When Stuart sent me an M18 right angle impact driver sample to try out (sent to him by Milwaukee), I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. Now that I’ve had it for over a year, it has gotten me out of several jams that I don’t know how I would have solved without it.
Recently, as seen in the above photo, I used the right angle impact driver to attach the top section of a cubby I built.
I had used pocket hole construction, and while I might have been able to drive the screws in with a manual screwdriver, it wouldn’t have been easy with the top being made from walnut
This wasn’t an unexpected situation though, as I designed the cubby knowing that I could use the right angle impact driver for assembly.
One situation where it really saved me was when I was building my deck last year. There were several situations I got myself into where I didn’t have enough clearance to use a drill.
Related: Hands On: Camo Hidden Deck Fastening System
For example, I needed to attach my stringers and didn’t have enough space between the joists for a regular drill. Luckily, I was able to chuck the spade bit into the right angle impact driver and drill the hole.
The Milwaukee right angle I’ve been using is model 2667, which can be found as a bare tool (2667-20) or as part of a kit with XC batteries and a charger (2667-22). There’s also a compact 1-battery kit, 2667-21CT, for $179.
The bare tool is priced at $119 at Home Depot, and the kit normally retails for $299 but is lower priced over at Amazon, at ~$220 (via a 3rd party seller).
Buy Now (Bare Tool via Home Depot)
Buy Now (XC Kit via Amazon)
Buy Now (Compact Battery Kit via Acme Tool)
See Also: Right Angle Drill Recommendations
If you’re not into red tools, Makita sells a very similar tool: the XLT01Z 18V LXT angle impact driver which you can find as a bare tool at Amazon for $158-165.
Buy Now (Bare tool via Amazon)
If you’re not sure how much you’d use a right angle impact driver, you could buy the Ridgid JobMax version, with its modular and swappable tool head design, for $80. It’s also a bare tool.
Buying the corded handle, which comes with an oscillating tool head, and separate right angle impact driver tool head would cost ~$140. The 12V Max starter kit with separate right angle impact driver head would be the same price. An 18V starter kit plus the tool head would be ~$160.
Buy Now (Bare Tool via Home Depot)
Or if you already have a perfectly functioning impact driver you could pick up Dewalt’s right angle attachment. It’s a much cheaper investment, for $20 at Amazon.
Buy Now (via Amazon)
I have one similar to the DeWalt right-angle attachment, those things are fantastic to keep in your toolbox. The one I have has a reversible handle which makes it extra manageable.
I have the exact same Milwaukee impact driver and love it. It turned what would have otherwise been a headache into an easy task while alerting the shelving in my work van.
Two comments on the DeWalt right angle adapter (which I also have):
1. Home Depot sells a similar looking model (DWARA50) that doesn’t include the movable magnet used to retain a fastener.
2. The adapter only used magnetic retention for the bit. Drill bits can easily be lost as you’re backing out of the hole – especially if you’re drilling in a downward direction.
I know there are 2 out there, as one package says 2x life, and the other says 5x.
They also came out with a flexible right angle adapter
You can use the rigid right angle head with the Ryobi OMT too.
I own both the M18 and M12 itteration . I use the M12 more often , as it will get in tighter spots . I am a big fan of right angle capability , got me out of a lot of jams over the years !
EXACTLY what I was curious about – thanks, Chris!
+1 again one on the m12 over the m18.. smaller = better and more productive work in this case.. m12 is great for installing drawer slides in tight cabinets
I own both too, and the M18 version just sits around collecting dust. The M12 has almost as much torque! I think it’s something like 600 in lbs vs 675 in lbs.
Don’t forget the just recently released Dewalt Right Angle Flex Shaft (DWARAFS). It definitely has a better clearance and I want to say that the packaging specifically mentioned impact rated and for impact drivers so it should hold up better over the Dewalt DWARA100 Right Angle Attachment.
I have an old Ridgid R82233 with a 12v battery that came as part of an 18v set. It was my first exposure to impact drivers and I was amazed at how much better it was at driving screws. In tight quarters the right angle is awesome to have. When that one 12v battery dies I will have to figure something else out.
I think that the R82233 may have been the first tool of this class that I recall seeing – back in 2005. Naturally it was NiCad battery based – 12V.
Right-Angle tooling – be it drills or drivers do come in mighty handy lots of times. Some of the tooling borrowed from the aircraft industry for tight space application can also be handy – but they tend to be pneumatic tools. We had a batch of right angle pneumatic “adapter-bit” drills from Pan American Tool that were used heavily in the shop.
I have the same Ridgid right angle impact driver, I have had it since the mid 2000 as Fred suggest they we first available. I agree what a godsend it has been in tight places. It is a bit of a specialty tool but it fills quite a few roles and even makes a good substitute for a proper right angle drill. I have been able to find NOS batteries on Amazon occasionally so I plan to keep it running as long as I can.
At the control panel shop were I work we have the Makita version as when we needed one they were the only one on the marked (after Ridgid was discontinued but before Milwaukee had theirs). It is good but it is about half as powerful as the Ridgid. it looks like the Milwaukee is on par Spec wise with the Ridgid
I really wish Bosch would make a 12 version, they could have really owned the 12 market if they had wanted to early on.
Milwaukee also has Right Angle Drill/Drivers. Like these impact drivers, but obviously not “impact” with a key-less chuck for drill bits. The M12 is model 2415, and the M18 is 2615. I think if I was only going to purchase 1 right angle driver, I would forego the impact for the ability to use a standard drill bit.
And that’s not mentioning their Hole Hawg drills which are more suited to professional electricians and plumbers (and priced accordingly)
Dennis you are right. I focused this post on impact drivers or right angle impact driver accessories because otherwise there just would have been too much to talk about. That’s without talking about the removable chuck drills like the Festool and european Milwaukee that have a right angle attachment.
Two things about right angle drills and drill chucks though. First they take up more space than just a bit holder. I’ve used the impact in tight situations where I never would have been able to fit a drill chuck. Second I find it much easier to drive screws with an impact driver than a drill, the bit doesn’t slip nearly as much, especially when you are in tight quarters and can’t put much downward pressure on the screw.
The space issue is why the aircraft right angle drills have no real chuck. You just screw in a stubby or “very stubby” adapter bit and your ready to drill in a really confined space like up against a bulkhead, from the inside out of a pipe etc. Of course the very stubby bits primarily are used for sheet metal applications.
One style bit comes at only 3/8 inch long :
I have a makita RA impact wrench with a 3/8″ square.
I had to order it from japan before they sold it here and what a godsend that is.
I have the DeWalt right angle adapter and its invaluable although awkward to use, I’ve been wishing for a dedicated DeWalt RA impact but I’m doubtful it will ever happen. I’ve been considering the M12, since there are many other tools in the lineup I could find useful.
Can you elaborate on what makes it awkward to use? I have a number of M12 tools but don’t think I can justify a dedicated RA impact driver so the Dewalt adapter has been on my would-be-nice list for a while.
I bought the Milwaukee M12 right angle drill and right angle impacts over the last year and a half or so and while they aren’t tools you’ll use every day or even every week, they can be lifesavers when the need arises. For instance, I bought the impact for mounting 16 temporary mailboxes during a utility project in a neighborhood. I’ve also used them both for woodworking projects at home.
I’ve had the Dewalt right angle adapter about a year longer than either of the M12 right angle tools and it pretty much sits in my toolbox rarely used. The main reason being that it really takes two hands to use – one on the tool trigger, and one to guide the bit. That makes positioning myself and work pieces in tight spaces cumbersome – especially when clamps can’t be used.
Having the right angle function on tools is extremely helpful. . I’ve recently acquired the Festool PDC Quadrive with the right angle chuck and it has been fantastic.
Milwaukeee also makes a right angle adapter. I preferu the bit retention on it to the dewalt. Plus it hasa an adjustable handle.
Milwaukee also makes an older style:
What we found over the years is that the gearing in these attachments were not really cut out for production use – say in the cabinet shop – or even for long-term use by our installers. A homeowner – who gives the tool only infrequent use may be happy with them – but for commercial application – a dedicated driver is probably a better choice.
I own both of the DeWalt impact rated right angle attachments (one pictured above and the new flexible shaft one). I have used both and find them invaluable. Both have their place and are fantastic at getting into tight quarters.
The flexible shaft attachment has an auxilliary handle on the compact head at the end of the flex shaft. This handle can be unscrewed and used on the opposite side or not used at all. It really adds to the versatility.
My friend bought the M12 version. Used it once and fell in love. I know it’s a pipe dream, but I wish Milwaukee would come out with a right-angle combo kit.
Skil now makes a 12V right-angle impact driver with a powerful, wide LED beam. It’s rated at 900 inch-pounds vs. the M12’s 600. It currently sells on U.S. Amazon for $80 shipped: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MWS691G/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1