The 6 Best Cordless Impact Drivers (A Complete Guide)

The average workshop builder will inevitably start their tool collection with basic saws, sanders, and drills first. When a job comes along that requires multiple screws- from building a dog house to framing up a house- an impact driver will be the following tool to be added to the tool collection.

I have decided to give my large and heavy drill a bit of a rest. I found quite a variety on the market in looking for a compact, light, and powerful cordless impact driver. With that said, which impact drivers are considered the best on the market, adding good value for money? 

When you are ready to invest your money in a cordless impact driver, it’s not as easy as going to the hardware store and just buying the most expensive one. Finding one suitable for the type of jobs you are planning to use it for is essential.

This article will compare some of the best priced, robust, most durable, easy to work with impact drivers on the market.

Best Cordless Impact Drivers

The 6 Best Cordless Impact Drivers

Cordless impact drivers allow you to screw bolts and nuts without the need for an electrical power plug or a pneumatic air compressor. The trick to selecting the best cordless impact driver that suits your individual needs is choosing one with enough power to handle the projects you are lining up. 

With a multitude of cordless impact drivers on the market, some good and some bad, here are some of the best options available to you. Investing in a good impact driver will save you time and ensure that you get various jobs done effortlessly.

Some of the models listed below do not have all the bells and whistles, yet they are competent, affordable, and offer you great value for your money which makes them the best impact drivers in my opinion. We’ll start with popular DeWalt 20V Max Impact Driver DCF885C1.

DEWALT 20V Max Impact Driver DCF885C1 

The DeWalt 20V DCF885C1 is a popular driver in the impact driver community. It is available at a great price, has a lot of power and speed on tap, and is a compact tool that works well in tight spots. 

It may not have all the bells and whistles of other models, but it does what an impact driver is supposed to do: Drive-in nuts, bolts, and screws.

The 2800 RPM driver paired with 1400in-lbs of torque, delivered from a 20V lithium-ion battery, would always perform well in any impact driving applications.

The driver has no speed settings or modes; the user controls the speed by how far the trigger is depressed. The unit is equipped with a LED work light that is very light in weight (only 2.8lbs), making it ideal for working in awkward spaces.

It’s a potent unit and offers excellent value for money.

Key SpecificationsDescription
Voltage20V
Weight2.8 Pounds
Dimensions5.55 x 9 x 3 Inches
Max. Torque1400in-lbs
MotorBrushed
Speed SettingsSingle Setting (Controlled By Trigger)
Max. Speed2,800 RPM
LED LightsYes
BatteriesLithium-Ion Battery
Warranty3 Year Limited Warranty

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Driver PCCK647LB

The Porter-Cable 20V PCCK647LB has a brushless motor that provides 50% more runtime. The powerful motor provides 1,400in-lbs of torque, and the maximum 2700 RPM provides great speed for fastening applications. With the quick-change ¼-inch chuck, it’s easy to change the bit with one hand.

A sensitive trigger allows for more precise control of the tool’s speed, and the weight of the impact driver is solid and not heavy, expressing its quality. The placing of the LED light on the bottom of the pistol grip, pointing up, makes it near impossible for it to be blocked out in any difficult position.

The ambidextrous belt clip is a nice add-on, as it allows the machine to be clipped onto your everyday belt for a quick job or onto your tool belt for a full day’s work. With the rubber guards and strong frame, its impact is rated at 20-feet.

Professional tower workers will love this powerful tool on their belts.

Key SpecificationsDescription
Voltage20V
Weight2.9 Pounds
Dimensions11.4 x 3.7 x 9.5 Inches
Max. Torque1,400in-lbs 
MotorBrushless
Speed SettingsSingle Setting (Controlled By Trigger)
Max. Speed2700 RPM
LED LightsYes
Batteries2 x Lithium-Ion 1.5 Ah Batteries
Warranty3 Year Limited Warranty

Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver

The Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT is an impact driver featuring in the world’s most extensive 18V tool line-up. The Makita BL (Brushless Motor) is electronically engineered for a longer run time and life with increased speed and power. 

Makita’s 18V Lithium-Ion batteries are some of the fastest charging batteries on the market, which means that they spend less time on the charger more time on the job. The tool has a compact design, only 5” long, a soft grip, and LED lights that help illuminate dark work conditions.

Makita’s Star Protection is a communication technology that allows for real-time data exchange between the tool and the battery. This system monitors conditions during use and protects against over-discharging, overheating, and overloading.

With 1,500in-lbs in torque and 3600 RPM, indeed an excellent tool, it drives lag-bolts into a microlam beam (LVL) with a smile on its face.

Key SpecificationsDescription
Voltage18V
Weight3.3 Pounds
Dimensions3.5 x 8.3 x 6.5 Inches
Max. Torque1,400in-lbs 
MotorBrushless
Speed SettingsSingle Setting (Controlled By Trigger)
Max. Speed3400 RPM
LED LightsYes (2)
BatteriesNot Included
Warranty3 Year Limited Warranty

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver BDCI20C

This impact driver is for anyone with a limited budget. The BLACK+DECKER 20V BDCI20C won’t break the bank, and you get a strong, reliable, and bestselling impact driver. It does not come with all the bells and whistles that you will typically find on trade-ready models. However, it’s inexpensive and will get most jobs done without any fuss.

This model comes with a grip with a comfortable design, especially for people with smaller hands, and produces 1,400in-lbs of torque. This impact driver is perfect for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts alike, as it’s super-fast and very powerful.

Impact Driver in Use

The best feature is it costs a fraction of the price of some other heavy-hitters while still being able to perform at the needed level for most tasks. It comes with a 20V Lithium-Ion battery (1.5 Ah), a charger, and a 2-year limited warranty. 

Like other models, it is light and compact, has a quick-release ¼-inch chuck that you can change with one hand, and has a light to help you when you are working in a dark spot. All-in-all this impact driver represents excellent value for money.

Key SpecificationsDescription
VoltageV20
Weight2.8 Pounds
Dimensions7.88 x 3 x 9 Inches
Max. Torque1,375in-lbs
MotorBrushless
Speed SettingsSingle Setting (Controlled By Trigger)
Max. Speed3000 RPM
LED LightsYes (1)
Batteries1 x Lithium-Ion Battery
Warranty2 Years Limited Warranty

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Driver MLW2553-20

This impact driver raises the bar for performance levels of a 12V model. The Milwaukee MLW2553-20 M12 is a lightweight, only 1.74 pounds, over-achiever. It has a length of only 5.1”, which allows for easy access in cramped spaces. 

The POWERSTATE Brushless motor delivers up to 3300 RPM and 1,300in-lbs of torque, making it one of the most potent 12V models on the market. This model is fitted with a LED light, three RPM settings, and a ‘’self-tapping” setting that reduces the chance of stripping, breaking, and overdriving screws.

The Milwaukee M12 is an ideal tool for carpenters and is in a league of its own when comparing its drive speed to other 12V models (up to 20% faster.) The size to power ratio puts the Milwaukee M12 on top of the list when you consider buying a 12V impact driver.

Key SpecificationsDescription
Voltage12V
Weight1.74 Pounds
Dimensions3 x 7 x 8 Inches
Max. Torque1,300in-lbs
MotorBrushless
Speed SettingsYes (4)
Max. Speed3300 RPM
LED LightsYes (1)
BatteriesNot Included
Warranty5 Year Warranty

BOSCH 12-Volt Max EC Brushless Impact Driver PS42-02

Known as the workhorse in the V12 impact driver community, the Bosch 12V PS42-02 is a perfect workshop and DIY tool. It powers a ¼ inch chuck with 930 inch-pounds of torque, and its motor and gearbox require no scheduled maintenance. 

With a weight of only 2.2 pounds, a comfortable easy-to-handle grip, and LED lights make working in difficult tight spots a joy. A standout feature of this driver is its fuel gauge which indicates how much battery life is remaining. 

This Bosch comes equipped with a charger, two rechargeable batteries, two screwdriver bits, and a carry case. It has a two-speed setting comes with two 12V rechargeable batteries giving you a total output of 24V.

Key SpecificationsDescription
Voltage12V
Weight2.2 Pounds
Dimensions5.5 x 2.2 x 7.04 Inches
Max. Torque930in-lbs
MotorBrushless
Speed SettingsYes (2)
Max. Speed2,600 RPM
LED LightsYes (3)
Batteries2 x Lithium-Ion Batteries (12V x 2)
Warranty1 Year Warranty (3-year warranty if you register your tool at boschtools.com)

The 7 Factors to Consider When Buying a Cordless Impact Driver

There are a few factors to consider when parting with your hard-earned cash before committing to any impact driver.

1. The Size Of The Chuck

An essential factor worth considering when looking at an impact driver to buy is its chuck size. The chuck size indicates the maximum bit size that you can use in the driver. The models discussed in the article typically have ¼ inch or ½ inch chucks, where the ½ inch chuck is larger, thus offering the user more flexibility.

2. The Battery Life

A pretty straightforward factor to consider is the battery life. It would be best always to compare the battery life offered by the specific impact driver as this will indicate how long you can use the tool without stopping.

Choosing a model with a 2.0 Ah (Amp-Hour) battery life, compared to a 1.5 Ah battery life, will make sense as it will indefinitely last longer. Again, the type of work you perform with the tool will affect the battery life.

3. The Battery Voltage

The battery of the impact driver needs to be powerful enough to screw in nuts and bolts for long periods easily. Typically, these power tools are sectionalized into voltage categories:

  • 12V
  • 18V
  • 20V

The 20V impact drivers are usually the fastest and more powerful options. Bear in mind that a simple 12V impact driver can easily tackle medium-duty screwing tasks. The 12V-20V impact drivers are typically used by professionals and homeowners alike, while the higher voltage tools (36V-60V) are used mainly by professionals in the commercial sector.

4. The Motor 

Impact drivers have two types of motors:

  • Brushless
  • Brushed

A brushless motor is 50% more efficient than a brushed one, runs longer, and will not overheat. With an extended life span and almost zero maintenance, the brushless motor is your best option.

5. The Torque

The torque rating of an impact driver indicates for what job type you can use the tool. A driver with lots of torque power will be required if the project requires long screws to be drilled in. 

Impact driver’s torque rating ranges from 1000-inch-pounds to a massive 2000-inch-pounds. If you are only going to perform simple tasks with your driver, choosing a 2000-inch-pound driver is not the right option, as it would be like bringing a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

6. Compact Design

Using a cordless impact driver is often done in challenging situations, often involving tight spaces, so you should consider a model that is the most compact in design. Luckily, most impact drivers come in a compact design. It’s best to steer clear of those models that are not.

Purchase a driver with a rubberized soft handle, as this will increase user comfort and decrease fatigue when working for long periods. If the impact driver is as big as your corded drill, then it’s not compact in design.

7. The Speed

When using a cordless impact driver, you will not always need the highest speed for all projects that you are working on. A model with a variable speed setting, or a variable speed trigger, can trigger different speeds to drive in screws quickly and efficiently into different materials.

Choosing a model with two or three-speed settings will give you more options when doing different jobs. A sensitive trigger that controls the speed and power is also a suitable substitute for speed settings.

Conclusion

All of the cordless impact driver models listed above offer excellent value for money and are not necessarily the most expensive and fully kitted models on the market. Yet, they are ideal for people looking to add an impact driver to their tool collection. Isn’t that what makes them the best?

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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