Tool Test: Impact Drivers
Three testers conduct isolated reviews of each brand’s 18v cordless tool
Impact drivers produce more torque than cordless drill-drivers and, therefore, can drive screws with more speed and power. Many of today’s tools, however, also provide a level of finesse that was missing from earlier versions. The decision of which impact driver to purchase rests on the balance between these traits. Because different users have different needs, this article includes the opinions of three testers: remodeler and FHB Project House editor Justin Fink, whose work includes custom trimwork and cabinetry; general contractor Paul Johnson, who tested these drivers on everything from fastening drywall to driving boxes’ worth of wood screws; and Brian McCarthy, a carpenter whose testing included installing hundreds of deck fasteners and sinking masonry screws into brick walls. The authors decided to focus their testing on 18v Li-ion cordless models with brushed motors, with a few exceptions. They tested eight tools, one each from Bosch (25618), DeWalt (DCF885), Hitachi (WH18DSAL), Makita (LXDT04), Milwaukee (2650), Panasonic (EY75A1), Porter-Cable (PCCK640LB), and Ridgid (X4). In addition to evaluating the balance between speed, power, and finesse, they also looked at ergonomics and feel, battery options, belt-hook designs, and ease of bit changes. In the end, Fink and McCarthy chose the DeWalt as their best overall, while Johnson opted for the Panasonic.