The 10 Best Impact Drivers

Updated April 28, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you are a construction professional or a committed do-it-yourself-er, you'll find the perfect impact driver for your next project right here. All the models in our selection are ideal for situations in which you need greater torque than a screwdriver can deliver, and we've ranked them for you by overall driving power, user comfort, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best impact driver on Amazon.

10. Ryobi P234g

9. Milwaukee 2656-21

8. Craftsman C3 5727.1

7. Black+Decker BDC120C

6. Bostitch BTC440LB

5. Makita XDT14Z LXT

4. Hitachi WH18DBFL2S

3. Porter-Cable PCCK640LB

2. DeWalt DCF885C1

1. Bosch HTH181

What An Impact Driver Can Do That A Screwdriver Can't

DIYers and construction workers can think of an impact driver as a large, powerful screwdriver. Rather than relying on the power of human hands to turn it, the impact driver is motor-powered. Prolonged use of a manual screwdriver is one of the activities that can cause Lateral Epicondylitis, otherwise known as tennis elbow. Because an impact driver is a power tool, even those with weaker hands can use it; all the user must do is hold it up to the work surface. Since many can be held in one hand, they can leave the user's other hand free to hold a board still, or keep a level steady to ensure a perfect job.

As their name implies, impact drivers deliver impact constantly while turned on. With a regular screwdriver, the worker must manually apply pressure or else the bit scan slip out of the screw recess, otherwise known as camming out. An impact driver requires the user to apply very little force to continue driving the screw. Impact drivers are capable of much more than driving in screws. They can also be used to bore large holes. Many of them have a high torque mode; when that is combined with a large bit, the user can easily create big holes in tough surfaces.

Another advantage of the high torque that impact drivers are capable of is the fact that they can drive longer screws. Their screw recess will hold longer screws, which are usually prone to wiggling when attached to a regular screwdriver, firmly in place. The torque then drives the screws into the wall with so much force that they cannot fall out of place. Many people find that an impact driver puts less strain on their wrist than a regular driver, too, because they do not constantly need to twist their arm. For tougher jobs, an impact driver can eliminate the need for a hammer drill and regular driver.

What Makes A Quality Impact Driver

Those looking for a truly powerful impact driver should look at the impacts per minute one can deliver. This can help the user drill into the most stubborn materials and will get a job done quicker. Those who intend on putting their impact driver through heavy use should consider one with a cold-forged mechanism. The cold forging process tends to create extremely strong parts in power tools. If the impact driver will be mostly for automotive work, the buyer should look for a compact model that can fit under a vehicle.

Power tools can be very dangerous and need to be handled with care. Make sure your impact driver is designed to reduce kickback, to prevent workplace injuries. Those who need to carry out a variety of tasks should look for an impact driver with an easy load chuck, so they can rapidly switch out bits. Models with extra long run times will also be quite helpful. One doesn't want to have to stop their job halfway through to recharge their impact driver. Many have battery fuel gauges so the user will at least know when their tools are close to dying.

For tasks that require a little more precision, buyers should consider an impact driver with various speeds. These allow for more fastening control. Some features add convenience, too, like a clip that can be easily attached to a tool bag, and an ergonomic grip. Many impact drivers even have LED lights built-in to increase visibility in dark work spaces.

Safety Tips For Using An Impact Driver

Impact drivers should never be turned on until the user has put on safety goggles. Any loose particles left on the driver could fly up and enter the worker's eyes. In fact, over 60 percent of eye injuries happen on construction, manufacturing, or trade jobs. Ideally, the user has a steady stance, but impact drivers will cause the body to move slightly. Workers should make sure the ground around them is completely dry so the impact of their tool doesn't cause them to slip and fall. Those with long hair should tie it up before using an impact driver. If a chunk of hair gets caught in the tool, it can quickly drag the user's face towards it.

Workers should always make sure there is not a gas pipe, stud or electrical line behind the wall they're drilling. Driving a tool into a wall or ceiling can be very dangerous, and can cause things like carbon monoxide leaks or fires. Tools like stud finders can prevent some accidents, and a professional builder can tell you where the gas lines are. One should clear the floor around them before beginning work, too. If their impact driver's kickback causes them to fall over, they do not want to land on a sharp object.

Users of impact drivers should always check their tool for faulty parts before turning them on. If one part of the tool is loose or broken, it can injure the user or at the very least ruin the job. Once the driver is on, if the user notices any odd sounds coming from it, they should turn it off immediately. This could be indicative of a loose part.


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Last updated on April 28, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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