6 Best Impact Drivers – Dewalt, Makita or Ryobi Models Compared

Last updated on October 8th, 2021

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When it comes to impact drivers, it is all about the enormous torque they produce. It is not a direct replacement for a standard drill or combi drill, and it certainly won’t replace a hammer drill as it doesn’t produce powerful forward blows, however, it certainly delivers powerful torque and lots of it.

Impact drivers have become very popular as well as more affordable over the years. They are surprisingly small, compact and are perfect for driving in long screws, self-drilling lag screws, as well as drilling large boreholes using big bits and other applications in metal and concrete. They also do this amazingly quick and for reasons we don’t quite understand and they do all this without putting strain on your wrist and arms.

However, they are, somewhat loud, so ear protection is a must and they only take hex type bits so won’t accept standard drill bits, so investing in a good hex drill bit kit is advised.

Now we know what they are good for, we can go over what to look for in the best impact driver as well as our top 6 recommended models from the best brands. Before we get into our reviews and buyer’s guide, we would like to bring your attention to the winner of our ‘Best Pick’, the DeWalt DCF886D2 18v Impact Driver which we think is probably the best model for most people investing in one of these amazing tools.


DeWalt DCF886D2 18V Li-ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver
In terms of torque, it has 165Nm and will drive into screws no problem, driving 6mm x 120mm screws into 2

6 of the best impact drivers that we have included in our review are listed below:

  1. DeWalt DCF886D2 18V Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver – BEST PICK
  2. Makita DTD152Z Impact Driver – RUNNER UP
  3. Einhell TE-CI X-Change 18V Lithium Cordless Impact Screwdriver – BEST BUDGET PICK
  4. Bosch Professional GDR 18V Li Cordless Impact Driver – BEST COMPACT PICK
  5. Ryobi ONE+ Impact Driver
  6. Bosch PDR 18 Li Cordless Impact Driver – BEST PICK FOR THE HOME USER


Makita DTD152Z 18V Li-ion Cordless Impact Driver with 2 x 5Ah Batteries
The Makita DTD152Z 18V Li-ion LXT Impact Driver is very popular among professionals and it's easy to see why. Small and compact, this Makita will undoubtedly assist you in accomplishing various household projects as well as the DIY'er type person. The tool is not only lightweight but robust and durable for demanding jobs and is a great alternative to the more expensive brushless models. This one performs excellently with two-speed settings from 2900 rpm up to 3500 rpm combined with 165 Nm maximum torque which is on par with our 'Best Pick'. The tool is also blessed with a twin LED work light. So many good features. Performance-wise the power is a little scary, it’s unmatched for a brushed motor impact driver and comes at a great price.


Bosch Professional GDR 18 V-LI Cordless Impact Driver
What we really like about this model is how small and compact it is. Despite this it still has 160 Nm of torque and an impact rate of up to 3,200 rpm which is perfect for every job, ranging from driving in long screws and tightening bolts to using it as an impact wrench. Thanks to its smaller compact design, it is a great choice for anyone doing a lot of overhead working or in restricted workspaces.

Top 6 Impact Driver Reviews

1. DeWalt DCF886D2 18v Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver


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Dewalt DCF886D2 XR Brushless Impact Driver with 2 x 2.0Ah Lithium-Ion Batteries, 18V, 14cm x 7.5cm x 22.8cm

At first glance, the DeWalt DCF886D2 18V Li-ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver looks robust and reliable out of the box. It comes in a sturdy carry case along with other useful components including two 2Ah li-on compact batteries, one multi-voltage battery charger, one belt hook and one plastic carry case. Everything you need if you are just getting started.

It weighs 1.4kg without the battery, so you can add a little to this once you have attached the battery, but even with the battery, it is much lighter than the usual drill alternatives.

The DeWALT DCF886D2 features an XR intelligent switch for maximum performance and battery protection. At the front, it has an aluminium housing that helps to disperse heat for increased motor life and overall protection of the small components within.

The motor itself is brushless which means it requires less servicing whilst at the same time it has increased run time and better performance. Brushless motors are far more superior to the brushed alternative, we do review the brushed version further down which is also outstanding but just not quite on par with this impressive model. The power and torque are just unreal; 165Nm is plenty of power for driving in long screws or boring deep holes and with one simple speed setting of 0 to 2800rpm it really does drive in screws quickly with no effort at all. Unlike some models, it does only have the one-speed setting but it can be controlled with the trigger, the further you press the faster it will go, very easy to use overall.

This device has a nice ergonomic design so it holds firmly in your hands and is comfortable. It certainly is a tool you can work with for long periods without experiencing fatigue, the fact that is very lightweight also helps though I’m sure.

There is also one belt hook that can be handy sometimes for helping you carry the tool if your hands are already full carrying other items.

The 2Ah li-ion batteries have an improved runtime and they are accompanied by a multi-voltage battery charger which is nice. One of the features we do like is that it has three LEDs which form a ring with afterglow and this allows you to see in dimmer areas and for a few seconds even if you don’t have the trigger pressed, again this is another simple but useful feature.

Worth mentioning is that you get a 3-year warranty when you register online with DeWalt on their website with extends it from only 1 year. This is well worth doing, especially as it is quite expensive.


  • A powerful 18v brushless motor that produces an impressive 165Nm of torque to screw in the longest screws and bore the biggest holes with ease.
  • Features three LED lights with afterglow that are useful for excellent visibility.
  • Equipped with XR intelligent switch for increased tool and battery protection.
  • It has an aluminium front housing that helps in dispersing heat for maximum motor life.
  • It has improved ergonomics and comfort thus allowing for longer working periods with less fatigue.
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy use with one hand if necessary.
  • Comes with two 2 Ah li-ion batteries with an improved runtime along with a multi-voltage battery charger.
  • Supplied with a robust plastic carry case for storage and transportation.
  • 1 year warranty with the option to extend it to 3 years by registering online. So don’t forget to do this and take advantage of the extended warranty.


  • Lack of torque settings. On this note, you have to be careful not to drive screws in too deeply into the timber and other relatively soft materials. However, you can slow the speed with the trigger for more control for those last few turns.

Our recommendation

The DeWalt DCF886D2 Li-ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver with its 2 x 2Ah Batteries is a sturdy and dependable tool for professionals and DIY’ers. It is a great pick, especially for anyone looking for the full setup, even if you already have DeWalt tools you can still get the bare tool. Overall what an amazing tool, it really is top of its class.

With 165Nm, this impact driver is capable of driving long screws into a variety of materials with ease, it really is that good and the reviews on Amazon are very impressive with near perfect reviews which is very rare, especially considering that there is a good amount of reviews too.

Other useful features that we really liked include the three LEDs for better visibility, especially the afterglow feature and the full kit, the two batteries, the fast charger and the case is great, very strong.

Like most impact drivers it is fairly noisy when in operation so we would recommend wearing ear defenders for sure. Something that it does lack that would be useful is having more than the one-speed setting, that being said, you can easily control the speed with the trigger but it would be nice to have a couple of speed settings like some of the other models. Don’t forget though, this model also has a brushless motor too.

All in all, the product is fairly expensive especially with the 2 batteries and charger but it’s worth the investment when you consider it is a professional tool and comes with everything you need including the two batteries.

If there was one impact driver we would recommend, this would be it. Simply a great product and a must for professionals. 

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2. Makita DTD152Z Impact Driver


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Makita DTD152Z 18V Li-ion Cordless Impact Driver with 2 x 5Ah Batteries BL1850

The Makita DTD152Z Impact Driver is a powerful impact driver that is made to drive screws, especially long ones, into position quickly where other standard drills may struggle through lack of torque. We will get straight to the point, it may not have a brushless motor but we think you will struggle to find a better drill within the same price range.

The frame is well designed to ensure that all the compact power produced can be efficiently directed. 

It is powered by 18v lithium-ion batteries which provide the impact driver with all the power needed. We like that is model has two adjustable speeds which are handy. These are 0 to 2,900 RPM and 0 to 3,500 RPM and they can be easily controlled by the trigger to give you more control.  More importantly, it has a very impressive torque of 165Nm for delivering power when needed. This is on par with our ‘Best Pick’ too and is more than enough torque for nearly any job. 

In terms of usability and comfort, this model is comfortable to use and that is crucial. If you are a frequent DIY enthusiast, you will want to take advantage of this. The model is ergonomically designed so that you have the perfect, comfortable grip.

The weight ratio is well balanced making it very easy to use with just one hand, some models tend to tip a certain direction due to weight distribution but Makita has got this spot on. Another thing that can come in handy is the two LED lights. The LED lights are a bonus for any impact driver as they allow you better visibility in tight corners and darker areas. It is just a simple but useful feature to have and best of all the LED on this model has pre-glow and an after-glow too.

This model also has an electric brake which surprisingly our ‘Best Pick’ by DeWalt didn’t. However, we wouldn’t say this is essential but it is a great feature to have and just helps to avoid screwing in too deeply.

This Makita model provides you with 165Nm of torque which is more than enough for driving long screws into materials where maximum torque is essential. This is sufficient to execute some handy jobs around the house or at the worksite and will do most jobs with ease.

As with most of the models we have reviewed, we love the one-touch bit fitting mechanism which is also magnetic. 


  • Powered by an 18v Lithium-Ion battery and brushed motor for maximum performance.
  • Comes with two adjustable speeds 2,900 RPM and 3,500 RPM, that can be easily controlled by the trigger to give you more control. 
  • Powerful torque of 165Nm for screwing in long screws.
  • Ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable grip which is does well and bright LED light to increase visibility in dimly lit areas.
  • Features an electric brake so that you can stop instantly whenever you need to and avoid over tightening or damaging material surface.
  • Has a convenient one-touch 1/4″ hex chuck for quick bit changes.
  • Comes with a 1 year warranty that can be extended (for free) to 3 years by going online and registering the product number.


  • It is not as powerful as some of the other brands in the same range but it does have enough torque for most users. For undertaking more demanding jobs, you may want to look at a more powerful model with more torque possibly, but you must need some serious torque if 165Nm is not enough.

Our recommendation

The Makita DTD152Z impact driver is a fantastic impact driver and a great alternative to our ‘Best Pick’ and slightly cheaper if you take the cost of battery and charger into account. Something it does lack when putting it head to head with the DeWalt ‘Best Pick’ is a brushless motor, not a major issue but brushless motors are just less maintenance and slightly better performance-wise.

It provides you with enough power to attend to a myriad of activities from driving in big screws in dense hardwood to boring big holes through beams.

We admire its comfortable grip, which comes in handy when you are working for extended periods of time and it is lightweight too. The smaller, compact size means it is also perfect for working one-handed in harder to reach areas.

Where it does excel above the DeWalt model is that it has two speeds which some may find useful.

The Makita DTD152Z is a very good quality product (as you would expect from Makita) and offers excellent value for money. Highly recommended for home DIY projects or professional trade use for those looking for a more affordable alternative.

Don’t forget to register your product online if you choose to purchase this model to take advantage of the 3-year warranty. If you already have Makita tools with compatible batteries, this is a no brainer.

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3. Bosch Professional GDR 18v LI Cordless Impact Driver


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Bosch Professional 18V System GDR 18V-200 C Cordless Impact Driver (max. Torque: 200 Nm, Connect Ready, excluding Batteries and Charger, in L-BOXX)

The Bosch Professional GDR 18 V-LI Cordless Impact Driver is an excellent piece of kit, very well made, robust and has bags of torque. You can use a larger capacity battery if you need an extended runtime. A 4Ah battery will last for ages, or if you need a more compact setup and want to minimise the weight for better handling. Batteries are available separately, however, and this tool works with all 18V 1.5Ah to 6.0Ah lithium-ion batteries from the professional range.

As with all of the best models, it uses Lithium-Ion technology, this offers a longer run time, plus it features a battery charge indicator to help remove the inconvenience of running out of power unexpectedly. Another benefit of Li-Ion technology is the fast battery charging (45 mins for the 18V), meaning a spare battery can be charged almost fully before you exhaust the one on your impact driver, which is a big advantage for professionals using it consistently on a job throughout the day.

In addition, Bosch’s unique Electronic Cell Protection (ECP) protects the batteries against overloading, deep discharge and overheating. Another unique feature we have only seen on the Bosch professional range is what Bosch call their “CoolPack system”. This dissipates heat optimally for increased battery life by up to 100% compared to regular Li-Ion batteries. Whether this actually is accurate, only time will tell, but it sounds promising.

This tool delivers a maximum torque of 160 Nm plus a maximum impact rate of 3,200 rpm, enabling you to drive screws into metal (up to M14) and dense wood like a hot knife through butter. With a length of just 145mm and lightweight construction of around 1.7kg with the battery, combined with its soft grip handle, this cordless impact driver can be controlled with little effort and it’s easy to direct into tight spaces which we like.

Finally, Bosch offers 2 years warranty for Li-Ion batteries and chargers so if a fault occurs to any of these, they will gladly replace it. The tool itself is covered by a 3-year warranty, but make sure you register your tool online if you invest in one.


  • Perfect for driving in long screws, driving in coach bolts and boring large holes.
  • High torque (160Nm) and high impact rate (3,200 rpm) for fast screwdriving into metal and wood.
  • Offers a flexible battery system with the choice between “Premium” (extended battery runtime) and “Compact” (less weight for even more comfortable working) batteries.
  • Compact design for perfect handling even in very tight spaces and whilst working overhead.
  • Lithium-Ion technology provides unbeatable battery life, choose a smaller battery for a lighter more compact design or larger battery if run time is important.
  • Bosch Electronic Cell Protection (ECP) protects the battery against overload, total discharge and overheating.
  • Practical battery level indicator continuously shows how much energy is left in the battery.
  • 3 years warranty when you register online.

Our recommendation

This is a good impact driver for professionals and easily drives 4″ 10 through timber making it a great choice for anyone deciding which Bosch impact driver is worth considering. 

You will enjoy the freedom of manoeuvring in restricted spaces due to the short and lightweight design of this model. The high impact rate of 3,200 rpm will enhance fast progress in driving screws into various wood and metals. All things considered, the Bosch Professional GDR 18 V-LI Cordless Impact Driver is an amazing model choice for tradesmen and has ample power, a really impressive piece of kit. 

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4. Ryobi ONE+ 18v Impact Driver

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Ryobi RID1801M One+ Impact Driver, 18V (Body Only), 80.0 cm*205.0 mm*190.0 cm, Black

The Ryobi One+ Impact Driver is an amazing tool and probably has more torque than any of the other models we have reviewed. With 220Nm of torque, compare this to 160Nm and 165Nm most other models have and it is way ahead of the game. The truth is we found that in terms of performance, 160Nm is actually enough for most jobs but it is nice to know you have the extra torque.

The Ryobi ONE+ range boasts one of the largest interchangeable cordless power tool systems, with its batteries used by more than 35 garden and power tools, over time this can save you a small fortune if you choose to be loyal to Ryobi. To be fair, they make some very good tools that are always good quality and built to impress, and this model is no different.

As we have already pointed out, this impact driver produces a powerful 220Nm of torque which gives you better rotating power without straining your wrist. This makes it suitable for use with larger screws, lag bolts and repetitive screwdriving purposes, it is even good for wheel nuts.

There is a keyless hex drive that ensures easy bit changes, as you would expect. When you need to get things done, simply take the bit from the convenient onboard storage (which we have also only seen on this model) and place it in a keyless hex drive. Everything is kept at hand which we really like.

This impact driver also features what Ryobi call enhanced GripZone and this provides optimum grip and comfort, it is well balanced and very comfortable to use.

Like the DeWalt and Bosch models we have already reviewed, it also has three LED lights to increase visibility making it easier to see in darkly lit places.

The protective die-cast aluminium front gear housing is also a good design, this protects the impact driver’s components to make sure they last a long time. We mustn’t forget to mention, this model actually has an electric brake to give you a little extra control.


  • Perfect for driving in long screws, tightening and loosening bolts, boring holes.
  • Power by Ryobi’s ONE+ collection battery designed for more than 35 garden and power tools.
  • Can be purchased as bundle with an 18V 4.0 Ah Lithium battery and faster charger or as bare tool only if you already own compatible batteries and chargers.
  • Features three LED lights for illuminating darkly lit places.
  • Produces a powerful torque of 220Nm for better turning of large screws and lag bolts. More torque than any other model in this review.
  • Includes a keyless hex drive that allows an easy bit change.
  • Features Ryobi’s enhanced GripZone for optimum grip and comfort and onboard bit storage for added convenience.
  • The tool has an aluminium front gear that protects the components within, thus increasing their durability.
  • 3 years warranty from Ryobi.


  • It only has one speed setting, but it can be controlled by the trigger and does a great job overall.

Our recommendation

The Ryobi One+ Impact Driver is a powerful tool that drives screws much easier than drill drivers and that 220Nm torque really does make it stand out! We were already a fan of Ryobi but this model does have an unbelievable amount of torque, even for an impact driver.

The ONE+ system is great especially if you have other Ryobi’s products – you won’t need to buy new batteries and a charger which is handy as they are not cheap. If not, they offer a great bundle that includes an 18V 2.0 Ah Lithium Battery and a faster charger.

If you are in need of an impact drill for heavy-duty work and repetitive screw driving jobs such as decking, driving in large screws, boring holes then the Ryobi One+ Impact Driver is up to the job.

It simply excels in every way, it’s the most powerful in terms of torque, even DeWalt doesn’t have as much torque. Its performance is super impressive and it even comes with a very impressive 3 years warranty for full peace of mind but don’t forget to register it online.

A must for all professionals and should even be considered for home DIY projects as it comes at a great price.

If you want to learn more about Ryobi tools then feel free to visit their official Ryobi site by clicking here

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5. Einhell TE-CI 18v Li Cordless Impact Driver

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Einhell Power X-Change Cordless Impact Screwdriver Kit

The first thing you notice with the Einhell TE-CI 18 Li Kit 18V Lithium Cordless Impact Driver is the incredible price. At around half the price of many other models, it is a great choice for DIY’ers looking for a more budget-friendly model. So how have they kept the price so low? Firstly, the Einhell brand is more budget-friendly but it also includes a 1,5Ah capacity battery, this obviously lowers the price, but it can fully charge in 30 minutes, no other batteries we have seen charge this quickly.

For this impact driver, the 1.5 Ah battery and charger are included and is supplied in a decent plastic case that holds both the tool and charger so good a first impression for us. The case is also essential for safely transporting the tool from one job to another.

This impact driver feels solid and very well built and thanks to the short ergonomic design,  it’s pretty easy to remove and insert screws. It has a standard bit holder, which is a hex shaft with a locking ring.

There is a detachable belt clip included that can be installed on either side of the impact driver although it’s a bit heavy and you wouldn’t want to hang it off your belt for extended periods of time.

Three bright white LEDs around the shaft helps in illuminating the work area so you can see clearly when you are putting in or removing stubborn screws.


  • An affordable impact driver, the same price including a battery and charger as some other models that are just bare tools.
  • Equipped with high performance Triathlon motor (140Nm) for driving in long screws.
  • Comes with battery charge indicator and its fast charging takes about 30 minutes. The impact driver uses 18V Lithium Ion Power X-Change battery.
  • Includes three LED lights for illuminating work areas.
  • Short, lightweight design (weighs only 1.44kg), with ergonomic soft grip surfaces.
  • It has a sturdy aluminium housing and rubber supports for better protection.
  • Includes a practical belt clip for safe and efficient operation.
  • Comes with a robust storage case that is also essential for safely transporting the impact driver.
  • Includes 2 years warranty as standard for full peace of mind.


  • Probably not suitable for heavy professional use as it does have limited torque.

Our recommendation

The Einhell TE-CI 18Li Cordless Impact Screwdriver is a reasonably priced tool for DIY jobs and a great choice for anyone looking for a more budget-friendly option. Just don’t expect the comfort and performance of more expensive models such as DeWalt and Makita.

It looks great but it does have room for improvement and it’s fairly heavy considering it has a smaller battery.

However, you do get a powerful Lithium-Ion battery, a high-quality charger and a robust and effective driver in a decent storage case, which all in all, seems like great value for the price.

Most models don’t include the battery and charger so to see this model selling at a similar price with a battery and charger makes it ideal for home DIY projects, we just wish it had a few hex driver bits.

Just like all Einhell products, this tool comes with a 2-year warranty and spares and accessories are available which is also an added bonus, no registering online to extend the warranty like Bosch and DeWalt expect you to.

If you need a solid impact driver for DIY tasks, this is a reasonable buy, especially if you buy at less than half the price of the other big branded models. The 30 minute charging time is also excellent as even when you run out of power, you don’t need to wait too long before getting back to working on your project.

A great product for undertaking DIY tasks but professionals would be better off paying more for the extra power, better features and longer 3-year warranty. If you are looking for a budget model for the home user then our next pick below by Bosch is nearly the same price and comes with 2 batteries so maybe a better choice for some. It has slightly less torque which we think is worth losing for the extra battery and you probably won’t find a better-priced model and it comes with 3 years warranty.

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6. Bosch PDR 18 LI Cordless Impact Driver

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Bosch PDR 18 LI Cordless Impact Wrench with Two 18 V Lithium-Ion Batteries

The Bosch PDR 18 LI Cordless Impact Driver is a powerful home DIY tool with 130Nm of torque. This power is more than enough to drive ordinary screws into metal and wood with little effort for most home applications. Firstly, we would like to point that it doesn’t compare to the Bosch professional range in terms of torque and performance, but then it’s not supposed to. However, it is a great model for the amateur user buying their first impact driver.

The impact driver has a compact and ergonomic shape to ensure an easy and comfortable handling of the tool. Bosch has done this part well and despite is budget-friendly price, it feels more expensive.

It’s also easy to transport the tool in the supplied carry case. Another thing that adds to the convenience of this tool is its low weight – 1.2kg. This also means that you can work for extended periods without getting fatigued. Great for those working on weekend DIY projects.

The Bosch PDR 18 Impact Driver comes with two 18V Lithium-ion batteries, along with a 1-hour quick charger so this adds further value for money.

In any case, this impact driver is meant to utilise the one-size-fits all battery system, designed for all Bosch DIY and garden tools that are part of the Bosch 18v Li range. It is important to note that this doesn’t include the ‘professional range’ as these batteries are not compatible. We have previously seen comparable models when we reviewed the Cordless leaf blowers and chainsaws.


  • A powerful tool with 130Nm torque for optimum performance when driving screws into wood and metal or boring holes.
  • Features a compact and ergonomic design allowing for comfortable handling.
  • It has a reasonable weight of 1.2kg that ensures you experience fatigue-free working over longer periods of time.
  • The motor runs on a reduced current, thus enabling a long run time and increased efficiency.
  • Includes 2 x 18v 1.5 Ah capacity batteries and a 1 hour quick charger and case.
  • Includes a 1 year warranty that can be increased to 3 years by registering online.


  • Not powerful enough to drive screws into harder materials.
  • It lacks LEDs for visibility in dimly lit places.
  • Not for professional use.

Our recommendation

The Bosch PDR 18 LI Cordless Impact Driver Driver is ideal for driving screws into softer materials. We don’t think the 130Nm is powerful enough for harder surfaces so if you dealing with hardwoods for example, then we recommend you opt for a higher torque driver such as the DeWalt or Ryobi model and pay the extra if you can afford to.

For the suitable jobs though, you will love this impact driver with its ergonomic shape that promotes comfortable handling. It is a pleasure to use and will save you lots of time.

Perhaps the most lovable feature of this tool is just how lightweight it is. Many find the 1.2kg weight pretty easy to carry when working for longer periods of time and find they don’t experience much fatigue. Perfect for the DIY’er working on their latest weekend project.

The included batteries are a bonus, especially as it includes 2! So you can be charging one whilst using the other.

We recommend this tool for anyone looking for a lightweight impact driver for home DIY projects as it comes with everything needed. If you want real power, then we recommend spending a little more and buying one of the other models in this review. For the price though, it is amazing and does have its place in the impact driver world. Great for home jobs such as fixing loft boarding etc.

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Impact Driver Buyer’s Guide

Impact drivers are designed with one main function in mind, providing lots of torque to drive in long screws, boring large holes as well as fastening fasteners into wood metal or concrete. Most other types such as combi drills and hammers drills don’t have enough torque to do this, they just don’t have the power needed and if they do, they often struggle and it’s a slow process.

Many professionals, as well as some DIY’ers, already have brands to who they are loyal, mainly because they are happy with the quality and performance of tools they already use. You can also share the compatible batteries between your tools and for this reason, we have tried to include the best models in our review from each brand, these include Bosch, DeWalt, Ryobi, Makita and Einhell. This means that if you already have Makita tools, for example, you can see what we consider to be one of the best impact drivers from Makita.

Below we go over what to look for in the best impact drivers and the features to look out for. 

The most important factor to consider is torque, this is measured in Nm and Speed is measured in RPM

Torque – Nm

Impact drivers are usually cordless and come in either a 10.8v or 18v version, we nearly always advise getting the larger 18v models as they produce more torque and are often not much bigger than the less powerful 10.8v models. In fact, some 18v models are actually smaller depending on the model you choose.

To give you an idea of the torque differences, most 18v models will produce around 165-175Nm of torque while the smaller 10v models such as the Bosch GDR 10.8 Li has only 105 Nm of torque. They are more affordable but can struggle with the longest screws or more demanding jobs. However, they do have their place for jobs where you don’t need quite as much torque, Bosch recently stated the GDR 18.8 Li has enough torque for 80% of all conventional cordless impact driver applications in metal and concrete which is probably correct but what about the other 20% of applications? This is why we recommend 18v models as they are likely to do 99% of applications so if you have the budget, it is worth paying a little more.

Speed – RPM

Speed is measured in rotations per minute which is what RPM stands for, this is less important than torque for most users but is still worth noting. Some models either have the speed setting set on the trigger, so the further you press the trigger the faster it goes. Some models also have a separate speed setting usually 2 or 3 that you can set accordingly.

You will usually see the speed shown as ‘No-load speed’ and it will usually say something like 0 – 2600 rpm. If it has multiple speed settings it will show something like “0-1000, 0-2800, 0-3250rpm” so you can set the speed accordingly. 

Ease of use and other useful features

With all that torque you may think that it is a demanding job using an impact driver, well you would be wrong. They are surprisingly easy to use and put very little strain on your wrist and arms and take very little effort to use.

Because they are compact and fairly lightweight, they can be used for prolonged periods of time without putting too much strain on your body and are even good for awkward overhead jobs. They are also great for one-handed use, usually, with a standard drill you need to push forward hard to keep the screw aligned and going straight or you will round off the screw heads etc. With an impact driver, because the hammer mechanism that produces torque also creates some forward pressure, you don’t need to press quite as hard which makes them easier to use with one hand than a standard drill would be.

LED Lights

The best models include LED lights to make it easier to see in dimly lit areas, this is a great feature to have but the very best models have LED lights that stay on for a few seconds after the drill has stopped. This can be very useful for the user, we’re not sure why every model doesn’t do this. If you are wondering, our ‘Best Pick’ features 3 LED lights in a ring for the best visibility and they stay on for a few seconds when you have stopped which we really like.

Don’t forget to wear ear protection

Something you will immediately notice about impact drivers is how loud they can be, they are getting better as new models are introduced that try to reduce noise levels, but when compared to a normal drill, they are a noisy tool. We recommend wearing ear protection such as earplugs or earmuffs that can be purchased extremely cheaply so it’s not worth taking the risk and damaging your ears.  

They only accept hex bits and not standard drill bits

This will probably be an extra expense as most people who have not had an impact driver before will likely not have hex bits. Buy a good set that can handle the torque of the driver, we recommend getting this Bosch Titanium Hex Drill/Driving Set (43-Piece) set from Amazon which will get you started.

Impact drivers do not work with standard drill bits which is the only downside.

Consider buying a combi kit that includes an impact driver and combi drill to save yourself some money

Most brands sell twin packs that include an impact driver and combi drill all nicely packed in a nice case with a battery and charger. You can usually get the extra drill for only £20 extra so you have the best of both worlds. We really like the Makita MAKDLX2131JX DLX2131JX1 18V Twin Pack or DeWalt DCK2059D2T 18V 2 x 2Ah Brushless XR Li-Ion Combi and Impact Drill.

Battery Life

Most impact drivers are cordless models and use the latest lithium-ion batteries which hold their charge, last longer and charge fairly quickly, usually within one hour. The capacity is usually between 2Ah and 5Ah, the bigger the Ah the longer the battery will last but the more expensive the batteries will be. Which size you choose is totally up to you.

You can usually either buy a full set including the impact driver, charger, a battery or two and even a nice protective case. If you already have power tools from a certain brand, for example, you have a DeWalt or Makita drill, chainsaw or even a cordless lawnmower, you may already have compatible batteries and would be able to buy just the bare tool and use the batteries from your other tools. However, it is always handy to have extra batteries and they are usually much cheaper purchased as a set than purchased individually.

Just make sure they are compatible as you can get a push in batteries as well as slide on in the 10.8v and 18v ranges. In general, if you have a branded cordless power tool, the battery and charger will be compatible with the impact driver, the same goes for other brands.

Cost of impact driver

As mentioned before, the market has different sizes of impact drives available. When you think about cost, you have to think about functionality and budget. You may require a heavy-duty impact driver for heavy-duty work. With the money that you have, you can gauge the closest product that can fit in that price range. Working within a budget keeps you from overspending on getting unnecessary tools. Consider buying sets where the impact driver includes the batteries and a charger as most models are sold as the bare tool only. This means you need to already have compatible batteries or purchase them separately. It is often cheaper to buy a set including batteries, charger and carry case as opposed to buying the battery and charger separately.

We found you could get a good impact driver for around £60-£100 if you are just buying the bare tool and already have compatible batteries. If you need to buy the full setup, batteries, charger and case, then you will be looking at around £200 to £250 for an 18v model, maybe £150 for the smaller 10.8v models.

Final Conclusion

All of the impact drivers that are on our list are worth considering. But which model is perfect for you really depends on what type of work you intend on carrying out and how frequently.

The only thing that really matters is whether the model you choose has enough torque. Whether you’re a professional tradesmen or home DIY user, you can’t really go wrong with either the DeWalt, Makita, Ryobi or Professional Bosch model. However, if you’re considering the Bosch PDR 18 Li Impact Driver we have just reviewed or the Einhell model, be sure to note that they do have their limitations. Unless you’re doing a little work at home, fixing loft boards, screwing in some screws your average combi drill struggles with, then think twice as they may not be suitable for you.

If you have a bigger budget and need the complete setup, you can’t really go wrong with our ‘Best Pick’ the DeWalt DCF886D2 18V Li-ion Cordless Brushless Impact Driver which includes two batteries, a charger and decent case.

If you already have any Makita or Ryobi compatible tools, then we recommend choosing the the same Impact Driver as they are all great models with very few differences in quality or performance. Certainly not enough to justify investing in a new brand if you already have compatible batteries.

Remember features such as LED lights, 2 or 3 speed settings are not essential features but they are small additions just to make things a little easier.

Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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