The best DeWalt impact driver

Wrenches

Most DeWalt tools come with a 3-year limited warranty covering repairs free of cost for any manufacturer defects. They are also backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year free service contract.

DeWalt impact drivers

DeWalt is one of the most trusted brands in power tools. Their products are American-made and the go-to choice for professional contractors and consumers alike. When it comes to impact drivers, they make some of the best.

If you’re comparing a few of their models but are confused about what the various specifications mean and which one to pick, this guide will clear everything up for you. Our favorite model is the DeWalt 20V MAX XR. It features an efficient brushless motor and offers three-speed settings for precision work.

Impact drivers vs. drills

Impact drivers may look like standard drills, but they incorporate a hammering action that makes them superior for driving fasteners into stubborn materials. While you can certainly use a regular drill to drive a long screw into a piece of wood without drilling a pilot hole first, it is often a bit of a struggle to get the initial penetration. If you are driving a lot of fasteners into wood or another dense material, you’ll quickly drain the battery as well.

Impact drivers have more torque than standard drills, and they combine this with the hammering action mentioned above, which dramatically improves penetration. This not only makes your work easier but the driver’s as well, resulting in longer battery life.

What to consider when choosing a DeWalt impact driver

Power

For the most part, DeWalt only sells cordless impact drivers, so you’ll have to consider the battery voltage and amp-hours when selecting a model. 

You can choose between 12, 18, and 20-volt options. 12-volt tools are best for light-duty work, while 18 and 20-volt drivers are better suited to heavy-duty tasks. 12-volt models are often slightly lighter and more affordable. However, they are less versatile. You’ll never run into a situation where an 18 or 20-volt model can’t do the job of the 12-volt driver, but you cannot say the opposite.

When it comes to how long the battery will last, amp hours are the most critical specification. The higher the amp hours, written as Ah, the longer the battery will last.

Torque

The torque of an impact driver refers to its twisting force. It may be written in inch-pounds or foot-pounds. 1 foot-pound is equal to 12 inch-pounds. If two drills have the specifications written in different units, you can either divide or multiply one of them by 12 to get an accurate comparison. The higher the inch/pounds or foot/pounds, the more torque a tool has and the better it can drive fasteners into hard and dense materials.

Speed settings

DeWalt impact drivers come in single and three-speed options, though this is a bit misleading as even single-speed models feature a variable speed trigger. That being said, having a model that allows you to choose a maximum RPM setting minimizes the chances of drilling too hard and too fast into delicate materials.  

Impacts per minute

The impacts per minute, sometimes written as blows per minute, is another specification you will see on DeWalt impact drivers. This will vary with speed and is less important of a consideration than power, torque and speed when determining how well an impact driver will handle tasks.

Size and weight

Most DeWalt impact drivers are lightweight and compact, making them easy to handle and get into tight spaces. If you are using your driver for extended periods, though, every ounce matters, so you may want to factor both size and weight into your decision. 

LEDs

Many DeWalt impact drivers feature LEDs that illuminate your work area. This can be very helpful when working in dim locations where it may be difficult to see what you are doing. They will automatically turn on when you squeeze the trigger and stay on for an additional 20 seconds after releasing it.

How much can you expect to spend on a DeWalt impact driver

Despite being a top name in the game, DeWalt tools are still quite affordable. 12-volt impact driver kits that include a battery and charger or bare-tool 18- and 20-volt models are available for as little as $100. 18 and 20-volt kits start around $200 and increase in price depending on how many batteries and other accessories are included.

DeWalt impact driver FAQs

What is the difference between an impact driver and a hammer drill?

A. Impact drivers apply rotational impacts, while hammer drills apply forward impacts. This makes the former better for driving fasteners and the latter better for creating holes in masonry.

Are brushless motors better?

A. Brushless motors are more efficient than brushed motors. This makes them a better choice for cordless tools, where efficiency translates to longer battery life.

What is the best DeWalt impact driver?

Top DeWalt impact driver

DeWalt 20V MAX XR

DeWalt 20V MAX XR

What you need to know: Both powerful and lightweight, the 20V MAX XR is an ideal choice for contractors and home DIYers alike.

What you’ll love: It features three-speed settings and is equipped with bright LEDs to illuminate your work area.

What you should consider: The high price may put it out of reach for some people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top DeWALT impact driver for the money

DeWalt XTREME 12V

DeWalt XTREME 12V

What you need to know: This budget-friendly option features a brushless motor for efficient operation and can handle most light-duty tasks around the house.

What you’ll love: It offers 52% more torque yet is 19% shorter than the previous iteration.

What you should consider: Some consumers report receiving faulty batteries.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

DeWalt ATOMIC 20V MAX

DeWalt ATOMIC 20V MAX

What you need to know: The ATOMIC is DeWalt’s most compact 20V impact driver, making it the best option for those often working in tight spaces.

What you’ll love: Thanks to an illuminated ring and a belt hook, it is convenient to carry and use.

What you should consider: It has slightly less torque than the MAX XR.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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