Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 vs. DEWALT DCF887B: Impact Drivers

If you’ve never heard of an impact driver, you should get with the times. They’re no longer a specialty tool used only by hardcore furniture builders, home renovators, and mechanics. An impact driver has become a staple in the average handyman’s arsenal of power tools due to their awesome fastener-driving capabilities; something that you won’t find in a common power drill.

In this article, we’re going to compare two highly regarded impact drivers currently available on the market – the 2656-20 M18 from Milwaukee and the DCF887B from DEWALT. Catchy names, rightFrom the get-go, we’d like to inform you that neither of these tools will disappoint, but which one of them is the objectively better impact driverLet’s find out together.

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Brushed vs. Brushless Motor

Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
When looking at impact drivers, one of the first things to consider is whether to get a brushed or a brushless model. The Milwaukee comes with a 1.5-amp brushed motor with proprietary REDLINK technology which, according to the company, reduces heat production while improving heat dissipation – two of the biggest problems in brushed motors.

As for the DEWALT, heat is not an issue thanks to the 1.5-amp brushless motor. Brushless motors are the more technologically advanced type of motor available and, thanks to the lack of brushes, do not produce nearly as much heat as brushed models. Essentially, you can continue driving far more screws than brushed impact drivers between rests.

Conclusion: Although brushless motors are typically preferred over brushed ones, there’s really no different in terms of power. Furthermore, brushless motors are generally used by professional handymen that need to reduce downtime as much as possible. If you’re an infrequent user who simply needs a tool to drive the odd screw here or there, the brushed Milwaukee is definitely the more cost-effective tool for you.


Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
Torque is what an impact driver is all about. Torque is the amount of rotational force that spins a screw or other fastener into a material. Compared to power drills, impact drivers can deliver more than three times as much torque. As for the Milwaukee, this tool has a maximum torque rating of 1,500 inch-pounds.

The DEWALT outclasses the Milwaukee very slightly with its maximum torque delivery rating of 1,825-inch pounds. However, this is a 3-speed unit with different RPM and torque outputs. From the lowest to highest gear, the DEWALT can deliver 240, 1,500, and 1,825 inch-pounds.

Conclusion: Now, before we go celebrating the fact that the Milwaukee’s maximum torque is only as high as the DEWALT’s second gear, deciding on purchasing one or the other depends entirely on what you plan on doing. For instance, assembling furniture can be done with less than 1,000 inch-pounds of torque, but breaking rusty nuts or bolts will require more than 1,500 inch-pounds. But when it comes to overall versatility, the DEWALT is the clear winner here.


Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
Although speed isn’t a top priority when it comes to driving and loosening fasteners, it’s still something to take into account, especially if you’re working on a tight schedule. The Milwaukee has a touch-sensitive trigger that delivers between 0 and 2,750 RPM. Just note that working at a higher speed also means increasing the risk of stripping the screw head.

DEWALT’s 3-speed design lets users decide the maximum amount of speed. From first the third gear, this unit can spin up to 240 RPM, 2,800 RPM, and 3,250 RPM. This unit also comes with a touch sensitive trigger so on each speed setting. You’re free to work as slowly as you’d like with a speed cap for safety.

Conclusion: Once again, speed is not the most crucial thing in determining the performance quality of an impact driver unless you’re chasing a deadline. If you are, then you should opt for the DEWALT and its maximum speed of 3,250 RPM. For small home renovation projects, the Milwaukee will suit you fine.


Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
Impacts or beats are one of the most notable features in an impact driver. As the chuck spins, it produces thousands of rotational beats per minute, similar to slamming the side of the chuck with a hammer to give it more force. The Milwaukee can produce a maximum of 3,450 IPM.

The DEWALT is rated at 3,800 IPM. With more impacts packed into every 60 seconds of usage, you can realistically expect the tool to break rusted nuts and drive long fasteners into hardwood. Although the Milwaukee can do the same, the DEWALT can do it a tad more efficiently.

Conclusion: Once again, the DEWALT outclasses the Milwaukee, but the difference is marginal at best. For the most part, you wouldn’t even notice a 350-IPM difference unless you’re attempting to break super-rusted fasteners, and even then the Milwaukee may prove to be sufficient. So basically, there’s no significant difference between the two in terms of IPM.


Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
By control, we mean the simplicity of using the tool. First-time users may have trouble learning how to control the touch-sensitive trigger in the beginning, but as the old adage goes, “Experience is the best teacher.” Using the Milwaukee will take longer to get accustomed to due to the lack of speed settings.

As for the DEWALT, the 3-speed transmission really helps beginners by giving them full control over the maximum speed. By preventing the tool from exerting too much torque and speed, there will be a reduced risk of stripping screw heads and over-driving through thin workpieces. Speed control is a must-have feature if it’s your first time using an impact driver.

Conclusion: Between the two, we feel that the DEWALT is much more user-friendly than the Milwaukee for beginner users. However, having to switch between gears can be a pain for veteran craftsmen, but due to its quick speed and higher torque delivery, the DEWALT on its third speed can actually be the better option for veteran users.

Chuck Size

Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 and DEWALT DCF887B
The size of the chuck on an impact driver determines the size of the bits that can be mounted. It’s also used as an indicator to determine how powerful the tool is. Both the Milwaukee and DEWALT come with a quick-connect (keyless) 1/4-inch chuck which is among the smaller end of the chuck spectrum. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these impact drivers are weak, but rather that they’re not capable at handling the most demanding fastener driving tasks.

Battery and Runtime

Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
Both of these impact drivers are cordless models that draw power from a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. The Milwaukee uses an 18V battery that is not the biggest battery available, but it does provide more than 20 minutes of power per full charge. However, this is a bare-tool kit, meaning that you’ll need to have your own Milwaukee battery pack and charger or purchase them separately.

The DEWALT uses a 20V battery. One common misconception about batteries is that a higher voltage translates into more power. In truth, the voltage rating refers to the power storage capacity. This tool’s 20V battery can supply about 30 to 40 minutes of power when full. And like the Milwaukee, this kit does not include a battery and charger.

Conclusion: Comparing the Milwaukee to the DEWALT, we can safely conclude that the DEWALT’s 20V battery is the obvious better choice if and only if your job requires the battery to remain in the tool and not in the charger for as long as possible. Of course, you can solve the downtime problem by investing in multiple battery packs (you’ll have to get them anyway since these are bare-tool kits).

Weight and Size

Milwaukee 2656-20 M18
The size and weight of an impact driver are important considerations if you’re doing work in tight spaces that require you to hold the tool at an awkward angle (inside of shelves, under your car’s hood, and so on). The Milwaukee weighs only 3.1 pounds while measuring in at 5-1/2 inches long and about 8 inches tall.

The weight and size of the DEWALT isn’t that far off from the Milwaukee. The bare-tool weighs only 2 pounds with measurements of 5-1/3 inches long and 8 inches tall. CompactYes. LightweightYou better believe it.

Conclusion: It may sound like we’re nitpicking here, but in truth, the impact driver’s weight is a lot more crucial than one might imagine. Looking at the two, we can see the DEWALT is smaller than the Milwaukee in length while being 50% lighter. So when driving screws in tight, overhead spaces, the DEWALT ultra-lightweight design might be exactly what you’re looking for.


In this article, we’ve compared several differing specs between the Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 and DEWALT DCF887B impact drivers. After comparing the two, we can say with great certainty that the DEWALT is the better tool to have by a moderately wide margin. The Milwaukee is not a bad tool, but the DEWALT is much more versatile, user-friendly, and easier to control. The only limitation is its ¼-inch chuck, which prevents it from performing more challenging tasks, but this also applies to the weaker, slower Milwaukee.


3 Recommended Impact Drivers

Our Pick No. 1
DEWALT 20V Max Impact Driver Kit, 1/4-Inch...
  • Compact (5.55 front to back), lightweight (2.8 lbs) design fits into tight areas
  • 3 LEDs with 20-second delay after trigger release, provide visibility without shadows
  • One-handed loading 1/4 hex chuck accepts 1 bit tips
Our Pick No. 2
DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool...
  • DCD771 in cordless drill combo kit features 2 speed transmission (0-450 / 0-1500 RPM)
  • DCD771 high performance motor of cordless tools combo kit delivers 300 unit watts out (UWO) of power ability...
  • DCD771 compact, lightweight design of the drill/ impact driver combo kit fits into tight areas
Our Pick No. 3
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver Kit, Brushless,...
  • More runtime and capacity over standard units delivered by DEWALT-built brushless motor and lithium ion...
  • The cordless impact driver has an optimized application versatility with 3-speed settings
  • Added control for precise applications with Precision Drive in speed 1 for precision applications and added...

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Milwaukee 2656-20 M18



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