Drills & Drivers

The 10 Best Impact Drivers of 2020

Best Impact Driver

Photo: Porter-Cable

Impact drivers have a similar design to drills but operate very differently. Instead of using the motor to provide torque, these tools use a hammering action.

This gives a high torque driving action that drives screws and tightens nuts quickly and easily, especially in sticky situations where drills cannot succeed.

That said, there are several varieties of these tools in the market, but we have listed the best impact drivers to buy in the review below. Let’s get started.

You can also read other product reviews of brushless impact driver, drill driver combo.

10 Best Impact Drivers – Review 

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

DeWalt DCF887D2

1. DeWalt DCF887D2 (Best Overall)

  • Powerful, efficient, and durable brushless motor
  • 3-speed settings with precision drive in speed 1
  • 3 work area LEDs with a 20-sec delay
  • Belt clip
Milwaukee 2462-20 M12

2. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 (Best for the Money)

  • Affordable
  • RedLithium technology for enhanced durability
  • Onboard fuel gauge
  • Work area LED light
Bosch PS41-2A

3. Bosch PS41-2A (Best Lightweight)

  • Compact and lightweight (2.1 lbs.)
  • Built-in fuel gauge
  • 3-LED light ring
  • Complete set
Makita XDT14Z

4. Makita XDT14Z (Best Automated)

  • Quick-shift mode for automatic downshifting
  • T-mode for fastening self-drilling screws
  • XPT with an all-metal gear housing
  • Efficient brushless motor
Ryobi One+ P236

5. Ryobi One+ P236 (Best Ergonomically Design)

  • Ergonomic rubber over-mold grip
  • Tool-free bit changing system
  • Magnetic tray
  • Powerful motor with 1600 in-lbs. of torque
Black & Decker BDCI20C

6. Black & Decker BDCI20C (Quick-Blow)

  • Quick blows of up to 3900 IPM
  • High-performance transmission
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • Includes a battery and screwdriver bit
DeWalt DC825B

7. DeWalt DC825B (Frameless Motor)

  • Durable frameless motor
  • Strong all-metal transmission system
  • Work area LED light
  • Anti-slip textured grip
Makita XDT131

8. Makita XDT131 (Efficient)

  • Electronically controlled brushless motor
  • Star protection communication technology
  • Durable all-aluminum gear housing
  • Includes a battery, charger, and tool bag
Craftsman 5727.1

9. Craftsman 5727.1 (With Electric Brakes)

  • Electric brakes for quick stopping
  • Quick connect chuck
  • Durable die-cast aluminum housing
  • Integrated LED work light
Porter-Cable PCCK640LB

10. Porter-Cable PCCK640LB (With a Fuel Gauge)

  • Fuel gauge for battery management
  • LED work light
  • One-hand easy-load chuck
  • Belt clip

PRODUCT

1. DeWalt DCF887D2

(Best Overall)

DeWalt DCF887D2
  • Powerful, efficient, and durable brushless motor
  • 3-speed settings with precision drive in speed 1
  • 3 work area LEDs with a 20-sec delay
  • Belt clip

2. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12

(Best for the Money)

Milwaukee 2462-20 M12
  • Affordable
  • RedLithium technology for enhanced durability
  • Onboard fuel gauge
  • Work area LED light

3. Bosch PS41-2A

(Best Lightweight)

Bosch PS41-2A
  • Compact and lightweight (2.1 lbs.)
  • Built-in fuel gauge
  • 3-LED light ring
  • Complete set

4. Makita XDT14Z

(Best Automated)

Makita XDT14Z
  • Quick-shift mode for automatic downshifting
  • T-mode for fastening self-drilling screws
  • XPT with an all-metal gear housing
  • Efficient brushless motor

5. Ryobi One+ P236

(Best Ergonomically Design)

Ryobi One+ P236
  • Ergonomic rubber over-mold grip
  • Tool-free bit changing system
  • Magnetic tray
  • Powerful motor with 1600 in-lbs. of torque

6. Black & Decker BDCI20C

(Quick-Blow)

Black & Decker BDCI20C
  • Quick blows of up to 3900 IPM
  • High-performance transmission
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • Includes a battery and screwdriver bit

7. DeWalt DC825B

(Frameless Motor)

DeWalt DC825B
  • Durable frameless motor
  • Strong all-metal transmission system
  • Work area LED light
  • Anti-slip textured grip

8. Makita XDT131

(Efficient)

Makita XDT131
  • Electronically controlled brushless motor
  • Star protection communication technology
  • Durable all-aluminum gear housing
  • Includes a battery, charger, and tool bag

9. Craftsman 5727.1

(With Electric Brakes)

Craftsman 5727.1
  • Electric brakes for quick stopping
  • Quick connect chuck
  • Durable die-cast aluminum housing
  • Integrated LED work light

10. Porter-Cable PCCK640LB

(With a Fuel Gauge)

Porter-Cable PCCK640LB
  • Fuel gauge for battery management
  • LED work light
  • One-hand easy-load chuck
  • Belt clip

1. DeWalt DCF887D2 – Best Overall Impact Driver

DeWalt DCF887D2

Photo: DeWalt

  • Torque: 1825 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3600 IPM
  • Speed: 3250 RPM
  • Battery: 20V

DeWalt’s DCF887D2 takes the overall best spot and this is due to several features. For starters, it has an efficient and durable brushless motor that is very powerful and it helps to deliver up to 1825 in-lbs. of torque.

The motor’s output is controlled in 3-speed settings, which are 0 - 1000, 1001 - 2800, and 2801 - 3250 RPM. This, in turn, delivers a torque of 0 - 240, 241 - 1,500 and 1501 - 1,825 in-lbs. respectively.

These settings allow you to optimize the driver’s performance for different applications and there is a precision drive feature in speed 1 for additional control.

A variable trigger gives you more control as you run the unit at any of these speeds for more precision while 3 LEDs light up your work area for improved visibility. The lights have a 20-second delay after the trigger release, which helps to conserve the battery.

Other features include two 20V, 2 Ah batteries that deliver more runtime and capacity, a belt clip for hanging within close reach, an easy-grip sleeve on the hex chuck for easy one-handed loading, and a kit box for easy storage and transportation.

However, the unit is quite expensive but it is worth the price.

Pros:

  • Powerful, efficient, and durable brushless motor
  • Versatile 3-speed settings with precision drive in speed 1
  • 3 work area LEDs with a 20-sec delay
  • Belt clip
  • Includes 2 batteries

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

2. Milwaukee 2462-20 M12 – Best Impact Driver for the Money

Milwaukee 2462-20 M12

Photo: Milwaukee

  • Torque: 1000 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3300 IPM
  • Speed: 2500 RPM
  • Battery: 12V

With a low price tag and reliable RedLithium technology, Milwaukee’s 2462-20 M12 is the best choice for beginners and DIYers who don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy an impact driver.

This technology consists of an onboard computer that communicates with the RedLithium batteries to ensure the motor does not draw more power than it can handle. It also prevents the motor from overheating, which enhances the driver’s durability.

Apart from that, you get an onboard fuel gauge that is comprised of LED lights, which show you how much battery power is left in 25% increments. A work area LED light is also built-in for eliminating shadows ahead, and it is trigger-activated for convenient use.  

On the downside, no battery is included with the driver and it has a 12V motor that is not very powerful.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • RedLithium technology for enhanced durability
  • Onboard fuel gauge
  • Trigger-activated work area LED light

Cons:

  • Battery not included
  • Less powerful electrical system

3. Bosch PS41-2A – Best Lightweight Impact Driver

Bosch PS41-2A

Photo: Bosch

  • Torque: 930 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3100 IPM
  • Speed: 2600 RPM
  • Battery: 12V

Bosch’s PS41-2A is characterized by a lightweight design that only weighs 2.1 lbs. This ensures you experience reduced fatigue, especially if doing some overhead work for long periods.

On top of that, it has a compact body that has a very short 5.4-in head length. This makes it easy to fit in corners and tight spaces.

Onboard is an easy-to-read fuel gauge for easy battery management while a 3-LED light ring at the front lets you eliminate shadows in low light areas for accurate drilling/driving.

Included in the set are two 12V lithium-ion batteries for extended/non-stop runtime, a charger, and a carrying bag for safe storage and easy transportation. You also get two screwdriver bits, which give you more value for money.

The only problem is that the driver is not very powerful because it delivers a torque of only 930 in-lbs.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Built-in fuel gauge
  • 3-LED light ring
  • Includes 2 batteries, 2 screwdriver bits, and a carry bag

Cons:

  • Low torque output

4. Makita XDT14Z – Best Automated Impact Driver

Makita XDT14Z

Photo: Makita

  • Torque: 1550 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3800 IPM
  • Speed: 3600 RPM
  • Battery: 18V

With 3-speed settings, Makita’s XDT14Z is equipped with quick-shift mode, which is an automatic electronic controller that downshifts to reduce rotation and impact automatically before driving a screw.

This design is meant to minimize screw thread stripping, breakage, and work area damage. If you want to quickly fasten self-drilling screws, there is a tightening mode (T-mode) for that.

Apart from that, the unit features XPT (Extreme Protection Technology), in which it has an all-metal gear housing that is engineered to provide better water and dust resistance in harsh worksite conditions.

Other features include an efficient brushless motor that is electronically controlled to provide up to 50% more runtime per charge, a belt clip and dual-LED lights with an independent on/off switch.

However, the required battery and charger are not included in the set.

Pros:

  • Quick-shift mode for automatic downshifting
  • T-mode for fastening self-drilling screws
  • XPT with an all-metal gear housing
  • Efficient brushless motor
  • Dual work area LED lights

Cons:

  • Battery and charger not included

5. Ryobi One+ P236 – Best Ergonomically Designed Impact Driver

Ryobi One+ P236

Photo: Ryobi

  • Torque: 1600 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Speed: 3200 RPM
  • Battery: 18V

Ryobi’s One+ P236 has a couple of features that make it very ergonomic. For starters, it has a rubber over-mold grip that gives you a firm hold for better accuracy. It also has a tool-free bit changing system that requires you to pull back the collar to eject the bit, then plug a new one in.

A magnetic tray is also built-in for easy use and this component keeps fasteners and bits firmly secure in place so that you can handle the driver using both hands.

Aside from that, you get tri-beam LED lighting that is trigger activated, a powerful motor that delivers up to 1600 in-lbs. of torque and an 18V electrical system that is compatible with all lithium-ion and NiCad batteries used in the One+ family of tools.

The only problem is that you don’t get a battery or charger with the tool.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic rubber over-mold grip
  • Tool-free bit changing system
  • Magnetic tray
  • Tri-beam LED lighting
  • Powerful motor with up to 1600 in-lbs. of torque

Cons:

  • Battery and charger not included

6. Black & Decker BDCI20C – Quick-Blow Impact Driver

Black & Decker BDCI20C

Photo: Black & Decker

  • Torque: 1375 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3900 IPM
  • Speed: 3000 RPM
  • Battery: 20V

Black & Decker’s BDCI20C is designed to deliver very quick blows, reaching up to 3900 impacts per minute. Combined with a high-performance transmission that delivers 1375 in-lbs. of torque, this gives you enough muscle to drive screws through tough materials with ease.

This power is transmitted to a 1/4-in hex chuck, which has a quick-release mechanism for fast and easy bit changes.

A 20V battery, a charger, and a screwdriver bit are included in the set, and these give you more value for money. However, you don’t get an onboard storage slot for this bit for easy reach.

Pros:

  • Quick blows of up to 3900 IPM
  • High-performance transmission
  • Quick-release hex chuck
  • Includes a battery and screwdriver bit

Cons:

  • No onboard tool storage

7. DeWalt DC825B – Frameless Motor Impact Driver

DeWalt DC825B

Photo: DeWalt

  • Torque: 1330 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 2700 IPM
  • Speed: 2400 RPM
  • Battery: 18V

This impact driver is powered by a frameless motor, which is very durable, and it has replaceable brushes for easy serviceability. Durability is further enhanced by a magnesium gear case and an all-metal transmission system.

The motor is controlled via a variable speed trigger with a range of 0-2400 RPM, 0-2700 IPM, and a torque output of 1330 in-lbs. This gives you enough power to drill through wood and metal, or drive/remove fasteners in metal and concrete.

You also get a work area LED light and an anti-slip textured grip for comfortable use. On the downside, this unit is very costly and it comes as a tool only with no battery or charger.

Pros:

  • Durable frameless motor and magnesium gearcase
  • Tough all-metal transmission
  • Work area LED light
  • Anti-slip textured grip

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Battery and charger not included

8. Makita XDT131 – Efficient Impact Driver

Makita XDT131

Photo: Makita

  • Torque: 1500 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3600 IPM
  • Speed: 3400 RPM
  • Battery: 18V

Makita’s XDT131 is run by an efficient brushless motor that is electronically controlled to match the torque and speed to different application demands. As a result, this optimizes battery usage, which allows the driver to have up to a 50% longer runtime per charge.

That said, since the motor is brushless, it eliminates the need for carbon brushes and this means it runs cooler with reduced wear and tear.

Another important feature that this tool has is Star protection, which is a communication technology that allows it and the battery to exchange information to monitor usage in real-time. This helps to protect the battery from overloading, over-discharging, and overheating.

More features include a soft rubber grip, a durable all-aluminum gear housing, a belt clip, dual-LED work area lights, and the inclusion of an 18V 3Ah battery, charger and tool bag in the set. The only problem is that you don’t get onboard storage slots for your driving and drilling bits.

Pros:

  • Electronically controlled brushless motor
  • Star protection communication technology
  • Durable all-aluminum gear housing
  • Includes a battery, charger, and tool bag

Cons:

  • No onboard tool storage

9. Craftsman 5727.1 – Impact Driver with Electric Brakes

Craftsman 5727.1

Photo: Craftsman

  • Torque: 1600 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3500 IPM
  • Speed: 2500 RPM
  • Battery: 19.2V

With electric braking, Craftsman 5727.1 is designed to stop very quickly from its top speed of 2500 RPM to zero. This allows you to quickly replace the bits in an intense work environment that requires multiple drilling and driving actions.

To make this much easier, the tool is equipped with a quick-connect 1/4-in chuck that requires no tools to change the bit.

The motor and gearbox are protected by a die-cast aluminum housing while an ergonomic handle gives you a comfortable grip with reduced stress.

Other features include an integrated LED work light and a variable speed trigger for precision control. However, you get a tool only with no battery and charger.

Pros:

  • Electric brakes for quick stopping
  • Quick connect chuck
  • Durable die-cast aluminum housing
  • Integrated LED work light
  • Ergonomic handle

Cons:

  • No battery and charger

10. Porter-Cable PCCK640LB – Impact Driver with a Fuel Gauge

Porter-Cable PCCK640LB

Photo: Porter-Cable

  • Torque: 1450 in-lbs.
  • Hex Chuck: 1/4 in.
  • Blows: 3000 IPM
  • Speed: 2900 RPM
  • Battery: 20V

Lastly, the PCCK640LB from Porter-Cable is fitted with a fuel gauge that displays the remaining battery charge for better management. This gauge is in the form of LEDs with 3 levels that is easy to read.

The driver also has an LED work light that eliminates shadows ahead for accurate drilling while its relatively compact 6.4-in length fits easily in tight spaces.

You also get an easy-load chuck for one-hand bit loading, a belt clip, and a high-performance transmission for quick fastening applications. However, the tool lacks a convenient onboard bit storage slot.

Pros:

  • Fuel gauge for battery management
  • LED work light
  • One-hand easy-load chuck
  • Belt clip

Cons:

  • Lacks on-board bit storage

How to Buy the Best Impact Driver

How to Buy the Best Impact Driver

Photo: Bosch 

1. Motor

There are two main types of motors that are found in impact drivers: brushed and brushless.

Brushed motors use carbon brushes to supply power to the coil. Constant contact with these brushes creates heat from friction, as well as wear and tear, which means the brushes must be replaced after some time. On the plus side, such motors are very affordable.

On the other hand, brushless motors are quite costly but are very efficient. Instead of having a spinning coil, these have a spinning magnet and therefore, power fed to the coil does not require brushes. This design results in a cool running motor that is very durable.

Buying Guide: Impact drivers with brushless motors are highly recommended and the perfect example is DeWalt’s DCF887D2.

2. Torque

To understand the importance of this factor, you need to know how an impact driver works. This tool employs rotational force, which is torque, plus successive blows to drive the bit.

High torque means each hammering impact is done with greater force. Combined with a high rate of blows per minute, this ensures you get an unparalleled amount of driving power.

That said, DeWalt’s DCF887D2 is the most powerful impact driver in this review because it has a very high torque of 1825 in-lbs., plus it delivers 3600 blows per minute, which are quite many.

3. Drive Size

Impact drivers usually have a 1/4-in hex chuck as standard. Instead of this, you need to check the size of the head and compact units are recommended because they can easily fit in tight spaces.

In this regard, Bosch’s PS41-2A has a very short 5.4-in head length and this is recommended if your project requires you to reach into very tight spots such as corners. The tool is also very light, and this minimizes user fatigue. 

4. Speed

Measured in RPM, this usually goes hand-in-hand with IPM, that is, IPM increases as RPM increases and vice versa. These two determine the rate of driving or removing bolts/nuts or screws and the higher they are, the better.

That said, some drivers have multiple speed settings that optimize their performance towards different applications. For instance, both DeWalt’s DCF887D2 and Makita’s XDT14Z have 3-speed settings, which makes them very versatile.

5. Ease of Handling

When it comes to ease of handling, there are several factors to consider. Key among them is ergonomics and for this, you need to check if the handle is comfortable and easy to grip.

You should also check the ease of changing the bit, in which a one-handed, tool-free changing system is recommended. Other convenience features include onboard tool storage and an LED work light. All these can be found in the Ryobi One+ P236.

Conclusion

In conclusion, torque, impact, and speed weigh heavily in determining the best impact driver and this is why DeWalt’s DCF887D2 takes the overall best spot. It has a powerful and efficient brushless motor that delivers high torque, high IPM, and high RPM.

However, if you prefer automation, be sure to check out Makita’s XDT14Z because it automatically downshifts before driving in a fastener to protect it and the workpiece from damages. If you are on a tight budget though, Milwaukee’s 2462-20 M12 is your best bet.

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