Inside Look | Milwaukee M18 GEN 3 Impact Driver vs GEN 2 Impact Driver

We took an INSIDE LOOK at Milwaukee’s GEN3 1/4” Hex Impact Driver 2804-22. This latest addition to the M18 Fuel lineup is only 4 and a half inches in length and boasts 2,000 inch pounds of torque (which is a 200-inch-pound increase-in-power over the previous GEN2 model from 2017). So here’s a look at Gen 2 vs Gen 3 and see what has improved in a year, in terms of Milwaukee’s engineering, design, and performance. 

We put them both into the hands of Evan, a 10-year veteran of residential and commercial construction, to test them out head to head. Then we opened them up with Kris at Ohio Power Tool to take a look inside.

We equipped both Gen 2 and Gen 3 Impact Drivers with the XC5.0Ah battery that they typically ship with, and tossed in a couple Milwaukee bits. Next, we got Evan comfortable with both models by driving a couple 3-1/2” screws AND a lag bolt into a small section of a telephone pole. The screws went in at roughly the same speed, but on the lag bolt, he could feel the increase in performance right away with the Gen 3.

After getting warmed up and used to their operation and features, we attached a Milwaukee 3/4” Speed-feed wood bit, drilling both models on speed setting #3 through a 4X4 wood fence post. Evan drilled four 3/4” holes using the Gen 2 impact driver first – not a problem for the Gen 2 model as Evan averaged 4.8 seconds per hole. Then he drilled the same four holes using the Gen 3 Impact Driver. The Gen3 averaged only 3.1 seconds per hole, 1.7 seconds faster than the Gen 2. So Milwaukee’s claim that they’ve increased their inch-pounds torque from 1800 to 2000 is TRUE – all while being smaller in size.

Kris opened them both up in his tool repair shop at Ohio Power Tool, to look at how Milwaukee was able to pack more power into a smaller frame. Kris found a few details that makes the Gen 3 lighter and more compact. The light is angled at a 45 deg. angle to focus more on your work, which is a nice improvement with the Gen 3.

In just 1 year, Milwaukee has really improved their 1/4” Hex impact driver. It’s smaller AND more powerful, and still runs on their popular M18 Fuel battery platform. Nice work, Milwaukee.

If you want to get your hands on one, head over to Ohio Power Tool and order today!


Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/4″ Hex Impact Driver Gen 3 ($299)

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/4″ Hex Impact Driver Gen 2 ($229)


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