What actually an impact driver is?
Well, the impact driver is NOT just a regular cordless drill! This is for sure. You will need to use an impact driver for strong-bolts, tough screws and any hard part of a machine that wouldn’t easily be driven by a regular cordless drill.
So, if you hear someone telling his friend that he needs an impact driver because there are a lot of things that he must finish around the house, be sure that he is right. It is definitely a must-have tool for DIY guys, but for the professionals also.
These wonderful tools can be used for so many things, as long as you get the right one. Even though many look the same, there are significant differences between some of these tools. We prefer and advise the cordless impact drivers because they’re so versatile. Who wants to drag around a power cord if it’s not needed?!
The impact driver is designed for heavy tasks requiring strong torque and beastly handling. You can do this manually, of course, but how efficient will you be? The impact driver makes up to 27 impacts in 0.5second (that is 3200 Impacts-Per-Minute) – can you do this manually?
Let`s take a closer look at the best affordable impact drivers!
But before we start, take a look at our Buyer’s Guide. There are a lot of tips and tricks you didn’t know.
Ryobi P234g One+ 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Battery Not Included / Power Tool Only)
This Ryobi impact driver is a perfect tool ideal for heavy driving tasks.
It is powerful and compact and it has a variable-speed trigger that aids users in driving the longest deck screws or largest lag screws with ease. This impact driver delivers 1,500 inches/lbs of torque to provide to the needs of challenging applications.
The 1/4-inch single sleeve keyless chuck allows the user to change bits quickly and easily. The small design aids the user to work in tight spaces while minimizing user fatigue. The exclusive MagTray magnetic holder allows users to keep screws and bits within easy reach.
- It features powerful motor which delivers 1,500 inch/lbs. of torque
- This model features 1/4-inch single sleeve keyless chuck which makes simple bit changes
- With variable speed setting (0-2,600 rpm) you can adjust speed according to applications
- Durable cast aluminum gear housing
- Exclusive MagTray magnetic holder for convenient placement of screws and bits
- On-board bit storage
- Compatible with Ryobi battery models P100, P103, P104, P102, P107, P105, P108 (sold separately)
- Compatible Ryobi charger models P113, P114 chargers (sold separately)
- Bare tool; no battery, charger, or case included
BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C 20V MAX Lithium Impact Driver
This Black & Decker 20V impact driver features high-performance transmission that delivers 1375 inch/lbs. of torque.
This model has ¼ inch hex chuck which enables you to insert and remove the hex bit quickly to save time and energy during work.
It has a variable speed option (0-3000rpm and 0-39000 bpm). It is a compact and lightweight design, easy to use for all types of jobs. Max voltage is 20V but nominal is 18V. To run this impact driver, 1 Lithium-Ion battery is required, and it is included in the kit.
This Impact driver is definitely a great addition to your collection, especially if you have other 20V max collections because it is compatible with over half of all Black & Decker products and all Craftsman bolt-on products.
- High-Performance Transmission delivers 1375 inch-lbs. of max torque
- Quick Release 1/4″ Hex Chuck
- Compact & Lightweight for ease of use
- The maximum initial battery voltage measured without a workload is 20 volts and the nominal voltage is 18.
- Variable speed option
PORTER-CABLE PCC640B 20V Max Impact Driver Bare Tool
This model has a high torque motor that delivers 1495 in/lbs. of torque and high-performance transmission which delivers 0-2900 RPM- 0-3100 BPM for quick fastening applications.
This tool is compact and fits easily in tight spaces. LED work light illuminates your work area and makes your job possible even in dark. It offers a quick load chuck with which you will be able to insert a bit with one hand.
Variable speed trigger switch with a forward-reverse button for additional control. Battery fuel gauge displays the remaining charge time. It has two magnetic bit tip storage slots built on top of the tool for organization.
This is a bare tool item, battery and charger are sold separately.
- It features high torque motor which delivers 1495 inch/lbs. of torque
- With high-performance transmission allows quick fastening applications
- Lightweight and compact tool that easily fits in tight spaces and reduces user fatigue
- With quick release chuck you will be able to insert bit with one hand
- With battery fuel gauge you can see charge remaining time in the battery
- LED work light for working easily in dark work areas
- For added control it has variable speed triggerswitch with forward/reverse button
- Two magnetic bit tip storage slots are built on the top of the tool for easy organization
Makita XDT11Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver (Tool Only)
This model is very compact and lightweight (only 5-3/8″ long and 2.8 pounds-with battery). This compact and ergonomic design with less weight reduces operator fatigue.
It delivers power and speed for a full range of driving and fastening tasks. It features a Makita-built 4-pole motor.It has variable speed (0-2,900 RPM and 0-3,500 IPM) that delivers 1460 inch/lbs. of torque and ¼ inch hex chuck for fast bit changes.
The LED light illuminates the job area for applications in dark spaces. It’s part of Makita’s largest cordless tool line-up powered by an 18V Lithium-Ion slide-style battery. These batteries have the fastest charge times in their categories, this means that the batteries will spend more time working and less on the charger.
- It has variable speed (0-2,900 RPM and 0-3,500 IPM) for a wide range of fastening applications
- This model has Makita 4-pole motor which delivers 1460 inch/lbs. of Max Torque
- Compact and ergonomic design
- Lightweight design it weighs only 2.8 lbs. with battery (battery not included)
- Convenient one-touch 1/4″ hex chuck for fast bit changes
- 3-year warranty
Ridgid R86035 Gen5X 18V Cordless Lithium-Ion Impact Driver
This model is ideal whether you’re a professional contractor or need heavy-duty power to complete your DIY tasks.
This is one of the most powerful cordless high-torque driving units available from Ridgid. It has 2000inch/lbs. of torque which is more than enough power available in this tool to drive the largest fasteners, even lag bolts, with ease.
If you need it to perform more delicately, you can reduce its power with the 3-level switch that lets you alternate between smaller fasteners like screws and larger ones like bolts. Whether you’re right or left-handed, you’ll be able to carry it around comfortably.
You don’t need an extra tool, or even a battery powering your impact driver, to replace bits just pull the chuck’s collar back and the bit will eject
It has LEDs set around the chuck which can be activated with a trigger separate from the one that activates the motor, so you don’t have to waste battery power while you light up your subject.
We will advise you to register your tool right away you receive it and be careful to send all that they are asking to send, otherwise, they won’t accept receiving your registration. They always send an additional email!
- It features quick-release chuck which makes bit replacement easy.
- 3 Power modes -switch between 3 power modes, adjusting from 0 to 2,000 inch/lbs. of torque
- This model has rubber over-mold on the impact driver’s pistol grip that allows you to have maximum control in slippery conditions
- LED light around chuck with a separate trigger for activation.
- Belt clip allows to attach included belt clip onto either side of impact driver
- 3-year limited warranty
Milwaukee 2753-20 M18 Fuel 1/4 Hex Imp Driver Tool Only
This is really a must have tool for the DIYer or even a step beyond that to the part-time pro, and maybe even the pro. It’s the brushless motor version.
Really a great tool. Very powerful and with the different power settings. There are four settings, 1-3 and Drill-the 1 setting runs so slow that you can drive screws in tight places with no cosmetic damage worth mentioning It is also very versatile for both light and heavy applications. Milwaukee undoubtedly is at the top of the cordless tool game.
It works flawlessly with lots of torque to drive sheetrock screws, wood screws, sheet metal screws, and tightened or loosens nuts and bolts up to 9/16”, Milwaukee designed this driver quite well internally and externally, it’s comfortable to be using all day.
Remember, though, the battery and charger aren’t included here. It’s an investment.
- It features brushless motor with 1800 inch/ lbs. of torque for faster driving speeds
- It features protection of damage to the tool and battery due to overloading or overheating
- Batteries (red lithium) deliver more work per charge and more work over the life of the battery
- 4-mode drive control provides greater control over output speed and power
- It includes hex impact driver, belt clip, bit holder
- Compatible with all M18 batteries and M18 chargers
- Lightweight, only 2.1 lbs.
- LED light for making the work easily done in dark places
- 3-year warranty
Bosch PS41-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case
This is a well built, comfortable, light weight driver. There won’t be a problem driving 2-1/2″ screws in. Battery life is good and holds a charge well, even after months of no use.
It gets into hard to reach places of the machine and allows the user to get the job done faster. The torque is awesome! It has un-seized nuts that have not been removed in years over and over with ease and really does drive in 3-inch wood screws fast and with no hesitation.
Bosch puts a little LED “Fuel” gauge on the side. This feature tells you just how much battery life is left. So when, and if you have to change the battery during a job and you just swap batteries without the annoying “die down” of the charge. Just check the gauge and when you get to one light change the battery. The charger is pretty fast too, about 30 to 40 min.
Another great feature is the LED lights on the front.
- Compact-Shortest Head Length, small enough to reach into tight areas and corners.
- Light Weight – Lightest Weight, great for over the head continuous work
- 930 inch/lbs. of Torque / 2,600 RPM for Fast Drilling
- 3-LED Light Ring – Light to illuminate working area
- Fuel Gauge – Easier Battery management for continued work.
Normally, every tool that we want to own has features that are important to look before we decide. Over the years, the technology has grown and there are many tools that offer excellent features.
But, what is exactly important to look at when buying a cordless impact driver?
The first thing to look at and choose is a brushless motor. Yes, they are more expensive than brushed but a tool with brushless motors has a longer life and they don’t require a lot of maintenance. And, brushless motors run more efficiently, produce less heat, and have good communication with batteries in order to optimize performance and prevent overload.
As we already mentioned cordless impact drivers produce more RPMs as compared to the standard drills. These turns provide more force to a bit thus, enabling the completion of the job smoothly and rapidly. The tool drives faster when RPMs are higher. The faster RPMs in the cordless impact drills protect the bit and help in preventing the motor from burning out and overheating.
The biggest difference between a cordless impact driver and the standard drill is the total amount of torque that the tool sends to that fastener. Torque usually increases the efficacy of the tool when taking the stress away from the operator.
When you start searching the market, you will see that impact drivers come in 12V, 18V, 20V (but just a few of them) versions. If you are a DIY person you will be able to do most of your job with the smaller, lighter 12V tool, but for the professionals or anyone else needing some extra power, 18V is the one to go with.
Developments in motor technology, as well as fabrication, have enabled the top-rated impact drivers to be lighter, more comfortable and compact. The features like pistol grips with the rubberized padding help in reducing user fatigue. The design also enables weight balancing that makes using the cordless impact driver more ergo-friendly.
Impact drivers have specific advantages that they are perfect for one-handed driving. They are much smaller and lighter than larger drill/drivers, and the impact mechanism of the tool prevents any “kickback” the would twist your hand at high loads. An impact driver packs a lot more power but in a smaller size.
Control, LED lights and Belt hook
Those are some additional features that you would definitely want on your tool.
When we are talking about control features, most of the impact drivers will have a forward/reverse switch and trigger. You should be able to easily change direction with the thumb and index finger. Some tools will have a neutral that locks the trigger. This feature is excellent because it ensures that the battery doesn’t drain if the trigger is pressed accidentally in a tool bag. But, if your tool doesn’t have this feature, make sure to remove your battery before storing your tool in the toolbox.
LED lights. Well, this will help you if you are working in dark areas. Nowadays this is a standard feature for impact drivers.
A belt hook also comes in quite handy. Consider impact drivers with ambidextrous belt hooks that can be attached to either side of the driver. Even if you don’t think you’ll use it, you’ll likely change your mind if you’re climbing a ladder or doing a series of drives with pauses in between. Hanging the tool from the hook on your side is much easier than carrying it around or picking it up and setting it down again. Check out this amazing belt! It’s super awesome!
Let`s say that this is also, one of the top things you should look at. It makes sense, right? Because, what is worse than a new broken tool, without warranty. You can find many different warranties offers-for tool but some producers give warranty for batteries.
For example, DeWalt usually offers a 3-year limited warranty. MILWAUKEE gives a 1-year limited warranty, Makita gives a 1-year limited warranty, Bosch is also giving a 1-year warranty, Porter-cable gives a 3-year limited warranty. RIDGID, for example, gives lifetime warranty for tools, but be careful and check this info.
Also, we advise you to check if you have to register your tool online for warranty. Some producers require this registration, in order to accept any repairs during the warranty period.
What makes a good impact driver?
What is a good impact driver for you depends on what are you going to use it mostly for. If you really want perfect impact driver you should look at the impacts per minute one can deliver.
But, if you will use your tool mostly for automotive work than you should consider a compact model, that can fit under the vehicle.
Why choose an Impact driver over a drill?
First, it`s clear that impact drivers and drills are must-have tools for your workshop because they are very useful.
As we mentioned, anyone who thinks that a driver is the same as a drill is wrong. There are big differences between these two tools.
When we talk about the same rotational action impact drivers use the same rotational action as power drills use. But, when you are driving in a screw, impact drivers use a hammering action that can hammer down, but also sideways. This makes it easier to drive screws into tough materials. With a power drill, you will usually have to apply a lot of pressure to prevent the drive bit from slipping, but the hammering action of impact drivers mostly prevents this. The only thing you have to do is to apply enough pressure to keep the screw guided and on point.
Impact drivers are also great for removing stubborn screws or bolts; you do this by reversing the spin direction. The hammering action makes removing corroded fasteners easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between an impact drill and an impact driver?
You will need an impact driver to loosen larger screws (bolts) and nuts that are corrosively “frozen” or over-torqued. One may say “but that’s what a cordless drill would do”, may I tell you that the average cordless drill delivers about 400″ pound of torque, some other cordless drills, though they are very good drills too, deliver 115″ pound of torque. What would 400″ pound of torque do for a bolt that got stuck half-way through? Yea, nothing. But an average impact driver delivers about 1420″ pound of torque, this torque is so strong and rapid, you will never catch an interval between 2 consecutive strikes. All you hear is a long continuous strike sound, (long like the hum of an electric clipper), completing all tough tasks in quick paces.
What is the difference between an impact driver and an impact wrench?
Well, impact wrenches are heavier, larger, and much more powerful (with more torque) than impact drivers. Also, impact wrenches use a square drive (generally ½inch) and are made for loosening/fastening holes, while most impact drivers use a ¼inch hex drive and are used for driving screws. But, you have the option to convert ¼ inch impact driver to ½ inch square drive with the adapter.
Can you drill holes with an impact driver?
Yes, you can use an impact driver to make holes. What is important for this part is a drill bit. When using a standard hex-shank drill bit, you can make small holes in light steel or softwood. If you want to make bigger holes in heavy steel or hardwood, you need a bit rated specifically for the impact driver.
If you are at the point where unfortunately money is the most important, you now have found the best affordable impact driver on the market.
Be sure to choose well, and be sure to use your safety gear when using your tool.
We hope you enjoyed our new-and-improved guide. What did you think of it?
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