Need suggestions for an impact driver

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Blog entry by crank49 posted 07-21-2010 10:14 PM 10953 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am starting a remodel project, new basement shop and new kitchen and utility room and will be driving a bunch of screws. Have always used my cordless drill for this but I think the impact drivers do a better job from what I have read. I am pinched for cash and want to get a decent tool that will work without over spending for a professional contractor grade of tool. I won’t be driving screws for a living. I have looked pretty closely at several models. I don’t like the 10.8 & 12 volt tools with the batteries inside the handle. The handle on these models are too fat and not comfortable for me. I would prefer a light weight/compact tool.

I have narrowed my choices to the 10.8 volt Li-ion Hitachi (on sale at Sears for ~$90) and the Ryobi 18 volt kit with 2 Li-ion batteries and charger (found at Home Depot for ~$120) I like the size and feel of the Hitachi but am afraid it might lack power due to its low volt battery. I have never owned a Ryobi tool but was hoping this one might be ok since it is 18 volts. I know the Millwaukee, DeWalt, Ridgid and Makita are all very good tools, but they are all over $200 to $400 and that’s out of my price range. Anyone have a comment or suggestion?

10 comments so far

View JDboy's profile


17 posts in 3958 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 12:41 AM

I own both the Ryobi and a Dewalt. If you have a Dewalt or Makita Cordless drill buy a bare tool and save a lot of money. Can pick one up for like $120. I love my Ryobi so much that I bought 2 and recently sold one to get my Dewalt. They are both nice. They are both fairly light as well. I know nothing abouthte Hitachi, but
I wouldn’t go with anything less than 14.4 and 18 or 24 would be better.

-- JD Boy

View Partridge's profile


296 posts in 5017 days

#2 posted 07-22-2010 01:28 AM

i have a ryobi. it is the first thing i grab when i need the drill a hole or turn a screw. i have used it for turning bolts and nuts on decks, but be wormed if you camp on that trigger you will drive that screw, bolt in to far. i have drove a 3 1/2 deck screw all the way through a 4×4 head and all

-- I get out in the shop when I can

View ABrown's profile


102 posts in 3972 days

#3 posted 07-22-2010 01:52 AM

I have a Porter Cable impact driver that I pruchased from lowes I think it was $69.00, but it was a bare tool.
I’ve had it for a year and, use it almost every day I never have had any problems with the batteries, I would reccomend it to anyone.

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 4295 days

#4 posted 07-22-2010 02:14 AM

If you already have a cordless tool buy the bare tool that will work with the batteries you already have, I had a dewalt 18v drill, then bought the recip saw on ebay to fit the batteries, then found the bare circular saw at a garage sale, when the batteries wore out I was in too deep to change systems, bought the lith ion drill and impact and have used the impact more than any of the other drills, love it.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 4803 days

#5 posted 07-22-2010 02:30 AM

I am not generally a fan of craftsman power tools, but got a drill + impact driver from my Dad. I think it is 19.2 volts. He paid $100 for the set with two batteries and charger. I also have a Bosch impact driver. I always use the Craftsman. I am sure it is clunky compared to the new li-ion ones, but after 4 years it was certainly worth the money.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 07-23-2010 05:42 AM

JD Boy & Zlatanv – My only other cordless tool is a 10 year old B&D drill. I bought a new battery for it last year, but it won’t dictate my choice for a new tool. I want to go Li-Ion on any future tools that are battery powered

Scarp – I am looking to buy an impact driver, not a drill, corded or otherwise.

A Brown – My only Porter Cable tool is corded so I can’t share batteries. But, I like Porter Cable tools, some of them are made here in Tennessee.

Thanks everyone for all for your comments, I just found out today, after further study, that the Ryobi Impact driver comes with 18 volt Ni-Cad batteries, but you can interchange them with their Li-Ion batteries if you want to buy them extra. That makes their tool just as high as every one else.

Hitachi at 10.8 volts might be a little wimpy but they have 14.4 volt and 18 volt tools for ~ $160 and $220.

Today I did find an 18 volt Li-Ion Ridgid impact driver at Home Depot for $170 and it has a lifetime warranty that includes the battery. I think this looks like the best deal I have found. Just going to have to save my change a little longer.

View JDboy's profile


17 posts in 3958 days

#7 posted 07-24-2010 05:11 AM

Skarp—That sounds more like a hammer drill. As a mechanic and tractor assembler by day a cordless impact driver is 1/4” drive quick change chuck and used not only for driving screws but also smaller bolts, 3/8 is about the capacity. An impact (impact wrench) is cordless or pneumatic and comes in 3/8 drive on up to 1” drive and used for heavier duty jobs. Everything from say 5/16 and 3/8 lag bolts alll the way up to well really big bolts say 1” and larger. Hope this helps you and others understand what crank49 is/was looking for.

-- JD Boy

View Helkat's profile


74 posts in 3357 days

#8 posted 02-16-2012 01:51 PM

I know this is an old post, but I was recently researching cordless drivers – I was thinking about the Ryobi myself because I already have a bunch of other stuff from their One+ line, but it seemed like it would be a bit heavy to me (compared to others…) because I only have the nicad batteries

I was thinking about a small one – I’ve never had a 12v but they get decent reviews, especially with the new lithium-ion batteries. A Milwaukee 12v kit lists for over $290, but when you click through to the ‘deal’ price it was only $99, included 2 batteries and charger. The 18v is only $150 on sale -

Meanwhile the Ryobi 18v is currently $98 as a bare tool, and it’s only got 850in-lbs of torque, which is what the Milwaukee 12v is listed for. Wow, I think I just convinced myself.

Although I’ve only checked Amazon prices at the moment, so there may be better prices on the Ryobi elsewhere.

-- Nat, UPstate NY,

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4032 days

#9 posted 02-16-2012 02:22 PM

For what it’s worth, I caught the Millwaukee 18V Li-Ion 1/2”drill and 1/4” impact driver on sale for $199 including 2 batteries so that’s what I got. Been using for about a year and a half now and these tools just keep getting better. Seems the more I use them the better they hold a charge. I especially like how the Li-Ion batteries will not go flat if they are not used for a couple of months. I also like the charge status indicator on the battery. The impact driver is impressive. I was installing a power operator for my garage door and was using the impact tool with a socket to drive 3/8” lag bolts into the frame. Went a little too tight on one and twisted the head right off.

View Helkat's profile


74 posts in 3357 days

#10 posted 02-16-2012 02:28 PM

Cool, thanks for the info. I’ve thought about going with one of those combos with both the drill and impact driver, but the ryobi drill I have still has some life left in it. But maybe I’ll wait a little and try to catch a deal… it’s still too cold in my shop to do too much, so I have some time to look around.

I like the idea of a shelf-life on the batteries though! Getting tired of the nicad…

-- Nat, UPstate NY,

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