2023 Utility Professional Choice: Strongest Impact Drivers
Looking for the strongest impact drivers for 2023? We had 30 veteran lineman test and try Porter Cable, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Makita and Dewalt (along with dozens more that didn't make the cut). Lineman pliers are probably the most versatile tool for a journeyman in commercial work. Understand that many manufacturers off several levels of impacts, and in the utility trade you want something that has been dropped off of buckets, soaked in the rain, driven countless lags and still runs like a champ.
Our experts review the overall comfort, RPM, max power, weight and price. Here are the results:
Our picks for the best impact driver with high torque
Milwaukee 2853-22 M18 FUEL 1/4" Hex Impact Driver XC Kit
Has a belt clip, bit holder and carrying case
The M18 FUEL™ ¼” Impact Driver is designed to be the best tool for linemen. It boasts a powerful POWERSTATE™ Brushless motor that delivers up to 2,000 in-lbs of torque, making it capable of tackling the toughest fasteners. The impact driver also has a driving speed that is up to 30% faster than its competitors, making it more efficient and productive on the job. Additionally, the impact driver is the most compact in its class, measuring only 4.59” in length, which allows for greater access in tight spaces. To ensure maximum performance and protection from overloading, heating, and over-discharge, the impact driver is equipped with REDLINK PLUS™ intelligence.
Makita XDT16R 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Compact Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode 4-Speed Impact Driver Kit
Quick-Shift mode allows for efficient fastening by adjusting the balance of speed and torque for each application
The Makita 18V LXT® Brushless 4-speed impact driver (XDT16R) is a top-of-the-line tool that is perfect for construction crews. It has four speeds and a Quick-Shift mode™ that adjusts the balance of speed and torque for each application, resulting in faster and more efficient fastening. The XDT16R also has a tightening mode (t-mode) that reduces rotation and impact speed before driving a screw into place, helping to prevent thread stripping, screw breakage, and damage to the workpiece. This impact driver has a compact and ergonomic design, and it has several additional features that make it easy to use, including a one-touch 4-speed power selector button and a reverse rotation auto-stop mode that prevents over-loosening and dropped fasteners. If you want a reliable, high-performance impact driver that will help you get the job done faster, the Makita 18V LXT® Brushless 4-speed impact driver (XDT16R) is a great choice.
Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless 1/4 in. Impact Driver Kit with 1.5 Ah Battery and Charger
Ryobi has a very trusted three year warranty
We recently purchased the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless 1/4 in. Impact Driver Kit and have been extremely impressed with its performance. As a power lineman, I rely on my tools to get the job done efficiently and effectively, and this impact driver does not disappoint.
The 1.5 Ah battery provides plenty of power and lasts a long time, even when using the tool frequently. The charger is quick and convenient, allowing me to get back to work in no time. The impact driver itself has a powerful motor that delivers up to 1,800 in-lbs of torque, making it capable of tackling even the toughest fasteners. It also has a variable speed trigger that allows me to easily adjust the speed and torque to suit the task at hand.
DEWALT 20V Max Impact Driver Kit
One of the best light set-ups on the market with 3 LEDs and a 20 second trigger release delay
This has become a frequent favorite for lineworkers recently. The DEWALT 20V Max Impact Driver Kit is a powerful and reliable tool that is perfect for a wide range of fastening applications. It has a 1/4-inch chuck that allows you to quickly and easily change out drill bits and other accessories, and it delivers up to 1,400 in-lbs of torque, making it capable of tackling the toughest fasteners. The impact driver is lightweight and easy to handle, with a compact design that allows for easy access in tight spaces. It also has a 3-LED light ring that provides excellent visibility in low-light conditions, and it has a no-load speed of 2,800 RPM and a max impact rate of 3,200 BPM. The kit includes a 1/4-inch impact driver, a 20V Max lithium-ion battery, and a charger, so you have everything you need to get started.
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Impact Driver Kit
Looking to stand out from the rest of the crew? Lots of multi color options here.
Porter Cable is not exactly a household name when it comes to lineman tools, but this is our sleeper pick. With 2700 RPM and 20 volts of power, this is a not a little pony… It has a 1/4-inch chuck that allows you to quickly and easily change out drill bits and other accessories, and it delivers up to 1,450 in-lbs of torque, making it capable of tackling the toughest fasteners. The impact driver is lightweight and easy to handle, with a compact design that allows for easy access in tight spaces. It also has a built-in LED light that provides excellent visibility in low-light conditions, and it has a no-load speed of 2,700 RPM and a max impact rate of 3,100 BPM.
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