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Best Impact Driver: Buying Guide & Best-Selling Products Compared

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Last Updated: 20 May 2020
What Is An Impact Driver Used For

Many of the professional and DIY tasks require tools that can provide precision and power in one attractive package. Both these tasks will require users to drive and tighten several screws and nuts. For this purpose, it is crucial to have the best impact driver for the job. These can deliver high torque, more power, and better performance when it comes to the tasks of driving screws and setting nuts.

Many enthusiasts and professionals are attracted by the prospect of using a high-quality impact driver, as it can transform the tool with versatility and power. Even though this tool does not have as much versatility as a power drill, it can be a capable replacement by having better speed and torque output. It makes sense to go through this guide so that one can pick up the best product in this segment, as careful research has gone into detailing every aspect of these products.

TOP 10 Best Impact Drivers: Comparison Chart


DEWALT Impact Driver Kit
Makita Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit
Milwaukee Electric Tools Hex Impact Driver
Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode Impact Driver
PORTER-CABLE Impact Driver Kit
DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit, 1/4-Inch (DCF885C1)
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)
Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 18V 1/4 Inch Lithium Ion Hex Impact Driver with 1,500 Inch Pounds of Torque and LED Lighting Array (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver, Tool Only,
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (PCCK647LB)
$99.00
Price not available
$59.99
$52.00
$128.00
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DEWALT Impact Driver Kit
DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit, 1/4-Inch (DCF885C1)
$99.00
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Makita Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)
Price not available
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Milwaukee Electric Tools Hex Impact Driver
Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 18V 1/4 Inch Lithium Ion Hex Impact Driver with 1,500 Inch Pounds of Torque and LED Lighting Array (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
$59.99
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Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode Impact Driver
Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver, Tool Only,
$52.00
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PORTER-CABLE Impact Driver Kit
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (PCCK647LB)
$128.00
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Ryobi Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
BLACK+DECKER 20V Impact Driver Kit
Craftsman Impact Driver
Ridgid Lithium-Ion Impact Driver
Milwaukee Electric Tools Fuel Impact Driver
Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch 3,200 RPM 1,600 Inch Pounds Lithium Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)
Craftsman C3 19.2 Volt 1/4 Inch Impact Driver Model 5727.1 (Newest Version) (Bare Tool, No Battery or Charger Included)
Ridgid R86034 X4 18V Lithium Ion 1750 LBS Torque 1/4 Inch Hex Shank Impact Driver (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Milwaukee Electric Tools MLW2553-20 M12 Fuel 1/4
$71.99
$64.00
$109.95
$52.00
$88.99
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Ryobi Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch 3,200 RPM 1,600 Inch Pounds Lithium Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
$71.99
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BLACK+DECKER 20V Impact Driver Kit
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)
$64.00
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Craftsman Impact Driver
Craftsman C3 19.2 Volt 1/4 Inch Impact Driver Model 5727.1 (Newest Version) (Bare Tool, No Battery or Charger Included)
$109.95
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Ridgid Lithium-Ion Impact Driver
Ridgid R86034 X4 18V Lithium Ion 1750 LBS Torque 1/4 Inch Hex Shank Impact Driver (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)
$52.00
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Milwaukee Electric Tools Fuel Impact Driver
Milwaukee Electric Tools MLW2553-20 M12 Fuel 1/4
$88.99
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Sale
Best Overall: DEWALT Impact Driver Kit Review

This is an impressive cordless impact driver that can be quite handy for regular activities. It is capable of several tasks thanks to its superior power and user-friendliness. The maximum torque hits a peak at 1400 inch/lbs, while 3200 impacts per minute can also be generated. Despite the strong power figures, this best impact driver does not feel bulky or cumbersome to carry. It comes in at just 3 pounds in weight. An added advantage would be the presence of LED lights that allow usage even in the darkest of scenarios without any trouble.

This is quite a powerful tool that can help finish work quickly and efficiently. Since it is not very heavy, it can be a constant presence in any tool kit.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • In-built lighting system
  • Impressive power and torque figures
  • Batteries are included
Best Brushless: Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit Review

This is a brushless impact driver that can handle usage for extended periods. The use of a brushless motor also allows the product to run with greater power and speed. It takes only 30 minutes for the batteries to charge fully. This fast charger need not be purchased at an additional cost. At just over 3 pounds, this tool does not feel heavy in the back. An LED light has been provided to eliminate the workspace in darker environments, while users can vary the speed as per their wish.

This model stands out from a string of options, as it comes with charging capabilities. The use of a brushless motor also helps it be more efficient at its game.

Why We Like It

  • Fast charging ability
  • Lightweight
  • Very easy to use
  • Brushless motor
Sale
Best for Power: Milwaukee Electric Tools Hex Impact Driver Review

This most powerful impact driver appears built for speed and power, as it comes with figures of 3450 impacts per minute along with a variable speed trigger. The use of a Redlink technology helps regulate heat build-up within, and it makes it possible to use this electric impact driver for extended hours without worrying about heat. The use of a textured handle makes it easy to hold this product even under challenging situations. Finally, the presence of an LED light enables uses even in dark corners without having to search for a light source.

Users can vary the trigger speed of this product and still achieve a very good result thanks to a potent motor. The use of a dedicated technology to prevent heat build-up is a nice touch.

Why We Like It

  • Textured handle
  • Powerful motor
  • 3450 impacts per minute
  • Trigger speed can be varied
Sale
Best Affordable: Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode Impact Driver Review

This is an affordable choice in the segment, as seen by impact driver reviews. Yet, it still comes with a brushless motor that can vary rotations per minute. There are several choices in terms of the RPM figures, while torque is also delivered at a strong 1500 lbs. The lack of carrying cases, add-ons, and accessories are one of the few disadvantages. However, this lightweight and ergonomic product will be appreciated by a larger section of users. Apart from being an economical option, this battery impact driver also delivers good performance.

Makita might have come out with a product that would suit everyone’s taste. It has good value, decent power, and excellent ergonomics.

Pros

  • Decent power from the motor
  • Excellent value
  • Ergonomic
  • Price

Cons

  • Does not come with any accessories or add-ons
Sale
Best Flexible: PORTER-CABLE Impact Driver Kit Review

This is a flexible driver that can be modified as per the preference of a user. It has 900 revolutions per minute on offer, but there are also several speed variations. This portable impact driver is designed as a premium offering, which is understandable from the presence of a 20 V lithium battery. This translates into added power and extended hours of use. This is a small product that is quite handy to use even under challenging conditions, while it can be used on both wood and steel. The variable speed impact driver is extremely light at less than 3 pounds.

This is a product that can work out extremely well for different types of users. It has extended working time due to 2 batteries, while the variable speed also helps.

Pros

  • 20 V battery
  • Variable speed options
  • Additional accessories
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Price
Sale
Best Cheap: Ryobi Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Review

This is the best battery powered impact driver for users who want to stay within budget. It is ideal when the usage is at a bare minimum, but there is still a requirement for a key product. The torque figures are at a healthy 1600 in/lbs. A compact lithium battery is used, but it does not come with fast chargers, unlike some of the expensive models. Instead, users have to make do with just a regular compact charger. The weight of the battery is kept to a bare minimum to enhance the longer usage of the quiet impact driver.

This is a product that is best suitable for individuals who are on a tight budget. It is also ideal when the usage is limited, but users are not sacrificing too much when picking up this item.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Price
  • Compact
  • Reasonable power figures

Cons

  • Charges slowly
Best for Multitasking: BLACK+DECKER 20V Impact Driver Kit Review

This top rated impact driver manages to come out with a large amount of torque that would be sufficient for many tasks. It puts out a maximum of 1375 inch/lbs of torque. This should be sufficient to power through strong materials using this driver. An impressive feature would be the ability to switch tools and bits due to a quick-release system. The transition to fasteners of different sizes is quite an easy process. Weighing in at just 3.25 lbs, this handheld impact driver is quite light in weight and can be transported easily from one worksite to the other.

This product manages to hit all the sweet spots in terms of power output. It is easy to be impressed with its feature to change different bits, while it is also reasonably light.

Pros

  • Quick-release system
  • 1375 inch/lbs of torque
  • Lightweight
  • Price

Cons

  • Ineffective bit holder
Best Cordless: Craftsman Impact Driver Review

This is quite a powerful impact driver tool for a professional, and it can go through almost any material. Even then, one can expect the product to last for a long time since the body is made from diecast aluminum. The latter also helps in keeping the gearbox safe. Along with the product, the package also includes several bits. Hence, it is easier to store these accessories and find them when necessary. Since the entire mini impact driver is cordless, it functions without any restriction. One disappointment may be the presence of a single battery.

To suit different power requirements, this product acts as a versatile stop. Apart from being an impact, this product also helps in unbolting action.

Pros

  • Very powerful to suit usage in different materials
  • Compact
  • Unbolting action is also powerful
  • Immediately speeds up

Cons

  • Just one battery is provided
Sale
Best for Charging Quickly: Ridgid Lithium-Ion Impact Driver Review

This is a product that sits in the affordable range in terms of pricing, but it still manages to include a premium feature – fast charging. It takes only 25 minutes to get this rechargeable impact driver to a full charge. There is a sizeable amount of torque, which makes it ideal for a variety of tasks. Many of the fasteners are put to shame using this compact impact driver, which also comes with inbuilt LED lights. Crucially, these lights have an additional trigger so that they can be activated whenever required, and it is also not required to have the tool switched on.

This product provides a fast charging option along with its usual list of advantages, like being able to work on several materials. There are inbuilt LED lights that can be used without a driver.

Pros

  • LED lights can be used without driver activation
  • Fast charging
  • Better ergonomics with rubber coating
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Lack of battery in the package
Best Efficiency: Milwaukee Electric Tools Fuel Impact Driver Review

This is a product that provides greater control over the power and speed. The maximum speed is quite high to accomplish every task thrown in front of this small impact driver. Users get a drive control with four modes that lets them take the appropriate choice for the task. All the drive comes from a brushless motor, which is exceptionally efficient. It is capable of putting out 1300 in/lbs of torque from a compact body, which measures only 5.1 inches. Even though this best impact driver for automotive use tends to overheat sometimes, it is an excellent choice for any tool kit.

This is an ideal high torque impact driver that can achieve a lot of variations in terms of speed. The presence of a brushless motor and compact size makes it perfect for portability and efficiency.

Pros

  • High maximum speed
  • Greater control of drive speed
  • Compact
  • Brushless motor

Cons

  • Pricey, but good quality
  • Some overheating issues

Buyer’s Guide: All You Need To Know About The Best Impact Driver

What Is The Difference Between A Drill And A Driver?

What Is The Difference Between A Drill And A Driver

Even though the best cordless drill and driver may appear similar, there are several differences between these two platforms. The former is capable of achieving high RPMs and less torque, while the best impact driver has a reverse of this characteristic. It is possible to control torque on an impact driver only by varying speed, but a drill has a greater control using a clutch. The drill is more of a versatile tool, while a driver is more job-focused.

What Is An Impact Driver Used For?

The most prominent use of an impact driver is seen during the process of driving or undoing screws. The best cordless screwdriver can handle longer screws with little difficulty. It is also possible to drill holes using these products, but additional accessories such as drill bits and hexagonal shanks are required. Furthermore, the hexagonal shanks are typically not available in every size. It is better to pick up the best roofing nailer when not dealing with screws.

What Is An Impact Driver Used For

Are Impact Driver Bits Different?

Even though impact driver bits look similar to a drill bit, there are many differences. The differences start even from the loading process, and it is a reason for products of different sizes – 1/2 impact driver and 1/4 impact driver – to exist in the market.

How to Choose the Best Impact Driver?

Weight

The best impact driver is generally regarded as being very compact and lightweight compared to drills, but they can end up being much heavier depending on the battery size. A driver should be picked based on tasks, and the heavy duty impact driver should be capable of working for extended hours with optimal comfort for the user. If the task requires a lot of force, it is better to go with 18 V or more. However, a lightweight model will be a better choice when going with DIY projects.

Voltage

Batteries typically power the best corded impact driver with varying voltage levels. One can come across products with 12 V, 18 V, or 20 V. It is not a surprise that batteries with bigger voltage numbers can deliver higher quantities of power. However, there is not much of a difference between the 20 V and 18 V batteries. Most often, products tend to highlight the former, but it is merely a marketing ploy.

Torque

Torque is the term used to denote the rotational force, and it is expressed in revolutions per minute. The mechanic impact driver is meant to perform huge fastening jobs in a short period. These are capable of producing a larger quantity of blows for each rpm. This makes them capable of delivering a better hammering effect on any workspace. It is better to go with a hammer drill when there is a requirement for going through dense and tough materials like concrete.

RPM

How to Choose the Best Impact Driver

A highlight feature of the electric and hydraulic impact driver will be the ability to provide better RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) compared to standard drills. This is a vital part of their usage in heavy-duty tasks. The higher rpm figure makes it easy for the product to apply more force on the bit. This, in turn, makes it possible to experience a smoother and faster completion of the job. Typically, impact drivers tend to provide the option to vary RPM. This option is crucial since it adds versatility to the tool.

IPM

The impact per minute, which is also represented as blow per minute, is a reflection of the total quantity of hammer strikes delivered on the drive per minute. It is essential to go with an automotive impact driver that has a higher number of blows, as it represents better performance. This is especially crucial when working on sturdy materials.

Torque Settings

It is common for an impact drill to come with an adjustable clutch, which can be used to vary the torque being applied. It has two purposes – efficiency and preventing damage. The former can help achieve extended hours of use by only using the torque necessary. The latter is about avoiding damage to tools or screw heads with excessive amounts of torque. Some advanced machines also come with electronic clutches that can automatically modify the torque figures.

Speed Settings

Speed Settings

An impact drill is substantially lower in terms of speed settings. The driver often comes with multiple speed settings that can allow the user to change the output as per the task. If work is done on a sturdy surface, it may call for a higher speed. At the same time, efficiency can be achieved by opting for a lower speed when it is sufficient. Most drivers come with at least three-speed settings.

Clutch Type

There are two types of clutches employed by impact drivers – manually adjustable and electronic. The latter is used in some of the best impact driver 2020 gets to enjoy. The adjustable clutch can be used to vary torque levels so that excessive power is not applied. An electronic clutch is an excellent choice on an impact screwdriver, as it does all the work.

Noise Level

Noise Level

Based on the requirement for this product, one should prioritize the sound produced. If the rigid impact driver is meant to be used for extended hours, it is better to go with a product that is silent since it will reduce the fatigue of the worker. However, this may result in additional costs during the purchase process. If the product is only going to be used occasionally, this may not be much of a factor, and it will help save some cost since manufacturers add to the cost based on the sound-reducing solutions that they add.

Corded/Cordless

It is possible to pick up an impact screwdriver with or without cords. The cord option is great when there is a power supply nearby. It eliminates the need to have heavy batteries inside, and it makes the product extremely light. However, cordless options are available for greater convenience, and they are very portable thanks to the presence of inbuilt batteries, which can be recharged from time to time.

Price

Impact driver combo need not set a buyer back by a lot of money. These products are available in a wide range of prices. It is certainly possible to pick an option without overshooting the budget. If a product is slightly expensive, it indicates the presence of more features, better versatility, and so on. There are also options for individuals who prefer a no-frills option. It is better to pick a product that brings about the right blend of quality and value.

Best Impact Driver Types

Best Impact Driver Types

Brushed Motor

This technology uses carbon brushes to provide power to the windings. This is an older technology that is slowly being replaced. A significant advantage of brushed motors would be lower cost, but these are quite noisy, less efficient, and need maintenance.

Brushless Motor

This is one of the latest technologies, and it delivers current through an amplifier. This results in better efficiency, but a compromise has to be made on price. There is a significant jump in price, but it is negative to a great extent by the little maintenance, longer life span, less heat, and efficiency associated with brushless motors.

Verdict and Our Recommendation for 2020

Homemakerguide had a tough decision to make when it comes to selecting the best impact driver. After going through an extensive list of products, we have identified the DEWALT Impact Driver Kit as the best impact driver 2020 has to offer. It has the torque figures necessary to perform on any kind of a surface without hindrance, while it is also an advanced option that provides extra hours of use through large-capacity batteries. This is an impressive cordless impact driver that can be quite handy for regular activities. It is capable of several tasks thanks to its superior power and user-friendliness. The maximum torque hits a peak at 1400 inch/lbs, while 3200 impacts per minute can also be generated.

At homemakerguide, we hope this guide was useful to you! Thank you for reading.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The process of using an impact driver starts with choosing the right driver bit. Now, the rotation selector should be changed for the correct position. After placing a bit on the screw head, users should depress the trigger. After starting slowly, the user can increase speed.
Impact sockets are designed to take vibrations that are caused by an impact wrench. These are typically made from chrome molybdenum to provide greater strength.
Yes, these products can be used to remove lug nuts from a car. However, this can be done only when the nut is tightened with a torque of 80 to 100lb-ft. The impact driver should also have a torque higher than 100lb-ft.
PRODUCTS TESTED BY HomeMakerGuide
How We Tested
There are numerous options available in the impact driver segment. However, we were able to identify these excellent products by testing several parameters like efficiency, accuracy, speed, and user-friendliness, amongst many more. We tested especially the best one on our list, the DEWALT Impact Driver Kit, which was used repeatedly for different tasks, such as driving and removing fasteners on different materials. We also tested noise level, speed settings, IPM, and RPM.
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