Best Impact Driver to Buy: Reviews & Top Pick

Man hand using impact driver to fix the wood panel with steel.

Things are changing, and people now prefer to work smarter than to work hard. Since your work requires you to drive in screws in surfaces, and automobiles, you need the right tools. And the best impact drivers will always make you work smart and more efficient.

Although it's among the woodworking tools category, other professionals can use it. In our post on impact wrenches vs impact drivers, it explains why these tools are not a replacement for a drill. But you need to have it in your inventory as a DIYer or professional woodworker.

Impact drivers are popular in the world of woodworking tools. This is due to its higher rotational torque. In addition to that, it also has a fast-paced rotational tapping that makes your task a lot easier.

There are countless models out there, but getting the right one is a bit challenging. If you want to buy the best impact drivers, you should consider a blend of quality and affordability.

If you want to loosen any large screw/bolts and nuts that are corrosively frozen, impact drivers are handy.  Furthermore, you use this tool to tighten screws that have excellent torque.

Types of Impact Drivers

There are three different types of impact drivers, and they all operate differently. But the model  you are buying depends on what you are using it for.

Manual Impact Drivers

These model types need a bit of effort from you when using them. It can only serve its purpose when you apply extra manual force on it from hammering.

More Rudimentary Powered Impact Drivers

These functions on a similar principle as manual impact drivers. That is, it requires a manual force from hammering.

Automatic Cordless Impact Drivers

Automatic cordless impact drivers are the best impact drivers. In fact, you don't exert manual force on this tool during operation. Instead, it has a mechanism designed for that purpose. Whenever you use this tool, it gives you great convenience and efficiency.

So, in this post, we will focus on the best automatic cordless impact drivers.

Main Components of an Impact Driver

Every impact driver has four main components– sleeve, spline, mechanical core, impact head.

The Sleeve

The sleeve is the functional body of an impact driver. It serves as a shield to protect the internal mechanism. Also, it protects the core, curved spline base, and functioning head.

The Spline

The spline is the main force generator on a driver. They are the drive shaft in a mating piece and transfer torque to it.

Mechanical Core

A typical automated driver has a motor, rotating mass, and hammers mechanism. This mechanism is the output shaft that delivers the force.

When using an impact driver, the motor rotates the output mass and stores energy in the process. It will then connect to the anvil (output shaft), this will create a high-torque impact.

The hammer mechanism (anvil) is unique, and it's the beauty of this equipment. Whenever it delivers an impact, the hammer will spin freely without staying lock.

With anvil in impact drivers, the motor is the only reaction force applied to the tool. So, the operation is less stressful and more convenience.

The Impact Head

The impact head is the point where impact drivers deliver force. It serves as the output point and socket where you attach drill bits, screws, nuts, and bolts.

There are different ways you can attach socket or accessory to hammer mechanism. You could use spring-loaded pin which snaps into a matching hole in the socket. With this, you can't remove the socket until you use an object to depress the pin.

Another way you can attach the socket to anvil is to use a hog ring. The hog ring holds the socket through friction.

Uses of Impact Drivers

You can use impact drivers for different jobs. Whether you are building decks, tightening some crews around your home, an impact driver will make the task easier.

Also, if you are a professional who handles heavy-duty jobs, they are very handy. Even though impact drivers can be used in several areas, there are areas where they are more effective. Below are some of the uses of impact drivers:

• Help to drive long and thick fasteners into hard materials.

• Also helps to remove car break-drums

• Great for loosening over-torque and corroded screws, and bolt.

If you are a construction worker or cabinet maker who uses a large number of fasteners, you need an impact driver.

Benefits of Buying the Best Impact Drivers

Like I mentioned earlier, impact drivers are far better than drill machines. Unlike drill machines, you can use impact drivers on different types of screws. Below are some of the advantages of on using this type of driver.

#1. Higher Torque

Impact drivers are about five times more powerful than cordless drills/drivers. You can use them to drive screws into sturdy materials quickly without stress.

#2. You Can Use Them In Tight Spaces

These devices are straightforward to hold due to their compactness. Their compactness makes it easier to use in tight spaces where cordless drill can't reach.

#3. Self-driving Screws

Impact drivers are great for self-driving screws. These screws don't require you to drill a hole. Also you need a higher torque to operate on self-driving screws; this is where these tools become handy.

#4. Less Recoil and Less Likely To Strip Screws

One outstanding benefits of using the best impact drivers is that they function effectively. You don't need to worry about recoiling or kickback when using this tool.

#5. Convenience

Impact drivers are very convenient to use. Interestingly, the tool doesn't have a resistance issue, and it's very light. You can use it without stressing your wrist, and it has excellent ergonomics.

If you want to be smart about your task, you need to invest in the best models you can have, which we will discuss later on in our post.

Understanding the Difference Between Impact Driver, Cordless Drill, and Hammer Drills

Impact drivers are popular among other power tools because it features a brushless motor. And people love brushless motor because it reduces overheating. Also, it produces a lot of power in a compact device.

Cordless drills are ideal power tool option for day to day tasks. But if you have more significant responsibilities, impact drivers will send more power to the drill bits. Furthermore, if you want to bore long screw into thick materials, impact drivers are handy.

Also, impact drivers are very loud because of the force they send when boring screw into materials.

Hammer drills, on the other hand, are great for creating an impact blow. If your job requires frequent drilling of holes for structural screws, this tool is useful. You can also use hammer drills for mounting studs to concrete.

Factors to Be Consider When Buying the Best Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are amazing power tools. but  the wrong one can be very frustrating. You don't just buy any of these tools because you need them. Instead, there are certain factors you should consider when purchasing them. These factors are discussed below.

Power

Power is an important consideration when buying impact drivers. The best products are always balanced in torque and voltage.

Don't forget that what you are using the impact driver for will determine the power range to choose. Most times, the torque range of impact drivers is within 100NM to 200NM (Approximately 1800 in-lbs).

If your task requires maximum power, you will have to buy an impact driver with lots of torque and voltage. But whenever the anvil (impact mechanism) starts working, you can't control the torque.

Speed

Remember, the best impact drivers will make you work smart. For this reason, you should consider speed before acquiring this tool.

If you want to be using your tool to work on a lot of screws, consider models with high RPM. The rotation per minute count on your device is important during drilling.

If you are using your impact driver for drilling purpose, a multiple variable speed device would be perfect.

Battery Life

Automatic cordless impact drivers operate with rechargeable batteries. The duration of a battery is significant. It doesn't matter if an impact driver is great. It will always affect your productivity if it doesn't have good battery duration.

It's better to buy models with high battery capacity. However; you can get driver kits with multiple drivers. Try to give serious attention to the battery. Otherwise, your battery may go down in the middle of a job.

Motor

A motor is the drive source of every impact driver. In my opinion, I would recommend an impact driver with a brushless motor. They don't draw much power from batteries and have high energy efficiency. Unlike conventional engines, the brushless motor doesn't heat up quickly.

Size, Weight, and Comfort

Comfort is essential when using this type of tool. And the best impact drivers have great compactness and comfortable to use. They aren't too heavy, and you can easily maneuver them.

7 Best Impact Driver Reviews

In this section, we will be reviewing the 7 best impact drivers on the market. These quick comparisons will guide you to purchase the right tool that will be perfect for your project.

#1. Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit

Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)

The Makita XDT131 18V is one of the best impact drivers in terms of speed. And if you are looking for a blend of speed, torque, lightweight, and compactness, this model has it all.

The automatic mode feature of this device enables you to keep your fasteners and bits in the right shape.

This tool features a brushless motor that delivers a maximum torque of 1,500 in. Lbs. Also, it features a variable speed of 0-3, 400 RPM & 0-3,600 IPM. The variable speed is perfect for different fastening application.

This tool BL brushless motor helps to remove carbon brushes. The removal of carbon brushes makes the engine to run more efficiently for a longer time.

Again, the Makita XDT131 18V motor is controlled electronically to optimize battery energy usage. You can conserve up to 50% longer run-time per charge. Trust me; having an impact driver with long battery life is what every artisan craves for.

The tool comes with an 18V LXT 3.0Ah battery that you can fully charge in 30 minutes. It will make you more productive as you will experience less downtime with this battery.

You can use this tool for a full range fastening of applications. Some of the driving and fastening tasks you can use this tool for are; cabinet screws, tightening down bolt, TEK screws, and deck screws.

It's a perfect tool for remodelers, woodworkers, automotive mechanics, electricians, and plumbers. Also, any contractor that needs one of the best impact drivers can use it.

What We Like About It

  • Compact and ergonomic design
  • Lightweight(3.3lb with battery), this help to reduce operator fatigue.
  • Delivers about 1500 inches pound of torque
  • Features a brushless motor. The motor gives this tool better battery performance and longer lifespan
  • It comes with dual LEDs that illuminate the work area

What We Don't Like About It

  • Doesn't change speed automatically during operation

#2. Dewalt DC825B 1/4 – Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver (Tool Only)

DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver (Tool Only)

This Dewalt impact driver happens to be one of the best impact drivers on our list. Interestingly, it offers a blend of durability and performance.

Guess what? It delivers 1330 in/lb of torque at 2400 rpm and 2700rpm. Amazing right? If you always handle cumbersome tasks like driving fasteners into wood, metal, or concrete this tool is for you.

Also, it features variable speed triggers which enables you to increase the device speed, the number of impacts, and torque. Amazingly, the trigger is responsive and gives you control over the device.

The lightweight and compact design of Dewalt DC825B is quite an asset. I know that you will like the fact you can easily change the accessory of this tool. And the body of this impact driver has an anti-slip ergonomic grip.

Furthermore, the transmission is all metal, and the gear case is made of magnesium. This tool is not only durable but also offers convenience while using it. In my opinion, this is one of the best impact drivers you can add to your power tool collection.


What We Like About It

  • The tool performs excellently
  • Torque at 2400rpm-2700rpm
  • Heavy Duty
  • Anti-slip ergonomic grip


What We Don't Like About It

  • Uses NiCad Battery. This battery is prone to self-discharge
  • You buy the tool and the battery separately, this will make you spend more


#3. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver

Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 1/4 Inch Hex Shank 12 Volt Lithium Ion Cordless 2,500 RPM 1,000 Inch Pounds Impact Driver w/ LED Light and Fuel Gauge (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only)

This Milwaukee driver belongs to the 12-volt power category. It's one of the best impact drivers in terms of portability and compactness.

If you have a low budget, this tool is an excellent choice for you. And the kit comes with an M12 impact driver, 12-volt Li-ion battery, a charger, and a carrying case. Indeed, this impact driver is more economical than Dewalt DC825B.

Also, this tool comes with a 5-years warranty. And it runs at a maximum speed of 2500rpm (no-load speed). At this speed rate, it can produce 3300IPM (impact per minutes) at 1000 in/lb of torque.

Based on the speed, I can confidently tell you that this tool is one of the best impact drivers in its category.  Furthermore, this Milwaukee driver features LED Lighting, which illuminates your work area.

Again, it features a RED LITHIUM battery. This battery delivers about 80 percent more run time than other batteries. However; let me warn you; this tool isn't meant for the cumbersome task. But if you are a DIYer that handles light work occasionally, it is a great option.

What We Like About It

  • It's very portable
  •  Relatively cheap
  • Also, it performs very well when using it
  • The device has a long battery run time

What We Don't Like About It

  • It's not suitable for heavy-duty use


#4. Dewalt DCF887B 3- Speed Impact Driver

DEWALT DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless 0.25" 3-Speed Impact Driver

This is the second Dewalt impact driver on our list. But it's more effective than the DC825B. The tool's 3-speed operations give you torque control. You can use this tool like a drill and a driver, but you have to set the speed accordingly.

It features a brushless motor, a one-hand loading system, and a LED illumination light. Sounds interesting, right?

Let me tell you more about this tool. It's a lightweight tool with a great compact design. More importantly, it's very durable compared to other similar devices.

Here is a big deal…

It runs on a 20-Volt Li-ion battery. Also, the battery capacity and charger are cheap. Don't forget that NiCad battery has memory effect or self-discharge challenge.

But you don't need to worry about this when using this device's 20-Volt Li-ion battery. Lest I forget, the equipment and battery come separately.

It has quality assurance as Dewalt gives three years warranty on this product. Also, you are entitled to a 90 days money-back guarantee if the device fall below expectation. Indeed, Dewalt DCF887B is one of the best impact drivers you can get.

What We Like About

  • It's a high performing  driver
  • Can be used as a drill
  • Lightweight
  • 3-speed mode setting

What We Don't Like

  • It's is very expensive

#5. Ryobi P236 ONE Plus 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)

This Ryobi impact driver is a top-notch power tool. Even though it's a cheap impact driver, it performs excellently. It delivers more torque than most drivers in the same category.

Without a doubt, it's one of the best impact drivers in terms of cost. If you put the value of the tool, battery, and charger into consideration, this model is an excellent choice.

Furthermore, this tool features an auto-load chuck, a magnetic bit holder, and a screw holder. Also, it has a notched mold on the pistol grip that enables you to hold the tool firm.

Interestingly, holding the tool firm will give you better accuracy even when your workspace is slippery. Also, its LED light illuminates your workspace and allows you to see what you are working on.

What We Like About It

  • The tool is very affordable
  • Excellent performance
  •  Great features

What We don't Like About it

  • It has more internal moving parts

#6. Makita DT03R1 12V CXT LI-ON KIT

Makita DT03R1 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit

Makita DT03RI 12V is a top-notch tool in this review.  To rephrase it, Makita DT03R1 one of the best cordless impact drivers you should have in your tool kit.

Also, the tool delivers power and speed to drive and fasten different application. It comes with two 12V max CXT Lithium-Ion slide-style batteries for better balance and ergonomics.

The Makita DT03R1 12V has a variable speed of 0-2,600 RPM & 0-3,500 IPM. With this speed, you can use this tool for a wide range of fastening application.

Again, the tool delivers a max torque of 970 in-lbs in an ultra-compact size. The handle is rubberized and gives you comfort while using it.

Also, if you are looking for a driver with enough versatility, Makita DT03R1 is a top choice. In fact, It's one of the best impact drivers you can get presently.

Its portability and compactness give you flexibility while using it. Furthermore, it features a led light illuminates your workspace. In my opinion, this tool worth every dime you spend in acquiring it.

What We Like About It

  • The handle has an ergonomic design. Also, its soft rubberized grip gives comfort while using it.
  • Superior battery capacity
  • Designed to minimize the user's fatigue.
  • Battery has power indicators

What We Don't Like About It

  • This tool doesn't have a brushless motor
  • It doesn't have a clutch for impact head

#7. Milwaukee 2453-22 M12

Milwaukee 2453-22 M12 Fuel 1/4 Hex Impact Driver with 2 Batteries

This Milwaukee impact driver features a brushless motor built in a RedLink system. It's user-friendly and reduces fatigue when using it. Also, the tool has a compact design that allows you to use it for an extended period without getting exhausted.

Furthermore, this Milwaukee driver comes with 2.0Ah Li-ion batteries and features a LED light which allows you to use it when working in dim lighting condition.

Again, it delivers up to 1200 in-lbs of peak torque. And the battery can work for a long time after every charge.

What We Like About It

  • It comes with a long-lasting battery
  • Brushless Motor
  • Stability
  • LED Light

What We Don't Like About It

  • It doesn't have a clutch for the impact head

Final Words

Every brand of impact driver we reviewed on this post are top-notch. In fact, they are among the best impact drivers in the market.

We consider durability, performance, battery run time, and convenience. Trust me, these models and brands of impact drivers are what you need in your workshop right now.

But after much consideration and research, Ryobi P236 ONE Plus is our top pick of impact driver. I'm particularly impressed with the features, performance, and affordability of this impact driver.

Ordinarily, one would expect that Ryobi P236 will be very expensive due to it's performance and compact design. But it happens to be among cheapest in our list.

This devices' auto-load chuck, magnetic bit holder, and led lighting are some of its outstanding features. If you ask me, I would tell you that the Ryobi P236 worths every dollar you invest in buying it.