The Best Impact Drivers

Impact Drivers Reviews

Our Top Pick is the Milwaukee 2453-22

An impact driver uses a powerful force that rotates downward to loosen or drive bolts and screws into designated material. It looks much like a drill but is specifically designed to drive screws and bolts faster and more efficiently than any other tool on the market. Impact drivers are generally cordless and come with a hex shank and uses driver bits, just like a drill. They can drive long screws and large fasteners faster and straighter than a traditional drill.

The difference is in the bit rotation. The impact driver has the traditional drill rotation combined with an up and down blow allowing you to bore through the hardest wood or strongest material. Drills are fine for short screws and soft woods. For long screws or hard material there is nothing like an impact driver to get the job done. The torque on an impact driver is generally 2 to 3 times the power of an average drill making it a must have for many professions. They are easy to use and comfortable to hold even with the additional power. The driver is designed to transfer the additional power to the screw or bolt, not to your hands.

We considered the top 32 impact drivers for testing and the Milwaukee 2453-22 M12 rose to the top. It has a light weight design and can drive up to 50 screws in an hour, making it powerful enough for nearly any job a homeowner or semi-professional will need.

Who Should Buy This

If you plan to drive long screws, a lot of screws or need precision drilling then an impact driver will get the job done with less energy and faster than a standard drill. They are perfect for building a deck, a dock, a treehouse, installing subfloors, backer board or a fence. Any job that requires a lot of screws will benefit from an impact driver because of its speed and efficiency. This makes them a great tool for carpenters, auto mechanics, or construction workers.

What Makes a Good Impact Driver?

Cordless impact drivers are gaining on the popularity of drills. After all men with power tools are always looking for more power and strength to get the job done faster and this tool does just that. Homeowners, handymen and construction workers are starting to pay attention as new technology is giving the impact driver a new look with more power and more versatility than ever before. It’s time to take a second look at these affordable options when it comes to building, construction work or other uses for driving screws and bolts.

Impact DriverThe faster speeds and lack of recoil have given them the power needed for the toughest jobs in the industry. With impact drivers it’s all about the power, torque. That is the key advantage over a traditional drill. Torque is measured at impact pounds per inch. Low end models might drive at 700 pounds-in and higher end more powerful models at 1,200 to 1,500 pounds-inch.

Closely connected with torque is the speed of the driver. This is measured in RPMs. The higher the speed the higher number of revolutions for the bit. Designs will either be single or multi speeds. If you will be working with various types of materials then a multi speed unit will enable you to adjust the torque power and RPMs for the job. This can extend the life of the motor and prevent over driving the screw.

Motor units for drivers will either have brushes or be brushless. The brushless motors are better quality and the motors last longer because they have less moving parts. One of the key reasons impact drivers are becoming so popular is due to the additional power. This means when you review tools to purchase consider the amount of torque it will provide. That will give you a good idea of the amount pf power the driver will have.

Impact drivers can drive screws but they can also drill holes, but with more power than a traditional drill. This power comes with noise and impact drivers can be very loud because of the additional power they produce.

For most homeowners and DIYers a 10 or 12 volt battery will produce all the power you need for the jobs you will have around the house. For those who are running a small shop, or serious hobbyist you may want to upgrade to an 18 or 20 volt. They have a higher price tag, more power and higher torque for heavier jobs.

How We Tested

We began with an extensive research of the available impact drivers on the market. As their popularity has increased so has the number of products that are available. We then looked at the power and other features that professionals and hobbyists are looking for. This information was gathered by talking to professionals and gathering information from blogs and forums. After careful consideration we reduced the list to the final contenders. We then tested the models and gathered information about what others were saying about their performance in everyday working conditions.  We then searched Amazon for the impact drivers that contained the most sought after features with the best value.

Our Pick

Specifications

  

Peak Torque 1,200 in-Pounds
Voltage 12 Volts
Type of Battery Lithium Ion (2 batteries included)
Weight of Driver 7.7 Pounds
Speeds Variable speed driver with 2 speeds
RPMs 1200 and 2650
Impacts Per minute (IPM) 2700 and 3550
Dimensions 14.7 X 12.3 X 4.6 inches
Warranty Tool 5 Year warranty Battery 2 year warranty

Milwaukee-2453-22

The Milwaukee 2453-22 M12 is a high performance impact driver that delivers a peak torque of 1,200 pounds-inch. The driver is designed to provide enough power for optimal work while preserving the 12 volt battery. This ¼ inch hex driver offers a variable speed (2 speeds) which allows you to control the power required for the job for more precision work. The lower speed operates at 1200 rpms and the higher speed delivers 2650 rpms. You can switch speeds by pushing the appropriate button on the control panel. This feature allows you better control over the power, based on the material you are using. New design features give the motor 3X longer life and the battery 2X more run time. The control driver is proprietary to Milwaukee and offers more power and control over the speed of the driver.

The Powerstate brushless motor provides continual output during operation and runs cooler. The revolutionary battery pack gives you 20% more power than traditional batteries and can be charged twice as much before needing replacement. This 12 volt impact driver is powerful enough to compete with 18 volt competitors.

The driver includes a brushless motor, an electric drive system and a digital control system for more accurate cuts and more power using lower voltage. The driver can compete with drivers twice its size as far as work output. It is about half the weight and much quieter than most other drivers in its class.

The impact driver only weighs 7.7 pounds with the battery. Often with drivers the battery adds a lot of weight to the unit which makes it harder to use for long periods of time. The battery only takes about a ½ an hour to charge, enabling you to work continuously. This package includes an extra battery so you will always be ready for the job at hand. There is a battery indicator light which will help you know when the battery needs to be recharged.

The handle is ergonomically designed to be comfortable and reduce the stress on your hands and wrist. This feature reduces fatigue and allows you to remain on the job for longer periods of time. The tool is also balanced and handles more like a screwdriver an impact driver.

Other cool features include a work light which allows you to see clearly where you are working. A battery charger, 2 – 2 amp batteries and a strong plastic storage case is included with your purchase. You can upgrade to 4 amp batteries which will fit with the existing unit.

Who Else Likes It

The guys at HingMy had these conclusions about the Milwaukee 2453-22, “it is s the most exciting new impact driver that is coming out this year. Instead of going big, Milwaukee created a smaller, full-featured impact driver…”

Amazon users gave it a 5 out of 5 stars from 61 users. One 5 star rating said, “Don’t be fooled by its size. Very powerful, surprising longevity…This impressive brushless 12 volt impact driver was used to build some garage shelving a few days ago. It’s fits very comfortably in my hand, and is fairly light, both contributing to lessening fatigue. I was able to drive over a pound of 3″ wood screws quickly, easily, and without slowdown; matching past performance to much heavier 18 volt drivers. Another plus is that the batteries charge very quickly, enabling an infinite loop of swapping the two included batteries.”

The Step Up

In need of more power, then upgrade to the Dewalt DCF895. This unit offers a 20 volt battery powered machine that will give you 57% longer run time. The brushless motor works more efficiently and runs cooler than its competitors. With this additional power the driver still only weighs 7.8 pounds giving you an ergonomic design and weight that is both comfortable and reduces fatigue.

The unit increases the speed options to 3 and will operate for approximately 2 hours before needing a charge. if you want the battery included under model number DCF895C2. If you already have a collection of Dewalt tools and do not need an additional battery the unit also comes in a bare model number DCF895B.

Top Impact Drivers Comparison

Position
Visual
Tool
Voltage
Speed (RPM)
Warranty (Years)
1Milwaukee12.00
2,650
5
2Ingersoll 14.40
6,300
2
3 Bosch18.00
2,800
1
4Bosch Impact18.00
2,800
3
5DEWALT 18.002,7003
6Hitachi 18.00
2,600
5
7PORTER18.00
2,800
3
8Hitachi Combo12.00
2,000
Limited Lifetime
9Makita 18.00
2,600
3
10Milwaukee Impact18.00
2,200
5

Care Use and Maintenance

Impact drivers can be very loud and for those sensitive to noise using ear protection should be considered. They are much louder than a traditional drill. Wearing eye protection should also be part of your work habits as it can protect your eyes from flying debris or sawdust.

Safety measures should also include ensuring that the work place is clear and that you are balanced when using the tool. If the impact driver takes a second to grab the wood or material, and you are off balanced, you could fall creating a dangerous situation.

Maintenance includes keeping the chuck cleaned and the drill oiled according to the manufactures recommendations.

Wrapping It Up

Impact drivers are growing in popularity as manufacturers are adding features that users require and consumers are learning how beneficial additional power can be under many circumstances. While the impact driver is not likely to replace the drill as the number one tool, it is giving it a run for its money with all of the power and features making it a very versatile tool for both carpenters, electricians, mechanics and other professions that use power tools in their everyday work environment.

As more professionals use these tools, homeowners are following because the light weight design and higher power allows you to accomplish more on your weekend projects, leaving more time to spend with your family or doing other things you enjoy.

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