Ryobi 18V One+ P237 Vs Milwaukee M18 2656-20

Ryobi P237 Angle 5

Ryobi P237

Quick take

The Ryobi 18V One+ P237 and Milwaukee M18 2656-20 are solid budget impact drivers with different features. While the Ryobi P237 is incredibly long from tip to tail compared to the Milwaukee 2656-20, it offers three drive modes for versatility. The Ryobi P237 is also faster under load. The Milwaukee 2656-20’s primary advantages are increased torque, a lighter weight, a more compact design, and a longer warranty.

Brand Ryobi
Platform 18V One+
Motor Brushed
Tested torque in-lbs 495.6
IPM 3,200.0
Drive modes 3
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as -
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 -

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.92 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Driving modes improve versatility
  • Exceptional battery run time
  • Smooth driving experience when impacting
  • One-handed bit changes

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • Heavy
  • Brushed motor
  • Short battery warranty

Rating

3.14 / 5 ⭐️’s

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

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)18.411
Torque (in-lbs)495.617
Battery run time (min.)48.06
RPM3,079.011
Bare weight (lbs)2.6621
Impacting noise (dBA)96.13
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

Kit and bare tool options

Lab results

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: Yes
Bit holder: Yes
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 77.5
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

The P237 is a bulky impact driver with an aggressive forward lean and long tip that provide solid reach. Most of the grip is covered in a rubber overmold, except for several angular, thin cutouts included for aesthetic purposes.

On the base, there is a magnetic fastener plate and a bit holder. Most other impact drivers rarely build these features into the design, though more should. Otherwise, a belt hook is mountable on either side of the base.

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

The 2656-20 stands upright with and without a battery attached and has a moderately aggressive forward lean, great for extending your reach in specific driving scenarios. There is also a rubber overmold surrounding the grip that provides shock absorption. However, the overmold is harder than other models we’ve tested.

A belt hook is mountable on either side. There is no onboard bit holder or magnetic fastener holder, unlike some Ryobi impact drivers that include this feature.

Weight

Ryobi P237 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.66
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.62
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): 4.30
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

Don’t buy the P237 if you want a lightweight impact driver that won’t fatigue your arm and hand over long driving sessions. It is one of the heaviest models we’ve tested in its bare tool form and with a battery. We found throughout testing that our hands tired quickly, continually trying to hold the P237 upright due to the heavy, forward-balanced design.

Consider that 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 as lightweight as possible, we recommend combining the P237 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the P237 with Ryobi’s 18V One+ 4Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.

Compare weight test results

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

Footprint

Ryobi P237 Footprint1
Ryobi P237 Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.375
Max width (bare tool, in.): 3.250
Collet to back length (in.): 7.000
Base length (bare tool, in.): 5.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 3.250
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.375
Handle circumference (in.): 5.250

Some of the weight is a result of the bulky footprint. The P237 is massive from tip to back compared to nearly all other impact drivers in our test fleet. Ryobi has standardized the base sizing for its impact drivers, and unfortunately, the bases are also comparably bulky.

The Makita 18V LXT XDT13Z is worth considering if you’re not wedded to the Ryobi ecosystem. The Makita model is far smaller and lighter.

Compare footprint 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

Motor

Motor: Brushed
Impacts per minute: 3,200.0

Ryobi built the P237 with a brushed motor to hit such a low price point. While brushed motors can powerfully and quickly drive screws, they are less durable and less efficient than their brushless counterparts.

If your budget can support it, we recommend jumping up in price to a model with a brushless motor, such as the Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02, if sticking with a Ryobi impact driver.

One reason why the P237 didn’t secure a podium position in any of our driving tests is its low 3200.0 advertised impacts per minute. Increasing the impacts per minute would help the P237 to achieve faster driving time in heavy-duty tasks, including our driving speed tests.

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.

Drive modes

Ryobi P237 Drive Modes

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

The key standout feature for would-be P237 owners is that it’s one of the rare impact drivers at this price point to include several drive modes. Arguably, having access to several drive modes is more critical for homeowners wanting a versatile all-in-one tool than a higher torque or RPM output.

Drive mode 1 is the highest speed setting and is ideal for heavy-duty tasks, such as driving decking screws and lag bolts. This mode provides the highest torque and RPM output. Drive mode 1 didn’t consistently and accurately finish screws in our tests.

An accurate screw finish is where drive mode 2 is most helpful. We favored drive mode 2 over drive mode 3 for recessing screw heads since the lowest setting is underpowered for most tasks.

Drive mode 1 most accurately drove screws in low-density materials like drywall. But consider that drive mode 2 is faster and still accurate.

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.

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 18.4
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 3.7
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 15.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 3.0

The P237 won’t win any driving speed contests, but that’s expected in this price category. However, it drove GRK structural screws reasonably fast in our heavy-duty driving speed tests, primarily due to its RPM output.

Throughout our testing, we were also impressed with the speed in light and medium-duty tasks, such as driving 3-inch and shorter screws into plywood and dimensional lumber.

Compare driving speed 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.

Compare driving speed test results

Torque

Ryobi P237 Torquemeter
Ryobi P237 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 495.6
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 311.4
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): 159.6
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The P237 doesn’t generate high torque output. But that’s not a downside for its intended audience of homeowners coveting versatility. The P237 is sufficiently powerful to handle any demanding task around the home.

All budget impact drivers make sacrifices. Ryobi made the right call to sacrifice torque in favor of including several drive modes. Homeowners are better off with driving versatility than brute force power.

Compare torque test 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

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 48.0
Battery tested: 18V One+ High Performance 2Ah (PBP003)
Voltage: 18

The P237 has an exceptionally long battery life, as evidenced by its impressive performance in our no-load run-time tests. In subsequent rounds of testing, we will be running our test fleet through run-time tests under load. We’ll update this review with those results.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. With an 18V One+ 4Ah battery, expect the battery run time to continue outperforming competing models running the same Ah setup.

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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 lineup

Ryobi 18V One+ Battery Lineup

Ryobi offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 4Ah, 6Ah, 8Ah, and 12Ah batteries in its 18V One+ lineup, and some versions come in a standard or high-performance model. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves driving performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Having at least two batteries in your setup is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend buying a Ryobi 18V One+ High Performance 2Ah and a Ryobi 18V One+ High Performance 4Ah battery for most 18V One+ impact driver setups for a good performance, price, and size balance.

Battery lineup

Milwaukee M18 Battery Lineup

Milwaukee offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, 6Ah, 8Ah, and 12Ah batteries in its M18 lineup. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves driving performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Having at least two batteries in your setup is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend buying a Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah and a Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for most M18 impact driver setups for a good performance, price, and size balance.

Many Milwaukee impact drivers come in kits with chargers that charge multiple voltage batteries in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

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

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.

Compare charging test results

RPM

Ryobi P237 RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 3,079.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 2,180.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 1,469.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,464.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 2,134.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 1,496.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

The P237 has average RPM output for an 18V impact driver. The RPM profile is balanced well for the intended user, who doesn’t demand best-in-class driving speed over all else.

The RPM profile also makes setting screws easier. Impact drivers that ramp quickly to a high RPM tend to spin out screws before settling into the workpiece. The P237’s RPM profile also helps to reduce cam-out and stripped threads.

One data point that is worth considering is the P237’s highest speed setting generates far higher RPM output in forward than in reverse. The lower RPM in reverse reduces the potential for cam-out when removing screws, albeit slowing down the removal process.

Compare RPM 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

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 9.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.125
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 7.250

The P237 is incredibly bulky. We don’t recommend this impact driver if you consistently drive fasteners in tight spaces. The collet-to-back length is among the longest we’ve seen.

A sub-compact or smaller footprint compact impact driver can squeeze into tighter spaces, especially if designed with a shorter collet-to-back length.

Compare driving clearance test results

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

Noise

P237 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 83.5
Max impacting noise (dBA): 96.1

The P237 is incredibly quiet when impacting compared to most impact drivers in our test fleet, including much pricier options.

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

Compare noise 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

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 75.1
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 2.1

We expected the P237 to be uncomfortable to use when impacting. However, it was one of our test fleet’s least violent and most comfortable impact drivers. The rubber overmold on the grip absorbs vibrations well, improving upon the already much smoother and less violent impacting mechanism.

Compare vibration 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

Light

Ryobi P237 Light
Ryobi P237 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: No
Number of lights: 3
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

We appreciate that the P237 has the work light built into the tip and points directly in front of the nose, unlike many other Ryobi impact drivers that build the work light into the base and shine the light upwards, sometimes not focusing the light in the right area.

There is no dedicated flashlight feature or the ability to disable the light, unlike some Makita impact drivers that include these features.

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.

Collet

Ryobi P237 Collet Closeup

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

One-handed bit changes are easy with the P237, thanks to the easy-insert and bit-eject mechanisms built into the collet. The bit-eject mechanism jettisons bits more powerfully than other impact drivers, sometimes resulting in not catching the bits. But after a few rounds of usage, catching the bit is easy and isn’t an issue.

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.

App integration

App integration: None

There is no bluetooth app integration to review impact driver diagnostics or to customize driving profiles. Dewalt’s ToolConnect and Milwaukee’s One Key models offer app integrations that track impact driver usage, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom driving profiles, such as adjusting the RPM for each drive mode.

App integration

App integration: None

There is no bluetooth app integration to review impact driver diagnostics or to customize driving profiles on your phone. Some high-end Milwaukee impact drivers come in a One-Key version which includes an app integration to track impact driver usage, displays tool diagnostics, and allows you to set custom driving profiles, such as adjusting the RPM for each drive mode.

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.

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.

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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