Milwaukee M12 Screwdriver Vs. Impact Driver

When shopping for the best cordless screwdriver or impact driver, you have to match the features to your needs. This is never easy because you don`t just have one task to accomplish. Whether you are buying a cordless impact driver for your personal projects or demanding commercial projects, you have to be prepared for both delicate and tough jobs.

A single tool may not be all you need on-site so you need a reliable gentle tool with enough punch as well as a high-torque impact driver to drill and drive large screws through tough surfaces. This is why the Milwaukee M12 Fuel series has come to the top of the market for its wide range of powerful 12V tools able to handle any fastening, unfastening or drilling projects you may have on-site.

These two drivers are a combination of power and precision for handling all tasks you have on-site if you need torque, precision, and quality in a single package. We placed both tools to test with the help of a construction expert and an experienced DIYer to evaluate the productivity of these tools on steel, wooden and concrete surfaces. We also tested battery life and actual speed on the screwdriver when assembling delicate electronics and a wooden cabinet to evaluate its performance at home. Our editors wrote this review based on the tests.

Milwaukee 2401-20 Hex screwdriver is a small pistol handle screwdriver light and gentle, you won’t even feel it in your hands. It is meant for those delicate projects where small screws or sensitive surfaces are involved as well as standard tasks that need no more than 200lbs  of torque. Milwaukee 2453-22, on the other hand, is a 12V impact driver with a giant torque rivaling any 20V impact driver. It is built to handle the toughest projects driving large pesky screws and lug nuts without causing fatigue to the user.

In summary, our tests confirmed that both tools are necessary for a clean finish when working at any commercial or domestic project. If you have not budgeted for both tools, we would recommend going for 2453-22 if you are ready to apply maximum caution on precision sensitive projects. Its 1200in-lb torque can handle any tough projects while the variable speed trigger allows you to set low and high torque. It has a tough external casing to withstand the brutality of outdoor sites making it a reliable one-time purchase.

If you are just in for a reliable screwdriver for your home projects such as assembling electronics, wooden applications, and repairs, 2401-20 is the best tool for you. We, however, recommend buying both to be covered on all types of projects whether you are a professional or just a DIY enthusiast.

Reviewing Milwaukee 2401-20 Hex screwdriver and Milwaukee 2453-22 Impact driver

1. Milwaukee 2401-22 Screwdriver

Milwaukee 2401-20 M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/4 in. Hex Screwdriver (Tool-Only)

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Professionals call this screwdriver “the clean lady” because of its gentle touch and high precision. It is a small compact driver with a comfortable pistol grip that allows you to change bits and drive direction easily with one arm. Its lightweight build and ergonomic grip give you full control of the bit for accurate aim even on the smallest screws. It measures only 6 inches front to back and weighs 2lbs with the batteries included. Its handle is also slim; there was also very little vibration on the handle even at the highest speed.

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We liked the keyless chuck with all metallic clamps which had a very sturdy grip on the bits. It performed well on light and standard tasks with its 175lb torque driving standard 1-inch screws through plastic, wood, Light steel and concrete. It lasted nearly 4 hours under continuous use on 2AH batteries which means you can work with it all day with a backup battery.

The chuck also has 15 point settings which allow you to reduce the torque accurately for the smallest screws such as a jewelry box screw without overdriving or chipping the screws. Its work light is however not very bright when there is daylight. We also observed that it wasn’t very effective at removing tough lug nuts from a car wheel. It took very long to drive 3-inch screws through dry yellow pine but it drove 30 1-inch screws in just 5 minutes.

 

What You get with this screwdriver

  • 1 Milwaukee m12 2401-22 Hex Screwdriver

 

Pros

  • A very light and compact design
  • It has variable speeds. 0-400/0-500rpm
  • Ergonomic pistol grip
  • long battery life
  • Comfortable and easy to use with no vibration on the handle

Cons

  • Not suitable for tough screws and lug nuts
  • The work light is not very bright

Top FAQs

Q: Does this screwdriver have multiple speeds?

A:  Yes. It has a variable speed trigger for 0-400rpm and 0-500rpm

Q: Which are the best batteries for this screwdriver?

A:  We highly recommend the M12 2AH batteries. They last up to four hours on continuous use.

Q: Can this screwdriver be used to drill?

A:  Absolutely. It can drill small holes as long as you get a hex spade bit

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2. Milwaukee 2453-22 Impact driver

Milwaukee 2453-22 M12 Fuel 1/4 Hex Impact Driver with 2 Batteries

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This is a 12V impact driver for professionals and homeowners handling tough tightening and drilling projects. It has a giant torque rated at 1200lbs which is normally associated with 20V impact drivers. This one is still a small 12V impact driver light and compact enough to maneuver your toughest spots at the job site. Its high torque is also complemented by a very high top speed rated at 2650RPM as well as a quick impact rate of 3550 IPM.

While testing it, we noticed the wight is slightly higher than the 2lb stated by the manufacturer when the batteries are loaded but it is still very light and doesn’t cause fatigue. It drove 100 3-1ch screws in dry yellow pine, 60 in concrete and 35 through light steel surfaces within 10 minutes when used by a professional.  Its Grip on the chick was sturdy at lower torque settings but it gets a little shaky as you increase the speed. Its LED light was bright enough for the darkest corner in the room.

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The M12 2.0 batteries included in the package lasted nearly 3 hours while driving continuously on one charge. If you carry a backup, they are enough to last you on a whole day project. It needs a strong grip at the handle to maintain balance because of the strong punch. We disliked the fact that this impact driver has only two settings meaning its lowest torque is still too high for small screws.

 

What you get with this impact driver

  • 2 2AH M12 Milwaukee 12v batteries
  • 1 Milwaukee 12V quick charger
  • 1 storage bag
  • 5 year too warranty plus 2-year battery warranty

Pros

  • High speed (2650rpm) and a giant torque (1200lbs) for handling tough projects
  • It is very light (2lbs)
  • It has a compact head measuring just 6 inches for accessing tight spaces
  • A powerful LED light with a 20-second delay
  • Durable all-metallic motor

Cons

  • Minimum torque is still too high
  • It has only two work settings

Top FAQs

Q: Can a ¼ inch hex bit adapter last long on this impact driver?

A:  Depends on how frequently you use them. The package Milwaukee ¼ adapter lasts more than six months when used every day according to our DIY consultant. You can buy extra adapters and bits or upgrade to a 3/8 adapter for longer service.

Q: How long do the batteries take to charge?

A:  30 to 40 minutes depending on the temperature of the battery

Q: Is the motor brushed or brushless?

A:  This is a brushless motor impact driver

Q: Can these batteries work on the Milwaukee 2401-20 screwdriver?

A:  Yes

Our take on Milwaukee 2453-20 Impact Driver

This impact driver stores a powerful punch that can handle any tough projects on a construction site or woodwork site. We recommend it as a primary impact driver for any professional or homeowner that intends to handle tough projects. It can work on your car, fence, wall mounts or garden projects with little effort when used at home. Its tough casing and premium features also allow it to withstand harsh conditions on any outdoor working site.

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Comparing Milwaukee 2401-20 screwdriver to 2453-22 Impact driver

Performance

The performance of Milwaukee 2401-20 screwdriver is top-notch for a light task power tool because it packs the punch needed for its class of tasks while giving you full control for the highest precision fastening. Its small size aided by the pistol grip is good if you intend to drive screws at 90 degrees on tight spots.

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Its variable speed trigger with 15 point chuck settings improves accuracy when fastening screws on the most sensitive surfaces such as small boxes and electronics. It will come in handy for the light tasks for a professional worker or a DIYer. Moreover, it has a sturdy grip on the bits allowing you to drive through wooden surfaces, concrete, plastic, and metallic surfaces effectively using 1-inch screws or smaller.

Milwaukee 2453-22 impact driver came at the top of the 12V range of impact drivers in the market because it packs the punch of a 20V with the size and weight of a 10V impact driver. With 1200lbs and that high-speed operation, you can complete fastening tasks quickly which is why it will make a great first impact driver for any professional. It is also suitable for tight spots and doesn’t cause fatigue even when used overhead for a long time. It worked well with large screws driving through wood, concrete, and metal.

Batteries

The M12 2AH batteries worked well on both tools. All Milwaukee M12 Fuel series tools use the same batteries. In this package, 2401-20 comes as a bare tool but 2453-22 comes with two 2AH batteries which can be used on both tools. The batteries are powerful and able to run up to 3 hours on the 2453-22 impact driver and 4 hours on the screwdriver when used continuously. This makes them a safe package when bought together. If you prefer buying one, you may need to buy a pair of the Milwaukee m12 batteries to be safe.

Durability

These tools are built with a tough external casing to withstand the harsh conditions of a construction site which is why they will last the time in most environments. They are made of all metallic motors and metallic interior parts to reduce the wear under heavy-duty use. They are covered by the 5-year Milwaukee tool warranty as well as a 2-year warranty for the batteries.

Final note

Choosing the best tool in the market for your tasks even from a trusted manufacturer like Milwaukee has become very difficult because of the wide range of products they offer. Most online sellers and advertisers are also confusing which is why we went the extra mile to compile a performance-based review before proposing this combination of tools. Milwaukee 2453-22 Impact driver and the 2401-20 screwdriver are a complete package for both high torque and high precision needs for your toolbox. This review has all the details on how the tools will work for you and links to getting them online without breaking your wallet.

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