I am going to come right out and say it. When I first heard about the one key system, I thought it was a gimmick. It was during NPS2015. While I was excited about the release of the Fuel Generation 2 tools, I was somewhat intrigued by one Key but I honestly felt it was an answer to a problem that didn’t exist. I actually decided I probably wouldn’t buy it and bought two of the Fuel gen2 hammerdrill and impact combo kits. They were very good and I was quite satisfied with them.      I am a diesel truck guy. My last six trucks have been diesels. One thing that we have learned is that a simple tuner can make a good truck into a great truck! A tuner can increase the power, fuel economy and how the transmission behaves. I wondered if the one key could have a similar effect on the new tools. I decided to rethink my decision. I just had to try the one key system. I started out by trying the impact driver as it is one of my most heavily used tools.

I use impact drivers in all aspects of our work. It’s hard to beat the all around usefulness of a good impact driver. In the last decade their popularity has exploded. I see them being used as drills, screwdrivers as mini impact wrenches, pipe cleaners and much more. Their usefulness seems to be limited only by our imagination.

So far in my testing and in my Instagram posts on my @toolpig and @worksmarternotharderig pages, I have received quite a wide range of public opinion on these tools. Many are very excited about this new technology and already have one or can’t wait to try it. Others have never tried it and feel pretty much like I did before trying it. Basically that it’s unnecessary tech built into tools adding to the expense. It is interesting to note that so far, 100% of the negative comments I have received are from those that have not yet tried a one-key tool.

When The FedEx truck delivered the impact driver and I picked it up for the first time, it immediately felt so familiar and comfortable. The only difference I could see compared to the fuel generation 2 was the extra mode for blue tooth.

     Out of the box it looks and performs pretty much exactly the same as the one I had been using for the last seven months. I knew however that just using the impact driver in the factory settings would be a waste.

Included in the box is a quick start guide. It explains how to get the app, add the tool to your inventory, how to connect to and then customize the tool.

Within the app you will find inventory management, last known tool locations, custom Milwaukee profiles for common tasks and user adjustable profiles.

For the impact driver, some of the custom Milwaukee profiles are screw in concrete anchor and self tapping screw. It is my understanding that a whole team is working on developing new custom profiles and will be updating the app with them as the are released.

As an example of a custom profile from Milwaukee, let’s take a look at the concrete anchor profile. To select it you must first select “tool controls” then “setup” Then select “concrete anchor.” Within this profile you will see different parameters like material you are fastening to; concrete, cinder block or brick as well as anchor diameter and anchor length. I found the settings to be really spot on but if you don’t, you can tweak them for your specific application. This is very useful because each mix and age of concrete is different. The same can be said of brick.

For my first attempt at creating a custom profile, I decided to try pocket screws. I love pocket hole joinery on cabinet face frames and other woodworking tasks. I do not like using an impact driver for setting them normally. They are easy to drive too deep or strip the holes on. I always use a driver drill with the clutch setting pretty light. Just enough to get the screw snug and squeeze the glue out.

Using the app on my smart phone, I tapped tool controls. I chose a medium low rpm 1150 and low torque level. I chose Kreg screw. After you are finished you hit save on the app screen.

My first task was screwing some blocks to the top of some kitchen cabinets to support crown molding. I am pleased to say that it worked flawlessly on each block of wood. It drove each screw home without overdriving and stopped completely.

Normal 3 speed impacts will keep hammering away at a screw at the preset rpm as long as you hold the trigger. Needless to say, I was very happy with the result. In this situation, the blocks were pine and the cabinet tops were particle board. When I used the driver on hardwood face frame stock, I had to adjust the speed and torque up slightly.

The next custom profile I needed was for installing switch plates and plug covers in a kitchen. Normally with an impact driver you have to feather the trigger so much that it’s probably not even the right tool for installing plug covers. With the fuel one key driver it is easily possible to install covers continuously without damage. For that setting I went to about 550 RPM and the lowest torque setting. Incredibly it drove the screws home and stopped completely before damaging any switch covers.     Please understand that it will not clock the screws vertically. I caught a ton of heat from electricians on my Instagram post because of this. I feel that they completely missed the point of my video.

My third custom profile was for larger sheet metal screws. In our air duct cleaning division, we frequently remove the covers from furnaces and air handlers to access the internal components. We also remove fan motors. Most of these screws are #10-16x 3/4″. On the light gauge steel of air handlers, you can easily strip the screw holes out if you aren’t careful.

After setting up a profile and naming it air handler screws I was able to remove and replace them without damage. As with the other custom settings, the driver drove the screws home and completely shut off each time.

I must say that I am very impressed with the flexibility and repeatability the one key system offers on different fasteners.

There are other benefits as well. With all of the available tweaking, I find the trigger sensitivity to be much better than both generations of fuel impact drivers. That was my main complaint about the fuel gen 1 and 2 impact drivers. The power band was kind of like a 2 stroke dirt bike. Not a lot of torque down low and then a little more throttle and Bam it would take off like a rocket. The one key impact is much easier to control.

Another benefit, tool inventory allows you to keep track of both one-key and non one-key tools. It also helps locate missing one-key tools.

I Asked for and received a brief description from my contact at Milwaukee Tool:

· “The ONE-KEY™ app will automatically store the last time it was within range of your tool. You can check your app to easily pinpoint the last time and location you were within 100 ft of your missing tool.

· Also, if you mark the tool as missing in your app, if anyone with the One-Key app is near your missing tool, it will send you an update. They won’t get this notification, but you will.”

At this point it should be noted that the app is not completely developed. There are teams working on it every day and as updates are made we receive the benefits in the app updates. Who knows how far this will take us?

I have had extended time with this unique impact driver. It continues to do the job it was designed for very well. I sometimes revert back to factory settings for tool fights on Instagram. I have had no issues whatsoever. The power is there. He torque is there. The control is there.

One thing is for sure. This is the future. This is not a gimmick. This is not going away. Bosch recently announced a similar system in the works. I am sure other companies are scrambling to launch competing systems as well. Whether you are a Milwaukee tool fan or prefer another brand more, we can all thank Milwaukee for taking such a bold step. When power tool companies compete, we win.