What is an Impact Driver?

Whether you are a professional contractor, woodworker, metalworker, DIYer, or simply an enthusiast looking to fasten crews or bolts, you’ll find plenty of options in the market. There is no shortage of tools, from regular drills and hammers to cordless compact drills and hammer drills.

One option you may come across is an impact driver. Every tool has its strengths, weaknesses, and ideal performance conditions. However, if you are not aware of impact drivers and what they do, you may not realize the strengths of this power tool you are missing. They can be a great tool for most projects that involve plenty of large fasteners.

Let’s answer the question “what is an impact driver?” and discuss what it does, how it works, and more to help you better understand the qualities, benefits, and purpose of this power tool.

What Is an Impact Driver?

An impact driver is a power tool used to drive fasteners like screws and bolts into wood and other materials. You may be thinking that are already a few tools in your toolbox that can do this. However, they won’t do it quite like an impact driver.

The beauty of an impact driver is that it provides high torque and substantial bursts of impact. Typically, impact drivers offer much more torque than top-shelf cordless drills, especially during impact, which is consistent with what a hammer drill provides.

You can think of an impact driver as a hybrid of a hammer drill and a cordless drill, offering you the best of both worlds. It combines the impact of a hammer drill with the high-level rotational force of a cordless drill.

An impact driver allows professionals, woodworkers, metalworkers, DIYers, and enthusiasts to drive fasteners beyond resistance through impact, making tough drill jobs easier.

What Does an Impact Driver Do?

Typical impact drivers are cordless and similar to a drill driver. However, unlike the drill driver’s standard 13mm chuck, these power tools feature a 1/4-inch hex bit holder that can easily clasp screwdriver bits.

The high torque allows you to easily and quickly drive longer, wider, and larger screws into tough, resistive materials. The motor provides high torque to rotate the driver’s bit holder, and every rotation includes the impact to fight resistance.

High-quality impact drivers weigh less than a hammer drill, making them easy to use. They apply bursts of impact when they feel resistance against the rational driving force to the screw or bolt. These bursts of impact make impact drivers highly useful for projects involving many large crews and bolts.

You could also use impact drivers to drill small holes using the right bits; however, only do this if you are in a pinch. This power tool is not meant for drilling holes, and you want to limit its use to fastening large screws and bolts.

How Is it Different from Other Power Tools?

You may wonder how an impact driver is any different from the compact, cordless drill or hammer drill in your toolbox. What makes impact drivers different is that they are more efficient than a regular drill.

The high torque coupled with bursts of impact makes impact drivers very convenient for most projects, especially when compared to compact drills. They are lighter and easier on your hands because they can fight resistance without adding pressure on your hands or wrists.

They are also better for most fastening tasks than a hammer drill. However, if you are working with concrete or brick, you may want to use a hammer drill instead of an impact driver. A hammer drill applies a hammering impact or action at the back of the drill to drive fasteners or drill through materials.

This mechanism makes it ideal for hammering bolts and screws or drilling holes in brick, concrete, or thick and heavy metals. However, hammer drills are not ideal for woodwork, light metalwork, or less heavy materials. For such uses, an impact driver can get the job done with more precision and convenience.

Great for Large Projects

Impact drivers are ideal for large projects where you need to fasten many large screws and bolts into wood, steel, and other materials. For example, if you want to drive bolts to secure the beam of a wooden structure like a gazebo, an impact driver is your best option.

They are very handy in projects that require driving large or long fasteners, even in tighter and awkward spaces. If you want more precision, speed, and control, an impact driver with variable speed/ torque settings is ideal. However, a standard one-speed impact driver can also get most jobs done easily.

Do You Need an Impact Driver?

You can make the case that you don’t need an impact driver, especially when you have so many other tools that can get the job done. However, if this were the case, all the major tool manufacturers would stop producing and selling various impact drivers.

Impact drivers have a specific purpose and place in projects, especially large and long ones, where even the slightest convenience can go a long way. Imagine getting a job done in half the time. This is the type of difference an impact driver can make when put to good use.

High-quality impact drivers provide precision, speed, and comfort for users working on bigger projects. You can experience the comfort and time savings from the first time you use an impact driver to drive your project’s large screws and bolts.

It is a convenient power tool that offers you something you can’t get from regular drills, drivers, hammer drills, or other similar tools. The fact is that whether you need an impact driver or not will largely depend on the needs of your project/s.

However, in our experience, every professional, woodworker, metalworker, contractor, or DIYer can benefit hugely from an impact driver in their toolbox.


We hope after reading our post, you know what is an impact driver, how it works, what it does, its purpose, and its benefits and qualities. Of course, we haven’t mentioned a lot more details here, but we can discuss them another time.

For now, if you are looking for a lightweight, cordless power tool that can make your life easier on large projects with plenty of fastening, an impact driver is a handy solution.

If you want to learn more about impact drivers, other power tools, or the best power tool options in the market that suit your needs, please look around Tool Inspector today!

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