I’ve been putting in a lot more time with the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge lately, their quiet “hydraulic impact driver.”
See Also: 5 Reasons You Need the Milwaukee M12 Surge Hydraulic Impact Driver
Yesterday, I dropped it off a ladder. Err, I mean I “drop-tested” it from a step ladder.
I was working in a tight corner, installing a woodworking air cleaner near to my new New Age garage wall shelves, and started putting some of the tools I needed on those shelves.
Whoops, I dropped the Milwaukee M12 Surge right off the top shelf, from a height of maybe 7-ish feet. Uh-oh, sure it was damaged, right? Nope!
How often do users drop tools off ladders, off the back of their trucks, off cabinets?
I’ve damaged tools before, and quite frankly I expected the worst with the Surge. I know that Milwaukee designs their tools to withstand drops and impacts, and integrates shock-absorbing technologies where possible, as do many other pro-grade cordless power tool brands.
It landed hard, on a concrete floor covered by a thin layer of epoxy, and with nary a scratch. Well, at least without any scratches or glaring damage I could detect.
I used the Surge a bit more, and then again today. No harm, no foul.
I dropped, oh I mean drop-test ed, a bunch of other tools between yesterday and today, including a Franklin stud finder (see Ben’s review of it here), a Franklin mini stud finder, two kinds of FatMax tape measures, Inkzall and RevMark markers, and an impact socket.
Meanwhile, the one tool I thought I’d drop – a framing square – stayed put, despite the different precarious angles I’d perch it in.
There’s no guarantee that bigger tools would have survived the drop, or that certain angles couldn’t or wouldn’t have destroyed my Surge sample. The Surge is smaller and lighter, but by no means light, and I was surprised and delighted that it survived the drop without any issues thus far.
I was particularly worried because the Surge has a hydraulic impact mechanism, and I don’t know how sensitive it is to impact shock like this. So far, so good. I would assume that negative consequences would have manifested by now, but perhaps not.
Now that you know how clumsy I’ve been lately (or maybe I can convince you it was all intentional), I’m curious in know about all the types of tools you’ve dropped.
Have there been any standouts where you dropped and broke a tool? Near misses, which is how this incident stood out to me?
Buy Now: M12 Surge Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: M12 Surge Kit via Tool Nut
One reason that tethers are becoming more popular and/or required in some industrial use instances.
Good that it did not drop on anyone and that you were not up so high that it was damaged.
Ive put my Milwaukee m12 through its pases with no issues used it to build my 20×16 car port and cant tell you how man times i dropped it and my car port is 10ft tall ive had the m18 fuel and now the m12 fuel and i love this m12 it has as much power and torque as any 18v milwaukee builds tools to last
Like most of us, I’ve owned each of the big three. Nothing stands up like the Milwaukee. They’re reliable and durable. They’re also well priced, and sales are plentiful with steep discounts.
Wow, I’m really surprised the Franklin T6 survived a drop. I love mine, but it’s always felt a little fragile to me.
The full size one ejected it’s batteries and compartment door, and I was sure it was cracked or destroyed, nope. The T6 seems like it could be delicate, but it’s small and light, might take certain directed impacts to do any damage despite the typically thin plastic.
I dropped my Dewalt 20v multi-tool from a ladder onto concrete shortly after purchasing it.
There was a little tab on the trigger that broke off – but the tool worked fine. Sometimes the trigger sticks in the off position from certain angles, but if I adjust how I’m pressing it works like normal. I’ve been using it for about five years since and I keep telling myself I’ll get around to ordering the part to fix it properly. Could have been worse.
Dropped the new 12v DeWalt impact 20 something feet out a lift onto the concrete slab below, the second day I owned it. The 90 degree adapter got bent enough to toss it, but the gun has continued to work fine months later. I hear lemon-esque stories of short drops killing popular tools, but I don’t think I own a tool that hasn’t fallen off at least a 6 footer, and none of them have ever come out the worse. And I’ve had or seen the same happen with pretty much every major brand. I actually had a gen 1 brushless 3 speed DeWalt drill push off my belt climbing, bounce 45 feet down a ladder, bounce off the concrete, then fall another 10 feet into sludge water containment. Took me at least 10 minutes to fish it out, pulled the battery and left it in the sun the rest of the shift, and the thing actually fired up to my surprise after a couple desperate trigger squeezes. Ran until I sold it to another guy when I upgraded. Cordless tools these days of any brand are a lot tougher than I think people give them credit for.
It all just depends on how it happens to hit/land.
They’ll pretty much all be fine most of the time, but will suffer heavy damage if the hit just right (or you might say, just wrong).
Dropping something once with no damage means next to nothing. One of anything is not a trend…..
It is indeed hard to prove “the negative” of something – like no damage. Its usually much easier to cite some anecdotal (one-off) experience – such as “I dropped it of the roof and it shattered into pieces”. That’s one of the reasons tool reviews can be tough and sometimes meaningless for your own situation. Many of both the positive and negative reviews that we see on Amazon, for instance, represent only a fleeting snapshot of user experience rather than anything approaching long-term scientific testing. So the results of Stuarts “drop test” so to speak is OK – and better “news” than if it was “shattered into pieces” – but its only a single data point – and as you say: not statistically significant.
If I were to really conduct drop testing, I would need maybe 5 to 10 samples of each, and drop each the same way x- number of times, examining for common damage once any trend presents itself.
This was really just me being careless and then relieved that I didn’t destroy my now-prized Surge sample.
Buddy dropped a brushless drill into Lake Erie the other day. 10 minutes before it was fished out. Let it dry out and it is still running surprisingly
Jose Eliseo Valencia
Esas herramientas son muy buena
I was working off of a 6′ and 10′ stepladder this week and dropped my DeWalt xr impact with a 5ah battery and my DeWalt xr hammer drill with 5 ah battery about 3 times each onto concrete. I’ve done that several times and started thinking the hassle of a lanyard might be a good idea, or a dedicated tool clip. So far so good and they’ve landed in all different directions. The only tool that’s never walked away unscathed from a fall was a pneumatic nailer that got dropped from about 14′ onto it’s head and caused a leak in the seal. Just opened it, rotated the seal and it was good to go again.
Skye A Cohen
I have dropped the gen1 m18 fuel impact driver and gen3, and M12 fuel hammer drill off of roof’s each one fell more than 20ft to pavement. In all three cases the batteries flew out, the 18v battery broke on one of the falls but other than a few scars but no damage to function at all.
Yes I know I should have had them tethered.
The gen 1 m18 fuel impact drivers did suffer from rain though, here in the Pacific Northwest it’s raining a lot and sometimes we work in the rain. I have killed several of those gen1 impacts from working in the rain. It seems the gen3 ones are okay so far though.
Project Farm on YouTube did a test a few days ago of genuine vs. knockoff Makita impact wrenches. There’s some very fun slow-mo drop test footage, including the tools dancing as they hit the ground.
No body pays more for advertising than Milwaukee. I’m sure Home Depot will drive them close to our of business like they did with DeWalt before they switch over to another brand.
Milwaukee feels cheap after using Makita.
So a question, not about dropping, but about Milwaukee in general. I am a homeowner, and do typical homeowner tasks, plus a little more (bathroom remodels, deck repairs, etc. I am torn between the M18 and the Fuel brushed and brushless, as well as hammer vs non hammer drills. Which is the best overall for occasional use? Lots of info out there, and most is contradictory. Thanks!
I have a corded hammer drill and can always source a rotary hammer for larger holes. Because of that I prefer drill/drivers where possible.
But, some classes of drills are now only available as hammer drills, which reduces choices.
These days, there’s not much reason to go brushed. During promo season you can get compact brushless kits for $99 with one battery. Or with M18 Fuel, you get max power but at a premium price. Determine how much money you want to spend and go from there.
A high powered drill can do everything a compact drill can do, but it’s larger and heavier. If you need a more delicate touch than it can deliver, switch to hand tools for smaller fasteners. With a compact drill, if you need more power there’s not much to do without getting a more powerful model or impact as an alternative. Tough choice only you can make.
It’s worth mentioning Milwaukee is a Chinese owned company when looking to spend your hard earned dollars, why not keep them supporting US Companies?
Yes, their parent company is a publicly-traded company HQed in China. However, Milwaukee has spent tons of money expanding and adding to their USA facilities, adding more USA jobs. I’m sure they pay a pretty penny with regard to state and federal taxes, and they support American workers. How many workers do their jobs easier, better, faster, or safer, thanks to Milwaukee tools?
You can buy and own a piece of their parent company, just as you can do the same with Stanley Black & Decker, Snap-on, and others.
You are entitled to your opinion, but does Milwaukee being owned by a company headquartered in China really mean more than the actions they take to invest in their own USA headquarters and economic footprint?
I speak as someone who has been to Milwaukee Tool’s ever-expanding headquarters several times over the years, as well as their modernized Empire Level facility.
Milwaukee has a history of investing in the USA.
Here’s how many new jobs Milwaukee is looking to full in the USA: https://www.milwaukeetool.jobs/jobresults?Location=1&Category=1&JobFilter=External
They have openings for:
16 manufacturing jobs
3 human resources jobs
17 engineering jobs
5 operations jobs
4 in supply chain/distribution/logistics
1 in sales
1 in IT
Every so often, someone reads something on the internet, comes here and says “OMG, Milwaukee Tool is owned by China!!”
As far as I am concerned, their publicly-traded parent company is based overseas, but Milwaukee Tool functions as an American company. That’s what matters to me. You might have different priorities, and that’s okay, to each their own.
The best for occasional use? Save some $ and weight and go with the M12. I bought an M12 Fuel hammer drill/driver and impact driver set when I bought my house. The two of those tools have got me through finishing the basement as well as all the usual other house stuff and I never really felt like I was wanting for power.
Well, over the years there’s probably nothing I haven’t dropped from at least six feet and yet have never damaged a tool. I have seen some very impressive drop testing by Bosch at JLC LIVE. For a few years they were one of the biggest sponsors of the show and they built a platform ten feet off the concrete slab. The only rule was you had to drop the drill. You could hold it as high as you wanted, but you had to release it, no tossing, throwing or hurtling it toward the ground. The one who broke it would win a brand new drill kit. Every year they did it the drill took way over a hundred drops. Pretty impressive. I had the opposite expectations from Stuart’s example. I would have been peeved if 5he drill had been damaged in any way.
I had finally replaced my 20+ year Makita circular saw that stayed on my truck with a newer magnesium Makita that I had as a spare for the crew. First job we used it on, it fell off the saw horse and damaged the table to the point the saw was unusable. Went over to HD and picked up a Skilsaw sidewinder and have been using it ever since. The magnesium Makita is just sitting, waiting for repair
A co-worker of my dropped my M18 15 gauge finish nailer from an 8 ft ladder onto concrete… this upset me a great deal!
3 years later, still works fine… I guess I overreacted 🙂
I’ve dropped my 20v impact more times than I should and never had a problem.
The worst was about 20′ up in a scissor lift. Fell and the battery exploded out of it. Nothing was broken and it still ran.
I’m sure OSHA will start mandating tethers/lanyards in the near future over 6′
Can’t wait to break another OSHA rule lol. If it was 6′ most people would need a squid leash just working over their own head. Personally my reach is 8′ with shoes on.
I use and abuse Milwaukee 1/4″ bit drivers 3/8″,1/2″, and 3/4″ impact fuel guns all day everyday. As a mechanic I drop things off cat dozers fairy frequently I always have a telescopic magnet just for that reason near by. Milwaukee hands down is the winner and has been for decades. I make my living off them and they are great!
It’s good to see that the generally & permanently useless stepladder top is finally being addressed by better power tools.
Cheaper than a simple tool belt too.
In the space I was working in, a tool belt would have posed a serious snagging hazard.
Dropped my m18 fuel off a roof. Factory was about 40 feet high. Had a small crack in the battery housing. Nothing else.
Both drill and battery continue to function perfectly to this day
Trimming boards on a roof, a buddy of mine dropped my M18 fuel 7-1/4″ saw onto 3/4″ advantek flooring from about 25 feet up. Landed on the corner of the saw base , about 1″ from hitting the joist. It punched a hole in the advantek. No damage done to the saw’s performance at all.
I love Milwaukee.
I’ve also dropped my own M12 surge from about chest height, and it split the handle and ejected the battery. Still works just fine, I may dab some superglue in there someday.
Skye A Cohen
Wow advantec is dense that’s impressive
My co-worker had the brushed entry-level Dewalt 18v drill. When the chuck went bad, we drove a semi tractor over that drill and it still worked!
10 years ago before the days of brushless tools we dropped our M18 of of about 30 feet on to concrete. We still use it.
1/4 inch hex driver that was.
I dropped my 3/8 M12 Impact about the same distance and it broke, I sent it to Milwaukee Tools and they sent me a new one.
Does Milwaukee make a cordless battery operated air compressor?
I dropped my 20v dewalt impact 3 stories to the concrete. It snapped off the bit was using (that was difficult to remove), blew the battery off. Stuck the battery on and fought to get my bit out, but once I did it worked good as new.
Mike (the other one)
I dropped a DeWalt hammer drill from an 8ft ladder. It bounced back and fourth between the ladder and a brick wall on the way down, coming to rest with the trigger on the bottom rung. The trigger was pushed into by the rung, so it was drilling into the ground while I climbed down the ladder. Got some minor scuffs, but it works just like nothing happened.
Instead of hoping your tool is durable enough for a high drop, why not buy a lanyard and never worry about damaging your expensive power tools again? Or potentially hurting someone.
– So, just as I was attaching the lanyard…
– So, just as I was moving the lanyard to the other side…
– I thought I had attached the lanyard to my…
– I apparently left the drill on back of my truck and pulled away…
– I was handing it to my coworker when…
– I thought I stepped on the rung when I started to fall and…
– That moron just dropped a load of brick from 14 feet onto my…
Sure, if I were working in such conditions. But no one is EVER beneath me or my ladder when I’m installing anything on the wall or ceiling. If someone were to be working below, then yes, I’d tether my tools.
Users can and have dropped tools off ladders, trucks, etc. It happens and will happens.
Safety tethers are intended to protect people and property from falling tools.
In this situation, a tether could have been its own hazard, as well as a hindrance.
Your advice is sound and agreeable; what I’m saying is that it doesn’t fit the usage conditions I referenced in this post, where I was working alone in the garage in a tight spot.
This drill doesn’t have enough power to knock a screw through a few 2x4s or a steel stud. I’m a glazier and regularly have to toss it aside for a cheaper impact. This one is nice and quiet, but its only good for light work. #10 and under screws only. Nothing longer than 2″.
Little disappointed after all that money
So sell it and get the M18 if power was the primary concern. These little M12 tools aren’t meant to drive lag bolts..
Oil impulse drivers are classified for small to medium fasteners per their manufacturers. If someone’s disappointed that they’re not outperforming impacts in heavy duty applications, that’s lack of diligence not a miss-step on the manufacturers part.
My – post-retirement landscape projects have me driving big lags – my M18 gen1 (2760-20) I have found to be too wimpy – so I mostly use a 2765-20 7/16 hex driver that has become one of my go-to tools. It’s got an achor point and ring for a tether.
Hunting around on the web – it looks like Milwaukee has discontinued the 2765-20 – IMO that’s too bad unless they plan on a replacement.
Does the 2865-20 not take its place? Looks like more power and more compact.
I’ve had my Craftsman 18V drills fall off a ladder countless times onto concrete with no damage. I also dropped my Milwaukee 12v and it hit the battery just right to pop off the plastic squeezy part. The battery was undamaged, but I had to use a few drops of super glue to keep the squeezy part attached. I haven’t had a problem since.
Instead of doing drop tests, perhaps tether tests would be better.
I dropped the original m12 fuel 1/4” impact off of a cell tower (325’) years ago. It kept working. A few years later the switch crapped out and Milwaukee repairs it for free and had it back in my hands in 4 days. The durability I witnessed and their incredible service cemented me as a customer. Stuff happens. It amazes me when guys go full Karen over a product breaking.
I have experienced the complete opposite these batteries are very sensitive in my experiences. i dropped 12 bolts not even 4 feet high and it worked a couple of more times and that is it. now i am with two batteries less.