The debate over whether or not you need an impact driver has been settled among the pros, but for you DIY’ers out there who aren’t sure whether or not they want to invest in an impact driver, here’s a rundown of why and impact driver might be a welcome addition to your toolbox.
What is An Impact Driver?
An impact driver is a pistol-shaped power tool that’s designed to drive screws and other fasteners through different materials. You’re probably thinking “that sounds just like a cordless drill.” Well, impact drivers do look like snub-nosed cordless drills, but they are much better at doing what they do.
Impact Driver vs. Cordless Drill
A cordless drill does work for driving fasteners. All you have to do is swap out the drill bit for a driver bit. However, drills are designed for drilling (hence the name). An impact driver is designed for driving, and it does it much more efficiently than a drill does. Ever been driving a screw with your drill and stripped the head out? Do you always end up with your driver bit mangled and covered with metal shavings? Those are signs that you’re using the wrong tool. Both are caused by the bit slipping out of the screw head. This happens because a drill delivers constant, smooth torque.
An impact driver delivers the same smooth torque motion, but with bursts of extra torque added. This keeps your bit from slipping and prevents it from stripping out the head of the screw. It also cuts down on how much the drill pushes against your wrist. If you’re driving a lot of fasteners on a project, an impact driver will make your life a lot easier. It will save your wrist, and it will save you the headaches of stripped screws.
So, while you can use a cordless drill as a driver, it’s not ideal for driving a lot of screws. For bigger projects that will need a lot of fasteners (like framing a room or doing woodworking), you’ll want an impact driver.