If you are a professional carpenter or if you are an interested amateur who often builds things in your own home, then you absolutely need to own a good impact driver.
As anyone familiar with power tools can tell you, impact drivers make hammering in a bunch of nails super simple and hassle-free. But what impact driver is right for you? There are so many to choose from, picking the one that best fits your needs can be difficult.
In this article, we will review the best impact drivers on the market and let you know what’s good and not so good about them. If you can’t read the whole article, go for the Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2″ Inch Impact Wrench.
A Spotlight On Some of The Best Impact Drivers 2020:
Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2″ Inch Impact Wrench
We are starting off this best impact drivers list with a bang. The Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2″ Inch Impact Wrench is an amazingly powerful impact driver that should have more than enough raw torque to satisfy any carpenter or contractor.
Exactly how powerful is this tool? Well, it has two power settings. The more powerful of the two is capable of delivering upwards of 1,100 ft-lbs of torque. The other setting allows for around 700 ft-lbs of fastening torque.
While we are sure that if you look hard enough you can probably find some impact drivers that are more powerful, this is still a very powerful tool. If you are an amateur, this might seem like too much power, but then again it is always better to be safe than sorry.
However, if you are a professional contractor of any sort, then you understand how helpful it is to have such a powerful tool. If you have a particularly long job, then the power of this tool will ensure that you can finish the job a lot quicker than you normally would be able to.
Of course, as you would expect given the power of the tool, the Milwaukee also contains a very powerful motor. But it isn’t the power of the motor that we want to draw your attention to, but how well-made it is.
Despite being very powerful, the motor doesn’t seem to overheat like the motors commonly found on powerful tools. Likewise, while we can’t test it ourselves, Milwaukee does promise that the motor on this impact driver won’t wear out easily and frankly, based on the high-quality of this impact driver, it is probably the case.
To round out this review, we also want to mention that changing the sockets on this driver is super easy and that the battery pack lasts for quite a while.
Two power settings.
Well-designed motor delivers great and long-lasting performance.
Good battery pack.
Very easy to change sockets.
The motor makes it fairly heavy.
DEWALT DCF885M2 20V MAX Lithium Ion 1/4-Inch Impact Driver Kit
It wouldn’t be a best power tools list if DeWalt wasn’t featured at least once. So, it should come as absolutely no surprise that a DeWalt impact driver is being featured on our best impact drivers list. It combines high power, high-quality battery construction, good performance, and plenty of extras. All this is wrapped up in a quality DeWalt product.
Let’s start by discussing the power of this impact driver since power is always important when discussing any power tool, let alone impact drivers. In terms of power, while the DeWalt isn’t the most powerful impact driver around (or even the most powerful on this best impact drivers list), the power of the tool should be more than enough for most.
The max torque output of the DeWalt is 117 ft-lbs. It is also capable of putting out a max of 2,800 RPM and 3,200 IPM (if you are confused at all about what either of these terms means, don’t worry, it is explained later on).
But it isn’t just the power that makes this DeWalt a good choice. It also comes with a great battery. The 20 volt, XR Li-Ion battery pack provides over 30% more battery life when compared to a lot of other competing impact drivers. The charging station that comes with the DeWalt is very convenient and easy to use as well, which only makes the whole package even more valuable.
It is also worth noting that this isn’t just an impact driver, but an impact driver kit. That means that in addition to the great impact drive itself, you also get a whole host of useful extras that would usually cost a lot on their own, but don’t really cost all that much when included as part of the package.
What’s included in the kit are two batteries, a belt hook, a plastic charger, and storage space for both the driver and other extras. Overall, given the price of the DeWalt, getting an extra battery, a good charger, and a good carrying case is a very good deal.
Comes with extra battery.
Long battery life.
Useful carrying case.
Good power output.
Can overheat pretty easily.
Makita XDT14Z 18V LXT Impact Driver
Makita, much like DeWalt, is a brand that you would expect to see on any best impact drivers list. They are an amazing power tool brand and their XDT14Z Impact Driver is a great tool to have for a couple of very important reasons.
First off, it is a pretty powerful tool. In terms of pure torque, it can output 1,550 ft-lbs. In terms of rpm, the tool is capable of outputting a max of 3,600 RPM and 3,800 IPM. This is a ton of power and more than enough power for even the toughest jobs. If you are looking for a good impact driver to keep around for heavy duty jobs, then you definitely can’t go wrong with this Makita impact driver.
In addition to the power of the impact driver, the Makita also comes with a quick-shift mode selector. What this does is allow the impact driver to automatically reduces rotation and impact speed before driving the screw into whatever it is that you are working on.
The Makita XDT14Z is a very versatile tool, mainly because it comes with a bunch of different, very helpful modes. For example, there is a-mode, makes it easier to avoid cross threading by slowing the impact driver. There is also a t-mode, which makes tightening screws faster. In addition to the different modes, you also get access to a speed switch that allows you to change between four different speeds.
So, overall, the Makita XDT14Z Impact Driver lives up to the reputation set by other Makita tools. It is powerful and the different speed options and modes offer a lot of versatility. You also get an option to buy just the tool or a kit which comes with some extras and a carrying case. What else could you really want in an impact driver?
High-quality motor that can deliver up to 3,600 RPM and 3,800 IPM.
Comes with different modes and speed options.
Can be bought individually or as part of a kit.
The battery life could be a bit longer.
PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB Impact Driver Kit
If you want a good impact driver, but you also feel that the rest of the entries on this best impact drivers list are a bit too pricey for your blood, then you will appreciate the Porter-Cable Impact Driver Kit. This is a very affordable impact driver, that as you will see, doesn’t compromise on quality.
The most obvious draw of this impact driver is its cost. It is noticeably more affordable than most other impact drivers, both on this list and in general. While you could maybe find some ones that are cheaper, they probably would be pretty bad in terms of quality.
The Porter-Cable is probably the cheapest you can go without compromising totally on quality. Even if you decide to go with the kit (which is what we are reviewing) as opposed to just buying the tool on its own, you still end up saving quite a bit of money. So, if staying within your budget is a big concern for you, then this is the impact driver to go with.
Of course, as we mentioned before, low price isn’t the only thing that the Porter-Cable has going for it. It is also very powerful, which is very surprising given the price of the impact driver. It has a very high-torque motor that can output roughly 2,900 RPM and 3,000 IPM.
Now, as you can see from these numbers, it isn’t as powerful as some of the other tools that we have reviewed on this best impact drivers list, but when you consider how inexpensive the Porter-Cable is, it is very impressive.
Likewise, the Porter-Cable comes equipped with a pretty impressive battery. The battery is both durable and provides fairly long life. Plus, there’s actually a fuel gauge that tells you how much battery life you have left. It may sound like a minor feature, but it is incredibly helpful.
Also, because the Porter-Cable is fairly compact, it ends up being very easy to carry around and to use in tight spaces.
Fairly powerful, especially given the size and the price.
Impressive battery quality.
Exterior isn’t very durable.
Probably won’t last for a long time if used constantly.
Bosch Bare-Tool 25618B Impact Driver
We are ending our best impact drivers list by looking at yet another very good tool from a famous brand of power tools, Bosch. Bosch makes some very great power tools, and the 25618B Impact Driver definitely deserves to be mentioned alongside the very best of them.
In terms of power, it is very well-equipped. In terms of pure torque, it can deliver up to 1,500 ft-lbs. This translates to a max RPM output of around 2,800 and an IPM output of 3,200. So, if you are worried about not having enough power for the particular job that you are doing, then this is a good option. It is more than powerful enough to handle whatever you can throw at it.
It is also very easy to use in tight spaces because it is so compact. It is a good option if your garage is already pretty packed and you find it difficult to maneuver with bulkier drills. It is also pretty light, which makes it even easier to use.
In terms of cost, while the Bosch isn’t the least expensive option on this best impact drivers list, it is definitely up there. Just buying the tool alone should be doable for everyone who isn’t on a super tight budget.
Finally, it comes with a built-in LED light that you can turn-on pretty easily with a button near the trigger. This seems like a small feature, but those of you who have ever tried to work in an area with poor lighting know how helpful this can be.
Built-in LED light.
Powerful enough to handle a wide variety of jobs.
Battery and charger must be bought separately.
Impact Drivers Buying Guide
Above you have relatively in-depth reviews of five of the best impact drivers on the market right now. But, if that wasn’t enough for you, we have something else that might be of interest to you. As you might have guessed from the heading, we are giving you a buying guide to supplement our best impact drivers list.
In this buying guide, you will find out why you need an impact driver (while veteran contractors will know the answer already, some others may be curious as to why they need one when they can just use a power drill). You will also find out what some of the most important factors are to consider when buying an impact driver of your own.
Know Which Brands Are Consistently Good
With power tools, brand is very important. Power tools are typically pretty expensive, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a tool from a brand that is less than reliable. Therefore, when it comes to shopping for any power tools, including impact drivers, it pays to know which brands put out consistently good products and which ones don’t.
When it comes to impact drivers, all the usual brands are fairly trustworthy. We featured a lot of these brands on our best impact drivers list. For example, DeWalt makes some great impact drivers, as does Makita and Bosche.
Now, we aren’t saying that you can’t find good impact drivers that are from lesser-known brands, just that it is always a good idea to stick with known brands. They are well-known for a reason after all.
Power And How To Measure It
Throughout this best impact drivers list we have constantly stressed how important it is for you to get an impact driver that is powerful. But, saying you are buying an impact driver on your own and you aren’t using any sort of guide, how can you determine which impact drivers are powerful enough and which aren’t?
Well, there are a few things that you can look at. But, before evaluating the impact driver itself, ask what you are looking for in an impact driver. If you are just an interested amateur who just wants an impact driver for home building projects, then your power needs are going to be different from a professional carpenter, contractor, or someone who works in construction.
Once you have a rough idea of what sort of power you need, you can start evaluating impact drivers. Firstly, look at the ft-lbs of an impact driver. Ft-lbs is the way that torque is measured. So, it gives you a rough idea of how powerful the impact driver is overall. You probably saw this mentioned a lot during the best impact drivers list.
Secondly, look at the impact drivers RPM and IPM. RPM refers to revolutions per minute and IPM refers to impacts per minute. RPM is used for determining how powerful an impact driver is when getting screws out. While IPM is used to show how powerful an impact driver is while driving them in.
Another important thing to evaluate is the overall quality of the impact driver’s motor. You don’t want to get an impact driver with a motor that is going to burn out quickly (rendering the tool useless) or that is going to overheat, which requires you to take breaks and thus makes jobs take longer.
Look for impact drivers that advertise long-lasting or “brushless” motors, as these will last you for a long time.
The truly excellent cordless impact drivers will feel smooth during use, even when driving in larger fasteners. This is when a well-built motor stands out, and why choosing a sturdy brushless impact is so important.
Ease of Use
One key aspect that separates the best impact drivers from the models you should avoid, is simple the device is to operate. The best models are simple to use, no matter what project you’re relying on them for. The tool should comfortably handle driving into difficult and easy materials. That means it needs to offer an adjustable power output that’s simple to operate. Consider how long it takes to swap bits, because the transition should be nearly instantaneous. Also, think about whether the unit features bit holders or not. The best impact drivers on the market are equipped with mounts for additional bits, to help with quick changing between them.
Battery life is another key factor that must be considered when choosing impact drills. A good cordless impact needs to perform for an extended period before requiring a battery swap. The best way to test this quality is through real-world projects that involve driving screws into different materials. After all, what good is the most powerful cordless impact driver if the tool demands a charge after just a few fasteners? Always look at how long a driver performs before you have to swap out the battery before deciding if it’s the tool for you.
Finally, after considering the power, the quality, the ease of use and the battery life, it’s time to look at the extras each unit is equipped with. This is features like built-in LED lights, magnetic bit holders, adjustable speed settings and belt clips. Consider which features mean the most to you and use those as a guide to help you decide which brushless impact is the right investment for you.
It’s no good deciding on the best cordless driver because it’s a 20v max unit, instead of an 18 volt, or because you like one name brand above another. Instead, think about the power, the build-quality, the ease-of-use, the battery life and the extra features each unit is equipped with. Keeping these factors in mind will help you look beyond the inch pounds rating of a unit and choose one you’ll be delighted with in the end.
What do you use an impact driver for?
Impact drivers are designed to drive long fasteners into place comfortably and efficiently. A good driver can handle long screws and even some lag bolts with the right adapter. Impact drivers will also serve as a drill when equipped with hex-shank drill bits, or hex-shank drill adapters. These versatile tools make driving difficult fasteners more comfortable, while maintaining the speed that high torque performance provides.
What are the best impact drivers?
The best impact driver will be different for everyone. The top drivers have been evaluated and ranked, and the list includes the following recommendations. Dewalt DCF885M2 20V MAX Lithium Ion ¼-inch Impact Driver PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB Impact Driver Makita XDT14Z 18V LXT Impact Driver Bosch 25618B Impact Driver Each of these drivers stands out in its own way, and you’ll have to look at the differences in the guide to determine which will offer you the best performance for your needs.
Are impact drivers worth it?
Yes and no. For the right tasks impact drivers are absolutely worth the investment. If you have a large number of fasteners to drive, for a project such as building a picket fence, laying a deck or installing drywall, a good impact driver is well worth the investment. Impact drivers are lightweight, but they deliver stable power. They also reduce the amount of torque you’ll experience on your arms and wrists while putting in large fasteners. This is a great relief compared to using a powerful drill-driver. If you never have projects with many fasteners, an impact driver may not be worth it for you.
We genuinely hope that both veteran contractors and amateurs alike got at least some use out of this best impact drivers article. Whether it be the actual reviews or the buying guide, or both, we hope that you found it interesting and helpful.
However, just because this article is ending doesn’t mean the conversation has to. We want you to leave us a few comments telling us what you thought of the article as a whole, as well as any questions or concerns that you may have.