Difference Between Impact Driver and Drill: Which One’s Best?

As a homeowner, you should have a power drill in your toolbox for routine home repairs and DIY projects. Impact drivers are a new tool on the market that is quickly making people compare the impact driver and the drill. While both of the devices look relatively similar side by side and have many similar functions, there are some distinct differences between them. 

We will highlight the distant features between the impact driver and drill and let you use the right tool for your job. 

Firstly, let’s look at precisely these tools, and we would proceed towards their differences. 

Impact Driver

Impact driver

An impact driver is an easy to use tool that is specially designed to drive screws. An impact driver does it function with such an intense speed and power that you won’t find in any traditional power drill. They do not accept a keyless chuck; instead, it uses a collet that uses hex-shanked driver bits. They are so efficient in performing their job that can even drive even the most prolonged and fattest screws inefficiency, where a regular power drill may stall out.  

They are an ideal tool for

  • Driving screws efficiently and quickly
  • Removing bolts and screws that are stuck otherwise
  • Driving thick screws into hardwood

Impact/Cordless drills

Cordless drills have been in your tool kit for years, so most homeowners would know what this specific tool looks like and how it works. A cordless drill has a clutch that works as a torque limiter, and its chuck can take both round and hex bit types. The impact drills are designed to provide a smooth spinning action to the bit that is being used.

They are ideal tools for 

  • Drilling holes
  • Driving the screw
  • Tightening and loosening bolts

The Differences Between A Drill And A Driver

After recalling these two tools, let’s now move towards the differences between them. 

At first glance, you may not distinguish the difference between a drill and a cordless driver; however, many differences enable them to stand apart. We will list down those aspects which make them different so that it is easy for you to choose the right one.

  • Size: For any new users, a traditional drill is generally a bit bigger than an impact driver. Drivers are typically more compact and smaller, although they pack a more powerful punch. 
  • Clutch: A typical drill has an adjustable clutch that enables you to adjust the torque when drilling or driving, whereas compared to an impact driver, which does not. The adjustable clutch on a standard drill avoids fasteners from being overtightened and damage to the drilling surface.
  • Power and Speed: Impact driver can give more power in a quick burst, which obviously results in more torque. This mechanism happens automatically when the driver meets any resistance. While cordless impact drivers typically come with one gear, however, more progressive models have up to even three gears.
  • Chuck: The head of any standard drill consists of a keyed or keyless chuck. Impact drivers, on the other hand, don’t have a chuck; instead, they have a collet that accommodates hex shanks. To survive the force of an impact driver, impact-rated hex bits are mandatory.
  • Ease of use: Though drivers have intense power, they still manage to be easy and comfortable to use. The concussive act of the driver transfers much of its power directly to its targeted screw, not to your hand or wrist. This permits you to drive in screws with unbelievable force and accuracy without souring your arm.
  • Action: Cordless drills use the powerful combination of hard-hitting blows and bit rotation to bust through even the thickest or roughest of surfaces. Impact drivers can output up to two to three more times of power when associated with any traditional drill.

The Pros And Cons Of Each

When you are analyzing which of the tool to use for your next home improvement or DIY project, it can be constructive to know each tool’s pros and cons. For your convenience, we have to break down to think about that quickly.

Power Drill 

                                Pros                              Cons
Great multi-purpose toolCan have wear and tear on the hand and wrist
Allows a wide variety of screw and drill bitsOften strips screws
Perfect for tasks that need care and precisionBits tend to lose inside the chuck.
A slip clutch that allows for the torque to be in control.Allows for a wide range of screw and drill bits
Affordable priceStalls out when used on large fasteners
Suitable for handy accessories such as a wheeled wire brush and rotary sanders
Utilizes a continual torque

Impact driver

                                Pros                                Cons
It can be used for handy accessories such as a wheeled wire brush and rotary sanders.It only allows for hex-shanked drivers and bits.
The intense power supply that can blow through very thick materialToo powerful and robust for delicate and precise jobs
Does not strip screwsConsiderably louder than a traditional drill
Has the capacity to drive in even the most extended screws with little effortCan be quite costly to purchase
Little impact on the one’s arm and wrist thanks to the power that is transferring directly to the screw
Can remove even stripped screws
more comfortable to fit into smaller workspaces

Each of these tool has its benefits and side effects. Defining which one to use for your next project will depend on what exactly you need it for. 

Impact driver vs. Hammer drill

When we talk about these fabulous tools, we can’t forget to mention Hammer drills over here. Let’s differentiate between an Impact driver and a Hammer drill to make this a complete guide.  

When you look at these both tools, you would see many things different between them. The impact drill is stubbier and shorter and has a hexagonal socket in place of a chuck. While on the other hand, the hammer drill is large and heavy, like a small jackhammer. Hammer drill has a drill chuck that can take various types of bits and sizes. 


Hammer drills use more pressure than any other impact drill. When a person uses it, it feels like a hammer hitting very fast as it drives into any hard material. It is deafening so that you may get irritated after some time. A hammer drill vibrates in a back and forth gesture. It has an adjustable clutch so that too much force is not used.


These type of drivers goes in a rotary fashion. They look like a cordless screwdriver unless more power is needed. A unique mechanism then kicks in and provides a massive amount of force. Generally, an impact driver does not have an adjustable clutch to prevent too much power for a small job.

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