These tools drive fasteners much more quietly than traditional impacts.
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Milwaukee Surge oil impact driver

If you've ever used an impact driver to drive screws, you have an appreciation for its tremendous torque, typically 3–4 times more than a comparable drill/driver. Impacters tend to be lighter and smaller than drill/drivers—more reasons to love them. But their loud clattering noise can drive you crazy, especially when working in tight surroundings, such as when hanging wall cabinets or installing a countertop onto a base cabinet. But now there's a quieter alternative: oil-pulse impact drivers.

We tested four battery-powered oil-pulse drivers head-to-head, and ran a traditional cordless impact driver (the Makita XDT12Z) through the same tests for comparison.

How they work

A typical impact driver uses a spinning hammer-and-anvil mechanism to in-crease rotational torque. The more demand a fastener puts on the tool, the more torque the hammer and anvil attempt to apply by slamming together. It's this metal-on-metal action that creates the loud noise and vibration. An oil-pulse driver uses a different hammer-and-anvil mechanism, encased in a module containing gear oil. Rapid, pulsing movement of this fluid operates the hammer and anvil, which make contact for a longer, but slower, duration to create quieter impacts (compared to regular impact drivers). And manufacturers tell us this "cushioned-impact" system helps prolong tool life.

Watch the Milwaukee Surge driver here


Watch the Ridgid Stealth Force driver here

Watch the Makita oil-pulse driver here