Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver

By Robert Robillard on Tool Review Videos

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver
The Future of Impact Drivers

The other night at the dinner table, I asked my teenage daughter to pass me the salad. She kind of looked at me funny and said, “Dad, why are you yelling?” So feeling a little confused and irritated, I say, “I’m not yelling” and look over at my wife for confirmation – but she just nods and says, “actually honey, you kind of are.”

Sound familiar?  This happens to me more than I’d like. The problem is, for years I didn’t take proper care of my hearing on the job site.

Hearing loss impairs quality of life and increases the risk of injury. Every year, thousands of construction workers suffer hearing loss from excessive noise exposure on the job.

Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics

According to the CDC: 1 in 8 U.S. Workers Has Some Hearing Loss.  The construction industry comes in a second in terms of most hearing-impaired workers.

Decibels and Hearing Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has determined safe noise levels and has made recommendations that specific ear protection devices be worn within sound levels of 85dB.

The simple truth is construction sites are noisy places. Trucks, jackhammers, impact drivers are all loud tools.

M18 FUEL SURGE 1/4″ Hex Hydraulic Driver

Milwaukee did some field research and determined that they could reduce their impact driver’s noise by shifting their impact drivers to hydraulic technology.

Hydraulic drivers are small, compact, and quieter.

This oil impulse technology uses pulses of hydraulic oil to create the impact and the hydraulic fluid powertrain reduces the metal on metal impact resulting in less wear and tear and less vibration.

The hydraulic impact is 50% quieter, and operates at 76 dBA, well below the OSHA recommendation for hearing protections.

Our first impression when we used this tool was how “smooth” it was, quiet was only noticed later when compared side by side next to the Milwaukee 2753-20.

Their research also showed that 90% of impact driver fastening in most trades is for screws and small to medium lags – 6 to 8 inches long.

Based on this research Milwaukee designed the Surge hydraulic impact driver. Milwaukee sees this technology overtaking the traditional impact technology over time.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver

M18 FUEL SURGE – Longer sustained Torque

One fear that Milwaukee has is that users will look at peak torque numbers without understanding what it all means. The old, “bigger is better,” theory does not work here.

The Surge weighs 2.1 pounds, and has 450 in/lbs of longer sustained torque.  The result is that it delivers equal to, or faster driving speed than Milwaukee’s standard 2752-20 impact driver when driving small to medium fasteners.

The standard impact has 1800 in/lbs of torque, and delivers short peaks of higher torque and then drops well below the Surge. So guess what, bigger is NOT always better – at least not here!

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver


SURGE™ (Red Line)

Peak Torque Sustained Longer

  • SURGE™ Reaches Peak Torque Faster
  • SURGE™ Holds Peak Torque Longer
  • SURGE™ Impacts Faster at 4,000 IPM

Standard Impact (Grey Line)

High Peak Torque Rapidly Falls Off

  • Standard Impact Creates Brief High Torque
  • High Peak Torque, But Not Sustained
  • Impacts at 3,000 Impacts Per Minute (IPM)

What Do MOST Contractors Need?

Remember that 90% of applications for impact drivers are for small to medium fasteners like deck screws and TimberLok fasteners.

As a builder and remodeling contractor, here are some torque stats needed for fasteners:

  • #9 – 3”deck screw:    40 in/lbs
  • ¼” x 3” lag bolt:         53 in/lbs
  • 3/8” x 3” lag bolt:      160 in/lbs
  • #10–16 x ¾”Tek screw: 10 in/lbs
  • 5/16” Bolt: 324 in/lbs

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver

What about the “other” 10%?

Users who perform hard joint fastening like lug nuts or 6” victaulic flanges on water pipe and sprinkler assemblies, would be better served with an impact wrench. Seems like everyone wants to put a socket on their impact drivers these days, but is that really the proper application? Not really, because they are wearing out their tools faster and should be using an impact wrench, like the Milwaukee 2755-20.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic DriverSo Why Not Make a SURGE Hydraulic Impact with 1800 in/lbs Torque?

The answer is simple, the tool would have to be larger, and heavier, which goes against everything users have been asking for.

The Surge driver can provide us with a lighter, quieter and equal or better driving power, for most if not all, of the fastening we encounter. Plus 3x less vibration!


In the end the Surge will cost approximately $20 more than the standard impact driver, see below.

2760-20 M18 FUEL™ SURGE™ 1/4″ Hex Hydraulic Driver  $149.00
2760-22CT M18 FUEL™ SURGE™ 1/4″ Hex Hydraulic Driver CP Kit  $249.00
2760-22 M18 FUEL™ SURGE™ 1/4″ Hex Hydraulic Driver XC Kit  $329.00
2899-22 M18 FUEL 2-Tool Combo Kit  $429.00

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver

The Final Impact

For me, I prefer working smarter. That means using the right tool for the application at hand. Using a lighter, quieter tool that has less vibration makes sense.

Ultimately the construction industry must bear the burden of worker hearing loss due to long exposure to loud noise. But, if you work construction, don’t wait, take steps on your own and purchase the best noise protection device you can, and use the best tools you can.

Work smarter, and protect yourself, no matter how loud it gets at work.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver Video

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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