Ridgid vs. DeWalt – Which Impact Driver Will Make The Biggest Impact?

dewalt vs ridgid

If you need a serious power tool to loosen up bolts, then look no further. The heavy-duty but lightweight impact driver makes removing screws and bolts a breeze and are one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. In this article we will explore Ridgid vs. DeWalt and which brand makes the biggest impact.

If you’re shopping around for new tools and considering impact wrenches, hammer drills, drill drivers, cordless drills, and other cordless tools, make sure you consider an impact driver—especially a cordless impact driver with a lithium-ion battery. And when it comes to impact drivers, two that you might run across are the Ridgid and DeWalt models. These two American companies make great tools in general, and their impact drivers are no different.

In this article, we take a look at two of the different models that are offered from each of these companies and compare the features and benefits.

Last update on 2022-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ridgid vs. DeWalt: Brief Company Histories

Ridgid and DeWalt are two of the more well-known construction companies out there and they have similar histories. While we gloss over it briefly in this piece, if you’re looking for a complete look at the differences between these two companies, take a look at our more comprehensive brand review

Ridgid was established in 1923 in North Ridgeville, Ohio, but relocated to its current location in Elyria in 1943. It is most well-known for its iconic red pipe wrench—a design that the company premiered that changed the tool forever. Since its founding, Ridgid has been focused on innovation in the market, bringing new technology to everything from power drives to thread pipes to drain cleaning products.

Ridgid has become an iconic American brand in many ways and the red pipe wrench is well-known throughout the country. Today the company is owned by the larger Emerson Electric company.

DeWalt is another major American tool company that has a global reach. Like Ridgid, it was founded in 1923, though with a very different tool The founder, Raymond E. DeWalt, debuted the company with his invention of the radial arm saw, a type of circular saw used for cutting long pieces of wood.

​DeWalt’s history of innovation can still be seen today. In April of 2016, the company, now a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker, released a one-of-a-kind Android smartphone that is designed specifically for worksite use. The phone can survive long drops and extreme temperatures and is a testament to the company’s ability to create products that are perfect for their client base.

Impact drivers are used to loosen or tighten larger screws and nuts in hard-to-reach areas or with greater force than a screwdriver. They’re not to be confused with impact wrenches which are bulkier, more powerful and used differently than a driver. They also shouldn’t be confused with traditional drills which are used for more lightweight jobs.

DeWalt and Ridgid both make impact drivers that are guaranteed to get the job done. They are both ¼-inch hex drives that can support a number of different bits. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with either one, but there are some differences that are worth investigating.

​Ridgid R86035 Cordless Impact Driver​

Last update on 2021-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Ridgid R86035 is a heavy duty impact driver meant for tough situations. It has a high power rating of up to 2,000 inch pounds of torque, all of which can be used in three different settings.

DeWalt DCF885C1 Impact Driver 

Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The DeWalt is a lighter impact driver that might be more comfortable for prolonged periods of use. However, that lightness comes at a lower power rating. This impact driver only clocks in at 1,400 inch pounds of torque, a whole 600 inch pounds less than the Ridgid.

Head to Head

We took a look at some of the key factors that everybody buying an impact driver should think about and evaluated how each of these companies stacked up.


Regardless of which tool you choose, you’re going to get a powerful one. Impact drivers are built on power, and the Ridgid and the DeWalt both provide that.

That being said, the Ridgid does have a higher power rating. With 2,000 inch-pounds of torque output, it’s guaranteed to perform well even in the toughest situations. It also has three different speed settings that you can choose from, and its 18-volt STEALTH FORCE pulse driver gives you double the speed at half the noise of other impact drivers. All of this is combined into a 3.1 pound package, so it’s easy enough to carry and hold in tough-to-reach areas.

The DeWalt comes in at a lighter 2.8 pounds with 1,400 inch-pound torque. It also has a three-speed setting, allowing you to choose which mode is best for the situation.


No matter the tool, you want to ensure that the experience is comfortable. If not, it can quickly become unsafe as your body becomes fatigued.

Impact drivers are fairly safe in general, nowhere near as unsafe as a chainsaw or table saw. However, comfort does play a big role, especially if you’ll be using the impact driver for a longer period of time.

The Ridgid and DeWalt both score fine in this category and both have comfortable grips that also reduce slippage.

So, feel free to use these tools on a hot summer day, you’ll still have a firm grip!

In the end, though, we do think that DeWalt tools, overall, feel better in our hand Ridgid’s tools feel clunky at a certain point, so the lightweight design is definitely a bonus in the comfort department, especially if you plan on using the driver for a prolonged period of time.  

Extra Features

Both the DeWalt and the Ridgid have some extra features that set them apart from other drivers on the market.

One of the more notable ones, however, is the fact that both have three LED lights installed around the bit to reduce shadows and allow for a more accurate use of the tool.

The lights are a major game changer and are especially wonderful in cases where there might be low or no light.

DeWalt’s lights have a special feature of having a 20-second delay after the trigger on the impact driver is released before turning off.

This might not sound like much, but it actually makes a huge difference.

If you’re fumbling around trying to align the driver in the dark in a hard-to-reach area, this added 20 seconds can make a huge difference in getting the job done quickly.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, both of these impact drivers are good options.

If we had to pick one, we would probably go with the DeWalt because, in our experience, their tools perform a little bit better than Ridgid’s.

Gus Donaldson
About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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