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While many would argue that having at least an 18V impact driver is mandatory, there are plenty of professionals who swear by using the best 12V impact driver in most cases.
Unless you’re confident that all you will encounter will be hardcore, heavy-duty fastening or screw driving jobs, the torque and speed provided by a 12V impact driver may just be enough. While they might not possess the same high torque and power that a 20V impact driver does, a 12V impact driver is a handy little power tool to have as part of your collection.
And, if you do get your hands on the best of the bunch, you might also be surprised at how long these 12V impact drivers last in comparison, not to mention the improved mobility and comfort that come hand in hand with wielding a lighter tool.
DEWALT DCF801F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 1/4 in. Cordless Impact Driver Kit
Metabo HPT WH10DFL2 12V Peak Cordless Impact Driver Kit
Makita FD10R1 12V max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/4″ Hex Driver-Drill Kit
The Bosch PS41-2A is a medium-torque, high-speed impact drive suitable for fastening in tight corners. It is a durable impact driver with consistent performance, which also comes with a complete kit of accessories.
Like almost all 12V impact drivers, the PS41-2A is a compact unit. It has a very short head length of 5.4”. This is one of the main reasons why it can make short work of light-duty driving in or out of tight spaces. Another reason for this is the impressive 930 in-lbs. of torque.
The PS41-2A weighs just 2.1 lbs. without the battery. This, along with the ergonomic pistol handle, really helps to reduce user fatigue. The LED lighting is powerful enough to grant visibility in poor lighting conditions.
In terms of speed and performance, the PS41-2A’s motor delivers impressive RPM and IPM numbers too. The maximum speed under no load is 2,600 RPM while the maximum number of hammer beats per minute is 3,100 IPM. The IPM rating is comparable to that of some heavy-duty 18V impact drivers.
Another cool feature of the PS41-2A is the battery gauge. It makes it easier to track the battery’s charge. And, speaking of battery, this model comes with two Li-Ion batteries. The BC330 included charger is very efficient and facilitates fast charging times.
You might also appreciate the fact that the PS41-2A comes with two 1/4" driver bits too and a carry bag. The bag can also double as a storage bag for the tool or the batteries.
If you’re interested in making a long-term investment, the Metabo HPT WH10DFL2 is a good alternative to many 12V impact drivers. It’s a powerful tool in its class, but it’s the lifetime warranty that might make it the best 12V impact driver for some users.
The WH10DFL2 is equipped with a reliable motor capable of delivering up to 955 in-lbs. of torque. It can drive lag bolds, screw long bolts, and works particularly well with smaller screws.
Its top speed reaches 2,700 RPM while the impact rate is rated at 3,200 IPM. Both very good numbers that ensure you can make short work of most tasks. This model weighs a highly manageable 2.2 lbs. and is just under 6” in length.
These build properties allow it to be an easy-to-use impact driver for both experienced and amateur users. Hand fatigue should be no issue, especially since the pistol grip has a comfortable design and an anti-slip texture.
Although small, the grip should accommodate most hand sizes too. Also included in the price are the battery and charger and a hard carry case which you can also use for storage purposes. It would certainly help extend the life of both the tool and its battery.
The best 12V impact driver doesn’t always have to be the most expensive model you can find. You may be able to make do with an affordable option like the DEWALT DCF801F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 1/4 in. Cordless Impact Driver Kit, which is arguably the best for light-duty work and budget-constrained homeowners.
Pricing aside, the DEWALT DCF801F2 has many more features that make it a reliable solution for your driving and fastening needs. It has a rubber overgrip with an ergonomic lightweight design intended to reduce user fatigue and to improve control.
It doesn’t come with a battery gauge, but it does have a low battery indicator. A series of flashes alert you when the battery is running on empty.
The brushless motor is very powerful and offers multiple torque settings delivering up to 1,450 in-lbs. of torque, variable speed selection, and a reverse option,
Along with providing good torque, the motor also spins the bits at up to 2,850 RPM under no load, as well as 3,400 IPM. This ensures that you can get rapid bursts when driving and fastening.
The DCF801F2 works with all DEWALT 12V MAX lithium-ion batteries. This kit also includes a two 12V MAX lithium-ion batteries each offering 2.0 Ah and a 12V/20V MAX charger with the package. It's also compact and lightweight, weighing only 2.2 lbs and the weight distribution impressively balanced.
The DEWALT DCF801F2 also features an extremely bright 3 LED light system that provides outstanding visibility while limiting shadow effects when you're operating after dark or on confined spaces.
This 12V impact driver is from one of the best brands on the market. It boasts impressive speeds and torque and has a promising energy transfer efficiency that compensates for its medium torque output.
The Makita FD10R1 12V max CXT impact driver is a lightweight power tool with a motor that puts out 855 in-lbs. of torque max. As already stated, the energy transfer efficiency and the reliability of the gears ensure that the tool can handle medium- to heavy-duty driving tasks.
Another notable rating is the variable 2-speed design boasting both 450 RPM and 1,700 RPM. Combined with the stable power, this allows you to make short work of long and stubborn screws as well as to tighten or loosen thicker bolts and nuts.
The 2.0Ah Li-ion battery that comes with it can reach a full charge in slightly less than one hour. The grip on the Makita FD10R1 12V max CXT impact driver is a bit thicker than similarly priced models. However, the unique texturing ensures a non-slippery surface and less hand fatigue.
Both battery and charger are included, as is a simple but sturdy tool case. Another notable design achievement is the great balancing act of the thicker grip and a narrower head.
This combination will still allow you to work in tight spaces with it weighing only 2.1 lbs, it's very easy to maneuver effectively.
The Skil PWRCore 12V impact driver follows the same standards for performance and durability as you would expect of other similar Skil power tools. On top of that, it comes with a high-end battery and a very powerful motor.
This impact driver is one of the few 12V models that are powered by brushless motors. Besides the enhanced reliability, the brushless motor, in this case, is responsible for maintaining high torque output and consistent rotational bursts for light to medium-duty applications.
The maximum torque is 1,100 in-lbs. As you might know, maximum torque happens at a certain RPM and is not dependent on the load. You also get to work with a 2-speed selector. Such a feature will provide more control and accuracy against screws, lags, bolts, and nuts.
In terms of speed and impacts per minute, the Skil PWRCore 12V impact driver delivers up to 1,600 and 2,600 RPM, depending on the selection. It also produces impact rates of up to 2,500 and 3,500 IPM for controlled or very fast bursts.
The PWRCore 12V 2.0Ah Li-Ion battery should also get some special consideration. It has an impressive runtime. Its charger is also equipped with a 5V 1.0Ah USB charging port, suitable for most mobile devices.
Last but not least, a halo light is used as a work light instead of the traditional LED. This should provide better illumination, granted at the cost of extra power draw.
Have you reached a decision regarding the best impact driver for your projects or line of work? If not, we recommend taking another glance at the Bosch PS41-2A 12V impact driver. It has one of the smallest drop-offs in torque and RPM under load of all impact drivers in its class. It also happens to have one of the most durable builds on the market.
When it comes to 12V impact drivers, you've ideally looking for something powerful enough drill screws in dense materials with the least amount of force and effort on your behalf. While a 12V impact driver doesn't brandish the same high-torque output as the best 20V impact drivers on the market, it will certainly be sufficient for most DIY jobs around the house.
One of the benefits of a 12V impact driver in comparison to other voltage capacity impact drivers, is how lightweight and compact they are. If you have been stubbornly using a standard screwdriver or little socket set for just about everything, a impact driver will truly change your approach entirely, and your DIY days (and nights) will become substantially more productive with any of the 12V impact drivers we're suggested.
Best of luck choosing an impact driver that meets your requirements and is appropriate for the task at hand.
My name is Michael McDonnell, and I’m the creator of The Tool Scout. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. I started The Tool Scout because I love talking about everything DIY related and figured I could help others with the decision-making process when it comes to selecting the right tools for the right job.
Apart from being a blue-collar kinda guy on a relatively noble quest to help others, I’m also a serial entrepreneur and an obvious lifelong Lakers fan. 🏀