In his first Torque-Tested feature Peter Brett talks us through his hands-on experience of products currently on the professional tradesman’s radar...

On just about any jobsite the rattle of impact drivers tells the story of their almost universal adoption by the trades. And there is no doubt that they are useful – and that’s why users tolerate the noise. However, the impact driver of yesteryear is a different beast from the ones hitting the market right now.

Shoehorned into a compact and high quality body, the HiKOKI WH36DB features a triple hammer system, an IP56 water and dust proofing rating and several adjustable modes. Thanks to HiKOKI’s R and D team, its new impact drivers even have 21st Century sensitivity built in!


First impressions count a lot in a tool that is handled a lot. The main grip is slim and well-shaped with ample rubber moulding in strategic places for grip and comfort. The weight of the tool is largely focused on the base where the multi-volt battery pack is located. This has a flat bottom for easy placement, and the twin-button battery lock works slickly to avoid the annoying ‘sticky-battery release’ syndrome.

A first for HiKOKI is the provision of a four-light charge status system on the front of the battery pack – a bit of a catch-up but welcome nevertheless.

On the left side of the base is another very useful feature – a mode selection switch that enables the user to select Power, Self-Drilling Screw mode or Normal or Soft modes. Clearly, a 25mm screw needn’t be driven with the same force as a  100mm one. To save battery power and screwheads it’s great to have the option. It saves on the ‘clackety’ noise of the impact hammers too, for which
I am thankful.

A small switch on the front of the base is used to select the light modes. With older eyesight, I am a fan of worklights on tools, and the options on this light are very useful.


The WH36DB stands only 245mm high on its battery pack and from the front of the ¼ inch hex chuck to the back of the casing is a mere 130mm – small enough to fit into the smallest of kitchen
cabinets. It really is hard to believe that a driver so compact can deliver up to 210Nm of tightening torque.

Speeds are controlled via the trigger with options of 0 – 2900/min in Power Mode down to 0 - 900/min in Soft mode. One of the reasons why HiKOKI has managed to make this driver so compact is because the motor is brushless – this equals fewer working parts, longer life and more power. And they are now a necessity on most cordless power tools as a result.


I have had this driver onsite for about six weeks and it has never fallen short of expectations – it is powerful, easy to handle, easy to adjust and very practical. I have driven everything from 120mm
long concrete screws to 20mm long self-tappers and woodscrews while fitting a kitchen. I really came to value the adjustable modes as it is sometimes too easy to overdrive screws with a conventional one-speed impact driver. HiKOKI has definitely done its homework on this one and it would be a right grump who might quibble with it.

Head to TORQUE TESTED to find more reviews from Peter Brett.

Brands, companies and wholesalers that are interested in getting their products reviewed in Torque Magazine should contact the editor at

This article was originally published in Torque's February print magazine. You can subscribe to the mag or read the whole thing online