Are you an electrician, cabinet installer or another contractor who fastens a lot of screws, but hates the weight of the 18V tools?  If so this redesign of the M12 screwdriver is right up your alley.  This screwdriver is part of the new Milwaukee line of tools called Fuel.  The Fuel utilizes a brushless motor which offers more power and better overall efficiency.  As with the M12 Fuel Impact Driver and M12 Fuel Impact Wrench, the Screwdriver is a whole new redesign from the ground up.

One thing I have to say about the Milwaukee M12 Fuel line is that Milwaukee didn’t hold back.  While some company’s might have opted to just put a brushless motor in an existing tool and call it new, Milwaukee decided to take it one step further.  Not only did they create a more powerful screwdriver, they create a tool that feels better for the user.

With the older model, Milwaukee had some rubber grip wrapped around the handle.  In this Fuel screwdriver, the rubber grip wraps around the whole handle for a much better grip with or without gloves.  The biggest improvement is the design of the handle.  As you can see by the pictures below there is much more of an indentation where your thumb and index finger sits, more like a nice feeling handle of an AR15.

Milwaukee M12 Brushless Screw Gun 04The brushless motor and overall set up of this tool creates a much more powerful tool compared to the older M12 Screwdriver.  The older version has 175 in/lbs of torque, while the Fuel has 325 in/lbs of torque.  That is an 85% increase in torque and considering the tool still weights 2 lbs, that’s a hefty upgrade in power.  While the older version is only a single speed, the Fuel now has two speeds which is 0-450/0-1,700 rpm.  The compact design lets a user get into tight spots, while the new 2.0 Ah batteries help increase the tools run time.  One nice feature of this tool is the 1/4″ hex quick change chuck.  Making it easy to switch bits on the fly.  Another feature Milwaukee kept was the trigger lock system.

Besides having two speeds the screwdriver also has two modes: Screw and Drill.  I do like how Milwaukee put a separate rotating switch to switch from drill to screw mode.  This way you can leave your torque setting the same.  On the front of the tool a user can select up to 18 torque settings.  This makes it perfect for a wide range of application.  Compared to the older model, this newer model is a little wider and a tad taller, but feels much nicer in your hands.  While the older version had a great balance, the new Fuel is much better and the weight is displaced over your hand nicely.

Milwaukee sells this tool as a kit (2402-22) which has the tool, 30 minute charger, 2 – 2A/h M12 batteries and a nice carrying case.  If you don’t need the charger of the batteries, you can also buy this tool as a bare tool which is model 2402-20.

I ended helping a friend put together a play set for his son.  This was my first time putting one of these together and probably my last time.  The directions were pretty inconstant, we were missing a couple parts, there were about 10,000 different fasteners, well not really, but there were a lot.  The directions even had us put a screw through the wood that actually didn’t even do anything.  Guess they had a couple extra fasteners and weren’t sure what to do, so heck why not just put it into the wood for no reason.  There were a couple things I noticed about this screwdriver.  First this thing has a lot of power for such a small tool.  Not that it would break your arm, but it definitely has a kick to it once the fastener bites.  I also couldn’t believe how much work we did throughout the day with only a battery or battery and half.  We drove some 3″ screws and lags, but mostly 2″ screws.  The screwdriver was very easy to control and the torque settings were key since we were setting screws into cedar.  We could set the torque and not have to worry about stripping.  Overall I was very impressed how well this tool performed.  I could only imagine how well it would perform for an electrician or other tradesman on the job.

I know we mentioned this in our other reviews of the M12 Fuel tools, but in case you missed the other reviews, we do have two things we would have liked to seen included on the redesign.  First is the LED system.  The LED is located on the front and provides a single point of light.  The light does a great job showing up your working space.  However a three LED light system on the front of the tool would be much nicer and eliminate any shadows.  The light stays on a while after the trigger is released, where the older version the light went off when the trigger was released.   The other item is the battery fuel gauge.  The fuel gauge is located on the tool which is very handy, unless you have a box fuel of batteries.  It would be nice to pick up a battery and look at the status instead of inserting it into the tool and pulling the trigger to see the status.  I am sure the reason the gauge is on the tool instead of the battery is to keep the battery smaller, but that’s just a guess.

Once again we are very pleased Milwaukee did a complete redesign of this tool instead of just putting a new name on the tool like we have seen other manufactures do.  The balance and power is incredible for the size and voltage of this tool.  Milwaukee has another winner with the M12 Fuel 1/4″ Hex Screwdriver.