If you enjoy DIY building projects, an impact driver is an invaluable, time-saving tool. While it might look like the typical electric power drill/screwdriver found in many homes, it actually only drives screws—but it does so with a lot more power. Because impact drivers producer more torque, they can handle larger screws more efficiently and save you time on complex wood projects. They’re also lighter and smaller than typical driver/drill combos, though they generally cost more and are a lot louder. Impact drivers are specialty items, and depending on the type of work you do, you might not need one. But if you’re building decks, pergolas, book cases, or anything that involves a lot of screws, it’s a solution that can save you time and effort and help you get the job done.
Variable speed trigger. Amazon
This three-speed impact driver delivers a whopping 1,800 inch/pounds of torque, and features a one-handed bit loading 1/4-inch hex chuck with an easy-grip sleeve. Precision Drive and a variable speed trigger provides added control, and three bright LEDs eliminate shadows—and remain active for 20 seconds after you release the trigger so you can double-check your work. A brushless motor helps extend the tool’s life, and the included belt-clip keeps it handy when you need it. This impact driver works with DeWalt’s 20-volt battery, which is sold separately.
Dual LEDs. Amazon
The cordless Makita XDT13Z can deliver 1,500 inch/pounds of maximum torque. Its variable speeds of zero to 3,400 RPM and zero to 3,600 RPM are suitable for a wide range of fastening applications, and the brushless motor runs cooler and more efficiently for the life of the tool. It features a 1/4-inch hex chuck for quick bit changes, and dual LEDs to light up your work. The XDT13Z takes advantage of Makita’s Star Protection Computer controls, which allows gear and batteries equipped with the technology to communicate in real-time, monitoring conditions during use to protect against overloading and overheating.
Quick-release 1/4-inch chuck. Amazon
With 1,375 inch/pounds of torque, this inexpensive impact driver isn’t the biggest tool on the belt, but it can certainly handle most jobs around the house. It features the usual quick-release 1/4-inch hex chuck, and includes a 20-volt lithium battery, charger, and screw driving bit.
For people with bigger projects than budgets. Amazon
This powerful tool from Craftsman delivers 1,460 inch/pounds of torque for larger jobs. It features a single LED to light up your work area, and comes with a 20-volt MAX lithium battery and charger. The Craftsman is about a pound heavier than the other impact drivers on this list, but it’s also less expensive while delivering a lot of power.