We took our best performing impact driver into the shop for another challenge. Yep, it's DeWalt vs Makita vs Milwaukee. This time, we wanted to see which of these impact tools was the fastest impact driver, and we did so by testing how fast these models could sink 8-inch RSS Rugged Structural Screws. The material we chose was ¾ inch OSB, which we layered. It's a very consistent material, which is what we needed to make this speed test as fair as possible. Who do you have? Milwaukee 2853? DeWalt DCF887? Makita XDT16? See how your favorite professional-grade impact driver performed in this week's Impact Driver Speed Challenge!
Buy it now
Makita XDT16: https://bit.ly/3q263nT
Dewalt DCF887: https://bit.ly/3dXTK9z
Milwaukee 2853: https://bit.ly/3r6MsEr
CARHARTT GEAR: http://bit.ly/carhartt-gear
For this test, we are turning to structural screws. Specifically, we used GRK RSS Rugged Structural Screws that are 3/8" in diameter and 8" in length. They are an alternative to larger lag screws and are designed for faster penetration and installation. This makes them easier to use with impact drivers. We also like the non-slip T40 drivers, which gave us more consistent time results.
The material we chose was our layered 3/4" OSB. It's not as hard as LVL, but it's really stable. That's what we're looking for as fair a test as possible.
Also to be fair, we started with freshly charged 5.0Ah batteries for each tool.
Compare basic specs and features
If you're not familiar with these impact drivers, let's take a quick look at how they perform on paper.
The DeWalt DCF887 is a 3 speed model with a max speed of 3250 RPM, 3600 strokes per minute and 1825 in-lbs of torque. This is also what DeWalt used as the basis for the DCF888 including Tool Connect.
Makita's XDT16 is the lightest and most compact of the group, and has consistently performed well in our tests. It has 4 standard and 4 assist modes, a top speed of 3600 RPM, 3800 shocks per minute and 1600 inch-pounds of torque.
The Milwaukee 2853 is a third generation M18 Fuel impact driver and is only a millimeter longer than the Makita. This 4-speed impact driver also features an assist mode and boasts a top speed of 3600 RPM, 4300 impacts per minute and a whopping 2000 inch-pounds of torque. If you like smart controls, it's the basis for the Milwaukee 2857 One-Button Impact Driver.
Ok, back to our test – it's pretty simple. I would time the time it takes each impact driver to bring the screw head flush with the top of the material. We will run the test 5 times and take the average. If we run into anything, like a screw protruding from the side, or if I happen to mess with one, we'll redo that test.
Fastest Impact Driver Results
Let's take a look at these end results. All three impact drivers got off to the fastest start in the first test. However, this is not surprising. When your battery is fully charged, it is at its maximum voltage. Once they do a little work, they adapt to what is called the nominal voltage.
Although these brands provided us with two 18V tools and one 20V max, they all started testing at 20V max and then settled down to 18V nominal. If you're not convinced that 18V and 20V Max are the same voltage, be sure to watch the video we break it down for you.
DeWalt's first attempt was an impressive 7.28 seconds, and the last test was a slowest 9.57. After crunching these numbers, the average is 8.41 seconds.
Makita got off to a slightly slower start at 7.68 seconds and was more consistent in the middle, finishing the final test in 9.59 seconds. This gives it an average of 8.49 seconds. This is close to DeWalt's margin of error.
Milwaukee broke its first Test record with a time of 5.32 seconds, and its slowest time was in the middle, at 6.43 seconds. When you look at these numbers, it's no surprise to find that the M18 Fuel tops the list with an average of 5.84 seconds.
confirm our results
To be on the safe side, we did some confirmatory testing after the tool had been rested for a while. Our fastest impact driver results remain – showing similar results. We also tested with the smaller 1/4" x 6" RSS screws and the Milwaukee still had a significant advantage.
So while the Milwaukee strength fought it in our strength challenge by breaking the adapter, it helped it maintain a higher speed in this soft-torque tightening test.
As for DeWalt and Makita, their final results were so close that it was practically a tie considering that eight hundredths of a second was well within my timing error. Let's not underestimate their efforts – they're all pretty fast, and as we test more impact drivers on our rig we'll see how well these three brands stack up against some of the other options.
If you have any questions or feedback for us, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and, as always, thanks for watching!
about the author
With wild creativity and a fervent love for baseball, Austin is primarily responsible for all the fast and furious action via the Pro Tool Reviews Youtube channel. He loves being behind the camera, and the PTR team loves how good he makes them look in front of the camera!