Are you in the market for a cordless impact driver? They aren’t massively expensive, but it’s still important for you to choose the right one. This ensures you have a tool that will help you successfully complete your projects.
- Impact Driver Buyer’s Guide
- 1. Best Impact Driver for the High-Tech Craftsman: Bosch GDR18V-1800CN 18V EC Brushless Connected-Ready 1/4 In. Hex Impact Driver (Bare Tool)
- 2. Best Impact Driver on a Budget: Milwaukee M18 2850-20 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Brushless Impact Driver - Bare Tool
- 3. Best Impact Driver for the Ryobi Fan: Ryobi P238 18V One+ Brushless 1/4 2,000 Inch-Pound, 3,100 RPM Cordless Impact Driver
- 4. Best Impact Driver for Power Control: Makita XDT16Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode 4-Speed Impact Driver, Tool Only
- 5. Best Impact Driver for Heavy-Duty Projects: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver, Brushless, 3-Speed, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only (DCF887B)
- Choosing the Right Impact Driver for You
If you’ve been doing research, you’re probably finding it to be overwhelming. There are a lot of cordless impact drivers available. How on earth do you choose the right one?
Luckily, we’re here to help! We narrow down your selection with our best cordless impact driver reviews. We also provide a buyer’s guide that will show you what you need to look for in these tools, such as battery life, torque, and ergonomics.
So, before you continue shopping, read on! This guide is a must for anyone looking for the best cordless impact drivers.
Impact Driver Buyer’s Guide
Below, we review some of the best cordless, battery powered impact drivers on the market. This should give you a good starting point when shopping for one.
However, you might want to know a little more about impact drivers before buying. This will help you understand the differences between products and find the one that’s right for you.
Read on for some things to consider before buying.
Impact Driver vs Standard Drill
You’re on a mission to find the best impact driver out there. At some point, you might’ve thought to yourself, “Why not just get a regular drill?” You might be surprised to learn that these two have significant differences.
A standard drill comes with a chuck on its head. The chuck, either keyed or keyless, holds both standard and hex bits. Standard drills typically have a high speed for drilling and a low speed for drilling screws/fasteners. They also have a clutch that lets you adjust the amount of torque.
An impact driver, on the other hand, uses a hex collet instead of a chuck. This quick-change clamp holds driver and drill bits with ¼-inch hexagonal shanks. You can get impact drivers in either 12-volt, 18-volt, or 20-volt MAX models. (speed and power increase the higher the voltage is). They all come with variable speed triggers and at least one gear (some models have up to three). They tend to be more expensive than standard drills.
Should I get an impact driver or a standard drill?
Which tool you should get depends on what kind of projects you work on.
People mainly use standard drills for drilling holes. Thanks to their clutch that lets you adjust the torque, they are also suitable for driving small fasteners. They are ideal if you are on a budget and/or work on smaller projects.
If you need to drive large fasteners, an impact driver is a better choice. It uses quick rotary bursts to deliver more torque, making it suitable for driving things like long screws. They also work on lag bolts if you have an adapter.
Impact drivers aren’t taxing on your wrists and muscles as they automatically apply downward force. While not the best for precision tasks, they provide plenty of torque for drilling through thicker materials. Definitely consider paying a little extra for an impact driver if you have large projects to complete. You’ll need the additional torque to complete larger-scale jobs more efficiently.
Brushless vs Brush Motors
Now that you know the difference between standard drills and impact drivers, let’s take a close look at the latter tool.
There are two types of impact driver motors: brush and brushless. Brush motors are more affordable, making them a good option for those on a budget. They aren’t as efficient due to the friction they create during operation. If you only need a drill for the occasional household project, a brush motor will do the trick.
Brushless motors, on the other hand, are better suited for heavy use. They operate frictionless, making them more powerful. They also:
- Produce less heat during use
- Require less maintenance
- Have a longer battery life
- Have a more compact design
You might’ve noticed that all of the impact drivers we reviewed have brushless motors. We’ve found that their benefits are well worth their slightly higher cost. However, if you want something a little cheaper, know that brush motors can be a good alternative.
What to Look for in an Impact Driver
Aside from the motor type, other factors you should consider include:
Impact drivers are available in 12-volt, 18-volt, or 20-volt models. The higher the voltage, the more power and speed the drill will have.
A 12-volt driver is typically smaller and easier to use in tight spaces. It doesn’t have as much power and only has a torque level of around 800 and 1,200 inch-pound. This amount of torque is ideal for smaller tasks around the house.
A 20-volt driver is bulkier but has much more power and torque. It is a good option if you are a professional or frequently work on larger projects. In terms of power and torque, an 18-volt driver is somewhat of a middle ground between the 12-volt and 20-volt models.
Impact drivers have a greater RPM than standard drills, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks. Their more frequent turns mean that drilling is easier, smoother, and faster.
It’s important that an impact driver has a good RPM. However, when shopping, don’t just pick the tool with the highest RPM. Look for a driver that has different RPM options. Most drivers come with at least three options, making them suitable for a variety of projects.
You can have the most powerful impact driver on the market. But, if your impact driver is uncomfortable to hold, you won’t look forward to using it.
So, make sure you get an ergonomic tool. It should be as light and compact as possible for its voltage level. Additional features you should look for include:
- Rubber grips to minimize fatigue
- Shock and vibration absorption
- A properly distributed weight that makes it comfortable to hold
1. Best Impact Driver for the High-Tech Craftsman: Bosch GDR18V-1800CN 18V EC Brushless Connected-Ready 1/4 In. Hex Impact Driver (Bare Tool)
The Bosch GDR18V-1800CN is a great choice for someone who completes DIY projects regularly and wants to use technology to have their driver ready to use.
This impact driver from Bosch features Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect to Bosch’s Connectivity Tool Module on a smartphone or tablet. Once you’re hooked up, you’ll be able to access customization options and save your favorite settings. As convenient as this feature is, it’s also completely optional. You don’t have to use it if you aren’t interested in it or don’t have your mobile device on you while you’re completing a project.
Of all the impact drivers we’re reviewing here, this one has the highest RPM. At 3,400 RPM, you can expect to produce a lot of power in a short amount of time. It also has a handy variable speed trigger and delivers up to 4,000 impacts per minute, which is great for professional-scale projects.
One potential drawback to this impact driver is that the grip may be a little difficult to grip for someone with smaller hands. The girth is slightly larger due to the Bluetooth module, but most users haven’t found this to be a major issue.
- Motor type: brushless
- Voltage: 18 volts
- RPM: 3,400
- Torque: 1,800 inch/pounds
- Dimensions: 4.9 x 3 x 8.2 inches
If you are looking for an impact driver that allows for customization, this model from Bosch is the best choice for you.
- Powerful impact driver design – features a 1/4 in. Hex, an efficient EC Brushless motor and variable-speed trigger
- Bluetooth connectivity – connects to optional connectivity tool Module to customize tool settings on a connected device
- Ec Brushless motor – delivers a max of 1, 800 in.-Lbs. Of torque and up to 4, 000 impacts per minutes (IPM) for professional power
2. Best Impact Driver on a Budget: Milwaukee M18 2850-20 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Brushless Impact Driver - Bare Tool
Later on, we discuss the difference between brush and brushless motors. Brushless motors have significant advantages over brush motors, but they tend to more expensive.
If you want the benefits of a brushless motor without the high cost, the Milwaukee M18 2850 is for you! This cordless impact driver is perfect for those on a budget who still want great quality.
Milwaukee impact drills are known for their practicality, and the M18 2850 is no different. As an 18-volt model, it has plenty of torque and a good RPM. This allows you to take on tough projects that might be too much for other tools.
Aside from its performance, the M18 2850 is very comfortable to use. It is light and compact, making it ideal for use in tight spaces. It is a bit heavier than the earlier Milwaukee M12 model, but the M18 is better for extended use and more heavy-duty jobs.
The drill also has a very generous battery life. This is thanks to its particularly efficient brushless motor. So, you can feel free to fit it with a small battery. You’ll have an ultra-light driver kit without having to constantly charge or switch out the battery.
Some users note that the variable speed trigger has issues. It doesn’t give you quite as much control over your drilling as other models do. But, other than this minor complaint, the M18 2850 is a practical, reliable option.
- Motor type: brushless
- Voltage: 18 volts
- RPM: 3,200
- Torque: 1,600 inch/pound
- Dimensions: 8.50 x 2.60 x 6.80 inches
The M18 fuel models seem to get all the hype, but the M18 Brushless version is a great alternative and only costs a fraction of the price.
You really can’t go wrong with the M18 2850 Brushless Impact Driver. Especially at this price point, it will be a great addition to your toolkit.
- Compact design: provides excellent balance and control, ideal for overhead applications or work in tight spaces
- Milwaukee brushless motor: optimized for efficiency, this motor delivers more run-time and longer life
- Includes: 2850-20 M18 1/4 in. Hex impact driver bare tool
3. Best Impact Driver for the Ryobi Fan: Ryobi P238 18V One+ Brushless 1/4 2,000 Inch-Pound, 3,100 RPM Cordless Impact Driver
The Ryobi P238 is a great improvement from its previous model. This tool has been developed to feature variable speed settings, powerful torque, a comfortable rubber molding grip, and a tri-beam LED light.
We especially love the tri-beam LED light, as it is strategically placed to prevent shadows from interfering with your line of sight as you work.
The Ryobi P238 One+ Impact Driver is compatible with Ryobi’s entire battery lineup. This makes it the ideal choice if you already have a lot of Ryobi’s batteries in your tool box from old impact drivers.
While it’s not advertised as being safe to drop, users have been impressed with this impact driver’s ability to withstand tumbles from high heights.
If you plan on using this impact driver for extended periods of time, you should wear some sort of ear protection. Users have reported that it is slightly louder than what you would expect of a standard impact driver.
- Motor type: brushless
- Voltage: 18 volts
- RPM: 3,100
- Torque: 2,000 inch/pounds
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.3 x 3.3 inches
The Ryobi P238 features all of the torque you’ll need to budge even the most stubborn lug nuts. Its variable speed settings also let you approach smaller-scale projects with a more gentle approach. For a torque-heavy impact driver with substantial battery life, check out the Ryobi P238.
4. Best Impact Driver for Power Control: Makita XDT16Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode 4-Speed Impact Driver, Tool Only
If you want complete control over your drilling, the Makita XDT16Z 18V LXT is your best bet.
This model has 4-speed power selection, allowing you to choose the appropriate setting for your project. It’s easy to switch between modes thanks to the conveniently-placed button under the chuck.
What users particularly love about the Makita XDT16Z is its “quick-shift”‘ mode. In this mode, electronic controls automatically select the best settings. This prevents damage to materials and minimizes the stripping/breakage of screws. There’s also an “assist” mode that helps you guide fasteners.
The Makita XDT16Z is already efficient thanks to its brushless motor. Its use of lithium-ion batteries, however, makes it even more efficient. Lithium-ion batteries deliver more power and last longer than other types of battery. This means you won’t have to worry about constantly changing the battery or replacing it.
As great as this drill is, its body isn’t as sturdy as other models. But, as long as you treat it with care, it should last you a while.
- Motor type: brushless
- Voltage: 18 volts
- RPM: 600
- Torque: 1,600 inch/pounds
- Dimensions: 3.43 x 8.23 x 6.46 inches
It’ll be hard to find an impact driver that offers as much power control as this one. Check out the Makita XDT16Z.
- Quick shift mode uses the Brushless motor’s electronic controls to find the best balance of speed and torque for each application for more efficient fastening
- BL Brushless motor delivers 3, 600 max RPM and 1, 600 inches pounds of max torque
- 4 Speed power selection (0 1, 100/ 0 2, 100/ 0 3, 200/ 0 3, 600 RPM & 0 1, 100/ 0 2, 600/ 0 3, 600/ 0 3, 800 IPM) provides precise fastening control for a wide range of applications
5. Best Impact Driver for Heavy-Duty Projects: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver, Brushless, 3-Speed, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only (DCF887B)
So far, all the models we’ve reviewed have been 18 volts. They offer plenty of power, but if you need something for your heavy-duty projects, this tool is for you.
The Dewalt 20V Max impact driver has 3 speed settings that provide unmatched control. Setting #1 is perfect for simple jobs whereas #3 can handle lug nuts and sockets. You can complete most jobs with #2. Regardless of the setting you use, the trigger lets you control exactly how much power you use.
This model is slightly heavy, but that is to be expected of a 20-volt one. It is still comfortable to hold and won’t fatigue your muscles that much. And, it is compact enough to fit into tight spaces.
The body is very well-built and can withstand lots of wear and tear. So, you don’t have to be afraid to take it with you on your big projects. The 3 LED lights are a nice touch as they make it easier to see what you’re doing.
- Motor type: brushless
- Voltage: 20 volts
- RPM: 3,250
- Torque: 1,825 inch/pounds
- Dimensions: 8 x 3 x 5.88 inches
If you have lots of heavy-duty work, the 20-Volt DEWALT Impact Driver is a must-have. You can purchase it as is or opt for a starter impact driver kit and other nice features.
The DEWALT 20V Max will always get the job done and last you for years to come.
- Dewalt built Brushless Motor, Compact, Lightweight Design for tight spaces
- Variable speed trigger, no load speed 0 to 1000, 2800, 3250
- 3 speed settings for versatility with Precision Drive for added Control
Choosing the Right Impact Driver for You
We’ve provided you with the top impact driver reviews. We’ve also told you everything you need to know about buying an impact driver that fits your needs. You must consider a wide range of technical aspects including torque, RPM, battery life, ergonomics, and voltage. Now, it’s up to you to choose the one for you! We hope this guide helps you along your buying journey and narrow down all of the impact drivers available.