Can You Use an Impact Driver as a Drill?

Have you ever wondered why Pneumatic impact drivers have been such a standard tool in auto repair shops?

This is because the device offers an impressive level of power to driven objects without really shifting this power to the driver. Especially when it comes to removing and replacing lug nuts, the impact driver has been found to play a critical role. A lug wrench can probably perform this task.

However, it will require a lot of effort. On the other hand, an impact driver can do this with almost no effort at all.

Recent technological improvements have seen to the production of another variant of the impact driver– the cordless impact driver.

While this driver isn’t really as strong as to remove and reinstall lug nuts on vehicles, they, nevertheless, have diversified functions both in and around the home and in woodworking shops. What are these different functions that a cordless impact driver can perform? This article explains them all and also you’ll learn can you actually use an impact driver as a drill?

Is an Impact Drill a Hammer Drill?

The answer is NO. It’s not hard to see why so many people confuse an impact drill for a hammer drill. Fine. Their appearance is roughly similar, and stores, where these tools are sold, tend to jumble everything together.


But a hammer drill and an impact driver, though alike, play distinct roles in a workshop or job site. A hammer drill usually pushes the bit in and out of the hole that is being drilled. In contrast, the bit of an impact driver works through a turn-stop-turn-stop movement, usually done at high speed. This rapid motion is what helps the tool to achieve its power and torque while not transferring any torque to the operator.

Driving Screws with an Impact Driver

Like we said before, impact drivers offer additional torque. As such, users can use this smaller tool to tackle a task that is difficult for other equipment to handle. For example, imagine that you’re to construct a deck using pressure-treated lumber. This project will require you to drive multiple three-inch wood screws into the lumber. Now, if you were to use a standard 18-volt cordless drill (check the top products this year), this task will put a lot of strain on the batteries. However, a cordless impact driver will push the screw quicker without even having to strain you or itself. How awesome is that?

Drilling with an Impact Driver

In case you’re wondering g if an impact driver can be used as a drill, the answer is a definite YES. In fact, if you want a hole that is neatly and clearly drilled with a spade, but then you should try using an impact drill. When it comes to drilling with a spade bit one major issue is that when you’re drilling large diameter holes, usually those between 1/2-inch and 1-3/8 inches, the bit tends to nip the hole or get stuck in it. If this happens with a cordless or high torque power drill, the rotation that is being applied to the bit by the drill’s engine will shift to the body of the drill and thus twist the tool in the hands of the user. In situations like this, the drill either slips from the user’s hands or the torque of the twisting drill will transfer to the operator.

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The risk of this kind of incident is significantly reduced when you’re working with an impact driver. Because of this, the impact driver has become one of the best tools for plumbers and electricians, especially those that need to drill many larger holes when wiring. At the very least, impact drivers make their tasks easy and save them from sprained wrists.

impact driver

Impact Drivers are Chuck-less?

One of the features of a standard drill, whether corded or cordless is the common keyed or keyless chuck that usually comes with it. An impact driver does not come with this three-jaw slip chuck component. What the tool has, however, is a quick change 1/4-inch hex chuck. This chuck type is known to reduce the overall body length of the tool. Meanwhile, this allows the impact driver to be contained in smaller spaces where traditional drills usually will not fit into. Apart from this, the hex chuck helps to speed up bit changes, thus making them quicker than conventional chuck.

The one limitation of the hex chuck is that only 1/4-inch hex shank bits can be used in the chuck. Nevertheless, a majority of spade and driver bits can work with this standard 1/4-inch hex size.

The Strengths of an Impact Driver

The attractive feature of an impact driver is no doubt its versatile nature. Think about it. This tool has got great power which is supplied by the impact motion. It also has a small engine which means a not-so-heavy battery and yet the motor is powerful enough to last long while providing a tremendous amount of torque. Even larger cordless drills may not last as long as this tool does. The importance of this advantage that impact drills have becomes obvious when you need to use the tool for long hours.

As if all these are not enough, the tool is portable enough that it can be stored in the tool belt of electricians, carpenters, and plumbers while they are working. Isn’t that just impressive! This arrangement cannot work for a cordless drill as they’re so big one would need to carry them about separately. Finally, the additional torque and power that an impact drill provides always prove useful in the workshop. Only a few tools can rival it.

Compared to standard cordless screwdrivers and drills, impact drivers have higher speed and torque. As such, you need to apply a great deal of care when using it. You need to avoid driving the screw head far past the wood surface or farther than you want it to go. If you keep this in mind, you’ll appreciate the results of your impact driver.