It might look like a cordless drill and hammer drill’s stubbier cousin, but impact drivers are in a class of their own. These power tools are engineered to drive longer fasteners into dense materials, as well as loosen smaller bolts and nuts. They are more expensive than a standard cordless drill, but if you frequently work on dense materials and you want a tool that packs a punch, then the cordless impact driver is a must-have.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes impact drivers different from standard drills and hammer drills. In case you’re looking for the best impact driver online as a gift for yourself or someone else, then you’ll definitely find our buyer’s guide and impact driver reviews helpful.
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)
BL Brushless motor delivers 1, 500 inches pounds Of max torque
Variable speed (0 3, 400 RPM & 0 3, 600 IPM) for a wide range of fastening applications
The BL Brushless motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
Efficient BL Brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50 percentage longer run time per charge
The electronically controlled BL Brushless motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
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PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (PCCK647LB)
BRUSHLESS MOTOR: Delivers 50% more runtime than brushed model.
PERFORMANCE: Provides 2,700 MAX RPMs and 1,400 in-lbs of max torque for large fastening applications.
ERGONOMIC DESIGN: 14% shorter in length than previous model and quick change chuck for one-handed easy bit changes.
INCLUDES: PCC647 Impact Driver, (2) PCC680L 20V MAX* Lithium Ion Batteries, (1) PCC699L Charger, (1) Screwdriving Bit.
PART OF THE PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* SYSTEM: Battery works with all Porter-Cable 20V MAX* lithium ion products.
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)
High Performance Transmission delivers 1375 in-lbs of max torque
Quick Release 1/4" Hex Chuck
Compact & Lightweight for ease of use
Maximum initial battery voltage measured without a workload is 20 volts and nominal voltage is 18
Included Components: (1) BDCI202, (1) 20v Max Battery, (1) Charger, (1) Screwdriving bit
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CRAFTSMAN V20 Impact Driver Kit, Cordless (CMCF810C1)
Part of the V20 cordless system
Brushless motors provide up to 30% more runtime and improved durability
1/4in.Cordless impact driver delivers 1, 500 inlbs of torque for driving larger fasteners
Quick release chuck for easy1-handed bit changes
Max 2, 800 RPM and 3, 500 ipms for quick fastening applications
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SKIL 20V 1/4 Inch Hex Cordless Impact Driver, Includes 2.0Ah PWRCore 20 Lithium Battery and Charger - ID572702
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO GET STARTED—Cordless impact driver set comes with a PWR Core 20 2. 0Ah Lithium Battery and 20V Charger.
TORQUE FOR TOUGH TASKS—This 20V Impact Driver is ideal for heavy-duty work like driving large fasteners through dense wood.
Longer run time & battery life—the PWR Core 20 Lithium battery has an innovative temperature management system to keep the battery cool and powering on through your project.
Easy bit changes/4 inch hex collet makes for quick changes, wasting no time.
VARIABLE SPEED CONTROL—Precise start with full control for a variety of tasks.
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Ryobi P1870 18V Lithium Ion Battery Powered 1/4 Inch 1,500 Inch Pound Impact Driver Kit (P234 Impact Driver, P102 18V Battery and P119 Charger Included)
P236 IMPACT DRIVER: With multiple useful features like a notched rubber grip mold for comfort and a keyless, tool-free bit changing system, the P236 is a powerful piece of hardware that will dish out up to 1,500 inch pounds of torque for as long as your Ryobi One+ batteries will keep it charged
MAGTRAY: Keep fasteners or bits stored safely on this impact driver’s magnetic tray, located conveniently at its base. With its help, you’ll be able to work with both hands on the driver, switching applications in a flash as needed
P119 CHARGER: This compact charger fits over the top of your lithium ion or NiCad batteries to keep them charged for a variety of tasks around the home
P102 BATTERY: This compact battery will provide you with plenty of energy while minimizing the working weight of your tool so you can work with greater precision
ONE+ COMPATIBLE: This tool will work with the Ryobi One+ suite of batteries. Compatible models include the P100, P102, P103, P104, P105, P107, and P108
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Impact Driver, GALAX PRO 20V Lithium Ion 1/4" Hex Cordless Impact Driver with LED Work Light, 6pcs Screwdriver Bits, Variable Speed (0-2800RPM)- 1.3Ah Battery and Charger Included
20V MAX BATTERY: The Cordless Driver comes with a 1.3Ah Lithium Ion battery and a charger for extended run time. Indicator on the the front of the battery to display how many power left for less downtime on the job
VARIABLE SPEED TRIGGER: Variable speed switch adjust speed by the amount of trigger depression. The trigger switch(0 and 2800rpm) allows to control your own drilling speed which perfects for what you are setting up for
TOOL-LESS BITS CHANGE: With this special chuck, you can easily and quickly remove bits from the tool by simply pulling back on the collet. Insert the bits into the collet. No tools necessary
ERGONOMIC HANDLE DESIGN & CONVENIENCE: Soft rubber handle provides a comfortable grip for being breezily operated in one hand, includes a belt hook attached to the base of the tool lets you hold on to fasteners and bits that you may need to attach to the tool while you’re high up on a ladder
WHAT YOU GET: 1*GALAX PRO 95307 Impact Driver, 1* 1.3A Battery, 1* Charger,1* Belt Clip, 6* Screwdriver Bits, 1* User Manual, 1* Warranty Card; 24 Months Warranty
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1. Makita XDT131 18V Cordless Impact Driver Kit
It has a durable and powerful brushless motor.
It has a variable speed trigger that can go from 0 to 3,400 RPM and 0 to 3,600 IPM.
This Makita impact driver has a pair of ultra-bright dual LED lights.
The 3Ah battery and the charger have LED indicators.
This is one of the priciest impact drivers on the list.
The Makita XDT131 18V Cordless Impact Driver Kit can make any contractor or woodworker’s job easier. Whether it’s long screws, drill bits, or lag screws, it can deliver the torque and power you need to get the job done. It has a powerful motor that generates up to 1,500 in-lbs of max torque. It has a variable speed setting, allowing you to reach a maximum 3,400 RPM and 3,600 IPM to complement its torque.
Impact drivers are notoriously hard on the ears. This Makita impact driver’s brushless motor ensures that not only is it powerful and reliable, it also produces less noise. Efficiency is increased with this type of motor, and you don’t have to anticipate the day when the brush needs to be replaced.
The package includes an 18V 3Ah lithium-ion battery, a charger, and a fabric tool bag. Another great thing about this impact driver is that its ultra-bright LED lights stay on several seconds after you let go of the trigger.
It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, but the price is justified considering its excellent performance and reliable battery.
2. PORTER-CABLE PCCK647LB 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
It has a durable brushless motor.
It has a LED battery indicator at the base of the tool.
The bright LED illuminator stays on several seconds after you release the trigger.
It has a handy bit holder at the base.
It has a belt hook that allows you to keep it within reach while you work.
The handle is wider than its predecessor. Plus, it can be hard to reach the trigger if you have a smaller hand.
Upgrade your tool arsenal with this PORTER-CABLE PCCK647LB 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit. Whether you’re fastening long screws or extracting them, this impact driver can do the job. It has a brushless motor, making it more durable and reliable. You don’t have to constantly worry about the tool breaking down one day because the carbon brushes need to be replaced. Brushless motors also ensure maximum efficiency and less noise.
It delivers as much as 1,495 in-lbs of max torque, plus a maximum of 3,100 IPM and 2,700 RPM. This allows you to fasten and extract screws and nuts easily without exerting too much pressure on the tool.
It has a bright LED light, making it ideal for working in attics, basements, and poorly lit workshops. Its handy battery charge indicator tells you when the tool needs to be charged.
The 20V MAX* Lithium Ion Compact Battery with 1.5 Ah and compatible charger are included in this package. Porter-Cable offers a 3-year limited warranty for the tool.
3. BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
Even when the battery is attached to its base, the tool remains lightweight.
The powerful motor can deliver a maximum of 1,375 in-lbs of max torque, ensuring that fastening or extracting bolts and nuts will be a piece of cake.
The battery pack and screwdriving bit are already included in the package.
Its LED light provides additional illumination to your work area.
Its handle is nicely contoured and rubber overmolded to keep it secure in your grip.
The 1.5Ah battery runs out of juice faster compared to the battery of other impact drivers.
The BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit packs as much as 1,375 in-lbs of max torque. Although it may not seem as powerful as other impact drivers on the list, this Black+Decker power tool delivered an impressive performance in screwing or extracting screws, bolts, and nuts.
This compact tool ensures that operator fatigue is not going to be an issue thanks to its ergonomic design. It is lightweight, weighing only 2.8 lbs even with the battery attached at the base. It has a nice ergonomic handle with a large trigger that is easy to reach.
It also carries a 2-year limited warranty. At the time of writing, the tool is available for less than $70. This is a good deal especially when you factor in the inclusion of the 1.5Ah lithium-ion battery, charger, and screwdriving bit.
4. CRAFTSMAN CMCF810C1 V20 Impact Driver Kit
The contoured and slim handle, plus its textured rubber overmold.
It can drive more than 130 fasteners when its battery is on full charge.
It has a heavy-duty brushless motor.
It has a built-in work light.
This Craftsman impact driver is a little lighter compared to others.
There is no belt hook or magnetic bit holders on the unit.
Driving and extracting screws into thick and dense workpieces can be easy when you have the CRAFTSMAN CMCF810C1 V20 Impact Driver Kit. This impact driver boasts of a heavy-duty brushless motor that delivers as much as 1,500 in-lbs of max torque. Want an impact driver that is both powerful and efficient? Then you might want to check out this Craftsman unit as it can produce a maximum of 3,500 IPM and 2,800 RPM.
The housing is durable and impressive, while the handle is nicely textured to keep it secure in your grip as you work. It also has a variable-speed trigger, so you can better control the tool. The 20V lithium-ion battery, charger, and soft carry bag are already included in the package.
5. SKIL ID572702 20V Impact Driver
Its 2Ah 20V lithium-ion battery has a built-in temperature management system that keeps it cool even after driving and extracting multiple screws.
It has a built-in forward and reverse LED indicator on top.
This impact driver has a built-in LED light at the base to help you see your work surface.
It comes with a detachable belt hook.
The battery’s power is very limited.
Let’s take a look at the features of the SKIL ID572702 20V Impact Driver to see if this is the right tool for you. This impact driver has a powerful and heavy-duty motor that delivers up to 1,100 in-lbs of max torque, 2,500 RPM and an impact rate of up to 3,200 IPM. Driving and extracting 3″ screws is a piece of cake as the driver can produce up to 1,100 in-lbs of max torque.
It seems pretty generic at first glance, but if you dig deeper, you’ll see some features that make this impact driver stand out. Its forward/reverse LED indicator located on top of the unit, for example, is something that other models don’t have. It also has a nice, contoured handle, as well as an easy to reach the variable-speed trigger.
The price is pretty reasonable for DIYers and occasional users. It can be used in professional settings, but keep in mind that its battery life doesn’t last very long. You might want to buy a spare if you’re planning to bring it to your jobsite so you can continue working while the other’s plugged to an outlet.
6. Ryobi P1870 18V Impact Driver Kit
This Ryobi impact driver has a magnetic holder at the base. You can place bits, screws, and other fasteners here.
The 18V lithium-ion battery and portable charger are included in the package.
It has a durable cast aluminum gear housing.
The handle, though a little wide to be comfortable, is covered in a textured rubber overmold to keep it securely in your grip.
This is one of the most affordable impact drivers in the market.
It doesn’t have an LED light.
Ryobi has been growing in popularity over the years thanks to its affordable yet high-quality versions of power tools. One of these tools is the Ryobi P1870 18V Impact Driver Kit. It has a powerful motor that delivers as much as 1,500 in-lbs of max torque. It comes with a long-lasting 18V lithium-ion battery that lets you fasten more screws and nuts during a single charge.
Even with the battery attached, this is one of the lightest impact drivers on the list. The trigger is easy to reach despite the width of the handle. The texture on the rubbed overmold is a nice touch, too.
The highlight of this impact driver (apart from its good performance) is the MagTray magnetic holder. Keep screws and bits conveniently within reach with this feature.
Unlike the more expensive impact drivers, this one doesn’t have an LED light. If you have a brightly lit workshop or you have good eyesight, then I think you don’t have much use for an LED light anyway.
7. GALAX PRO 20V Impact Driver
This is the most affordable impact driver on the list.
The package includes a 20V Galax Pro lithium-ion battery, a charger, and 6 pieces of 65 mm double-end bits.
The belt hook allows you to keep it within reach while you’re working.
Its contoured and textured handle.
It has a bright LED light to illuminate the work surface.
This tool is only ideal for light jobs.
Its 1.3Ah battery.
GALAX PRO is one of the newest brands to join the power tool competition, and one of its products is this GALAX PRO 20V Impact Driver. This affordable yet highly rated tool features an impressive motor that delivers as much as 100 N.m of max torque, as well as 3,000 IPM.
This impact driver is smaller and lighter compared to the other tools in the list. Because of its size and weight, you can easily fit it in corners and tight spaces.
Other handy features include its variable speed setting, quick bit change, and rotational direction switch (located on top of the trigger). The contoured handle is covered in textured and durable nylon.
It has a 2-year warranty, but keep in mind that it’s for light and medium-duty use only.
Impact Driver Basics
To better understand how an impact driver works, let’s compare and contrast it with your standard drills and hammer drills.
A standard drill is a handheld power tool that is used to bore holes or drive screws into wood and some metals. Its motor produces a simple rotary motion to bore a hole or drive a fastener into the material. You can use it to drill holes through concrete or masonry, but it should be done carefully or it’s going to shorten the life of your drill.
Hammer drills, on the other hand, are perfect for brick, concrete, and stone. Unlike standard drills, hammer drills don’t just produce a regular rotary motion. These power tools combine rotary drilling with a very fast hammering motion to bore through masonry.
Despite their sheer power and ability to create a hole through the toughest materials, driving screws is not something hammer drills can do. This is a job for another type of power tool called the impact driver.
Impact drivers are high-torque power tools used to drive larger self-threading screws into dense materials. Unlike standard and hammer drills, their chucks only use ¼” hex-shank driver bits and drills. They can also be used to loosen and extract screws, nuts, and bolts. If you have corroded or over-torqued fasteners and you’ve tried every trick in the book to remove them but to no avail, then having an impact driver can definitely help you.
These tools are almost similar to hammer drills in which they combine rotary motion and hammering action. Hammer drills, however, use a simple tapping motion to bore through masonry. Impact drivers, on the other hand, use hammering blows that do not just go downwards, but also move side to side, to drive larger screws into the material. Take a look at this video to learn more about how an impact driver works.
Impact Driver Buyer’s Guide
When you pick up an impact driver’s box or manual, you’ll notice the ubiquity of information about its torque rating. That’s because torque is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best impact drivers.
Torque (or max torque) is the amount of rotational force (not the speed) generated by a power tool. It is rated in inch-pounds (in-lbs) or Newton-meter (N⋅m if you’re using SI units). Because they generate an enormous amount of torque, impact drivers are perfect for driving longer screws into dense materials.
When choosing the best impact driver, look for one that generates a lot of torque. Couple that with a high-voltage battery, and you have the perfect tool. If you’re going to use it for drilling, then make sure that it produces high RPM, too.
Excessive torque is a common problem for single-speed impact drivers. It can result in thread damage and stripped or snapped heads, especially if you’re using smaller and delicate fasteners. To prevent excessive torque, choose an impact driver with a variable speed setting. This allows you greater control of the tool by starting slowly, then increasing the speed as you go along.
Brushless Versus Brush Motor
Impact drivers with brush motors are reliable and inexpensive. The problem with impact drivers with brush motors is that their carbon brushes eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Impact drivers with brush motors, however, are very rare these days and have largely been replaced by brushless motors.
Power tools with brushless motors are more reliable when it comes to performance and power. They are more expensive, but you can save money in the long term as you don’t have to replace the carbon brushes now and then.
Some impact drivers are powered by 12-volt batteries, while some are powered by 18-volt or 20-volt ones. So, which battery is perfect for your application?
12V impact drivers are ideal light-duty applications. If you’re driving smaller or moderately sized screws or you’re not going to use the tool regularly, then a 12V impact driver will suffice.
But if you’re planning to drive a lot of screws in one day or you frequently drive 3″ screws and above into dense materials, then choose the more powerful 18V or 20V impact drivers.
Is a 20V battery better than its 18V counterpart? The truth is no, both batteries work basically the same. 20V batteries might sound a little more impressive, but this is all a marketing gimmick. When you squeeze the impact driver’s trigger, the power output will surge to 20V at first and will dial down to 18V after several moments.
The maximum output of your impact driver’s battery is measured in voltage. Amp-hours (Ah), on the other hand, will tell you how long a single charge will last. Amp-hours range from as low as 1.3Ah to as high as 6Ah. If you want to get more out of your battery, then choose one with higher Amp-hours. In most cases, a 2 to 3Ah battery will suffice.
Consider the tool’s weight before buying one. If you’re going to drive more than a hundred fasteners in one day, chances are an extremely heavy tool that will take its toll on your hand, wrist, and arm. Include the battery’s overall weight into the equation, too.
The majority of impact drivers today have a built-in LED light. This feature is important because you sometimes have to do your work in a poorly lit area of your workshop. Users with poor eyesight will also find it helpful.
When choosing an impact driver, look for ones that have a metal belt hook so you can keep your tool within reach always. If you don’t want the belt hook, you can always unscrew and remove it anyway.
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The Makita XDT131 18V Cordless Impact Driver Kit is one of the best impact drivers in the market right now. It’s a little more expensive than most of the other tools we have reviewed, but it’s well worth the investment. So, what makes it the superior impact driver?
The Makita XDT131 Impact Driver is equipped with a brushless motor that produces as much as 1,500 in-lbs of max torque. Couple that with a variable speed that can go up to 3,400 RPM, and you have a powerful tool that you can use at home or even in jobsites if you’re a professional builder.
This impact driver comes with an 18V lithium-ion battery. It is rated 3Ah, so you’ll get more out of it in a single charge than the other impact drivers on the list. The battery has an LED light that tells you when it’s time to charge. Plus, it comes with its own charger with indicators, as well as a tool bag.
The body is more compact than most. This allows you to squeeze it into corners and tight spaces easily. It only weighs 3.3 lbs even with the battery attached at its base, reducing hand, wrist, and arm fatigue.
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