Primarily used to drill holes and drive screws in and out
Impact drivers – also known as impact drills – are an ideal solution for completing heavy-duty projects, from house framing to deck building. It’s important to know how impact drills work, as well as the differences between these tools and standard drills.
What is an Impact Driver?
A corded or cordless impact driver is a versatile tool used to easily drive large fasteners, long screws and lag bolts by delivering a quick rotary burst packed with ample torque.
Impact drivers are designed with hex collets, which allow you to get into tighter spaces and quickly swap out drill and driver bits with ¼ inch hexagonal shanks. Impact drivers come in a variety of voltage ratings, ranging from 12 volts to 22 volts. An 18v impact driver is the most popular because it can handle most jobs.
Impact Driver vs. Drill
Torque is the biggest advantage impact drivers have over standard drills. The amount of torque an electric impact driver offers is perfect for driving large fasteners and long screws into dense surfaces such as metal, brick and hardwood, which might stall a standard drill. Impact drivers are not ideal for more precision-based drilling tasks where the size and placement of a hole matters.
Impact drivers are less likely to strip screws than standard drills. They maintain better contact with a screw head because their quick bursts tighten in a more controlled fashion.
Despite their strength, impact drivers help prevent wrist and forearm strain more effectively than standard drills. The downward force from an impact driver is sent directly to the screw rather than your body, allowing you to work longer and more comfortably. Just make sure to wear hearing protection when using impact drivers since they are much louder than standard drills.
For the ultimate convenience, choose an impact driver set that includes a hard case to store all your attachments when not in use.
For your next project, consider an impact driver when power is a concern. It provides the torque you need to drive long screws or larger fasteners into thick, heavy surfaces. For information about the differences between impact drivers and standard drills, check out our Impact Drivers vs. Drills guide, which also includes details about drill design.