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If you never have owned a cordless impact driver then perhaps you are like me and don’t know what you are missing. I chose the Milwaukee Cordless Impact Driver at my Home Depot store as part of a package with the 3/8″ reversible drill. For years, I’ve tinkered around with inferior power tools. From my horribly under-powered cordless, Ryobi screwdriver to my cheesy, 12-volt Skil Power Drill. These tools have lasted long enough for me to spend plenty of years cussing at how meek and timid they are whenever I needed to get s simple job done around or outside of the house. The screwdriver served its purpose for a while, but there are times when you just need a little more ump to drive some screws into places. The Skil 12-Volt drill seemed like a great deal. I paid about $50 for it at Home Depot and it came with two batteries and a keyless chuck. The Skil 12-Volt Drill, however, had three major problems:
- It is a pain to pull the battery in and out.
- It’s big, clunky and no good for tight places
- The batteries wear down, even when you’re not using them
It dawned on me, that I do more driving than drilling. I had never heard of an impact driver before until my brother-in-law showed me his cordless Dewalt driver and sold me on how useful it is. I’m not much of a handy-man like my brother-in-law, so I let him explain to me what it could do for me and why I might want one.
What is an Impact Driver?
The purpose of an Impact Driver is to drive long screws and bolts into wood and other materials. Basically, an impact driver is a heavy-duty, powerful screwdriver that works by giving you extremely strong torque for turning screws while reducing the risk of stripping the screws or bolts. Such a tool is neither a drill nor hammer-drill, but in many cases can be a convenient replacement for both. The important thing to remember is convenience. Would a corded impact driver make sense? Probably not, but neither would an under-powered re-chargeable one that can’t get the job done. Problem solved. Say hello to the 18-Volt, lithium battery which is in my opinion, the greatest thing that ever happened to cordless, power tools. The other feature of the Impact Driver is a socket that holds hex-shaped driver bits into place simply by pulling forward, inserting the bit and letting it retract back into place. Bits will never loosen and it only takes seconds to insert, remove and replace them. Before I settled on the Milwaukee brand, I just want to say that just about any 18-Volt Impact Driver will be a huge upgrade to your tool collection if you don’t currently own one.
Basics of the Milwaukee Cordless Impact Driver
I can’t tell you how many times I stripped screws with my traditional power drill.Every summer, the handle on my fence gate seems to loosen up. I have never been able to get screws that are fat and sturdy enough to hold into place. My new Milwaukee Cordless Impact Driver made a 30 second job of fastening it tight with heavy-duty, 2.5″ Lag Bolts. Some of the published reviews from handy-man publications pointed out that the Milwaukee 18-Volt Impact driver bested the competition for number of lag bolts that can be driven on one battery charge. (Up to 138 bolts). On the other hand some users have complained that the battery drains quickly. This is not a problem if you have two batteries or buy the extended (larger) battery. If you’re not familiar with lithium ion technology, you’ll love the fact that the power never degrades while your using the tools. The Milwaukee driver has a battery gauge that when you press-on-it, tells you how much power is left. The battery only has two states of operation: on or off. So, when your battery is down to it’s final few seconds of life, it is still delivering the same power that it did when it was fully charged. Also, unlike the old, 12V Skill drill, the batteries don’t seem to lose any of their life as they are sitting on the shelf. One other great thing – the battery only takes 20-30 minutes to charge. Finally, another really nice touch is the LED light just under the nose of the driver that lights up only when you are using it. Well, so far I am very impressed and I cannot wait to find some heavy duty jobs to do around the house. In fact, I may have a good reason to test the 138 lag-bolts claim as I have reason to bolt some angle frames into some wood-ties in my back yard. Meanwhile, in case you’re curious, here are some specifications from the user manual.
Milwaukee 2650-20 Specifications
- Model # 2650-20
- Volts: 18
- RPM: 0-2 200
- Drive Shank: 1/4″
- IPM: 0-3 200