Making An Impact
Whether corded or cordless, an impact driver is a versatile tool. With a quick rotary burst packed by ample torque, it can be used to easily drive large fasteners, long screws and lag bolts. Designed with hex collets, impact drivers allow you to get into tighter spaces and quickly swap out drill and driver bits with 1/4 inch hexagonal shanks.
Impact Driver vs. Drill
The main difference between a drill and an impact driver boils down to power and rotational action. Unlike drills, impact drivers have quick release shanks that accept all one-quarter inch hex driver bits. Impact drivers product lots of rotational force, capable of driving the largest wood screws in seconds.
Impact drivers can produce more torque than drills by way of internal mechanisms, and in quick bursts. Happening up to 50 times a second, these bursts or "impacts" give impact drivers their name. They also rotate their bits to engage and drive screws more effectively than drills.
Tending to be more compact and lighter than most drills, impact drivers usually deliver more power for a given size of tool while also keeping the driver bit more completely engaged with the screw head. This last advantage is the main feature people notice when they use an impact driver for the first time: the driver bits hardly ever slip and spin within screw heads when they use an impact driver.
So Are Impact Drivers and Hammer Drills the Same?
Like regular drills, hammer drills are distinct from impact drivers and made for a different purpose. Even so, some people confuse impact drivers with hammer drills. Hammer drills are essentially regular drills with the added ability to vibrate bits back and forth rapidly while spinning which makes for quicker drilling in concrete, brick, stone or blocks. This gives hammer drills their name, this rapid hammering or vibration.
When Do You Need an Impact Driver?
A regular drill will suit you fine if you need to drill holes and drive the occasional medium-sized screw. Consider investing in an impact driver however if you have a deck to build, a plywood subfloor to install, a tree house to screw together or any other job involving lots of wood screws.
It will cut down your work time significantly and drive large screws into wood in just a few seconds. Be sure to use an impact driver safely, as you should with all power tools. During use, wear at least safety glasses, and keep your hands, clothes and hair clear of the tool. Also avoid workspace clutter that can cause an accident.