Best Impact Drivers

Power tools, where would we be without them?

They’re ideal for securely screwing down materials like plywood, assisting in general upkeep of the home, and just about any other job that requires the use of fasteners to connect two things together. 

The first power tool that many people buy is a cordless driver due to its versatility. However, if you want to speed the drilling process up, a dedicated impact driver will make any job significantly quicker, all the while preventing rotational torque to your wrist. 

Whether you want to purchase your very first impact driver or it’s time for a replacement, this guide will walk you through the top five power drills available to buy right now.

Towards the end, you’ll also discover a helpful buying guide filled with useful information that will help you make the best choice. So, ready to find the impact driver your toolbox is missing?

In a hurry? Check out our top pick

The DeWALT MAX Impact Driver features a compact and lightweight design that doesn’t compromise on power or durability. Its been created with patented technology and boasts an array of innovative features that make it ideal for contractors, HVAC professionals, and handymen, alike.

At a glance, here’s why it’s our winner:

  • It features a one-handed loading ¼-inch hex chuck that accommodates 1-inch bit tips for maximum versatility.
  • Comes with a 3-year limited warranty, as well as a 1-year free service contract and a 90-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied for any reason.
  • Features a small, compact design, so it is ideal for use in small or restricted spaces. 
  • Durable yet lightweight, you’ll be able to use this impact driver throughout your workday without experiencing the fatigue you would from a heavier model.
  • Offering more power than a standard impact driver, its 20V capacity allows for 3,200 impacts per minute.


Top 5 Best Impact Drivers

OUR TOP PICK

DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only (DCF885B)

Need an impact driver that you can use for tight areas? Look no further than the DeWalt 20V MAX Impact Driver. 

This impact driver has been optimized by DeWalt to be able to withstand regular use for a wide variety of applications without any impact on the performance. DeWalt has also purposefully given this compact drive a sturdy design so that it can also withstand any job site wear and tear. 

Its powerful motor will deliver 2,800 RPM, which is around 43 percent faster than standard impact drivers on the market and is ideal for cabinetmakers, contractors, HVAC professionals who often have to perform quick drilling and fastening applications overhead or in smaller spaces. It can even be used by keen DIY’ers for use around the home.

To provide maximum service life, DeWalt-designed electronics have been incorporated into this impact drivers switch and will help to prevent the battery from overheating. The 20-volt lithium battery included in this impact driver also offers around 35 percent more runtime than competing models, so you don’t have to worry about switching it throughout the workday.

Plus, offering total ease of use, this impact driver features a ¼ inch hex chuck that holds 1-inch bit tips for quick and convenient fastening in those tighter spaces, while its all-metal belt hook will allow you to easily attach it to either side of the tool so you can safely secure it when you need to go hands-free. 

This driver also features a slim handle that will easily fit into your hands and increase the level of comfort during longer jobs and, if all that wasn’t enough, it even features a clever built-in LED work light that will improve your visibility in dimly lit spaces. We highly recommend it!

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact - ideal for those who have busy workdays and want to minimize fatigue

  • Very good battery life

  • High voltage capacity

Cons

  • Nicad battery

EDITORS CHOICE

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)

If you’re on a budget, a great impact driver worth consideration is the Milwaukee Cordless Impact Driver. 

With the addition of the Milwaukee M12 Impact Driver to your tool arsenal, you’ll be getting a top-of-the-line performance in a compact design that’s not going to break the bank.

You’ll be able to drive what you need while maintaining control with the greatest amount of comfort, so you’ll be lowering the chances of any hand and wrist ache throughout the day.

It features a rubber-molded pistol grip that will increase the friction between the driver and your hand, which will allow for optimal handling in all conditions, including slippery!

Besides comfort, the unit’s motor will be able to drive fasteners with up to 1,000linbs of torque at a powerful 2,500 RPMs. For such a lightweight model, this is impressive power. 

There’s also built-in internal electronics that will allow communication between the driver and whichever M12 Redlithium battery is powering it. In this way, this impact driver will be able to monitor itself for overheating and turn itself off if it gets too hot, which is a feature that’s unheard of in other impact drivers.

In addition to this, you’ll also get LED lighting on the front which will brighten your workspace, and an LED fuel gauge on the side to let you know how much charge you have left.  Wherever you work from, armed with this impact driver, you can be sure that you’ll be getting the job done properly.

Pros

  • Affordable 

  • LED lighting features will allow you to work in low light conditions and help you see how much charge is left in thie driver

  • Prevents itself from overheating and will switch off if it’s too hot

Cons

  • Voltage might be too low for some

BEST VALUE

Makita XDT16Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode 4-Speed Impact Driver, Tool Only

If precision is at the top of your priority list, you’ll love the Makita XDT Brushless Impact Driver. 

Makita is known for their innovation and reliability in the cordless impact driver world, and the standard of this brushless impact driver can’t be denied.

It gained popularity thanks to its ‘quick shift’ mode that uses this brushless motor’s electronic controls to help find the best balance between speed and torque. 

Plus, offering a 4-speed power selection, the Makita Brushless Impact Driver provides total convenience, allowing you to select the right configuration to get the job done.

It features an ‘Assist mode’ that will help to stop the screw from coming out, all the while driving at a low speed until the tightening begins.

The reverse rotation auto-stop mode will stop rotation and impact when the fastener becomes loosened and allow you to readjust it back into place, while the built-in L.E.D lights on both sides will help to eliminate any shadows and illuminate any low lit areas. 

Pros

  • The best impact driver for precision

  • Built-in L.E.D lights will help you to work in all types of conditions

  • The reverse-rotation auto-stop mode will stop rotation whenever a fastener becomes loose

Cons

  • Some might prefer a brushed impact driver

RUNNER UP

CRAFTSMAN V20 Impact Driver Kit, Cordless, 1/4-Inch (CMCF800C2)

If you like to work quickly, we recommend the CRAFTSMAN Impact Driver. It features a one-handed bit insert that will make bit changes simple and fast!

The CRAFTSMAN V20 Impact Driver offers plenty of conveniences. Whether you’re using small fasteners or larger ones, this compact driver will allow for quick and accurate fastening thanks to the 460inlbs of torque. 

When you’re on the job and need to speed things up, the 2,800 RPM and 3,100IPMS will allow for lightning-quick fastening, while the included 20V Lithium battery features enhanced performance cells that will ensure ample runtime and overall increased performance. 

In addition to this, the CRAFTSMAN Impact Driver also features a clever quick-release chuck that will allow you to change bits over with just one hand, while the integrated LED light system will allow you to work in low light conditions without affecting your visibility. 

If that wasn’t enough, this impact driver even comes complete with a 3-year limited warranty, so you can purchase this with the confidence that your purchase is protected in the event of any accidental damage or faulty parts. 

Pros

  • Efficient and quick to use

  • Ideal for use with larger fasteners 

  • The LED light will improve visibility in low light situations 

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer variable speed

RUNNER UP

Impact Driver, 1600In-lbs 20V MAX Impact Drill, 2000mAh Battery, 60-Min Fast Charger 2A, 1/4' All-metal Hex Chuck, 0-2900RPM Variable Speed, 6 Pcs Accessories

If you’re a newly qualified contractor and this is the first impact driver that you’re going to be buying, you might benefit the most from purchasing a kit, rather than just a stand-alone impact driver. 

This kit from TECCPO is the perfect starter kit to get you and running! It features a high-performance impact driver with a 4 pole copper motor that delivers 1600 of maximum torque and 4000BPM of impacts, so you can enjoy efficient fastening over a large range of applications. 

It features a 20V capacity Lithium-iron battery with a power indicator, while the built-in temperature regulation system will help to keep the motor cool and the impact driver functioning.

Not only that, but you’ll also be in control of the speed from 0 to 2900RPM! The harder that you press on the trigger, the faster this impact driver’s motor will spin.

Besides a top quality impact driver, this kit even comes with a charger, 20V battery, a ¼ hex to square socket adapter, belt clip, and a tool bag to keep it in. It’s a fantastic choice for anyone just getting into the business, or for the general handyman who wants to stay organized. 

Pros

  • Complete kit including battery and charge

  • The impact driver features a built-in speed trigger for optimum precision

  • Lightweight and durable, so it’s ideal for use in overhead situations and tight spaces

Cons

  • Some find this impact driver to be bulky

Best Impact Driver Buying Guide

Why Impact Drivers?

Impact drivers are known for offering more fastening power and being able to unscrew bolts quicker than any other kind of drill or driver.

They’re often a lot lighter, compact, and easier to use than drill drivers, and many like to use them at the same time as a drill driver to help drive a fastener without having to switch bits. They also prevent any rotational torque to your wrist, which makes them a must-have for many professionals. 

After reading the above reviews, it’s easy to see why impact drivers are such a valuable asset to anyone’s tool collection. Before you make that all-important choice, make sure you’ve brushed up on what features you should keep in mind:

Voltage

It works like this: the higher the voltage, the higher the power, and the lower the voltage? You guessed it! The lower the power.

Be careful not to make the mistake of assuming that more is better, as there are benefits of using the impact driver of both high and low voltage levels. For example, a 12-volt impact driver will be smaller and easier to use while working in small spaces, or for when you need to lift your arms above your head and want to reduce the chance of fatigue.

However, impact drivers with a higher voltage often come complete with better features and capabilities, which makes them more versatile to use. 

Amp

This is another feature to keep in mind and will indicate how long you’ll be able to use your impact driver. The amp, (or the ampere-hours) is essentially the number of amps that a battery can discharge for one hour continuously.

Ultimately, how frequently you use it will determine how long your battery is going to last before needing to be replaced or recharged. The best way to visualize it is to picture the amount of wax in a candle.

The more wax will equal a longer amount of time that the candle can continuously burn, so, the more amps a battery has will increase the amount of time the impact driver can continuously work before needing to be recharged, or the batteries replaced. 

Warranty

You don’t necessarily need to purchase an impact driver with a warranty, so this factor is up to you.

Generally speaking, the highest quality impact drivers are the kinds that are going to come with a warranty, and they’re likely going to be the more expensive models. Before making a purchase, we suggest considering first what you’re going to be using the impact driver for, as well as how long you’re going to need it.

If you only have one job that you’re going to need it for, you might want to purchase an impact driver with a short warranty (such as a 90-day warranty) or an impact driver with no warranty at all. However, keep in mind that if you do choose a driver with no warranty, the manufacturer will not be liable to provide any spare parts or a replacement model.

Additionally, if you want an impact driver that’s going to last, we suggest selecting a warranty that will last at least 12 months, as this covers your purchase in the case of any damage. Finally, always remember to register your warranty, as some companies do not honor it if you do not register it when it arrives. 

Brushed Motors Vs. Brushless Motors

This is another feature of high importance. In brushed motors, electric motors have carbon brushes that will pass electricity to the armature. This energizes the copper wire coils, which causes a chain reaction that causes it to spin between the stationary magnets.  

On the other hand, brushless motors contain wire and coil magnets that are reversed in order to ensure that the only contact with armature comes from the bearings that it spins on. For this reason, brushless motors are considered to be more durable and efficient than brushed motors, and often the more expensive option!

Grip

Almost all impact drivers are going to offer some kind of grip or ergonomic handle, but some are definitely better than others.

Make sure that the impact driver that you choose will offer plenty of grip so that you lower the chance of accidentally dropping it, or it slipping out of your hands. 

Weight

As impact drivers are designed to be powerful in order to help you fasten or unscrew quicker, they can sometimes be quite heavy.

Some manufacturers do create more lightweight, compact drivers and, if possible, we recommend selecting a lighter option as it will lower the amount of fatigue that you will have to experience throughout the course of a busy workday.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between IPM and RPM?

IPM means ‘impacts per minute’ while RPM means ‘revolutions per minute’. The IPM is increased when the RPM is increased, and they work together to help the smooth running of the impact driver.

The high RPMs will help to the driver the fasteners, while the IPMs will counteract the resistance from the speed of the RPMs. Higher IPMs will keep the fastener spinning smoothly, even when the friction tries to make the drill slow down. 

What is an impact driver?

To someone that has no prior knowledge of power tools, an impact driver might easily be confused with a regular power drill!

However, an impact driver is specifically made to be able to screw and unscrew bolts and screws as quickly as possible. They’re also ideal at helping to screw fasteners quickly and are often used in tandem with a power drill. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *