A drill is a versatile tool for most DIY and professional tasks. However, it falls short when you need sheer brute force to drive screws or tighten nuts. And this is the turf of the impact driver. Thanks to its high-torque performance, impact drivers deliver more power, making them the ideal tool for heavy-duty screw driving and nut setting jobs.
Many professionals and enthusiasts find that a quality impact driver makes an excellent addition to their tool kit. It may lack the versatility of the power drill, but this tool more than compensates with its higher torque output and speed. If you are looking for the best impact driver to improve your work, this guide provides an in-depth overview of the top brands on the market. Whether you are looking for a corded or cordless model or desirable features, our impact driver reviews provide all the details to help you make the right choice when shopping for this tool.
Best Cordless Impact Drivers
1. Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1 ½” Hi-Torque Impact One Battery Kit
The W7150-K1 from Ingersoll Rand is a powerful hi-torque tool optimized for making a light work of complex tasks. The machine features a cordless impact wrench that produces 780 ft-lbs of maximum reverse torque and 1100 ft-lb of torque. Weighing only 6.8 pounds, the tool sports a lightweight steel-lined aluminum hammer case for improved durability and strength. A proprietary soft-touch over-molded grip provides impressive operator comfort and reduces fatigue during extended use.
If you need a powerful impact drill to handle heavy-duty assembly and disassembly tasks such as suspension work or equipment repair, the W7150-K1 is an ideal choice. Despite its small size, this tool delivers one of the best cordless performances in its class. It is mobile, fast, and easy to use. This impact driver can withstand the harshest work conditions. It is weather and chemical resistant and has an ergonomic design for maximum operator comfort.
2. Makita XDT12T 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit
If your job requires a frequent nut and screw driving tasks, Makita’s XDT12T comes with all the features that will make your work easier and faster. The tool comes with an electronically controlled brushless motor that produces a maximum of 3,600 rpm and 1,550 lbs. of peak torque to handle any job. A 4-speed power selection switch allows for flexible and precise fastening control for a variety of application.
The XDT12T offers a wide range of operating modes to make your work stress-free. Assist mode drives the motor at low speed for efficient screw tightening. The tightening mode enables you to tighten self-drilling screws faster and prevents damage to the screw and material. Weighing only 3.3 pounds with the battery and with rubberized soft grip, this tool offers enhanced operator comfort and low fatigue. An LED light offers illumination in low-visibility conditions.
3. DEWALT DCF887M2 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless Impact Driver Kit
The DEWALT DCF887M2 is powered by a brushless motor and XR Lithium-ion batteries for extended run time and longevity. This impact driver features a 3-speed variable setting for a wide range of applications. Speed 1 allows for Precision Drive for enhanced control and better results. The unit comes with 3 LED lights for increased illumination in dim and confined spaces. Its 1/4″ hex chuck allows for one-handed loading and accommodates 1” bit tips for heavy-duty tasks.
The DCF887M2 features a compact and lightweight design that allows for easy operation in tight spaces. The soft grip offers a firm and comfortable handling for extended use. With a longer-lasting battery and a proprietary brushless motor with longer life and durability, the DCF887M2 is an excellent addition to your toolkit.
4. Makita XLT01 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Angle Impact Driver Kit
This Makita XLT01 is the perfect tool for tight workspaces. The XLT01 weighs only 3.9 lbs. and delivers plenty of torque for a variety of fastening and loosening jobs. It features an innovative and slim design for comfortable operation and reduced operator fatigue. Makita XLT01 runs on the company’s 18V Lithium-ion slide-style battery, which has the fastest charging times in its class. With this impact driver, you can get more done in less time thanks to the fast charge and longer run time of the battery. With over one foot of tool extension, the XLT01 makes working in confined spaces easier and faster.
The Makita XLT01 offers a powerful motor and long-lasting battery for optimal performance. It is designed for work in hard to reach places and performs well in any job situation thanks to the variable speed function. If you want to increase your efficiency and results, this tool is worthy of consideration.
5. MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL 2760-20 M18 Fuel Hex Hydraulic Driver
Milwaukee’s 2760-20 uses a fluid drive hydraulic powertrain which reduces wear and tear between moving parts in the tool. This makes the impact driver super quiet, more durable, and enhances performance. It sports a class-leading Powerstate brushless motor that delivers exceptional power in all applications. A 4-mode drive control provides versatility and allows you to adjust the power and output speed according to specific tasks. The tool comes with the Redlink Plus Intelligence which protects it and the battery from overheating and overloading. It is powered by a longer-lasting Red Lithium with extended run time and fast charging.
The 2760-20 features a compact and ergonomic design. It has a soft, comfortable grip and weighs only 2.5 pounds without battery, allowing for greater control and lower operator fatigue. This powerful tool is lightweight, durable, and works for longer on a single charge.
6. Bosch PS42-02 12V Max EC Brushless Impact Driver Kit
The Bosch PS42-02 packs a huge punch in a small body. Weighing only 1.6 pounds, the tool is perfect for heavy-duty use and offers exceptional comfort and versatility. It sports a 12V EC Brushless motor which delivers 975 inches pounds of max torque, enough to handle repeat driving tasks and most fastening jobs. Thanks to the new motor technology, this tool enjoys longer durability and extended run time. The PS42-02 has 4-mode speed control system to enable you to work on a wide range of projects.
The PS42-02 comes with a belt clip and three LED lights provide illumination in dim and confined workspaces. For maximum site durability, the tool has a body of Durashield, a composite that combines the qualities of ABS and nylon. This impact driver features a compact and ergonomic design, easy-grip handle, and lightweight to handle tasks in overhead and tough-to-reach places.
7. PORTER-CABLE PCCK647LB Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
The PCCK647LB comes with a brushless motor that provides 50 percent more run time and increased durability compared to brushed versions. The powerful motor delivers 2,700 max rpm and 1,400 in-lbs. of max torque, making it ideal for heavy-duty fastening tasks. It features a short ergonomic design and quick change chuck that allows for one-handed bit swaps. At 2.9 pounds, this drill/driver combo provides impressive control and versatility and reduces operator fatigue.
The PCCK647LB is powered by the PCC680l 20V MAX Lithium-Ion 1.5Ah batteries compatible with all Porter-Cable 20V MAX Lithium-ion products. This model is 14 percent shorter than previous versions and offers improved bit retention. The comfortable grip and compact body allow for greater flexibility and operator comfort. When you need to tackle overhead fastening jobs, the PCCK647LB is a worthy tool.
8. VonHaus 20V Cordless 1/4″ Impact Driver Set
If you need a powerful impact driver for large fastening and screwing tasks, the VonHaus 20V Cordless 1/4″ Impact Driver boasts one of the most impressive performances. Featuring a high-spec motor that delivers a max torque of 1327 in-lbs. at a speed up to 3000 rpm, this tool drives screws through the toughest materials with ease. It is perfect for indoor and outdoor use and comes with a belt hook. A long-lasting and fast-charging 20V Max 3Ah battery provides extended run time and also works with many VonHaus 20V Max Lithium-ion D Series tools.
The VonHaus 20V Cordless 1/4″ Impact Driver comes in a strong and lightweight material. The cast aluminum gear offers exceptional lightweight and durability in all work conditions. It also comes with 3 LED work lights for illuminating dark and tight workspaces. The tool has a variable speed trigger to adjust the motor output according to the demands of the job.
9. Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
Makita’s XDT13Z comes with an innovative brushless motor that produces 1,500 in-lbs. of max torque, allowing you to work on large jobs. The tool features a variable speed control for greater versatility on a wide range of applications. Thanks to the brushless motor, the XDT13Z runs smoothly, is cooler, and enjoys a long life and durability. This impact driver delivers 50 percent longer run time as an intelligent electronic control matches the motor output to job requirements. Makita’s 18V Lithium-ion batteries offer the fastest charging time in their category and deliver exceptionally long run times, reducing your downtime considerably.
At 5″ long and weighing only 3.3 pounds with the battery, the XDT13Z is lightweight, comfortable to use and offers more operator control. It has an ergonomic soft grip for increased operator comfort while inbuilt LED lights provide visibility in dark and confined workspaces. It is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
10. DEWALT DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless Impact Driver
The DCF887B from DEWALT comes in a compact and lightweight design for working in tight job sites. It features the company’s brushless motor that delivers high torque and speed to drive through even the toughest materials. This tool sports 3-speed control for versatility on a wide range of job applications. For increased precision, the impact driver offers Precision Drive in speed 1 for exceptional control and professional results. The DCF887B accepts 1″ bit tips and its 1/4″ hex chuck allows for one-handed loading.
This impact driver has an ergonomic design with a comfortable grip sleeve. It comes with 3 LED lights that provide illumination in dim workspaces. The tool is easy to work with, has a belt clip for portability and offers greater control and flexibility in overhead and confined working conditions. If you need a reliable and lightweight impact driver with enhanced durability, the DEWALT’s DCF887B is a great choice.
11. Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 18V Lithium-Ion Hex Impact Driver
Milwaukee leads the pack in the power tools industry. The company’s 2656-20 comes with exceptional features that make work easier, faster and more professional. This impact driver is a powerful machine with a motor that delivers up to 3,450 impacts per minute, enough to power-drive into the toughest and densest materials with ease. Despite its compact size, the 2656-20 is capable of heavy-duty fastening jobs and lighter applications thanks to the variable-speed controls. REDLINK Technology provides an intelligent power management system that optimizes battery performance for a longer-run time while protecting against overheating and overloading.
The 2656-20 has a compact design, and a textured rubber grip for better handling in all work conditions. It sports LED work lights to improve visibility in poorly lit workspaces. There is also an ambidextrous belt clip for increased flexibly regardless of your dominant hand.
12. BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C 20V MAX Lithium Impact Driver
The BDCI20C comes with a powerful motor and a high-performance transmission that delivers 1375 in-lbs. of max torque capable of handling small and large fastening applications. This tool features a quick release 1/4″ hex chuck for fast bit swaps. It sports variable speed control for versatile operation in a wide range of job settings. The BDCI20C impact driver comes in a compact and lightweight design at only 3.51 pounds with the battery.
This tool has an ergonomic grip for easy handling and operator comfort. Because of its lightweight, you can operate it for extended periods with minimal fatigue. The BDCI20C run on a 20V MAX Lithium battery from Black+Decker for increased run time and fast charging. This compact impact driver works well in DIY and professional applications. It is suitable for outdoor and indoor use and offers unprecedented flexibility when you need a powerful tool for large and small fastening projects.
Impact Driver Buying Guide
What is an impact driver? Do you really need one if you already own a drill? An impact driver is a tool that uses higher torque performance for fastening screws and setting nuts into a material. If you compare an impact driver vs. drill, it is clear the former is more powerful because of its higher torque.
If you are considering investing in an impact driver, it is important to know what to consider and the features to have in one. This buying guide will show you factors that make a difference in your choice, winning features, and more. First, we look at what to consider when shopping for an impact driver.
Things to Consider When Buying an Impact Driver
Except for a few specialist models, most impact drivers are compact, lightweight, and easy to use. When you have plenty of fastening and nut setting to do, an impact driver is the ideal tool for your needs. However, you need to buy a model that provides the performance and versatility for improved results. If you are looking to buy an impact driver worth the money, look out for:
The power of the motor is the most important consideration when buying an impact driver. Should you buy a brushless or brushed motor? Then it is vital to know the pros and cons of brushless and brushed motors. Manufacturers now favor brushless motor technology because it requires less maintenance. Brushless motors are also more durable, more efficient, and less prone to overheating and overloading. However, BL motors are also more expensive but they more than compensate for the extra cost with their impressive performance.
If you work on heavy-duty tasks such as fastening screws and nuts on automobiles and machinery, an impact driver with a powerful motor that delivers higher speed and torque is the best for you. DIYers and professionals who work on wood can make do with low-powered models. The higher the power you need to complete the task, the higher the torque your impact driver should deliver.
Torque is a measure of the rotational force calibrated in revolutions per minute. Impact drivers designed for larger fastening jobs deliver a higher number of blows per rpm, allowing them to produce more hammering effect on the work surface.
If you need more performance to drive through tough and dense materials such as concrete, hammer drills may be the ideal tool. Check our in-depth hammer drill reviews for more information.
The drive size determines the accessories you can use with the impact driver. Most drivers come with a 1/4″ hex chuck drive that makes the driver compatible with bits that have a hexagonal shank of that size. It is important to buy impact-grade accessories for your driver as regular drill bits and add-ons will break under the force of impact. For more versatility, don’t forget to read our best drill drivers.
Impacts Per Minute
The impacts per minute or blow per minute is a measure of the number of times the impact driver’s hammer strikes the drive in one minute. You want a driver with a high number of blows per minute as the performance increases with this value. If you work on tough materials, you may consider the differences between a hammer drill and impact driver to improve results.
The power rating of your impact driver plays an important role in its performance. Most drivers use 12V and 18V batteries. However, the 18V batteries provide higher inch-pounds of torque, although it is also heavier. 12V batteries are lighter and allow you to work for extended periods. Depending on your work, you may find the higher performance of an 18V battery more desirable than the lightweight 12V.
Apart from the battery capacity, the charging time is also important. Many brands use the Lithium-ion battery, but only a few companies provide fast-changing technologies. If you can get one, buy a driver with a fast-charging battery to reduce downtime when you run out of power. That way, you can work for longer and cut the time waiting for the battery to charge for greater productivity.
As we said above, impact drivers are more compact and weigh less than drills. But still, the battery size can increase the tool’s weight. Depending on your tasks, go for a driver that offers optimal weight for comfort and extended use.
If your work requires the brute force of 18V battery-powered impact drivers, you will need more muscle to operate and control the driver. For DIY purposes, a lightweight model will be an excellent addition to your workshop.
Most impact drivers look the same. They have similar rubberized grips, compact construction, and lightweight. But choose a driver that fits into your palm comfortably. The ideal impact driver will not only feel right when you hold it, but the tool will not overheat or vibrate excessively after prolonged use. The over-mold on impact drivers helps provide comfort for the operator and protect the tool from damage during falls. Make sure your choice satisfies these conditions.
7 Important Features & Specifications of Impact Drivers
Below are essential features and specs to look out for when choosing an impact driver.
Most impact drivers now feature brushless motors. Brushless motors are the favorite of manufactures because they are more efficient, longer-lasting and deliver higher performance compared to brushed drivers. Brushless technology also comes with smart controls that prevent overloading, overheating and increase battery longevity.
LED lights are standard in most impact drivers. The lights are on the underside of the driver’s head to provide illumination while working in dark spaces. The light can also help you find the tool if you drop it accidentally in dim conditions. And it can become handy when you are looking for smaller tools at night.
Most impact drivers have 3-speed variable modes. With this feature, you can adjust the motor speed to the demands of the job. For higher speed, you only need to squeeze the trigger harder.
This feature allows you to use the driver as a screwdriver and screw remover. A switch changes the direction of rotation forward or backward to allow you to drive or loosen screws or nuts.
Some impact drivers come with adapters that allow you to convert them into a wrench or right angle driver. Look out for attachments that can increase the utility of your tool for maximum efficiency.
Impact drivers with ambidextrous belt hooks allow for greater freedom while working. The hook will come in handy when you need to climb a ladder or pause in between tasks. It’s easier to hang the driver on your side than hauling it around.
Most manufacturers use Lithium batteries for their power tools, including impact drivers. However, it is advisable to check if the model you want to buy uses this battery or Ni-Cad types. Lithium batteries are longer-lasting, deliver consistent performance until they complete their cycle and don’t discharge at rest. They are also lighter than other batteries but cost more.
Cordless Impact Drivers vs. Corded Impact Drivers
Even if you prefer a corded impact driver, it is almost impossible to find one. However, most cordless drivers are powerful enough to handle any fastening job. Battery-powered drivers are portable, mobile and make on-site and off-site jobs easier. The only downside is that cordless models are expensive because of the additional cost of batteries. You also need to have a power outlet nearby to recharge as the battery do not last long. If you see something that looks like a corded impact driver, it is probably an impact wrench.
Features of the Best Impact Driver for Automotive Use
If you plan to buy an impact driver for automotive use, consider the following features.
- Ability to Remove Lug Nuts:
Lug nuts can be difficult to remove manually. An impact driver provides the additional torque to loosen or tighten lugs without breaking your back. When shopping for a driver for automotive applications, make sure it has enough power to remove lugs.
For more information, read our detailed impact wrench buying guide.
- High Torque:
Impact drivers designed for automotive use need to deliver higher speeds and torque to perform well.
- 18V Battery:
To produce the amount of speed and torque the impact driver needs to perform automotive jobs, you need batteries of 18V and above. There are batteries rated 18V and 36V which provide enough output to help you handle large fastening applications.
- Reverse Control:
The best impact drivers have reversible controls. This will allow you to use the tool to fasten and loosen lugs.
How to Use an Impact Driver
If you haven’t used an impact driver before, here is how to use one.
- Insert Battery: The first step is to insert the battery into the tool. Switch off the tool before sliding the power pack into position.
- Insert the drill bit or screwdriver: Next, insert the screwdriver bit or drill bit into the chuck of the tool as far as it will go, then lock in place.
- Set Rotation: Set the reverse switch into either the forward or reverse position based on the job.
- Set Speed: Select the right speed for the task if your model has a variable speed function.
- Turn on Driver: Switch the tool to begin work.
- Squeeze Trigger: Squeeze the speed control trigger gradually until the chuck rotates. Then adjust the speed as required.
- After completing the task, set the tool aside to cool off. Later, remove the bits, clean the driver and store away.
When to Use an Impact Driver
An impact driver is not a versatile tool, but it excels at performing jobs that require high torque performance. The impact driver is ideal for:
- Inserting and removing large screws in tough work surfaces
- Drilling holes in thick and dense materials
- For driving lag bolts and screws used to support heavyweights
- Driving long screws for installing items such as cabinets
- Tasks that involve repetitive driving of fasteners or screws
- Assembling metal frames
FAQs & Answers
- What Is the best type of battery to use for cordless impact driver?
The best battery for all power tools remains the Lithium-ion cell. It is longer lasting, performs better and is lighter. However, it is more expensive.
- Is an impact driver the same as an impact wrench?
No, impact driver vs impact wrench is not the same. Both tools work using an impact mechanism but the wrench is bigger, heavier and more powerful than impact drivers. Impact drivers have a 1/4″ hex drive to drive screws and fasteners. Impact wrenches have a 1/2″ drive for fastening and loosening sockets.
- Can all impact drivers remove lug nuts?
No, an impact driver needs to produce a minimum of 300 ft-lbs of torque to perform this job.
- Can I use the same batteries with different brands?
Each brand has specific batteries for their tools. If you have multiple drivers from different manufacturers, buy the recommended battery for each tool.
Also, be sure to read the features to consider when buying a cordless drill driver and check out our roundup of the best corded drill reviews.
When you’re deciding what kind of drill you want you’ll need to consider the different types on the market.
For more information about drills visit our Homepage at www.digitaltoolshack.com
Impact drivers are the ideal tool for completing large screw driving and fastening applications. This tool allows you to remove drudgery from your work, increase speed, and achieve professional results. Before buying an impact driver, have a clear idea of what you need in the tool. Consider the torque, speed, ease of handling, size, battery, and motor. Construction is also important since your workspace might be clumsy and increase the chances of dropping the tool.
The best impact driver will be sturdy but lightweight so you can work for extended periods without fatigue. Our impact driver reviews provide all the information to help you make an informed choice. Whether you are a professional or DIYer, this guide covers the main features you need in an impact driver. It also contains essential factors to consider when selecting this tool to ensure you get real value for money. We hope this piece helps you find the perfect impact driver to increase your workshop’s efficiency.