The 10 Best Impact Drivers – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Impact Driver

As you are building up your toolkit, a cordless impact driver should always be at the top of the list of the must-haves.

It is one of the handiest power tools for both hobbyists and professional when it comes to driving long fasteners into hard materials.

Impact drivers provide more torque than the regular drill and eliminate rounded-out heads and half-sunk screws while also making jobs fast and smooth.

However, like with any other power tool, there are many impact driver brands and models in the market. And so you will have plenty to pick from when buying one.

In this guide, we aim to make it easier to choose the best impact driver by reviewing 10 top rated models from leading brands and with our in-depth buying guide.

10 Best Impact Drivers - Reviews

Product Name

Battery

Hex Chuck

Torque

Weight

Rating

Current Price

1. DeWalt DCF885C1 Impact Driver Kit

20V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,400 inch-lbs

2.8 lbs

4.6

2. Makita XDT111 Cordless Impact Driver Kit

18V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,460 inch-lbs

3.9 lbs

4.6

3. DeWalt DCF887B Brushless Impact Driver

20V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

N/A

2.4 lbs

4.6

4. Bosch PS41-2A Impact Driver Kit

12V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

930 inch-lbs

2.13 lbs

4.6

5. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver

12V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,000 inch-lbs

2.3 lbs

4.5

6. Black & Decker BDCI20C Impact Driver

20V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,375 inch-lbs

3.25 lbs

4.4

7. Hitachi WH18DGL Cordless Impact Driver Kit

18V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,280 inch-lbs

3.1 lbs

4.0

8. Milwaukee M18 Impact Driver

18V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,500 inch-lbs

2.3 lbs

4.6

9. DeWalt DCF815S2 Impact Driver Kit

12V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

950 inch-lbs

2.2 lbs

4.8

10. Ryobi One+ P236 Cordless Impact Driver

18V, Lithium Ion

1/4 Inch

1,600 inch-lbs

2.65 lbs

4.6

#1. DeWalt DCF885C1 20V Max 1/4" Impact Driver Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

DeWalt DCF885C1 20V Max 1/4" Impact Driver Kit
  • Battery: 20V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,400 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

DeWalt makes some high-quality power tools and they are one of the most popular impact driver brands. Their DeWalt DCF885C1 is 20V max impact driver that has what it takes to handle any task that requires driving long fasteners.

It is a 1/4-inch Hex Chuck impact driver that will accept up to 1-inch bit tips which makes it quite a versatile tool. And it will generate a torque of up 1,400 inch-lbs which should be enough for most applications in the workshop and home improvement.

And despite the massive power and significantly larger battery that provided long run times, this is still an ergonomic impact driver as it only weighs 2.8 lbs and it is also compact as it is just 5.5 inches long from front to back.

There are also shorter and fewer downtimes with this impact driver as it will come with a fast charger. And DeWalt backs it with a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • One-handed bit loading
  • Compact and relatively lightweight design
  • Built-in LED
  • Fast charging
  • 20V max system for more runtime

Cons:

  • Brushed motor not as efficient as brushless

#2. Makita XDT111 3.0 Ah 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Makita XDT111 3.0 Ah 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit
  • Battery: 18V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,460 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery, and charger

Makita XDT111 delivers one of the highest torques on our list, and it also has a wider variable speed range than many other brushed motor impact drivers.

For the speed, you get a range of between 0 and 2,900 for the RPM and 0 to 3,500 IPM. The 4-Pole with its 4-brush design is responsible for the high torque and the best thing about it is that it does not reduce the RPM.

The all-metal gear housing makes this a tough and durable brushed impact driver that can withstand regular worksite abuse.

It is also an ergonomic impact driver that is just 5-3/8 inches long from front to back and it weighs 3.9 lbs. Also, the impact driver has an ergonomic handle with a rubberized grip.

Other things like the dual LED with afterglow and increased water and dust resistance also helps to make this a high performing impact driver. And it will also come with a 3-year limited warranty.

Read More: 5 Best Makita Impact Drivers

Pros:

  • Relatively higher maximum torque
  • Wider speed range
  • All metal gear housing
  • Compact and ergonomic
  • LED light with afterglow

Cons:

  • Relatively heavier
  • Pricier

#3. DeWalt DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless 1/4" 3-Speed Impact Driver

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

DeWalt DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless 1/4" 3-Speed Impact Driver
  • Battery: 20V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

The DeWalt DCF887B is a top rated model that many experts recommend highly including the Popular Mechanic’s impact driver reviews where they rank it top among other high-performing impact drivers.

The experts at Popular Mechanics describe it as quick handling and quick driving impact driver that combines power, speed and finesse to drive in both tiny and long fasteners almost effortlessly.

DeWalt DCF887B use a 20V lithium-ion battery with a powerful brushless motor, and it provides 3-speed settings to make it a quite a versatile power tool.

And with a total weight of around 2.4 lbs and a relatively shorter length, it is also a lightweight and compact impact driver that will be great for working in tight spaces.

The 1/4 inch Hex Chuck also has 3 LED lights with a 20 seconds delay after you release the trigger that will be very handy when working in dark areas and a handy belt clip.

Dewalt will provide a 3-year limited warranty for this fantastic power tool.

Pros:

  • Highly efficient brushless motor
  • Versatile 3-speed settings
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Quick handling and driving
  • 3 LED lights

Cons:

  • Does not come with the battery or charger

#4. Bosch PS41-2A 12V Max Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Bosch PS41-2A 12V Max Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit
  • Battery: 12V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 930 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.13 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Being one of the smallest impact drivers on our list, the Bosch PS41-2A is the perfect choice for working in tight spaces. It only weighs 2.13 lbs which makes it the lightest on our list and with a head length of 5.4 inches.

Although it is a 12V impact driver it still performs well enough, and it will do up to 80% of the impact driving application. It produces a 930 inch-lbs which might not be as much as the 20V models but it is still enough to ensure high performance.

And with a variable speed of between 0 and 2,600 RPM, this is also quite a versatile power tool. Working on low light conditions is also possible as it has 3 LED lights around the head.

Other things that make this a fantastic impact driver include the ergonomic handle and battery level gauge. But it has a significantly shorter warranty of just 1 year.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact body
  • Variable speed
  • Battery level gauge
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 3 LED lights

Cons:

  • Relatively short warranty period

#5. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 12V 1/4 Hex Impact Driver

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 12V 1/4 Hex Impact Driver
  • Battery: 12V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque:1,000 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

If you are looking for something affordable that provides some incredible fastening speeds, the Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 is an excellent choice.

This 12V impact driver with a 1/4 inch hex chuck delivers a torque of 1,000 inch-lbs, which is more than enough for most impact driving applications in the workshop and around the home.

And with a total weight of around 2.3 lbs, it is still a relatively lightweight tool that will be perfect for carrying on your tool belt.

Its high performing motor delivers an RPM of 0 to 2,500 which is what delivers the significantly high fastening speed.

There is also a handy onboard fuel gauge that will display the remaining run-time, and with this impact driver, you get a 5-year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Relatively affordable
  • Significantly high fastening speed
  • Battery fuel gauge
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Battery and charger sold separately

#6. Black & Decker BDCI20C 20V MAX Lithium Impact Driver

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Black & Decker BDCI20C 20V MAX Lithium Impact Driver
  • Battery: 20V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,375 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 3.25 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty

Black & Decker is always a brand that you can trust when shopping for the Best 1/4 inch impact driver. Their model BDC120C is a 20V max model that delivers a torque of up to 1,375 inch-lbs which makes it quite a powerful impact driver.

It is also a variable speed unit that offers RPM range of 0 to 3,000. And although it is the heaviest model on our list, it is still a significantly lightweight and compact impact driver when you compare it to others on the market.

Also, it uses a quick release 1/4 inch hex chuck and it is also a relatively affordable unit. The driver is ready to use when you get it as it comes with both the battery and charger.

Black & Decker will back this impact driver with a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Pros:

  • Significantly higher torque
  • Variable speed
  • Relatively affordable
  • Battery and charger included in the package

Cons:

  • Relatively heavier impact driver

#7. Hitachi WH18DGL 18V 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium-Ion Impact Driver Kit

Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)

Hitachi WH18DGL 18V 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium-Ion Impact Driver Kit
  • Battery: 18V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,280 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Hitachi WH18DGL is one of the best cordless impact drivers out there as it delivers a significantly high torque (1,280 inch-lbs) and up to 2,400 RPM and 3,200 BPM to ensure maximum driving speed and to give the tool greater fastening capabilities.

Complete control is also guaranteed with this impact driver as it uses a responsive variable speed trigger.

With this impact driver, you will not need to buy anything else before you can use it as it comes with both the batteries and charger. And it also charges fast as it takes just 35 minutes to fully recharge.

Hitachi provides a lifetime warranty for the tool and a 2-year warranty for the battery.

Pros:

  • Responsive variable speed trigger
  • Built-in LED light
  • Fast charging
  • High drive speeds and fastening capability
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • No belt hook

#8. Milwaukee M18 18V 1/4" Hex Impact Driver

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Milwaukee M18 18V 1/4" Hex Impact Driver
  • Battery: 18V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck:1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,500 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs
  • Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

Despite the 18V Milwaukee M18 being one of the most affordable products on our list, it is still a high performing impact driver that delivers an impressive 1,500 inch-lbs torque.

It also has relatively higher RPM (0 to 2,750) and IPM (3,450) thanks to the 4-pole frameless motor.  And so you can always be sure of top-notch performance when using this impact driver.

This 1/4 inch hex chuck power tool uses REDLINK intelligence to ensure total system communication between the driver, its battery, and charger for overload protection and to ensure optimum performance.

The robust design makes this a highly durable tool and it also comes with a LED light to illuminate dark and low light work areas. And the manufacturer backs it with a 5-year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • Higher maximum torque
  • REDLINK intelligence
  • Significantly higher RPM and IPM
  • Robust and highly durable design
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Battery, charger and other accessories sold separately

#9. DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Max 1/4-Inch Impact Driver Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)

DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Max 1/4-Inch Impact Driver Kit
  • Battery: 12V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 950 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

Although the DeWalt DCF815S2 is a 12V max model, it is still one of the best DeWalt impact drivers in the market as it delivers a decent amount of torque and it is also relatively lightweight and compact.

It is a 1/4 inch hex chuck driver that will accept up to 1-inch bit tips and it allows for one-handed loading for convenient use.

The compact design allows this driver to fit into tight spaces, and it also comes with 3 radially-mounted LED lights to illuminate the work surface without causing any shadows.

There is also a built-in belt clip on the driver. DeWalt will provide a 3-year limited warranty, 90-day money back guarantee and one-year free service contract for this tool.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy one-handed loading
  • Built-in belt clip
  • Batteries and charger included
  • 3 radially-mounted LED lights

Cons:

  • Battery life still not very long

#10. Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
  • Battery: 18V, Lithium Ion
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 Inch
  • Torque: 1,600 inch-lbs
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs

Ryobi is famous for making some of the most powerful impact drivers on the market, and the 18V Ryobi One+ P236 is a perfect example of this.

The impact driver uses a 1/4 inch hex chuck that accepts various bit tips but its massive torque of up to 1,600 inch-lbs is its most impressive feature as it means it can handle almost any impact driving application.

It also delivers an RPM of up to 3,200 which is also significantly higher than many other impact drivers in its class.

And for faster, more efficient and convenient use, it allows for tool-free bit changes, and also comes with a magnetic tray that holds the fasteners and bits to free both your hands to handle the driver.

A firm grip is also guaranteed even in slippery conditions thanks to the rubber overmold on the pistol grip. And you can also use it effectively in low light conditions as it comes with tri-beam LED light that illuminates the work surface.

Pros:

  • Massive torque
  • Magnetic fastener and bit tray
  • Affordable
  • Rubber overgrip
  • Tri-beam LED light

Cons:

  • Battery not included

12V vs. 18V vs. 20V Impact Drivers

The debate on whether to buy a 12V, 18V or 20V impact driver is probably not going to end any time soon. And while both are still powerful and handy tools, different woodworkers have varying opinions on what to buy first.

But understanding what defines each of the tools and what sets it apart from the others should make things less confusing for you.

12V Impact Driver

12V Impact Driver

The 12V impact drivers are often the smallest and most affordable options. And so they are always a great choice where budgetary considerations are important.

12V impact drivers present user experience benefits because their more compact and lightweight design makes one-handed operation possible. 

Also, they are a much better option when working in tight places with little space to maneuver the tool. If most of the times you have to use your impact driver in attics, crawlspaces or even overhead tasks the 12V impact driver is a better option than the relatively bulky 18V ones. 

These impact drivers might not have as much power or torque as the 18V/20V options but they still have enough to do most installation and carpentry works for both hobbyists and professionals.

Pros:

  • Relatively more affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Best for tight spaces
  • Takes less space in the toolbox

Cons:

  • Less powerful
  • Not very heavy-duty

18V/20V Impact Driver

18V/20V Impact Driver

The 18V and 20V rated impact drivers can be quite confusing but most of the time they are impact drivers with the same capabilities.

18V impact drivers are rated using nominal voltage while the 20V use the maximum voltage.

Brands like Bosch and Milwaukee rate their impact drivers using the nominal voltage and hence they have 18V tools while other like Porte-Cable and DeWalt have 20V impact drivers since they rate them using maximum voltage.

The 18V/20V impact drivers tend to be more powerful than the 12V models, and they also pack more torque. When doing heavy-duty or high-stress tasks these impact drivers are the best option.

They also tend to be considerably larger and heavier and so it takes more effort to handle them, and they also require more storage space than the 12V impact drivers.

18V impact driver batteries store more energy and hence they will run relatively longer than the 12V models. And this is more so if you get the modern ones that use 6 AH or 9 AH batteries. However, they also take longer to recharge than the 12V impact drivers.

Pros:

  • More power and torque
  • Best for heavy-duty tasks
  • Relatively longer run time

Cons:

  • Relatively pricier
  • Significantly larger and heavier

How to Buy Impact Drivers

How to Buy Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are one of those must-have tools whether you are a hobbyist, DIYer, seasoned woodworker or even a professional contractor.

And like with many power tools, it is always a great idea to go for impact drivers from reputable brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, and Porte-Cable. But, besides from the brand, here is what to look for when choosing the best impact driver.

1. The Motor

The motor is one of the first factors that you need to consider when choosing an impact driver as it determines its performance and capabilities.

And one of the important decisions to make when it comes to the motor is whether to go for the brushless or brushed types. Brushless impact drivers are pricier but they are also more efficient and also produce less heat.

Brushless motors also support smart electronics that help to prevent thermal overload and optimize performance. The brushed motors, on the other hand, might not have all these capabilities but they are more affordable.

2. Torque

The amount of torque that impact drivers send to the fasteners is one of the things that make them much better than standard drills. However, this torque will differ between brands and different impact driver sizes.

Read More: Impact Driver vs. Drill - Which You Should Buy?

For the 12V impact drivers, you can expect to get a torque of between 800 and 1,200 inch-pound while the 18V models are capable of between 1,350 and 2,250 inch-pounds.

The amount of torque that most 12V impact drivers produce should be enough for most light applications in the workshop and home improvement. But, for professionals, those with an average torque or around 1,800 inch-pound will be ideal.

3. Voltage

When it comes to the voltage you will in most instances have to pick between 12V and 18V or 20V depending on the brands.

If you want something affordable for uses in tight spaces and overhead go for the 12V impact driver, and if you want something for heavy-duty tasks the 18V or 20V is the best option.

4. Speed/RPM

Impact drivers will produce more RPMs than standard drills and this is what makes them great for heavy-duty jobs. The increased turns also produce more force for the bit to make the job faster and smoother.

Many impact drivers will have at least three RPM ranges to make them suitable for a variety of driving applications. And so you should not just settle for a drive with the highest RPMs but instead go for one that provides various RPM ranges or options.

5. Ergonomics

Even if you get the most powerful impact driver it might still not serve you well if the ergonomics are not right.

Many top rated impact drivers are now more compact, lighter and also more comfortable to use thanks to advancements in technology. Also, some will have features like rubberized padding on a pistol style grip to minimize user fatigue.

Shock and vibration reducing design also help to make impact drivers more ergonomic, and so you also need to watch out for them when shopping for an impact driver.

Conclusion

An impact driver is likely one of the tools that you will use most in the workshop. Whether you are driving or drilling it is always very handy. However, you still need to make sure that you get the best cordless impact driver from the many options.

By considering factors like motor, voltage, RPM, and torque you should get an impact driver that will suit most of your projects whether you are a pro or a DIYer.

Also, it is always a great idea to go for reputable brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch and Porte-Cable as you are more likely to get a high-quality, high-performing and durable impact driver.

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