Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill – What’s the Difference?
What Is the Function of Each Tool?
Each of these devices operates on similar principles with different strategies for harnessing their power. Therein lie their functions, advantages and optimal use.
One of the driving factors rests with the types of materials with which you work. When considering the differences between a hammer drill vs drill driver, the former has a more limited scope than the latter.
What Does an Impact Driver Do?
The advantages of the impact driver vs hammer drill exist with its basic operation which, in turn, determines its design. The former uses torque to its advantage by applying extra force to the rotational motion of the tool.
The impact comes when either the screw or bolt is loosened or tightened. That has both pros and cons that you’ll need to know for the safe operation of the tool.
On the one hand, it uses torque to its advantage which lowers the amount of effort you need to exert. Conversely, it can overdo the motion and break your hardware, especially those made of softer materials like brass.
What Does a Hammer Drill Do?
A hammer drill acts like a drill for the usual functions along with the added force of taking a sledgehammer to the back to make it more effective. It has the cool factor of using a wicked tool with the power and noise behind it.
What Are the Advantages of Each Tool?
With their operation in mind, it’s easy to see where one device can work better in certain situations. Let’s run through what you need to know to get the best use out of each one.
Benefits and Downsides of an Impact Driver
One of the main advantages that an impact driver brings to the table is its lighter weight. That matters when using it, especially for longer jobs.
It is also more compact so that you can use it in cramped spaces where you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. Those situations often make loosening screws and bolts difficult because it interferes with your leverage.
The impact driver overcomes this obstacle with a unique way to approach the issue of torque. The fact that the force comes from the side or perpendicular to your task is a game-changing advantage over a direct position.
It is the tool to use if you’re having difficulty getting a bolt loose. That’s one reason you’ll see in in repair shops.
One downside of the impact driver vs hammer is that you can’t interchange the bits from your conventional drills. It has a hexagonal chuck rather than the round one with other types.
It doesn’t have the same control that you have with a traditional or hammer drill either. These tools work well for their intended use—drilling holes.
Pros and Cons of a Hammer Drill
One of the primary differences you’ll find between an impact driver vs hammer drill is weight. The latter is much heavier by virtue of what it is and its typical use.
The extra ounces serve it well as a more powerful force to drive in screws and bolts that isn’t unlike the posture you’ll like take yourself when using it. It’s a natural instinct to push harder which the tool does for you.
Another con is the noise factor. There’s no getting around the fact that a major difference between an impact driver and hammer drill is the volume of each one.
Many people liken it to a jackhammer because of the force coming from the rear of the unit. It’s the main reason that you should use ear protection when operating it.
As you may expect, the same caution applies to using eye protection, especially if you’re using it on masonry. We strongly urge you to always wear safety glasses when using one.
What Is the Right Tool for the Job?
You’ll likely see now that the mechanism of each of these tools lends itself to different projects which is a good reason to have both of them. At this point, you need to consider your typical tasks to see if the investment is worthwhile when considering a hammer drill versus impact driver.
Where the Impact Driver Succeeds
The operation of the impact vs hammer drill points you in the right direction of how to best use it. The impact driver is the tool of choice with stubborn bolts, especially in tight places.
You can switch on the impact when you need it to keep you in control. Its primary advantage lies with its superior torque.
It works best with a general DIY project where you’ll be using a lot of fasteners or screws. You’ll be able to work quickly with this tool without much effort on your part.
You’ll find them in both cordless and corded models. Voltage can range anywhere from 9.6 to 20 with the latter being the most common.
You’ll often see them sold in combo sets with a cordless drill. While it functions similarly, a traditional one is best for drilling holes or working with smaller hardware.
Prices range from around $100 to well north of $300 for a professional grade model. To get the most value out of your money, we suggest getting an extra battery or two.
The use of the torque comes with a high demand for energy. You’ll go through batteries quickly.
When You Should Use a Hammer Drill
A hammer drill works best with jobs involving concrete or masonry. You’ll also need to use bits specially made for these uses because of the force behind it.
Like the impact driver, you can control when to engage the hammer function. However, it’s not necessarily something you’ll use with woodworking simply because it’s too powerful for these projects.
You can pick up a decent model for under $100. Like the impact driver, they typically have a voltage of 20, but more powerful tools are available.
They vary in several key specs including chuck size, chuck type and clutch settings. It’s worth noting that impact drivers with a clutch are uncommon.
The higher-end products have multiple speed settings to match the force with the difficulty of the job. You’ll find them sold as the tool alone or as a kit with a battery or two and a charger included with a carrying case.
You can add to the versatility of your workshop when you keep the differences between an impact driver vs hammer drill in mind. Each tool succeeds at its intended purpose.
However, they are not interchangeable despite the similarities in their functionality. Whether you need both depends on the types of projects that you normally undertake.
Between the two, you’re more likely to find more uses for the impact driver over the hammer drill because of its versatility. The latter is more of a specialty tool than the former.