool compact. Milwaukee does a nice job balance the two with top end performance and mid-pack size and weight. It gets some help from its recent redesign that drops nearly an inch off the length while adding 100 in-lbs of torque to the previous model. 

Overall Score 4.6 Shootout Results

Get it Online

Acme Tools

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver Review


Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver Dominates Performance Testing

After testing more than 30 impact drivers, there’s wasn’t much question that the Milwaukee M12 Fuel is the highest performing the in the 12V class. After all, Milwaukee is known for having a really deep 12V line that draws comparisons to compact 18V performance.

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver Shootout Results

  • 12V Ranking: 1st place out of 9
  • Speed Under Load: 397 RPM (1st place)
  • Fastening Torque: 804 in-lbs (1st place)
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 1680 in-lbs (tie, 1st place)
  • Decibels Under Load: 100 dB(A) (tie, 7th place)
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds bare, 2.2 pounds with battery (3rd place)
  • Footprint: 5.2″ head length, 6.8″ height (4th place)
  • Feature Set: Highlighted by a 3-speed brushless motor with self-tapping screw mode (1st place)
  • Value: $119 bare, $169 with two compact batteries (6th place)

Takeaway

Dominating the performance in the 12V class is one thing, but it defeats the benefits of 12V if you can’t keep the tool compact. Milwaukee does a nice job balance the two with top end performance and mid-pack size and weight. It gets some help from its recent redesign that drops nearly an inch off the length while adding 100 in-lbs of torque to the previous model.

Results as of February 11, 2019. Check out our Best 12V Impact Driver page for the latest updates.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Performance

Performance is the most important aspect of your impact driver. You can use the most comfortable, least expensive, feature-rich impact driver on the market, but if it can’t get that fastener attached, it doesn’t do you a whole lot of good, does it?

On paper, the Milwaukee M12 Fuel impact driver can generate a no-load speed of 3,300 RPM and 4,000 IPM. It also produces a max 1,300 in-lbs of torque. That’s great in a lab, but the real world doesn’t deal in no-load speed.

For a look at the ins and outs of how we tested during our shootout, click the main shootout page link here.

Speed Under Load

We glued up layers of OSB subfloor and drove 1/4″ diameter ledger screws into it. We clocked the Milwaukee M12 at 397 RPM, which places it at the top of our charts for speed testing. Incidentally, the next best finisher is the Bosch PS42 – more than 100 RPM behind.

We like to see our Pro 18V models hit 400 RPM minimum and several models we’ve tested don’t. That means the Milwaukee 2553 legitimately outperforms some 18V models in this test and it’s conceivable to use it occasionally on timber screw and some lags. I’d still stick with an 18V model if that’s a primary application for you, though.

Measurable Torque

Milwaukee’s 2553 generates 804 in-lbs of hard fastening torque in our testing. To put into perspective how much more that is, Skil’s 12V brushless sits in 2nd with 700 in-lbs of torque and Hilti sits in 3rd with 431 in-lbs.

We also look at these tools’ nut-busting torque by, well, busting nuts loose from Grade 8 hardened bolts. Here, the Milwaukee 2553 shares the lead Skil at 1680 in-lbs of breakaway torque. Bosch sits alone is 3rd at 1200 in-lbs followed by Hilti at 840 in-lbs before things really taper off.

All of this is to say that in every performance category we tested, the Milwaukee 2553 puts some serious distance on its competition.

Feature Set

The Milwaukee 2553 comes with a brushless motor and 4 driving modes. A lot of the impact drivers in the 12V class only have one driving mode and some have a couple, but this is the only one with 4. These modes include three different speed settings and one self-tapping screw mode.

It also includes a pretty solid LED light below the chuck, a belt hook, and a battery power gauge on the tool. While it doesn’t have bit ejection, the Milwaukee M12 Fuel impact driver does come with a one-handed bit change.

Ergonomics

One of the great things about a 12V impact driver is how light and compact it can get. This one area that the Milwaukee 12V impact driver steps away from the podium.

Without the battery attached, this impact driver weighs a cool 1.8 lbs. Hooking up the battery only brings it up to 2.2 lbs, holding on to a 3rd place ranking. At this weight, fatigue won’t really enter into the picture. That’s the case with our entire group that maxes out at 2.7 lbs.

As far as the tool’s actual footprint goes, it’s a little bigger than some. It’s 5.2″ long from tip to tail, and it stands 6.8″ tall. This makes it a bit easier to squeeze into those tight corners. It’s good enough for a 4th place ranking with Ridgid taking the top 2 places thanks to their 12V Palm Driver and 12V impact driver.

This is a big improvement over the 2453, though. The height is roughly the same, but it drops nearly an inch (0.9″) off the length.

Miilwaukee 2553-20 vs 2453-20 size

Comfort goes a long way too, and Milwaukee does a really good job at balancing the tool’s weight. The rubbery grip feels comfortable and secure, while the handle has been molded to fit the shape of your hand.

As far as how this measures up against other tools in our shootout, the Milwaukee 12V Fuel impact driver finished 4th overall for its footprint.

Value

 

We see a big difference between price and value. So, when we tell you that the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver kit is the most expensive we looked at and that it still presents a solid value, what we mean is that you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Considering that this tool so far ahead of the pack in performance, leads in its feature set, comes with a couple of batteries, and has a 5-year tool/2-year battery warranty, $169 for the kit doesn’t sink its value.

There’s also the option of picking up the 2-tool combo kit. It comes with the impact driver, plus the M12 Fuel hammer drill, a couple of batteries, and the charger for $229.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

The Bottom Line

Dominating the performance in the 12V class is one thing, but it defeats the benefits of 12V if you can’t keep the tool compact. Milwaukee does a nice job balance the two with top end performance and mid-pack size and weight. It gets some help from its recent redesign that drops nearly an inch off the length while adding 100 in-lbs of torque to the previous model.

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver Specifications

  • Model: Milwaukee 2553-22
  • Power source: Cordless
  • No Load Speed: 3,300 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 1,300 in-lbs.
  • Impact Rate: 4,000 IPM
  • Bare Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Weight with Battery: 2.1 lbs
  • Length: 5.1″
  • Warranty: 5 years (tool), 2 years (battery)
  • Price: $169

 

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Zorro Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Zorro
Guest
Zorro

With the redesign, I’m ready to get one. I have the original first gen m12 impact that came in a 3 tool kit with the hex driver and flashlight, bought it January 2009, and I still use it every day. Had 2 batteries die from leaving them in the garage on empty a couple years, but one of the originals is still kicking. Noticed a reduction in fastening torque last couple months after I used it for running thousands of self tappers through .050 aluminum into .125 stainless, but that has only made it even more sensitive for running #8s… Read more »