Milwaukee M12 Impact Gen2
I have been eyeing up this driver for some time now. I wasn't sure it would have the power or torque I was used to being such a small size. I knew Milwaukee made quality tools so I decided to take the leap and give it a try. When I received the impact I could tell right away the build quality was on point. Straight from the box I was excited to try this impact driver out, it looked and felt like a quality tool and I couldn't wait to see if it would meet all of my expectations like most other Milwaukee Products.
First, let's cover why the M12 line up may or may not be for you. Milwaukee's M12 line isn't for everyone. It's a more compact, lightweight set of tools made for people who don't need heavy duty power and want something a little more convenient. For example, the generation 2 M12 impact is 5.1 inches in length and weighs 1.25 pounds. Comparatively, the Milwaukee M18 Surge, a more powerful impact driver, is 5.1 inches tall and weighs over two pounds. The M12 torques at 1,300 in-lbs with the brushless motor delivering 0-3,300 RPM. The M18 turns slower delivering 0-3000 RPM, but torques at 1,800 in-lbs. One other consideration is price. The M12 retails for $160CAD and the M18 for $229CAD. For the difference in price and user comfort, I prefer the M12 line up. It is still a professional tool not just for the DIY. Will it completely replace the need for a larger impact? Obviously no, but for most tasks like many people, I don't need to carry around a heavy impact with a large capacity battery.
Generation 2 Improvements
Looking at the front end of the new Milwaukee M12 Gen2 impact driver, the chuck is set further back towards the brushless motor. The fact that Milwaukee did this while increasing torque by 100 in-lbs is a testament to the apparent soundness of the design. The 0.9” reduction in length also makes for a much smaller footprint. Since Milwaukee re-centered the mass, it still feels very comfortable in my hand. They also added a four mode drive control which offers a bit more flexibility in speed and torque control. In addition to having three speeds, the Milwaukee Gen2 impact driver also adds a Self-Tapping Screw Mode, great for anyone working with steel.
Putting the Impact to use Like all tools, I never do a full review until I have fully tested the tool in different conditions with a full and depleted battery to see how it performs. I can confidently say this Impact was no slacker. I recently built a deck using pressure treated wood for the structure and composite decking for the surfaces. Each board on the deck needed a screw every sixteen inches or less and the M12 impact didn't slow down once. I ran both a 2 AH and 4 AH battery and both lasted better than expected. The battery indicator on the side is very bright and easy to read so there was no worry about when the battery would die. The belt clip combined with the light weight made carrying it up and down the ladder a breeze. The M12 put all the screws in no problem on multiple angles and in tight spaces. After driving over 300 plus screws without an issue, I'm glad to have had this compact driver. It was not only great for the tight spots, but not having to carry around a heavy tool made the job that much easier and faster.
After using the M12 Impact, I can say it's a really great tool that will suit most people. We can all agree that the M12 tools are not as powerful as their M18 counterparts, but for the price you can't go wrong. The new model is definitely an improvement over the first generation and I'm really happy with the results. If you're on the fence about picking up this tool, you should definitely give it a try.
Gen II M12 FUEL 1/4″ Hex Impact Driver
Voltage 12 V
Torque 1,300 in/lbs
RPM 3,300 RPMLength 6.5 in.5.1 in.