Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Drill vs. Impact Driver: Do You Need Both?

There are so many options when you enter a hardware store... you came for a drill but now you want an impact driver. Now you walk by a fancy looking drill and you're going back and forth not knowing what you want, better yet: need. The two tools can accomplish much of the same tasks, but the speed, torque, size, and bits, are what differentiates them.

What's a drill?

The drill is many people's very first power tool. It's versatile, affordable, and easy to use. It's used for small and large projects at home like making a little birdhouse, to building a large deck in your backyard to enjoy with the family. On job sites, it's used for hundreds of other applications that the drill can do very well. A drill is used for two reasons: drill holes and drive screws. It's chuck accepts drill bits and screw driving bits that are rounded or hex shaped, and also holds other accessories such as rotary sanders, hole saws, etc.

They come in a variety of sizes, as well as can be cordless or corded, it all depends on the preferences of the user. If you are bringing your drill with you from place to place, a small/medium size cordless one that doesn't weigh too much might be for you. If you work in a permanent station at a shop for hours on end, a corded one might be better (no waiting for the battery to charge and no need for portability).

What's an impact driver?

An impact driver features a higher torque than a traditional drill. When a fastener isn't budging, it combines torque with a high speed rotational tapping to drive the screw into very dense materials. The tapping action occurs when the driver feels resistance, but it is not controlled by the user. These two features are mainly what makes an impact driver so appealing. It has a hex socket so it does not take round bits, as it needs the sides of the hex-shaped bits to keep grip while it taps to continue driving a screw. The impact driver is smaller in size and has a shorter nose than a regular drill.


  • A drill is mainly used to drive screws or drill into wood, drywall, and other soft materials. An impact driver can be used on dense and harder materials. 
  • An impact driver provides more torque, therefore, is able to tighten or loosen a screw past the point that a drill can, as well as add greater control. When a drill reaches the end of it's torque, it will no longer budge a screw.
  • While an impact driver provides more control, it's too powerful for precise and delicate tasks, where a drill would be ideal. However, since impact drivers are smaller, they can also be used in tighter spaces .
  • A drill is less expensive than an impact driver. 
  • Drills can accept various accessories other than drill and driving bits, such as rotary sanders, hole saws, wire-wheel brushes, etc. An impact driver has a hex shank, so it  can only take hex-shaped driver and drill bits.
  • Impact drivers are LOUD because of the tapping.
  • Drills can possibly strip screws, where drivers are less likely.
  • Due to an impact driver's torque, it is easier on the user's wrist than a drill. 

Which one should you get?

After going over the differences, which one do you see fit better for you? Neither is better for the other, it's completely dependent on what you are doing with the tool. If you never need to drive into very hard, dense material, you likely do not need an impact driver. Do you find yourself constantly struggling with driving screws because your drill stalls? Then you probably would benefit from an impact driver.

WAIT! There is also a THIRD choice. Nope, it's not a hammer drill...

Combo kits! Many brands carry kits that provide both a drill and an impact driver. The best part is that most of these combo kits will carry more than one battery, just make sure the one you're not using is charged and ready. Edmonton Fasteners carries drill/impact driver kits by Bosch, Milwaukee, Dewalt, and Makita.

Thank you for checking out our latest article. If you have any more questions regarding drills, impact drivers, or power tools in general, feel free to email us and one of our experts will happily answer all of your questions. Right now our power tools are marked down, only until September 30th! Check out our current flyer to see what's reduced and waiting for you to bring home!


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