Impact drivers have been creating a lot of buzz all over the internet recently. And most of the debate is based on what impact drivers can and cannot be used for, which makes it especially confusing for DIY homeowners. There is also the misconception that an impact drill is a bigger fancy cordless drill, but they are different and no serious DIYer can work without an impact driver, or replace it with a common drill.
To better understand what Impact drivers are used for, it is imperative that we understand how they differ from the traditional cordless drills first. The key difference is that impact drivers are designed to drive screws, whether they be long or in the densest of wood, much easier and quicker than any other tool out there.
Impact drivers have greater rotational torque in comparison to the traditional drills. They combine this power with a fast rotational tapping. This tapping is designed to help nudge the fastener as it maintains the screw tip in its place. This may make you think of using a hammer drill instead, however hammer drills deliver the tapping from their rear end which helps them to generate the power to blast through extremely hard surfaces like concrete.
Picture a wrench that is secured to a bolt and a hammer that is tapping on the bolt to provide it with power as the bolt is turned. Simply put, the impact driver mimics what we all do almost instinctively when the screw we are driving through a surface starts to get tougher to screw in. But unlike humans, who can only deliver a single bump every second, impact drivers deliver close to 50 bumps per second, rapidly reducing the time on jobs that require lots of screwing or tough screwing.
So, doesn’t it feel rough to use? Well, consider driving through a town on a rough road. While driving at a slow, cautious speed, you will feel every single dip on the road. While cruising through at high speed, however, the bumpy ride turns into a loud hum that is irritating at first but soon disappears. The impact driver feels smooth despite the bumping. You will, however, want to wear ear protectors as they can be loud.
Where Do the Impact Drivers Fit in a Woodworking Shop?
Woodworkers use the impact drills for a variety of applications. Most times, however, they are used to drive fasteners and bolts that cordless drills can’t manage. With an impact drill, you are less likely to strip your screws and the additional force makes them more precise. The impact drivers are perfect for installing cabinets, building decks, for theater set construction, building shop furniture, and pretty much any framing that has dimensional lumber.
Courtesy of the high torque, the impact drivers feature a hexagonal chuck design which does not provide room for the shank to spin in it when in use. When driving bolts and screws, the feature is of great value but when drilling, it will be close to useless hence you still need to retain your cordless drill.
Another reason you should not replace your drill with an impact driver is that many of the drills do not feature a clutch. The lack of a clutch system, however, makes them slightly shorter and able to fit into tiny spaces.