Dewalt Atomic vs Milwaukee M12

Power tools are very convenient because there are so many capabilities even a single tool can handle, compared to the more manual, traditional tools such as driving screws and undoing them with a screwdriver. If you are going to drive lots of screws in various sizes, it is convenient to use an impact driver instead, such as the DEWALT Atomic Vs Milwaukee M12. These drivers are packing much power and are effective in application but are not the same as well so let’s see below before deciding the option.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • Which Power Tool to Purchase
  • What are DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12
  • How are the Design of DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12
  • How are the Specs of DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12
  • How are the Performance of DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12
  • What else DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 can offer
  • DEWALT Atomic Vs Milwaukee M12

Drill, Impact Driver, and Hammer Drill

For the lightest tasks we can just use the screwdriver to drive screws or remove them but for the more efficient DIYer, they will prefer to use a power tool instead since it is faster and gives a more professional result as well as reducing the physical effort by much. What can be confusing is there will be plenty of power tools out there and you may only need one. Especially those that look like drills, we have the drill itself, impact driver, and also hammer drill. Read also: DEWALT Atomic Vs Regular Cordless Drill.

All of them will seem to have the same function and it is true but made for different materials and types of application. Drills, impact drivers, and hammer drills are all able to make a hole on a surface such as woods or concrete but not all will be effective for the same type of jobs.

The most versatile and commonly used among the three are drill and impact driver. Chances you have seen them before but probably not recognizing the difference which is actually very easy because impact drivers don’t have clutch settings so in general they will be much more compact to hold while drill and hammer drill have clutches to decide the torque strength. Drills only produce rotating force while the other two will also produce a motion that pushes the bit forward hence the more strength.

The difference between impact driver and hammer drill is essentially on the type of force used because the latter is using a hammering action to produce extra force when needed; we can imagine it as a hammer hitting the back of the bit as it keeps rotating. The force is required to boost the penetration impact, typically on sturdy material such as concrete or masonry. On the other hand, the impact driver is in between the impact driver and hammer drill.

This way the force applied is not like a hammer that hits the back of the bit but more on the rotational force hence it is not as rough as the other, especially when you are working on a more delicate material like woods to prevent the surface from getting damaged or overdriving the screws. 

In general there is no “best” power tool among the three but you can rely on an impact driver for both drilling and driving screws which makes the tool more versatile in general. But, if your type of application is on a harder surface like concrete walls, then it is just wiser to go for the hammer drill as this machine can produce more impact to drive the bits.

 Dewalt AtomicMilwaukee M12

Product Dimensions8.66 x 5.51 x 2.95 inches
3 x 7 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight2.4 pounds
1.98 pounds
Best offerCheck priceCheck price

About DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12

The choice is all yours because it is always the right tools for the right jobs and not all of us will be working on the task or have the same purpose for the tools. But, if you are here then it means an impact driver is the perfect choice to go for. This tool is often chosen for its versatility since you can still use them on various materials as well as both making holes and driving screws. If your type of tasks is a combination of the two, an impact driver will be very useful.

Most power tool companies, if not all, are offering their own impact driver so you can stick with what ecosystem the toolbox has already. Choosing based on the brand sometimes can save you quite a lot on battery because many of them can use the same battery pack, if they have the same voltage. DEWALT and Milwaukee are two among the abundant options which are carrying some of the best impact drivers in the market. Depending on the model, you can also find both lightweight and heavy duty tools from the collection.

The DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 are what these brands have been offering for quite some time. We are sure many DIYers are familiar with the Atomic line for example since they do have lots of its power tools from the collection but today we are focusing on the impact driver only. Atomic or Atomic MAX is designed to be compact yet effective for usage under narrow spaces while the other line such as XR has both brushless motor and more efficient battery life.

Milwaukee M12 is also a line of impressive power tools from the company. What’s surprising is that despite using a low power voltage, this collection of power tools are working much like what other brands are performing on the higher end. The impact driver today is one of our favorites from the Fuel series 12V impact driver. It is very similar to the Atomic line because one for the plus point is being compact thus, we do think both DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 will be the ideal options.

DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 Design

As you can see, these impact drivers are pretty similar to each other and while two two are boasting their own compact form, in measurement they are the same at 5.1-inch from the front to rear part of the tool. They are also using the same trigger style handle so the two are most likely using variable speed as well. What’s prominently different side by side is how Milwaukee designed the chuck area of this driver to be slightly tilted which can be helpful in some applications as it is more angled. 

From the built quality these are very robust and another difference is their battery size. The sample picture above is only the bare tools but when attached with the battery your Atomic will be bulkier and heavier since it uses the bigger battery while the M12 is much smaller, it only attaches to the bottom handle of the driver without any flat side thus, it can’t stand on its own.

DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 Specs

Now for the most important part, let’s see what DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 can offer starting from the basic specs. Our first favorite point from the two is they are already brushless but do note that we are talking about the DCF809B and MLW2553-20 series so similar models may still use the brushed motors. The brushless in general is more power efficient as well as effective in driving the bit while being long lasting too. As for the speed, they are using varying speed triggers but with different settings.

We do think this is one of the most important differences between these impact drivers because the Atomic only has a single speed setting which means the adjustment is only done through the variable trigger itself while the maximum speed it can go is 2,800 RPM. With your M12, this specific impact driver is carrying 4 different settings in which one of them is made for self-tapping screws and this is a great addition to make the power tool even more versatile for driving screws on softer materials. The maximum speed itself is 3,300 RPM on the highest setting.

DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12 Performance

Next is in the overall performance of these impact drivers because they seem to be quite different from each other and in application it is true. We have seen how good the Milwaukee M18 beating many other similar impact drivers at the same and higher rating. This is why many love Milwaukee as a brand of power tools, especially because they tend to be less expensive as well while delivering plenty of power. Not only about speed, the M12 impact driver is also producing quite the force too.

However, in comparison the DEWALT Atomic is slightly more powerful on the torque side while the rotation is not as fast as the M12. At the end it is providing more from the 20V battery pack to produce more force while keeping the speed fairly lower. It is great in driving screws but for making holes, we do think the M12 is faster and more effective. Comfort wise we do think the very lightweight M12 is ideal for prolonged use, just make sure to put in a high capacity battery.


Lastly we also want to talk about the additional features of DEWALT Atomic and Milwaukee M12. Just like many other impact drivers or also drill and hammer drills, there is a lighting system on these impact drivers to illuminate the space. The few LEDs on the Atomic are very bright however, in comparison to M12 which is sourced from only one LED below the chuck. Similarly they have reverse function as well but DEWALT has a metal clip for when you want to attach it on the belt.

Dewalt Atomic vs Milwaukee M12

Both are good options and performing really well. The Atomic is using a 20V battery pack and with the same brushless motor it is delivering more torque to drive the screws thus, using larger bits is still manageable. But, the M12 is capable of driving faster which is prominently useful when making holes as it increases the work pace. It is also lighter which improves comfort and ease of use but the typical 2Ah battery may be insufficient for a whole day.

- Only 5.1-inch in length of DEWALT impact driver is designed to fit in tight spaces
- 1700 in-lbs of torque of the cordless impact driver delivering the power you need to get a majority of applications done
- Variable speed trigger allows for control and precision on delicate work surfaces.
- Hex impact driver once again raises the bar for 12V performance with best in class driving speed, power, and size
- This product meets customer requirement
- Product is easy to use


There is no bad option between the two but personally we will recommend the Milwaukee M12 for light to medium task because it is more versatile if you are using the tool for both driving and drilling.


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