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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
20V MAX XR Kit
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Bottom Line

The pro’s choice. This tool has everything you could want from an impact drill, and our DIY expert calls it DEWALT's best impact driver.


Powerful. It offers 3 speeds and Precision Drive for maximum versatility. The included lithium-ion batteries give excellent run times. The package comes with a charger and a nice case.


Very few though some users report chuck defects.

Best Bang for the Buck
DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit w/ 2 Batteries, Charger
20V MAX Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit w/ 2 Batteries, Charger
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For Handy Homeowners
Bottom Line

This cordless combo drill is a great start for those looking for their first impact driver.


It's multi-function design makes it easier to use on home improvement projects. The cordless unit's motor provides up to 300 unit watts of power to your job. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver, with 1-handed loading operation and an intuitive design.


Good for small jobs around the house, but some need more power than this model offers.

20V MAX Kit
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Great for DIY
Bottom Line

An excellent kit for the DIY enthusiast, though it lacks the power of the XR model.


Compact, ergonomic, light, and powerful. Good speed range. Three useful LED light systems. You get a driver, battery, charger, and bag for the price of some standalone tools.


Not a brushless motor, so it's less powerful and not as long-lasting as other models.

DEWALT 20V Atomic Brushless Impact Driver, 1/4-inch
20V Atomic Brushless Impact Driver, 1/4-inch
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For Small Projects
Bottom Line

This battery-powered cordless MAX driver weighs under 2 pounds and comes with 2 2.0 Ah batteries for longer jobs.


Buyers praise how ergonomic this lightweight unit is to use. Cordless operation gives you more flexibility in tight spaces. Comes in handy for those tiny screws and nuts and bolts. The portability alone makes it worth the price for handy homeowners and some professionals.


Some folks won't find the power or size adequate for large jobs.

DEWALT XTREME 12V Max Impact Driver Kit, 1/4-inch
XTREME 12V Max Impact Driver Kit, 1/4-inch
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Portable Power
Bottom Line

At under 2 pounds, this ergonomic brushless impact driver works great on small jobs by hobbyists and homeowners.


This model is designed for long battery life and quick setup. There are 3 modes, depending on your need. It has more torque than the company's previous models. Those who work in tight spaces will appreciate the design.


This is not ideal for huge jobs with bigger nuts and bolts.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best DeWalt impact drivers

DEWALT has a tremendous reputation for high-quality tools, and it’s often the brand you’ll see in the hands of a professional contractor.

Their impact drivers are typical of the range: well-designed, powerful, reliable, and durable. Despite being a premium tool, many are very affordable, and you’ll have something you can rely on, rather than a cheap alternative you have to replace every couple of years.

If you’re in the market for a DEWALT impact driver, the following buyer’s guide looks at their uses and specifications in detail, and our recommendations cover a wide choice of price and performance options.

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‘Bare tool’ means it’s sold without a battery or charger. If you already have other DEWALT tools and batteries, you can enjoy significant savings by buying bare tools that use compatible batteries. If not, you might get better value buying a kit, rather than individually.

Why buy an impact driver?

A standard drill driver will do a lot of jobs around the home and job site, but their performance is limited. If you try driving 2-inch wood screws into a piece of 2x4 without first drilling a pilot hole, you’ll soon discover their shortcomings.

An impact driver is designed to do that kind of job all day long. In addition to increased torque, they also have a hammer action, which radically improves penetration. It’s something of a specialist tool, but if you’ve got a lot of repetitive driving of substantial screws – let’s say you’re laying decking, for example – you’ll be glad you’ve got one.

With a quick change from the driver bit to a socket, the same tool can also be used for tightening nuts and bolts.

Expert tip
When choosing drill drivers and impact drivers, stretch your budget further. You won't regret going for the more powerful tool with two batteries. These are two tools homeowners will reach for regularly, and investing in a solid set like DeWalt delivers a good return on investment.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert

Cutting the cord

Ever since the introduction of cordless power tools, there’s been a difficult choice between them and their corded counterparts. Cordless tools offer greater freedom, at the expense of outright power and the need to stop – all too frequently – to recharge. However, battery performance has increased dramatically in recent years – to the extent that with their impact driver tools, DEWALT has now abandoned corded completely.

Does that mean there are no drawbacks? That still depends on the batteries.

Voltage defines outright performance – with DEWALT you have a choice of 12-, 18- or 20-volt tools. Amp hours (Ah) tells you how long that performance can be maintained. The smallest DEWALT batteries are 1.1 Amp hour, fitted to the 12-volt impact driver. While highly rated by many owners, there are limits to how long these will run. The best kits provide two batteries so you can carry on working – but that means extra cost.

If you’re buying an 18- or 20-volt impact driver, 2Ah is a sensible minimum, though we would always recommend either the 4Ah or 5Ah alternatives.

Expert tip
Understand that not all “drill” accessories will fit in an impact driver. The chuck is limited to ¼-inch bits. Garden augers or paint stirring tools will likely not fit. A drill driver is needed for such tools due to the adjustable chuck opening.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


DEWALT impact driver features


As we’ve just mentioned, there are three power options: 12, 18, or 20 volts. The 18V models are gradually being phased out because they use a brush motor. While this is cheaper, it isn’t nearly as efficient as the brushless motor in the 20V range. Although the 18V models offer good value, if you’re looking for maximum performance we would recommend the latter.

Speed and torque

Single and three-speed models are offered. The first does provide variable speed, but it depends on trigger pressure, which isn't easy to judge accurately. With the three-speed models, you also have DEWALT’s Precision Drive. This offers high torque at comparatively low rpm, for work that requires delicate adjustment.

Speed (in rpm) tells you how fast the driver rotates, whereas torque tells you the actual rotational force applied – that’s what does the work when you’re driving long screws. For torque, DEWALT quotes inch pounds (in-lbs) rather than the usual foot pounds (ft-lbs) – perhaps because the figure sounds higher! Just divide by 12 to convert from one to the other.


Most DEWALT impact drivers are very compact, making them easier to get into tight spaces than a standard drill driver.

Lights and hooks

A set of three bright LEDs lights up dark corners and stays on for 20 seconds after you release the trigger so you can see what you’ve been doing.

Belt hooks are provided, but they’re easily removed if you find them getting in the way.


The fast chargers usually recharge spent batteries in a couple of hours, but it can be as little as 30 minutes with the 12V 1.1Ah models.

20V Max XR batteries have a useful charge indicator.

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Did you know?
It’s possible to use mechanic’s sockets with your DEWALT impact driver. All you need is a low-cost set of adapters. They’ll give you 1/4”, 3/8” or 1/2” drive options. It won’t give you the power of an impact wrench, but they do add versatility.

DEWALT impact driver prices


Despite the fact that DEWALT is a premium brand, its tools remain competitive. The entry-level 12V impact driver kit with battery, charger, and carryall can usually be found for well under $150. You’ll get an 18V bare tool (meaning it comes by itself, with no battery, charger, or other extras) for similar money.


At around $140 to $160, you’ll find 18V kits and the top-rated 20V Max XR as a bare tool.


The 20V Max XR kit, with charger, two batteries, and carryall, will set you back between $250 and $290. For your money, you are getting one of the most powerful, reliable, and durable impact drivers available.

DEWALT battery compatibility

One of the long-standing frustrations with cordless tools has been the variety of batteries they use. You can almost never mix different brands, but often they’ve not been compatible even when you have two tools from the same company.

Fortunately, that has changed. In DEWALT’s case, more than 180 tools can run using the same 20V Max batteries. So once you’ve got a couple of batteries and a charger, you can make big savings by buying other products in the range as bare tools.

Unfortunately, the older-style 18V batteries aren’t directly compatible with the 20V range. However, you can buy an 18V to 20V adapter so you can use the improved 20V Max batteries on most 18V DEWALT cordless tools.

Expert tip
As with any drill or driver, using the right screw bits for your hardware is important to prevent stripping screws. This is even more important with impact drivers because of their higher power.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert
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A work light on your impact driver is always a useful feature. DEWALT provides three, so there’s no shadow from your tool.

DEWALT impact drivers FAQ

Q. Are DEWALT 20V batteries much more powerful than 18V models?

A. No. In fact, technically they are the same. All batteries output a higher voltage at startup, when not under load. They then drop slightly under normal operating conditions. 20 volts represents that initial voltage, and DEWALT now quotes that on all their newer batteries. Regardless, they still run at a nominal 18 volts.

Similarly, the DEWALT 12V impact driver actually runs at 10.8 volts.

Q. What’s the difference between an impact driver and an impact wrench?

A. Although it’s a common mix-up, it’s easy to remember which is which if you ignore the ‘impact’ bit and think about driver vs wrench. The impact driver is a very powerful screwdriver, ideal for use with long screws and other fixings. The impact wrench is the kind of tool used for undoing lug nuts or other heavy-duty nuts and bolts.

Q. Can I use an impact driver for drilling holes?

A. You can, if you can find drill bits with 1/4” hex shanks, but it’s not really what the tool is designed for. If you want to put a big hole through a piece of 2x4 framing with a spade bit – to run pipe or cable – that’s fine, but the hammer action means they don’t have the precision for detail work.

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