Differences between an Impact Driver and Drill Driver

Differences between an Impact Driver and Drill Driver

You may have noticed how cordless drill drivers are gradually replacing corded drill drivers. Walkthrough the aisle of a local hardware store, and you’ll see how advanced tools are getting. You’ll see the evolution in drills, drivers, screws, and testers.

We will tell you about a new type of drill driver. It is called an impact driver. It is similar to a corded drill driver. It has a more compact body than a drill driver. Is an impact driver more advanced? Can it replace a drill driver? How are drill drivers and impact drivers different from each other? To answer these questions, we will have a look at both of them in detail.

Drill Driver

You already know that there are two types of drill drivers. One is corded and the other is cordless. Corded drill drivers are less commonly used these days. The cordless drill driver, on the other hand, is more convenient to use and consumes less power than a corded drill driver. Unlike the corded drill, cordless drill uses rechargeable batteries as the power source. It helps in drilling holes and driving screws into various types of surfaces.

Impact Driver

Impact drivers, like a cordless drill driver, also require rechargeable batteries. Impact drivers are used to loosening and tighten screws that can’t be done with a traditional screwdriver. Impact drivers can be used to drill holes too, but with an addition of a hex-shanked drill bit. Impact drivers have a high rotational torque, which makes them suitable for hard surfaces and more extensive purposes.

Let’s see the differences between an impact driver and a drill driver. You’ll then be able to understand their application with their pros and cons.


Drill drivers have less rotatory torque. They exert more pressure on the user, unlike most impact drivers.  With high rotary torque, impact drivers can fasten and loosen tough screws. You will put less effort into an impact driver than drill drivers.

Along with a high rotator torque impact, drivers use a fast-paced rotational strike that enables them to work through hard materials, like metals and concrete. You use less energy and work smoothly with an impact driver. Impact drivers are easy on your wrists than a drill driver.


By now, you must know that impact drivers have high rotational torque and fast-paced rotational strike. This makes them speedier than a drill driver in most cases.

Self-driving Screws

To fasten self-driving screws, impact drivers are the best choice. You don’t need drill driver to drill holes. Plus, you need higher torque for self-driving screws too.


You might have noted that your drill driver recoils after continuous drilling. The recoil of the drill can be very annoying for most people. Your hands and wrist resist under strain. As a result, you lose control over your drill driver and experience a kickback.

An impact driver with immense power is smoother and easier on your wrist. You don’t feel any resistance using it, and the impact driver does not recoil.


As impact drivers have a greater force, they are noisier than drill drivers. You should have ear protection when you are using impact drivers on hard materials.

Easy to Fit

 Impact drivers may necessarily not be light-weight than drill drivers. But their body is more compact, and they lack a clutch, unlike drill drivers. This makes them easy to fit in places where you wouldn't have thought of using the drill driver.


You can easily drill holes with a drill driver, but you can’t always use an impact drill for drilling holes. Most impact drivers usually have a quarter-inch of a hexagonal shaped socket head. You need to add compatible drill bits to drill with an impact driver.

The impact driver only fits with hexagonal-shank bits. You might not find hexagonal shanks a bit available every time in the market.


Impact drivers and their batteries cost almost double than the drill driver. You might want to re-think purchasing one if you don’t use it much.

Torque Control

Drill drivers have better torque control than an impact driver. You can easily make a small drill or a larger drill using a drill driver. Impact drivers with greater torque give the user less control.

Use on Delicate Surfaces

Impact drivers have less torque control, so they can’t be used on delicate surfaces, like softwood. Drill drivers are intended for delicate surfaces and to make a precision drill. Impact drivers can damage soft and delicate surfaces. Impact drivers are more likely to cause accidental damage to your hand than drill drivers.


These are some of the applications of an Impact driver and a drill driver.

Impact drivers are used in the following applications:

  • Fastening self-driving screws
  • Fastening or loosening tough material screws
  • Fastening or loosening screws on/from heavy material, such as metal, heavy wood, and concrete
  • Drilling through heavy material surfaces

You need an impact driver when more muscle and greater torque is required. It is best to use an impact driver for constructing shop furniture, installing cabinets, deck building, theatre set construction, or framing anything with heavy-weight lumber.

Drill drivers have the following uses:

  • Fastening and loosening screws, nuts and bolts on/from any surfaces
  • Drilling through a variety of surfaces.
  • Creating strong, hidden angled joints

Drill drivers can be used for other DIY purposes too. They give you better control and work well on light-weight materials, so they are handy for other uses.

  • You can use your drill-driver as a hand mixer to mix concrete, grout, and paint.
  • You can use your drill driver for carving curved surfaces. Use your drill driver to carve out sanding blocks for DIY décor. Drill driver works well on irregular surfaces as well.
  • Make a neat bundle of wires keep them organized in one place. Place the wires on the chuck of your drill and give a spin to twist the wires into a bundle.
  • You can precisely cut out large and round shapes of cardboard using a drill driver for your DIY projects.

Pros and Cons of an Impact Driver and Drill Driver

By now, you must be aware of what advantages and disadvantages an impact driver and drill driver have over each other. Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of a drill driver and an impact driver.

Impact Driver


  • Higher rotatory torque and fast-paced rotation strike
  • Fastens and loosens tough screws quicker
  • Self-driving screws
  • Less recoil and kickback
  • Less strain and easy on the wrist
  • Great speed
  • Compact body
  • Fits in small tight spaces
  • Drill through heavy materials


  • High cost
  • Loud noise
  • Less precision
  • Low torque control for the user
  • Only fits hex-shanked drill bits
  • Less versatile applications
  • Can strip screws
  • Can damage light surfaces and hands

Drill Driver


  • Cheap
  • Drills through all kinds of soft and delicate surfaces
  • Drills through most hard surfaces
  • Versatile in use
  • Great for DIY applications
  • Precision and control to the user
  • Can drill through uneven shapes and surfaces


  • Less rotary torque
  • Puts more strain on the user, especially wrists
  • Takes more time
  • Recoil and kickback
  • Can’t easily loosen or fasten tough screws
  • Can’t easily drill through heavy materials
  • Isn’t compact

Bottom Line

Impact drivers are more advanced than drill drivers. But impact drivers cannot replace drill drivers. Both have their pros and cons for different purposes. Impact drivers can work quicker with greater power than drill drivers. But they have less precision and control. Drill drivers may seem less advanced and conventional. But they are cheaper and can help you work on numerous tasks and DIY projects.