If you’re serious about doing DIY projects, you should consider the differences of a cordless drill vs impact driver. Each one has its pros and cons that make it a better choice depending on the job.
An impact driver can make some tasks easier for you once you understand where its versatility and usefulness lie. It won’t replace your drill, but it will add to your repertoire of projects.
How Does an Impact Driver Work?
A traditional drill and an impact driver operate on the same principles but use different ways to apply their force. The former uses forward pressure into whatever object into which you are drilling versus the sideways or perpendicular means of the latter.
It also borrows a similar mechanism from the hammer drill which exerts force from the rear of the tool into the material. However, the impact driver puts its power behind the rotational force instead of the back.
The result is greater torque which can, in turn, help you with more difficult tasks such as removing stubborn screws and bolts. That’s one reason why it’s an indispensable tool in many repair shops.
The Design of the Mechanism
Most new models are 20 volt which gives you a lot of power. You may find the occasional 18 volt one on sites like Craigslist.org.
The business end of the impact driver contains a T-shaped anvil, compression spring and an impact mass. Differences in the speeds of parts are the force behind the torque.
You’ll see this spec listed as inches-pounds for the maximum output. Other figures include impacts per minute which gives you an idea of the force behind it.
Similarities and Differences of a Cordless Drill vs Impact Driver
You’ll often see cordless drills and impact drivers sold together as a set. That should tip you off from the get-go that they serve different functions.
For drilling holes, the cordless drill is the tool of choice simply because it gives you a lot of control and precision. Both are lightweight and relatively compact so that you can use either one in tight places.
One of the key differences lies in torque. While the former is good, the latter blows it out of the water.
A cordless drill is fine for loosening small screws. However, you have to be careful using one with ones really tight because its torque can work against you, causing injury if it gets away from you.
Another major divergence exists between the bits. The design of the impact driver and its resulting increase in torque means that it uses a hexagonal chuck versus the round shank ones of a cordless drill.
Finally, there’s a big gulf between the control of a cordless drill vs impact driver. With the former, you stay in charge while with the latter, it determines when the action kicks in to remove the screw.
Why Should You Consider Getting Both an Impact Driver and Cordless Drill?
There are several reasons why you should consider an impact driver vs drill that primarily concern the type of work that you do. It’s an ideal tool to have on hand for general projects to make fast work of putting in screws or fasteners.
Also, you won’t strip screw heads using an impact driver which certainly puts it in the dealmaker category. It has a compact profile to make it useful for a wider range of applications too.
You can use models with adjustable speeds whether it’s on the front of the tool or a slider. That way you can match the use of the impact driver with the task.
It’s about as quiet as a cordless drill until the torque mechanism kicks in, making it quite loud. In either case, we recommend that you always wear ear protection when using power tools of any kind.
You can find a decent product under $200 for everyday jobs. If you opt for a combo set, they’ll run north of $300 or more for a high-quality model.
Other features you should look into include:
- Type of battery
- Power source
- Manufacturer warranty
- Drill bit set
You’ll see them sold as the bare tool or as part of a combo kit that will have other accessories like a charger, extra batteries and a carrying case.
We’d suggest going with the latter because buying the extras that you’ll need will quickly add to your up-front cost. A warranty is also a must-have because you just never know.
Advances in the Technology
The technology of power tools has taken off in recent years, catching impact drivers in the wave too. You’ll see those nice-to-have features like LED lights in the base to illuminate your workspace which we consider essential.
Power tool manufacturer, DeWalt, include a Tool Connect app to manage your inventory, customize settings and monitor your battery status.
An impact driver will chew through batteries pretty quickly, especially if you’re ramping up the speed and power behind your work. The wise user will have at least one extra battery on hand to keep the work going.
What You Should Look for in an Impact Driver and Cordless Drill
Versatility and usability are some of the primary features we look for in any power tool. Brushless models, for example, require less maintenance and offer performance advantages with cooler running temperatures and greater efficiency.
The cost of a cordless drill vs impact driver is comparable. We’d suggest looking for models for which you can use the same batteries to save you time and money.
Best Jobs for an Impact Driver
A cordless drill isn’t always the best tool for a task despite its versatility and affordability. An impact driver is better for reducing wrist strain, especially if you’re driving in longer screws.
It takes on a lot of the work with the improvements in its design and action. It’ll make your job easier with less effort on your part.
It’ll shine in with projects where you have to work at an odd angle or have to hold your arms overhead for things like hanging light fixtures. Its lighter weight makes it an excellent option in these cases.
Are There Any Downsides to an Impact Driver versus a Cordless Drill?
Most purchasing decisions involve both pros and cons with an impact driver or a cordless drill no exceptions. The glaring disadvantage lies with bits because they’re not interchangeable in a cordless drill vs impact driver.
Either one is easy to use when swapping out for a different one. The former uses a keyless chuck whereas the latter has a quick-release mechanism.
Its impressive power is a double-edged sword when it comes to using an impact driver in applications where too much torque is a bad thing. It’s probably not the best choice for more delicate hardware like brass pieces.
An impact driver offers several benefits that make it worth a look as an addition to your workshop. It can tackle the more difficult tasks of removing stubborn screws and bolts while requiring less effort on your part.
Both are versatile with their compact and lightweight designs which make them the go-to tool for a myriad of jobs. And when used properly, they are often safer than conventional drills and bring more power to the workbench.