DeWalt is one of the most well-respected power tool brands in the business, so it’s no wonder that the company makes some of the best impact drivers on the market. Its impact drivers boast exceptional torque output with premium features that include brushless motors and its Tool Connect tracking technology. These drivers also include the build quality one will find on all DeWalt power tools, including an ergonomic grip, ample work lights, and durable construction. Ahead, learn more about what to expect from the best DeWalt impact drivers, and find out why the models below are some of the tool manufacturer’s best.
- BEST OVERALL: DEWALT ATOMIC 20V MAX Impact Driver
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: DEWALT 20V Max Impact Driver Kit
- BEST UPGRADE: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver Kit
- BEST COMPACT: DEWALT 20-Volt Cordless Compact Impact Driver
- BEST FOR PROS: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Tool Connect Impact Driver
What to Consider When Choosing the Best DeWalt Impact Driver
While torque may be the most important attribute to consider when choosing the best DeWalt impact driver, factors such as motor type, size, weight, and battery life are also crucial. Read on to find out more about these and other attributes of DeWalt impact drivers.
DeWalt impact drivers come in brushed and brushless models. Brushless refers to the type of motor inside the impact driver. A brushed motor has a rotating aperture that makes contact with brushes, creating a significant amount of friction. A brushless motor eliminates the need for brushes, significantly reducing friction. As such, a brushless motor can run faster than a brushed motor without overheating, resulting in greater torque and speed. Brushless motors are also more efficient, allowing them to run on a battery for up to 50 percent longer. A brushless motor is also more expensive to manufacture than a brushed motor, which makes tools using them much pricier.
An impact driver’s job is to drive in or remove fasteners that require more torque than what a standard cordless drill can handle. As such, torque is much more important than speed when it comes to impact drivers. Most impact drivers produce around 1,500 inch-pounds of torque, which is enough for removing lug nuts torqued up to 100 pounds or driving longer screwdrivers through thicker dimensional lumber. DeWalt impact drivers offer torque ranging from 1,400 inch-pounds to 1,825 inch-pounds. DeWalt’s most powerful impact drivers come with speed settings that allow the operator to rein in the torque when working with smaller fasteners.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of an impact driver determine how comfortable it is to use as well as how easily it fits into tight spaces. Most impact drivers are compact in size, making them suitable for applications that require driving in larger fasteners, such as framing a wall or driving a lag bolt into a 2×4. DeWalt’s impact drivers range in weight from 2.1 to 2.5 pounds, not including the battery. In terms of size, the critical measurement is the length of the driver’s head, which is measured from the back of the drill to the tip of the chuck. DeWalt impact drivers range in length from 4 inches to 5.5 inches.
DeWalt’s power tools are well regarded for their ergonomic handles and grips, and its line of impact drivers is no exception. Expect to find molded ergonomic grips with plenty of soft rubber on all of its impact drivers. DeWalt’s drivers also include large variable-speed triggers that make it easy to control their power output, which is a key feature on a power driver. This lightweight and easy-to-engage trigger allows the operator to extend the tool into tight places and work for long periods without straining their hand.
Since impact drivers are designed to create high amounts of torque, they require a lot of power. Hence, all of DeWalt’s impact drivers use its 20-volt Max batteries, which supply about 40 minutes of continuous use. Some of DeWalt’s batteries have an XR suffix attached to them. These two letters stand for extended runtime, which gives the battery up to 33 percent longer runtime than its standard battery packs. DeWalt impact drivers come as bare tools, ideal for those who already own DeWalt batteries and a charger, or in kits that include one or two batteries along with a charger.
Lights and Additional Features
The additional features on DeWalt’s impact drivers are standard across the product line with a few notable exceptions in its top models. All of DeWalt’s impact drivers come equipped with three LED work lights that provide ample lighting for dimly lit work sites. DeWalt also equips each tool with a metal clip that allows the operator to attach the driver to a tool belt. Some of DeWalt’s pro-level impact drives support Tool Connect, a feature that allows the owner to track the whereabouts of the tool via a smartphone or even disable it for security purposes.
Our Top Picks
The list below includes the best of a formidable line of impact drivers that DeWalt puts out. They include models for weekend warriors as well as those that are suitable for the pro work site.
DeWalt offers ample power in a compact lightweight size in what amounts to its best all-purpose impact driver. The DeWalt DCF809’s brushless motor, though somewhat noisy, delivers an impressive 1,700 pounds of torque, enough to drive bolts into ledger boards or remove lug nuts from a car wheel. At 5.1 inches from its back to the tip of the chuck, it’s at home in tight spaces, be that under a kitchen sink or in between wall studs.
An ergonomic grip and light 2.1-pound weight (not including the battery) makes it comfortable to use for long projects. As with other DeWalt impact drivers, the DC809 includes three bright LED work lights that casts a wide circle of light over the work area.
- Torque: 1,700 inch-pounds
- Weight (bare tool): 2.1 pounds
- Length: 5.1 inches
- Produces ample torque
- Compact size fits into smaller spaces
- 3 LED work lights
- Kit includes 2 batteries
Get the DeWalt Atomic impact driver on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The DCF885 produces enough torque to suit the needs of most DIYers at a price that leaves room in the budget for other power tools. While its 1,400 inch-pounds of torque may not cut it at the pro job site, it’s more than enough power to suit most home improvement projects.
The DCF885 measures just 5.5 inches long, making it capable of fitting into tight spots, and at just 2.8 pounds (not including battery), a user’s arm won’t get tired even with extended use. It also comes with the build quality and features found on higher-priced DeWalt drivers, including an ergonomic handle with plenty of soft rubber grip and DeWalt’s triple-ring LED work light. This kit comes with a charger and 20-volt battery, making it an exceptional deal for a DeWalt power tool.
- Torque: 1,400 inch-pounds
- Weight (bare tool): 2.8 pounds
- Length: 5.5 inches
- Light weight makes it easy to use
- Compact length allows it to fit into tight spaces
- Includes build quality and additional features of DeWalt’s high-end impact drivers
- Less power than DeWalt’s premium impact drivers
Get the DeWalt MAX impact driver kit on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
Outfitted with a brushless motor, the DCF887 puts out an impressive max torque of 1,825 inch-pounds, more than enough might for the pro job site. It also includes three speed settings that help rein in that torque for smaller fasteners.
Despite all that power, the DCF887 is surprisingly compact, measuring just 5.3 inches from front to back with a total weight of just 2.1 pounds. That makes it small enough to easily fit between wall studs to secure framing or between deck floor joists to drive in lag bolts. The DCF887 also comes with the triple LED light ring and ergonomic handle found on all DeWalt impact drivers.
- Torque: 1,825 inch-pounds
- Weight (bare tool): 2.1 pounds
- Length: 5.3 inches
- Tremendous torque output
- 3 speed options help to control power
- Compact and lightweight
- One of DeWalt’s most expensive impact drivers
Get the DeWalt MAX XR impact driver on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
With a 4-inch length from the tip of the chuck to the back of its head, the DCF809 is one of the most compact impact drivers on the market. Its short head makes it ideal for pros who spend the bulk of their time driving in framing screws or installing cabinetry.
With its brushless motor, the DCF809 doesn’t compromise on power, delivering 1,700 inch-pounds of torque. A variable three-speed trigger helps keep torque in check for smaller fasteners. The impact driver comes equipped with the triple-ring LED work light and ergonomic grip found on other DeWalt drivers, along with a handy battery gauge.
- Torque: 1,700 in-pounds
- Weight: 2.27 pounds
- Length: 4 inches
- Compact 4-inch-long head
- Light weight
- Ample power despite small size
- 3-speed trigger
Get the DeWalt compact impact driver at The Home Depot.
Keeping track of expensive tools may not be an issue for the average DIYer, but it certainly is for the contractor who totes a full contingent or power tools from job site to job site. The DCF888 comes equipped with DeWalt’s Tool Connect system, which allows its owner to keep tabs on its location via a smartphone. Tool Connect not only allows the owner to track the tool’s location but will also disable it for theft prevention if it strays too far from the owner’s phone.
With 1,825 inch-pounds of torque and three speed settings, the DCF888 offers performance one would expect to find in a tool designed for pros. As with other DeWalt drivers, the DCF888 comes with a triple-ring LED work light and belt clip.
- Torque: 1,825 inch-pounds
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Length: 5 inches
- Includes tool tracking system that allows the owner to locate it
- Ample power with 1,825 inch-pounds of torque
- Compact size and weight
- DeWalt’s heaviest impact driver
Get the DeWalt Tool Connect impact driver on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The DeWalt Atomic 20V MAX Impact Driver delivers 1,700 pounds of torque while remaining at a compact size of just 5.1 inches long, making it a worthy choice for any DIYer and even some professionals. Weekend warriors looking for the most affordable DeWalt impact driver should consider the DeWalt 20V Max Impact Driver Kit, which includes a charger and battery at a surprisingly low price.
How We Chose the Best DeWalt Impact Drivers
When making our selections, we took into account the fact that DeWalt’s line of impact drivers is designed to suit the needs of both DIYers and professionals. Most DIYers and pros tend to choose the most powerful tool when purchasing an impact driver. While an impact driver that offers the most torque certainly makes it usable in a broader range of applications, these top-end tools come with a steep price tag. Shelling out a lot of money for an impact driver that has more power than one will ever use makes no sense.
With that in mind, we tailored our list of the top DeWalt drivers to suit DIY projects as well as pro projects. With DIYers in mind, we included DeWalt impact drivers that offered enough torque for home projects without breaking the bank. We also included professional tools that provide the high torque needed for commercial applications as well as features that appeal to professionals, such as Tool Connect.
Understanding what jobs a DeWalt impact driver can handle is key to choosing the right model. Ahead, learn about what a DeWalt impact driver can and can’t do.
Q. Are DeWalt 20V batteries much more powerful than 18V models?
No. In fact, the batteries are identical. An 18-volt battery produces a burst of 20 volts when it first starts up before dropping into a steady stream of 18 volts. Some tool manufacturers, including DeWalt, use this 20-volt peak to label the battery, while others use 18 volts.
Q. Can a DeWalt impact driver remove lug nuts?
Yes. A DeWalt impact driver is strong enough to remove most lug nuts from cars and trucks. Most lug nuts are torqued to 100 foot-pounds, which is the same as 1,200 inch-pounds. All of DeWalt’s drivers are capable of reaching or exceeding 1,200 inch-pounds, which is why they can remove most lug nuts.
Q. Which is the most powerful DeWalt impact driver?
The DeWalt 20V MAX XR Impact Driver, which produces a max torque of 1,825 inch-pounds, is the most powerful impact driver that DeWalt produces.
Q. How many foot pounds of torque does a DeWalt impact driver have?
DeWalt’s impact drivers are rated in inch-pounds. Its most powerful impact driver produces 1,825 inch-pounds, which is equivalent to about 152 foot-pounds.
Q. How many pounds of torque do I need to remove lug nuts?
Since most lug nuts are torqued to 100 foot-pounds, which equals 1,200 inch-pounds, you need an impact driver that produces at least 1,200 inch-pounds of torque to remove lug nuts.
Q. Can I use an impact driver for drilling holes?
You can use an impact driver for drilling holes; however, they are not good at precision drilling. They should only be used to drill through material that a standard drill is not powerful enough to drill through, including metal, some masonry, and very dense or knotty wood.