FREE Preview Issue
Give A Gift
Magazine Customer Service
Contact Us
Home Online
Issue #291 - October 2005
View Comparison Chart

Cordless Impact Drivers: Three Bonus Reviews

In the October 2005 issue of Workbench, we took a look at a revolutionary new tool category with our review of seven 14.4-volt cordless impact drivers. But we also ran in-depth tests on three other impact drivers that were not 14.4-volt models.

click to view image
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the space to give you these three reviews in the magazine. But thanks to the web, we now have the ability to bring you our impressions and testing results for these tools. Read on for our in-depth reviews of the Black & Decker, Panasonic, and Ryobi cordless impact drivers..


Model FS1202ID
Virtues: Inexpensive, lightweight, and comes with two batteries and a bunch of drill and driver bits.
Vices: Lacked the power and torque for serious jobs around the house. Only drove two lag screws before the power dropped in our battery life test. (The Ryobi drove 12.)
Verdict: The Black & Decker is definitely a light-duty impact driver, and not well-suited to large construction projects.

At just $120, the 12-volt Black & Decker impact driver is one of the least expensive models we reviewed. And for light-duty jobs around the house (such as driving screws and installing fixtures), the driver seemed to work just fine.

Once our testing switched to more heavy-duty applications, such as driving lag screws, long deck screws, and masonry screws, however, the performance of the Black & Decker dropped off considerably. This little tool just lacked the power to handle these jobs competently.

If you just need a light-duty driving tool around the house, then the Black & Decker should suit your needs fine. But if you need a heavy-duty tool for construction or serious DIY projects, our recommendation goes to the comparably priced Craftsman or Ryobi models (see below).


Model EY6535GQW
Virtues: Unique ability to operate both as a standard drill/driver and an impact driver. Includes chucks for both uses, and changes modes with the flip of a switch.
Vices: Consistently slower driving times as an impact driver. More expensive ($300) than any other tool we tested. It’s also the largest tool we looked at.
Verdict: The Panasonic is very appealing if you’re looking for both a drill/driver and an impact driver in one tool. But if you’re only in the market for an impact driver, there are better choices for less money.

The most notable feature of this 15.6-volt Panasonic impact driver is that it is both an impact driver and a standard drill/driver. It features a keyless chuck (for drill/driver mode) and a quick-change hex chuck (for impact driver mode) that are interchangeable. You can change between the two modes by simply flipping a switch at the top of the tool.

Though the Panasonic earns major bonus points for its ability to perform the jobs of both tools, we weren’t overly impressed with its ability as an impact driver. While the tool seemed solidly built and ran cool and smooth, it was consistently slow. Much slower in nearly every speed-driving test, in fact, than every impact driver but the Black & Decker.

If you’re in the market for a new drill/driver AND impact driver, then give this Panasonic model a serious look. But if you’re buying strictly for impact driving abilities, there are better impact drivers out there for the money.

RYOBI - Model P230

Model P230
Virtues: Speed, power, battery life, and overall performance that rivaled some of the heavy hitters of this tool test, all at a much lower price.
Vices: Slightly longer "barrel" (body) than most of the other tools in the test. Battery and charger sell separately from the tool.
Verdict: The Ryobi is a quality tool at a very reasonable price. For the budget-minded tool buyer, this impact driver would be an excellent choice.

Ryobi’s new 18-volt impact driver is available as part of their new One+ System through Home Depot. The tool itself is a bargain at just $70, though two batteries and a charger will run you another $60. All in all, that’s still a good price at just $130 for a tool that performed superbly throughout our testing.

In the speed, power, and battery life tests, the Ryobi stayed head to head with the more expensive models in the test (such as the Bosch, Makita, and DeWalt). The Ryobi also features a handy L.E.D. light for drilling and driving in dark locations.

Throughout the testing, we were quite impressed with theRyobi. In fact, if its 18-volt status hadn’t disqualified it from taking part in our head-to-head 14.4-volt tool test, it would have given Craftsman a run for its money as the “Top Value” in the test.

© August Home Publishing Company
Magazine Customer Service - Privacy Policy - Terms of Use - Contact Us