Hammer Drill vs Impact Driver

A carpenter, plumber or construction worker or even an electrician will be all too familiar with the use of a hammer drill and an impact driver. In fact, they will see it as two of the best tools of their trade to own. These highly specialized tools make the work much easier for these professionals when they need to drill into hard materials. Beyond this similarity there lie several differences between these two tools. Let’s take a close look at hammer drill vs impact driver.

Hammer Drill

Hammer Drill

Hammer Drill

A casual look at a hammer drill might lead one to think that it resembles any ordinary power drill. However, it is designed to have a highly unique feature that makes drilling hard materials a dream. In fact, the power of this feature prompts several handymen to comment that working with a hammer drill is like holding a mini jackhammer in their hands!

What this means is that the hammer drill works with lightning speed to drill materials faster and deeper. This piece of equipment is perfect for a mason, carpenter or anyone needing to drill solid materials like stone or concrete. With the hammer drill, a skilled professional can obtain a much larger punch on the bit, when it goes much further into the solid material. And now, if this convinces you to invest in a hammer drill, perhaps it’s time to know that this device is much louder than a normal drill and demands much more force, making it yet again like a mini jackhammer.

Impact Driver

Impact Driver

Impact Driver

The impact driver is unique in its category, in terms of its shape and capability. It is smaller and rounder than an ordinary drill and the hex socket takes the place of the chuck. It gets its impact from what a set of vise grips would give when tied to the shank of the drill. In fact, it gives the extra effect of hitting the handles that revolves the bit while simultaneously drilling the bit into the solid material.

By increasing the torque, the device can have better control of the bit and the drill lead. When longer screws enter the material with ease, it makes the work of carpenters, roofers and framers that much easier as they can achieve easy drilling with lesser effort.

A typical impact driver is designed to have three main parts: an impact mass or weight, a T-shaped anvil and a tough compression spring. When the drill is switched on, the compression spring immediately spins at the same speed as the weight when it is alongside the t-shaped anvil. When the resistance from the material’s density increases, the weight spins slower than before though the motor speed remains constant. This means the spring’s rotation continues at the same speed as before.

Due to this combined action, the drill can exert more pressure against the weight, which consequently pushes much harder on the anvil causing greater torque and control on the drill but with more ease.

Applications of a Hammer Drill vs an Impact Driver

With the differences between the hammer drill and impact driver before you, let’s check out their applications:

  • Hammer Drill: Perfect for drilling into brick, concrete or any other dense material, the hammer drill does not allow excessive stripping of the bit or its breakage, which are commonly experienced by professionals. For this reason, it is perfect for carpenters, electricians and plumbers who use this device regularly.
  • Impact Driver: If large screws, fasteners and bolts have to be driven into dense material, an impact driver is best used for the purpose. If electricians, framers and carpenters need to drive bolts or screws into dense material via a sheetrock, they prefer to use an impact driver.


Each of these devices comes with a slew of benefits for the professional and the handyman because they make working with them less strenuous. Each device has its unique use and hardly ever can they be interchangeable. While the hammer drill is best used when drilling a bolt or screw into stone or concrete, the impact driver takes on the role of a power drill, and is very often used in DIY home projects. Lastly, they are both superb as they contribute to different projects.

Author: John Clax

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