Best 18V Impact Drivers Tool Reviews by Tool

Best 18V Impact Driver Head to Head Review 2020


21 Impact Drivers Go Head to Head in Our Search for the Best 18V Impact Driver

Of the 30+ impact drivers we brought in for testing, 21 of them live in the 18V class. This is the most competitive group with manufacturers counting on core tools like cordless impact drivers to draw you into their battery platforms. We put these through a series of tests to find out who makes the best 18V impact driver.

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Best 18V Impact Driver

Makita 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver XDT16

Best 18V Impact Drivers

Compact. Lightweight. Powerful. Smart. Makita’s XDT16 sets the new standard for what an impact driver is capable of. This is the most compact and third lightest 18V model we tested, yet it still outperforms impact drivers that quote hundreds of inch-pounds more torque on their spec sheets.

Also Highly Rated

Ridgid 18V Octane Brushless 6-Mode Impact Driver

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver Gen 3

Best 18V Impact Driver Speed

Makita 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver XDT16

Best 18V Impact Driver Speed - Makita XDT16

In our speed tests, no impact driver is faster than Makita’s XDT16. It’s an impressive result considering its listed torque is only 1600 in-lbs. It proves that when speed is the name of the game, torque isn’t everything.

Best 18V Impact Driver Power

Ridgid 18V Octane Brushless 6-Mode Impact Driver

Best 18V Impact Driver Power - Ridgid 18V Octane Impact Driver

In our search for the best 18V impact driver power, we tested both fastening and loosening torque. No one combines the two better than Ridgid’s 18V Octane. It scores very high in fastening torque and crushed it in our nut-busting test with 4800 in-lbs (400 ft-lbs) of loosening force!

More High-Power Choices

Masterforce FlexPower 20V Max Brushless Impact Driver

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver Gen 3

Best 18V Impact Driver Noise Level

Makita Oil Impulse, Milwaukee Surge, Ryobi QuietStrike

When you consider hydraulic impact drivers as part of the group, there’s really no contest in which type is quieter. With the exit of Ridgid’s Stealth Force from Home Depot, it leaves the Makita Oil Impulse, Milwaukee Surge, and Ryobi QuietStrike in a 3-way tie at 94 decibels each.

The quietest standard impact driver goes to Bosch’s Connected Freak, Hilti’s 22V SID 4-A22, and Makita’s XDT16 at 97 decibels.

Most Compact 18V Impact Driver

Makita 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver XDT16

Most Compact 18V Impact Driver -Makita XDT16

Makita boasts the smallest overall size and the third lightest weight in the class. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel is very close in size. In weight, Makita’s own Oil Impulse hydraulic driver is slightly lighter as is Mac Tools’ 20V Max model.

More Compact Impact Driver Options

Metabo HPT 18V Triple Hammer Impact Driver

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver Gen 3

Best 18V Impact Driver Value

Hercules 20V Impact Driver

 

Hercules has a fantastic price point to go along with decent performance and a good design to earn the best value for this class. It’s not alone and there are several options that score 90 points or higher in our list.

Other Great Values

Kobalt 24V Max Brushless Impact Driver

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Brushless Impact Driver

Testing Results

Note: To see out testing methods, please check out our Best Impact Driver main page.

Speed Under Load

Makita doesn’t have the highest torque or no-load speed that we tested, so it might come as a bit of a surprise to see it at the top of the speed rankings.

At 651 RPM, it has a 78-RPM lead (13.6%) over second-place Metabo HPT (Hitachi) 18V (573 RPM). Hercules (565 RPM) rounds out the top 3 with the Metabo HPT MultiVolt (562 RPM) hot on its heels.

Driving Efficiency

Our tested no-load speeds ran from 2385 RPM through 3451 RPM, indicating a clear difference in how product teams prioritize speed. To take our fastening test deeper, we looked at fastening efficiency—how fast the impact driver drives under load compared to its no-load speed.

The higher the efficiency, the less strain the motor is under. That’s a good thing for the life of your tool.

Metabo HPT’s 18V Triple Hammer crushes this test by taking the lowest no-load speed and managing the second highest speed under load for a 24.0% efficiency score. Hercules (21.8%) and Makita’s XDT16 (21.0%) also do a fine job as the only other two models to exceed the 20% mark.

Fastening Torque

Before we look at our two results, realize that our torque tests do not and cannot replace how manufacturers test for their specifications. Please take a look at our testing methods on our main shootout page to better understand how we got the numbers.

For fastening torque, Milwaukee rises up to take first place with 2656 in-lbs with the Masterforce FlexPower close behind at 2647 RPM. Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt notches a solid third-place finish at 2501 in-lbs.

Nut-Busting Torque

Nut-busting torque testing yields some impressive numbers for some of our impact drivers—including some that exceed what 3/8″ and some 1/2″ impact wrenches are rated for.

Ridgid’s Octane rises to top the class with 4800 in-lbs of torque (400 ft-lbs!). Skil’s brushless PWRCore 20 (4200 in-lbs) also hits above 4,000 while Kobalt and Milwaukee tie for third at 3600 in-lbs.

Weight

Mac Tools comes in a first-place tie with Makita’s Oil Impulse for weight, both weighing just 2.8 pounds with their respective compact batteries. Makita’s XDT16 and Metabo HPT’s 18V Triple Hammer are just a hair higher at 2.9 pounds.

Footprint

Makita rules the roost when it comes to a compact impact driver. It’s just 4.6″ long and 7.4″ tall (without the battery). Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel is very close behind with a head length just 1 mm longer and height of 7.6″. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Surge notches a third-place finish at 5.0″ long and 7.7″ tall.

Best 18V Impact Drivers

One thing to note about Bosch’s length is that it’s due to the 1/2″ drive on the front. If you’re a heavy socket user, you don’t have to add the length of an adapter to your impact driver and Bosch can actually save you some length.

 

Feature Set

Every one of our best 18V impact driver contestants except Hercules has a brushless motor. Most of them also have at least 3 speeds to work with. There’s some separation from that point, though. Here’s a quick breakdown of what stands out from the basic features:

Bosch Connected Freak GDX18V-1800C

  • 1/2″ socket drive and 1/4″ hex drive hybrid collet
  • Smart control ready design (Bosch Connected module sold separately)

Bosch Freak IDH-182

  • 1/2″ socket drive and 1/4″ hex drive hybrid collet
  • 3-LED light ring around the collet

Craftsman V20 CMCF820

  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max DCF809

  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • Single-speed drive
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

DeWalt 20V Max XR DCF887

  • Tool Connect model available for custom controls, tracking, and diagnostics (DCF888)
  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Hercules 20V Max 63380

  • Single-speed drive

Hilti 22V SID 4-A22

  • 4-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • 6-cell battery system

Kobalt 24V Max KID 1324A-03

  • Assist mode: finish setting for screws
  • 6-cell battery system

Mac Tools 20V Max MCF886

  • Batteries are interchangeable with DeWalt 20V Max
  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Makita 18V LXT XDT16

  • Assist modes: auto-stop, slow start, thin metal self-tapping screw, thick metal self-tapping screw
  • Programmable mode switch
  • 2-LED lights around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion

Masterforce FlexPower 5740.1

  • Assist mode: auto stop
  • 2-speed drive
  • LED light halo surrounding the chuck
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Metabo HPT 18V Triple Hammer WH18DBDL2

  • 3-hammer impact mechanism
  • Compatible with Metabo HPT MultiVolt batteries and Hitachi 18V batteries
  • Assist mode: self-tapping screw

Metabo HPT 36V MultiVolt Triple Hammer WH36DBQ4

  • 3-hammer impact mechanism
  • Runs at 36V on MultiVolt battery or can run corded with AC adapter

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2853-20 (Gen 3)

  • One-Key model available for custom controls, tracking, and diagnostics (2857-20)
  • Assist mode: self-tapping screw
  • One-hand bit insertion

Ridgid Gen5X Compact Brushless R86037N

  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Ridgid 18V Octane R86039

  • 3 assist modes: auto-stop, fastener assist (slow start), self-tapping screw
  • 3-LED light ring surrounding chuck
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless P238

  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Skil ID573902

  • Assist mode: control start mode for wood fastening
  • 2-speed drive

Makita 18V LXT Oil Impulse XST01

  • Hydraulic impact drive
  • Quick-Shift Mode (T-Mode for metal fastening)
  • One-hand bit insertion

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20

  • Hydraulic impact drive
  • Assist mode: self-tapping screw
  • One-hand bit insertion

Ryobi 18V One+ QuietStrike P290

  • Hydraulic impact drive
  • Single-speed drive
  • 3-LED light ring around the collet
  • One-hand bit insertion
  • Spring bit ejection

Noise Level

Impact drivers are loud by nature, but the introduction of hydraulic impact drivers at least gives you a chance to keep the noise level down. Ridgid’s Stealth Force was the quietest of the group, but it’s no longer available. That leaves Makita’s Oil Impulse, Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Surge, and Ryobi’s QuietStrike in a three-way tie with 94 decibels.

For standard impact drivers, Bosch’s Connected Freak, Makita’s XDT16 and Hilti are the bright spots at 97 dB(A)—just 3 decibels louder than our hydraulic drivers.

Value

Value is far more than just price. We look at what you get for your money in terms of performance, design, support after the sale, and much more. Once all the information goes into our algorithm, we get a better idea of who gives you the most bang for your buck.

It’s no surprise that the traditional DIY brands competing with the Pros do well in this category. Hercules leads this group with DeWalt’s Atomic also doing well and Kobalt sitting solidly in third.

Best 18V Impact Driver Value

Best 18V Impact Driver Value

Best 18V Impact Driver Value

What’s really impressive about this group is how many models by their price, performance, design, or combination of all three, score 90 points or higher. 9 different 18V impact drivers end up in that top tier for value.

Price List

Note: Prices are based on the time of writing and may vary.

  • Bosch GDX18V-1800CN (Connected Freak): $159 bare, $199 kit (1 x 4.0Ah Core18V)
  • Bosch IDH-182 (Freak): $129 bare, $155 kit (2 x 2.0Ah)
  • Craftsman CMCF820: $99 bare, $169 kit (2 x 2.0Ah)
  • DeWalt DCF809 (Atomic): $99 kit (1 x 1.5Ah)
  • DeWalt DCF887 (XR): $139 bare, $199 kit (2 x 2.0Ah)
  • Hercules 63380: $49.99 bare
  • Hilti SID 4-A22: $129 bare, $306 kit (2 x 2.6Ah)
  • Kobalt KID 1324A-03: $99 kit (1 x 2.0Ah)
  • Mac Tools MCF886: $209 bare, $360.99 kit (1 x 2.0Ah, 1 x 4.0Ah)
  • Makita XDT16: $177.99 bare, $299 kit (2 x 2.0Ah)
  • Masterforce 5740.1: $89.99 bare, $149.00 kit (1 x 2.0Ah, 1 x 4.0Ah)
  • Metabo HPT WH18DBDL2 (18V): $149 bare, $389.97 kit (2 x 2.0Ah)
  • Metabo HPT WH36DBQ4 (MultiVolt): $219 bare
  • Milwaukee 2853: $139 bare, $229 kit (1 x 2.0Ah, 1 x 5.0Ah), $299 kit (2 x 5.0Ah)
  • Ridgid R86037N (Gen5X): $119 bare
  • Ridgid R86039B (Octane): $129 bare, $169 kit (2 x 3.0Ah Octane)
  • Ryobi P238: $99 bare, $129 (2 x 3.0Ah HP+)
  • Makita XST01 (Oil Impulse): $199.00 bare
  • Milwaukee 2760 (Surge): $129 bare, $249 kit (2 x 2.0Ah), $329 kit (2 x 5.0Ah)
  • Ryobi P290 (QuietStrike): $79 bare

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Final Rankings

Once we tallied up all the scores for ergonomics, performance, and value, we had some genuine surprises. Here’s what it looks like from first to worst:

  1. Makita 18V LXT XDT16
  2. Ridgid 18V Octane R86039
  3. Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2857
  4. Metabo HPT 18V Triple Hammer WH18DBDL2
  5. Metabo HPT MultiVolt Triple Hammer WH36DBQ4
  6. Hilti 22V SID 4-A22
  7. Craftsman V20 CMCF820
  8. DeWalt Atomic 20V Max DCF809
  9. Makita 18V LXT Oil Impulse XST01
  10. DeWalt 20V Max XR DCF887
  11. Kobalt 24V Max KID 1324A-03
  12. Ryobi 18V One+ P238
  13. Bosch 18V Freak IDH-182
  14. Mac Tools 20V Max MCF886
  15. Ridgid Gen5X 18V R86037N
  16. Masterforce FlexPower 20V Max 5740.1
  17. Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760
  18. Bosch 18V Connected Freak GDX18V-1800CN
  19. Hercules 63380
  20. Skil ID573902
  21. Ryobi QuietStrike P290
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joe

What about speed with deck screws.

Neil

Why was the Rigid Stealth discontinued?

Artem

Hilti SID 4-A22 has 4 LED (not 3 as you said)

KEITH S LABEAU

It seemed Kobalt was ranked hi in every segment yet finished at #9? I don’t own any Kobalt but find this odd🤔

Nic

Minor correction: Bosch warranty is stated as 1 year tool and battery. If you register with their ProVantage program (free), they offer 3 year tool and 2 year battery warranty. You can read about it here:

https://www.boschtools.com/us/en/service/service-and-support-programs/

I have used Bosch’s warranty program several times and I have been very impressed.