What is an Impact Driver?

Impact Driver

An impact driver is a tool that specializes in delivering high torque rotational force and forward impacts that can be used in a variety of ways. One such use is to loosen frozen or over-tight bolts. Impact drivers can also be used in place of other drills when the force needed exceeds a regular drill’s abilities like when screwing into metal studs or concrete.

Impact drivers look very similar to handheld cordless drills but have some very important differences. One of these differences is that impact drivers usually only accept a 1/4th inch hex shank. Another difference is that impact drivers provide a lot more torque compared to regular drills. This means that you need to be careful when screwing or tightening bolts so you don’t over-tighten the bolt and strip/freeze it.

Be sure to check out our full guide on how an impact driver works!

When to Use an Impact Driver?

Impact drivers are very versatile tools and as such can be used in a multitude of situations. One of the main situations you will require an impact driver is when the object you are screwing or bolting required an extraordinary amount of force or torque to turn. In these cases – a regular cordless drill will probably fail in completing the task in a timely manner. Some examples of these tasks are screwing long screws into hard knotty wood, driving a large number of fasteners, and applying lag bolts. Be sure to check out our full guide on how to use an impact driver!

When not to use an Impact Driver?

Although you can use an impact driver for many things – there are some situations where using one can be detrimental to your project. One such situation is when you need to drill precision holes. The impact driver may apply too much force and driving and cause your hole/screw to be slightly out of place. Although this isn’t an issue in most situations – it is still something to keep in mind.

Brushed vs. Brushless Impact Driver?


One of the major decisions you much make before purchasing an impact driver is whether you want a brushed or brushless motor. Brushed motors cause a lot of friction inside the driver. This causes the tool to operate a lot less efficiently compared to a brushless impact driver. As such – brushless tools are recommended if they are within your budget. This is because the increased efficiency allows your tool to retain more battery life, requires less maintenance (due to the lower friction), and has more precise motor control.

How loud are Impact Drivers?

Impact drivers are very loud. This loud noise usually comes from the impacts generated by the tool (50 pulses per second). Due to this – impact drivers are much louder than regular drills. It is a good idea to wear hearing protection when using the tool.

How much do Impact Drivers Cost?

The price of impact drivers really depends on the quality and accessories that are included with the driver. For example, a basic cordless impact driver with no attachments could cost you as little as $50 USD to purchase. On the other hand – a high-quality impact driver from a reputable brand with extra batteries could cost you upwards of $750 USD.

Where can I buy an Impact Driver?

home depot

There are many places you can buy an angle grinder from. Some of these places are listed below:

You can also purchase this tool from smaller retailers like family-owned small businesses but we can 100% vouch for the 2 listed above due to their high-quality product listings.

Another route you can take is to look for pre-owned impact drivers for sale on sites like eBay, Kijiji, and Craigslist. You will get a great deal on these used tools but beware – the quality of pre-owned tools is not regulated so you need to be extra careful when purchasing them.

You should also check out our guide on the best impact driver bits!

Impact Driver vs. Hammer Drill

Although impact drivers apply some pulsating force – the force generated by these thrusts pales to the force applied by a hammer drill. This is the main difference between an impact drill and a hammer drill. Hammer drills are mainly used when working with concrete and masonry. This – however – is not the only use for them since the “hammer” can actually be turned off on most drills allowing the user to use it as a regular drill as well.

Hammer drills are much more expensive compared to impact drills so the everyday DIY builder won’t usually need one. On the other hand – an impact driver is cheap enough that most DIY builders can afford to have one in their kit!

Impact Driver vs. Drill

An impact driver is basically a drill but with a few very important changes. For one – a drill only applies screwing force to the object it is being used on. An impact drill does the same thing but with repetitive impacts being applied. The impact drill also applies much more torque to the object – making certain tasks a lot easier than if you used a simple cordless drill. Impact drivers are also much lighter than a regular cordless drill. They are also a lot cheaper to purchase compared to drills.


In conclusion – an impact driver is a must-have tool in your toolbox. Starting at only $50 USD – these lightweight and versatile tools are perfect for tasks that your regular drill isn’t up to. If you have a decent budget – be sure to purchase a brushless motor to extend the life of your tool and to get a more efficient impact driver. If you want a high-quality tool – you can either purchase a brand new one from sites like Amazon and Home Depot – or go the used part route and purchase a pre-owned impact driver from another person.

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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