You will find it in construction sites, auto garages, and plenty of other places but what does an impact driver do precisely?
Read about what this compact but immensely powerful tool is capable of below and why it could be worth having around your home/business.
We will also tell you about when not to use an impact driver.
Before I start talking about what an impact driver does, you’ll need to understand what it exactly is…
What is an impact driver?
An impact driver is simply a tool that produces hefty, sudden rotational force (alongside powerful forward thrust for manual impact drivers) when driving screws and setting nuts.
Its rivals include the versatile drill drivers (though it’s much lighter and more compact) and to some extent hammer drills (this perhaps fits the bill more for projects such as drilling masonry).
Admittedly, it may not as flexible as some of its competitors but it will perform a great deal of the same functions.
The best part?
These terrific tools drive screws at a mind-blowing speed so they get the job done more quickly because of their incredible torque output.
How does an impact driver work?
As we saw above, impact drivers drive and remove screws by applying maximum rotational force in short bursts to screws or bolt heads.
Making this happen is the tool’s well-thought-out high-impact construction.
The hardest-working components are the spring-loaded, quick-release chuck (it’s important to note that the chuck works with one-quarter inch hex bits only) and a high-powered motor to supply the juice.
The hammering action also helps tremendously..
Imagine turning a screw while tapping it with your hammer in the direction it’s rotating?
That’s pretty much how the entire operation feels and you’ll agree with me that the bolts will go in much faster.
I must add that cordless impact drivers come with very resilient batteries (rechargeable) to help maintain superior force as needed.
Now to the big question: Is an impact driver going to be right for your workshop?
Keep reading to find the answer.
What does an impact driver do?
Impact drivers have countless uses around the house, shop, and in many other sites.
We have outlined the key job duties for impact drivers here.
1. Drive screws and fasteners into materials
One of the basic functions of an impact driver is to drive screws into surfaces.
And with an intensely robust internal impact mechanism, the tool makes mincemeat of the resistance coming from materials when driving screws.
It’s also excellent for nuts removal tasks- just reverse the switch to get out screws or fasteners in a blink.
The good thing is that you don’t even need to have years of experience under your belt to use an impact driver- the modern designs are quite uncomplicated and are friendlier to even novices.
2. Drill holes in stubborn materials (Can you use an impact driver as a drill)
Do i need an impact driver to drill into harder materials?
Quick answer: Absolutely yes!
Not only is the tool wonderful when drilling wood and plastic but the extra torque helps make short work of the defiance produced by tougher substances such as steel.
We don’t, however, recommend it for concrete drilling projects- using a hammer drill or something similar will make your life easier for this.
Our word about using impact driver on car
While regular drills are also vastly useful for auto works, impact drivers are a step up at jobs such as zipping off bolts again due to the elevated torque.
For this reason, we encourage you to consider using an impact driver for wheel nuts also (choose one with good enough output torque).
Take this to the bank: Not even the most stubborn lug nuts will withstand such amounts of power!
That said, you might find a high-torque impact wrench more accomplished if you’re facing serious engine/transmission work.
Impact driver vs Hammer drill
Many folks keep questioning which between an impact driver and a hammer drill would best meet their needs.
Short answer: It depends on the type of home improvement project you have in mind.
The thing that you must understand first is that the two have substantial operational and design differences which means each is more suited to certain tasks.
To be specific, we feel that the specialized hammer mode function makes a world of difference when boring holes in bricks, cement, and other tougher materials making hammer drill best for these jobs.
On the other hand, the rotary impulse made by impact drivers means they’re without an equal anytime you’re trying to drive screws/fasteners in but somewhat wanting when drilling holes, except, of course, into less difficult materials.
Meanwhile, there is a huge number of tasks you can use either.
For instance, you can use the hammer drill to drive fasteners with the hammer mode turned off and proper drill bits mounted, despite the tool being bulkier and heavier.
We have already talked about using an impact driver for drilling.
It’s therefore crucial that you consider all possible situations before settling on either, that is, if you cannot have them both like some professionals and homeowners choose to.
How to use an impact driver
Impact drivers are unbelievably simple tools to use.
A cordless model is especially a joy to work with since you just require plugging it in (after adding the correct bits in the collet), place it right over the fastener, and get down to business.
Manual models are obviously more work because of the physical exertion but they’re nevertheless not to be feared- all you need is hold it (insert the bit before) and swing the hammer.
What does an impact driver do: Summary
To summarize, an impact driver is quicker on the job when it comes to driving and removing fasteners because of the staggering amount of torque it churns out.
In addition, it is less likely to twist your wrists when the fastener suddenly stops or binds.
The handy tool is easier to use because of its slimmer built too.
I prefer those with more speed settings because of the optimized application versatility.
Bear in mind that, in general, pricier impact drivers tend to have better parts and feature improved engineering and could last years if cared for.