Impact drivers have become very popular, especially amongst contractors. It is the best tool for driving screws. But is an impact driver of interest if you only need it for tasks around the house? Here is an overview of the pros and cons of impact drivers.
The impact driver looks almost like a drill but it is shorter. An impact driver does not have a chuck like a drill, instead it has a hexagonal socket. Therefore, you can only use hexagonal bits. But it is easy to change bits, impact drivers have a quick-release feature. Like keyless chunks on drills, you don’t need any key to change bits on an impact driver.
The impact driver is a real powerhouse, it delivers massive amounts of torque. Added to the rotational movement is a rotational tapping which makes it easier to loosen tough screws. The tapping kicks in automatically when needed on most drivers. Fortunately, models that let you enable or disable the impact movement are also available. All models have a reversible motor which makes it possible to both tighten and loosen screws.
Note that most impact drivers have no clutch, you can’t adjust the speed. A few of the top-end models have a clutch but they are very expensive. The lack of a clutch is seldom a problem if you are going to drive screws into wood. But for more delicate tasks, the raw power of the impact driver can damage the material.
While you can use a cordless drill to drive screws, the impact driver does a better job. But you can’t use the impact driver for drilling. If you own a lot of round shank drill bits you may prefer to keep on using your drill, rather than investing in a set of hexagonal shank drill bits. Note that impact drivers are noisier than drills.
The shorter size of the impact driver is big advantage when working in cramped spaces. Note that the high-end models with a clutch are larger, almost the size of a cordless drill.
Unless you are driving a lot of screws, an impact driver is not necessary. A cordless drill is not as good but as long as it gets the job done, you are fine. But if you are driving a lot of big screws, an impact driver can save you a lot of time. A lot of contractors use an impact driver with two quick-charge battery packs. Thanks to the two battery packs, they can work non-stop.
If you are going to use the impact driver a lot, do you yourself a favor and buy a model that uses lithium-ion batteries. You get a lot of power but at the same time a lightweight tool.