There has been a lot of hype around the SURGE impact driver 2760-22 ($329) from Milwaukee that will be launching this month so what is so revolutionary about it? What you hear is quieter, smoother, less vibration but then you’ll see the specs of only 450 in lbs, and very much like we thought, who is going to give up 2/3 rds of the torque for a quieter impact, no thank you. But then we gave it a change and had a chat with the product team at Milwaukee only to realize the story that they should be telling about these tools is faster driving on 90% of your fastener applications.
This is not an apples to apple comparison with the M18 FUEL 2753-22 ($299) or M18 FUEL ONE-KEY 2757-22 ($349) both with 1,800 in lbs peak torque rating. The hydraulic impact has a much lower peak rating but actually maintains that force much longer in the driving process. We verified this ourselves when driving small and medium size fasteners into wood or metal the speed is about the same or slightly faster with the SURGE. A 3-1/2” lag into a pressure treated 4×4 for instance is actually noticeably faster with the SURGE impact. The only difference is since you don’t have that really high peak torque you cannot do some of the very high torque applications like using an adaptor to take lug nuts or a truck. This picture illustrates the power much better than we can describe it. Our friends at Tools in Action did a great video with the Milwaukee Product Manager on this tool which helps explain some more about the SURGE technology.
Once you really understand you are in most cases getting a better performing tool which will speed up your job then we can talk about the other benefits. Yes, it is much quieter at 76 dBA which is below the OSHA requirement for hearing protection of 85 dBA (not the case with most other impact drivers) and much less of an annoyance if you are working in someone’s home or office. Also the vibration from this tool are less than half m/s2 verses traditional impact drivers. Finally the feel is much smoother for the SURGE so for smaller fasteners you really have better control, ¼ hex drill bits will also perform much better, more drill like, in the SURGE vs other impacts.
The SURGE is not the first to use this technology the Makita XST01Z ($199, bare tool) launched over a year ago with a 355 in lbs rating. I think why this product has not become more popular already is much the reason pointed out before in that most people (us included) did not understand something with a 1/3 the rated impact force might actually be able to drive as fast as or faster. We think Milwaukee has done a better job of at least telling the Hydraulic Driven Impact story and adding 25% more power should also help. Makita will probably also benefit once people understand these tools a little better.
Are Hydraulic Impacts the Future?
We think these will ultimately become the way most impacts are built moving forward. The only real hurdle to overcome is simply perception but once some of these get out on the job and people begin to use them the faster, smoother, quieter benefits will become pretty clear. Could this technology be used for larger high torque impact wrenches, no reason why not. Milwaukee’s M18 FUEL ½” 2763-22 ($429) is due for an update soon could we see something like the SURGE that could be built for high torque applications? Only problem there is getting that peak power up high enough to take off those suborn rusted bolts, guess time will tell. Check out the full range of Milwaukee M18 Impact Tools.