An impact driver is a handheld power tool designed to drill long screws into wood or metal. This tool uses rotational force to drive a screw and short, quick bursts of impact when it encounters resistance. Because of its power and lightness, the impact driver is easier on your hand and wrist.
This driver is also rather easy to use. If you follow these 5 short steps, you should have no problem handling this tool:
- Select the right impact driver bit by matching it with the head of the screw.
- Insert the bit into the chuck.
- Hold the impact driver firmly in the correct position and with your dominant hand.
- Set the bit on the screw head and press down the switch trigger slowly.
- Release the trigger when you’re done and wait until it has fully stopped before removing it from the screw.
As you have seen, it’s really easy to use an impact driver. However, to fully take advantage of the tool, there are certain things you should keep in mind such as operating precautions, additional equipment you might need, proper storage, and so on.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to use an impact driver!
What’s the difference between an impact driver and a standard drill?
You surely already have a standard drill in your toolbox, so you might be wondering what’s the advantage of having an impact driver as well.
Impact drivers are more convenient than standard drills for two main reasons: power and comfort.
The amount of torque that an electric impact driver offers can’t be replicated by a standard drill. This torque, combined with the short bursts of impact, allows the driver to work with dense materials such as hardwood or metal.
On the downside, impact drivers lack the torque control standard drills have. If you need precision with regards to the placement and size of the hole, you’ll have to be extra careful with the driver in order to avoid stripping the screws and damaging the surface.
Another advantage that impact drivers have over standard drills is that they’re easier on your wrist because they’re lighter and offer no resistance, applying the downward force to the screw instead of your wrist and forearm.
What safety precautions should be followed when using an impact driver?
Even though an impact driver is easy to use and not dangerous in most cases, there are some precautions you should follow to avoid any accidents.
First of all, you should always read the instructions manual. The manual is there for a reason, make sure you read it carefully because the instructions in it were specifically written for the impact driver you’re going to use. Even if you’re an experienced user, there might some safety tips you’re unfamiliar with.
As with any other power tool, it’s essential to have protective gear. Even if you’re only going to be using your impact driver for a short time, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
A complete set of gear includes a face mask to protect your lings by preventing the inhalation of dust or any other kind of particles, and safety glasses to protect your eyes from those same particles. A pair of gloves is also important to protect your hands from cuts in case of slippage.
Anything that could get in the way or get caught in the tool is prone to causing an accident. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes, remove any jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and tie up your hair or keep it out of the way.
It’s also important to keep your work area clean, tidy, and well-illuminated in order to ensure a risk-free environment.
Do you need any additional equipment to operate an impact driver?
To operate an impact driver, there is some additional equipment you’ll definitely need and some accessories that are optional and meant to make the tool more versatile.
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re using a cordless impact driver, then you’ll obviously need a battery. Having an extra charged battery is a good idea if you’re going to be working for a long time and you don’t want to stop mid-work to recharge it.
Once you have your power source sorted out, you need to decide which bit you need to use. A bit is a small detachable piece that goes into the chuck and fits on the screw head so that you can apply torque to it and rotate it.
You should always use the bit that’s specifically designed for each type of screw head, otherwise, the tool might slip or simply not work.
Most impact drivers include a small set of commonly used bits, but if you know you’re going to work with other screw head shapes and sizes, then you need to get the right bits for them.
To make the most out of your impact driver by taking advantage of its versatility, you could get some adapters.
A socket adapter set allows you to turn your impact driver into a powerful wrench with just a quick swap and tighten or loosen nuts and bolts of a variety of sizes.
To put it simply, to operate your impact driver a power source and the right bit are a must. If you want to make the most out of your tool, it’s a good idea to add a socket adapter set to your arsenal.
Do you need any qualifications to use an impact driver?
You don’t need any special qualifications to use an impact driver. Homeowners, DIYers, and expert and novice woodworkers alike can benefit from an impact driver because of how easy it is to operate.
Just remember to read the manual first and always follow the safety precautions to work safely and avoid any accidents.
How should you store an impact driver?
It’s important to store your impact driver properly to avoid any damage.
Water and moisture are deadly to electrical tools and could be deadly for you too if you use a tool that’s been exposed to the elements.
Always keep the tool in a cool and dry area, and protected from dust if you know you won’t be using it for long periods of time. If your tool included a hard case when you bought it, storing it there is enough.
If you have a cordless impact driver, remove the battery before storing it. The battery should be kept in the original plastic bag or in a cushioned bag in a cool and dry place.
An impact driver is really easy to operate and poses no dangers to the user if handled properly and stored in the right way.
You only need to follow the 5 steps we mentioned in the beginning and follow the safety tips, and you’re ready to start using your impact driver! Be sure to also check out our guide on the best impact driver bits!