What is an Impact Driver? Why do I Need One! (With Infographic)

The impact driver is used to drive screws through wood, steel gauge, or any other lightweight material. It is also a compact and hand-held gadget that is easy on the hands.

Besides, impact drivers are much more convenient to use when it comes to carrying out all-day-long tasks. Apart from that, the portability and versatility factor of impact drivers is much more than the impact wrenches.

Impact drivers are one of the most common and powerful tools that can be used as a versatile alternative to drills.

Impact Driver Mechanism

With the enormity of drill types present around, it is of great importance to have an impact driver for auto work.

So with that being said, let’s dig a little deeper into the topic and find out what are the reasons to buy an impact driver, along with its basic working mechanism.

On that note, let’s get down to it:

Why do I need an Impact Driver?

One of the most burning questions these days for the DIYers is why on earth does one need to buy an impact driver?!

The fact that all the drilling machines look alike doesn’t really justify that all of them pull off similar jobs. The same goes for an impact driver.

It is certainly different from the other heavy-duty drilling gadgets, as mentioned earlier, and hence you’ve got enough reasons to answer why you need an impact driver in your toolbox.

With that being said, let’s get down to the whys of having an impact driver.

1. First and foremost, the thing which I like about an impact driver is that it is easy to carry and hold. So much so that you don’t feel any kind of burden or strain in your hands after or while holding the machine for operation.

2. Second, it is not only easy on the hands but also is quite portable. That means you can carry this miniature along with your DIY projects or while traveling. Besides, it’s space-saving enough to be placed easily in a carry box.

3. One of the main functions of an impact driver that makes it stand out among other drills is that it can be used in tight, narrow spaces. So, for instance, if you want to draw fasteners inside a cupboard or any other vertical setting perpendicularly, then this can be the best gadget.

4. Adding to the benefits of having an impact driver, it manages to be a versatile tool that can replace, at the very least, two major gadgets. For instance, you can buy one impact drill that would be enough to perform the tasks of an electric drill and, somehow, of the drywall screwdriver.

5. It works with high levels of torque that drives everything literally into materials, without a problem. The point of repeating the fact is to let you know how convenient it is to use an impact driver.

Impact Driver – Infographic

Can I Use an Impact Driver as a Drill?

Impact drivers are typically designed for driving – as the name suggests – instead of drilling holes in a material. But that aside, it can be used for this purpose as well. So to answer the question: yes, you can use an impact driver as a drill.

With that being said, it’s important to mention the stuff that makes an impact driver capable of drilling holes in wood or any other material. To get it straight, you need specific drill bits to do the job.

So here’s the deal:

In order to bore holes in wood or light-gauge steel, an impact driver with a hexagonal-shank drill bit can be of use. But not to forget that the holes drilled by using an impact driver are not that fine.

In addition to that, the limited hex-shank bits and the finite speed options make drilling with an impact driver a little poor. So overall, I wouldn’t recommend you to go for impact drivers in the first place when you have to drill holes in a certain material.

However, if you don’t have any other options available at the moment, or the quality of the drilled hole doesn’t really matter in the case, then you can opt for an impact driver to do the drill!

So to wrap up with this thing, we can say that it is a myth of believing that an impact driver cannot be used for drilling holes. That is absolutely not the case, as we have discussed already. However, the results wouldn’t be that much good as they would’ve been via other drills.

Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill

You might have come across the question of what actually makes an impact driver different from a hammer drill. Well, here we have put together a basic detail of both to help you find the answer.

Impact drivers and hammer drills might seem similar in function as both the tools appear to be the sturdiest of gadgets. Besides, as the names pose, both the drill types come off as overpowering tools.

Now with that said, let’s get down to business and find out what is the difference between Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill and what has made them similar and dissimilar to each other. So without further ado, let’s get down to it:

Impact Driver:

Starting off, the impact driver works with a rotational mechanism. The bit rotation method is quite energetic in its case as it exerts a pretty good force on the object to drive screws and fasteners. Besides, the stress and pressure on the hands are significantly low with these drivers due to their concussive operation.

Having said that, Bosch and Dewalt impact drivers are efficient in performance as they appear to be replacing two major drill types, i.e., drywall screwdriver and power drill. So if you ever come across the selection among drywall screwdrivers vs power drill vs impact drivers, then make the wisest of choices.

With this being mentioned, let’s just simply move towards the hammer drill and throw some light on its specifications:

Hammer Drill:

Hammer drills are specifically designed for drilling in hard material as compared to the impact drivers, which were to drive fasteners in the objects. In fact, hammer drills are also referred to as impact drills as they are just like the impact drivers exerting power, with the only difference in drilling and driving through the objects.

With that being said, the hammer drills operate with a percussive mechanism that ensures quick back and forth movement of the machine.


Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench

For the DIYers, a range of questions regarding comparisons are always put up in front frequently in order to make the difference between all the types of drills more clear.

As previously, we’ve discussed the major differences between impact drivers and hammer drills. So in a similar context, here we have another comparison to deal with, which is: Impact driver vs Impact wrench.

As we have already discussed a little bit about the impact drivers that how they work, what is their construction, and how are these beneficial in DIY projects. So here, we’ll be discussing more the impact wrenches than impact drivers. For an in-depth guide, please read this piece impact driver vs impact wrench.

With that being said, let’s begin with the basics of an impact wrench:

Impact Wrench:

An impact wrench is no different than an impact driver, at least not in the basic principle of functioning. However, what draws a line between the two is that it is much more of a power tool in comparison with the impact driver.

To put it simply, impact wrenches are used to carry out heavy-duty operations, such as automotive repairing, maintenance of hefty equipment, substantial construction projects, and many more.

what is an impact wrench

With that being said, this exceptionally vigorous driving tool is available in different sizes. From a compact, hand-held impact drill to a giant, heavy-duty machine, the impact wrenches are all designed to pull off an enormity of tasks.

Apart from that, the hammer design is adjustable, meaning that you can slide and rotate the shaft to set it accurately. Besides, there’s a spring that is holding it in a downwards position.

That being said, impact wrenches work on hammer mechanisms. The hammer spins and impacts the anvil to rotate. So much so, the hammer spins and releases back and forth to impact the anvil, thus causing powerful blows.

Adding to this, the frequent back and forth movement of the hammer increases revolution, thus producing more power to drive force.

Impact Drivers:

As mentioned already, impact drivers are used to driving screws through wood, steel gauge, or any other lightweight material. These are also compact and hand-held gadgets that are easy on the hands.

Besides, impact drivers are much more convenient to use when it comes to carrying out all-day-long tasks. Apart from that, the portability and versatility factor of impact drivers is much more than the impact wrenches.

Now:

Following is a quick summary of the differences and similarities between the two. Firstly, impact drivers are specifically made to drive fasteners through objects, whereas impact wrenches, as the name suggests, are built to fasten and loosen the nuts or bolts.

In the second place, the impact wrenches feature a range of sizes and shapes, while the impact drivers are typically limited in variety based on size.

However, the thing that is similar in both the machines is that each of the two delivers maximum torque, which simply discriminates them from other power tools.

So let’s put an end to this comparison here as we have managed to put up the basics of both. Now let’s move on to explore some more fun facts about an impact driver.

Note: Read the Review; Which one is best Dewalt DCF885 vs DCF887


What can Impact Driver not do?

All of this lengthy discussion above mentions the basics of impact drivers, how they function, what they are made up of, and what job they do. But the thing which has been missing is what actually is the task that you cannot carry out by using an impact driver.

As for the fact that many people are buying impact drivers instead of power drills, believing that it is an all-in-one tool, and there’s no doubt about it, but still, there must be something that makes other drills stand out in front of it.

So we have got to find out for what job other drills are used in order to figure out what an impact driver cannot do. On that note, let’s get down to it:

Power Drilling:

In the first place, an impact driver is not capable of high-speed power drilling. And by power drilling, we do not mean to drive screws through the wood. Rather it would not be useful to drill concrete using an impact driver.

Conclusively, it can be said that an impact driver is not capable of doing the job of a power drill.

Accepting Drill Bits:

In the second place, the most typical feature of an impact driver is that it does not accept a whole range of bits. So that makes it different from other drills and thus counts to be one of the things that an impact driver isn’t capable of doing!

Noise:

Lastly, we have another factor to put up, i.e., an impact driver cannot operate in a less booming noise. Rather it fills the environment with the blaring sound of its operation.


Do you need Special Screws for an Impact Driver

To get that straight, an impact driver doesn’t really need special kinds of screws to drive through objects unless it is for a different purpose, such as drilling holes, etc.

As we have discussed already, in order to bore holes using an impact driver, you need to install hex-shank drill bits.

But apart from that, the impact drivers are designed with great uniqueness in that they do not accept a wide range of screws and bits like that of the other drills out there. So yes, you might need special screws for an impact driver to some extent.

Conclusion:

Impact drivers are the new talk of the town. No matter whether you are an occasional DIYer or a regular woodworker, the purpose and importance of having an impact driver by the side are equally considerable.

Moreover, the need to have more knowledge of the device prior to learning after numerous attempts can be a good enough option. So in the concern, we have listed down all the essentials regarding the topic. Make sure to dig into them in-depth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need an impact driver?

With the growing interest of people in impact drivers, a question arises in the mind do one really needs to spend money on an impact driver or not. So to answer that in a one-liner, an impact driver can replace two of the heavy-duty drills available on the market.
Apart from that, the other handy benefits of this compact device increase its worth, for instance, portable design, lightweight gadget in your toolbox, and many more.

Can I use an impact driver as a regular drill?

Although impact drivers are not particularly designed to drill like the regular drills, somehow, they can be used for the purpose as well. So to answer the question, yes, an impact driver can be used as a regular drill, with the exception of limited drill bit supplies.

Can you use impact driver bits in a drill?

Yes, impact driver bits can be used in a drill as they are quite compatible with a lot of other settings. In addition to that, the traditional drill machines can quite conveniently work with the drill bits of an impact driver.

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.