Ryobi Impact Driver Review: P238 18V One+

The Ryobi One + series shows remarkable performance, and the HP 18V P238 is no different.

Arguably, the Ryobi P238 is one of the best affordable impact drivers on the market. If you need to perform heavy-duty fastening applications, this brushless impact driver will do the job effectively.

The power tool can handle jobs like driving lag bolts through hardwood and removing tightened screws from automobiles.

As a seasoned DIYer or professional contractor, you might want to add this to your collection of power tools.

It dishes out a lot of torque and remains comfortable while operating. Its lightweight and compact size are some of its many features.

Here’s a quick look at what the Ryobi HP 18V P238 has to offer:

  • Tri-beam LED for a brighter workspace
  • Three-speed control settings
  • Ergonomic and compact design
  • Lightweight (weighs only 3.1 pounds)
  • Features a belt clip for extra portability
  • Compatible with Ryobi’s 18V battery lineup
  • Brushless motor gives better runtime and solid durability
  • Magtray magnetic holder
  • 1/4 inches chuck


  • Variable speed: yes
  • Battery size: 18-volt
  • Maximum speed: 3,100 RPM
  • Battery power type: Lithium-Ion
  • Chuck size: 1/2 inches
  • Certifications and listings: 1-UL listed
  • Chuck type: Auto-load
  • Warranty: 3 years

So, why is this tool the go-to for heavy-duty and large jobs? Why is it perfect for fastening and driving screws/bolts?

Keep reading—to find out!


The Ryobi P238 is an excellent example of a small but mighty tool. It delivers more runtime, power, and motor life than the previous Ryobi impact driver models. In other words, the P238 is an upgraded version of the older models, with outstanding performance and specs.

So, let’s dive deeper into the features of this tool.

Small and Lightweight Design

What’s an impact driver if it isn’t compact and lightweight. Luckily, this tool ticks the box here.

The Ryobi P238 takes comfort to another level. First off, the tool has a gun-like shape that makes it quite comfortable to hold. In addition, it features a grip zone overmold that makes it even more convenient to handle while operating.

One of the significant downsides of using power tools from the Ryobi brand is the fatigue build-up and minor pains you could get on your wrists. Luckily, the P238 is an ergonomic tool that reduces fatigue and allows you to work longer.

Furthermore, if you’ve difficulties reaching tight spaces, the Ryobi P238 will handle it easily—thanks to the tool’s compact size. As a result, you can quickly complete tasks without repeating wrist and hand movements.

Also, the lightweight and comfortability of this tool make long and complex tasks, like fastening screws into metal, less tiring.

But that’s not all.

This impact driver comes with a belt clip for added convenience. So, you can hang the tool around your shoulder while you work—and make it readily available for other tasks.

In summary, nothing beats comfort while you work with Ryobi P238.

High Power and Versatility

Ryobi is quite popular for making powerful and versatile tools. And the Ryobi P238 didn’t fall short in these areas.

Hence, the impact driver is compelling, as it dishes out a massive 2000 inches pound of torque. Also, it conveniently handles large fasteners with over 4300 impacts per minute!

What does that mean?

It means that the tool delivers over 70 impacts per second. Some expert woodworkers even argue that the Ryobi P238 is more powerful than the DeWalt DCF851.

But there’s more!

The Ryobi P238 has incredible durability and endurance. As a result, you can use this powerful tool for high demanding applications without worrying about damaging the device.

It also has enough power to fasten large screws through the most challenging materials like hardwood. Plus, you can release tightly screwed fasteners without damaging the material or the clasp.

However, it’s crucial to keep your hand steady while using the impact driver because of its high power. Also, it helps you to protect your materials, accessories, and fasteners—from any damage.

Versatility is another key feature of this model. In other words, the tool works for different applications and jobs. So, it’s the ideal tool for handling all tasks, from the most basic drilling to complex tightening and fastening jobs. Though the device is primarily for tightening large screws, it doesn’t make it any less versatile.

With that in mind, there are other applications that the Ryobi P238 can comfortably handle like;

  • Driving screws into metal studs
  • Driving long screws or carriage bolts into wooden posts, etc.

Great Control System

The Ryobi P238’s lightweight design makes it very easy to control. For this reason, you don’t need to exert a lot of physical strength to operate this tool—despite its high power capacity.

That said, it also features a three-speed switch that allows variable speed operations. Also, you can choose between low speeds (0-1,100 RPM), medium speeds (0-2,150 RPM), and high speeds (0-3100 RPM). In short, finding the right speed for any job or application is super easy—with this impact driver.

The impact driver comes with a built-in tri-beam LED that provides lighting below the chuck. Plus, the LED keeps your workspace bright and free from shadows. With this, you can focus on getting the best results and worry less about poor visibility.

What’s more?

The tool is user-friendly.

But, there’s a catch;

I don’t recommend this model to beginners because of its high power. However, you can still settle for this model as a newbie if you can take the time to understand its modus operandi.

Highly Customizable For A Variety of Projects

As I earlier mentioned, the Ryobi P238 is relatively easy to use.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The tool can accept almost any type of bits for impact drivers. How? It has a simple auto-change 1/2 chuck.

Though the tool doesn’t come with bits, you can get them easily at Amazon or any local hardware store.

Here are some bits that work perfectly with the Ryobi P238:

Phillips screw bits:

Phillips is a more common type of screw bit. It has various sizes ranging from #0 – #5. An excellent example of this bit is the impact GOLD #2 Phillips 2 inches power bit.

This bit can withstand the high torque of impact drivers. However, I wouldn’t recommend applying a lot of force on this bit. Also, it’s one of the best bits to have in your kit.

Square bits:

These bits have square-shaped screw heads. So, you can use them to make pocket holes on materials. And these pocket holes are perfect for attaching boards perpendicularly.  Luckily, the screws don’t get damaged easily. Plus, you can use it to drive screws at specific angles.

Star or Torx bits:

Torx bits have star-shaped screw heads that can handle a considerable amount of torque. It’s excellent for heavy-duty driving applications like framing, installing plywood subfloors, and even decking.

Drilling bits:

Nowadays, it’s easy to find impact drivers that use various types of bits—unlike the past, where you could only find drilling bits. That said, the drilling bits for impact drivers can bore holes in masonry, metal, concrete, and tiles.

Also, the drilling bit has a multi-grind head with enough force to drill through the previously mentioned materials.  So, with this bit, you can use your Ryobi impact driver as a drill.

Safety Tips

Impact drivers are remarkable tools, but things can go wrong if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions. If you lose control of the device, it can cause severe injuries and accidents.

So, here are some safety tips to help you prevent that.

1. Always go through the user manual before operating the tool. Thus, read and understand the manufacturer’s tips and guidelines to use the product appropriately. Then, look for necessary details like turning on/off the device and using it properly.

2. Ensure you always keep your device clean and store it properly. An ill-treated device will give poor performance. Poor performances can lead to unwanted results or accidents. So, clean the Ryobi P238 regularly, protect the delicate parts of the device from water, keep the device in a safe place when inactive, and change the battery correctly or take it to a technician for help.

3. Your workspace should be tidy and less crowded before using the Ryobi P238. Plus, it would help if you work in well-lighted areas—to reduce the risk of accidents.

4. Wear safety accessories to protect yourself while using this tool. Your safety kit should include gloves, earbuds, headgear, and protective goggles.

5. Always use your Ryobi impact driver for the tasks it was designed for; otherwise, you’d be reducing its life span. Take note of the amount of torque you apply, keep a firm grip on the device, and always refer to your manual if you’re confused about anything.


The Ryobi company provides simple setup instructions for all devices. So, the Ryobi P238 doesn’t require assembly, but you will need help setting up the impact driver properly, like placing batteries and turning on the device.

What’s in the box?

 Unfortunately, there are no added accessories and batteries—just the bare tool.


When I bought the Ryobi P238, I was excited about the possibilities. And honestly, the tool didn’t let me down. The first thing that caught my eye was the gun-like shape of the device. I found that it fit perfectly in my hands, and that made the whole process easy.

Next, I tried out a few fastening applications, like installing a new door, and the Ryobi P238 didn’t disappoint in this area. Again, I used the tool for ripping through rusted and tight bolts easily. I even tried tightening large screws for the new door with the impact action and finished the whole process in no time.

Another application I tried with this tool was a remodeling project. I built a deck with the Ryobi P238. To my surprise, I installed the plywood subfloor in record time and even drove in a 1/2- inch x 4-inch lag bolt in under 3 seconds. Typically, this process would require a drill and other tools to complete, but this tool impressed me by handling all the tasks effortlessly.

Here’s my favorite part;

I compared the Ryobi P238 to the older models. The P238 stood at the top as an upgraded version of its predecessors. I also compared the tool to the DeWalt DCF885C1. Both devices had comparable power and speed. However, the Ryobi took the lead with longer battery life and runtime.

I loved the tool’s other features like the comfortable grip, the brushless motor, and the tri-beam LED.

Overall, I didn’t regret purchasing the Ryobi P238 because it gave me great value for my buck.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Ryobi P238

Honestly, I couldn’t buy the tool without thinking of the benefits. It had to meet my criteria; otherwise, it would just be another tool on the shelf. Luckily, purchasing the Ryobi was an excellent choice. However, here are the features I checked before buying the Ryobi P238.


First off, the tool had to be incredibly versatile. These days, lots of impact drivers claim to be versatile, but they fall short. So, I did a little digging and found that I could use the Ryobi for different projects and applications. Thus, I leaped and was happy with my decision.


I made a lot of comparisons to ensure that the tool was powerful enough. Also, I compared it to the popular DeWalt DCF885C1 and Makita XDT131, and it delivered as much power as both options.

So, I gave the Ryobi P238 a pass mark for its “Power” feature—compared to the other impact drivers mentioned above.


I always love to have control over the speed with my power tools. That’s why the three-speed control of the Ryobi P238 caught my attention. If you like this control feature, then you should consider adding it to your toolbox.


What is a powerful tool without comfort? Nothing!

Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue with this Ryobi impact driver. The featured “rubber overmold” makes it look very comfortable. So, if this appeals to you, don’t miss out on this power tool.


How long does the warranty cover my battery?

Ryobi offers a limited 3-year warranty from the day you purchase the product. After that, what you need is your receipt. If the battery comes in a kit with the device and charger, you don’t need a receipt. 

However, if you have battery issues, share the information on your receipt with a Ryobi customer service—to get directions to the closest service center.

Will all 18V batteries work with all 18V tools? 

One great thing about Ryobi is that the set of 18v tools can work with all 18v batteries. However, you can use Ni-Cad chargers to charge these batteries.

How can I get service on my RYOBI tool(s)?

If your tool has an issue while under warranty, you can send it for repairs through your local home depot or find the nearest authorized service center. You can also create an account on the website and log in. While you’re at it, you must have your receipt.

Where can I find the model number and the serial number of my power tool?

You can find the model and the serial number of your Ryobi product on the black label directly located on your tool. 

So, the serial number may begin with CS, OA, etc. On the other hand, your model number may start with either an RY, P, or AC (accessory).

Can I charge Lithium batteries with a NiCad charger?

You can only use a Lithium-ion charger to charge Lithium-ion batteries. However, if you want, you can purchase the RYOBI 18V ONE+ Lithium-Ion Upgrade Kit.

Rounding Up

There you’ve it: all you need to know about the amazing Ryobi P238. In summary, the Ryobi P238 is one of the leading impact drivers. The model is powerful and hits amazing speeds and impacts per minute.

No doubt, the impact driver can handle so many projects. Plus, it’s compatible with accessories that make your operations less stressful and tiring. Additionally, the tool has a three-year warranty

The Ryobi P238 is one of those impact drivers that offers you a bang for your buck.

What do you think about the review of the P238? Do you plan to get this tool for your next project? Feel free to let us know how it works for you. Also, you can hit us in the comments section with questions or suggestions.

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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