Whether you are a professional workman or a DIY enthusiast, you’ll agree that there is one tool you just can’t do without, and that is the drill. It is simply a must-have, possibly even the first tool you bought as you started out.
However, as you come to scale up to heavier projects, you’ll find that sometimes an ordinary drill just doesn’t cut it. Additionally, you will need something strong and robust with the power to drive through longer screws and denser materials. Well, this is where an impact driver comes in.
Contrary to common belief, an impact driver is not the same as a drill. It might look like one, but in reality, it is kind of like the drill’s larger cousin who took all the steroids and hit the gym. Impact drivers are more powerful and specially engineered, such that they can drive longer fasteners faster into denser materials.
They are compact in nature too and made cordlessly, so you get overall better flexibility on how you use them. Therefore, if you work on dense materials more frequently, and you need something that packs a punch, you might want to invest in an impact driver.
That said, finding a good quality impact driver can be a painfully daunting task. For your convenience, we’ve shuffled through the vast internet, done our research to compile for you our top list of the best impact driver your money will buy you today.
Best Impact Driver Reviews 2021
DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
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Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Matrix Cordless Drill Combo Kit
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GALAX PRO 20 V Lithium-Ion 1/4” Hex Cordless Impact Driver
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1. DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
The DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver comes at the peak of our list for a good reason. Featuring its ergonomic design, this fine piece of machinery prides itself on being one of the most expertly crafted impact drivers out there.
Measuring only 5.55 inches front to back, the driver is compact enough to easily fit and maneuver into tight spaces. And despite its heavy-duty appearance, the Dewalt only weighs 2.8 Lbs, which means you can hold it up for extended periods without getting exhausted.
Also in place is a built-in LED light that’s conveniently set with a 20-second delay setting that comes to play every time you release the trigger. The tool also features a ¼ inch chuck, which accepts 1-inch tips smoothly without any load speed required.
With a 20 volt rated battery, the Dewalt packs enough power to drill through any surface. Perhaps this is why it is such a favorite among professional contractors out there.
- High 20v power battery
- The ergonomic design makes it easy to use and hold up
- Is lightweight, therefore can be held for long periods
- Charges relatively quick
- Has brushes
- The battery tends to die quickly under heavy load
- You can’t turn off the hammer
2. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
You can always trust the popular BLACK+DECKER when it comes to delivering high-quality, trustworthy products. And sure enough, here to claim its rightly deserved spot on the list is the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit.
With that classy ergonomic design, coupled with its signature black and orange color pattern, the tool easily stands out among its company of peers. And at just under 80 bucks, you just can’t find a better balance of price and performance out there.
The Black+ decker also features high-performance transmission, which delivers up to 1375 in-lbs of torque. This is by any standards, high and powerful enough for any task. It has in place a quick-release quarter-inch hex chuck as well and is compact and lightweight enough to allow easy use.
The nominal voltage on this beaut is 18 volts with 20 volts without workload. Also included are a charger, screwdriver bit, and battery.
- Feels sturdy yet still lightweight
- Really affordable
- Has light that is activated by a trigger so you can see through tight places
- Plenty of battery life
- Tends to get a bit hot
3. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver
The Milwaukee comes fully equipped with all the features that make a high-end impact driver efficient in its job. This includes an LED under lighting to keep your work fully illuminated, an ambidextrous belt clip to keep the driver firmly in place and an ergonomic design that makes it really comfortable to hold.
However, the most outstanding feature of the machine is its unique red lithium technology. This technology is specifically designed to communicate with the batteries powering it, overall resulting in a cross-communication between both systems. This ensures that the motor does not draw more heat than it can handle.
The batteries themselves are made of lithium-Ion, so they are able to hold up for longer. They are 12 volts rated, which should be enough to support the 2,500 RPM punch the tool packs.
And for convenience, the tool even has LED lights on its side, so you can keep track of just how much battery is left. It is lightweight and cordless, so it can be used literally anywhere. Plus, it is also quite affordable, so you are sure to get value for your money.
- Inexpensive, yet quality
- Has LED lights
- Has belt clip to secure it in place
- Torque may not be enough for heavy-duty jobs
- 12 V battery not as powerful as the other 20V models
4. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Matrix Cordless Drill Combo Kit
Yet another unit from the tech giant Black+Decker is the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Matrix Cordless Drill Combo Kit. At first glance, it’s all near impossible to ignore just how badass this beautiful piece of machinery looks. In fact, the aesthetics alone are well worth the hefty price you’ll pay for it.
But the mean looks are not all there is to the tool. The tool is actually a combo kit, which means it can act as both a rill and an impact driver, through switching to an impact driver attachment.
The Black+Decker is tailored for efficiency and speed. It effortlessly does its job with the help of a 20v lithium-ion battery, supplemented by an equally powerful 20v motor that will have your job done in no time and with the least amount of noise and effort
. Also included are a drill/ driver attachment, an impact attachment, a lithium-ion charger, and a double-ended bit tip.
- Beautiful design
- Both a cordless drill and impact driver
- Powerful 20v lithium battery and motor
- No LED light present
- Get hot
5. GALAX PRO 20 V Lithium-Ion 1/4” Hex Cordless Impact Driver
From its soft rubber handle to the expertly designed ergonomic handle, the GALAX PRO 20 V Lithium-Ion 1/4″ Hex Cordless Impact Driver comes with the promise of one of the smoothest experiences you could expect from an impact driver.
It especially guarantees this with the help of its 20V max, 1.3 Ah lithium batteries, which are more than enough to allow for extended run time.
The tool also features variable speeds, so you can switch speeds by how much you press the trigger, with a max of 2800 RPM (which is also above average). With this, you get perfect control over the drilling speeds you need depending on what you want to set up.
The Galax Pro also has in place a tool-less bits change, with a special chuck that can remove bits as easily and quickly as possible. Simply pull back the collet, and then insert the bits in the collet—all without the need for tools.
The driver is also quite inexpensive. It is the least costly on our list, which is quite the bargain considering all the prime features you get with this bad boy.
- Has a smooth ergonomic, easy to hold design
- Variable speed trigger
- Quite affordable
- Brushless motor helps it run for long
- battery life might not hold up for long
Choosing The Best Impact Driver: Cordless Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Black & Decker For Your Home and Workshop Needs- Buying Guide
Since an impact driver is a more powerful tool, it is naturally expected to come a bit more expensive than your ordinary drill. Well, before you go spending your fortune on the first flashy piece, it is best you get the gritty details on what an impact driver comprises so you can choose the one that suits you best.
We shall look at some of these common features, as well as some common questions asked by individuals regarding impact drivers
First Of All, What Is An Impact Driver? Why Not Just Use An Ordinary Drill?
Well, as its name suggests, an impact driver is simply a tool designed to drive screws. They are usually fitted with quarter-inch hex bit holders to allow for direct connection with screwdriver bits. So then you might be wondering, isn’t that what an ordinary drill is for?
Well, this is true to some extent. A drill does do the same job, and the two are quite similar in appearance as well. However, much as they look like the same thing to the untrained eye, there are a few differences that make them function independently of each other.
The main difference is that an impact driver is more powerful, which makes it able to deliver more torque than your typical drill. This makes it ideal for large fasteners like coach screws and decking screws. The impact drivers achieve this torque through a rotational hammer mechanism, which automatically kicks in when you encounter larger load conditions.
With this, you get a much more serious edge when dealing with thicker, longer screws that would normally stall a cordless drill. Impact drivers also feature more compact shapes that make them especially easy to handle (especially if you find yourself standing on a ladder).
The only downside to impact drivers is that most of them can only work using their own impact-rated quarter-inch hex bits. This, in turn, limits its capability to just reverse and forward movement. It is therefore important to have an impact driver, as well as, a drill in your arsenal.
What Is An Impact Driver Used For?
As we’ve seen, impact drivers are much more powerful versions of drills. They are mainly designed to help easily drive large fasteners. This includes long, thick screws and lag bolts.
Also, by using impact-rated ¼’’ hex drill bits, you can be able to achieve other basic drilling tasks with an impact driver. Because of its greater power and torque, it has the force to drive larger-sized screws up to 3 times quicker than an ordinary drill. They are also more precise and consequently result in less pressure on your wrist.
Key Factors To Consider When Choosing An Impact Driver
Power: Seamlessly Glide Through The Demanding Tasks!
Perhaps the most important element to an impact driver is its power. Needless to say, the more power the tool has, the faster it will drill in the large screws.
Therefore, if you are a professional constructor or you deal with heavy-duty tasks like fastening nuts and screws in machinery and automobiles, you should definitely opt for a tool with more power.
On the other hand, if you are only using it for home DIY projects, then a model with less power would prove equally effective. Other factors that contribute to the overall efficiency of an impact driver include:
Torque: Where Does The Term Rpm Apply Exactly?
This refers to the measure of the twisting power or rotational force of the impact driver. It is what mainly affects how well it will get the job done. Torque is usually measured in inch-pounds.
In this case, a smaller, low toque impact driver (800 inch-pounds) will do good in a workshop setting. For driving multiple screws, you will need one with more torque of about 2,000inch-pounds or higher.
This will be able to produce a higher quantity of blows (per rpm), which, in turn, produces a greater hammering effect on the surface. Impact drivers with higher torque are therefore best for driving through dense, tough materials, like concrete.
Battery: For A Longer, Uninterrupted Process!
The battery capacity of your driver also has a role to play in performance. Most drivers you’ll find out there use either 18V or 12V batteries.
With 18V batteries, you get more inch-pounds of torque, although they will be heavier. With 12V batteries, on the other hand, you get lower torque, although they are lighter and would, therefore, let you work for longer.
Also, on batteries, you might want to consider the charging time. Most brands will use a lithium-ion battery, while in some, you’ll get various fast charging options. Lithium batteries tend to last longer and will generally provide consistent performance p until their cycle is complete. They are lighter in nature and might cost more.
You might want an impact driver that has fast-charged as it reduces the downtime in case you run out of juice. With this, you get to work for longer while cutting down the time you spend waiting for the battery to charge.
Weight: Bigger Is Not Always Better!
As we’ve seen, impact drivers generally weigh less than ordinary drills. The battery size is what varies, and it can cause a significant increase in your tool’s weight. Therefore, for comfort, you are advised to choose a driver with optimal weight, especially if you plan on using it for extended periods.
In the event that your work required brute force, you might have to use an 18V battery-powered driver. Here, you’ll have to employ more muscle to control and operate it. On the other hand, for DIY purposes, you’ll be better off with a lightweight model.
Design: Is It Ergonomic And Easy To Handle?
You’ll find that most impact drivers have the same appearance. They will often have a rubberized grip and will be lightweight with a compact construction. You will want an impact driver that fits easily into your palm.
A good impact driver feels right to the touch, and also doesn’t get too hot or vibrate too much during use. You will also want one with over-mold to protect it from damage if it falls.
Some Other Essential Features You May Also Want To Consider
This kind of technology will be common to most modern impact drivers. Manufacturers especially refer to this because they are more efficient, last longer, and generally perform better than brushed drivers. It is important that you check for smart controls to prevent overheating or overloading, which, in turn, helps increase the longevity of your battery.
Most impact drivers will also feature LED lights beneath the driver’s head. This will help by providing some lighting when working in low lit spaces. LED lights also come in handy in locating your machine if you accidentally drop it.
A Variation Of Speeds
Most models of impact drivers will have up to 3-speed modes. This will let you adjust the tool’s motor speeds depending on the demands of your job. Mostly, they will only need you to squeeze the tool’s trigger tighter.
With a reverse function, your driver doubles back as both a screw remover and screwdriver. You will find a switch in place that will allow you to switch the direction of the rotation from forwards to backward to let you loosen and drive nuts and screws.
Some impact drivers will feature adapters that let you use them as a right-angle driver or wrench. You need to look out for any additional attachments like this, which can help increase your tool’s utility.
So How Exactly Does An Impact Driver Work?
An impact driver works much like your ordinary drill. Using rotational force, they are able to drive screws into metal sheets or wood. However, additionally, impact drivers also apply rotational hammering, a mechanism that is considered more effective when driving screws without the risk of stripping the screw’s head off.
With this, they are more precise in the process of screw removal. Because it is likely that the rotational hammering will be loud, you are advised to wear proper hearing protection when operating impact drivers.
How To Use An Impact Driver
First of all, it is important to note that an impact driver does not accept just any bits like a drill does. Instead, it features a collet that only accepts ¼ inch hex shank driver bits. In order to release or insert a bit, you’ll need to pull the collet in a forward motion. That said, using an impact driver comes down to 7 major steps.
- Insert the battery – if your driver is cordless, it will require a battery to work. Therefore start by inserting a battery by first, switching it off, then sliding the power pack back into position
- Insert the ¼ inch drill bit – next up; you will need to insert the respective ¼ inch bit into the tool’s chuck. Make sure it locks into place.
- Set the respective rotation – go ahead and set the tool’s reverse switch. This can either be forward or reverse, depending on what you want to get done.
- Set the speed you want – if your model has in place a variable speed feature, you should set a particular speed with respect to your task.
- Turn on the tool – switch on the driver.
- Squeeze the trigger – finally, to get the chuck to rotate; you’ll need to squeeze the trigger. In some drivers, the harder you squeeze, the faster it will rotate.
- After the job is completed, set your impact driver aside and let it cool off. Then, afterward, detach its bits, clean it and store it away.
As mentioned, it is imperative that you invest in a couple of quality ¼ inch hex bits. They come in different varieties that can fit any kind of screw head. With this, you will have the option of using your impact driver as a drill.
Since they work a bit differently and have more power, it might take some time to get used to the feel of an impact driver. They are also louder, so you’ll also need hearing protection gear for long durational use
All in all, impact drivers are the ideal tools for doing any heavy-duty fastening and screw driving. With them, you get to rid yourself of all the drudgery of work. They increase efficiency and speed, and in the end, will help achieve more professional results.
Therefore, before you make your pick, you should keep in mind what you want to use the tool for. Then look at the other features like speed, torque, size, battery, and ease of handling and see what you need to ensure a smoother experience.
With this in mind, we have tried to make our reviews as informative as possible, so you get the best value for your money. We hope you get the perfect tool to make your experience as flawless as possible.