The drill is your best friend when it comes to your biggest home projects. You can depend on your drill to drive screws into wood and completely avoid the need for a screwdriver. It’s definitely a saving grace when it comes to cutting down on time to complete a project.
But, sometimes, even drills can’t do the job so well. Impact drivers are a specialized type of drill that allows you to drive larger screws into wood with much higher torque than regular drills.
If you’ve never heard of impact drivers before and don’t even know where to start, we’re going to make the buying process a little bit easier on you! We’re going to go over some of the best impact drivers on Amazon and what makes them so great.
Then, we’ll walk you through what to look for when you’re buying an impact driver and answer some of your burning questions about the product.
Top 3 Picks
- 1 Top 3 Picks
- 2 Top 7 Reviews
- 2.1 DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver
- 2.2 Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver
- 2.3 DEWALT 20V MAX XR DCF887M2
- 2.4 Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch 3,200 RPM 1,600 Inch Pounds Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
- 2.5 Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
- 2.6 BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)
- 2.7 Bosch PS41-2A 12V Max 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit
- 3 Impact Drivers Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Impact Drivers FAQ
- 4.1 Can you use an impact driver as a drill?
- 4.2 What is the difference between cordless drill and impact driver?
- 4.3 What is the best place to find an impact driver?
- 4.4 Can I use an impact driver to drill into concrete?
- 4.5 How much does torque matter when it comes to impact drivers?
- 4.6 Do you need an impact driver?
- 4.7 How expensive are impact drivers?
- 4.8 Is there a cordless drill/impact driver in one unit?
- 5 Conclusion
Best Pick: DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver
- Designed to fit into tight spaces
- Anti-slip comfort grip
- This product is made of high quality material
- Battery & Charger Sold Separately
- Tool only with no battery, frameless motor for extended tool durability and life
The reviews are in and this impact driver has taken the power tool world by storm! With extended battery life and features like adjustable speed control, you can be sure that this impact driver will do exactly what you need it to do.
Best Premium Pick: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver Kit DCF887M2
- DEWALT built brushless motor
- (2) 20V Max XR Lithium-Ion(4.0ah) batteries delivers more run time and capacity
- Compact, lightweight design for tight spaces
- 3-speed settings for versatility with Precision Drive for added control- 0-1,000/ 2,800/ 3,250 RPM
- (3) LED lights with 20 second delay after trigger release
There’s nothing about this impact driver kit that isn’t what you’re looking for. In addition to getting an entire kit that comes standard with an impact driver, rechargeable battery, and charger, you’re getting a high-quality product from one of the biggest names in power tools!
Best Budget Pick: Ryobi One+ P236 Cordless Impact Driver
- RUBBER OVERMOLD: A notched mold on the pistol grip allows you to keep a firm hold on this tool for improved accuracy, even in slippery conditions
- TRI-BEAM LED LIGHTING illuminates your workspace upon activating the trigger, letting you see where you work
- TOOL-FREE BIT CHANGING: Simply plug a bit into the chuck to lock it in. Pull the collar back to eject the bit into the palm of your hand
- MAGNETIC TRAY keeps fasteners and bits on the unit so you can have both hands-free for extra stability
- ONE+ COMPATIBLE: This tool is part of the One+ family of 18V power tools. This means that 18V Ryobi batteries, both lithium ion and NiCad, are compatible
What we love most about this product (and we think you’ll like it too!) is that you’re getting a pretty heavy-duty impact driver for about half the price of the bigger name products. Plus, you’re not really risking any of the features and qualities that users love most!
Top 7 Reviews
The market is absolutely saturated when it comes to power tools, including impact drivers. So, we’re going to spend some time going over our seven favorite impact drivers on Amazon today and what makes each of these tools ideal.
DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact DriverThis impact driver is one of the best on the market in terms of features, qualities, and overall user reviews on Amazon.
What makes this impact driver so special is that it comes with an impressive 1,330 in-lb of torque, which guarantees that it’ll be able to drive any screw in your project without wasting any of your precious time like a drill might.
It also comes with a pretty cool feature where you can actually control the speed of the drill, with an upper range of 2,400 rotations per minute. So, that means you can adjust the speed to the type of material that you’re driving a screw into (wood, metal, etc.)
When it comes to power tools, you want a tool that’ll last you for years to come! That’s exactly what you’re getting with this impact driver. You’re actually able to easily replace the brushes, so you can add months and even years to your impact driver’s lifespan!
For added convenience, we think you’ll enjoy the anti-slip grip for added stability while driving screws and a lightweight design that makes this impact driver extremely portable and easy to use (even for beginners).
Though the tool itself is pretty solid, this product doesn’t come with a battery or charger within the package, meaning you’ll have to invest in those on your own time. However, DEWALT recommends using their 18-volt XRP battery system, known for lasting up to 40% longer than most impact driver batteries.
To help you seal the deal, you’ll absolutely love the fact that this impact driver comes with a three-year limited warranty and a one-year free service contract, so you won’t have to shell out any more money when it comes to damage incurred while you’re working.
- The manufacturer offers warranties and contracts for repairs and damages
- Boasts up to 2,400 RPM and an adjustable speed setting
- An overly impressive 1,330 lb-in of torque
- Replaceable brushes for added years to your impact driver
- The product doesn’t come with a battery or charger
- It’s pretty expensive, so it’s not really cost-effective for casual woodworkers
Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 Impact Driver
Though not as highly regarded as the first impact driver on this list, this impact driver is still considered one of the best out there.
What really sets this impact driver apart is the amount of power and capabilities that you’ll be getting in such a small impact driver. That means this impact driver is capable of an impressive 1,000 in-lb of torque and outlasting 2,500 RPM.
What’s also really convenient is the LED fuel gauge that’ll allow you to keep track of how much battery life is actually remaining (in 25% increments). That way, you know whether it’s time to call it a day or drive in a few extra screws.
There’s absolutely no shortage in safety features when it comes to this impact driver. It has a remarkable anti-slip hand grip to prevent accidents when your hands are wet or sweaty after a long day’s work.
For even more safety, this impact driver comes with a special LED lighting feature that can be used as a flashlight in a sense. With such a feature, you can be sure that you’re driving screws exactly where your job calls for it.
Though this impact driver doesn’t come with an included lithium battery, it can be paired with Milwaukee’s RedLithium batteries, which are capable of preventing your impact driver from overheating or experiencing excessive wear and tear. This is practically unmatched in other 12-volt impact drivers!
And, when it’s time to head to another worksite or use another tool, you can easily clip this impact driver on either the left or right side of your belt. So, no more uncomfortable belt attachments where you’re using your non-dominant hand.
- Has an LED lighting feature for an illuminated workspace
- Up to 1,000 lb-in of torque and 2,500 RPM
- Has RedLithium technology for added safety and less overheating
- Comes with a belt clip perfect for both the right and left side
- It does not come with an included battery
- Many have complained that this impact driver is a little loud
DEWALT 20V MAX XR DCF887M2
As if you weren’t impressed enough by some of DEWALT’s other power tools, you’ll love the fact that this impact driver actually comes in a kit.
That means, all in one package, you’re getting your impact driver with an included battery and charger. This significantly cuts down on the time and money you need to spend looking for each part of the impact driver individually.
And, to make this entire kit even more worth it, the two 20-volt batteries that come standard with this kit are considered some of the best in their class. That means longer run time, greater durability, and greater productivity for you!
This impact driver comes with a brushless motor that’ll greatly improve this tool’s performance and lifespan. We also think you’ll appreciate the fact that you have three-speed settings to choose from, so you can adjust the speed as you see fit when you’re driving into different materials.
What’s also pretty cool is the “Precision Drive” feature that allows for significantly more control and stability when driving a screw or tightening a bolt. This is perfect for those projects where there’s absolutely no room for error.
When you’re working in the dark or shadows start to find their way into your workspace, it can be hard to maintain precision and accuracy. That’s where this impact drivers LED lights can be extremely useful, illuminating your workspace and helping you to stay safe while working!
For a lightweight, compact, and heavy-duty impact driver kit, this is definitely the best option.
- The kit comes with two batteries and a charger as well
- The brushless motor improves performance and durability
- Precision Drive feature for added accuracy
- 3 LED lights for added illumination when working
- You don’t need to buy a kit like this if you already have the battery and charger
- This is definitely a pricey option
Ryobi One+ P236 18V 1/4 Inch 3,200 RPM 1,600 Inch Pounds Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact DriverThis impact driver is one of the more cost-effective options out there, so it’s the perfect match for anyone that’s on a budget or just starting out.
The most notable features of this impact driver are its power and speed, at an astounding 1,600 in-lb of torque and up to 3,200 RPM. That makes this impact driver perfect for driving nearly any screws in your project.
It’s hard to develop an impact driver that’s not exactly the same as others on the market, but this product really does just that. This impact driver actually includes a magnetic tray at the bottom of the device, which can be used to hold extra bits and fasteners so you don’t have to hold them while you’re working.
This is really the ideal impact driver for beginners, as you can easily attach and remove bits in one swift motion. But, it also provides an impressive amount of grip and traction, so there’s absolutely no risk of this impact driver slipping out of your hands when it’s raining or your hands are sweaty.
And, to make sure that you’re getting the absolute safest work environment, this impact driver comes with tri-beam LED lighting so you can be sure that you’re maintaining accuracy and precision when driving.
Unfortunately, this product only comes with the tool itself, not a battery or charging system. However, it can easily be paired with 18-volt Ryobi batteries and you even have the choice between lithium and NiCad batteries.
- Tri-beam LED lighting for a more well-lit workspace
- Extremely impressive 3,200 RPM and 1,600 lb-in of torque
- Comes with a magnetic tray to hold your bits and fasteners while working
- Great grip and traction for greater safety
- A lot of consumers received the wrong product when ordering
- The manufacturer seems to be hard to contact
Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact DriverThis impact driver is a heavy-duty brushless motor impact driver that’ll surely meet all of your screw driving needs on all your home projects.
What makes this impact driver different than others in its class is the unbeatable battery life that other companies can’t seem to match. With the 18-volt lithium ion batteries (not included), you’ll be able to charge your impact driver quicker than nearly any other impact driver on the market and spend a lot more time working.
Though not on the top of our list, this impact driver is one of the quickest and most powerful that we’ve seen during the course of our research. You’ll be really impressed by the fact that this impact driver is capable of producing 1,500 in-lb of torque and running at a speed of 3,400 RPM.
On top of the nearly unmatchable performance, this impact driver is incredibly portable! When the battery is attached, this impact driver weighs a mere 3.3 pounds and measures in at a slim 5 inches, so there’s no doubt that you can use this impact driver anywhere and for anything.
Safety doesn’t seem to be that much of an issue here either. This driver, like some of the others on our list, comes with specialized LED lighting in order to light up your workspace and make sure you’re getting an accurate and precise drive.
If you’re worried about spending a lot of money and not getting as much for the price, that shouldn’t be too big of a concern with this product. Though you will have to invest in your own batteries, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief when you realize that this impact driver comes with a comprehensive limited three-year warranty.
- There is an included three-year warranty for repairs and damages
- Up to 3,400 RPM and 1,500 in-lb of torque
- LED lighting for enhanced safety
- Only 3.3 pounds and 5 inches long
- It doesn’t come with its own batteries
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)This impact driver is a solid option when you’re looking for a great power tool from a usually reputable name.
Like a few of the other impact drivers on this list, this product comes in the form of a kit. So, you’ll be getting the actual impact driver, a 20-volt battery, a battery charger, and a screwdriver bit, meaning you can get right to work as soon as it’s delivered.
What makes this impact driver pretty special is the fact that it’s capable of 3,000 RPM and 1,375 in-lb of torque. That means this impact driver is extremely heavy-duty and can really help you cut down on the amount of time it takes to finish a project.
When you’re looking for a brand new impact driver, you want a tool that’s both lightweight and compact. This impact driver definitely fits that bill and can squeeze into tight spaces and be easily carried without any issue.
When it’s time to change the bit, you’ll love the quick-release feature of this impact driver. Just slide the old bit out and slip the new one in – it’s that simple.
- Boasts 3,000 RPM and 1,375 in-lb of torque
- Comes with the tool, the battery, and a charger
- The 20-volt battery is high-powered and lasts pretty long
- It’s really easy to change the bit
- The high torque and RPM might tear your drill bits
Bosch PS41-2A 12V Max 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit
Despite the fact that this impact driver found its way to the bottom of our list, it doesn’t mean it’s not a solid option for some people.
In fact, this impact driver is one of the most compact and lightweight options out there. At 5.4 inches in length and weighing in at an astounding 2.1 pounds, it’s hard to find an impact driver that’s so high-powered, yet physically small.
That makes this device perfect for maneuvering into tighter spaces and driving any screw that your project calls for. Plus, it won’t cause too much pain or aches in your dominant hand on those long workdays.
This impact driver is definitely not as powerful as most of the tools on this list, only capable of about 930 in-lb of torque. Despite the low torque, the 2,600 RPM somewhat makes up for this lack of accomplishment.
What’s really great about this impact driver kit is that you’re getting the impact driver, two lithium-ion batteries, a charger, and two screwdriver bits for less than half the price of most kits. So, you can save a little money, but you’ll be risking a little bit of quality. Though, we do think it’s important to note that the battery can be fully charged in one hour.
And, just to make sure that you’re getting a safe impact driver, you’ll enjoy the LED light ring that’s been included to help you to light up your workspace and promote safety and precision within any environment.
- Comes with two 12-volt batteries, a one-hour charger, and an impact driver
- It’s considered the most compact in its class
- The battery can be charged in one hour
- Has pretty low torque at 930 in-lb, though the 2,600 RPM is pretty decent
- Though it comes with two batteries, the second isn’t usually all that effective
- The batteries seem to completely die pretty quick
Impact Drivers Buyer’s Guide
Before you make your big purchase and get to work on some projects around the house, we want to give you some information about what you should be looking for in the ideal impact driver. We’re going to also touch on some of the more common features of this type of tool.
What Impact Drivers Do
Though pretty similar to the workings of a drill, impact drivers and drills are not the same tools.
Impact drivers are designed to drive screws into tough materials like wood, just like your regular cordless drill is meant to do. Yet, impact drivers also combine a “hammering” motion during the drilling process.
This allows you to drive screws at a quicker rate with higher torque. So, for a tool with the ideal combination of concussive and rotational power, an impact driver is your best bet.
The Benefits of an Impact Driver
Thinking about what an impact driver actually does, it’s pretty easy to recognize the benefits of this type of tool. Here are some of the greatest benefits of impact drivers.
- Much higher torque than a cordless drill
- Fits a ¼ inch hexagonal socket
- Great for driving screws in less time
- Requires more effort from the tool than from you
- Lightweight and portable
- Pretty easy to switch bits
- Capable of drilling larger screws
There’s no doubt that an impact driver is a useful tool. But, you need to make sure that it would be useful for your specific project before making such an investment.
So, now we’re going to go over when you would need to use an impact driver. For the most part, you’ll only need an impact driver if you’re needing to drive longer screws or tighten nuts and bolts.
Keep in mind: Impact drivers and cordless drills are not interchangeable. Impact drivers should not be used as a replacement for a regular drill.
The Parts of an Impact Driver
To fully understand how an impact driver actually works, it helps to learn about the major parts and pieces of the average impact driver. Let’s go over the parts you actually need to know a little bit about!
- Rotation switch. All it takes is a simple flick of a switch to change between a “forward” and “reverse” drilling rotation. Forward is used for driving a screw into wood and reverse is used for removing a screw from wood.
- This is the part that actually controls the battery of the impact driver and the power behind your tool.
- This is the part of the impact driver that actually holds the drill bit. Most impact drivers are considered “quick-release,” so all you have to do is take the bit out and replace it with another one.
- This is what controls the actual speed of the bit while you’re driving a screw. The harder you pull the trigger, the faster the bit spins.
If you’ve ever used a cordless drill at some point in your life, these pieces all probably seem pretty familiar.
A Brief How-To Guide
Now that you know what an impact driver can do, we’re going to briefly review how this tool is used. It’s actually pretty easy! Here’s a step-by-step process.
- Choose your driver bit and put it in your impact driver’s chuck. Drill bits are designed to work best with certain types and sizes of screws, so select the drill bit that matches up with the screw you’ll be driving. Insert your drill bit into the chuck and make sure it fits securely.
- Select the correct rotation direction. Adjust the drill’s settings to make sure the bit will be rotating in the correct direction. Choose the “forward” direction if you’re driving a screw and the “reverse” direction if you’re looking to loosen a screw.
- Apply the bit to the screw. This is the point where you attach the bit to the screw and get ready to drive it. Put the tip of the screw on the area of the wood that you need it to be driven. Make sure the screw is exactly where you want it.
- Pull the trigger slowly. The emphasis here is on the word “slowly.” As the screw tip begins to work its way into the wood, you can ramp up the speed a little bit to save a little time.
- Let the trigger go. Once the drill is fully driven into the wood, release the trigger. Clenching the trigger for too long can tear the screw head.
If you’ve ever used a drill before, you’ll notice that using an impact driver is really similar. The major difference between the two tools is why they’re used, not how they’re used.
The torque of any type of tool describes how quickly a drill bit rotates when in motion. Most heavy-duty and high-quality impact drivers have a torque of at least 1,500 in-lbs.
So, what exactly does the torque mean for you and your projects? Well, the higher the torque, the more powerful the impact driver is. That makes a high-torque impact driver great for trimming a few seconds off of every screw you drive.
The speed of the impact driver is also measured in what’s called rotations per minute or “RPM.” When we talk about RPM, we’re talking about how many times the drill bit rotates every minute. Some drills have an RPM of over 3,000!
Kits vs. Bare Tools
One of the biggest issues when it comes to ordering impact drivers on Amazon is that many manufacturers only sell “bare tools.” So, you’ll be getting the tool itself, but usually without a battery, charging station, or additional attachments.
This does come in handy if you have a battery preference and want to save a little money on the tool itself, but it doesn’t prove to be so useful for somebody that just wants to start working on their home projects today!
Some of the bigger name manufacturers sell impact driver kits, which basically include everything you could possibly need. That means you’re getting the impact driver itself, a battery, a fast charger, and usually a carrying case as well.
It all comes down to personal preference. If you want everything in one package, go for an impact driver kit.
Battery Type & Life
When you do your research and scour Amazon for some of the better products, you’ll notice that the impact drivers that do come with batteries come with lithium-ion batteries. Some batteries are up to 20-Volts, which is extremely heavy-duty.
Because impact drivers require a ton of energy to fulfill the percussive and hammering movements, it makes sense that the battery life for most impact drivers isn’t all that great.
You’re looking at anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes of battery life for most impact drivers. However, they do charge pretty quickly and you’ll get back to work in no time!
What’s pretty cool about buying the bare tool (and not a kit) is that you can pick your own battery to use. That way, you can buy a battery that better fits your working needs.
Brushed & Brushless Motors
It takes a lot to understand how a motor works and what the benefits are, so we’re going to break down the differences between brushed and brushless impact driver motors in simpler terms.
Brushless motors are generally viewed as superior in terms of efficacy and performance. They tend to not produce as much heat as their brushed counterparts and will last you much longer.
If you’re not looking to replace parts or motors any time soon, you’re going to want to lean toward a brushless motor for your impact driver, if possible.
Impact Driver Bits
Even if you have your own cordless drill and tons of bits, you want to make sure that you’re getting bits specifically designed to work with impact drivers. These are usually ¼ inch hex bits and you can actually get an entire set of 30+ bits for a really affordable price.
Some of the bigger names in impact driver bits are DEWALT and CRAFTSMEN, which are some of the most reputable power tool brands on the market today.
Impact Drivers FAQ
Can you use an impact driver as a drill?
Technically, yes. The biggest issue, however, is that you don’t have as many options when it comes to drillbits that are compatible with your impact driver. So, impact drivers are only useful alternatives to cordless drills some of the time.
Impact drivers also cause a hammering mtion to occur when driving a screw, so this might not be too useful for all types of “drilling” that you need to get done.
What is the difference between cordless drill and impact driver?
In terms of how these two different tools work, they’re actually pretty similar. But, they do have totally different purposes and are better for certain situations.
Cordless drills can basically be used for anything, whether you’re looking to drill holes, drive screws, or tighten nuts and bolt. Impact drivers, on the other hand, are only really useful when it comes to driving screws.
Impact drivers are most often used to drive screws, no matter the size, and drive them quite efficiently. These tools tend to have higher torque and can really cut down on the time needed to complete a home project.
What is the best place to find an impact driver?
Any home improvement store will have plenty of options, so you’ll be able to pick the impact driver that really suits your needs. You might be more satisfied using online retailers like Amazon, however, because you have way more options and can read consumer reviews!
Can I use an impact driver to drill into concrete?
Since impact drivers are meant to simply drive screws into materials, they aren’t exactly capable of drilling directly into concrete. So, the answer is no.
How much does torque matter when it comes to impact drivers?
Well, it depends on how efficient a tool you want. Impact drivers with higher torque are able to drive even the largest screws much quicker than any other type of tool. There’s no real need for a higher torque impact driver, but they’re definitely more convenient.
For the most part, you’ll find that most impact drivers support a torque of over 1,500 lb-in. Though, you’ll be shelling out a little extra cash when you’re getting a higher roque impact driver, so you have to consider how important it is to you.
Do you need an impact driver?
Unless you’re working on some pretty intense projects, you can probably get by without an impact driver. For the most part, you should be able to use a regular cordless drill to get all of your screw driving in!
Impact drivers are more for convenience purposes. They’ll apply much more torque than cordless drills and can allow you to speed through projects that would normally take hours.
But, then again, the only purpose of impact drivers is driving screws, so they’re not as versatile as a regular cordless drill tends to be.
How expensive are impact drivers?
That really depends on the brand you’re looking to invest in and how much you value a high-quality product. For the most part, you can get a decent impact driver for as little as $50 from a smaller name brand.
The bigger brands usually are around $100 for the tool itself, but you can get an entire kit for less than $200 in most instances. But, we don’t think the price is as important as the actual quality of the product you’re getting.
It’s completely possible that you can get a cheaper product that has higher quality than a bigger named product at double the price tag.
Is there a cordless drill/impact driver in one unit?
There are currently no “all-in-one” tools because cordless drills and impact drivers both work in very different ways. Yet, there are some combo kits that include one of each. What’s even better is that these kits are pretty affordable, so this might be better than buying both tools separately.
Impact drivers are great tools for any handyman to have. They’re much more capable of providing the torque you need to drive screws into wood and other materials efficiently and quickly!
Yet, you want to make sure that you’re getting yourself a high-quality and heavy-duty impact driver that’ll last you a long time. So, here’s what you should be looking for in the “perfect” impact driver.
- A brushless motor
- A battery life of at least 30 to 60 minutes
- A torque of at least 1,500 lb-in
- An impact driver kit (if you don’t want to go through the trouble of purchasing individual parts)
- A highly-rated product (Amazon reviews, etc.)
We hope this guide helped you to pick out your new favorite tool! Now, it’s time to get to work and finish those projects you’ve been putting off for months.