Milwaukee M18 2656-20 Vs Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02

Milwaukee 2656-20 Angle 5

Milwaukee 2656-20

Quick take

The Milwaukee M18 2656-20 and Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02 are solid impact drivers at a similar price point. The Milwaukee 2656-20 has better overall build quality but has some critical downsides. It has just a single drive mode and is far slower under load than the Ryobi PBLID02. The Ryobi PBLID02 offers four drive modes for versatility but is modestly heavier.

Brand Milwaukee
Platform M18
Motor Brushed
Tested torque in-lbs 611.4
IPM 3,450.0
Drive modes 1
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as -
Brand Ryobi
Platform 18V One+
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 609.0
IPM 4,000.0
Drive modes 4
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as PBLID02B

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.14 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally-long tool and battery warranty
  • Competent driving performance for the price

Cons

  • Brushed motor
  • Poor battery run time
  • Moderately heavy

Rating

4.11 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Exceptional driving speed
  • Several drive modes improve versatility
  • Brushless motor
  • Easy-insert collet

Cons

  • Battery run time
  • Footprint is bulky
  • Heavy

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)23.116
Torque (in-lbs)611.411
Battery run time (min.)23.020
RPM2,626.020
Bare weight (lbs)2.1816
Impacting noise (dBA)97.413
TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)14.75
Torque (in-lbs)609.012
Battery run time (min.)30.015
RPM2,966.013
Bare weight (lbs)2.3218
Impacting noise (dBA)96.94

Recommended configuration

2656-22CT

Includes (2) M18 Red Lithium CP 1.5Ah battery

Lab results

Torque

Milwaukee 2656-20 Torquemeter
Milwaukee 2656-20 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 611.4
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The 2656-20 is moderately powerful for an 18V impact driver, though it can’t compete with the torque that higher-priced, heavy-duty impact drivers generate.

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20 offers flagship torque output in the 18V class, with the price tag to boot.

Compare torque test results

Torque

Ryobi PBLID02Torquemeter
Ryobi PBLID02 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 609.0
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 457.2
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): 284.4
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The PBLID02 is moderately powerful, as our torque tests demonstrated. In practice, we didn’t encounter a driving task the PBLID02 couldn’t complete, including driving long and big lag bolts into treated lumber. This impact driver doesn’t offer high RPMs, leaving its torque output to do most of the heavy lifting in demanding tasks.

Several closely-priced alternatives offer higher torque output, including the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20, Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF887, and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845.

Compare torque test results

RPM

Milwaukee 2656-20 RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 2,626.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,604.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

The 2656-20 has a very low max RPM for an 18V impact driver. However, a low RPM can be positive or negative, depending on your intended usage. A slow RPM sets screws well and reduces cam-out potential. On the flip side, a low RPM, combined with its torque profile, explains some of the lacking driving speed in our GRK screw test.

There is no meaningful RPM difference between forward and reverse. Some impact drivers increase RPMs in reverse for select drive mode settings to bust loose stubborn nuts and screws.

Compare RPM test results

RPM

Ryobi PBLID02 RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 2,966.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 1,832.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 915.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): 1,058.0
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,969.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 1,935.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 931.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): 1,940.0

The PBLID02 generated middle-of-the-pack max RPM on our contact tachometer. However, the performance on paper undersells its driving performance. Impact drivers with similar RPM and torque profiles couldn’t match the PBLID02’s results in our heavy-duty driving speed tests.

The three speed modes have no significant RPM difference between forward and reverse. But the assist mode offers a vastly different RPM profile depending on the forward or reverse setting selected. The assist mode in reverse nearly doubles the RPM output compared to the forward setting to quickly remove screws from your work material after the start and stop mechanism completes its cycle.

Compare RPM test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 23.1
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 4.6
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 14.9
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 3.0

As our driving speed tests demonstrated, the 2656-20 is moderately slow driving big screws and lag bolts. It is highly capable of driving 5 1/8-inch GRK screws without bogging down much, but it is slower than some other budget models. The Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02 performed exceptionally well in our driving speed tests.

Our driving speed tests also included driving 3-inch and shorter standard screw sizes into materials, including dimensional lumber, plywood, MDF, and drywall studs. The 2656-20 breezes through these light and medium-duty tasks, so it’ll tackle any job around the home.

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Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 14.7
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.9
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 11.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.2

While it doesn’t have the highest torque or RPMs, the PBLID02 performed well in our driving speed tests, finishing near the top of the pack driving GRK RSS screws. The PBLID02 similarly shines at driving decking screws and shorter common screw sizes used in DIY projects and medium-duty tasks around the home.

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Drive modes

Drive modes: 1
Drive mode 1:  High speed 
Drive mode 2:  N/A 
Drive mode 3:  N/A 
Drive mode 4:  N/A 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

One drive mode on the 2656-20 significantly reduces its driving versatility. Including several drive modes would make this impact driver versatile for heavy-duty and light-duty jobs, where a consistently accurate screw finish is essential. The single high-speed drive mode on the 2656-20 finishes screw more accurately than other impact drivers since it’s less powerful, but a consistent screw finish is difficult in any high-speed mode.

Consider the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 if you need additional drive modes within the M18 ecosystem.

Drive modes

Drive modes: 4
Drive mode 1:  High speed 
Drive mode 2:  Medium speed 
Drive mode 3:  Low speed 
Drive mode 4:  Assist 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

There are four drive modes on the PBLID02, significantly improving its driving versatility. Drive mode 1 offers the highest torque and RPM output and is ideal for rapidly driving lag bolts, decking screws, and other big fasteners.

Drive mode 2 still offers solid driving performance but is better suited to driving shorter screws into dimensional lumber and soft materials such as MDF. We could recess screws in all material densities in drive mode 2, though not at a consistent depth.

Drive mode 3 most accurately recesses screws and is the best setting if demanding a consistently perfect recess. For light and medium-duty jobs, we found a sweet spot of using drive mode 3 or 2 to drive screws quickly, then switching over to drive mode 3 for a consistent recess.

The PBLID02 also includes an assist mode, though we didn’t find it any better than the other drive modes in the forward setting. However, the assist mode is helpful in the reverse setting to bust loose stubborn screws and nuts. When holding the trigger, the collet starts and stops several times and then ramps up the RPM. This assist setting nicely helped to avoid stripping screw heads.

There are no other specialty drive modes that high-end impact drivers include, such as self-tapping, wood, and bolt-loosening drive modes. Several Milwaukee impact drivers have self-tapping options, and some Makita impact drivers include specialty wood and bolt-loosening modes.

Collet

Milwaukee 2656-20 Collet Closeup

Collet size: 1/4-inch hex
Quick-change collet: Yes
Bit-eject collet: No
Easy-insert collet: No

Collet

It takes two hands to change bits on the 2656-20, one hand to slide the collet and the other to insert or remove the bit. The collet has no easy-insert or bit eject feature, which helps with one-handed bit changes.

Many Dewalt impact drivers include easy-insert and bit-eject collets that are smooth with the best collet design we’ve come across.

Collet

Ryobi PBLID02 Collet Closeup

Collet size: 1/4-inch hex
Quick-change collet: Yes
Bit-eject collet: Yes
Easy-insert collet: Yes

The PBOID02 includes an easy insert collet that is a breeze to insert bits with one hand, great for convenience. A bit-eject collet is also included, although the jettison force may be slightly overpowered for some tastes. We found ourselves jettisoning the bit and frequently missing catching it. But after a few rounds of usage, catching the bit is easy and isn’t an issue.

Motor

Motor: Brushed
Impacts per minute: 3,450.0

One of the primary downsides of the 2656-20 is that it includes a brushed motor. This motor type is less efficient, drains batteries quicker, can be louder, and isn’t as durable as a brushless motor, which many competing budget impact drivers now include. The motor choice explains some of the performance we experienced during testing, including the limited battery life and slow driving speed.

The advertised 3450.0 impacts per minute also explain some of the tested underperformance, particularly in heavy-duty scenarios driving big screws.

Unless you are highly budget-constrained and are open to other tool ecosystems, review the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845 and Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z for high-performing alternatives with brushless motors.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 4,000.0

One standout feature of the PBLID02 is that it includes a brushless motor. Brushless motors are more efficient and durable and provide better battery run time than brushed motors.

The brushless motor and the high 4000.0 impacts per minute partly explain why the PBLID02 shined in our driving speed tests.

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 23.0
Battery tested: 18V Red Lithium CP 2Ah (48-11-1820)
Voltage: 18

The 2656-20’s battery run time underperforms many impact drivers with only 23 minutes of run time in our no-load tests.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. With a Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery, expect the battery run time to continue underperforming competing models running the same Ah setup, albeit the battery run time significantly increases.

Compare battery test results

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 30.0
Battery tested: 18V One+ High Performance 2Ah (PBP003)
Voltage: 18

One letdown of the PBLID02 was its battery run time in our testing. Several cheaper Ryobi impact drivers offer better run times. But consider that the tested no-load run time of 30 minutes is still long enough for most jobs around the home.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. With an 18V One+ 4Ah or 6Ah battery, expect the battery run time to continue underperforming competing models running the same Ah setup, albeit run time increases significantly.

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Charging time

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Milwaukee M12 & M18 Multi-Volt (48-59-1812)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 41.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 98.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 20.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Milwaukee M12 and M18 multi-volt charger (model 48-59-1812) included in most kits is reasonably fast at charging batteries, including to beat out team red’s most frequent adversary, Dewalt. It takes 41 minutes to charge an M18 2Ah battery and 98 minutes for a 5Ah battery, or approximately 20 minutes per amp-hour.

Milwaukee’s 48-59-1812 charger charges multiple battery voltages in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

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Charging time

Ryobi 18V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Ryobi 18V One+ (PCG002)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 49.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): 117.0
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 26.9
Fuel gauge: On battery

The 18V charger included with most Ryobi kits (model PCG002) charges batteries moderately slower than other brands.

Our tests took 49.0 and 117.0 minutes to charge a Ryobi 18V One+ 2Ah and 4Ah battery, respectively. Several other brands we’ve tested take approximately 20 minutes per Ah, whereas the Ryobi charger takes at least 24.5 minutes per Ah.

Compare charging test results

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 75.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 80.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Weight

Milwaukee 2656-20 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.18
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.13
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 3.79

As expected with the best budget impact drivers, the 2656-20 is relatively heavy in its bare tool form and with a battery.

The working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup, which is why we tested the weight in different configurations. To keep it lightweight, we recommend combining the 2656-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the 2656-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.

The Makita 18V LXT XDT13Z is a lighter alternative to consider in this price category.

Compare weight test results

Weight

Ryobi PBLID02 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.32
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.28
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): 3.96
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The PBLID02 is a heavy impact driver, so it’s not ideal for long driving sessions where arm fatigue sets in.

The working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup, which is why we tested the weight in different configurations. To keep it lightweight, we recommend combining the PBLID02 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the PBLID02 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 4Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.The Makita 18V LXT XDT13Z or Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z are solid alternatives that are comparably-priced impact drivers and far lighter.

Compare weight test results

Footprint

Milwaukee 2656-20 Footprint1
Milwaukee 2656-20 Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.250
Max width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Collet to back length (in.): 5.500
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.500
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

The 2656-20 casts a thin shadow viewed from the front and behind but isn’t highly compact otherwise. The long collet-to-back length adds minimal bulk and isn’t ideal for tight spaces, as demonstrated in our clearance tests (more on that below).

Compare footprint test results

Footprint

Ryobi PBLID02 Footprint1
Ryobi PBLID02 Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.500
Max width (bare tool, in.): 3.000
Collet to back length (in.): 5.625
Base length (bare tool, in.): 5.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 3.000
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.500
Handle circumference (in.): 5.250

Most Ryobi impact drivers have a bulky footprint, and that’s no different with the PBLID02. Notably, the base is more prominent than many similarly-priced impact drivers.

Context is important when discussing the length. The collet-to-back length isn’t as oversized as many Ryobi models that are incredibly large, though it’s not as compact as impact drivers from other brands.

So, the PBLID02 better reaches into tight spaces than other Ryobi models but doesn’t match the clearances possible looking to other brands, as demonstrated in our interior clearance tests below.

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Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.125
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.125
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.375

The 2656-20’s footprint isn’t ideal for driving in tight corners and spaces. Notably, the long collet-to-back length reduces its 45-degree interior clearance performance and limits the areas it can squeeze through.

Compare driving clearance test results

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.250
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.250
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.500

We don’t recommend the PBLID02 if you consistently drive fasteners in tight spaces. A sub-compact or smaller-footprint compact impact driver can squeeze into tighter spaces.

The long collet-to-back length and extensive base limit the tight spaces it can fit into and the restricted areas it can fit through.

Compare driving clearance test results

Noise

2656-20 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 83.0
Max impacting noise (dBA): 97.4

The 2656-20 is in the middle of the pack with its noise performance in our impacting tests, maxing out just below the equivalent noise of a motorcycle.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are incredibly quiet alternatives. Both are built with hydraulic oil-impulse impacts that are more subtle.

Compare noise test results

Noise

PBLID02 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 86.1
Max impacting noise (dBA): 96.9

The PBLID02’s noise profile is a tale of two stories. When impacting, it is one of the quieter impact drivers we’ve tested, though all impact drivers are loud. The PBLID02 is one of the louder impact drivers when not under load. In practice, paying attention to the noise output when impacting is more critical.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are other options to consider. Both are hydraulic impact drivers with far quieter impacts.

Compare noise test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 40.6
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 3.1

Compare vibration test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 88.2
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 3.1

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Light

Milwaukee 2656-20 Light
Milwaukee 2656-20 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: No
Number of lights: 1
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The light illuminates a moderately small work area focused in the correct location. As expected in the budget category, the work light can’t be disabled and doesn’t act as a dedicated flashlight.

Several Makita impact drivers include a dedicated flashlight functionally with the forward/reverse switch set to neutral.

Light

Ryobi PBLID02 Light
Ryobi PBLID02 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: No
Number of lights: 1
Light time delay (sec.): 15.0

We’re not huge fans of the PBLID02’s work light, though it does the job in some scenarios. The light is set into the base and shines upward, whereas other models include the light around the collet and point it straight forward. The latter design approach centers the light directly where you’re driving screws.

When driving long screws with the impact driver further away from the work material, we found the PBLID02’s light was centered slightly above the screw being driven. This outcome was only an issue when driving 3-inch and longer screws.

There is no dedicated flashlight feature or the ability to disable the work light, which could minimally improve battery performance.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 5
Battery warranty (years): 2-3 (depends on model)

Milwaukee stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The 2656-20 has a five-year warranty, which is among the longest offered by any manufacturer. Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah batteries include a two-year warranty, and the M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah batteries include a three-year warranty.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 3
Battery warranty (years): 90 day

Ryobi offers an exceptionally-long three-year warranty on its impact drivers. However, Ryobi’s battery warranties don’t come close to matching the length provided by most other manufacturers. Ryobi has a 90-day battery warranty, whereas other manufacturers commonly offer two to three years of coverage.

Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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