Impact drivers are a must-have for any homegrown handyman or professional. While they might seem similar to other drills, they really are necessary for many projects, especially those that use long screws. However, not all impact drivers are the same. Some are larger than others with fancy add-ons, while others are more simplistic.
Depending on how often you’ll use an impact driver, you might be able to get away with a cheaper, simplistic model. Or, you might need to purchase a durable driver that will stand up to heavy wear and tear. Whatever your needs, choosing the correct driver is important to help you get the most bang for your buck. We’ve provided reviews on a wide variety of drivers to help you choose the perfect one for your needs.
|Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt Kit|
|Makita XDT131 18V LXT Kit||7 lbs||4.5/5|
|Ryobi One+ P236 18V|
(Best for the Money)
|Milwaukee 2656-20 M18||2 lbs||4.15/5|
|RIDGID ZRR86034K Hyper-Lith X4||7 lbs||3.9/5|
With a premium lithium battery, this impact driver is one of the most powerful ones out there without any added weight. The whole driver weighs 3.1 pounds, allowing for extended use. The lithium battery comes with a 2-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about changing it anytime soon; plus, you won’t have to worry about fading power. At an impressive 1,280 in/lbs of turning torque, this driver also makes hard jobs in tight spaces much easier. And an LED light helps illuminate dark spaces so that you can get your work done right. This driver even comes with a responsive variable-speed trigger, giving you complete control during operation.
The only problem you might have with this driver is decreased power after lots of use. Some customers reported noticeably different power outputs after they had used their driver for a couple of years. But this driver is covered by a warranty.
This driver also uses a lithium battery and features a BL brushless motor, allowing it to more effectively increase run time, power, and speed. The kit comes with a charger for the lithium battery, which reaches full charge in just thirty minutes – one of the fastest charge times on the market. Though this tool is lightweight, it does weigh slightly more than our top pick. It also comes with an LED light to help illuminate dark places and variable speed helps you completely control the driver.
Despite all the positive features, this driver also has some negatives. It is a little harder to control than our top pick, even with variable speed. Plus, the storage bag it comes with isn’t very impressive and offers little protection. You really need to purchase a separate carry bag if you travel often with this driver. The customer service for this tool is also not good. Many customers reported receiving dirty tools that weren’t properly packed in their box.
If you aren’t planning on using your impact driver very much, you might want to consider this one. It’s not as great as the top two, but it is a great value. This driver delivers 1,600 in/lbs of torque, making it much more powerful than other models. It uses a compact, lithium battery like our top two listings and comes with a compact charger. The battery is lightweight, allowing for extended use. This impact driver is a wonderful choice for occasional home use.
However, the Ryobi One+ isn’t as durable as our top pick. The battery is finicky and doesn’t always charge correctly. The charger that comes with the tool is occasional defective, and many customers also reported defective batteries. The company doesn’t have great customer service, which makes getting a refund nearly impossible. The impact driver itself is decent, but the low-quality batteries knock it down a couple notches. After all, it’s impossible to use a driver without a battery.
This is a decent impact driver. It comes with LED lighting to help you see in those small, dark corners and features a textured handle to prevent slippage. It has a variable-speed trigger and a motor that can create up to 3,450 impacts per minute. Redlink technology helps prevent overheating, improving the overall efficiency of the driver.
On the flipside, this driver comes with a lot of negatives. It’s not very durable and can malfunction even after slight use. In some cases, it’s dead right out of the box. While it is covered under warranty, the warranty is very limited, and the return window is small, so it’s often impossible to get your money back. Additionally, the LED light frequently malfunctions and often won’t turn off, which runs the battery down. This driver loses power quickly.
This driver has a high torque output of 1,750 in/lbs, making it usable for even the toughest jobs. It features a one-handed, quick-reload holder and a micro-textured grip that provides comfort and security while in use. This is a tool you can use for extended periods of time, in wet or sweaty conditions.
However, there’s a reason this product is at the bottom of our list. It’s really not all that great. The battery runs at full speed until the charge drains, so the driver can run out of juice very suddenly if you aren’t paying attention. Unfortunately, the charge indicator isn’t in a convenient location, so it’s easy to forget about it and end up with your bit stuck in a hole. It’s also not very durable and breaks easily. While this tool does come with a lifetime warranty, it’s only refundable under very specific conditions. This is not a professional-grade tool.
When purchasing a driver, you should choose one with a high-quality battery. Some drivers have batteries that charge quickly and last for a long time, while others have bargain-quality batteries that quickly lose charge and die. A bad battery can quickly ruin even the most well-designed impact driver, so be sure to double-check the battery quality before making a purchase.
Having a reliable variable speed is often important. Attempt to drive through a piece of wood too fast and you’ll break it. Preferably, the varying speed mechanism should be simple and quickly adjustable. Variable speeds that are tied to the trigger itself are often the easiest to use.
How light and comfortable is the driver? The lighter the driver, the longer you’ll be able to use it without strain. A comfortable grip can prevent agitating your hands and help you control the driver better while operating it. While this feature might not seem like it’s that important, choosing a comfortable impact driver is essential to preventing fatigue and injury.
Most impact drivers only come with ¼-inch chucks. If you need to use a specialty bit size, keep this in mind when purchasing a driver. You’ll likely need to purchase a chuck adaptor separately.
Remember that because impact drivers carry a lot more power behind them, they are often much louder than your average drill. You should always wear earplugs when operating. Following your particular impact driver’s safety precautions is also important.
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We’ve explored the pros and cons of some of the most popular products out there. An impact driver is necessary for many different projects, both at home and professionally, but this tool won’t do you much good if it’s low-quality. There are countless factors that need to be taken into account when purchasing an impact driver, including torque, comfort, battery quality, variable speeds, built-in lights, and much more.
The Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt Kit is the best on the market by far with its lightweight design and durability. However, the Ryobi One+ P236 18V is the best value for your money, especially if you don’t plan on using it too often. Depending on your needs, one of these two drivers is probably your best bet. But now that you’ve read our reviews, you can make your own informed decision.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!
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