What is an Impact Driver
How often did you fail to drive long screws into hardwood or loosen rusty nuts with your power screwdriver? Needless to say, such tools are helpless for drilling holes in brick walls. These challenging tasks can be easily handled with impact drivers. These tools look like conventional power screwdrivers but they have an impact mechanism inside that generates short and frequent strokes. These strokes boost the torque and prevent the gear from stopping under resistance. This way, an impact driver can help you twist screws in hardwood, unscrew them, and drill brick or panel walls with one hand.
Now, as you understand why impact drivers are used, we recommend you to look through 5 best tools available on the market.
We also advise considering cordless drills for drilling applications and torque wrenches for handling bolted connections.
What Features to Compare
When you choose an impact driver, first of all, you need to consider the torque that makes a tool so powerful. The torque rate determines how long screws can be driven and the hardness of material to be screwed. In general, the torque depends on the battery voltage and a higher voltage ensures a higher torque rate. Next, consider the number of blows per minute (BPM) a tool makes. Some impact drivers can deliver up to 4000 BPM, and the higher this rate is, the better and easier an impact driver can tighten and loosen a fastener. Finally, don’t forget about the number of revolutions per minute (RPM). The larger the RPM rate is, the faster the job will be done. We should also note that when you use an impact driver to force a screw into softwood, the tool initially works in a normal mode, but its impact mechanism comes into play as soon as the gear faces resistance, and delivers a lot of force to overcome it.
A battery ensures a portability of an impact driver and affects its power as well. The models with batteries up to 12V deliver a smaller torque than the tools powered by 18-20V batteries. The battery capacity (Ah) shows the running time, so you should know how long you are going to use a tool. If you need an impact driver for occasional construction or assembly works, a model up to 1.5 Ah is enough, while a driver of 2Ah and higher is better for a frequent application. In any case, a medium-capacity battery can be used along with another one. Once one of them runs out of charge, install another battery and continue using the tool. By the way, some impact drivers come with 2 batteries, which means there's no need to buy an additional one. Also, any impact driver package includes a charger and the charging time varies from 30 min to 4 h depending on a charger and battery specs.
Since impact drivers are handheld tools, their weight and size should be comfortable for users. A battery takes nearly half impact driver’s weight, and sometimes even more. The higher the battery capacity is, the heavier it is, so you should determine how long you are going to use an impact driver. Moreover, we recommend paying attention to additional features of an impact driver. For example, a built-in worklight will be useful, while a reverse function is a true must-have for such tools. A set of drill or screwdriver bits included in the package will also come in handy. As for the tool’s handling, we advise you to use earmuffs as some impact drivers are quite noisy and can cause discomfort.
Let's start our review with an impact driver manufactured by the well-known DeWALT company, founded in 1922. We picked DCF885C2 equipped with a powerful electric motor. This impact driver will let you easily drive long screws or self-tapping screws and loosen corroded or frozen nuts. The motor of the tool delivers the torque of 1400 in-lbs which is capable of opposing the resistance of hard materials even at a low speed. We should note that this impact driver works as a conventional drill delivering up to 2800 RPM - enough for coping with some simple construction works. But once the driver faces a tough job, it's impacting gear will deliver 3200 BPM. Our research showed that the electronics of this impact driver protects its battery from overload and deep discharge, so a long battery life is guaranteed.
One Charger for Many Tools!
First of all, we should highlight the tool's design painted in DeWALT's traditional black and yellow. These colors make the impact driver recognizable. Concerning the usage, we'd like to mention 3 LED work lights that will illuminate the working area when the tool is used in darkness. Yet, the most tricky thing about these lights lies in their capability of flashing after you release the trigger switch. This wise solution allows you to drive or unscrew bolts without pressing the trigger each time. Moreover, the driver features a special hook, so you can hang the tool on your belt or pocket and get your hands free. The tool's charger is compatible with 20V and 12V batteries used on other DeWALT tools. By the way, the chuck has a hexagonal design and a capacity of 1/4", so it can easily hold a 1" screwdriver bit. Finally, 2 batteries are included in a package and it's a true bargain since you don't buy an additional battery separately! In all, the package includes the carrying case, the impact driver, 2 batteries, the charger, and the belt hook.
We suggest this impact driver to people who deal with assembling furniture or other wooden structures and need an efficient and portable tool. Still, this impact driver will be a nice addition to the arsenal of any handyman who wishes to have tools for any occasion.
More Products to Consider
DEWALT Quick Connect Impact Driver Conversion Chuck will make your impact driver more functional.
DEWALT IMPACT READY Accessory Set in a plastic storage case to get your impact driver ready for any screwdriving task.
Don't Worry About Durability
Makita tools have always been known for their reliability and quality, gaining a worldwide recognition among customers. We decided to select the Makita XDT042 impact driver for this review. Let's start with the power. The tool is equipped with an 18V battery, allowing the motor to reach the torque of 1420 in-lbs. This power rate helps the impact driver complete tough tasks such as driving long screws into hardwood. Also, this model can drill a small hole in a brick wall and cope with overtightened nuts. The tool will deliver 2300 RPM for drilling, and 3200 BPM for loosening any rusted bolt. It is worth saying that the speed changes depending on the force you press a trigger with. So, when you need to drill something, fully push the trigger and get the job done well! By the way, you shouldn't worry about quality and robustness of this tool as we found out that its gear underwent a special heat hardening for the utmost durability. This feature allows the tool to reach the maximum coupling and deliver an incredibly powerful torque.
Attention to Every Detail
Analyzing this impact driver, we noticed a convenient metal hook that helps you carry the tool on your belt. You can screw this hook to either side of the tool for your convenience. The tool has a reversing switch that helps not only tighten but also unscrew different fasteners. In case you work in a dark place, the LED light will illuminate the space over the screwdriver even when the trigger is released. The charger of this impact driver has special indicators that are extremely convenient. Apart from usual notifications such as 'Charging' or 'Charging Complete', we also noticed the 'Delay charge' indicator. What does it mean? If the battery overheats during fast charging, a delay charge function is activated and the battery is cooled owing to a built-in fan. It's an amazing feature! Yet, this battery care was not enough for Makita engineers and they created the Star Protection Computer Controls™ technology. It provides an interaction between the tool and battery to prevent overloads, deep discharging and overheating. This way, all these features help extend the battery life and let you save money for buying a new one. The battery capacity is rather high - 3Ah. The set of screwdriver and drill bits, which is shipped with the tool, is a pleasant bonus to a purchase. Summing up, we can say that Makita designed a truly high-quality and reliable tool. The Makita XDT042 is the right choice if you need a powerful tool with a long battery life.
More Products to Consider
We advise purchasing an additional lithium-ion battery for your impact driver and compact hearing protectors to protect your ears from the noise.
This Tool Can Handle Anything!
The next tool on our shortlist is a model manufactured by Black & Decker. This company was founded in 1910 by two workers of Rowland Telegraph Co. Black & Decker's prominent breakthrough was the invention of the first electric drill in 1917 and since then the company has developed some of the world's best tools. In 2010, Black & Decker was merged with Stanley that resulted in the establishment of Stanley Black & Decker. Today, this company has numerous subsidiaries including well-known Black & Decker, DeWALT, Porter-Cable, and Delta Machinery. We picked BDCI20C impact driver equipped with a 20V battery. The maximum torque of the tool reaches 1375 in-lbs. The motor is capable of delivering 3000 RPM and 3900 BPM! This performance staggered us and we would like to tell you that some users used this impact driver to assemble wooden fences. So, the picture is pretty clear - the higher each parameter is, the more efficient and faster an impact driver works!
Your Bits Will Never Be Lost
In terms of appearance, this impact driver looks quite similar to other models but we still revealed some distinctive features, both positive and negative. Let's start with the positive ones. We liked the magnet located in a special groove on top of the tool. What is more, when you unbox the tool, you'll find a screwdriver bit held by the magnet. So, you'll have an opportunity to keep your bits in place. As for the drawbacks, we'd like to note the absence of a belt hook, so you'll have to put the driver on a table or simply on the floor. However, this isn't a problem at all. Once you take the tool in your hand, you'll feel the convenience of the rubber-coated handle that provides a firm grip even during the most difficult tasks. When you need to drill a hole in a dim place, the LED light will go on once the trigger is pressed, and off when the trigger is released. The delivery package includes the tool, the charger, and the battery. We'd like to note that the battery capacity is 1.5 Ah. Yet, you can also buy a 4 Аh battery separately and use an additional source of power.
Generally, this is a high-performance and fairly priced impact driver that can serve as a workhorse.
More Products to Consider
A high-capacity battery pack will provide a longer runtime of your impact driver. Whatever you need to drill, a set of titanium-coated drill bits will always come in handy.
Torque Is All You Need
Any review of impact drivers can't be informative enough without a tool manufactured by Porter-Cable. The company started from the production of lathes and polishing machines in the beginning of the past century. Today, the company is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. We picked the Porter-Cable PCCK640LB impact driver equipped with a powerful electric motor and the 20V battery. Judging by these components, we dare claim that the manufacturer succeeded to get the most out of them, delivering the torque of 1495 in-lbs! Nevertheless, RPM and BPM rates are rather high, amounting to 2900 and 3200 respectively. In general, this impact driver will be able to drill a 2х4'' hole in wood, stone, and even concrete.
How Much Charge Remains?
As usual, having checked the specs of the tool, we moved on to the tool's appearance. First of all, we spotted the metal hook, so you won't have to seek the place for the tool; you can simply hang it on your belt and use it whenever you need to. The impact driver has two magnets on the top (for holding drilling and screwdriving accessories) and the LED work light under the chuck (for illuminating dark places and rooms). Moreover, the light flashes as soon as the trigger switch is pressed, while the tool's gear doesn't engage. This feature is largely convenient and power efficient. Almost all impact drivers support the reverse rotation and this Porter-Cable model is not an exception. Its forward/reverse control button is placed near the trigger switch. The battery fuel gauge button located in the lower part of the handle is the main zest of this impact driver. Once you push this button, 3 LEDs will indicate the current battery charge status, so you'll be able to avoid deep battery discharging. The good news is that the tool comes with two 1.5 Ah batteries, so don't worry about the runtime. As for the body of the tool, it is made of plastic with rubber bumpers across the surface. These bumpers perform two functions at the same time: they prevent impact driver from slipping off and protect the material it's made of.
So, what's our opinion about this impact driver? Porter-Cable designed a great tool with a high torque and lots of convenience features. The impact driver will be equally great for home use and large projects.
More Products to Consider
A 20V battery will considerably extend the runtime of your Porter-Cable impact driver, whereas a 34-piece bit set will allow you to cope with any task.
The Tool For Everyone
No power tool review can be decent without an appliance manufactured by Bosch - one of the leading tool-making companies in the world. Truly, Bosch requires no presentation! We can just say that the quality, durability, and innovative technologies brought the company a staggering revenue of €70.6 billion in 2015 alone! This gobsmacking figure proves that the Bosch products are trusted worldwide, so our team just followed this trend. We picked the Bosch PS41-2A impact driver with the 12V battery for our review. The battery power is enough to ensure the torque of 930 in-lbs. It is worth saying that the RPM and BPM rates of this impact driver can contend with more pricey and powerful models. In other words, PS41-2A will drive screws and make holes in wood as good as high-end drivers, but when it comes to tougher tasks, this driver might face a real challenge. Maybe, we are too critical about the tool, but in any case, this impact driver is more powerful than most drills, so it is generally nice for handymen.
Portability Doesn't Mean Inconvenience
The design of the Bosch PS41-2A impact driver differs from other models, as the tool is mainly intended for small and repeated jobs in elevated or hard-to-reach places. In particular, it's provided by a compact body which is 5.4" long, and the weight of 2.13 lbs. Nevertheless, a tiny size and lightness don't restrain conveniences of this impact driver. Thus, we can see a forward/reverse lever near the trigger, and 3 LED work lights on the ring around the chuck. The manufacturers who care about the runtime usually boost the battery capacity or just add an extra battery. As you already know, Bosch supplies an additional battery with this tool. In addition to batteries and impact driver itself, you'll find two screwdriver bits and a case for storing and carrying.
So, if high performance, portability, and handiness are the features you look for when selecting home improvement tools, the Bosch PS41-2A will be a great pick!
More Products To Consider
We advise buying Bosch BAT414 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 2.0Ah High Capacity Battery to get a substitute for the exhausted battery of your driver and avoid hours of waiting until it gets charged.
Bosch Hex Shank Impact Tough Drill Bit Set is an irreplaceable thing in every handyman's home.
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