top of the range best impact driver 2020

Best Impact Driver for Dry Lining 2020

Best Impact Driver for Dry Lining 2020 - Make Your Life Incredibly Easy

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When it comes to discussing politics, the weather, and the news, you are lucky if the modern man will even give you a response.

Get a group of them together, however, and ask them to decide which power tool is better than which, and you open Pandora’s box. Friendship is thrown out the window and loyalties are torn asunder. Just like with a favourite car make or a favourite lager brand, most men have a brand of power tools that they stick too. Is it Makita, is it DeWalt?

When you try and tell them that another brand is better, you should prepare yourself for a fierce argument with some potential name-calling. Especially when it comes to deciding what the best impact driver for dry lining is in 2020.

Here at Drylining Tools, our reviewers have over 70 years of combined experience in the drylining industry. Our team has hands-on experience with every brand on the market.

One of the most popular power tools used by dry liners across the country is the humble impact driver. In the past, impact drivers were weak cumbersome things, powered by old battery tech. They didn’t have much power and they were practically useless in any commercial setting.

Luckily, this has changed. With the constant innovation in the power tool industry, especially in terms of battery tech, the impact driver is making a very strong comeback. Whereas before, dry liners would almost solely rely on their screw-gun, nowadays the impact driver is used for almost everything. With their low weight, high power ratio, and long battery lives, they are the perfect versatility tool. They can be used for fixing metal, un-doing screws, and can even fix boards to the wall in a pinch. With this wide variety of uses, it is easy to see why most tradesmen have at least one impact driver in their toolbox.

Who Should Invest in an Impact Driver?


If you are doing a lot of fixing work, like fitting M.F ceilings and stud partitions, a lithium-ion battery impact driver is the perfect tool for the job. An impact driver delivers strong and quick rotational force, driving screws into the metal with ease.


Even though a good screw-gun is the most important tool for a boarder, impact drivers still come in handy a lot. When you are snagging a room, it is much quicker to fix proud or missing screws quickly with an impact driver, especially if you use a collated screw gun. Using your impact driver is much easier then dis-assembling the collated attachment just to fix a few screws.

Plasterers & Tape + Jointers

For plasterers and tape & jointers, you will rarely be using an impact driver to actually do work. You will however almost certainly deal with plots that have proud or missing screws. When this happens, it is often easier and more cost-effective to just fix the problem yourself with an impact driver, then to find the fixers and wait for them to fix their work.

Impact Driver requirements for Dry Lining (Buyers Guide)

So what constitutes the best impact driver for dry lining? Here is what we look for when we test the best impact drivers on the market:

Motor Type

The first thing we look at with any tool that is powered by a motor is the type of motor and the quality. This is especially important when considering the best impact driver for dry lining. Nowadays, we highly recommend looking for a brushless motor model with a good fan, although you can find cheaper options that do not have a brushless motor, these tools are usually very underpowered compared to their brushless motor counterparts.

Drivers powered by a brushless motor system rely on a different type of magnetic component to non-brushless. This removal of the brushed leads to higher efficiency, power delivery, and better torque settings. They will last longer on a charge, driver screws with more power, weigh a lot less and have a much longer lifespan. Brushless motors also allow for a much longer battery life and are much more efficient, meaning they drain your battery capacity slower during hard tasks.

Extra Features

When looking at the best impact driver for dry lining, lots of them come with a familiar spec and price, sometimes the only difference is the extra features the tool comes with.

The first feature that makes an appearance a lot, and is a great additional feature, is the addition of an LED light. Tools that have a well-positioned light can be really useful in low-light situations.

Another feature we like to see is a belt hook. As most dry liners use a pouch and belt, being able to hook your impact driver on when not in used is a great touch.


The next thing we look at is how long the tool is going to last the average user. When you are forking out cash for a nice new impact driver, you will want it to last as long as possible before needing replacement

We look at several things when evaluating durability. The build quality, materials used, battery type, motor type, and general brand reputation. Some tool brands, for example, DeWalt, make tools that are really rugged and can handle everything you throw at them.

Price, Performance & Warranty

The final thing we look at when reviewing the best impact driver for drylining is the current price of the unit. We evaluate how strong the tool performs per every £ that you spend. We also check to see what is currently on sale. Sometimes more expensive units are slashed in a sale and becomes much more attractive.

We also take into consideration how good the tool’s warranty is. The longer and more comprehensive the better. Brands like Hilti, have an amazing no question asked warranty, although you have to pay more, to begin with.

We look at battery capacity, the ability to undertake a wide range of tasks, and how well the tool handles bad weather and harsh conditions. We look at how well the tool performs at driving screws into plasterboard and into other materials, we look at how well the drill driver does with long screws and we look at how good the safety features are.

Battery Tech

When it comes to portable power tools, battery type and battery capacity are important. Ideally, you want to make sure that you look for one with a lithium-ion battery. A lithium-ion battery will have a bigger capacity than traditional batteries and will also charge quickly and have a longer life span.

A drill driver will also have an easier job of driving screws into tougher materials like steel and timber. If your impact driver has a hammer drill mode, a lithium-ion battery will help you save a lot of time and money, especially when it comes to replacing drill bits.

A bigger capacity, higher power levels, and stronger torque settings. By using lithium-ion batteries in your drivers ensures that your tools can handle all of the tasks you undertake. This is one of the reasons that package deals that come with multiple batteries are so popular.

The Reviews

Top Pick – Makita 18v Impact Driver

top pick best impact driver for drylining 2020

Our top pick, and best battery powered impact driver for dry lining overall, falls to the Makita 18v Impact Driver. What makes this Makita more attractive is the stupidly reduced price. At the time of writing this, this incredible impact driver is on sale for just over £100, which compared to the full RRP of £559, is more than just a bit of a bargain.

The new DTD171 is the new Makita offering for the 2020 impact driver season, and is their current flagship model, meaning you get a whole lot of tool, for a very attractive price tag. This model comes with a lot more torque then previous models has a strong brushless motor and two dazzling LED lights to give you perfect vision of your work. Inside, the bearings have had an overhaul too, upgraded from a needle system to ball bearings, which reduced wobble.

This incredible impact driver has, even more, to offer too. It has a new control board, which gives you increased control over your tool’s settings while on the job.

Choose from:

  • Assistance Mode – This slows the initial drive down to make screwing into wood a lot easier. Once it has sped up to full speed, it stays that way.
  • Bolting Mode – This mode is designed to stop screws from falling off your bit. It will stop before the point that would have sent your screw spinning off.
  • T-Mode A – This mode has been created to help you drive self-drillers into metal. It uses increased torque and speed to get the screws to bite before slowing down to give you control.
  • T-Mode B – Similar to T-Mode A, this mode is designed for self-drilling screws, this time for thicker plates.

Makitas DTD171 also comes equipped with the following 4 pre-set speeds:  


  • 0 Load Speed: 3,600 
  • Impact Per 60 seconds: 3,800 


  • 0 Load Speed: 3,200 
  • Impact Per 60 seconds: 3,600


  • 0 Load Speed: 2,100 
  • Impact Per 60 seconds: 2,600


  • 0 Load Speed: 1,100
  • Impacts Per 60 seconds: 1,100

The quick switch menu button that is situated just above the trigger allows you to change your mode quickly without having to stop. This is really helpful if you are doing repetitive jobs. You can even program this button to switch between the modes that you actually use.

With the serious overhaul in tech and innovation and with the current incredible price, it is no wonder why the new DTD 171 is our top pick for the best impact driver.

  • Maximum Torque: 180 Nm
  • Impact per 60 seconds: 3,800
  • Max 0 Load Speed: 3,600 rpm
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • Electric Brake
  • 4 Speed Menu Settings 
  • 4 Assist Mode Settings
  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Built in light: Yes
  • Belt Clip: Yes
  • Body Length: 116mm
  • Body Weight: 1.2kg

Best Bare Unit – Dewalt XR Bare Unit Impact Driver

Best Bare unit impact driver for dry lining

For those of you on the market for the best value bare unit impact driver, there isn’t much competition for the Dewalt CDF887N XR. DeWalt has a massive monopoly in versatile tools. So much so that we hazard a guess that most tradesmen own at least one DeWalt product and battery.

For this reason, the best value bare unit falls to this DeWalt impact driver body. With an incredible price tag to match an incredible product, we have no worries recommending this as our favorite bare unit.

With reductions in the price across the board thanks to the new flagship model, last years model is still an incredible piece of kit.

This impact driver is the favourite of many tradesmen for a reason, is extremely light, feels great in your hand, and is very easy to use. As well as being comfortable it produces an incredible amount of power for a budget-friendly model.

With over 205nm of torque and a 3000+ RPM you never have to worry about this impact driver letting you down. As well as being lightweight and compact, this impact driver also comes with an LED light as well as variable speed settings:

Mode A – Precision (0000-1000RPM) – For when you need a more delicate touch like screwing in hinges and cabinets.

Mode B – Standard (1000-2800RPM) – For most jobs, this delivers a good amount of power and efficiency.

Mode C – High-Power (3000+ RPM) – This mode is for those tasks that require a bit of power. Long screws are the best example.

This impact driver is the perfect mix. You have power when you need it, long battery life and efficiency, a tiny profile, and some nice variable settings. For the price, there is nothing better.

  • Max Power: 205 Nm
  • Impacts per 60 seconds: 3,800
  • Max 0 Load Speed: 3,250 RPM
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • Electric Brake
  • 3 Speed Settings 
  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Built in light: Yes
  • Belt Clip: Yes
  • Body Length: 134mm
  • Body Weight: 0.9kg

Top of the Range – Dewalt DCF888 XR Brushless Impact Driver with battery and TSTAK box

For a few years, DeWalt was happy to ride on the massive success of their DCF887 impact driver, which quickly found its way into most tradies toolboxes.

This year, however, they decided it was time to overhaul their flagship tool, and overhaul it they did.

Their new impact driver is built on the same platform as the last, it looks very similar, but under the hood, there are some massive improvements, as well as some innovative tech.

This impact driver allows you to change settings, monitor device health and even lock the device, all via your mobile phone. Via the app you can control the following:

  • 4 Levels of Adjustable Speed- Control the speed and power settings precisely and accurately via the phone app. You can add drive delay, to give you more control, as well as the LED brightness and how long it stays on for.
  • Battery Alerts – This impact driver will send your phone a message when it starts to run low, preventing you from running out mid-job.
  • Temperature – Check the health of your device, including the device temperature.
  • Lock/Unlock – You can now password protect your tools, stopping them from being powered on.
  • Borrow Mode- You can even set this impact driver to borrow mode. You input their name and the time they are allowed to borrow the tool and the impact driver will turn off if not returned on time.

This is the best impact driver on the market in our opinion. It may have a decent price-tag but it more than makes up for it in innovation and features. This is one cordless impact driver to keep an eye on, and is one of our favourite power tools to date.

This level of innovation is just a sign of the future of the tool industry, and we are extremely excited to see what comes next.

  • Max Power: 205 Nm
  • Impacts per 60 seconds: 3,800
  • Max 0 Load Speed: 3,250 RPM
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • Electric Brake
  • 4 Custom Speed Settings 
  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Built in light: Yes
  • Belt Clip: Yes
  • Body Length: 134mm
  • Body Weight: 0.9kg

Best Value Package Including Batteries – Milwaukee Fule 18v

best value package including batteries

One of the other industry leaders in terms of the best impact drivers, is Milwaukee. Their impact driver package is our top pick for those who need batteries as well as their tool and want the best deal.

This Milwaukee cordless impact driver is also one of the most compact impact drivers on the market, making it perfect for smaller spaces and tight work areas.

Don’t let its size put you off however, this Milwaukee packs a mean punch. With an incredible 226nm of torque and an RPM of over 3500. This impact driver is made for serious heavy-duty work.

It also comes with a range of variable speed settings:

  • Mode A – Precision
  • Mode B – Sensitive
  • Mode C – Powerful
  • Mode D – Balanced

The battery life on this model is also incredible, with the two batteries you get in this pack you should be able to work all day without stopping by alternating the batteries.

  • Max Power: 226 Nm
  • Impacts per 60 seconds: 4,300
  • Max 0 Load Speed: 3600 RPM
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • Electric Brake
  • 4 Custom Speed Settings 
  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Built in light: Yes
  • Belt Clip: Yes
  • Body Length: 134mm
  • Body Weight: 0.9kg

Best Combination Combi Drill + Impact Driver Package – Makita DLX2145TJ Package

best combi drill impact driver package

Our final category is the best combination combi drill & impact driver category. For those that need to upgrade their combi-drill as well as their impact driver this is by far the best package in terms of price and performance.

Included you get 1 Makita incredible impact driver, a combi drill 2 5.0Ah batteries and a charger, as well as a great box to store them

This is the same Makita impact driver as our Top Pick, with added extras at a really tempting price-tag. Both these tools come with enhanced dust reduction technology, allowing you to work safer for longer.

Both Makita drills also come equipped with 2 strong LED lights to enable you to see what you are doing. The impact driver also has one of the highest torque ratings on the market and the combi-drill has a hammer drill settings and attachable handle for drilling into masonry for hangers.

There is a reason that we voted this Makita the best impact driver of 2020, this cordless impact driver packs a serious punch and is one of our favourite power tools.

  • Maximum Torque: 180 Nm
  • Impact per 60 seconds: 3,800
  • Max 0 Load Speed: 3,600 rpm
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • Electric Brake
  • 4 Speed Settings 
  • 4 Assist Mode Settings
  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Built in light: Yes
  • Belt Clip: Yes
  • Body Length: 116mm
  • Body Weight: 1.2kg


Impact drivers FAQ

In this FAQ, we are going to look at some of the common questions that we get/

Q: Whats the best impact driver in the UK?

A: Overall, we really like the newest generation of Makita impact drivers, DeWalt isn’t far behind, however.

Q: Which brand of impact driver is the best in the UK?

A: Different brands have their own different selling points, pros, and cons. We really like DeWalt and Makita, they are definitely at the forefront of impact driver innovation.

Q: Is it worth getting an impact driver?

In our honest opinion, from years of experience on the job, we highly recommend every dry-liner, in fact every tradesman, gets an impact driver. They are the perfect multifunction lightweight tool and make a number of tasks a whole lot quicker and a whole lot easier.

Q: Can you use an impact driver for drywall?

A: For fixing plasterboards to walls, we recommend getting a battery powered screw gun, they are designed for rapid plasterboard fixing. For other drylining tasks, like fixing studs and building boxings, an impact driver is the perfect tool and will make your life so much easier.

Q: What are brushless impact drivers?

A: Brushless impact drivers are simply an impact driver that does not have a brushless motor. They are more efficient, powerful and last longer. Impact drivers are small driver powered drills that are perfect for quick jobs and tight spaces. They are an essential tool to own for a huge number of tradesmen.

Q: What is an impact driver bit?

A: Impact drivers come with specifically designed mechanisms for attaching different bits. These bits usually come with a tag like “impact ready” and are treated with black oxide to give them strength. People underestimate the importance of a good driver bit, they cost extremely little and can speed your work up immensely.

Q: What is a compact impact driver?

A: A compact impact driver is simply an impact driver designed with a small profile, engineered to help you in confined spaces. These are especially useful if you work in lofts or in spaces where you struggle to get leverage.

Q: Where should I buy my impact drivers and other tools?

A: We like to use amazon UK, their delivery, prices and returns policy are second to none. They competitively price their products and this means you can often pick up items for less than they should be. There is a reason they have so many happy customers. If you sign up with your email address to their alerts, you may find some amazing deals.

Q: What is the best impact driver for dry lining?

A: Our top pick or top of the range pick is our favourite choice.

What Other Tools Does A Dry Liner need?

If you are just starting out as a dry liner, or if you have been out of the game or a while you may be wondering what other tools you might need. Here are some of the best tools used in the industry today. Pair these with any of our best impact driver for drylining picks and you will be on to a winner.

Drywall Sander

If you are doing tape & joint work you will need a good battery powered drywall sander. These machines use friction and sandpaper to leave a smooth pristine finish on tape & joint work. Here are some of the best drywall sanders on the market.

Plaster Mixer

We have come a long way since the days when we had to mix plaster by hand with a stick. Nowadays we have powerful battery powered plaster mixers to help us work quicker and more efficiently. Here are some of the best plaster mixers on the market.


Battery powered screw-guns have come a long way. With a range of features from cordless guns to collated bits that load themselves with screws, every good dry-liner has a good battery powered screw-gun nowadays.


When you need to line up your work to precision, the best way to do so is with a strong and powerful battery powered auto-leveling laser. Lasers have become an integral part of drylining, a lot of work that requires a laser would be nearly impossible to do without a laser. A good laser that can be seen across the room and in poor lighting situations makes putting up suspended ceilings and m.f ceilings a breeze. They also help you to square up boxings and stud work.


Carrying pockets of screws is a thing of the past. Nowadays most tradesmen use high-quality pouches to carry their hand tools and screws throughout the day. A good pouch that distributes the weight of your tools and your fixings so that you are not prone to injury. They also mean that your hand tools are close to hand when working, saving you time walking to and from the tool shed.


For firing metal into concrete or wood, you are going to need a battery powered nail-gun. These can come in either electric or gas-powered variants. Most dryliners use gas-powered offerings as they enable you to shoot hangers into concrete and floor track into the floor.

Circular Saw

Still, cutting wood by hand? Stop! With a battery powered circular saw, you can cut through ply and wood in seconds, saving you the RSI injury. When you need to cut a huge number of door timbers, you dont want to be using that old blunt hand saw that’s in the back of your car.

Honourable Mentions

Lots of our users have asked why we didn’t include the Ryobi One on the list. The answer is that we do not find the Ryobi One system to be as well made as the other products on this page. To make it onto this list the products have to be top job offerings and Ryobi simply didn’t make the cut.

Hammer Drill

When you need to drill overhead into purlins or concrete floors, you don’t want to be using your Hammer Drill to do so. You want a strong hammer drill capable of cutting through with ease. This will stop you from wrecking your shoulders and will save you time and money on the job.


Hopefully, this article has helped you in your search for the best impact driver for dry lining. After reading this, I’m sure you can make your own informed and educated decision on what is best for you.

If not, we highly recommend either our top pick or our top of the range pick, the Dewalt 887 and 888

If you like this article, please share, whether your job is drylining or plumbing, we cover all tools and do the research so you dont have to.

6 thoughts on “Best Impact Driver for Dry Lining 2020”

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