You have probably heard of an impact driver before. Yeah, it definitely sounds like a really mean and intimidating tool, one with many uses, in fact! That said, what exactly can an impact driver do? What is this tool and what is it used for? Let’s figure out what can be done with an impact driver.
6 Common Impact Driver Uses
It is of course important to note that impact drivers are a lot like drills, but way more powerful. If a normal drill is like a basic little car that you would use to get from point A to point B, then an impact driver is like the Ferrari that you would use to win the race. Simply put, an impact driver is like a drill on steroids. So, what exactly can this beefy tool be used for?
One of the main purposes of an impact driver is to drill. Yes, a normal drill is also used for drilling, but these have limited power. Some regular drills may not be able to carve very far into very dense or hardwood, and usually not into concrete or stone either. Although for the latter, hammer drills and rotary hammers are the best answer.
Impact drivers, due to their high level of power and torque, combined with specialty drill bits, have the ability to drill into objects that are much harder than a normal drill can handle, and at much faster speeds too.
#2: Tightening and Loosening Screws
Another purpose that an impact driver can be used for is to tighten and loosen screws. Yes, this is also something that most people would usually use a normal drill or driver for. However, just like with drilling, a normal drill can only go so far in terms of tightening and loosening screws.
If you need to screw in a large number of screws into dense and thick material, an impact driver will be able to do so with much higher efficiency and less time used. All you will need is a good set of screwdriver bits.
Moreover, if you have screws that are stuck, a normal drill may not be able to loosen them. However, due to the much higher level of power than an impact driver has, you can loosen stuck screws with relative ease. Of course, for this purpose, you will need to have the appropriate bits for your impact driver.
#3: Tightening and Removing Bolts
Related to the previous point, impact drivers can also be used to tighten and loosen bolts. Just like with drilling and screwing, a normal wrench or power wrench might not be able to tighten bolts sufficiently in very thick, long, or dense materials.
An impact wrench or an impact driver will be able to handle much thicker and larger materials. Moreover, the same goes for loosening bolts that are way too tight. If you use the appropriate hex or wrench bits, you can loosen bolts that you would have never thought would move again. In other words, with the right bits, an impact driver can technically be used as an impact wrench.
#4: Mixing Paint
Yet another use of an impact driver, although less common than the three uses listed above, is to mix paint. Yes, people often use special paint mixer attachments with their drills to mix paint. However, you can use these same paint mixing attachments with your impact driver, and it will make mixing paint much easier and faster due to the higher level of power that impact drivers have.
#5: Mixing Cement and Concrete
Just like with mixing paint, you can also get special attachments for your impact driver that will allow you to thoroughly mix small quantities of concrete and cement. Cement and concrete are quite thick, generally too thick for a normal drill or driver to be able to mix. However, due to the high amount of torque that impact drivers feature, they are rather perfect for this task.
The other purpose than an impact driver can serve is to sand down wood. This is another fairly uncommon use of an impact driver, but it does come in handy in the event that you don’t have any other sanding tools on hand. You can get special circular sanding bits designed for impact drivers, which are ideal for small sanding jobs, particularly for detail work.
Can an Impact Driver Drill into Concrete and Masonry?
Generally speaking, impact driver drills can drill into concrete and masonry, although this is technically not one of their designated or intended functions. Impact drivers are designed mainly for driving, or in other words, for tightening and loosening bolts and screws.
However, with the right drill bits, an impact driver can definitely also be used as a drill. This is especially the case when it comes to drilling wood. There is not a single good reason why a half decent impact driver couldn’t drill into any kind of wood.
However, the story is a little different when it comes to concrete and masonry. Yes, technically speaking, an impact driver can drill into stone and concrete, but you will need a specially designed carbide tipped drill bit. Moreover, unless you get a big beast, most impact drivers won’t be able to drill holes larger than 0.25 inches into stone or concrete.
Can an Impact Driver Replace a Drill?
Most people will tell you that an impact driver cannot replace a drill, mainly because impact drivers are not specifically designed for drilling, and because impact drivers cannot handle as many bit types as normal drills. However, if you get yourself a new and modern impact driver, a really high-quality model, then there is no reason why it could not replace a normal drill.
Remember, impact drivers are like normal drills, but more powerful, and as long as you find the right bits for the job, impact drivers can be used for drilling, for tightening and loosening screws, and even for tightening and loosening bolts. So, we would say that yes, an impact driver can definitely replace a drill, especially if you are not a professional who builds houses, or something similar.
As you can see, impact drivers are pretty cool tools, one tightening and loosening bolts and screws, or even for mixing paint and concrete.
If you are looking for a tool that can be used for a wide variety of purposes, whether drilling holes into wood or stone, or forplanning to put together an arsenal of tools, an impact driver is definitely one tool to consider.
That said, there are also situations in which you should not use an impact driver.