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Hi, everyone. I am in search of a great impact driver - strongly  leaning to Makita or Milwaukee. I am not a professional but will probably be  building all the cabinetry in the house we're building. I am very overwhelmed with the different models and volt batteries. I am unable to test them out in Lowe's or Home Depot because I live in Israel and rely on YouTube for reviews (and I am still confused!). So i figured I would ask here. I am not a very large  woman  by any  means and not especially strong - just average. So something on the smaller and lightweight side. I was advised to go for brushless 18v but I am wondering if 12v will do. Thanks!

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Get a variable speed drill instead of the impact. I use and like Makita. Stay with one brand so if you expand and need another tool the batteries will be interchangeable in the same brand. 18v is not the smallest but an average lady should have no trouble with the size, especially if you use both hands.

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In a drill (also used as a driver), more volts generally provide the same power at less amps. That means more work per charge, typically. If you prefer the smaller, lighter weight system, just be prepared to charge a little more often. For average use, probably not a nuisance, but during large jobs, it might be. Having a second battery on the charger is a good idea.

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As has been said, if this is your first cordless tool then don't shop for the tool, shop for the line up.  E.g. Milwaukee has a 12 V line and an 18 V line, so it's not just by brand.  You're not going to want to support multiple batteries/chargers and it's nice to be able to trade batteries between tools.  So look at the breath of tools available, even if you can't imagine needing say a cordless edge bander or weed wacker just today.  

I have Milwaukee 12V tools, which I started collecting before the 18V was out.  I have a little driver, a drill and an impact driver along with a jig saw and an inspection camera.  I am absolutely delighted with that little driver which sits in my tool box and gets used for the vast majority of holes and screws in my life.  The drill and jig saw are top drawer, great performers.  The inspection camera did great for a long while, but the camera has gone wonky, so +/-, but MIlwaukee has discontinued and replaced that model.  Now the impact driver.  That came with the drill.  I've never actually used it, in fact I have no idea what it's for or why I would want to use one.  The guys here have explained it once, and I really should read that again.

So I can say the 12 V Milwaukee tools are good, but if I were buying all over again I'd be more inclined to the 18V just because I'd worry the 12V would be discontinued.  On the other hand Milwaukee has been running both lines now for many years.

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If it was just for building / installing cabinets my preference would be an 12v installation drill. Basically a 12v drill with several heads which include a 90 degree and close close quarter heads.  Great for getting into tight spaces.  I have the Festool cxs and loved it but recently got the Milwaukee and like that one even more.

I will echo the comments on going with a regular drill if this is your first one.  An 18V and if possible one with a hammer function is a better all around solution.  The larger voltage will help if you ever need to drive larger screws / lag bolts and hammer function if you need to go through masonry.  Also one of the biggest downside of the impact driver is they're loud and (to me at least) get annoying real quick. 

However I have a different opinion on buying the same brand.  If you're paying MSRP or close it, regardless of brand, then sure going with the one brand makes sense as it will allow you to save money on batteries.  These days however manufacturers are bundling not just batteries but whole starter kits (ie charger + battery) and/or a free tool with them.  So often for the same or similar price you can get the tool, charger, multiple batteries (sometimes larger aH) and free tool.  I know that was the case for me a couple of months ago when I was looking to upgrade my impact driver.  I was heavily invested in Dewalt but the deals Milwaukee was having made it a no brainer for me.  So for me unless the prices were fairly comparable I would go with the better deal.  This is assuming the brands are also comparable.  ie A Harbor freight model will always be cheaper than a Milwaukee, Dewalt, Makita, etc.  The only real downside I found is you will end up with multiple chargers and batteries that take up more space.  Again this is contingent on you being able to access these deals.  I'm not sure if they can be applied internationally.

But if you're set on getting an impact driver I would highly recommend the surge model from Milwaukee.  It's a hydraulic impact driver which results in a MUCH quieter action.  The peak torque isn't as high as a traditional impact driver but it is more consistent meaning it will often drive screws faster.  They come in both 12 and 18v but find the 12 to be more than capable in most situations I need it for.  Other companies also make them.  Makita and Ridgid I believe.  They're also referred to as pulse drivers.  Good luck with your choice.

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It is financially efficient to buy the same brand. The big expense is the batteries. The best time to buy batteries is December. Half off. I keep myself a year ahead in new unused batteries. Lithium batteries have an unlimited shelf life. No leakage.  My preference is Makita. There are several good choices. 

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It doesn't usually make sense to choose between the drill and impact driver from a financial point of view. When you buy a set with both, it's often only a bit more expensive than buying one on its own. I'd look at any of the major brands sand get a set of the two with charger and batteries.

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