Best Impact Driver Sets Reviewed & Tested
Impact drivers offer a level of performance, versatility and flexibility that completely overshadows and surpasses that of hammer drills, making them the go-to tool for carpenters, handymen, craftsmen and enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfers when a driving job comes up. Impact drivers are particularly suitable when dealing with dimensional lumber frames, giving you the accuracy and speed required to drive long and large sheet-rock screws and bolts. Similarly, they come with an incredibly powerful motor that delivers higher torques that efficiently handles nearly all types of materials, be it a brick, beams, hardwoods, and drywall, among others. With their high speeds (rotations per minute), impact drivers are quite efficient at drilling holes at different speed settings as some of them come with variable speed modes suitable for working various types of materials. Plus, they allow for one-hand operation as well as quick and easy changing of bits with their chucks.
Unfortunately, picking out the most suitable impact driver from a market flooded with them can be a little daunting, what with having to read hundreds of product reviews (no pun intended), compare features and specs, and understand one’s own needs before making a purchasing decision. That’s why we have put together a list of ten of the best impact drivers based on some crucial factors like performance, ease of use, battery life, driver size, versatility, affordability, among others.
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Criteria for Choosing the Best Impact Driver Sets
There is a direct correlation between performance, the speed and torque an impact driver is capable of delivering. If you want to do a driving project in a fraction of the time it takes a hammer drill, then go for an impact driver offering a much higher speed and a correspondingly higher torque. You should have however exercise caution in this regard as higher speeds and torque can sometimes translate to overheating problems which, in turn, can cut short the life-span of the motor. Furthermore, a majority of impact drivers have variable speed settings allowing you to select your preferred speed in accordance with the type of material you intend to drive screws and bolts through. The three most prevalent modes are soft impact setting, medium impact setting and lastly, hard impact setting that is ideal for driving small screws, for general purpose driving and for larger and longer screws, respectively.
Ease of Use
Driving screws and bolts for a protracted amount of time is a daunting and tiresome endeavor, especially if you’re performing overhead driving in tight spots and under not so favorable weather conditions. If the impact driver is not properly designed, you’re bound to develop blisters all over your hands, suffer from joint pains and the like after a few minutes of working. It is therefore important that manufacturers make their impact drivers user-friendly, comfortable, lightweight and compact to ensure users work comfortably and with a peace of mind. To this end, most impact drivers feature ergonomic designs on the handle grips in the form soft grips and additional layers of padding that prevent the growth of blisters and reduce exhaustion. Additionally, some units come with LED lights for additional illumination in dark and tight work areas and in some occasions the lights act as battery indicators, helping the user keep track of the remaining battery charge. There is also a key-less chuck system allowing for the quick and efficient change of bits with one hand.
Some impact wrenches are more versatile than others and when paired correctly with the right tools, can be used for more than just driving screws and bolts. Making your impact driver an all-around tool fit for several other applications saves time and money, making it unnecessary to purchase additional tools for the same purpose. Other than its ability to drill, an impact driver is capable of functioning as a wrench when paired correctly with an all-in-one adapter. Additionally, pairing the tool with the right bits makes it a perfect hole driller. You may want to consider these factors before committing your money.
10 Best Impact Driver Sets
1. BLACK+DECKER LDX120C
Even though the Black & Decker BDC120C Impact Driver is optimized for completing projects like installing shelves and decks around the house, it doesn't skimp on performance. The unit is equipped with a variable speed feature allowing you to take it up to its maximum speed of 3000 rotations per minute. As a result, you have the final say on power delivery which is important for when you're contemplating driving screws and bolts through soft and hard materials. As you would expect, lower speed settings are ideal for driving screws through delicate materials when you cannot risk any damages while higher speed settings are perfect for more robust materials like hardwood. The variable speed setting also enables you to finesse the screws in further by initially applying considerable amounts of force before gradually releasing the trigger.
The Black & Decker BDC120C Impact Driver comes with an irresistibly low price tag despite clearly outperforming some top model impact drivers. The only difference between it and top contenders is the lack of convenience features such as a belt clip and LED light. But that can easily be solved by investing in an LED light and belt clip if at all they will make you a more productive driller.
Featherweight and compact for increased ease of use
Comes with an incredibly powerful, durable, and long-lasting battery for uninterrupted driving
Lacks a cord making it very portable
Has LED lights helping in monitoring drilling progress in dark areas
Exceptional versatility for handling a plethora of projects other than driving
Comes with variable speed feature and chuck
Lacks a carrying case
The LED lights are a little off point
2. Ryobi 18-Volt 1/4-Inch P236
Similar to other impact drivers reviewed so far, the Ryobi Impact Driver P236 features a lightweight and compact design that you can effortlessly hold in your hands for a protracted period. And with its lightweight design, you won't have to fight fatigue to continue working. Its handle grip has anti-slip properties and is finished with rubberized components to ensure comfort and that the tool never slips from your hands when temperatures start rising. The weight similarly makes it easy to carry around the workstation and from one place to another since it occupies a minimal amount of storage space.
The only drawback of the Ryobi Impact Driver P236 is the timing of the LED lights and the lack of a variable speed feature. A better design would have the LED lights beaming down on the general screwing area for the entire duration rather than after. In this way, it becomes hard to monitor one’s progress.
In all, the Ryobi Impact Driver P236 is an ideal tool for a broad range of driving applications. Its ruggedness and immense power make it an excellent choice for handymen, craftsmen, carpenters, enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfers, and professionals. It comes with a 36-month warranty for the repair or replacement of parts that malfunction outside of natural use.
Made from industrial-grade and durable parts for longer shelf life
Has a powerful motor providing incredible torque and speeds for accurate and smooth drilling
Easy to use
Comes with a 36-month warranty giving a peace of mind
Lightweight and compact design minimizing fatigue and injury
Provides few features
3. DeWalt DCF885B
However poorly lit your workstation or house is, or if you have to work in tight corners, you won't be daunted by the darkness or shadows as the DeWalt DCF885 Impact Driver is equipped with a set of three LED lights on the chuck collar for additional illumination. You can trigger the lights by just depressing the trigger, and you'll have adequate lights to monitor your screwing or unscrewing progress for an impressive twenty seconds when you're not using the impact driver. And when you're done with driving, sliding the forward and reverse lock button into centre position swiftly powers down the machine.
It features one of the most powerful motors in the home improvement and renovation industry, offering no-load speeds of 2800 rotations per minute with a corresponding torque of between 117 and 1400 inch-pounds. Additionally, it comes with a 1/4-inch hex chuck that is not only compatible with all types of short one-inch bits but also allows for quick and efficient one-hand operation as it is spring loaded.
In all, the DeWalt DCF885 Impact Driver is arguably the leading contender for the top position. It features a sturdy and robust construction that will readily take on the most challenging and intricate driving jobs thrown its way. They have a lightweight and compact which, other than making working on overhead projects an enjoyable experience, is also perfect for accessing hidden spots. Combine the useful LED lights, the one-handed loading mechanism, and its powerful motor, and you have a tool you'll hardly be putting down.
Offers the user a simple and straightforward operation
Has powerful, efficient and accurate driving capabilities
Handle grip features slip-resistant and comfortable bumpers
It’s a bare tool
4. DeWalt DCF895D2
Brushless motors are not only lightweight, which has the advantage of giving you additional control over the machine, but they are also cost-effective and time and energy saving. Unlike their brushed counterparts, they eliminate the stress and cumbersomeness that comes with having to replace brushes as they are resistant to abrasions constantly. The technology also considerably increases the shelf-life of the DeWalt DCF895D2 Impact Driver by eliminating the overheating problem plaguing most impact drivers without brushless motors.
As was mentioned earlier, the device's XRTM Lithium-Ion batteries provide the impact driver with sufficient power allowing you to keep on driving screws and bolts for extended periods of time. The compactness also makes working in tight spaces a joyful experience as you will be reaching areas that standard impact drivers and hammer drill cannot just reach, so you won't have to re-arrange things around the house. And once there, the darkness and shadows in the hidden spots won't affect your effectiveness and productivity as the DeWalt DCF895D2 is equipped with three energy-saving built-in LED lights for that additional illumination under poorly lit conditions. Consequently, you will actually have fun lifting a paltry 3.6 pounds in your hands without risking joint pains or suffering any adverse fatigue.
To summarize, the DeWalt DCF895D2 is the go-to tool for all your driving needs, delivering exceptionally high and reliable performance each time. The tool is at home both around the house and on the job site, allowing you to perform a plethora of applications with just a single device. It comes with 3-torque modes each optimized for a different driving circumstance, meaning that it is quite a versatile and flexible impact driver. The DCF895D2 comes with a powerful XRTM batteries that guarantee a continuous and uninterrupted work for several hours and yet requires just a few minutes of recharging. Finally, the impact driver is compact and lightweight, occupies little storage space and easy to carry around and manoeuvre effortlessly around hard-to-reach spots.
Lightweight featuring a compact design
Easy to use
Offers powerful driving and drilling
5. Milwaukee 2796-22
Because it's cordless, it is powered by a top-rated red lithium battery pack giving users an additional 50 percent battery life which is more than sufficient to complete most projects around the house or on the construction site. Furthermore, the unit comes with a high-power brushless motor capable of seamlessly delivering 55 percent faster project speed and between 200 and 1600 of inch-pounds of torque. Such a high level of torque, as you would expect, translates to a top speed of 2900 rotations per minute.
It also comes in a lightweight and compact design, with a weight of just 3.1 pounds, which is quite impressive considering that it packs quite a mind-blowing power and a long-lasting battery. With its weight, the unit is quite easy to manoeuver and control, allowing you easy access to hard-to-reach spots and does not make you easily fatigued, which coupled with its ergonomic design, enables you to work for hours on end before taking a break. Its compactness means it occupies the least storage space in the trunk of your car so that you can transport it very efficiently from one place to another.
In short, the Milwaukee Impact Driver M18 is an indispensable part of any handyman's toolbox and will provide you with exceptional power and incredible performance even when the battery is running low. It has a three torque setting that makes it possible for you to match the speed with the type of surface on which you want to drive screws and bolts. Its compact and lightweight design increase your productivity by allowing to you work comfortably and for longer. However, the package lacks the battery and charger, meaning that you will have to buy those separately.
Has an impressively long 5-year warranty for repair and replacement
Small stature and light allowing for easy access to tight spots
Easy to use
Realistically and reasonably priced
Smooth and powerful driving capacity
Batteries take considerably longer to charge fully
6. Makita XDT08
Very few impact drivers rival Makita Impact Driver Cordless 18V Brushless in construction quality. The unit is constructed out of industrial-grade steel renowned for being ultra-strong and durable as is heat treated. The implication, therefore, is that not only will the impact driver last for more than a lifetime with proper care but also that it can withstand the harshest drilling conditions. Combine the heat treatment of the steel with the unit's brushless motor capable of delivering a maximum no-load speeds of between 0 and 2500 rotations per minute and a corresponding maximum 3200 Impacts per Minute and you have a tool that will never overheat or disappoint. The unit can produce a torque of up to 1420 inch-pounds, ensuring you have all the leverage required in completing a plethora of drilling activities around the house and on the job site, too.
The Makita Impact Driver Cordless 18V Brushless sports a variable speed feature for adjusting the torque and force as dictated by the size, toughness, and condition of the bolts and screws you intend to fasten or loosen. And to make it even more versatile, the unit is compatible with all types of hex shaft screw, torx, and socket attachments.
Exceptionally lightweight and compact design ideal for demanding overhead driving
Ergonomic design ensures it is comfortable to hold and use for longer
Comes with the efficient brushless motor for longer motor life
Impressive driving speeds and torque
Provides powerful and effective performance
Relatively more expensive than proved models
Fast draining batteries
7. DeWalt DCF886D2
The DeWalt DCF886D2 also comes with a bunch of other features crucial for the successful removal and tightening the toughest bolts. It is equipped with three LED lights with a twenty-second trigger delay for further illumination of your working area for those times when you are working under poorly lit conditions. There is also a chuck that you can quickly load with just one hand and a 0.25-inch hex compatible with all types of tips measuring up to 1-inch in length. Furthermore, with the impact driver's belt, you don't have to worry about leaving it on the floor or having to be mindful of where to temporarily put it during breaks.
In all, the DeWalt DCF886D2 is an all-around impact driver you can use on several projects. From installing decks and kitchen cabinets to driving countersink screws into the thickest pieces of wood, the impact driver just never disappoints. The unit brings together a powerful brushless motor and a long-lasting Lithium-Ion battery for that reliable and efficient performance that's been the envy of other brands for years. Its most notable setback is that despite its exceptional performance it lacks multiple speed and torque settings, making it necessary that you exercise caution if you're going to be driving bolts and screws into delicate materials. Alternatively, in light of this drawback, you can keep a regular drill nearby should you want slower speeds. Nonetheless, it offsets this disadvantage by offering you exceptionally smooth and effortless operation for longer hours
Comes with a pocket-friendly price tag despite its top-notch performance
Equipped with energy-saving brushless motor delivering 57 percent more runtime
Features a lightweight and compact design ideal for accessing hard-to-reach spots
Convenient LED lights for additional illumination in poorly lit conditions
Has 1/4-inch quick hex chuck for quick bit changing
The LED lights cannot be independently operated
8. Makita LXDT01
If you're considering the Makita LXDT01 for an upgrade, you'll be pleased to note that this new model has been re-engineered to make it substantially shorter than the old model. The new model has a length of just 5-1/2-inches with a weight of 3.3 pounds inclusive of the 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery. Additionally, the versatility of the impact driver's design allows you take on a broad array of driving tasks, whether it is carpentry,
It sports an ergonomic and compact design to enable you to work comfortably and safely for longer. The handle grip comes with a rubber overmold that have anti-slip properties to ensure the machine stays put even after your hands start sweating. You can also easily access hard-to-reach spots you won’t otherwise reach with a standard hammer drill and comfortably work on overhead projects without your hands or back giving in to fatigue. To achieve more versatility, the unit comes with a factory-fitted LED light located at the base of the tool that you can switch on or off with the trigger. As a result, working with a standalone light is a thing of the past as the machine's LED lights do a fantastic job illuminating your work area and getting rid of unwanted shadows.
If fitted with a useful three-LED indicator to help you monitor the status of you Lithium-Ion battery. A full recharge gives an ‘Off' indicator and will immediately shift to ‘Flickering' when it hits 20 percent of remaining charge while low charge gives a ‘solid' indication. The moment your battery starts running low, a warning light and the LED lights will immediately flash. A flat battery takes about 30 minutes to recharge fully. Other convenience additions are the 1/4-inch hex chuck for easy and quick bit changes and a tool hook for attaching it to your belt. The accessories include two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries, charger, belt hook, and a carrying case.
Efficient and easy to use for light-duty and heavy-duty driving operations
Versatile and high-performing tool
Cordless for unrestricted reach
Battery lasts for only three hours
9. Ridgid R86034K X4
Other than the ergonomic design, it comes with a bunch of other useful features aimed at increasing convenience and an ease of use. The first such feature is the machine's Quick-Load Bit Holder allowing for the quick and easy change of bits, which makes this impact driver an ideal for those looking for a hassle-free operation. Secondly, there's an LED light and a convenient "trigger switch" for turning on the light just before you begin driving. And unlike other models that necessitate a partial depressing of the trigger so the light comes on, the one on the Ridgid is a standalone design and is handy for monitoring your progress during the process.
To summarize, the Ridgid R80630K Impact is a professionally built and durable tool you can use on several projects around the house and the construction site. The device has a lightweight and compact design that won't require the use of excessive force either in holding or driving and can access hard-to-reach spots with ease. It has one of the highest torque in the industry and with speeds of between 0 and 2400 rotations per minute, it an ideal tool for working on any driving project.
Lightweight and compact
Has textured grip for firm and perfectly fitting grip
Poor battery life
10. Porter-Cable PCCK640LB
One unique highlight is its 2-bit magnetic holder that comes handy for safely keeping the additional bits and pieces you may need during driving so that your project does not suffer any unnecessary delays. Another thoughtful inclusion is a battery light indicator that promptly alerts you whenever your battery is running out of charge. Nevertheless, we doubt the indicator will be going off if you pair this impact driver with the right Lithium-Ion battery, especially the one durably built to continue supplying with immense power even after you start to develop back pain from very prolonged usage. With a quick charge time of just 40 minutes, you will be able to resume your drilling and driving in no time at all. And because the machine comes with a high-performance transmission, you will be spending considerably way less time on any project you're undertaking, no matter how challenging or demanding it is.
One thing we can assure you, however, is that you will not be experiencing any back problems from extended driving given that the Porter-Cable 20V Impact Driver sports an ergonomic and compact design. Its weight of just 3.6 pounds when coupled with its compact design means you will be working on those overhead projects way longer you’d have expected, and with the manoeuvrability and portability notoriously lacking in most impact drivers. And just in case you were wondering, the Porter-Cable 20V Impact Driver comes with a brushless motor capable of delivering an astounding torque of up to 1450 inch-pounds with corresponding speeds of rotations per minute.
The only downside of the Porter-Cable 20V Impact Driver is the lack of a variable speed feature. The implication, therefore, is that you will have to be cautious when pulling the trigger as it can produce great torque. While the lack of variable speed feature is clearly a drawback, it is also an advantage, allowing you incredible amounts of torque for seamlessly and smoothly driving screws and bolts through the toughest materials, including hardwood.
Comes with two batteries and fast charger for a longer runtime
Has a high power motor for efficient driving of screws and bolts
Has a functional LED light for illumination in dark and shadowy spaces
Handle grip has rubber bumpers for added comfort and ease of use
Compact and lightweight design for increased manoeuvrability and control
Experiences occasional charger problems
Difficulty handling with two hands
Q: Between an impact driver and a drill driver, which one is better placed to drive deck screws?
A: While the jury is still out on which is more qualified to drive deck screws, the general agreement among professional handymen, carpenters and craftsmen is that an impact has far better driving ability compared to a drill driver. There are two main reasons given to support the assertion, the most important of which is that using an impact driver results to considerably less cam-out, irrespective of the nature of screw leading to quick completion of driving projects. Secondly, impact drivers come with a lightweight and compact design and are ergonomically designed hence the user suffers minimal fatigue.
Q: What is a brushless motor and what is its significance?
A: Motors come in two types, brushless and brushed and they are responsible for powering an impact driver. A brushed motor uses ‘brushes’ to ensure electricity gets to the rotating rotor. With time, they suffer wear and tear leading to a reduction in the performance of the impact driver. Brushless motors, on the other hand, have a design that eliminates the need to pass electricity to rotating components. Consequently, the possibility of friction and overheating occurring are significantly reduced, thereby translating into energy efficiency and increased motor shelf-life.
If you pay attention to the factors discussed under the “Criteria for Choosing the Best Impact Drivers” section and do an honest assessment of your needs, you should have decided on your impact driver by now. All the impact drivers featured in this article have stood the test of time and continue to attract enormous attention from professional carpenters, craftsmen and even Do-It-Yourselfers. The first step to achieving the accuracy and effectiveness you want is to get the right tool. We wish you all the best, of course.