Drywall Screwdriver vs Drill vs Impact Driver – What’s the Difference?

Drywall Screwdriver vs Drill vs Impact Driver – What’s the Difference?

If you are embarking on your DIY journey, then you need to know the difference between drywall screwdriver vs drill vs impact driver. Here’s everything you want to know about the three gun-shaped rotatory tools that look the same but have different functions.

Many people either get confused among a drywall screwdriver, drill, or impact driver. Or another fun fact, some don’t even realize there lies any difference in these handy machines!

So to clear the air for all, here’s a comprehensive guide on how these three are different and which one’s better for your tasks. Make sure to read it till the end in order to have a better understanding.

That said, let’s get straight to it:

What is Drywall Screwdriver and How does it work?

A drywall screwdriver or simply a screw gun is one of the most essential tools for driving drywall screws. It is somehow similar to a drill, with a slight range of differences, including faster speed and ease of use.

The main purpose of this power tool is to drive nails through the drywall. Gone are the days when you’d have to hammer all the nails through everything for hours, just to reach that depth. With this handy tool by your side, you can renovate your walls within no time.

With that being said, let’s have a look at how this machine works:

First off, it features a motor, clutch, and an adjustable nose at the head section. The foremost thing you have to make sure while using this power tool is that the placement of the head section gets right on point; so as to insert the screws at the accurate depth.

That being said, the proper way to use this machine is to first adjust the locking sleeve and locator of the screw gun. To make sure whether the two are adjusted perfectly or not, you can drive a test screw onto the wall.

Now to remove the bit in the hole, you have to pull the locator out of the locking sleeve. Once done that, make sure to install the locator back in position by pushing it on the locking sleeve.

What are Drill and Impact Driver and How do these work?

You’d probably been using an impact driver thinking of it as a drill. For the reason, that an impact driver looks pretty much like an electric cordless drill. However, there is a huge difference in their working mechanisms.

So without further ado, let’s figure that out:

Impact drivers are compact, handy tools as compared to drills. The sizes of the two vary, as the impact driver is smaller by up to 120 mm in length. Whereas, a drill size is 220 mm in length.

Impact drivers deliver two to three times more turning force than a drill driver. An impact driver can drive home screws way too fast and easily.

With that being said, this power, yet handy tool allows you to have a rather smooth drilling operation. This is because its concussive operation transfers all of the force onto the screw and not on your hands.

Adding to this, the impact drivers do not feature a clutch slip on the top of the tool-retaining edge. However, this doesn’t make any major difference to this power drill because, again, its concussive operation applies all the force itself.

Whereas, in the case of drills, a clutch slip is present at the top, which is to be held in order to exert pressure downwards while installing screws. This increases the amount of focus and power you personally need to put while drilling the screws.

That being said, an electric drill is larger than an impact driver when compared to the length. However, drills deliver less torque and also take a lot of effort to drive screws.

But apart from everything, the electric cordless drills have more scope than any other in the field because they are more versatile and heavy-duty. So much so, electric drivers can do loads of jobs that you don’t need to buy a number of tools.

Difference between Drywall Screwdriver, Drill, and Impact Driver:

Now here we’ll recap all the different aspects of all the three power tools and how much of a difference lies in a drywall screwdriver vs drill vs impact driver.

Features and Functionality:

First and foremost, we have the drywall screwdriver that is a recent invention in the field. Its mechanism of usage involves the setting of a locator and locking sleeve in order to install the screw right in the adjusted point.

With that being said, these drilling tools are specially designed for installing drywall in order to renovate the room. Nevertheless, this special type of drill machine might not be capable of driving the screws down in the heavy pieces of wood, like others.

Having said that, the next drilling machine, i.e. an electric cordless drill comes over with its exclusive functionality in this regard. It is an impeccable tool that drills screws in woods and anywhere you’d want to.

Besides, this is the most frequently picked tool amongst all the DIYers or professionals. Apart from that, it can carry out numerous heavy-duty drilling tasks like drilling, boring, driving screws, and polishing, etc.

However, it comparatively lacks in delivering turning power, as compared to the impact drill. It comes up with an accurate torque control that does the job well, but not as good as in the case of an impact driver.

On that note, let’s consider the last but not the least drill-type, the impact driver. It features a whole lot of quirks that minimize your extra effort. Besides, the impact driver works at bursts of torque and low speed.

The Difference in Sizes:

Here is a comparison of what is the main difference in the size of the three:

Starting off with the drywall screw gun, it is a comparatively bigger machine than the other two. Besides, the electric drill is smaller in size than the drywall screw gun but bigger than the impact drill. And lastly, the impact driver is the smallest in size of all the three main types of drills being mentioned.


Talking about the noise element of the three major drilling tools, we get to know that the drywall screw gun produces less noise as compared to the other. It installs every screw after each interval and that too without any extra sound.

Secondly, the drill machine makes a lot of noise as well as impact drivers. Both the drilling tools deliver enormous power, which is why they produce a lot of noise.

What is the Advantage of using a Screw Gun over a Drill?

The major advantage of using a screw gun over a drill is that it is powerful in deliverance. Besides, a screw gun perfectly sets the depth of the drywall in which you have to drive the screws.

Apart from that, a drill is a sturdy tool that makes sure all the screws get in place. In addition to that, an electric cordless drill can attach a bunch of drill bits to perform many different tasks.

However, while installing drywall in any room or area, the most appropriate tool is the screw gun. The reason is its accuracy because a drill machine would mess up finishing up the drywall sheet, due to its high speed and powerful rotation.

Can you use an Impact Driver for Drywall Screws?

Just like the replacement of drill with a drywall screw gun, the use of impact drivers for installing drywall screws can be questionable. Not that the job cannot be done, but it requires great care and precision to use this machine instead of a screw gun.

That being said, the high turning power of the impact driver can speed up the operation of driving bits through the drywall. Nonetheless, it can alter the appearance at times, so it is recommended not to remove the upper sheet before the installation has been completed.

So that’s all you must know about how you can use a power tool like an impact driver to do the job of a screw gun.

Summing Things Up

So it was my take on the discussion of a drywall screwdriver vs drill vs impact driver. All of these power tools are designed for ultimate ease and perfection in the job. But at times, it becomes difficult to distinguish what function each of them performs.

So that’s why we’ve put together the aforementioned guide to make sure you learn the basic difference between all three.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use an impact driver for drywall screws?

Impact drivers are powerful tools that deliver maximum power, consistency, and ease of use while installing home screws. However, in the case of drywall screws installation, the use of impact drivers is not that recommended because they might not leave good finishing to the drywalls.

What is the advantage of a drywall screw gun?

Many people out there aren’t aware of this new addition in the industry of drills, tools, and screws. With that aside, some of those who’ve seen this machine can are probably not sure about the advantages that it gives over other drills.

Is a drill and screw gun the same?

To get it straight, the answer is, no! A drill is quite different from that of a screw gun, as a drywall screwdriver is made to install the drywall and to set the depth in them to allow accurate penetration.

Bahram Shahab
Bahram here! A certified Electrical Engineer who knows his way around using power tools like a professional. My journey of using these robust tools started back when I graduated. Since then, I have finished almost a dozen DIY woodworking jobs. Apart from that, I have developed this habit of jotting down my personal experience about using a specific tool. So, I write on them to help the community in the best possible way.