Last Updated on July 11, 2023
Today’s battle royale takes place in the Pro value division, pitting the advanced Kobalt XTR vs the next-generation Ridgid 18V brushless impact driver in a head-to-head review. For Kobalt, the XTR line launched several years ago and pushed the value brand into impact driver performance ranges that challenged premium professional powerhouses. For Team Orange, it’s been a rebuilding season with a focus on a more compact, lightweight profile. However, the latest impact driver boasts some impressive numbers on paper.
Our team tested both tools head-to-head and we’re sharing what we objectively discovered. The rest is up to you. Some people want a smaller footprint, others want higher performance. Sometimes it comes down to the price tag. So let us know which one is the winner for the way you work in the comments below!
Check out our best impact driver recommendations of the year!
Why Not Use the Next-Gen Kobalt Impact Driver?
2022 saw the launch of a new Kobalt 24V brushless impact driver as well as some other tools. They’re excellent tools and hit a great price point for the Lowe’s-exclusive brand. However, XTR is still the high-performance line for Kobalt.
Kobalt vs Ridgid Impact Driver Specifications
Here’s what we were able to learn before actually driving any fasteners:
|Top Speeds||1950/2600/3400 RPM||900/2000/3400 RPM|
|Max Impact Rate||4000 IPM||4300 IPM|
|Max Torque||2400 in-lbs||2400 in-lbs|
|Head Length||5.6 inches||5.0 inches|
|Bare Weight||2.6 pounds||2.3 pounds|
|Weight w/Tested Battery||4.2 pounds||3.8 pounds|
Kobalt vs Ridgid Impact Driver Test Results
We ran three different performance tests to see what these impact drivers can do. The first is a medium-load test driving a 6-inch x 1/4-inch GRK Fasteners RSS screw into stacked OSB subfloor. The result is the average of three tests.
The second test is timed to see how far each model can drive a 10-inch x 1/2-inch lag screw into the same material in 30 seconds. The result is the average of how much of the screw remained proud in three tests—less is better.
The third test is to see how long it takes to break loose a nut that is set to 150 ft-lbs (1800 in-lbs). The result is the total time added together for 5 bolts.
The battery selection is close, but not a perfect apples-to-apples choice. Kobalt runs on a 24V Max system that uses sets of 6 lithium-ion cells. Plus, the XTR line is specifically designed to work with Kobalt’s Ultimate Output batteries as its go-to power supply. While you can use a standard battery, we paired this impact driver with a 4.0Ah Ultimate Output pack.
Ridgid is on a more traditional 18V platform based on 5-cell sets. Like Kobalt, you can use a standard battery, but this model was designed with the advanced Max Output batteries in mind. We used a 4.0Ah Max Output battery for these tests.
|RSS Screw Average||10.2 seconds||9.7 seconds|
|Lag Screw Average||3.2 inches||3.3 inches|
|Nut-Busting Total||5.1 seconds||4.5 seconds|
The only step up for Kobalt in battery s to an 8.0Ah Ultimate Output pack, which is kind of obnoxious on an impact driver. However, Ridgid has a 6.0Ah Max Output pack that’s not too much larger than the 4.0Ah, so it’s pretty reasonable to use. Here’s how it affected the results:
w/4.0Ah Max Output
w/6.0Ah Max Output
|RSS Screw Average||10.2 seconds||9.7 seconds||6.7 seconds|
|Lag Screw Average||3.2 inches||3.3 inches||2.8 inches|
|Nut-Busting Total||5.1 seconds||4.5 seconds||3.3 seconds|
Kobalt vs Ridgid Highlight Features
- Brushless motor
- 3 standard speeds plus an assist mode
Ridgid 18V Brushless
- Brushless motor
- 3 standard speeds (rear-mounted selector)
Kobalt vs Ridgid Impact Driver Price
|Kit Option||$179.00 (4.0Ah Ultimate Output)||$199.00 (2.0Ah Max Output)|
|Basic Combo Kit||$299.00|
4.0Ah Ultimate Output
|Warranty||5 years||3 years|
Lifetime Service Agreement
So who’s your winner? Let us know in the comments below—bonus points for telling us why!