Mightily Impressed with this Impact Driver
Oct 22, 2009
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Very strong, compact, lightweight, no cam out, quick change coupler, comfortable
Cons:Can get noisy
The Bottom Line: Fully recommended if you do a fair amount of driving screws. Warning: Once you use this driver, you may not want to go back to using your drill.
I purchased this Ryobi 18V One+ tool from Home Depot as part of a special deal. If you bought certain Ryobi 18V One+ rechargeable tool kits, you could get this tool for free with a mail-in rebate. The retail value of this driver is $69. I believe the promotion is still valid until 12/09. Check Ryobitools.com and click on "promotions" to see what their latest deals are. They change pretty frequently.
Recommend this product?
I would like to add that this driver is a bare tool in that it does not come with a battery and charger. These must be obtained either by buying them separately, or much better yet, as part of a single or multi-tool kit.
Okay, on with the review. I just love this tool! In tandem with a drill that I already have, I can now work much more efficiently. Instead of constantly switching between driving and drilling bits, I just bring both tools along and simply switch between the tools.
What is beautiful is that this impact driver is a specialized tool for driving screws, and it does this extremely well. So whereas the typical drill/driver can function as both a drill and a driver, this impact driver is not meant to be used as a drill. It is very compact (much smaller and lighter than my drill) and yet much more powerful--it has 850 in/lbs of torque, which is about double what my drill has. Thus it has the power to easily drive long screws through thick material.
It is variable speed which is controlled by the amount of pull on the trigger. This also lights an LED to illuminate your work. The brightness of the light also varies with how much you are pulling on the trigger. It would be nicer if the brightness was full as soon as you pressed the trigger, but that is a minor flaw.
If it is an easy job, the driver is virtually silent. However if more power is needed, the impact mechanism kicks in and more power is delivered. The drawback is that it becomes much noisier and thus you should always remember to wear hearing and eye protection. I don't really consider the noise a drawback because when you want to drive in a screw you just want it done and if it takes some temporary noise to get it done, then that is a very small price to pay.
The way the mechanism works, discrete impacts are produced, as opposed to smooth and continuous torque. This allows you to drive Phillips Head Screws without the driver "camming out" or slipping out of the screw slot due to all the torque applied. With a regular driver, you would have to exert a lot of force towards the screw so that the tip doesn't slip out. A bad effect of cam out is that it deforms the slots on your screw head and makes it even easier for the next cam out to occur.
After installing several walls of pegboard from a previous project, I remember that I was just sweating while trying to put in the screws. The sweating was all due to the force I was exerting to prevent cam out. Well, with this impact driver, that is a thing of the past. I have driven numerous screws and so far, not one screw has been damaged from cam out. I still need to apply pressure but just not as much. (As a sidenote I learned that using square headed screws is another way to avoid cam out problems. You just have to buy special screws and an use a square headed bit. But if you are installing something that already comes with screws, then you are out of luck)
The driver comes with a quick coupler which allows very quick installation or changing of the bits. You just pull on the coupler knob and insert the bit. No tightening of a chuck required like my drill. There are also slots built into the base which hold two included bits--a Phillips Head and an adapter bit.
Lastly, the amount of battery power it uses seems to be very minimal. I guess because the amount of screws that I drive during a project is usually small, that it has minimal effect on battery usage.
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