Impact Driver vs. Drill – What’s The Difference?

Ok, so maybe you have just heard of impact drivers for the first time. Or maybe you have heard of impact drivers, and heard that people use them like drill, but don’t know the difference.

What is the difference?

Let’s take a quick look at each.

Drills & Hammer Drills

Drills are a very common tool and they can be used to drill holes using a drill bit or they can be used to drive screws and fasteners.

A drill, by design, is best suited for drilling. If you need to drill clean holes in wood with control, there is no better option than a drill. Drills don’t have the hammering action like an impact driver does, and therefore you must put pressure on the back of the drill with your arm by leaning or pushing on the drill to get the bit to burrow into the wood.

The same can be said if you are driving screws with a drill, you need to push on the drill to drive the screw into the wood.

Hammer drills are also available from the usual tool manufacturers. These drills offer the feel and usability of a drill, but also have a hammering action implemented into their design. This type of feature on a drill can help reduce fatigue when you have a job that requires driving many screws, such as building a deck.

Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are very popular for both mechanical work and woodworking. Woodworkers typically use impact drivers to drive screws and fasteners, rather than drilling.

However, light drilling can be accomplished with an impact driver, but many manufacturers recommend that you don’t use an impact driver for drilling holes.

Impact drivers rely on a hammering action to drive the fastener or screw without any pushing effort on your part. This can be a hugely positive feature when you have to drive a lot of screws, or if you have hand/arm stress problems.

The compact impact drivers that are available today, like the Bosch PS40, allow you to drive a lot of screws without the fatigue typically associated with pushing on a drill, and the light weight combined with the hammering action drives screws into wood easier than anything you’ve ever used.

Our Recommendation

We suggest getting an impact driver if you have any sort of need for driving or fastening. It will work much better than a drill in these instances.

You will save your arms and hands a lot of stress by using a tool with hammering action for this type of work. Save the drill for drilling holes, that’s what they are made for.