Automotive Education/Info Tool Review

Milwaukee Impact Guns: Mid, High and Extreme Torque!

Milwaukee Impact Guns Come in All Different Sizes

One of the unique thing about Milwaukee tools’ impact wrenches is they come in all different sizes and versions making it easy for every tech to find the one that’s right for him or her. One is the newest model of the high-torque 2863-20 and another is the mid-torque 2962-20 which is a lighter, less hefty cordless impact.

Milwaukee high torque impact wrench with m18 Xc 5.0 Ah battery and charger
This is the high-torque Milwaukee impact on Amazon with a battery and charger. The entire combo costs less than $300.


Of course there are several key differences between the mid-torque and high-torque, which we will get into in this post, but my main goal is to help you decide if the larger Milwaukee impact fits your needs or if you can get away with the mid-torque. With the two having a fairly big price gap, it’s important to spend your money on the tool that is going to be the best for the job.

Key Differences Between High-and Mid-Torque Milwaukee 1/2” Impact

It doesn’t take an expert to figure out what the difference between a mid-torque and high-torque impact gun is, but for the benefit of new technicians just starting to buy tools, it’s worth taking a look at the difference in specs between the two versions of Milwaukee impact.

High-Torque Main Specifications

  • Breakaway Torque- 0-1400 ft-lb (Snap-on’s CT9080 lists at 1440 ft-lb which is impressive but the sale price is a whopping $616.95 tool-only)
    • Fastening Torque- Milwaukee’s Amazon page, which is the cheapest place to buy Milwaukee tools says the 2863-20 has 1,000 ft-lb of fastening or “operating torque”.
  • Overheating Protection- The Milwaukee high-torque impact uses a technology the company calls RedLink Plus to prevent damage from overheating and overloading.
  • One Key Compatible- Milwaukee’s One-Key platform is one of the most innovative ideas in power tools we’ve ever seen. Using the technology you can track your tool, manage its performance and more. Having the ability to locate your tool, say if it was stolen or left in a customers vehicle is a huge benefit. As of this writing I am not aware of any way to track a Snap-On tools location. Maybe an air tag?
  • Weight of Milwaukee’s High-Torque- Weight of an impact gun is important. Since you may be holding it for long periods of time, you want the lightest impact that’s powerful enough to get the job done.
    Bare tool, with no battery, the Milwaukee 2863-20 weighs 6.73 lbs. For comparisons sake, the Snap-On CT9080 weighs 8.2 lbs bare tool with no battery.
  • Warranty- As with all of the tools I review and talk about here, I like to mention that warranty is an important part of choosing the best impact gun or whatever other tool we are talking about. In the case of Milwaukee’s power tools, the company warranty’s it’s impact guns for five years. It’s important you register your tool though to make the process easier if you do have a warranty claim.


Also Read- Milwaukee Drops New Neck Lights: Better than Snap-On? 

How Much Does the High-Torque Cost?

Milwaukee 2863-20 high torque 1/2 inch drive picture from Amazon
Here’s a picture of the Milwaukee 2863-20 High-Torque. Click for more info and latest pricing.

When looking at the price of a Milwaukee 2863-20, it’s going to depend on where you buy it. I have always bought my Milwaukee tools on Amazon because for whatever reason, they are always cheaper than anywhere else. Right now, the price on Amazon is in the $250-300 tool-only. If you need M18 batteries, you can get those on Amazon also.

Mid-Torque Main Specifications

Since the mid and high-torque impacts are both on the same Milwaukee M18 platform, some of these specs are going to be very similar. The key differences we want to look at are the torque specs, weight and price of the impact wrench.

  • Breakaway Torque- 650 ft lb of breakaway torque with a 5.0 Ah Milwaukee battery.
  • 4-Mode Drive Control- The Mid-torque Milwaukee impact has several modes like auto-shutoff and bolt-removal mode.
  • Red Link Plus and One-Key- As with the high-torque, the mid also comes with Red Link Plus and One-Key technology. As far as what technology the M18 Mid-Torque uses, it’s the same as the high-torque. The smaller version of Milwaukee’s 1/2” impact still comes with the same protection from overheating and other wear.
  • How much does it weigh? The Milwaukee 2962-20 is the newest version of the constantly upgraded line of M18 impact tools. Bare tool, this newly released mid-torque weighs in at just 4 pounds! Of course, with a 5.0 or 6.0 Ah battery, the impact will be slightly heavier (2.3 pounds heavier to be exact) but still almost two pounds lighter than the CT9080 without a battery.


Also Read- Still Buying Snap-On Lights? Check Out Milwaukee’s TRUEVIEW™

How Much Does the Mid-Torque Cost?

Just like the other versions of Milwaukee’s impact guns and other cordless tools, there are many stores and websites you can purchase from. I have always bought mine from Amazon and I use their price because it’s been my experience that it’s always the lowest price available. It also helps that Amazon has the best customer service and reputation of any online retailer in the world.

Milwaukee 2962-20 mid torque impact on amazon
This newest version of the mid-torque, PN 2962-20 is less than $200 on Amazon. Compared to $600 or more for Snap-On, I’ll take the Milwaukee.


Should You Buy a Mid or High-Torque Milwaukee Impact?

Now that you have read and hopefully understand the differences between the two versions of 1/2” impact that Milwaukee offers, it’s time to decide which of the two fits your needs or if neither do and you should instead buy a Snap-On CT9080 or even another brand of cordless impact.

Some of the key considerations to make when choosing between a high-torque and mid-torque impact gun or instead buying another brand are breakaway torque, overall weight, durability and warranty. Once you take a look at those things that I listed above, you should ask yourself what am I going to be using my impact wrench for?

Different Techs Need Different Tools

If the primary use for your impact is removing lug nuts, doing minor suspension work and brake jobs, the mid-torque Milwaukee impact will provide plenty of torque to get all of those jobs done. If your job includes heavier applications, things like working on industrial equipment, the high-torque impact is going to serve you better as you will have enough torque for most jobs and you can turn the settings down for lighter stuff. If you are a heavy duty tech, it’s possible that neither of these impacts are the best option for you.

In this case, Milwaukee has a better option. The company sells a 3/4” and even a 1” impact gun! Both of which are ridiculously powerful. I have used the 3/4” version many times and I had the honor of testing the 1” demo while I was working in the heavy duty field. Milwaukee’s representative let us try the 1” impact to remove lug nuts on a tractor trailer and it worked flawlessly. It’s a good option to consider when choosing an impact gun to keep in a service truck that does heavy equipment road calls or mobile mechanic services.

I know reviewing the 1” Milwaukee impact wasn’t a key point in this post, but damn that picture speaks for itself. The kicker is you can buy that impact with a record 2,000 ft lb of breakaway torque for less than a Snap-On 1/2” cordless impact.


Conclusion- Milwaukee Power Tools are Best in Class

In a class of tools that are cordless, battery operated and highly portable- Milwaukee has made itself the best of the best. It’s no minor achievement with competition in the tool industry, especially the cordless segment being extremely competitive and highly innovative. Competition from Snap-On, DeWalt, Makita, Ryobi, Skil and the list goes on, makes it impossible for the company to stop innovating. The cordless power tool market is literally a race to the top and at this point Milwaukee is looking down at the alternatives when it comes to price, quality and durability.

By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!