The Best Cordless Impact Driver (For Tradesmen & DIYers) In 2018

Welcome to our 2018 review of the best cordless impact drivers for sale in the UK.

As tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts, we use impact drivers daily.

But, I guess there’s two types of people reading this:

  • Those that have had impact drivers, and just want to know which is the best
  • Those that are unsure if an impact driver is for them, and want more information, then know which one is best

We’ll start with best brands and our pick for the best cordless impact driver.

If you fall into the second category, you can scroll past the impact driver review to get more information.

This info includes:

  • Impact Driver, Or Cordless Drill?
  • The Difference Between A DIYer’s and Tradesmen’s Impact Driver
  • 12V Or 18V?

The Best Impact Driver Brands

So, which are the best tool brands for impact drivers?

Well, we think there’s only 6 brands that deserve our cash:

#1 – Bosch

#2 – DeWalt

#3 – Erbauer

#4 – Hitachi

#5 – Makita (our pick)

#6 – Milwaukee

The Best Cordless Impact Driver

Below we’ve picked a great all-rounder. It’s great on site, and for DIY.

However.

If you only use a driver on occasion for DIY, you can get away with something smaller.

If you use a driver for most of your day on site, you might want more torque (suggestions below).

Makita DTD152Z 18V

We use Makita power tools for all our jobs. 

And in terms of cordless impact drivers, we use the Makita DTD152Z 18V.

We’ve had combi sets stolen in the past after kits were left on site (naming no names!), and we’ve replaced the drivers straight away with the DTD152Z 18V.

What Features Does It Have?

  • Electronic brake
  • Rotation in forward/reverse
  • High powered LED (twin)
  • Really-nice feeling soft grip with ergonomic fit
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Speed control via trigger
  • Battery protection from overcharging, high temperatures, and even power surges (good, given how expensive they are!)
  • Easy one touch bit installation

Durability

We use these drills daily.

Putting an exact time frame on how long they last isn’t exactly easy.

But, if you’re junking them any time within the next 5 years, you probably needed something more powerful – they really do last.

Torque

You’ll get 160nm of torque here. And, with that you’ll get up to 3,500 impacts per minute.

That’s suitable for the average tradesmen, and more than enough for the average DIY enthusiast.

But, there are options for higher/lower torque (and price is suitably matched) if you need it.

For instance, you’ve got the DTD153Z producing 170nm that’s a little pricier.

Then you’ve got the Mac-Daddy DTW285Z producing 280nm if you’re doing heavy work, but you’re talking big money.

Batteries & Price

You can buy the Makita driver body only, but you’ll need a battery and charger too. 

If you’re a DIYer, you’ll get away with the driver + 1 battery. Simply put it on charge when you’re not using it.

But if you’re a tradesman on a construction site, you’ll want at least 2-3 batteries. And, you’ll want to buy them as a bundle (with the driver) rather than separately.

By buying in a bundle, the price of the batteries is reduced slightly.

Noise

If you’re looking for a quiet power tool, an impact driver isn’t for you. The 18V DTD152Z produces around 100 decibels when operational.

So, if you’re using it for prolonged periods of time in tight spaces where sound isn’t escaping; get yourself some ear protection!

Warranty

Standard warranty from Makita is 12 months, which is fair enough; they don’t know what you get up to.

There is sometimes the option to upgrade to a 3-year warranty, but that’s usually part of seasonal special offer.

Either way, the warranty on the batteries is a little bit more impressive, at 3 years.

Weight

The new Makita drivers are more compact than ever before. And, we don’t just mean small.

I had to check the weight on this (I just knew it was light).

Turns out it weighs just 1.5kg. And, that’s more than light enough for one-handed driving, all day long.

What Fits, And What Doesn’t

You’ve got enough flexibility to use, well, just about anything.

Including:

  • Machine screws from M4-M8
  • Bolts from M5-M16
  • High tensile bolts from M5-M12
  • Thread length starting at 22mm and up to 125mm

Online Reviews

Jump online and you’ll see that the reviews for all Makita cordless impact drivers are positive.

They deliver good performance, and are relatively cheap in comparison to competitive products.

Who Should Buy The Makita DTD152Z?

The DTD152Z is a true all-rounder.

Whether you’re on-site as a heating engineer, a DIY weekend warrior, or an automotive mechanic – we’d consider this the best impact driver for the money.

What You’ll Need For Your Makita DTD152Z Driver

Alongside the driver, battery and charger, you’re going to need a set of bits to get the job done…

The Best Makita Impact Driver Sets

Now You’ve got your driver, which are the best impact driver sets?

Makita do a few own brand sets. I used to work at a plumbing merchant, and we sold an absolute tonne of them.

They’ve regularly got them on deal, and the 11pcs driver sets are probably the cheapest and best value for money right now.

Impact Driver, Or Cordless Drill?

If you’re unsure about whether to use an impact driver over a standard drill; here’s what you need to know.

#1 – Torque

The main benefit of an impact driver over a standard cordless drill, is torque.

The torque provided is usually 2-3 times what a drill can offer.

#2 – Hard-To-Reach Driving

And, that extra effort put in via the means of torque, is effort you don’t have to put in.

That doesn’t just make your day on site easier (or a Saturday doing DIY), it means you can drive in hard to reach spaces – even if you need to do it one-handed.

#3 – Bad Wrists? No Problem

The newer compact impact drivers absorb a lot more of the torque than most people think.

When looking at like-for-like comparisons (drills/drivers), you’ll find it’s the driver that’s putting less strain on joints.

That’s great for DIY enthusiasts or tradesmen that suffer with:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Weak joints
  • Pain from past injuries in hands/wrists/elbows

The Difference Between A DIYer’s and Tradesmen’s Impact Driver

There shouldn’t be any.

The difference is how long it lasts (due to use).

If you’re heading to a construction site, there’s little point buying a cheap cordless impact driver; you’ll be lucky if it lasts until your first cuppa’.

But, what about DIY enthusiasts? Personally, I don’t see the point “saving” a few quid now, to spend it later – and deal with an inferior product in the meantime.

Basically, buy a quality impact driver to begin with.

If you’re a DIYer, it’s likely you’ll never have to buy another one again. If you’re a tradesman (whether that’s in heating or automotive), you’ll get a few years use out of it at least.

Even if you don’t head for our top pick; stick with the best power tool brands.

12V Or 18V Impact Drivers?

There are two real reasons people pick 12V over 18V (but not us):

  • Price
  • Weight

If you’ve got the budget, there’s no contest between 12V and 18V drivers. The difference in price nowadays, is not worth making your life harder.

Why? Because 18V power tools are more popular, they sell in higher numbers, and so they’re cheaper than ever before.

And, that’s why manufacturers spend more time developing the 18V than their 12V siblings.

What this means is the old 18V drivers have converted into much more compact tools than they were before; taking away another advantage away from the 12V.

An 18V will provide more nm of torque and potentially more impacts per minute. This all converts to making your life easier.

And after all, that’s why your using a driver instead of a conventional drill in the first place.

In some cases, it’s also the case that a 18V has the power to complete a job that a 12V can’t.

In summary?

Don’t buy a 12V unless the only jobs you complete are small, quick and only on a rare occasion.

What’s Next?

Thanks for reading our 2018 review of the best cordless impact driver, from Makita.

Got any questions? Drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

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