Ryobi Impact Driver Review

It has to be said that Ryobi is one of the globe’s biggest and most highly regarded power tool manufacturers in the drill and driver world today. The company specializes in designing and making cleaning, crafting, professional, and car care equipment — and they do it flawlessly.

As we are sure you know already, today we will be taking a deep dive into the Ryobi impact drivers.

But, what do impact drivers actually do? Let us take a quick peek here.

Impact drivers are high-torque handheld power tools that are generally used to secure screws and tighten nuts – and they are designed to drive in screws at great speed. Of course, they can also perform the reverse too (i.e. they can loosen nuts and screws). This is particularly rather helpful when dismantling crafts projects or furniture when you’re in the process of moving home or if you are ever in the position where you are needing to dismantle or assemble a lot of furniture. 

Where some might consider a cordless drill to be able to do the job just as well as an impact driver, as it goes without saying that drills are versatile and super popular, it is worth remembering that impact drivers are capable of driving screws at amazingly high speeds. 

The most obvious difference between a cordless drill and an impact driver is that of rotation and power. The quick-release shafts of an impact driver which take any one-quarter of an inch hexagonal driver bit are really quite something and go a long way towards easing the stress of having to unscrew shanks in order to replace bits. The impact driver also brings with it a lot of force in terms of rotation and so it is able to drive in even the biggest of wood screws in a matter of mere seconds.

The internal build of an impact driver means that it not only produces a lot more torque than a standard drill, but it also does it in quick, abrupt bursts or, as the name implies “impacts”. These impacts take place in excess of 45 times a second. The impact driver also turns its bits in a pattern similar to two steps forwards and one step backward which means that it can make contact with and push in screws much more efficiently than a drill. What’s not to like eh?

Oh, and of course, an impact driver will usually come in a much more compact design than your average drill. So you’re getting a whole lot of power for a much smaller package – but they also manage to keep the bit much more engaged with the head of the screw too. And one of the most awesome features of the impact driver is that it rarely ever lets the bits slip or spin out of control while driving in screws.

These days, craftspeople, professionals, DIYers, and homeowners are turning to impact drivers as opposed to the usual cordless drill ranges, particularly now that it is possible to have such an array of bits and accessories that have been deliberately manufactured to take the strain that an impact driver will put on them. 

These high-torque pieces of kit are predominantly used to drive in bolts/screws or to tighten up nuts – this is usually referred to as “nut setting”. That said, the chuck of an impact driver will only take a bit that has a hexagonal shaft that is a quarter of an inch in diameter, and you either pull the sleeve of the chuck in an upwards motion to push in the bit or, depending on the model, you can simply slot the bit into the cleverly designed chuck.

An impact driver is usually a lot lighter than a drill – even a cordless one. It is of course true to say that an impact driver is not actually as versatile as a cordless drill, but it will invariably handle most of the functions for which you would usually reach for your cordless drill. And, as the torque output of an impact driver is a lot greater than that of a standard drill, they will often or not manage to get the work done a lot more quickly.

This handy-dandy very helpful DIY tool lets you run through your workload super quickly and with incredible ease. What more could you want, right? This good old workhorse that is the Ryobi impact driver is simply comfortable to use and also has enough grunt to handle the most pressing of jobs. 

Most of the drivers in the Ryobi product world come with belt clips and the batteries are compatible with one another across the range. The Ryobi One+ range boasts rotation speeds of up to 3,100 rpm.

With all the impact driver models out there it could be a tricky task to hunt out the model that suitable for you and that will provide good torque and speed and really get your job done with a hitch – and the Ryobi range offers the 18-volt ¼-inch P236 impact driver, the ½-inch 3-speed P261 impact driver, and various others.

So, without further ado, we are going to hop straight into our Ryobi impact driver review. Ready?

Who’s It For?

The Ryobi impact driver is recommended for anyone who loves a DIY project or even for small-scale trade outfits. For years now, with its vast range of tools, this brand has been successfully bridging the gap between professionals and hobbyists — and their impact driver is definitely no different.

We are delighted about how easy this impact driver is to use. You do not need any experience when using this type of equipment in order to utilize it to its full potential. It just works, straight out of the box, easy peasy.

Even if you are on a budget, you will undoubtedly adore this driver. Thanks to its super powerful force of rotation, it can be used effortlessly to loosen or drive screws and bolts. It will certainly be a handy companion for those DIY jobs as it will make super easy work of all your assembly and installation tasks that need secure, speedy fastening, or dismantling. It also boasts variable speed and super-efficient LED lights which help to give you more convenience and comfort.

The Ryobi Impact Driver Will Suit Those Who Are:

  • Performing DIY projects around the home.
  • Helping friends with home improvements.
  • On a budget.
  • Looking for new tools for their work van.
  • Wanting to purchase a super-reliable piece of kit.

This tool significantly reduces the time you will spend loosening or tightening lug nuts, screws bolts, and the like. You will find that lower quality impact drivers just don’t quite cut the mustard.

The Ryobi Impact Driver Will Not Suit Those Who Are:

  • Not worried about the time it takes to loosen and tighten lug nuts on DIY or professional projects.
  • Just wanting to buy a trendy product.
  • Estimating spending less than $50.

While the Ryobi impact driver isn’t at all expensive, it sure performs like it is! In fact, when compared to “higher end” items, the Ryobi drivers tend to perform much better.

However, if you are simply looking for something to loosen/tighten nuts and you are not worried about how long this task takes, then this might not be the one for you. In these situations, you are better off going for a cheaper alternative and putting in some of your own elbow grease.

What We Like About The Ryobi Impact Driver

There are plenty of impact drivers on the market. So, the real question is, why choose the Ryobi? Honestly, there are many things that we like about this bit of kit so we should probably get on with it! We don’t want to keep you for too long.

Different Speed Options

When you need it, this piece of kit really does pack a lot of punch (270Nm of torque, to be precise). We love it for this. However, we also adore the 3-speed feature even more!

Most manufacturers include a variable speed trigger but this is nowhere near as effective as setting a speed and knowing nothing can go wrong. Not to mention that this feature is super easy to use too.

For those of you who really love talking specifics, we don’t want to leave you hungry for more info about the speed settings. We will be getting into that nitty-gritty detail a bit later on (skip to the Overview of the Features section if you really just can’t wait to find out more).


Oh yes, who doesn’t love a good warranty period? The Ryobi brand is actually particularly generous with its One+ impact warranty for the driver range.

So how long is it then, we hear you ask? Well, it’s a whopping 3 whole years! Yep, you heard us correctly the first time. For the price point of this awesome device, this is an insanely long period of time.

If anything goes wrong with the tool within the first 3 years of ownership, you will be able to request a replacement or repair totally free of charge!

Magnetic Base

We found this to be super useful. The magnet is strong enough to hold drill bits and screws. In fact, we have used it to catch falling fasteners when our hands have failed us – that’s just how much power it has! You are bound to enjoy this feature as much as we did (especially for newbie DIYers).

Brushless Aspect

Generally speaking, you tend to pay more for a brushless power tool. But we like the fact that Ryobi decided to break free from this particular mold. We definitely believe that this brand could have made their impact driver more expensive, but we are obviously very glad that they didn’t.

For those who are a bit unsure of the whole brushless thing, why don’t we take a little look at why we love it (aside from the price point).

We always opt for a brushless power tool. Why? Because the power shoots up like you wouldn’t believe! This means that you get way more torque which works wonders on those pesky screws and nuts. Amazingly enough, this Ryobi is supposed to last ten times longer than the brushed model.

The Pros Love It

Put simply, if the experts love it, then us hobbyists should too. We really cannot argue with the professionals (after all, they are qualified and truly know their tools). So, why fight something that is evidently good enough?

What We Don’t Like About The Ryobi Impact Driver

We are happy to report that there are most definitely more things we actually like about the Ryobi impact driver than those that we don’t. That said, it would be less than a fair review if we didn’t talk a little about the things we didn’t particularly care for, wouldn’t it?

Battery Isn’t Included

Unfortunately, this does tend to be the same for most power tools of this ilk. But of course, that does not make it actually any better!

If you are just starting with DIY or home improvement projects, then this could be a real downside. For us, it wasn’t too much of an issue, but nevertheless, it was still something that we did not particularly like about this powerful tool.

Delayed LED Light

It would be really useful if the LED light were to come on before you actually pressed the trigger. However, it does seem to have a bit of an operation lag and delay. This is a bit unfortunate as you can’t actually see what you are doing in dimly lit areas, and so having a light that came on before you hit the trigger button would be incredibly useful. Although, this still hasn’t really put us off using it for putting together all of our furniture!

You Will Need to Buy New Bits

Impact drivers only work with impact driver bits. This might of course seems rather obvious, but we did nearly get caught out with this one! So, you will need to make sure that you have purchased the right bits before you can use the Ryobi impact driver. You can’t use bits from other drill makes or even other drills offered by this manufacturer, as the bits will not fit.

For those who want an easy-to-refer-to list of pros and cons, the next sections are going to be right up your avenue!


  • It is really very powerful.
  • It boasts a magnetic base on which you can hold fasteners and other bits.
  • It comes as a brushless model and offers longer-lasting power when compared with the brushed versions.
  • The batteries are interchangeable.
  • It makes the job very quick.
  • It is extremely lightweight.
  • It is very easy to use.
  • It comes in a compact design.


  • The LED only turns on when the tool is engaged “in drive”, and we think it would be much better and more convenient to the user if it engaged before you pressed the trigger.
  • If you do not already have them in your tool kit, you will need to buy impact-compatible bits, as this does not have the standard 3-jaw chuck.
  • The battery is sold separately.

What Is Included In The Box?

As soon as you get your hands on this great bit of kit and you’ve opened the box, you will see the following items before you:

  • Bare Ryobi impact driver tool 
  • Phillips impact driver bit
  • Manual

Unfortunately, you will not find a charger or the lithium-ion battery that you will need in order to run this power tool. These are sold separately and easy to find in most DIY stores or online, so it isn’t all that tricky to obtain them and then get your system set up and running. 

If your budget allows, it would be prudent to purchase more than just one battery so that you can have one charging in its holder while you are using the other one – then you can simply swap them around when the one that you’re currently using dies. This system works like a dream, so you will always have power for your driver!

We strongly suggest that you buy some more impact driver bits too. This will make your lovely new tool even more universal and accessible. All of these driver bits can be found on Amazon or you can purchase them from your local hardware store. 

Those of you brand junkies out there will probably want to keep your style going and keep up appearances. So you’ll therefore want to purchase the full set from Ryobi. It is of course up to you – other brand’s impact driver bits can be used!

Overview of The Features

The specifications of the Ryobi impact driver are as follows:

  • The maximum torque of 270
  • Maximum impact rate of 4,000
  • 1.6kg with the battery pack attached
  • 1.2kg without the battery pack attached
  • 3.25 inches x 5.75 inches x 7.75 inches
  • Plastic construction
  • Lithium-ion battery cell type
  • Battery-powered, thus cordless

The base features of this impact driver are as follows:

  • The brushless motor
  • Has a belt clip already attached
  • Comes with a Phillips head bit
  • Magnetic base to hold bits and screws
  • Has a variable speed trigger and 3-speed setting
  • Has LED lighting at the base

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors are what is known as “electronically commutated”. This means that the brushes and the commutator never actually come into contact. While you might be wondering why this is such a big deal, it can actually improve the efficiency, longevity, and weight of the tool in question.

Amazingly, brushless motor power tools form the basis of what is known as “smart” bits of kit. In other words, tools that have batteries and motors that talk to each other to prevent any overload and improve the performance of the tool.

Three Speed Settings

We discussed the three-speed feature briefly earlier on. However, as we promised detail, we are going to give you detail.

As you might expect, the first speed is the weakest. Although, in our opinion, it is still pretty strong! This setting should be used for smaller applications such as working on garage doors or fixing the hinges on interior doors and the like.

The second-speed setting runs at around 2500 rates per minute if you press down the trigger the entire way. Here, the Ryobi impact driver gives you a fantastic balance of both speed and power. In our experience, we would tend to use this speed for screwing larger wooden objects or pieces of furniture (think decking, for example).

The third and final speed is, as you would expect, the fastest. And as you can probably guess, the Ryobi impact driver runs at maximum power here. If you are looking to drill into metal and wood (coach bolts, etc.), this will make light work of what could otherwise be quite an arduous task.

Impacts Per Minute

If you ever took physics in school, you will remember discovering all about hammer and anvil systems. So if you took this subject, then you’re pretty lucky since that’s exactly what impact drivers use to create the pulsing, rotational torque they are known for. This is measured in impacts per minute or IPM

The Ryobi brushless impact driver provides a maximum of 4,000 impacts per minute which is on the very high end. Most of the time, you receive around 3,500 IPM, so Ryobi really has stepped up the game here.

We should probably mention though that a high impact per minute figure doesn’t represent the bottom line. It isn’t the be-all and end-all. Sometimes, low impacts per minute will do the job just as well. However, a higher value does of course provide some very much needed help if you are tackling those larger projects.

Auto-Load Chuck

As it stands, the majority of impact driver chucks need two hands (it can sometimes feel like more!) to change the bit – and can often be quite tricky and fiddly. However, this Ryobi model doesn’t! It is designed so that you can change the bit with just one hand. How neat is that? As soon as you eject a bit from the chuck (it is spring-loaded), you can simply just insert the new one. Yep, it could not be any easier, and it makes the life of the DIYer or professional so much simpler.


The base of the Ryobi impact driver is fully magnetic. It has been designed this way so that it can hold bits and screws. However, if you are nifty enough, you can also use it to catch any metallic pieces that drop from your project. So it can also save you a lot of bending down and therefore can take the strain off your back!

The Final Wrap Up

Overall, we consider this impact driver made by Ryobi to be a great choice for both hobbyists and professionals. As far as impact drivers go, this is one of the best ones that you will find and which also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

For those of you who are planning on going up in the world from using brute force and ignorance when tightening and loosening screws and nuts, you will be simply ecstatic with the results you can achieve using this fantastic power tool. It represents a serious upgrade for those who love to dabble with DIY or tackle home improvements.

We hope that our Ryobi impact driver review has given you plenty of food for thought and has helped you to determine whether this is the product for you. If you do still have any queries about this, then check our frequently asked questions section below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Are Ryobi Tools Made?

Ryobi is a really huge brand. So it goes without saying that they have loads of different manufacturing warehouses spread across 6 countries. How many exactly, we hear you ask? They operate out of 12 facilities across the globe!

Primarily, all of the tools are made in China. However, back in the 80s and 90s, they were predominantly made in the United States of America.

Does Ryobi Make Other Tools?

In a word, yes! The brand is constantly designing and creating new and exciting tools to put on the market and amaze its customers.

The power tools they manufacture include the following:

  • Impact drivers (as you know)
  • Drills
  • Metalworking tools
  • Specialty crafts tools
  • Plumbing tools
  • Woodworking tools
  • Staplers
  • Nailers
  • Inflators
  • Compressors

Generally speaking, if you need a power tool, Ryobi is bound to make it. Their nail guns, speed drills, grinders, and electric pole saws are some of the most effective, power tools on the tool market.

How Long Do Ryobi’s Batteries Last?

Ryobi is an affordable but nevertheless great-performing brand. Their batteries, however, seem to be of comparable high quality to those of the more expensive models. Not to mention the fact that the brand’s actual tools last over five years!

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Timberland Enthusiast Jan 1977 – Present Columbia, South Carolina Since graduating from law school I have worked in various capacities within the real estate, timber management, lumber production and pine straw harvesting markets in South Carolina. Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler May 2016 – Dec 2020 Columbia, South Carolina Det Bowers joined Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler in May of 2016. Prior to joining Wilson Kibler, Mr. Bowers served as a licensed attorney practicing in Federal, State and Municipal Courts. Other business involvements have included real estate development, retail development and operations, agribusiness, forestry products, outdoor advertising and insurance.

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