Impact drivers are an incredibly useful power tool that every DIYer or contractor should have in their toolbox. They are designed specifically for driving and loosening large screws or bolts, and for drilling large holes through the toughest materials. Impact drivers are much more powerful than traditional drills. However, they are also more compact and lightweight for use in tight places. Impact drivers are more user friendly than a regular drill because they don’t cause hand or wrist fatigue, even during all day use.
Although these tools are somewhat new on the market, they have gained popularity quickly, and there are a lot of options to consider. Our team has tested and reviewed all of the top impact drivers on the market in 2019. Use our handy impact driver reviews to help you compare important features from models in all different price points, so you can choose the best impact driver for your particular situation.
Impact Driver Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. DeWalt DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless 0.25" 3-Speed Impact Driver|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. Makita CT225R 18V LXT Li-Ion Compact 2-Piece Impact Driver Combo Kit||9.8/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. DeWalt DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-Ion 2.0 Brushless 0.25" 3-Speed Impact Driver Kit||9.7/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Black+Decker BDCI20C 20V MAX Li-Ion Impact Driver||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. Milwaukee Electric Tools MLW2553-20 M12 Fuel 1/4" Hex Impact Driver||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4" Li-Ion Impact Driver||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. Porter Cable PCC641 20v Max Li-Ion 1/4" Hex Impact Driver||9.2/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Impact Driver Reviews
1. DeWalt DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless 0.25″ 3-Speed Impact DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
We love the DeWalt DCF887B 3-Speed Impact Driver because it’s loaded with top-of-the-line features, yet it still manages to remain wallet friendly. With this cordless impact driver, you can adjust the maximum torque settings to suit the project you’re working on. The manufacturer has also provided three separate LED lights at different locations, so you never have to worry about the light being obstructed as you work.
This machine offers three separate no load speed settings: 1,000 RPM, 2,800 RPM, and 3,250 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), allowing you to have more control for all types of applications. The precision drive setting, which is the lowest speed offered by this unit, is perfect for more delicate applications, such as cabinetry. The machine automatically slows down to give you even more control as you drive in the screws, making this tool incredibly versatile.
DeWalt has gone out of its way to make the DCF887B lighter and more compact than most other impact drivers; it weighs in at only 2.4 pounds. The 20-volt brushless motor provides enough torque for the toughest jobs, even driving three-inch screws through hardwood with ease. The bits are easy to change with the included ¼” hex chuck.
This compact impact driver by DeWalt offers all the power and flexibility you need for any project, but reviewers especially love it for tight jobs. This manufacturer is known for taking care of its customers, and they provide a 3-year warranty on this product.
2. Makita CT225R 18V LXT Li-Ion Compact 2-Piece Impact Driver Combo KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Makita 18V Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless 2-Piece Combo Kit comes with both an impact driver-drill and an impact driver. Both tools feature ergonomic handles with soft rubberized grips. The CT225R tools also come with built-in, bright LED lights to illuminate your work area. This kit is built for pro-use at a price even the DIY enthusiast can afford.
This impact driver kit from Makita includes a two speed ½” driver drill that delivers 400 and 1,500 RPM. This impact diver drill has a compact design and weighs only 3.3 pounds, even with the battery. Makita has also included a variable speed impact driver with this kit. Weighing only 2.8 pounds with the battery, this is one of the lightest impact drivers out there. It offers speeds of 2,300 RPM and 3,200 IPM.
Makita provides two 18V Lithium-Ion batteries with this kit, as well as a rapid optimum charger and tool bag. Not only do these batteries charge fully in only 25 minutes, but they also last up to 50% longer than most other batteries. This set has been built to stand up to the heavy use of a pro, but even the DIY enthusiast will find these tools practical.
If you need both the impact driver and the driver drill, this kit could be a better deal than purchasing each tool separately. However, if you only need one tool, this kit may be a little too pricey for you. The Makita CT225R comes with a three-year warranty from the manufacturer.
3. DeWalt DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-Ion 2.0 Brushless 0.25″ 3-Speed Impact Driver KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The DeWalt DCR887D2 Impact Driver kit comes complete with a driver drill and impact driver that are incredibly comfortable to use. Thanks to the brushless moto, these tools have fantastic run time. DeWalt is a name that has been trusted by DIYers and pros alike, and this kit meets those high standards.
This impact driver kit from DeWalt has all the power you need for any job, in a set of compact tools that are extremely user-friendly. The driver features three speed modes: 1,000, 2,800, and 3,250 RPM with an IPM of 3,600. DeWalt has thought of everything with this set, and they’ve even included an LED lighting system on the front of the driver to ensure that no shadow is cast on your work area.
We found this set to be very compact and perfect in tight spaces. It’s very well balanced, so you can work on all jobs without worrying about wrist or hand fatigue. This kit comes with its own hard plastic carrying case and includes two 20V batteries and a fast charger. There’s even a belt clip to keep the tool handy on the job site.
Reviewers love this impact driver kit from DeWalt. They are very impressed with its speed and power for such a lightweight tool. Although this set is a little on the pricey side, it is well worth the investment if you’re looking for a quality set of impact tools. DeWalt provides a three-year warranty on this set.
You might have noticed this being the second DeWalt unit to make our list. DeWalt makes over 180 products that use its 20V Max Lithium Ion system, meaning the batteries are completely interchangeable. Check out some of the other DeWalt power tools we’ve written about that use this system and rank at or near the top of their respective categories, such as our reciprocating saw post, jigsaw post and electric chainsaw post.
4. Black+Decker BDCI20C 20V MAX Li-Ion Impact DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Black + Decker BDC120C Impact Driver is a great option for the DIYer on a tight budget. This extremely affordable tool offers incredible value in a lightweight, compact impact driver that ‘s powerful enough to complete tasks around the home. The set comes with the tool itself, a 1.5 Ah battery, and the charger.
This impact driver from Black + Decker has been designed with a ¼” hex chuck that releases quickly and easily. The tool itself is very user friendly and the ergonomic grip is comfortable for everyone, even someone with smaller hands. Also considering that this tool weighs in at only 2.0 pounds, it’s a great option for the female DIYer who doesn’t want the hassle of a heavier tool.
Although the Black + Decker BDC120C doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles like more expensive brands, it does include a magnetic bit holder and an LED work light. We also found it to be quite a bit quieter than other impact tools we’ve used. This impact driver has a maximum no load speed of 3,000 RPM.
Reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the quality of this tool and such a low price. Although the battery life isn’t the greatest, it’s sufficient for use around the home. Black + Decker backs up this tool with a two-year warranty.
5. Milwaukee Electric Tools MLW2553-20 M12 Fuel 1/4″ Hex Impact DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver features a brushless motor with enough power for pros and homeowners alike. This impact drive from Milwaukee Tools weighs only 1.76 pounds, making it one of the lightest tools we reviewed. This model has 4 speed modes that are operated by an electronic push button. The fourth mode is specifically for metal tapping screws, making this impact driver extremely versatile and user friendly.
The Milwaukee MLW2553-20 also has an easy to use ¼” hex chuck for easy bit changes with only one hand. The ergonomic grip handle features a slimmed down design, making it comfortable for all day use. For added convenience, the belt clip can be mounted on either side of the tool.
This impact driver has a maximum RPM of 3,300 and an IPM of 4,000. This tool has an impressive driving speed for such a compact impact driver. The Milwaukee M12 Fuel is compatible with any 12V battery pack made by Milwaukee, and they hold a charge long enough for all day use.
This impact driver by Milwaukee Tools was reviewed by everyone from aircraft mechanics to drywall installers, and they were all impressed with its power and versatility. This tool may be a little pricey for the novice DIYer, but it’s an excellent choice for someone who needs a reliable impact driver regularly. The manufacturer provides a five-year warranty on this product.
6. Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4″ Li-Ion Impact DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Ryobi One+ P236 is a basic, wallet friendly impact driver with a maximum speed of 3,200 RPM, with an IPM of 3,400. It’s powerful enough for most home tasks, but still manages to be a lightweight, compact tool. This model has been designed with a variable speed feature that is controlled by how much pressure you apply to the trigger, so it’s very precise and user friendly.
For added versatility, this impact driver by Ryobi has been designed with a direction rotation selector that allows the user to reverse the rotation direction. This tool is compatible with all Ryobi One+ Li-Ion battery packs, which are known to be long lasting and charge quickly. The rubber, pistol grip handle makes this impact driver comfortable for all day use on the job site or around the home, even in slippery conditions.
The Ryobi One+ comes equipped with a Tri-Beam LED light that comes on automatically when the trigger is activated. Users of this impact driver love the built-in magnetic tray that keeps bits handy right on the unit. Changing the bits on this model can be done quickly and easily, without any need for a special tool.
The Ryobi One+ Impact Driver is sold as a bare tool, so you will need to purchase the battery pack and charger separately. Reviewers of this impact driver were very pleased with its performance, but they wish they was a way to turn the light on before pulling the trigger when working in dimly lit areas.
7. Porter Cable PCC641 20v Max Li-Ion 1/4″ Hex Impact DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Porter Cable PCC641 Impact Driver is loaded with features that you would normally only find on models with a much higher price tag. This cordless impact driver has just as much power as a corded tool, with a maximum speed of 2,900 RPM. The PCC641 has been designed with two speed variations for added versatility.
We love the built-in LED light that makes it easy to work in dimly lit spaces, such as inside a cabinet. This tool can also hold up to three bits at once for added convenience. The design also features a ¼” head chuck that can released quickly for easy bit changes with only one hand.
This impact driver by Porter Cable is lightweight and compact, with an ergonomic grip that makes it comfortable for all day use. This item is compatible with all Porter Cable 20V Lithium Ion batteries. These batteries charge quickly and have a long life, making this the perfect tool to take to the jobsite.
It should be noted that the Porter Cable PCC641 Impact Driver is sold as a bare tool, so the charger and battery pack must be purchased separately. Reviews love this tool for light to medium home improvement jobs, but don’t recommend it for heavy daily use. The Porter Cable 20V Max is a smart, budget friendly choice for the average homeowner or professional who needs a reliable impact driver for light to medium tasks.
How an Impact Driver Works
Impact drivers are very useful tools for both homeowners and professionals. Although they look a lot like a regular cordless drill, they are actually a lot more powerful. They are specially engineered to drive screws with maximum power and speed. These drills drive screws with greater force and exertion by using a high speed, rotational force along with sharp downward power.
Impact drivers have internal hammers that compress a spring after each ½ rotation of the drill. When the spring is released, it creates the energy to drive the hammer down and twist it at the same time. Impact drivers make a very distinct sound caused by the motion of the hammer driving down and the spring being released over and over again.
The great thing about an impact driver is that it creates its own concussive force. The user doesn’t need to apply any pressure because the tool does all the work for you. Because these tools create so much force, they require the use of special impact resistant hex bits.
Many people assume that a tool with so much power will be hard on the wrists and hands, but that’s not the case. The intense power created by an impact driver is transferred directly to the screw, instead of your wrists and hands. That means these powerful tools can be used all day without causing hand or wrist fatigue. They are also designed to be compact and lightweight, making them a good option for overhead jobs and working in tight spaces.
Impact Driver vs Standard Drill
While many DIYers have a standard cordless drill in their toolbox, many aren’t as familiar with an impact driver. These two tools perform similar tasks, and even look a lot alike, but they each have their own place in your tool box. This guide should help you decide which tool is right for the job at hand.
When deciding between an impact driver of a standard drill, consider the materials you’ll be working with. A standard drill will be fine for jobs like installing drywall and drilling through soft wood or plastic. However, if you want a tool that can get through dense material or install long/thick fasteners without putting strain on your hands and wrists, an impact driver will be your better option.
One of the first things you’ll notice at first glance is the difference in size. Standard drills are usually bigger and heavier than impact drivers. Because of their compact design, pros often prefer impact drivers for tasks like installing cabinets and mechanic work where space is tight.
While a standard drill can accept a wide variety of bit sizes and accessories like rotary sanders and wire-wheel brushes, impact drivers require special hex-shaped bits that can stand up to greater force. You will also notice that a driver is quite a bit louder than a standard drill, due to the internal mechanism that drives the bit.
You may also be surprised to find that an impact driver has a lot more power than a standard drill, given its smaller size. Impact drivers deliver quick bursts of power, so they create more torque. While standard drills may stall out when installing longer screws, drivers deliver enough torque to drive long screws effortlessly. In fact, they can even remove stripped screws with ease.
Advanced DIYers and pros will probably want to have both tools on hand. A standard drill makes sense for more delicate jobs using smaller fasteners, but it just can’t handle the tough jobs that an impact driver can.
Setting up and Maintaining an Impact Driver
Before you use your impact driver for the first time, you’ll need to invest in a set of ¼” hex bits. These bits are specifically designed to hold up to the increased torque provided by an impact driver. They are made to fit all types and sizes of screws and screw heads, as well as for different types of materials. Be sure to choose the one that’s right for your job.
Most impact driver will have a keyless chuck, but some models require a key when changing the bit. Always change out your drill bit if it gets dull because a dull bit can put stress on your drill’s motor. Dull bits can also be a safety hazard because they could become jammed when drilling through a hard surface. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to install and change the bits on your specific model.
If your new impact driver is a cordless model, you will also need to charge the battery before you use it for the first time. The batteries will last longer if they are charged fully between each use. They should also be stored in a protected location that’s neither too hot nor too cold.
Maintaining your impact driver is a fairly simple process. Some manufacturers recommend that you use metal lubricating oil to lubricate the inside of the chuck occasionally to reduce wear and tear on the teeth of the chuck. Your owner’s manual should have detailed instructions explaining the process and how often it needs to be done.
The vents on impact driver should be cleaned free of dust and debris after every use. If these vents become clogged, the engine might overheat or even burn out over time. A simple compressed air canister can handle this job perfectly, and they’re portable so you can take one right to the job site with you. Never leave your drill on the ground where the vents could become clogged with dirt or grass.
Always store your impact driver in a dry place away from humidity. If moisture gets inside the motor, the resulting rust can shorten the life of your tool significantly. Moisture can also cause the battery and connections to corrode and cause problems with the connection resulting in loss of power. Dramatic fluctuations in temperature can cause condensation inside your machine, so it should always be stored at moderate temperatures.
Best Impact Driver Buyer’s Guide
Impact drivers are a fairly new power tool invention that many people are unfamiliar with. Because of their rapid increase in popularity, there are a lot of different models to choose from. There’s an impact driver out there for every budget and level of use. This buyer’s guide, along with the above reviews, will help you choose the ideal unit for your particular situation. Who know’s, it may even become one of your most used tools.
Torque is the name of the game when it comes to impact drivers, and for many that will be a key feature. Greater torque allows you to drive in longer and bigger screws without the machine stalling out, which is a common problem with standard drills. Machines with greater torque can also handle drilling and driving through harder materials, like masonry and metal. There’s usually a pretty big difference in torque between the 12V models and the 18V models, so if you need a machine that can power through tough jobs, go for an 18 or 20V model.
If you need an impact driver that can stand up to heavy use, look for one with a brushless motor. Brushless motors are more efficient and more powerful than brushed motors. In general, they have a longer lifespan because they are more durable. Although impact drivers with a brushless motor cost a little more, they are worth the investment if you plan to use the tool regularly.
RPMs and Speed Modes
The higher the RPM (rotations per minute) the faster the impact driver will be able to drill a whole or drive a screw. If you be using the tool professionally, higher RPMs can be a real time saver on jobs where you’re doing a lot of drilling or driving. Having a few different speed modes makes the tool more versatile because you can use the lower speeds for more delicate jobs and the higher speeds for tough jobs.
No matter which model you choose, it should be backed up by the manufacturer with a decent warranty. When a manufacturer warranties their product, you can expect that they are delivering the best tool possible. We love impact drivers by DeWalt because they stand behind their products with a generous three-year warranty.
Other Key Features to Consider
When comparing impact drivers, think about the tasks you will likely be using the tool for most of the time. If you will be using the tool in tight places, such as installing cabinetry or doing mechanic work, look for a lightweight, compact model. LED work lights are also a nice feature if you will be taking the tool to job sites that may not have good lighting.
Summing It Up
The best impact driver for you will be the one that’s most suited to the tasks you will be using it for the most. Consider the amount of torque and RPMs you need first to help you narrow down your choices. Homeowners who will only be using an impact driver occasionally around the house will probably find one of the economical, 12V models to be sufficient for their needs. However, the pro or DIY enthusiast should consider investing in an 18 or 20V brushless model that can stand up to tougher jobs and all-day use. Our impact driver reviews will help you compare the most important features, so you can decide which impact driver is right for you.