Last Updated: February 2020
Best Impact Drill: Our 2020 Consumer Guide
The best impact drill or best impact driver. Whatever you call it, is a power tool that has a lot of uses and that will be a great addition to many a handyman’s collection. In this post, we’ll be looking at exactly what is the best impact drill, how it works and how to go about choosing the best impact drill. There are a lot of factors to consider when you buy your impact drill, which include the price of course but also the convenience. The power you’re getting and the versatility.
Should you spend more and get a more powerful device? Or can you make do with something a little lower powered that will nevertheless do enough for your specific requirements? Read on and we’ll take a closer look at the different types of drill on the market and which one is the best impact drill.
Our Top 5 Impact Drills
|Weight||2.1 lbs||2.9 lbs||3.3 lbs||3.3 lbs||3.75 lbs|
|Max Torque||1,800 in-lbs||1,825 in-lbs||1,420 in-lbs||1,500 in-lbs||1,650 in-lbs|
|Max Impact||3,700 IPM||3,600 IPM||3,200 IPM||3,600 IPM||3,200 IPM|
|Max RPM||3,000 RPM||3,250 RPM||2,300 RPM||3,400 RPM||2,800 RPM|
|Battery||2 x M18 |
REDLITHIUM XC 5.0Ah
|2 x 2.0ah XR||1 x 18V LXT 3.0Ah||1 x 18V LXT 3.0Ah||2 x 2.0 Ah|
|Warranty||5 Years||3 Years||3 Years||3 Years||Upon registration of tool|
|5 Star Rating||96%||93%||95%||90%||97%|
|Owner Rating||9.2 (50+ reviews)||9.4 (460+ reviews)||9.2 (500+ reviews)||9.2 (180+ reviews)||9.2 (180+ reviews)|
To start with, let’s go over some of the basic differences you have to choose from when picking the best impact drill for you. We’ll look at how different tools vary and at what you should prioritize when making this choice.
Once we’ve looked at these very basics, we’ll then go on to look at our best impact drill models and why you should consider them. Finally, we’ll look at the specifications in a little more depth and detail so that you can better understand what you’re getting and how to use the drill.
So for the basic differences, you basically need to know what the main use for your impact drill will be. Yet more names for this particular tool include roto hammers and rotary hammers. In case you hadn’t already guessed (and didn’t already know), these tools serve double duty by letting you both screw and unscrew screws (the roto or ‘drill’ part) and also drill into the wall with powerful impact. The larger and more powerful ‘hammer drivers’ can double as hammers too, as can some of the bigger impact drivers. Allowing you to hammer in nails (the impact, or nail part). They can also be used to hammer small holes or drill into the wall in some cases and generally have a variety of different functions depending on who’s using them and where.
Things To Consider
So you need to consider whether you are most likely to be drilling into the ground, into a wall or into a plank of wood or metal that is part of a piece of furniture. This will partly define the amount of power that you need and the type of money you’re likely to have to spend.
You might also want to consider which type of job you’re going to be doing most often. Is this primarily an Electric screwdriver with the drill function being a great added bonus? Or are you going to be looking for something to do a lot of hammering with and the occasion bit of screwing? In which case, you need a hammer drill and not an impact driver. You may also want to consider using a nailer. This will ultimately help you decide which features are the most necessary for your job.
You also need to ask yourself whether the device should be portable. Do you want something corded or cordless? Are you likely to be near a power outlet, or do you need a battery? And how long should that battery ideally last?
There are a lot of features that can make an impact driver more or less useful depending on how you’ve answered these questions. If you’re doing a lot of driving into softer surfaces for example, you might look for more control over the speed and force so that you can more gently drive the screw home to get it just flush with the surface of the material you’re drilling into.
For more on the different options and specifications, use our table of content below. Otherwise, read the description for each of our top picks below and see which option sounds best for your requirements…
Table of contents
The Best Impact Drill On The Market In 2020
There are countless impact drivers out there, many of which will do a good job. There’s no right and wrong answer when comparing these; it’s just a matter of finding the tool that is the best fit for your specific requirements.
But with that said, a minimum requirement for everyone should be that the device is going to be well made and good value for money when compared to similar models. We’ve chosen the following drill drivers because each of them represent those things. These are all solidly built products that anyone can benefit from in their homes. What’s more, they all offer great features and specifications for the price that you’re going to be paying for them.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel ¼ Hex Impact Driver
The Milwaukee M18 weighs just 2.1lbs and is just less than 5 ½ inches in length. This makes it ideal for the tight spaces and awkward angles that you will sometime find yourself in.
Milwaukee M18 fuel uses up to 1800 inch pounds of torque and will make light work of the jobs you need to do. The 1800 inch pounds of torque makes it one of the more powerful impact drivers out there.
4 speed drive control / self tapping screw mode
You will have the choice of 4 drive control modes to choose from. Each mode will give a certain amount of power for more precision.
- Mode 1 will reach up to 850 RPM
- Mode 2 will get to 2,100 RPM
- Mode 3 will take it all the way to 3,000 RPM
So what does the 4th mode get you?
Mode 4 uses an automatic adjustment to get through mode 1,2,3 up to 3000 RPM. It then continues to spin at 3,000RPM to get through the material at a quick pace. Eventually it slows down to around 750 RPM to minimize stripping.
It is possible to use Milwaukee batteries to interchange if you already other Milwaukee tools that use the same type of batteries.
In the box with this impact driver is 1 charger, 2 x 5.0 ah batteries.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel is the best impact driver on the list. Although it is not cheap it is top quality and you do get what you pay for.
In nearly every category, DEWALT are constantly at the front of the pack thanks to their excellent combination of power and value. This model is a little less expensive than the Milwaukee M18 Fuel, but it’s capable of delivering a lot of power. With 3,250 RPM and 1,825 in-lbs of torque, it’s actually an even better performer. It also has a lot of thoughtful features such as an anti-slip handle and frameless motor.
DEWALT impact driver that is just 5.3inch in length and 2.9lbs. It has a 3 speed setting which is a great feature to have because it gives you a wide variant depending on what you are using the impact driver for and you have control of the torque. 1,825 inch pounds are at your fingertips.
- Mode 1, 0 – 1,000 RPM
- Mode 2, 0 – 2,800 RPM
- Mode 3, 0 – 3,250 RPM
There are 3 LED lights with a 20 second delay after the trigger has been released. These are 60 lumens and can be set to be used as a 20 minute spot light in spotlight mode. This DEWALT has a brushless motor and has a one hand loading system. The 1/4inch hex chuck driver is a compact and lightweight impact driver that is very durable.
XR lithium ion batteries are what keep this 20v impact driver going. They have a light indicator on them so you know if the battery is nearly flat so no more guessing when its about to die. You receive 2 x 2.0ah batteries in the pack. A 3 year warranty, 1 year free service and a 90 day money back guarantee also come with this product.
This impact driver comes with variable speeds, allowing you to more carefully drive screws home to just the right level. The maximum RPM is 2,300 and the device itself is very small and light at 3.3lbs. As a cordless unit, you won’t need to be near to a power outlet in order to use it, while the kit that it comes with will provide multiple bits and more.
Overall then, this is a small and convenient power tool that nevertheless offers a higher-than-average amount of control and settings! It’s small and light but still 18v, meaning you can get some good performance out of it when necessary. In terms of max torque, this is capable of delivering up to 1,420lbs per inch.
It’s also reasonably priced and has fantastic reviews so all in all it’s a very tough proposition to beat! And because it’s cordless, you’ll be able to use it anywhere with no need to be near a power outlet.
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit
This impact driver weighs in at 3.3lbs and is 5 inch in length. It’s the same weight as the last Makita and actually delivers more power at 1,500 in-lbs and 3,400RPM.
Both are great drivers though and both are very well made by a very good brand!
The new Bosch IDH182-02 weighs just 3.2 lbs and 6.2 inch in length. it boasts a 1,650 in lbs of torque and has a 1/4inch Hex and 1/2 inch square drive chuck. This allows for a quick change and eliminating the need for a second tool. You can adjust the power and torque with the push of a button to maximize power or minimize fastener damage. Equipped with Bosch’s next generation EC Brushless motor, which provides 2X motor life, superior efficiency for longer runtime and absolutely no maintenance. Three LED design to provide maximum illumination of the work area without shadows. The Kit Includes: 1x 18-Volt Brushless Socket Ready Impact Driver, 2x 2.0Ah Batteries, 1x Charger, 1x Double-ended Impact Bit, 1x Belt Clip and 1x Carrying Case.
Porter Cable offers a no frills impact driver that will get the job done. With the same design and size as most modern impact drivers, the brushless motor is quite powerful. the torque cannot be adjusted manually but it does automatically adjust so you do not need to worry about stripping the screw. A built-in LED light thats bright and well positioned. The work area gets sufficient light at all times. The light turns on prior to the drill turning on and stops only after the drill is stopped. This Porter-Cable PCCK647LB is a well made and sturdy impact driver. It’s powerful enough for the amateur user. The more skilled or professionals who are looking for more power would also find this tool useful. If given a choice and if budgets not a option then I would definitely like to go for something with more power. All in all I would say this impact drill is at the lower end of the scale but will get a job done.
SAME TOOL NEW NAME. Now known as Metabo HPT. This is the most affordable item on this list but you’re still getting a lot of power and a lot of extras for that money. It might not be the very most powerful but in terms of value, it’s probably our top choice.
This comes with 2 batteries, a carry case and quick charger for getting your device up and running that much faster. The speed is 2,700 and BPM is 3,200 for both good driving speed and quick drilling. The tool has a lifetime warranty too, which is a very nice addition. It’s actually quite a bit less powerful than many of the other options on this list at 955 in-lbs!
All this makes for a very well rounded product that even professional handymen give a lot of praise in the reviews section.
As you can see then, your choice of impact driver doesn’t need to be expensive! You can save money and still get a very reliable, versatile and powerful tool. Any of these will be a great place to start.
Or if you’re wondering just what BPM and in-lbs means… read on and we’ll go into those things in a little more detail!
We’ve seen the best impact drivers out there but what do all the numbers and features mean? Here is a breakdown of the different specifications and differences between various impact hammers, so that you can better understand just what you’re buying and what you should prioritize.
One of the most important considerations of all when looking at any kind of drill is the torque. The torque is the power with which the drill twists and the more torque you have, the more adept your tool will be at removing large, heavy or rusted screws. What’s more, is that it will be able to drive into harder materials including some metals and it will hopefully make quicker work of most jobs.
And the great thing about impact hammers is that they have enormous torque compared with standard electric screwdrivers. With a small bit attached an impact driver can then become a drill if it has enough power, hence the term ‘impact drill’.
Torque is normally measured in Nm (Newton meters), with the higher number meaning more torque. That said, you’ll often find it in inch-lbs online, which means it can deliver N lbs of force across D amount of inches.
Look too for devices with multiple gears. If you have a drill driver with two gears, then you can use higher gears at slower speeds, which means you’ll have better performance and more control – ideal for drilling delicate materials like glass.
The amount of torque you get from your impact drill will largely be related to the amount of power it consumes. Often you’ll be choosing between a 12 and 18 volt model and this is where you make the trade-off between size and power. Do you want something smaller at 12 volts or something much more powerful at 18-volt. The size difference isn’t huge, so if you can afford it it’s often worth stepping up to 18v.
When you buy a drill driver ‘kit’ rather than just the driver itself, you’ll get a lot of extras with the main tool. That will probably include a few bits or potentially more than one tool. Particularly useful are the hex shaft accessories which include the bits for the drills and drivers and the socket adaptors.
Hammer Driver Vs Drill Driver
While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between a hammer drill and an impact drill. The internals are designed differently so that only really the former is suitable for hammering nails home or breaking up stone etc. That said, you can sometimes get away with a little hammering using a drill and again this will come down to what you want to do more of.
This handy guide to terminology will ensure you’re up to scratch with your drill driver jargon.
BPM / IPM
This is nothing to do with your heart rate! BPM is blows per minute, IPM is impacts per minute. Telling you how many blows/impacts the drill delivers each minute.
This is the percussive force of the drill. Higher settings = faster drilling and the very highest power (in joules) will allow the device to become a hammer drill.
Impact drivers do not have torque control, so the only way to adjust the amount of torque being delivered is by using the speed control trigger (or by selecting a model with several gears).
The chuck holds the drill bit and other accessories. Keyless chucks have jaws that can be tightened together around the bit, meaning you don’t need to use a key for manually loosening.
Revolutions per minute. This tells you how quickly the drill rotates which will normally be roughly equivalent to the amount of torque – but not always.