If you are professional, then you probably know what the difference between an impact driver and hammer drill is!
But, if you are at the very beginning of your DIY adventure, you might be confused when you start googling about these tools.
Well, let`s say that…
…even though you might think that they are similar at first look, you are so wrong! They are very different, trust us. The principal differences are in purpose, appearance, weight, price, and operation.
The impact drill is shorter and stubbier. It has a hexagonal opening in place of a chuck. It may hold an adapter into which bits may be attached.
The hammer drill is heavy and large. It has a chuck which can take different types of bits and sizes.
Let`s get to the point: Hammer drill will be necessary for your workshop if you are planning to drill into a hard surface like brick or concrete, i.e., masonry.
On the other side, an impact drill is a perfect tool for driving in fasteners like screws and nails. It can also drill holes. It can be used in any situation that requires a regular drill. But it is not recommended to use it for woodworking since extra power may kick in and damage the item being handled.
WHAT IS A HAMMER DRILL?
A hammer drill is a tool which will you mostly use for masonries such as brick, cement, and similar materials. You have an option to switch hammer mode off so that the drill can be used as an ordinary drill.
The hammer drill has more direct forward force – like a hammer. They can either have “cam-action” or “electro-pneumatic” hammering.
Cam-action is the hammer drill with low power. You may see the name hammering mechanism for them as well. Two sets of gears interact with each other and can produce a hammering action when it rotates the drill. What makes this drill complexion is that drill chuck moves both ways; front and back where the motion depend on the rotation of the chuck.
What is significant with hammering is that the piston and hammer do not touch, but air pressure transfers the energy. Electro-pneumatic is more advanced than cam-action. They are larger and they provide a bigger impact force thanks to the “electro-pneumatic” (EP) hammering mechanism. The reason for this is because it is powered directly by electricity, instead of a separate air compressor.
The electro-pneumatic hammer drills have two pistons a drive piston, and a flying piston. When the electric motor turns then the drive piston moves in forth and back in a cylinder.
The air pressure in the cylinder can easily transfer the energy when the pistons will never touch. Most of the drills nowadays have separate functions for rotation and hammer and these hammers are depending on the electro-pneumatic system.
Most of the rotary hammers use this electro-pneumatic technology. This technology allows the hammer and rotation functions to be used separately or in combination, i.e., hammer mode, drill mode, or both. Rotary hammers are very powerful and with this tool, you can drill big holes much faster. Rotary hammers require special bits which lock into the rotary hammer. With oil filled gearbox these drills will operate strongly despite the large forces.
Both Cam-Action and electro-pneumatic hammers can be cordless or corded. We always give an advantage to cordless options, because they are more practical.
HAMMER DRILL SUMMARY:
- It can drill into masonry and anything else a non-hammer drill can work with
- It has an adjustable clutch in order to match power with application and fastener size
- It has multiple speed settings
- It’s heavier, larger but powerful
- It has drill chuck that can accept a wide variety of bit styles and sizes
- It’s well suited for drilling holes and driving fasteners
AND AN IMPACT DRIVER?
An impact driver is a tool that uses higher torque to screw in bolts. It is often used to loosen larger screws (bolts) and nuts that are corrosively “frozen” or over-torque. They’re more powerful than standard cordless drill/driver but not more powerful than hammer drills.
You might be wondering for what you can use an impact driver? Well, you will use it hanging cleats for wall cabinets, driving into a concrete backer board, or building a deck where you will be using long 3 ½ screws.
Impact drivers don’t have a big, massive internal clutch – they are more compact tools that are nice to handle in tight spaces. Also, since the additional torque in an impact driver is rotational, the force is not transferred into your hand/wrist like it is with a hammer drill, which can be pretty fatiguing to use for hours on end.
Impact drills are more practical for everyday home improvement projects. If you have to choose just one type of drill-this is the one. Impact drills are smaller, lightweight and perform most of the functions a user would need.
IMPACT DRILL SUMMARY:
- It is used to loosen screws and bolts but also for drilling holes
- It’s very compact and lightweight
- 1/4″ hex bit adapter can hold screwdriver bits and other attachments
- It delivers high torque
One of the key differences between an impact driver and a hammer drill is the types of bits they are using. Hammer drills have 3-jaw chuck which will accept both round and hex bits. Impact drivers, on the other hand, have a locking collect that only accepts hex-shank bits.
As far as differences in action hammer drill are used for drilling holes into masonry. If you don’t want to break bits using your standard drill, the hammer drill is definitely a practical and functional tool.
The impact driver is used for driving big screws into heavy duty material like studs and masonry.
WHICH ONE DO I NEED?
This depends on what are you mostly going to do. If you can afford it, we advise you to take both tools, but if you have to choose that make the choice according to your needs.
For drilling big holes through masonry-hammer drill!
For screwing and for drilling as a well-impact driver!
We have tested the best from both worlds
We did some testing and here are our top choices from both worlds
DEWALT DEWDCF885C2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion 1/4-Inch 1.5 Ah Impact Driver Kit
If you have decided to start with making your tool collection, this DeWalt 20V is a perfect one to start with.
The first thing that you will notice when you receive this tool is that you will set the bit in just one step. All you have to do is put the bit in the clutch and it`s ready to start working. Second is the comfort, this is where DeWalt really did some work and it was obvious by the new shape of the handle, the extra rubber over the mold and the balance.
This impact driver has three LED lights that are set around the edge of the chuck so that, no matter what angle you view the bit tip from, there are no shadows. To make it even better, the trigger will keep the LED lights on for an additional 20 seconds after it’s released.
Some of the cool innovations are that the chuck conveniently accepts and holds one-inch bit tips and it comes with an all-metal belt hook that can be attached to either side of the tool.
- The powerful motor which delivers 1400inch/lbs.
- It has one-handed loading ¼ inch hex chuck which accepts 1 inch bit tips
- For greater portability, it has a belt hook
- 3 LED lights set around the edge of the chuck with 20 seconds delay
- Compact and lightweight
- Powered by Energy Star for environment safety
- 3-year limited warranty
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)
With this cordless impact driver, you will get maximum versatility, performance and up to 50% longer run time (thanks to the brushless motor), increased power and speed, and longer tool life.
This kit includes 3.0 Ah batteries which are fully charged in only 30 minutes, the fastest charge time in its category. This gives you better productivity. With this tool you can do driving and fastening tasks including fastening deck screws, cabinet screws, tightening down lag bolts, and much more. If you are an electrician, plumber, automotive mechanic, woodworker, remodeler this tool is the perfect choice for you.
- This model has the brushless motor which delivers 1500 inch/lbs. of Max Torque
- With variable speed (0-3,400 RPM & 0-3,600 IPM) you can do wide range of fastening applications
- With BL motor this tool will run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
- Compact and ergonomic design
- Weighs only 3.3 lbs. with battery for reduced operator fatigue
- Convenient 1/4 in. hex chuck for quick bit changes
- Built-in dual LED lights illuminate the work area
- It has rubberized soft grip which provides increased comfort on the job
- 3-year warranty
Hitachi WH18DGL 18-Volt 1/4-Inch Cordless Lithium-Ion Impact Driver Kit
This cordless impact driver is very compact and ideal for any tasks. For a very nice price, you will get a full set including two 18V lithium-ion batteries, charger, and a very nice case.
It has no clutch, but it has variable speed trigger to choose to go as gentle or as aggressive as you like. You can install screws on a circuit board with this tool with a light touch, and with a full squeeze, you could be installing decking bolts.
With a maximum speed of 2400 RPM and a torque power of 1280 inch/lbs., this is one of the most efficient tools available in this category.
All in all, the vast majority of these cordless impact driver reviews agree that this is a powerful tool that will not disappoint even a demanding professional. Hitachi has proved its reliability over the years, so you can expect this tool to be durable and perform with 100% efficiency.
If you need an impact driver to drive in heavier duty applications this is a very nice unit for the money.
- The driver features a highly-responsive variable speed trigger that increases the accuracy and ease of use.
- The powerful motor which delivers 1280 inch/lbs. of max torque and 2400 rpm max speed
- Compact and lightweight design at 3.1 lbs. reduces fatigue during extended or elevated use
- LED light effectively illuminates dark work spaces
- Covered by Hitachi’s Lifetime Lithium Ion tool warranty and two-year Lithium Ion battery warranty
Milwaukee 2753-20 M18 Fuel 1/4 Hex Imp Driver Tool Only
This is a tool only option, so you will have to add a little more investment. But, trust us, it will pay off.
Just imagine how much power you are getting with 1800 inch/lbs. of torque! With this torque, you can easily drive sheetrock screws, wood screws, sheet metal screws, and tightened or loosens nuts and bolts up to 9/16”.
It has four settings, low/medium/high/self-tapping screw mode. The self-tapping screw mode setting starts slow then speeds up. You will really see the difference with this setting when screwing in wood. These different settings make this tool very versatile for both light and heavy applications.
The tool is small, lightweight and very easy to use; it has a LED light for better vision and belt holder which is great for climbing ladders. Whether you are an electrician, contractor or you have a car workshop, this tool is must-have for your workshop.
- The powerful motor which produces 1800 inch/lbs. max torque
- LED light for working in dark areas
- 4 settings for versatility
- Compact and lightweight design weighs only 2.6 pounds
- On board Fuel Gauge on Battery
- 5-years limited warranty
DEWALT DCD985B 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion 1/2-Inch Hammer Drill/Drill Driver
This hammer drill has some innovative features which make it an ideal tool for builders, carpenters, woodworkers, electricians, and plumbers.
DeWalt can be proud with extreme durability, performance, and comfort which will allow you to match the tool with the exact task at hand. With this tool, you can do a variety of applications regardless of speed, torque or power.
It has three-speeds and all-metal transmission which allows users to select the appropriate speed for the job and provides a significant advantage for applications that cannot be done at high speed because of torque requirements. While other drills may have to be set to the slowest speed, this one has a middle-speed setting that is more than twice as fast for tasks like drilling larger ship auger bits.
This drill has electronics which is built in switch to provide maximum life for the tools and batteries by helping to protect them from overheating, overloading, and deep discharge during use.
20-volt’s lithium-ion batteries provide up to 35 percent more runtime. The motor delivers 535 unit watts out of maximum power for superior performance in all drilling and fastening applications.
- High-efficiency motor delivers 535 unit watts out of max power
- LED light with 20-second delay after trigger release
- DEWALT 20V Max lithium ion batteries which offer longer runtime and enhanced durability
- Heavy-duty 1/2-Inch metal ratcheting chuck with carbide inserts
- Kit includes drill and 360-degree side handle 3-speed all-metal transmission
- 3-years limited warranty
Ryobi P251 One+ 18V Lithium-Ion
With this tool, you can really do many of drilling and driving applications. It doesn’t matter if it is wood, plastic, masonry, concrete, or thin metals, you’ll be able to do it thanks to a collection of features on this powerful drill.
It has a 24-position clutch that adjusts it up to 750-inch pounds of torque.
This tool has three options; for drilling, hammer drilling and driving mode. With drilling option, you can drill through wood and plastic, mostly set for small fasteners. Hammer drilling will be used for drilling through masonry and concrete. Driving mode is for driving screws through pilot holes.
What we noticed and like is that it features a side handle, which can be screwed into either side of the unit. This is great because it gives you control when hammer drilling.
The pistol grip is covered by a rubber molding, so you can hold onto it while it’s vibrating. There is a magnetic bit holder at the base of the drill. Well, this is always a good feature because you can store screws and drill heads onboard your tool, allowing you to make quick job changes without having to constantly walk to your tool bag.
- 3 drilling modes: hammer mode, drilling mode, and driving mode
- The powerful motor which delivers up to 750-inch/lb. torque, with this 24-position clutch, so you can apply light torque for more delicate jobs
- Magnetic bit holder for storing screws
- A plastic side handle which can be screwed into either side of the drill
- You can use Ryobi’s One+ line of 18-volt lithium-ion batteries to power this tool.
- The weight of the tool is 3.55 pounds
- 2-year warranty
Toolsify note: What we liked about this tool are the torque and 3 drilling modes. You can choose between; drilling, hammer drilling, and driving mode! This is really great!
Ridgid R8611503 Gen5X 18V Lithium-Ion
First, we would like to talk about the first thing that is changed on this Ridgid tool! They have taken the light off of the tool body and have relocated it into the metal chuck. There are three LED lights and they rotate with the chuck and shine the light around the drill bit which is right where you need it.
Instead of just having one switch on the top of the drill, they have moved the selector switch down to both the left and right sides of the drill. This seems to make it a little easier to get at when you need to for both lefties and righties.
This model has brushed motor, but with 780inch/lbs. torque it can compare with many of its brushless friends.
One feature that will maybe surprise you is the clutch. There are over 100 clutch settings on the hammer drill. What this really means is that you’ll be able to dial in your depth of drive extremely precisely.
The only thing that we don’t like about Ridgid is that they fail when it comes to the warranty part. You will find that they are giving the Lifetime warranty, but you have to register a tool for that, and the registration will require some additional information and more than one email. If you don’t follow all of these emails, you can lose lifetime warranty forever.
- Best-in-class torque with a powerful 780 inch/lbs. of torque
- Compact size and lightweight design in a fully powered hammer drill
- Hex grip enhanced micro-texture for secure grip and maximum user comfort
- 0 Hyper lithium-ion batteries have triple-protection electronics, best-in-class extreme weather performance, and on-battery fuel gauges
- GEN5X brushless motor technology delivers up to 50% more run time and longer motor life than similar products
Milwaukee 2704-20 M18 FUEL 1/2″ Hammer Drill/Driver
This one is the most powerful cordless drill on the market.
The POWERSTATE Brushless Motor delivers up to 1,200 inches/lbs. of torque and up to 2000 RPM, providing faster drilling speed under heavy load to increase productivity.
You can also choose drill and drive option, which gives you an opportunity for wide applications. With selectable levels of torque force, you can control and do your job without problems. It operates very smoothly, weight is handled very easily. Its length is 7.75”, and we can say that it is one of the most compact drills in its class.
It has REDLINK PLUS protection from overload, overheating and over-discharge. We checked, and we can confirm that batteries deliver more per charge. The all-metal ratcheting locking chuck provides maximum grip, bit retention, and durability.
- Brushless Motor delivers 1,200 inch/lbs. of Torque and up to 2000 RPM
- Hammer drill driver uses REDLINK Plus to prevent overloads
- REDLITHIUM Batteries deliver more work per charge and more work over the life of the battery
- It is just 4.8 inches long and fits in tight spaces
- Lightweight unit weighs 4.55 pounds
- Side handle offers leverage and precise angling
- 5-year limited warranty
Well, now, when you know what the difference between impact driver and hammer drill is, you can easily make your decision and purchase the one you think will be the best option for you.
Whatever your choice is, make sure to use your tool safely!
We hope you enjoyed our new-and-improved guide. What did you think of it?
Or maybe you have a question.
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