First and foremost, we must differentiate between a drill and an impact driver. Though they may seem similar at first glance, these two power tools could not be more different.
A drill is primarily used for drilling holes and driving bolts. They are angled so that they can drill into surfaces to any depth necessary with rotating discs that rotate the bit. A drill is meant to be used in multiple directions; because of this, they are best suited to get into the nooks and crannies that larger power tools cannot get into. Even though an electric drill is primarily for drilling, it can drive screws just as easily. The only drawback of using a drill for driving screws is that it takes more pressure than an impact driver, making it hard on your hands and wrists.
An impact driver is designed specifically for driving long screws and bolts. They have a big, blunt blade that is angled to quickly and efficiently cut into a nut or bolt. The angle lets the impact driver do the hard work in a fast and effective way. Furthermore, they have a clutch to help you control the torque so you don’t overdo it in an attempt to drive a screw that will not go all the way in. An impact driver is best when you need to drive into something hard or has been drilled already for longer screws. You can drive easily using an impact driver, but this tool is not ideal for drilling.
Though an impact driver and drill may seem like they do the same thing, they each fill different roles. The difference is largely based on how each of these power tools uses an angle to be more efficient at what they were designed for. As such, it comes down to what you need it for and picking the right tool for the job.
Pros and Cons of Impact Driver and Drill
Impact driver vs. drill, the question remains: which one is better? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here’s what you need to know about impact vs. drill.
Advantages of impact driver over drill:
The impact driver is more precise in the way it operates. It is designed with a swivel head that enables it to rotate in one direction, helping you secure screws where there are tight spaces. A drill only comes with a pointy head that cannot rotate, so you have to be more accurate when drilling where holes need to be drilled.
The impact driver is more effective when it comes to driving long screws. You can easily drive longer screws that cannot be driven with a drill since the impact driver can truly impact into the head of the screw. This means you get the full potential of screw driving on an impact driver.
Impact drivers can be used on more materials than drills. Drilling on wood, metal, and plastic is easier with an impact driver than with a drill because it keeps things flat for better drilling on these materials. Plus, since it does not have a pointy head as drills do, you will not hurt yourself while drilling into different surfaces.
Advantages of drill over impact driver:
Drills contain more power than impact drivers, which means you can drive longer screws with a drill. When it comes to drilling, you can also use an impact driver, but it is not as effective as a drill. A drill can easily cut through concrete and other difficult materials that cannot be cut with an impact driver. You would need to change your screwdriver for something else if you were to use an impact driver.
Drills are easier to handle and control than impact drivers because they only come with one pointy head that spins around and can be used in multiple directions. Impact drivers are designed with a swivel head that needs to be held in place while driving, making it more difficult to use.
The impact driver is better for driving screws in tight spaces because it has a swivel head. Drills are not made with swivel heads, which means they are ideal for larger spaces but not smaller ones. If you need to drive multiple screws into surfaces that are not easily accessible, you need an impact driver.
Impact drivers can get into spaces where drills cannot get into because their pointy end stops the drill from getting stuck when driving screws on hard surfaces.
Which One Should You Get?
When it comes down to it, this depends on your needs. The drill you choose should be based on the type of hole-drilling job you’re trying to complete. Impact drivers are designed for fast, smooth driving in applications that require long screws or bolts. If you need something versatile enough to also be used for drilling into wood or other hard materials, then an impact driver would be the way to go.
Also, keep in mind the weight of your power tool when it comes to which one would benefit you more. The more power, the heavier the tool. This is not a problem for most people, but if you are on a ladder and trying to use your drill for hours, you will probably grow tired of holding up all that weight. Impact drivers will need to be emptied of power before you put them away, so if it has more power than you need on one project, it unnecessarily drains energy and takes up space in your garage.
Of course, this is by no means an absolute rule. There are times when you will want the extra power of a drill. If you are using it for something where you need to drill holes into hard materials, for example, then the weight of the drill will be more than what you need. In cases like these, it may be best to go with an impact driver; since they can help you control the force better and protect your hands better, they will help minimize strain on your hands and wrists.
A drill and an impact driver are great power tools to have around the house – each with its unique use. It is best to have both so you can finish everything from small projects around the house to larger-scale projects.