Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Barry Gray
Impact drivers are fantastic thanks to their ability to both drill and also drive home those screws, and all from the same tool. The way they can speed up what you can achieve with your projects is impressive, and I do find myself picking up my impact driver more than I initially thought I would.
You see, that’s part of the fun of power tools. You will often discover that you use some tools more than anticipated simply because of the difference they make. I believe that will happen when it comes to an impact driver.
For me, speed and ease of use are essential, and I am partial to a tool coming with more than one particular use. That’s why I was drawn to the idea of an impact driver in the first place, and so far, I’ve not been disappointed.
But then, as the impact driver becomes more popular, it does mean even more examples have appeared on the market. That makes it harder to ultimately decide which version you should go ahead and purchase.
So, I’m here to help.
What you will find below is a list of six different impact drivers that I believe represent the best on the market. I’ve carried out my own research on these drivers, and I know there will be at least one model in my list that will be perfect for your needs.
- Best Overall Impact Driver – DeWalt Max Impact Driver Kit 20V
- Best Budget Impact Driver – Ryobi P235A 18V One+ Impact Driver
- Best Beginner Impact Driver – Craftsman V20 Impact Driver Kit CMCF810C1
- Best Value Impact Driver – Black & Decker 20V Max Powerconnect ¼” Cordless
- Best Cordless Impact Driver – Skil 2 CB738401
- Best Impact Driver for Torque – Metabo HPT 18V Cordless Impact Driver
However, if you have never thought about owning an impact driver before, or don’t even know what it entails, don’t panic. I have you covered.
After the tools, you will see that I’ve included a series of tips focusing on the key things you need to check out when making your decision. My aim is to make your life a lot easier when selecting your new impact driver, and I’m convinced that my tips and guide will do just that.
How I Made My List
So, how did I come up with this list of six different impact drivers? Well, I drew on my own personal experience of not only impact drivers but power tools in general. Also, I had a firm idea of what is required when it comes to impact drivers and how they should perform.
First, I checked the power. You need your impact driver to have the ability to easily carry out all its tasks, and if it’s lacking in power, then you will clearly struggle.
Also, I wanted to list only those impact drivers where you can easily change bits. I just hate tools that make this aspect tricky and where it takes too long. For me, there’s nothing more frustrating than that.
Then, I checked out which impact drivers were most reliable. You want your impact driver to last for a long time without the motor simply burning out. Add into that how long the bits last without becoming worn down.
Finally, there was the issue of knowing what it’s like to own a particular impact driver for an extended period. So, I checked out what other owners were saying about their individual experiences.
After that, I was left with these six impact drivers that I feel will prove their worth to any individual looking to add this tool to their kit.
So, let’s get onto the list.
Best Overall Impact Driver – DeWalt Max Impact Driver Kit 20V
- Power: 20V
- Torque: 1,400 in-lbs
- Max RPM: 2,800
- Weight: 2.8lbs
For me, the best overall impact driver is this model by DeWalt. Now, I’ve always loved DeWalt tools as I feel they always produce high-quality tools capable of delivering outstanding results. In my opinion, this impact driver does exactly that and more.
First, it comes with a 20V battery, so you know it packs a punch from a power perspective. I also appreciate it weighs less than 3lbs since it does mean you have less to worry about when it comes to fatigue.
However, even though this impact driver has a lot of power, the motor is not brushless. That means you have to watch how hard you push it, but it has so much torque that it won’t take too long to give you the results you were hoping for.
This torque means you have no issues driving those fasteners into soft or hardwood. Also, it comes with a variable speed trigger which I find very easy to control. That does allow you to take your time when it comes to using your driver, which I love.
Overall, I think this impact driver does a fantastic job, and it never comes across as struggling with anything you throw at it.
- It’s very easy to hold thanks to being lightweight and ergonomically designed
- It comes with lights to make seeing easier
- The variable speed trigger is excellent
- It has more than enough with the power/torque ratio
- It’s great for heavy-duty use
- The battery does drain quicker than you expect
Best Budget Impact Driver – Ryobi P235A 18V One+ Impact Driver
- Power: 18V
- Maximum Torque: 1,800 in-lbs
- Maximum RPM: 2,800
- Weight: 4lbs
Ryobi is one name I tend to look at when thinking about a budget option. Now, I must admit that you will need the battery as you will often just find the bare tool, but this can still prove an inexpensive way of picking up an impact driver.
In this instance, it’s part of their One+ range, which means it links to their 18V battery. I find this to be pretty sufficient for most outcomes, and the torque level is also decent enough for most average DIY’ers.
This driver does feel well made. It comes with a cast-aluminum gear housing that feels sturdy, and the quick-connect chuck also works exceptionally well. However, this driver is slightly heavier than a number on the market since it weighs in at 4lbs.
What you are looking at in this pack are a ½” drill and a ¼” impact driver. That’s enough to cover most eventualities, while you can vary the speed, providing you with ample control over your projects.
Overall, this tool is impressive, and the fact it qualifies for the budget end of the market is another huge bonus.
- It packs ample power for you to get on with your projects
- Changing bits is straightforward
- It’s well made and can cope with a lot of punishment
- It offers 3,200 ipm, which is pretty impressive
- It feels comfortable to hold
- Some people may find it slightly on the heavy side, especially when the battery is added
Best Beginner Impact Driver – Craftsman V20 Impact Driver Kit CMCF810C1
- Power: 20V
- Maximum Torque: 1,460 in-lbs
- Maximum RPM: 2,800
- Weight: 4.1lbs
If you are new to DIY and also new to an impact driver, then this model by Craftsman may be the best on the market. It still comes packed with more than enough power thanks to that 20V battery, so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get it to do what you want.
The one thing that stands out with this model is that it’s a really solid performer. It’s pretty reliable, and you do feel it won’t let you down. However, it’s not the type of tool you can push too hard for extended periods, so keep that in mind.
One impressive thing is the fact it does have a brushless motor. That means it’s less likely to burn out, and it’s a surprise because this is not one of the more expensive impact drivers on the market.
I do think this model also offers enough in the way of torque, but those levels are stripped back a bit compared to others on the market. That’s one reason I feel it’s better suited for beginners, as its capabilities are slightly less than what you get with more expensive models.
However, for basic DIY projects, this impact driver should perform well. It also has an LED light built into it to help you out with those dark spots, which is always appreciated.
Overall, while this impact driver is not for heavy-duty use, I still think it does a good enough job for the average DIY’er carrying out various tasks around the home.
- It has a brushless motor, so it won’t burn out so quickly
- It delivers consistent and solid performance
- The LED light helps improve visibility
- It offers ample power of 3,100 ipm
- It is quick and easy to change bits in an instant
- It does feel a bit heavy at over 4lbs
Best Value Impact Driver – Black & Decker 20V Max Powerconnect ¼” Cordless
- Power: 20V
- Maximum Torque: 1,400 in-lbs
- Maximum RPM: 3,000
- Weight: 3.6lbs
Black & Decker has a habit of producing decent tools for a fantastic price, and this impact driver falls perfectly into that category. It comes with a 20V battery and delivers some 1,400 in-lbs of torque, which is perfect for smaller tasks and projects around the home.
One thing that stands out with this model is how it sits in your hand. It’s clear Black & Decker has designed this with comfort in mind, and at 3.6lbs in weight, it’s not too heavy either. In addition, they have incorporated a non-slip grip on the handle part, so you feel in control of the driver no matter the conditions.
Considering its price, the power and speed you get with this driver will surprise you. It’s certainly capable of coping with smaller projects. Also, I tend to feel this model is pretty easy to control, which is key if you are new to using an impact driver.
Overall, I feel you should have no issue with using this impact driver. It’s easy to set up, and as long as you keep it within its limitations, you shouldn’t struggle.
- The grip is one of the best on the market
- It’s relatively light, so fatigue should not be an issue
- It packs more power than you expect
- It offers 3,900 ipm
- The variable speed trigger provides you with a greater sense of control
- The battery is pretty poor, so expect around 30 minutes of use
Best Cordless Impact Driver – Skil 2 CB738401
- Power: 12V
- Maximum Torque: 1100 in-lbs
- Maximum RPM: 1700
- Weight: 6.17lbs
If it’s a cordless impact driver that you have set your eyes on, then this model by Skil is one I am happy to recommend. It comes with a 12V battery throwing out a maximum torque rating of 1100 in-lbs. Now, I know that’s less than you get elsewhere, but that’s why I do feel this model is also best for the home DIY’er.
It does offer a maximum RPM of 1700, and while that’s lower than elsewhere, I feel it provides enough speed without risking going out of control. However, I accept that this drop in power and speed could impact its ability to perform as well as it could with more challenging projects.
For me, one of the best features is the brushless motor. You can feel confident it will not burn out if pushed a bit too hard.
But the standout part is the battery. Their Lithium-ion battery is one of the best out there, and they claim it will outstrip others by some 25%. While I’m not 100% sure of that, it certainly lasts longer than anticipated.
- The battery is impressive
- The brushless motor is one you can push a bit harder
- It feels easy to control
- The LED light helps you out
- Changing bits is straightforward
- The power and torque are lower than you see elsewhere
Best Impact Driver for Torque – Metabo HPT 18V Cordless Impact Driver
- Power: 18V
- Maximum Torque: 1,832 in-lbs
- Maximum RPM: 2,900
- Weight: 2.9lbs
If it’s the power-to-torque ratio you are looking for, then this model by Metabo is one of the best. It delivers a staggering 1,832 in-lbs of torque from an 18V battery while offering a maximum RPM of 2,900.
Those figures tell you everything you need to know about this impact driver. It’s powerful, and it should never struggle with any aspect.
But I should clarify that I see this tool as more for the experienced DIY’er or professional. It packs too much punch for your beginner, so I’d avoid this model if that’s you.
However, I appreciate how the speed aspect comes with four different options, so you have some variability. You will feel that this is required when you discover it pushes out 4,000 ipm, one of the highest figures you will find on the market.
Comfort wise, this impact driver is easy to hold and not just because it weighs less than 3lbs. The grip is substantial, and you feel you can push this model hard with both hard and softwood without it then packing in.
Overall, this is an excellent impact driver capable of helping you with even the most challenging projects.
- The power/torque ratio means this model packs a real punch
- The four-stage speed variability does give you more control
- It’s very light and comfortable to hold
- It delivers 4,000 ipm, which is seriously impressive
- It has a charge indicator light, so you know when it’s going to pack in
- You need to buy the battery
How to Select the Right Impact Driver
I’m sure any of the six impact drivers listed above will make a difference to your projects, but let me run through my tips on what to look for when deciding which model to purchase.
Most impact drivers will be cordless, but a few corded versions are out there on the market.
However, I would only ever opt for a cordless version. I feel it provides you with greater opportunities to get the most out of the tool.
You will notice I mentioned the maximum RPM each impact driver could reach, but that’s not the whole story. I would also suggest people go for a model that offers some sense of variability regarding that speed aspect.
Sometimes, a slower speed is best, or you run the risk of effectively losing control.
However, a higher speed means less torque. So, higher speeds work best for smaller projects in and around the home.
Torque is another essential aspect, and it’s tied closely to the speed of the impact driver. The higher the torque, measured at a rate of inches per pound, the more significant the actual twisting power of the impact driver.
It also makes sense that you need more torque when dealing with tougher materials. That’s why screwing into hardwood needs higher torque levels than softwood.
If you intend to only use your impact driver for driving home small screws in and around the home, then something around 1,000 in-lbs is perfect. However, if it’s for framework or construction, you need over 1,500 in-lbs.
With the motor, you have two options and need to choose between a brushless motor or a motor with brushes. Out of the two, brushless motors require less maintenance, but often impact drivers with brush motors will be less expensive.
If you don’t believe you will be pushing your impact driver to its maximum, then I wouldn’t worry too much about the motor aspect. If you intend to repeatedly work your impact driver, you need to think about switching to brushless as they are more heavy-duty in some regards.
I think that, for me, the overall key is in understanding what your general projects will be and how you plan on using your impact driver. I get that you will use it more than you expect, as that happened to me, but you generally know if you will be carrying out construction projects or simple tasks at home.
Having that knowledge will result in you knowing how much torque or speed you will need, reducing the options available to you.
Overall, I feel those are the key areas to look at when choosing an impact driver. If you keep those points in mind, identifying the correct driver should be a straightforward task.
So that’s my list of the six best impact drivers on the market today, and I believe any one of them will prove to be a fantastic tool to add to your collection. However, if you still feel unsure which model to choose, go ahead and check out my tips.
I think a quality impact driver will quickly become one of your favorite tools simply because of how often you will end up using it.
An impact driver need not be expensive to own. Yet no matter how much cash you spend on one, I know it will prove worthwhile with any model on my list.