Ryobi is one of the best consumer-oriented power tool brands that one can go with. As such, it’s no surprise that you are looking to get one of its impact drivers. That said, with several different models that look essentially the same on the surface, it can be difficult to choose.
That’s why I decided to go thoroughly through all the models and determine the best one to get. In my research, I came to the conclusion that the Ryobi P238 is the one worth getting in most cases. It has a brushless motor, performs solidly, and is still affordable.
Ryobi P238 18V One+ Brushless Impact Driver
The brushless Ryobi P238 impact driver is a workhorse that’s comfortable to use and powerful enough for most jobs. The efficient brushless motor has three speed settings that can be conveniently adjusted with the top-mounted speed switch.
The P238 has a rubber molded pistol grip for maximum control and improved grip in slippery work environments.
If you like this model, you should also check my article comparing it with the similar Ryobi P239.
Things I Like About This Product: Not only is this drill lightweight, compact and well balanced, it has useful design features like a tri-beam LED below the keyless chuck for illuminating the work area. The driver has a belt clip, plus it is compatible with all the batteries in the Ryobi One+ lineup. With a rotation speed of around 3,100 RPM, this small yet powerful driver is a great tool to have around.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The impact driver doesn’t come with a battery, so you’ll need to purchase one separately.
Ryobi P236 18V One+ Impact Driver
The Ryobi P236 cordless impact driver is another tool worth looking at if you need to do some woodworking or remove screws and lug nuts. The driver is compatible with the One+ family of 18V power tools, so you have a wide range of batteries to choose from. It also has the same rubber “overmold” pistol grip and tri-beam LED lighting as the slightly higher-end Ryobi P238.
Things I Like About This Product: One cool feature I like about this tool is the magnetic tray that keeps fasteners and bits on the unit, keeping your hands free.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: One minor niggle with the LED lighting is that it doesn’t turn on until the drill is fully engaged. This can be an issue in darker environments.
Ryobi P235 18V One+ Impact Driver
The Ryobi P235 impact driver might be the budget pick in this list, but it still has more than enough power for most projects.
Firstly, the driver can deliver up to 1,600 pounds of torque with its two-speed gearbox for driving and removing screws easily. Secondly, it has a comfortable notched rubber pistol grip and motor-assisted torque action which senses resistance from screws and kicks in the hammering action as required.
Like most Ryobi cordless tools, this driver is also compatible with the One+ 18V Li-Ion battery platform.
Things I Like About This Product: Maneuvering in tight spaces is a cinch thanks to the compact size, and the magnetic base will keep your screws, bits, and fasteners handy for when you need them. The quick-connect cuff attached to the chuck allows one-handed bit insertion and extraction.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: This model doesn’t have a built-in LED light, but other than that it’s a great buy and has the power for most tasks.
Ryobi P881 18V One+ Impact Driver Kit
If you are looking for a kit that includes a battery to save you some time and hassle, the Ryobi P881 is worth checking out. The powerful driver in the kit can deliver up to 3,200 impacts per minute and a maximum of 1,500 inch-pounds of torque. The variable speed trigger can let loose up to 2,600 RPM.
The driver comes with two batteries and a charger, so you can swap out one for a fully charged replacement whenever you run out of power.
Things I Like About This Product: Since the kit includes two batteries, the driver, a charger and a case, you will not need to worry about having to buy any basic accessories. It works equally well on screws and bolts and is perfect for someone starting out using impact drivers. The magnetic base is great for people who tend to drop or lose screws while working.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Like most drivers, this impact driver can fracture cheap screws. However, other than that, this is more than a decent tool for its price.
Ryobi P1832 18V One+ Combo Kit
The Ryobi P1832 combo is one of the best options for the DIYer or homeowner looking for a tough pair of tools to add to their collection. It includes both a P277 drill/driver and a P235 impact driver.
The P277 has 24 setting clutch and dual-speed gearbox with a keyless chuck for easy bit replacement. The P235 delivers up to 1,600 inch-pounds of torque. It is also equipped with a 1/4-inch quick-connect coupler for easy bit changes and a belt clip for convenient hanging.
Both tools are compatible with Ryobi ONe+ batteries, and two batteries are included in the kit.
Things I Like About This Product: The included charger can charge any Ryobi battery, whether lithium-ion or NiCad. There’s also a tool bag to hold the tools, plus both the drill and impact driver have magnetic bit holders on the base.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Make sure to buy the new tool kit, not the refurbished one, or else you may end up with used batteries that don’t hold their charge well.
Ryobi P263 18V One+ Impact Wrench
The Ryobi P263 18-volt 3/8-inch impact wrench is compact, yet quite powerful. Producing up to 3,400 impacts per minute and around 150 feet-pounds of torque, this tool will come in handy for a variety of applications, including automotive work.
The square anvil has a hog ring to change sockets easily. The tool is equipped with a 3-speed selector switch which allows control over a range of fastening and tightening applications.
The recommended speed settings are 1 for precision fastening, 2 for controlling driving depth and fasting tension, and 3 for maximum torque.
Things I Like About This Product: The built-in tri-beam LED light helps with illuminating your work area, while the compact design is great for working in for tight spaces.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Remember that the battery and charger are sold separately. Also, some buyers feel that the tool should be more powerful for the size.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Products Featured Above
When choosing the products to feature in each of the categories, I looked at the criteria below among other things. I also considered how important each of those criteria is to the specific category.
If by this point you are still undecided about which Ryobi impact driver to get, these criteria should also provide you with a good framework on which to base your decision. If you are not sure whether you should be getting an impact driver or an impact wrench, check this article.
Price: Other than in the budget-friendly category where the Ryobi P235 was the winner, the price was not considered as an “absolute criteria.” However, in all of the categories, I considered the price of the tool relative to its performance.
Quality: When comparing products across brands, quality plays a significant role. However, in this case, all of the products offer roughly similar quality. That is to say that while they are all more than sufficient for home use, they certainly are not pro tools made for heavy-duty professional use. If you are looking for that, you should consider getting a Makita impact driver instead.
Motor type: There are two types of motors: brushed and brushless. The latter is usually more expensive, but it is also much better at converting electrical power into rotational force. In other words, it wastes much less energy as heat. If you want a Ryobi impact driver with a brushless motor, I recommend the top pick, P238.
Max. RPM, IPM, and torque: When it comes to impact drivers, the maximum no-load speed denoted in RPM, impacts per minute, and torque are the three basic metrics of performance. In all three of these metrics, the top pick delivers the best performance.
Speed settings: All of the impact drivers on the list are equipped with a variable-speed trigger. In other words, they go faster when their trigger is depressed deeper. However, some models are also equipped with the ability to switch the maximum speed for better control of power and torque. On this list, the Ryobi P238 impact driver and P263 impact wrench are equipped with such functionality.
Accessories: Generally, cordless power tools are sold either by themselves or in a kit with a battery. All of the products above are the “tool-only” versions except for the two combo kits – the P881 and P1832. Those also come with tool cases for easy storage. Several of the products are also equipped with a magnetic tray on their base allowing you to conveniently hold hardware and bits.
The FAQs: Information About Ryobi Impact Drivers You Might Find Useful
Is Ryobi a good brand?
In one word, yes. However, as indicated earlier in this article, Ryobi is a brand that makes products primarily intended for home use. As such, if you are a professional or similar heavy-duty user, then you will want to consider other brands as well.
If that’s the case, I recommend reading my article about the best power tool brands. You can also read my comparison of Ryobi with the more pro-oriented Makita.
What is the warranty on Ryobi impact drivers?
At the time of writing this article, Ryobi was offering a three-year limited warranty on its 18-volt power tools. However, keep in mind that this can change at any time.
As such, make sure to check Ryobi’s website before purchasing your impact driver.
Will my existing Ryobi batteries fit one of the impact drivers above?
All of the Ryobi tools listed in this article are part of its One+ platform. Because of that, if you have other 18-volt tools that are part of the platform, you will be able to use their batteries interchangeably.
However, you will not be able to use the brand’s batteries with other voltage or those that are not One+. Similarly, other brands’ batteries are not compatible with Ryobi tools.
What accessories should I get with my Ryobi impact driver?
While the accessories you will need with your impact driver will vary on the type of job that you are trying to do, you should definitely get a good set of drill bits and screwdriver bits.
Separately, if you need to drill a lot of large holes in wood, you should also consider getting a set of Forstner bits or spade bits. On the other hand, if you work a lot with sheet metal, consider getting a quality step drill bit.
Finally, make sure to also check my list of other cool attachments that you might find helpful.
If you need to get some work done around the house or are just getting started with woodworking, then getting a Ryobi impact driver is a good option. The brand manufactures good quality tools and offers them at a very affordable price.
With the price differences between the different models being minimal, I recommend getting the top pick, Ryobi P238, in almost all cases. That said, if you are on a budget, don’t mind its lack of an LED light, the Ryobi P235 is a good option too. Finally, if you need both an impact driver and a drill with a regular, non-hex chuck, consider getting the Ryobi P1832 combo kit.
One thing to remember is that other than the two kits in the list, the tools do not come with a battery. As such, I recommend getting this battery starter kit (which includes two batteries and a charger) with your tool.
Finally, you might also want to check my list of the best impact drivers overall to see options from other brands as well.