Our Best Impact Driver Picks For May 2017

best impact driverAll impact drivers are NOT made equal.

Today, we’re going to reveal the best impact drivers you can buy in 2017.

It’s difficult to imagine getting any construction or home improvement job done without an impact driver.

These are versatile tools that will streamline the building process by driving screws through even the toughest of woods and other materials.

In this post, we’re going to look at the top five impact drivers you can find on the market today, the different types of impact drivers that exist, and some helpful things to look out for if you actually are in the market for a new impact driver.

Not sure which Impact Driver you need? Let us help!

Top 5 Impact Drivers

Types of Impact Drivers

There are many different types of impact drivers out there on the market. Let’s explore them and see which one’s right for you.

Cordless Electric (Battery)Corded ElectricBrushlessHexRight Angle
These are powered by battery, which allows for a great deal of mobility and convenience. One con to this is the fact that batteries do eventually need charging, and cordless impact drivers will at time decrease the amount of power so as to conserve battery life.
These impact drivers work just the same as the cordless ones, but they are in fact corded. This allows for a great deal more power, but it also means that you’ll be tethered to the same spot for your job. If you have one main work area, this is fine. But for those construction professionals who need to work in a variety of areas, the electric might not be for you.
These impact drivers are the digital to older drivers’ analog. They use advanced computer chips that can adjust the performance of the tool as needed. For materials with less resistance, less power is used. For harder materials, all of the tool’s power is used.
The best impact drivers out there will feature an easily connected hex socket so you can spend less time fitting your hexes and more time on the task at hand.
Right angle impact drivers/drills are primarily made to do impact driving in tight spaces.

Makita XDT042 18V LXT: Best Value Option (Price vs capabilities)

Makita XDT042 18V LXTFirst up on our list of impact drivers to watch is the Makita XDT042 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit. This extremely popular impact driver is offered up at a tough price to beat. This is the drill to go with if you have a variety of different needs, as the driver has variable speeds that can adapt to just about any job. This is a compact, light impact driver that can be used to fit in even the tightest of crevices.

There are few jobs that the Makita XDT042 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit can’t do. This little beast delivers a whopping 1,420 in. lbs. of torque, so its considerable power belie its tiny size. It’s easy to lose sight of screws on the job, especially if you’re in a dark environment. Luckily, this drill comes equipped with an LED light that will make sure that everything is illuminated.

  • Extremely versatile for projects
  • Compact and lightweight

  • Requires recharge after use (battery powered

Dad’s Note: Our top recommendation for budget vs value. It’s extremely affordable and works great. My only feedback would be if you are looking to use this for lugnuts, I’d suggest Makita BTW450Z instead, but otherwise it’s a great overall pick.

Dewalt DC825B

DEWALT DC825B The DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver in Retail Package is an impact driver that’s been specially designed to fit into tight spaces. To do this, it features a compact design coupled with a comfort grip so that no job will be difficult or uncomfortable.

This impact driver is also priced at an extremely affordable level, and can actually pack 1,330 in. lbs. of torque into any job you might need it to do. The brushes that this drill uses are fully replaceable, so you’ll never have to replace an entire machine just for some minor brushes ever again. This level of convenience is a small touch, but it will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration down the line.

This tool is perfect for those customers who insist on a quality product, as it is always made right here in the USA. This is the kind of impact driver that will keep you set for years to come, if not an entire lifetime.

  • Comfortable grip
  • Replaceable brushes
  • Made in USA

  • Packaging could potentially be better

Dad’s Note: We all are familiar with the Dewalt brand. They’re made in America and known to be durable. A brand that DIYers and professionals both choose.

Porter-Cable PCCK604L2 20V Max: Impact Driver & Drill Bundle

PORTER-CABLE PCCK604L2The Porter-Cable PCCK604L2 20V Max Lithium Ion 2-Tool Combo Kit is the definition of great value. For the extremely low price, you get two separate tools that can get you out of any trouble you might find while doing home improvement.

One of the tools focuses more on drilling itself, while the other is an impact driver. So you could easily break through a tough surface with the impact driver and then switch over to the drill to get that precision work done. Both tools have a two-speed gear box that will ensure that these drills can get the job done no matter what situation they’re facing. Both of them use lithium ion batteries, so they’ll hold a charge for a long time and last for charge after charge. What’s more, they even have clutch settings. This means that you can adjust the torque that’s being used.

This will ensure that you don’t overdo it and potentially damage the material that you’re drilling into. It’s important to keep in mind that this is one of the newer brands out there when it comes to impact drivers, so there hasn’t been the well-established trust formed here that you’ll find in other brands that are out there on the market. With that said, this is definitely a brand to look out for.

  • Dual package of impact drill & driver
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty

  • Battery life can be disappointing

Dad’s Note: I really appreciate that Porter-Cable put this package together. It features an impact drill and an impact driver which each perform better at certain tasks (as we mention below in the FAQ section).

Bosch PS41-2A

Bosch PS41-2AThe Bosch PS41-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case boasts the shortest head length of any of the impact drivers on this list, but what it has in compact design and ease of use it lacks in torque: at 930 in. lbs. of torque, this impact driver won’t be the best option for every job.

Along with being compact, light, and having an LED light for illumination, the Bosch PS41-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 1/4-Inch Hex Impact Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case has a built-in fuel gauge that will be invaluable in calculating your battery power on the go so that you’re never left high and dry again. This impact driver is priced very affordably, and it is made by one of the most trusted brands in the industry.

While it is a pretty small impact driver, it can pack a punch and drive screws through just about any surface that you need it to drill through. There are more powerful options on the market, but this is a good impact driver to go with if you want to go with a brand that you know you can count on.

  • Comes with multiple battery packs
  • Good for smaller jobs

  • Doesn’t work well with quick-change bits

Dad’s Note: Great for light duty work, but probably not the best pick if you are doing consistent medium – heavy duty work. It’s a comfortable option with a nice LED array on it.

Milwaukee 2656-20 M18: Best Budget Option

Milwaukee 2656-20The cheapest priced impact driver we’re covering today, the Milwaukee 2656-20 M18 1/4″ Hex Imp is far and away the cheapest impact driver on this list. It is true that you get what you pay for, but this impact driver is not to be overlooked if your primary motivating factor is price. This item has been designed specifically with ease of use in mind.

Despite its small size, it was built with the highest quality materials, so it’s extremely durable and can take a pretty hefty beating. The only thing you need to keep in mind with this impact driver is that it does use the metric system. If you have bits that are in the imperial system, you’ll have to consider whether you want to add a new set to your toolbox.

The battery for this impact driver can be pretty pricey, but it will tend to last you for quite a long time. Milwaukee is another highly trusted brand in the industry.

  • Includes hex keys
  • Cheapest option

  • Battery doesn’t come included

Dad’s Note: This gets my vote for the budget option. It’s the cheapest that we’ve reviewed today and it’s quality for what you are paying. Keep in mind that this does not include a battery, so if you buy one – buy the battery as well!

What to Look for When Buying

While every impact driver is unique, there are certain key things you should look out for in any purchase.


The impact driver you’ve chosen might be cheap, but if it can’t drive a screw, then it isn’t worth the price. Torque is key.

One-handed Driving

Power is key, but if you can’t wield that power effectively, you might want to choose another impact driver. Some jobs require that you go one-handed. You’ll want to keep this in mind.


Your choice might be inexpensive, but if it’ll malfunction within six months, you’d be better off spending more.

There are a variety of impact drivers out there, and your choice will all depend on what your job requires. By using this list, you’re sure to find the right tool for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an impact drill and an impact driver?

Impact Driver

Utilizes a much much higher level of rotational torque than a drill does. It utilized a fast paced cycle of rotated tapping that basically pushes the fastener in while holding the screw tip in place. So at the same time it is tapping and spinning.


A drill just utilizes the spinning rotation mentioned above. This means that it doesn’t get the actual bump, and in order to try to simulate it you would need to stop the drill every few seconds and bump. It’s just not reasonable because you will never match the torque of an impact driver.

What is the difference between an impact driver and an impact wrench?

An impact driver rotates and bumps at a high level of torque. They are typically cordless with a hex quick connect socket. An impact wrench is larger and puts out much more level of torque. Most impact wrenches are typically air powered as well and primarily used for mechanic shops.

Can you drill holes with an impact driver?
Yes, it can! Should you? eh, an impact driver is very quick, so you are probably better off using a drill to drill holes.
Russ Kannigan

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