Impact Driver vs Drill

When the cordless drill was invented, it revolutionized the building world for both the skilled carpenter and the novice homeowner who just wanted to hang a curtain rod. The cordless drill is here to stay and has a wide range of uses around the house and in the workplace.

However, there’s a new kid in town – the impact driver. It excels at what once was the sole preserve of the drill: driving in screws.

On this page, we will take a look at The Impact Driver vs Drill so you know the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Cordless Drill – King of the Hill!

The cordless drill is the most popular tool in every’s toolbox. From novice to pro, anyone who owns a toolbox most likely owns a cordless drill. This versatile tool drills holes, drives in screws and a host of other repair and remodel chores.

With a variety of easy to change bits, the cordless drill can also saw, sand, buff, whip, mix and polish. The speed, affordability and versatility of a cordless drill help make it a ‘must-have’ for every toolbox. 
 
 

Where an Impact Driver Shines

So if the cordless drill is so great, what’s all the buzz about an impact driver?

The tool even looks like a drill, so it can’t be all that different, right? Yes and no.

An impact driver is designed for one thing and does it incredibly well – drive screws. This tool can drive in screws faster and better than any other tool on the market, including a drill. If the task you are undertaking involves installing a lot of screws, then an impact driver will be an invaluable tool for you to have on hand. 
 
 
 

Impact Driver Vs Drill Performance Comparison

A cordless drill drives in screws via rotation. The same way the tool creates holes, sands and does all the other tasks a drill is designed to do with various removable attachments.
An impact driver drives in screws using rotation and also concussive blows. This tool can powerfully drive screws into the most thickest and densest woods with ease. Impact drivers have no problems driving in fasteners that are large and long, like the fat lag screws, that would normally bog down a cordless drill.

Battery Life

An impact driver has around 200% – 300% more torque than a drill, yet can accomplish a lot more work on one battery charge. A typical impact driver can drive in over 130 lag screws on one battery charge. Even more work would be accomplished per battery charge when working with smaller screws.

Comparison of Impact Drivers & Drills

There will always be uses for a drill around the house, both for homeowners and home builders. For hanging artwork or installing a new towel rack in the bathroom, the cordless drill will always be the go-to tool. Still, bigger projects are made easier with a more powerful tool.

Building a new deck, laying plywood sub-floors, installing tile backer board or any other major home building or remodeling project that will require the installation of many screws, the impact driver is the one tool that will save you a lot of time and work.

The Down Side of An Impact Driver

While an impact driver can make quick work of a big job, it’s not a tool to be used when working with soft surfaces, such as drywall, because of the forceful impact the tool makes. An impact driver is also not the best choice when working with something that could easily be over-tightened or broken.

Closing the Gap

The one and only purpose of an impact driver has been to drive screws quickly and easily under the toughest of circumstances, which made the distinct difference between drill and driver. Drills are designed with keyless chucks that allow the usage of a wide variety of drill bits and other tools. An impact driver does not have this keyless chuck design.

The impact driver has a collet that accepts hex-shanked driver bits only, but that is beginning to change. Some manufacturers are now offering drill chucks that can be used on their drivers. This allows them to be used in the same capacity as a drill. In the future, a more-versatile impact driver may replace the cordless drill for many tasks.

Ergonomics

An impact driver’s size and shape is about the same as a drill. It does fit comfortably into the hand. It’s also designed to be safely and comfortably used for extended periods of time. Despite the power of an impact driver, the concussive action of the tool is transferred into the screw and not into the hand or forearm of the person using it.

The Price Of Impact Drivers

As you’d expect with a power tool, there’s quite a selection of impact drivers on the market. The good news is shopping around you can get you a lot of discount.

Prices begin at around $50 for a “Bare impact driver“. This means that it comes without a battery and charger. To get a top-rated impact driver with a battery and charger, you’re looking at around $80.

A high-end impact driver with all the bells and whistles (like this Ingersoll one) will cost around $500.

The Price of Drills

Drills are much cheaper than impact drivers. Considering their versatility and usefulness, they’re excellent value for money.

If you shop around, you can get a decent Black & Decker mains powered drill for around half-the-price of a A top-rated cordless drill. So in terms of value-for-money, the drill is going to be hard to beat.

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