Impact drivers are one of the coolest tool inventions of the last few decades. They have enough torque to drive construction screws, but they don’t cam out heads the way conventional screw guns do. They’re a must-have tool for any DIYer. The downside? They’ve always been mind-numbingly loud!
No more. Instead of a mechanical hammer- type system, several manufacturers now employ a new technology that uses oil to hydraulically drive screws. The 18-volt Makita shown (model XST01Z; about $200 without battery) is one example. Last week, I used it to drive about 25 8-in. construction screws into solid lumber with no problem, and it was so quiet that I forgot my hearing protection! If you don’t yet own an impact driver or want to upgrade your noisy old beast, go with an oil impact driver. Ryobi, Kobalt, Ridgid, Milwaukee and other companies also have offerings in this category. — Travis Larson