Impact drivers were once considered tools that only the most serious carpenters and mechanics needed. Nowadays, it’s considered a vital tool for basic home and furniture repairs. The magic behind an impact driver is the hammer-like blows with each rotation, giving you maximum torque for loosening and driving screws and bolts. If you need to break a nut or loosen a screw that hasn’t moved in over a decade, the most reliable handheld power tool to turn to is an impact driver.
Milwaukee has been one of the most popular manufacturers of power tools, and their line of impact drivers is a testament to how well-designed their products are. In this article, we’re going to take a close look at two of their most popular impact drivers – the Milwaukee M18 2656-20 and the M18 2753-20. Despite both of these tools coming from the M18 cordless system, there are a few significant differences that need to be addressed. Without further ado, let’s jump into our comparison.
The 2656-20 features a 4-pole frameless motor. Don’t be tricked by the name; it’s still a brushed motor, meaning that you’ll need to replace brushes every so often, depending on how frequent you use the tool. Even as a brushed model, it does extremely well in keeping the heat down to a minimum when used for extended periods of time.
The 2753-20 comes with a brushless motor, meaning you don’t need to worry about replacing brushes, and other maintenance issues are few and far between. Like any brushless motor, the Powerstate motor fitted into this tool produces very little heat so your machine won’t suddenly die due to heat exhaustion.
Conclusion: One of the most important considerations to make when purchasing an impact driver is the type of motor it comes with. There are two types to choose from: brushed and brushless. Even though the 2656-20 features a 4-pole frameless motor that does well in dissipating heat, it’s still a brushed motor that will experience maintenance issues, whereas the 2753-20 has a brushless motor that produces very little heat, thus extending its battery life considerably.
RPM and IPM
This tool’s motor can reach speeds of up to 2,750 RPM while producing up to 3,450 IPM. For every hobbyist and most professional mechanic, these ratings should be sufficient in work and time spent on driving or taking out screws or bolts. If you’re looking at other impact driver models, we highly recommend looking at tools that can reach at least 2,500 RPM and 3,000 IPM.
The 2753-20 is marginally better than the 2656-20 regarding speed and hammer-like blows per rotation. It has a maximum speed of up to 3,000 RPM and 3,700 IPM. It’s clear that this unit’s motor exceeds our minimum performance requirement. However, practicality-wise, it’s not much better than the 2656-20.
Conclusion: The RPM and IPM ratings are also important considerations to take into account when looking for the right impact driver. These two numbers show how quick and powerful the tool is.
Looking at their respective ratings, honestly speaking, there’s hardly any difference. The slight advantage that the 2753-20 has over the 2656-20 regarding performance is mainly due to the efficiency of its brushless motor.
Torque is what truly separates an impact driver from a cordless drill. Having high torque is what gives an impact driver the ability to drive screws through dense materials such as masonry. The 2656-20 can produce up to 1,800-inch-pounds of torque. This far surpasses the power needed to unscrew greasy bolts, let alone drive screws through the wood.
If you thought 1,500-inch-pounds of torque was impressive, take a look at the 2753-20’s amazing efficiency at producing up to 1,800-inch-pound rating. This tool is the more powerful tool of the two. However, with this much torque, be sure that you have perfect control when driving screws.
Conclusion: There’s no point in investing in an impact driver if it doesn’t produce very much torque. We’re glad to say that both of these Milwaukee models can provide more than enough torque for some of the toughest jobs at home and under the hood of your car. However, when it comes to torque, more is better, and that’s why we favor the 2753-20 over the 2656-20.
Size and Weight
2656-20 and 2753-20
The size and weight of an impact driver does help in determining whether a certain model is a good fit for you. You’ll most likely use your impact driver in tight quarters (e.g., under the hood of your car or in other dark, hard-to-reach spaces) to loosen greasy bolts.
The last thing you need is a heavy tool weighing your arm and shoulder down when working at awkward angles. With either the 2656-20 or the 2753-20, you don’t need to worry about this problem at all. Both of these tools are compact (less than 6 inches from chuck to end) and lightweight (2.65 pounds, not including battery).
2656-20 and 2753-20
The size of the hex chuck is an indicator of how powerful an impact driver is. Despite both of these tools being able to reach high speeds and produce a high number of IPMs with massive torque, these are not the most powerful impact drivers on the market.
Both the 2656-20 and 2753-20 come with ¼-inch hex chucks. The most powerful chucks you’ll find in home-use, and even professional-grade impact drivers should be at least half-an-inch in size. That being said, you shouldn’t worry too much about either of these tools not having sufficient power to tackle even the toughest jobs you have at home.
Despite their minor differences where it matters the most (RPM, IPM, torque, size, and weight), we feel obligated to state that the better Milwaukee impact driver to choose between these two tools is the M18 2753-20. The reason behind our choice is simple: it has a brushless motor. This means the 2753-20 runs much more efficiently, reducing battery consumption, heat production, and extending the tool’s life.
The Milwaukee M18 2656-20 is not a bad choice at all, considering that its 4-pole frameless motor is still technically a brushed motor, we were rather impressed that it worked so efficiently at dissipating heat and maintaining battery power after several hours of usage. However, in the current state that the power tools industry is in, there’s no substitute for going brushless.
3 Recommended Impact Drivers
- INCREASED VISIBILITY: Has built in LED with 20 second delay after trigger release
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN: Compact (5.55 in. front to back)and lightweight (2.8 lbs) design fits into tight areas
- ONE HANDED BIT LOADING: Has a 1/4 in. hex chuck and accepts 1 in. bit tips. No load speed: 0 2,800
- High Performance Transmission delivers 1375 in-lbs of max torque
- Quick Release 1/4" Hex Chuck
- Compact & Lightweight for ease of use
- Dewalt built Brushless Motor, Compact, Lightweight Design for tight spaces
- Variable speed trigger, no load speed 0 to 1000, 2800, 3250
- 3 speed settings for versatility with Precision Drive for added Control