What is a Cordless Impact Driver and When Do You Need One?

Makita_BTD142HW_impact_driver_cIt is often said that good things come in small packages, and the tool we are discussing today is no exception. Recently the cordless impact driver has gained popularity exponentially, but what exactly is it, and does the average consumer really need one? Here is the run-down.

At first glance, the cordless impact driver looks like a small cordless drill. What it lacks in size, this little baby make up for in power and speed. Think of a cordless impact driver as a cordless drill on steroids. While it looks like a drill on the outside, the internal mechanism that causes the tool to work is quite different. Instead of merely spinning the bits and fasteners, the impact driver combines bit rotation AND downward concussive force. The combination of the two forces enables users to quickly drive long, large screws and fasteners. Heavy lag screws that would challenge the best cordless drill can be knocked out quickly and efficiently using an impact driver.

Before you run out and purchase one, here are a few things you need to know.

  • Along with the big torque comes big sound. Consider using ear protection.
  • The impact driver is not a hammer drill. Its innards are designed for torque, not forceful downward blows. Be sure you are using the right tool for the job.
  • Regular drill bits will not work in an impact driver. Be sure you have hex shaft bits.

So, does the average consumer need an impact driver? Well, if you have a cordless drill that you use to hang pictures and put together prefabricated furniture with pre-cut holes, your cordless drill will work just fine. If you are constructing a privacy fence, building a wooden play set for your kids or grand kids, laying a sub-floor, or if your line of work requires frequent loosening of fasteners stuck from corrosion, this tool is worth the investment. If your project involves many screws or fasteners, such building an outdoor deck, you will find that using an impact driver instead of a drill will not put the expected strain on your arm and wrist, allowing you to work longer and get the job done quicker with less muscle fatigue.