Impact Driver Reviews — Finding the Best Impact Driver

This guide provides detailed recommendations and cordless impact driver reviews. It was a joy to supplement on-the-job knowledge with hours of online and hands-on research to bring you the best information. My hope is that after reading this impact driver guide, you feel you are an informed buyer and ready to buy the best cordless impact driver for your job.

How to Choose the Best Impact Driver

Man using a DeWalt impact driverThe first thing to consider before looking at impact drivers is the types of jobs it will perform. Smaller impact drivers can step up to big jobs, such as drilling large holes in concrete. However, if you are subjecting one to such punishment more than 10 percent of the time, do yourself a favor and buy a larger impact driver.

The primary measure of impact driver size is torque. Manufacturers express this number in either foot-pounds or inch-pounds. This guide standardizes on foot-pounds to eliminate confusion. If a particular tool’s specs express torque in inch-pounds, divide that number by 12 to convert to foot-pounds.

These are general torque ratings based on what the tool is used for 90 percent of the time.

  • Drilling in soft materials such as wood or small holes in concrete – 40 to 70 foot-pounds
  • Drilling holes in concrete or thick metal and torquing nuts – 70 to 150 foot-pounds
  • Working on high-torque nuts, rusty lug nuts or pulley nuts – 150 to 500 foot-pounds

Other aspects must be considered also:

  • A higher foot-pounds rating implies larger physical size. Sometimes it pays to sacrifice power for a smaller, lighter impact driver more suitable for tight spaces.
  • A cordless impact driver’s “punch” is proportional to battery voltage. A higher voltage draws power faster from the battery.
  • An impact driver with a brushless motor has longer run times per battery.

There is no one-size-fits-all impact driver. Even the best brushless impact driver from a top name might not satisfy, if the type of chuck, ease of use, comfort and buyer experiences were not up to snuff. Each impact driver review here covers all these characteristics.

Best Impact Driver Reviews Comparison Chart

ImageDescriptionVoltsBattery CapacityRatingOur ReviewPrice
DEWALT DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-ion Impact DriverDEWALT DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-ion Impact Driver
** Editor's Choice - Best Impact Driver **
20V2.0Ah9.4Our Review

Check Price

Makita XDT111 3.0 Ah 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact DriverMakita XDT111 3.0 Ah 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
** Best Budget Impact Driver **
18V3.0Ah9.2Our Review

Check Price

Milwaukee 2703-22 XC M18 Fuel Brushless 1/2-Inch Drill/DriverMilwaukee 2703-22 XC M18 Fuel Brushless 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver18V4.0Ah9.2Our Review

Check Price

PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB 20-volt 1/4-Inch Hex Lithium Ion Impact DriverPORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB 20-volt 1/4-Inch Hex Lithium Ion Impact Driver20V1.5Ah8.9Our Review

Check Price

Rockwell RK2860K2 Li-ion Brushless Impact DriverRockwell RK2860K2 Li-ion Brushless Impact Driver20V3.0Ah7.2Our Review

Check Price

Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Impact DriverHitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Impact Driver18V3.0Ah8.8Our Review

Check Price

Makita XFD061 18V LXT Lithium-Ion COMPACT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-DrillMakita XFD061 18V LXT Lithium-Ion COMPACT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill18V3.0Ah9.0Our Review

Check Price

Bosch Bare-Tool 25618B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact DriverBosch Bare-Tool 25618B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver18V2.0Ah9.0Our Review

Check Price

Bosch IDH182-02 18-Volt Brushless Socket Ready Impact DriverBosch IDH182-02 18-Volt Brushless Socket Ready Impact Driver18V2.0Ah9.0Our Review

Check Price

Ryobi P234g 18 Volt Impact Driver18VN/A8.8Our Review

Check Price

Top 10 Best Cordless Impact Driver Reviews

1. DEWALT DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-ion Impact Driver

Our Top Recommended Impact Driver

DEWALT DCF887D2 20V MAX XR Li-ion 2.0 Ah Brushless 0.25" 3-Speed Impact Driver Kit

Pros:

  • Light weight and made for cramped quarters
  • Extended capacity 20V/2Ah battery pack
  • 0-2800 RPM/0-3200 impacts per minute

Cons:

  • Only comes with one battery
In balancing affordability, capability, durability, and power, the DEWALT DCF887D2 is our top-rated cordless impact driver. It pleases equally weekend warriors or handypersons with daily repair or fabrication tasks. It quickly becomes the go-to tool in your arsenal.

The brushless motor provides extended run times from XR 20V/2Ah batteries, which recharge in 30 minutes. It thrives in tight spaces with a 5.5-inch length, 2.9 lbs. weight and 125 foot-pounds of torque. It twirls big lag screws into heavy timber with contentment.

Bits can be changed single-handedly and the 3-LED work light is the best of any impact driver we have seen. It provides shadow-less light and remains lit for 20 seconds after the trigger is released. A quick charger, belt clip, and tough hard case are included.
DEWALT DCF886D2 20V XR Lithium Ion Brushless 1/4-Inch Impact Driver KitProduct Specs

  1. Torque: 125 foot-pounds
  2. Voltage: 20V
  3. Battery Type: Li-Ion
  4. Battery Life: 2.0Ah
  5. Weight: 2.9 lbs.
  6. Warranty: 90-day money back/1-year service contract/3-years limited

 

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

Our Top Budget Impact Driver

Makita XDT111 3.0 Ah 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver KitThe XDT111 LXT impact driver from Makita is a capable and affordable tool. The 4-pole motor delivers 120 foot-pounds of torque, which is accessed via a light-duty and heavy-duty range. It is small, lightweight and illuminates the task area well with a bright LED. Soft-grip rubber reduces vibration and noise while increasing grip. It comes with one 18V/3Ah Li-Ion battery, a rapid charger and sturdy plastic case.

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • 120 lb-ft of torque

Cons:

  • One battery
Makita XDT042 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver KitProduct Specs

  • Torque: 129 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 3.0Ah
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year battery warranty/3-year tool warranty

Review
Makita XDT042 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver KitThis Li-Ion-powered cordless Makita impact driver competes admirably in terms of raw performance and portability against much higher-priced tools.

It has acres of torque, a quick-release ¼-inch hex chuck, nice ergonomics and a decent warranty.

Many buyers recommend an extra battery, but a half-size one will do since recharge time on the 3AH battery is only 30 minutes.

 

3. Milwaukee 2703-22 XC M18 Fuel Brushless 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver

Milwaukee 2703-22 XC M18 Fuel Brushless 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver 18v 4.0aThis Milwaukee Fuel 18-Volt, 4Ah, ½-inch impact driver’s contoured grip offers control and comfort. The no-plastic locking/ratcheting chuck firmly grips any bit.

Each M18 REDLITHIUMâ„¢ XC 4aH battery support hours of work. Charge level is visible via a built-in fuel gauge. Milwaukie’s REDLINK PLUSâ„¢ technology optimizes power draw while preventing overload. Steady, sturdy 725 foot-pounds of torque easily loosens stubborn nuts via the 2603-22’s POWERSTATEâ„¢ brushless motor.

Pros:

  • Optimized power from 18V/4aH battery packs
  • Two speeds
  • Also charges M12 batteries

Cons:

  • Lower torque-to dollar-ratio
Product Specs

  • Torque: 60 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 4Ah
  • Weight: 12.9 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5-year tool/3-year battery

Review

The XC has amazing power and strength plus superb balance that defers fatigue when working out of position. Nice touches include fuel gauges to reduce “top-off” recharges, a work light that stays on and the separate clutch adjustments for drill and impact. It could bust your budget, but it outperforms for that money.

 

4. PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB 20-volt 1/4-Inch Hex Lithium Ion Impact Driver

PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB 20-volt 1/4-Inch Hex Lithium Ion Impact Driver Kit - Power Impact Drivers - The PCCK640LB is an incredibly compact workhorse without the reverse torque that drills impart. It is 6 inches long and weighs barely 3 pounds. 120 foot-pounds are produced by the 1.5Ah, 20V battery of which two are included. The ¼-inch hex chuck enables one-handed bit changeovers.

The built-in belt hook, flat-bottom battery and rubber-bumper sides make this an extremely portable driver. It is one of the most capable but least expensive cordless impact drivers available.

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • Up to 2900 RPM

Cons:

  • The warranty period is short
Product Specs

  • Torque: 120 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 20V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 1.5Ah
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs.
  • Warranty: 90-day money back/1-year free tool service

Review
PORTER-CABLE PCCK640LB 20-volt 1/4-Inch Hex Lithium Ion Impact Driver Kit Typical buyers of the PCCK640LB are driving or removing screws. The short profile is appreciated in corners, cabinets and under the house.

The battery capacity is moderate but typically runs for a couple of hours between 40-minute recharges. With two batteries you can work all day. It is an ideal back-up impact driver to a higher torque model.

 

5. Rockwell RK2860K2 Li-ion Brushless Impact Driver

Rockwell RK2860K2 Li-ion Brushless Impact Driver, 20VThe efficiency of a brushless motor gives the Rockwell RK2860K2 20V impact driver up to 50 percent more runtime per battery charge. It uses a quick-change, ¼-inch hex chuck for quick and easy bit changes. Its 129 foot-pounds of torque, compact 6-inch length, and 3.2 lb. weight make this your go-to impact driver for awkward spaces. It has over 20 torque settings and plenty of runtime from the single 3Ah battery that comes with it.

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • 2900 RPM/3200 impacts per minute

Cons:

  • The warranty period is short
Product Specs

  • Torque: 129 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 20V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 3.0Ah
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs.
  • Warranty: 90-day money back/free-for-life batteries/10-year motor/3-years limited

Review
Rockwell RK2860K2 Li-ion Brushless Impact Driver, 20VRockwell’s free-batteries-for-life guarantee is difficult to resist as is the 10-year motor warranty, especially if you plan to work this tool every day.

It has all the features of the Porter-Cable PCCK640LB less one battery but more torque. Buyers are believers when it comes to its brushless motor design, which they agree means more power and longer run time.

 

6. Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium-Ion Impact Driver

Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Impact Driver Kit (Lifetime Tool Waranty)The WH18DGL is a ¼-inch hex chuck impact driver that brings tons of torque, 0-2400 RPM and up to 3200 IPM to any driving, drilling or fastening application. Its size and weight make it perfect for tight spaces. Its LED work light comes on with a light trigger squeeze without turning the motor. A smooth-action, variable-speed trigger controls RPM and IPM without a torque clutch. The WH18DGL comes with two batteries, charger and case.

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Trigger-touch light switch is nice
  • Lifetime tool warranty

Cons:

  • No torque clutch
Lifetime Warranty from HitachiProduct Specs

  • Torque: 107 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 3.0Ah
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years on batteries/1 year on charger/Lifetime tool warranty

ReviewHitachi WH18DGL 1/4-Inch 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Includes Two Batteries)
This Hitachi impact driver ranks well against the best 18V impact driver. It performs on light-duty and heavy-duty tasks.

With a light touch, you could use it to assemble toys or be driving in 3-inch deck screws through 2-by hardwood.

One thing that made this driver stand out is the low-profile forward/reverse switch. It is difficult to bump it into a neutral position, which means far less re-setup time that you get with other drivers because the switch was bumped into the neutral zone.

 

7. Makita XFD061 18V LXT Lithium-Ion COMPACT Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver-Drill

Makita XFD061 18V LXT Lithium-Ion COMPACT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill Kit (3.0Ah)Makita’s cordless impact driver weighs under 4 lbs. and features a 4-pole motor design that delivers 40 foot-pounds of torque suitable for drilling, hammer-drilling, and fastening. Its two variable-speed ranges from 0-400 and 0-1500 RPM match any application. An all-metal gear train spells long tool life. The XPH012 accepts standard drill shanks up to ½-inch diameter. The kit includes one 18V/3Ah battery, charger, and case.

Pros:

  • ½-inch chuck
  • Two variable-speed ranges
  • LED afterglow work light

Cons:

  • Light on torque
  • No battery gauge
Product Specs

  • Torque: 40 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-IonMakita XPH012 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inch Hammer Driver-Drill Kit with One Battery
  • Battery Life: 3.0Ah
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year battery warranty/3-year tool warranty

Review
This Makita driver model is a great value. It has the legendary Makita all-steel toughness and clever electronics to prevent overloading, over-discharge and overheating. It takes ordinary round bits up to ½-inch without an adapter. Buyers love the heft, durability and longevity of this tool.

 

8. Bosch Bare-Tool 25618B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver

Bosch Bare-Tool 25618B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver with 2.0 AH batterThe 25618b features three performance modes for drilling, driving or fastening. The impact mechanism eliminates torque reaction and screw cam-out. It offers 121 foot-pounds of torque and speeds from zero to 2800 RPM with up to 3200 IPM. Each 18V FatPack battery holds enough juice to drive 150 3-inch lag bolts. Electronic Cell Protection lengthens battery life, and the ¼-inch hex chuck features one-handed bit change.

Pros:

  • Plenty of torque and speed
  • Quick-release 1/4-inch hex chuck

Cons:

  • Unimpressive 1-year warranty
Bosch 26618-01 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Hex Impact Drill/Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and CaseProduct Specs

  • Torque: 121 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 2.6Ah
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited defect warranty

Review
Bosch 26618-01 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/4-Hex Impact Drill/Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and CaseThis is the best impact driver with two drill modes and one impact mode, which deliver 0-750 RPM, 0-2800 RPM, and 0-3200 IPM, respectively.

Despite no torque adjustment, the fluid, variable-speed trigger provides fine control, so twisting off screw heads is a non-issue.

The mode selection switch is difficult to access, however. Some buyers wish the warranty were longer.

 

9. Bosch IDH182-02 18-Volt Brushless Socket Ready Impact Driver

Bosch IDH182-02 18-Volt Brushless Socket Ready (1/4-Inch Hex, 1/2-Inch Square) Impact Driver with (2) 2.0Ah Batteries, Charger and CasThe IDH182-02 is a combination impact driver and impact wrench. The double-ended chuck takes ¼-inch hex bits or ½-inch square-drive sockets. A maintenance-free brushless motor increases efficiency and motor life with electronic overheating and overloading protection. Three torque and speed settings are available to match all applications. The kit includes two 18V/2Ah Li-Ion batteries, belt clip and L-BOXX-2 storage case.

Pros:

  • Dual-bit style bit/socket holder
  • Three speed/torque settings

Cons:

  • Bosch should be ashamed of their warranty
Product SpecsBosch IDH182-02L 18-volt Brushless Socket Ready Impact Driver with 2.0Ah Batteries, Charger and L-Boxx-2

  • Torque: 138 foot-pounds maximum in three ranges: 0-36/0-70/0-138
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: 2.0Ah
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited defect warranty

Review
The dual-ended chuck makes this a combo impact driver and impact wrench. It does both jobs well.

For everyday mechanic jobs and drilling, buyers rave about its performance. Three torque ranges are a huge plus.

The price is commensurate with its high torque rating and versatility.

 

10. Ryobi P234g 18V Impact Driver Lithium-ion – Tool Only Review

Ryobi P234g One+ 18-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Battery Not Included / Power Tool Only) - Power Impact Drivers - The Ryobi 18 Volt P234G 1/4 impact driver features 125 foot-pounds of torque and a ¼-inch keyless quick-connect coupler. The cast aluminum housing is surrounded by a GripZone™ rubber molding for grip control and reduced vibration. The LED work light assists precise bit and fastener placement. For driving large screws into heavy-resistance materials or occasionally busting loose frozen nuts, the Ryobi impact gun P234g is an economical workhorse. This is the bare tool only without battery, charger or case.

Pros:

  • Economical
  • High torque
  • On-board bit storage

Cons:

  • Work light comes on only during rotation
Product Specs

  • Torque: 125 foot-pounds
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Battery Life: No battery, any Ryobi 18V battery pack works
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited on defects

 

Impact Driver vs. Impact Drill – What’s The Difference?

Impact drills, such as the Makita XPH012, have an unclutched pounding action added to their rotation. Impact drivers, however, continuously engage/disengage the chuck thousands of times per minute to produce rotation and hammering actions simultaneously.

Slow Motion – How an Impact Wrench Works

In this manner, the torsional rotation inherent to impact drills is virtually eliminated, while directing more energy into torque than impact drills do. You never struggle to keep an impact driver from twisting in heavy materials or when a bit jams. Even the best battery-powered impact driver with a high torque rating is handled easily using average strength.

Because impact drills and drivers also use different chucks. Drills utilize a clamp chuck, whereas drivers have a keyless socket or coupler, which in the best impact gun makes bit swapping a one-handed operation.

There is a noticeable difference in sound level between drills and drivers. Drivers are much louder due to their effective hammering action. They require the use of ear protection.

Types of Impact Drivers

Cordless versus Corded

The best cordless impact driver can nearly match the power of a corded model. The latter requires AC power and unwieldy extensions cords.

However, corded impact drivers may have superior power-to-price and power-to-weight ratios. Despite those advantages, I feel that the impressive power levels of cordless models and their superb portability trump corded impact drivers.

Even cordless impact wrenches can keep up with corded models for most applications with less hassle.

NiCad versus Li-Ion

Drawing of common batteriesImpact tools based on NiCad battery technology are fading away. Advances in Li-Ion batteries eliminate charge memory, extend battery life and provide increased power flow, which makes them the preferred power pack choice. They are also smaller and lighter than NiCads.

12V, 18V, and 20V

Drawing of a voltmeterWhen reading impact driver reviews, you may notice that higher battery voltage tends to produce higher torque. Less expensive or smaller impact drills and drivers typically use 12V batteries, whereas pro and near-pro models opt for 18V, 20V or higher.

Who Makes the Best Impact Drivers

Ingersoll Rand
Ingersoll Rand is widely known for their top-of-the-line commercial-grade power tools. You can expect a lifetime tool, but you will pay extra for the privilege.
DEWALT
Any DEWALT impact driver review reveals the strength and durability of their tools. Their tools are favorites of those who want quality at an affordable price.
Bosch
When it comes to anything electric, Bosch is a name that has earned respect. The same goes for their best impact drivers. The Bosch impact driver review on their IDH182-02L 18-volt brushless impact driver is a good example of what to expect from Bosch.
Makita
Along with DeWalt, the Makita brand is best-known for high-quality, affordable tools. In fact, a Makita impact driver review often mentions a DeWalt tool in comparison. The Makita XDT042 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit is representative of this company’s quality commitment.
Milwaukee
The Milwaukee brand means the utmost in tool quality, reliability, durability and power standards among top impact tool manufacturers. Our battery-powered impact driver review on the Milwaukee Fuel 18-Volt impact driver demonstrates the caliber of power tools they make.

Those above are the best impact driver makers. Their tools are not always within the budget of the average do-it-yourselfer, however, so our cordless impact wrench reviews and cordless impact driver reviews cover other brands too.

Making the Decision

A pro using Ingersoll Rand impact driverI hope this guide has helped you toward an informed impact driver purchasing decision. You now know all the factors to consider when comparing impact drivers and drills.

Every impact driver review in this guide detailed these factors based on actual experience, live demonstrations, and weeks of online research. The guide’s coverage of our top pick, the DEWALT DCF887D2, is proof of that.

You are now ready to select the best cordless impact driver for your application.

The intended and yet-to-be-imagined tasks for your new cordless impact driver are waiting for your selection. Make that decision now and your new impact driver can be in your hands in a couple of days. Buy with confidence knowing that your purchase is the right one for you and is backed up by the best and fastest return policy anywhere.

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