If you do a lot of home improvement projects, you’ve probably come across impact drivers at one point in time or another. Impact drivers can really make your jobs and your improvement projects go a lot more smoothly and easily. They can even replace various other tools that you might have in your collection, such as finish nailers, flooring nailers, and roofing nailers, helping you to get the job done faster and more efficiently.
With a wide variety of different impact drivers available on the market, choosing one can be a truly daunting task, even if you know what you are looking for! Here is a guide that talks about impact drivers, how they can help you get various jobs done, and some of the best impact drivers in 2020.
These impact drivers include cordless and brushless 12 volt, 18 volt, and 20-volt impact drivers – all of which are used for different purposes from casual do it yourself projects to almost professional grade. To learn more about impact drivers and how they can help you if you are looking for a great home improvement tool, this article is definitely something that will be of great reference!
What is an Impact Driver?
An impact driver is essentially a tool that uses high impact force to place or remove an object, such as a nail or screw. The impact driver uses a high force, suddenly pushing downward on whatever object you plan to place, pushing it in quickly and effectively. Not only does the impact driver deliver such a sudden force, but it is also rotational, meaning that as the impact driver pushes the bolt or nail into the desired item, it also spins.
The spinning is almost like a drill, only instead of a gentle force, the impact driver actually “drives” the object downward quickly and suddenly – unlike a drill, in which the force applied depends solely on the person using the tool. Once you find yourself getting a cordless impact driver, you will find yourself replacing a lot of other tools, such as flooring nailers and finish nailers.
An impact driver can be corded or cordless, and the amount of power that you get from the impact driver depends on what type you get. Corded, air compressor powered impact drivers have more of a force and offer a much more powerful drive. However, cordless impact drivers can be helpful for casual projects or for times when you do not have access to an air compressor or electric outlets.
A brushless impact driver offers technology that helps lessen the pull and recoil of the impact driver, making it much easier to use and work with. Whichever impact driver you are looking to purchase, it’s always great to do some research to tell whether or not that model is for you. Here are some reviews of cordless and brushless impact drivers that will really help you decide which style is best for you.
What’s the Best Impact Driver?
Since impact drivers come in many different forms (corded, cordless, brushless), you might be wondering what the best impact driver is for your money. Here are some reviews for the best impact drivers of 2020, and they should help you in your search for which impact driver is the best for what you need it for!
|MODEL||POWER SOURCE||VOLTAGE||HEX CHUCK||TORQUE||ITEM WEIGHT|
|DEWALT DCF885C1||lithium-ion battery||20v||1"||1400 in-lbs||2.8 pounds|
|Makita XDT042||Battery||18v||1/4"||1420 in-lbs||3.3 pounds|
|Bosch PS41-2A||Cordless-electric||12v||1/4"||930 in-lbs||2.1 pounds|
|Hitachi WH18DBDL2||Battery||18v||1/4"||1832 in-lbs||2.9 pounds|
|Bosch IDH182-02L||Battery||18v||1/4"||1650 in-lbs||3.2 pounds|
|Ryobi One+ P236||Battery||18v||1/4"||1600 in-lbs||2.55 pounds|
|Ridgid R86034||Battery||18v||1/4"||1750 in-lbs||2.8 pounds|
|Milwaukee 2462-20||Battery||12v||1/4"||2500 in-lbs||2.3 pounds|
|PORTER-CABLE PCC641LB||Battery||20v||1/4"||1450 in-lbs||3.3 pounds|
1. DEWALT DCF885C1 – Best dewalt impact driver
The DeWalt DCF885C1 is one of the best impact drivers on the market, and perhaps the best DeWalt impact driver. Since DeWalt is such a high-quality name when it comes to power tools of any kind, you won’t be surprised to learn that this DeWalt impact driver is definitely worth the money that you will pay for it.
The DeWalt impact driver is easy to keep an eye on when working, as it has LED lighting with a twenty-second delay when you start using it, ensuring that you can see what you’re doing, even in less than favorable lighting conditions. This is a very lightweight impact driver, and it only weighs 2.8 pounds, making it great for carrying along with you to those away from home jobs! The impact driver is also compact, as it measures 5.5 inches.
You also don’t have to worry about difficult loading of the bits, as it offers one-handed bit loading for one inch bit tips, making it easy to find bit tips for! The smaller size of this impact driver makes it great for fitting into hard to reach areas and corners. While the maximum voltage you can expect from this impact driver is 20 volts, you will typically receive about 18 volts during use.
- Compact design makes fitting into tight spaces easy
- LED light for easy visibility
- One handed bit tip loading/unloading
- 20 Volts
- Highly trusted brand name
- Smaller size compared to other models
- 20 volt maximum; 18 volt is typical
2. Makita XDT042 18V – Best makita impact driver
If you’ve heard of the brand Makita and have been wondering “What’s the best Makita impact driver,” then you will be pleased to know that the Makita XDT042 18V is the one you are looking for! This handy little impact driver has a variable speed controller so that you are able to choose from several different speeds to get the job done.
The size of the impact driver is 5 7/16,” making it great for those hard to reach areas. The weight of 3.3 pounds makes this impact driver easy to handle for just about any task. With a very durable Makita motor, you can expect a
- Lightweight – only 3.3 pounds
- Small size – only 5 7/16”
- Durable Makita built motor
- An impact driver is 18 volts
- Fast charging lithium-ion battery
- One touch bit change
- Rubberized grip
- Battery life wears down quickly
3. Bosch PS41-2A – Best 12v impact driver
Bosch is another great brand that truly delivers when it comes to their power tools! This Bosch impact driver is the best
The small size of the impact driver helps to fit into tight spaces, such as corners, allowing you to finish the job at hand without having to switch tools repeatedly. This impact driver also comes with two lithium-ion batteries, allowing you to continue using this tool even when the battery needs to be recharged! A ring of LED lights also helps to keep your work area lit up while using the impact driver, which is incredibly handy for those areas that are darker than others, such as corners!
The built-in fuel gauge allows you to accurately pinpoint exactly how much battery power remains, so you can tell when the battery needs to be replaced. This impact driver is also incredibly durable thanks to the special housing designed for
- Small size makes it easy to get into tight spaces
- Lightweight design helps reduce fatigue
- LED light ring allows you to easily see your workspace
- Durable housing
- Two batteries included
- Built in fuel gauge helps keep track of battery life
- Battery charger not as good as other chargers
- Battery life depletes quickly
4. Hitachi WH18DBDL2 – best cordless impact driver
Hitachi is a
This impact driver features a special technology known as Triple Hammer Technology, which increases the number of beats and the driving speed, saving you time and effort when you are using it. Vibration is also decreased, which helps save you from fatigue, giving you the ability to use the tool for longer amounts of time.
- Lightweight design allows you to use it more
- A small impact driver is a great tool for all areas
- Comes with two batteries
- Four stages electronic speed switch
- Decreased vibration helps to reduce fatigue
- Features Triple Hammer Technology
- Hitachi is a reputable, high-end brand
- Higher priced than similar brands
5. Bosch IDH182-02L – Best brushless impact driver
If you are looking for an impact driver with brushless technology, then the Bosch IDH182-02L is the model for you. As the best brushless impact driver on our list, be prepared to be impressed by this powerful little tool. Brushless impact drivers have motors with a longer life that require no maintenance and to top it off, the superior efficiency allows you to have a much longer runtime each time you use the impact driver.
The advanced technology of this impact driver offers protection from the motor overheating, making sure that your tool will last a lot longer and give you longer runtime. The three speeds on the impact driver allow you to choose which is right to complete the job.
The driver also has a socket adapter that allows you to switch from ¼ inch hex to ½ inch square drive. This Bosch impact driver measures 6.2 inches in length and weighs approximately 3.75 pounds. While it is not the lightest impact driver on the market, it is quite powerful and is a great option for the professional or the serious do it yourself enthusiast.
6. Ryobi One+ P236 – Best cheap impact driver
If you are looking for a cheap impact driver that is sure to get the job done without causing you to have an empty wallet, you might truly appreciate the Ryobi One+ P236 impact driver. This impact drivers have plenty of the bells and whistles of the more expensive and
This impact driver features a
Another feature that is definitely worth noting about this particular impact driver is the fact that it has a
If you have more than one Ryobi One+ power tool, you also get another benefit: all
- The impact driver is lightweight at 2.7 pounds
- Triple LED lights illuminate work area at the push of the trigger
- Impact driver features tool free bit changing
- Interchangeable battery capability
- Rubberized grip helps secure your hand around the tool
- Much more affordable than many other brands
- Not as high quality as higher end brand names
- Not as powerful as other brands and best used for smaller projects
7. Ridgid R86034 – Best 18v impact driver
The Ridgid R86034 impact driver is listed here as the best 18-volt impact driver, thanks to its great list of features and the affordable price that makes it easy to love! Those who love an impact driver that has an easy to change bit feature will applaud the Ridgid, as it has the ability to change the bits with ease: simply sliding back the collar ejects the bit and allows you to place a new one.
Another notable feature that many enjoy is the fact that it has an LED lighting setup that is able to be activated without actually pushing down on the trigger to activate the drilling itself: simply hit a button to turn on the lights independently of the drill itself.
That makes seeing where you are working a breeze! A belt clip allows you to easily attach the tool to your belt so you always have it with you – and it is completely removable if you find that it is something you would rather do without.
A rubber housing on the impact driver will give you added durability to protect it from drops and bumps and prolong the life of the tool. Weighing in at 2.8 pounds, it is somewhat lightweight, which reduces fatigue while using it. The variable speed trigger allows you to vary your speed to give you the perfect setting for a wide variety of different projects, so experiment to find out which setting works best for you.
- Great 18 volt impact driver with plenty of features
- LED lighting feature that is independent of the drill
- Lightweight at 2.8 pounds
- Variable speed trigger
- Easy to change bit feature with sliding collar
- Not a high end brand with known reputability
- Battery sold separately from impact driver
- Not as powerful as higher priced models in its category
8. Milwaukee 2462-20 – Best
milwaukee impact driver
Milwaukee is a budget-priced power tool brand that is great for those who want features without the hefty price tag. While this Milwaukee impact driver does not include the battery (it is sold separately), it is definitely a great priced tool for those who are only looking for something to complete a quick project or those who are new to the world of impact drivers.
This impact driver features a trigger activated LED lighting panel so that you can always see your workspace easily, making it great for smaller corners that don’t have ideal lighting. The side of the impact driver features a small panel with a plus and a minus sign and several dots for LED lights to show your battery levels, so you aren’t surprised if your battery isn’t lasting in your impact driver.
The impact driver is a 12-volt driver. The 2.3-pound weight (keep in mind that this is without the battery) is a pretty lightweight impact driver, and that weight will reduce the amount of fatigue that your hand and arm will feel as you use it. For the price, it is amazing what this impact driver can do: it can drive in a fastener with up to one thousand pounds of torque! The smaller size of this impact driver allows you to use this in place of other tools, such as a brad nailer or a framing nailer!
- Lightweight at 2.3 pounds
- LED lighting panel that is trigger activated
- LED lights on the side of the unit show you the battery strength
- Secures fasteners with up to one thousand pounds of torque
- Not a high end brand name
- Battery not included with impact driver
- Very loud in comparison to similar models in its category
- Not as powerful as more expensive models
9. PORTER-CABLE PCC641LB – Lithium Ion Hex Head Compact Impact Driver Kit
This amazing 20-volt impact driver has a great, high torque motor that offers a lot of torque: 1,450 in per pounds of torque. The impact driver weighs 3.3 pounds, making it lightweight and easy to use, and measures 6.9 inches in length, allowing it to get into those tight spaces, like corners or areas of the floor that might be difficult to use larger, bulkier power tools on.
One-handed bit changes are simple thanks to the quick release ¼” hex chuck. You also get two lithium-ion batteries with the impact driver, so you can use one battery while the other charges! The speed on this impact driver is based on how hard you squeeze the trigger, so you can use it to do smaller projects or to drive in larger items for bigger projects, as well.
While a trigger based speed selector can take some time to get used to using, once you master it, you’re in the clear! Porter Cable is also a reputable and well known mid-range brand that produces high-quality power tools, so you are getting a great impact driver by a great brand!
- Great mid range brand
- Two batteries included
- One handed quick bit release
- High torque motor
- Trigger based speed selector has a learning curve
- Not as lightweight as other models in its class
What is the Best Cordless Impact Driver?
If you are planning on selecting a new cordless impact driver, you are probably doing plenty of research and looking for a great one that will accommodate all of your needs. The best impact driver for you is definitely going to be one that has all the features that you like the most at an affordable price.
The best cordless impact driver is going to be the one that you turn to over and over again to help you with all of your improvement projects. So you may be wondering: out of the ones on this list, which is the best cordless impact driver?
The Hitachi WH18DBDL2 18V Pro Brushless Cordless Impact Driver is the best value impact driver for the money. Not only does it have a ton of different features, but it is also compact, easy to use, and comes with two batteries as well as a plethora of features that will make your job easier.
Hitachi is also a fantastic brand name that is well known in the world of power tools, so you can be sure you are getting a high-quality product for your money. The Triple Hammer Technology of this impact driver more or less pays for itself, as it helps your impact driver last longer, giving you almost two times the amount of life.
It is also durable and comes with a nice carrying case to keep your tool in so it doesn’t get damaged in storage or transport. Because of its small size, it can even be used to replace other tools such as finish nailers and flooring nailers in your tool kit.
How Does an Impact Driver Work?
If you are new to the world of impact drivers, you might wonder exactly how it is that they work. You probably already know how a power drill works: you simply attach the drill bit, fix it into the screw or fastener, and push the trigger (or button, depending on the model), and drill it into the fixture. It is quite easy to do, and the concept is easy for most to grasp.
When it comes to impact drivers, they are actually quite similar in the way that they are used. They have bits that can be changed and placed into the chuck the same way a power drill has, and they essentially screw in fasteners in a similar fashion: using a trigger or a button push to secure it into the fixture.
However, the two differ slightly: instead of you using your own strength to push down and screw the item into place, the impact driver uses a force, or an impact, to quickly push the fastener into place. The impact will drive the fastener where it needs to go, often making an impact driver a faster (and easier) way to get the job done.
Cordless impact drivers also have batteries that can be charged, and many come with more than one battery, which allows you to charge one while you are using the other! As a bonus, many of the battery chargers can easily be powered using a
How to Use an Impact Driver
Learning how to use an impact driver might take a few tries, but once you master this handy power tool, you will wonder how you ever completed those do it yourself jobs without it! While it might seem daunting at first, it is worth looking into and experimenting with it.
Since every brand and model of the impact driver is going to be different, it is worth checking out the owner’s manual that you get with your impact driver before beginning. While they might all have different features, the basic working of impact drivers is the same.
The first thing that you need to do for a cordless impact driver is inserting the fully charged battery into the base. Once the battery is in place, you will fit the impact driver with the correct bit. The way the bits fit into the impact drivers varies, as do the size bits that impact drivers take.
Once you managed to fit the bit into the impact driver, the next step is to get it lined up with the fastener that you are planning to secure. Once it is lined up, you need to decide what speed will work best. Some have electronic speed switches that you can adjust the speed with, and others have trigger based speed selectors, so it really depends on your model.
If it is an electronic speed selector, simply select the speed you wish to use and then push in on the trigger to start the impact driver. If the speed selector on your model is a trigger based speed selector, gently press in on the trigger, increasing pressure as you go to reach the desired impact speed. Once you reach the desired speed, hold the trigger in until you have successfully secured the fastener into the desired area. It’s that easy!
When it comes to selecting a power tool, make sure you do plenty of research on the tool before purchase. An impact driver can be a great tool that will save you lots of time in your home improvement projects, but choosing one can seem like a difficult decision.
Using the knowledge that you gained by reading this guide is a great first step, and the impact drivers discussed above are all great models that fit a variety of different needs. Whether you want a higher end brand that has more features, is more reliable, yet costs more, or if you are looking for something a little more budget friendly that will be suitable for a single project, there is an impact driver for everyone.