I know that regular readers are probably thinking, “Hey! Doesn’t Daniel only review SDS-Max rotary hammers punctuated by the occasional level? What’s with the impact driver? I’m confused!” Well, frankly it’s because masons use more than just big rotary hammers and levels to get the job done. I’m pretty well stocked up on demo tools at the moment. Just about when I decide it’s time for a new impact driver, the opportunity to review the brand new Hilti SID 4-A22 22V Compact Impact Driver comes along.
It’s a little like hoping for a decent pre-owned car and getting a new Tesla. Hilti’s reputation for excellent tools precedes it and this new 22V impact – backward compatible with Hilti’s 18V lineup – is one of the company’s fastest-selling products right now. Let’s find out why that’s the case.
Hilti Impact Driver First Impressions
Out of the gate, the Hilti SID 4-A22 Impact Driver delivers on its compact designation at 5.8 inches long, 3.7 inches wide, and 8.8 inches high with the battery. It’s not the most compact we’ve seen, but it’s in the ballpark. Its three speeds, toggled with a button on the tool base, deliver 531, 973, and 1,558 inch-pounds of torque on paper.
The bare tool is quite light and using the 2.6Ah battery keeps it pretty nimble, but there’s no getting around the fact that the 5.2 battery is hefty. Of course, you may not need to charge it until a couple of years from now, either! Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, but suffice it to say that you won’t want to do a lot of overhead work with the 5.2 attached.
Perhaps the slickest feature is the four LEDs, boldly surrounding the chuck on the head. They are bright and they illuminate the work area like few others. They create what’s basically a spotlight on your work and it’s quite helpful. I hope Hilti begins to incorporate the same design on other tools, too.
The grip is comfortable in the hand and the overmold extends up around the back of the tool body for protection. Speaking of protection, Hilti backs its tools with a warranty you won’t find elsewhere: 20 years limited, 2 years wear and tear, and1-day turnaround on repairs. I’d say the company believes in the durability of its tools – let’s put it to the test!
Hilti 22V Impact Driver Performance
Without an impact driver, we tend to round out or strip the heads completely off a lot of fasteners. The hammer action of the anvils inside an impact driver allow the screwing and unscrewing of fasteners with a force and efficiency that drills just can’t match. Impacts are already eminently useful, but they continue to get smaller and lighter as they become more powerful.
I threw the Hilti SID 4-A22 a few softballs as I had some framing to do before the real heavy duty work began. It sinks standard screw sizes without breaking a sweat. There’s something satisfying about using this tool – maybe it’s just the all the force contained in a relatively small package. Whatever it is, I had some masonry-specific work in store for it.
I’d drilled some holes for Tapcons with the Hilti 22V Hammer Drill (stay tuned for that review, by the way) and started sinking them with the Hilti Impact. It has an easy, smooth drive even in concrete. I didn’t even have to use the highest of the three torque modes as I screwed into concrete and hung a lot of durarock. Having more than 1500 inch-pounds of torque at your disposal is a great option, but that’s a really a whopping amount of power. There will be times you’ll need it, but it probably won’t be often.
One feature you’ll really like using is the chuck. In the “old” days (of last year), you’d have to pull the collar out to insert a bit. That’s no longer necessary as you can just push the impact-ready bits into the receiver. You still pull the collar out to extract the bit.
Where it Fits
By comparison, the Hitachi Triple Hammer Impact claims 4000 IPM – which the fastest we’ve seen thanks to the triple hammer mechanism – but it’s also $100 more than the Hilti. Ridgid’s Brushless Gen5X pushes 2250 inch pounds of torque to take the class in that category and is more affordable. Hilti very often beats other tools out in both specs and price, this just happens to be one time that it sits in the middle of both. Still, I believe that what Hilti delivers is sufficient for the vast majority of your work.
A Little Room for Improvement
You’ll need to buy a kitted package if you want a belt hook as the bare tool doesn’t include one. What I’d really love to see is a magnet and/or bit holder somewhere on the Hilti SID 4-A22. It’s a little feature that comes in very handy. All things considered though, it’s hard to go wrong with this tool, as it’s hard to find anything it in light and medium duty fastening that it doesn’t do well.
The Bottom Line
The Hilti SID 4-A22 22V Compact Impact Driver not only beats a drill any day, it fares well against many other impacts in the class. Hilti is known in the industrial construction and masonry trades as the brand that can take a beating and keep working well, and that’s just what I found with this tool. It sinks even large fasteners and Tapcons into 3,000 PSI concrete well. And the drive is smooth and easy thanks to three driving modes to choose from.
You could pay less for another impact driver, but I guarantee you’ll also get less. I have no doubt that the exemplary performance I’ve seen out of this tool will continue for a long time. And if for some reason it doesn’t, Hilti backs up its tools with a phenomenal warranty program. That’s bound to make an impact on you!
Hilti SID 4-A22 22V Compact Impact Driver Key Features
- Compact design allows easy use in tight corners and wherever space is limited
- Perfect balance and low weight
- Ergonomic grip and trigger for maximum comfort and convenience during long periods of use
- Four LEDs around the chuck illuminate the work surface for a good view of the task at hand
- Three gears and electronic speed control for easy switching between different driving speeds
Hilti SID 4-A22 22V Compact Impact Driver Specifications
- Model Number: Hilti SID 4-A22
- Voltage: 22V
- Battery type: Li-Ion
- Rated voltage: 21.6 V
- Brushless motor: Yes
- Number of gears: 3
- Max. torque: 531/973/1,558 in-lb
- Full hammering frequency: 3500 impacts/minute
- Motor brake: Yes
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.8 x 3.7 x 8.8 in
- Tightening standard bolts – max. diameter: 5/8 in
- Tightening high tensile bolts – max. diameter: 1/2 in
- Price: $394.45 (Kit), $149 (bare)
This review originally published on July 24, 2017. It has been updated to reflect its performance in our latest impact driver head-to-head testing.