Best Ryobi Impact Drivers

Best Ryobi Impact Drivers

Stroll down the aisle of green power tools at your local horilme improvement store (or surf it on your couch at home), and you’re presented with an endless array of offerings, sometimes complicating determining the best Ryobi impact driver to buy. Simplifying the buying process is where we can help.

We put power tools through a standardized testing process in our lab. This rigorous process cuts through the brand marketing hype and anecdotal evidence that sometimes leads people astray. Once put through the wringer in our lab, it’s easy to tell which models are the best impact drivers.

Below, we detail the best Ryobi impact drivers that shined most in our lab testing. While reading about our top impact driver picks, be sure also to check out each model’s review for additional commentary and complete test results to inform your buying decision. Let’s dive in, team green!

Best Ryobi impact drivers

Ratings methodology
21 models tested

Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02

Ryobi PBLID02 Angle 5
TestRank
Driving speed5
Torque12
Battery run time15
RPM13
Bare weight18
Impacting noise4
Brand Ryobi
Platform 18V One+
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 609.0
IPM 4,000.0
Drive modes 4
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as PBLID02B

Rating

4.11 / 5 ⭐️’s

Recommended configuration

PBLID02K

Includes (2) One+ 18V HP 2Ah battery

The Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02 is the best Ryobi impact driver to pass through our lab. It shines in two critical areas that are important for homeowners and DIYers.

Firstly, the PBLID02 impresses with its driving speed in heavy-duty tasks, such as driving long structural screws and lag bolts. We didn’t encounter a situation in our lab where the PBLID02 couldn’t capably finish a driving task.

Secondly, the included four drive modes provide all-in-one driving versatility, essential for homeowners who may not have the budget for specialty driving tools perfectly matched to each job. The mid-range and lower drive modes consistently and accurately recess screw heads into all material densities, even soft materials such as MDF and drywall. The assist drive mode also works well in reverse to remove fasteners and avoid cam-out.

However, there are downsides with this Ryobi 18V impact driver. The PBLID02 is one of the heavier impact drivers in our test fleet, and the battery run time isn’t anything to write home about. It’s also not highly compact, even though Ryobi brands the PBLID02 as a compact impact driver. Compact models from other brands are far shorter from the nose to the back and squeeze into tight spaces better.

Lastly, Ryobi’s pricing is high compared to the competition. There are more powerful, versatile, and lighter-weight impact drivers outside the Ryobi ecosystem.

These features and tradeoffs make the PBLID02 a good fit if you’re hooked into the Ryobi ecosystem and want one of the more versatile and compact options Ryobi offers.

The Ryobi 18V One+ P237 is the best Ryobi impact driver if you’re budget-constrained. Sacrifices are always made when going below $50 for a bare impact driver. But Ryobi made the right calls to match the P237’s performance with its intended audience, homeowners on a budget.

Notably, the P237 is one of the only models we’ve seen at this price point that includes several drive modes. Having more than one drive mode is critical for homeowners and DIYers.

One day, a job may require the brute force power of the highest-speed setting to drive big screws into lumber. The next day, you may need a more delicate and accurate approach to perfectly recess screws in soft materials.

Single-speed impact drivers can’t handle both tasks equally as well.

We also discovered in our lab testing that the P237 has outstanding no-load battery run time, beating out many higher-priced options.

The primary sacrifices made are that the P237 is heavy, incredibly long, and offers middle-of-the-pack torque and speed. We don’t recommend the P237 for a light impact driver as it was among the heaviest in our test fleet.

The moderate torque output and speed are expected at this price point. But these sacrifices aren’t an issue. Homeowners are better off with several drive modes and solid battery run time rather than speed and torque. Regardless, the P237 can handle any demanding tasks around the home.

The Ryobi 18V One+ PSBID01 is the most compact and agile impact driver Ryobi offers. It is exceptionally lightweight at just 1.85 lbs in its bare tool form, great for reducing hand and arm fatigue over long driving sessions.

We were also impressed with the PSBID01’s battery run time, among the longest we’ve tested. Some of that performance is due to Ryobi including a brushless motor, which is more efficient and durable than brushed motors found in most budget models.

These combined features are hard to come by at such a low price. You can typically find PSBID01 tool and battery combo kits with a charger for under $100!

The critical missing feature that would make the PSBID01 a slam dunk would be including more than one drive mode, helping to improve driving versatility. We found that the PSBID01 couldn’t consistently and accurately finish screws, meaning homeowners will likely need a separate cordless drill in their tool arsenal.

But if you’re already in the Ryobi One+ ecosystem, there isn’t a more compact and lightweight option.

Ryobi impact driver torque

The Ryobi 18V One+ P239 was the highest torque Ryobi impact driver in our testing. Ryobi’s newest impact driver lineup doesn’t generate as much torque, though its 18V One+ impact drivers are powerful for the price.

Ryobi P239 Torquemeter
Testing the torque of the P239.

We include all results from our torque testing on the impact driver torque test results page, which compares how each impact driver performs in practice. This resource simplifies comparing performance across manufacturers utilizing different approaches to measuring torque output.

Honorable mentions

Ryobi 18V One+ P235: The P235 offers some of the highest torque output we’ve tested within the Ryobi impact driver lineup. But the Ryobi 18V One+ P237 is a better option for most budget-savvy users for its several drive modes that improve versatility, all at a similar price and same-sized footprint.

Ryobi 18V impact driver lineup explained

Ryobi offers only compact and larger impact drivers, no sub-compacts with extremely short collet-to-back lengths. Dewalt impact drivers and Milwaukee impact drivers are better options for stubbier head designs.

While Ryobi’s compact line of impact drivers is reasonably agile, it’s worth noting that compact models from other brands are lighter and shorter nose to back. The current compact lineup includes the PSBID01.

Ryobi’s lowest-priced models aren’t compact and generally have long collet-to-back lengths, limiting the tight spaces and narrow clearances they can fit into. These impact drivers include the P235, P237, P238, and PBLID02 models.

In some instances, the model number and some minor features will vary depending on where you purchase the impact driver. For example, the PCL235 and P235 have the same internals, but the former doesn’t include an onboard magnetic plate to hold fasteners or a bit holder.

Battery lineup explained

Ryobi only offers one voltage lineup of impact drivers, whereas other brands offer 12V and 18V models in the same battery ecosystem. Any 18V One+ battery will fit a Ryobi 18V impact driver. Ryobi does offer higher-voltage tools outside of its impact drivers.

Outside of voltage, Ryobi offers several of its amp-hour battery iterations in a standard or high-performance version. The standard versions don’t last as long and aren’t as powerful. We recommend opting for high-performance versions, though many Ryobi kits don’t include these batteries.

Are Ryobi impact drivers durable?

Ryobi impact drivers aren’t as durable as higher-end models from other brands. But the lower durability is expected and not a reason to avoid going green. Ryobi implicitly states the quality of its tools when considering its warranties.

While Ryobi impact drivers tools have a long three-year warranty that competes with several big brands, its battery warranties can’t compete at only 90 days.

You’ll need to move outside the budget category to find an impact driver that can withstand rugged usage on the job site for an extended period.

However, Ryobi impact drivers are incredibly popular with homeowners and weekend warriors who don’t frequently push many tools to their limits.

We’ve not completed long-term durability testing to say with certainty how durable any impact driver is compared to another. But power tools are no different than any other electronic. You get what you pay for; the highest-quality options typically have the best warranties and last the longest.

FAQ

  • What's the most powerful Ryobi impact driver?

    The Ryobi 18V One+ P235 is the most powerful Ryobi impact driver currently offered in Ryobi’s lineup.

  • What size Ryobi impact driver is best?

    Ryobi doesn’t offer sub-compact impact drivers, only compact and larger sizes. The Ryobi 18V One+ PSBID01 is the most compact option in Ryobi’s lineup, and it’s a good option for all-around versatility in the home. However, moving to a larger model is smart for higher-torque applications and more driving versatility.

  • What Ryobi impact driver battery is best?

    Ryobi’s High Performance-branded batteries offer longer run time than its standard 18V batteries.

Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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