equipment making hole in wall at construction site.

Impact drivers are powerful tools that allow you to work with many types of materials and walls. With such tools, you’ll be able to create holes in all sorts of surfaces and carry out difficult jobs with ease and minimum effort. Depending on the model and tool you choose, you’ll be able to use it for a wide variety of tasks. Simply choose the tool with the right power to suit your needs and accessories.

If you’re looking to learn more about these powerful and functional tools, you’ve come to the right place. In the sections ahead we include all the most important facts about impact drivers and their use. You will also find a ranking with the best drivers available in North America. With all this information at your disposal, you’re sure to make the best possible choice at the time of purchase.

Key Facts

  • The main difference between an impact driver/drill and a regular drill, is their power capacity. Although many drills have a percussion function, they don’t exert as much force. Impact drivers are capable of performing tasks that drills cannot. It is important to consider your needs before choosing one type or the other.
  • Impact drivers are very powerful tools, they are used to work on walls and resistant surfaces. Although you can also use them to make holes in wood, metal or other tough materials, that is not their main function.
  • These tools are very dangerous. It is very important that you know how to use them before working with them. Always make sure to comply with all safety requirements and precautions.

Ranking: The best impact drivers on the U.S. market

This next list includes the best impact drivers currently available in the United States. Each product includes a brief description of its key features. Make sure to pay attention in order to better understand the makings of a good impact driver. It is our hope that you’ll be able to find the perfect tool within this amazing product selection.

Best lightweight impact driver

This impact drill is designed to be super lightweight and compact (2 mm shorter than the previous model) making it ideal when you need to get into those tight corners. Plus, it accepts a large 1″ bit tip and a pretty unique feature. Just like with many of the units available today, the battery for this model is sold separately. This practical and portable impact driver will certainly positively impact the type of projects you will enjoy taking on, no pun intended!

Best impact driver for beginners

If you are looking for a solid impact driver that will be great to get you started, then this one, although slightly heavier than other models, delivers impressively high performance with 1375 in-lbs of max torque. Consumers have reported this tool to have long-lasting battery life. All in all, this is a versatile tool that can be used for small jobs like dismantling a bike fast and easily or for larger ones like drilling TV mounts into studs.

Best top-of-the-line compact impact driver

All in all, this compact driver is a great choice with top-of-the-line performance in a compact package, optimized for high-speed fastening. It is made of high-carbon steel, weighs 1.37 pounds, has an ambidextrous belt clip and a Lithium-Ion battery is included. This lightweight, the cordless tool delivers tremendous power and torque at 2,500 revolutions per minute. We should point out that Milwaukee Tools is a company leading the industry in both durability and performance.

Best powerful and affordable impact driver

When you need an affordable impact driver that can be used every day, with plenty of reliable power for small and large jobs, this is your tool. It comes with 2 Lithium-ion batteries so your workflow can flow seamlessly. Charging is easy and you can get up to 25% in 5 minutes or a full charge in 30 minutes. As far as power is concerned, it uses a 4-pole copper motor with powerful torque and 4000BPM of impacts.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about impact drivers

By now, you probably know there are different types of drills and impact drivers out there. For this reason, it is important that you familiarize yourself with their characteristics before making a final decision. You should understand how they work and what they are if you’re looking to buy one. To help you out, in this section we include a list of the most frequently asked questions among buyers.

Hombre con martillo percutor

Impact drivers are tools used to drill walls or floors of different materials.
(Source: dmvasilenko77: 98609425/123rf.com)

What is an impact driver?

An impact drill, also known as a percussion hammer or impact driver, is a power tool mainly used to drilling in hard materials. It is a type of rotary drill, that works with an impact mechanism that generates a powerful hammering motion. Impact drivers are tools used to drill with a lot of force on dense or resistant surfaces.

These tools can produce very high levels of force which allows the object that it needs to penetrate to be broken. Impact drills are often used to work on masonry materials such as concrete, stone, ceramics, and brick. The drill bits are also very strong and made to be used on very tough surfaces and jobs.

What are the main uses of an impact driver?

Impact drills are mainly used for hard masonry and construction work. They are used for drilling, chiseling, and demolition. They need to be very powerful since they are used for working on the toughest materials such as rock, stone, concrete, masonry, brick or asphalt. Moreover, they are used in masonry work to pierce and demolish walls.

Why is an impact drill better than a normal drill?

It’s easy to mistake an impact drill with a normal drill. Nonetheless, simple drills don’t often include percussion/impact functions. Furthermore, drills don’t have as much power as impact drivers. At the end of the day, each tool will be better suited for a particular type of work. Because it is important that you know the differences, make sure to check out this comparative table:

Drills Impact drills
They have self-locking heads and quick drill change. They have heads that work with SDS Plus and SDS Max systems.
They use bits of smaller sizes and diameters. They use chisels and bits that have a larger diameter and size.
They only have percussion and drilling functions. As well as percussion, these also have chiseling and demolition functions.
Drills operate by rotating the motor. Some models may have a hammerlock function for drilling.
These perform drilling, screwing and drilling tasks. These operate through electro-pneumatic impact.
Simple range of heads and drill bits. A wider range of accessories is available for these tools.

When is it advisable to choose an impact driver?

Impact drills are very versatile and efficient tools. By means of electro-pneumatic impacts, they hit the material, this, in turn, allows you to do chiseling work. These drivers are ideal tools for professional work since they are useful for working with large diameter boreholes. The list below includes the main pros and cons of using these tools:

Advantages
  • Versatile
  • You can drill large diameter holes
  • You can also use them as drills without the impact function
  • Works for chiselling and demolition
  • Allows to carry out heavy and professional tasks
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than drills
  • Heavier than drills
  • Noisy
  • Very dangerous to handle

What types of impact drivers are there?

Impact drills come in two basic models: those with connecting cable and those that are battery operated. Let’s begin with cable drivers: These are the most common models, they need to be plugged into an energy outlet in order for them to work. They are more powerful than cordless models, but also heavier. The main drawback is mobility and that you won’t be able to work without electricity.

Impact drivers with batteries are less popular, and they also tend to be a little more expensive. Their plus is that they have more compact and ergonomic designs, and they don’t weigh as much. Batteries are usually lithium-ion batteries and allow you to move freely while working. The main drawback of these models is that they exert less power.

Los cascos son parte importante de un obrero

For your safety, always keep the power cord behind you and when you stop, turn it off and block the trigger right away.
(Source: 89772962/123rf.com)

What safety measures should be followed when using an impact driver?

As with any power tool, it is of utmost importance to follow and adhere to all the safety and protection rules that are applicable to the tool and job you’ll be carrying out. Furthermore, impact drills are especially dangerous, so let’s look at some specific safety rules you should follow when using these tools:

  • Never use the impact drill for demolition without first inspecting the area for wiring. If the tool hits a cable you could be electrocuted.
  • Before drilling make sure the drill bits or chisels are securely fastened. A flying bit could cause great damage to you and your surroundings
  • Clear the work area. Chiselling jobs can send chunks of rock flying, and these could cause serious injury or damage.
  • Always work with the power cord behind you. If you hit the cord you may be electrocuted.
  • Wear safety clothing and equipment when performing demolition work. Materials are bound to fly off and not wearing protective gear could cause serious injury.
  • Use safety gloves. These are not only for protection, they also provide a more secure grip of the tool.
  • Wear safety boots and goggles. In addition, you will need masks to prevent swallowing dust.
  • Impact drills are very noisy tools. Use noise cancelling ear muffs to protect your hearing.
  • You should always wear a helmet when performing demolition work.

Purchase Criteria

Next, we’ll discuss a number of things to consider before purchasing an impact drill. By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be more likely to be satisfied with your purchase. Simple consider these criteria for each of the models you’re considering and you’ll be sure to make the best shopping decision.

  • Price
  • Impact
  • Brand
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Design
  • Accessories

Price

Even for the wealthiest of buyers, price should always be a consideration. Most people have a budget they want to stick to. It is important to note that you will want a tool that is durable and powerful, so, like with most power tools, cheap will usually cost you more in the long run.

The price of these drivers range from 75 USD to several hundred dollars. At the end of the day, it will be up to you to choose according to your budget and needs. Don’t just consider the price, evaluate the quality and price of the tool calmly and don’t rush it.

Impact

The impact frequency expresses the number of impacts per minute that the tool transfers to the drill. This is a decisive feature in an impact drill. This factor is particularly useful when using the tool in percussion mode. Impacts per minute are expressed as IPM and are translated into Joules of strength.

Impact power is another main criterion. As mentioned above, it is expressed in Joules (J). This power determines the efficiency and performance of the driver. Please note that if you are looking for a tool for occasional use, about 3 Joules of power will suffice. For professional use is better to opt for 5 joules or more.

Es una herramienta de alto grado de impacto con la superficie

Impact drills are often used in demolition and masonry work.
(Source: Kalinovsky: 32380339/123rf.com)

Brand

You can choose to buy a machine from a well-known brand or a no-name tool. Unfortunately, when power tools are concerned, the quality of the tool is often directly correlated to the brand and also to the price. We would suggest that, as long as it’s possible, you opt for a driver that is made by a reliable brand.

The best brands usually offer the best quality products. In addition, they tend to have a more efficient customer service. Moreover, make sure that the manufacturer offers a good warranty option, with a minimum of two years. This way, you’ll know the brand has you covered in the event of unforeseen breakdowns.

Torque speed

The torque-speed is another important feature, as it defines the ability of the driver to drill into a tough surface. In the case of impact drills, the torque-speed is lower than in conventional drills. Ideally, the torque-speed for an impact driver should be between 300 and 1000 RPM.

Power

Power reflects the performance of the impact driver. The greater the power, the greater the capacity to work on tough surfaces and materials. A standard impact drill’s power ranges from 500 to 800 W. However, if you are looking for a more powerful and professional tool, opt for one with a 1500 to 2000 W motor.

Keep in mind that this aspect directly influences the price of the tool. The more power, the more professional it becomes, which will be reflected by the price. If you choose a tool with medium power, you’ll have an efficient driver made for simple do-it-yourself tasks.

Design

Whether you opt for a tool with a power cord, or one that is battery-powered, you should look for compact and ergonomic designs that are comfortable to handle. Whenever possible, choose a tool with a rubber grip or rubber-coated grip, as they make gripping much easier. Many modern models also have anti-vibration systems that are important if you are going to do long sessions or heavy work.

Weight is another important factor to keep in mind. If you can, look for lightweight models so you can use them for overhead tasks without becoming exhausted. Also, the sizes can vary from one model to another, it is advisable to choose a compact design that you can use in narrow spaces. Last but not least, make sure it has a quick and easy drill change mechanism.

Los martillos percutores funcionan con broca

Impact drivers can make work easier, saving you a lot of time and effort.
(Source: Толмачев: 86216462/123rf.com)

Accessories

To make the most out of the tool you choose, you’ll need a set of bits and chisels. Not to mention other accessories that adapt to the type of task you’ll be doing. Many models and brands include sturdy cases to store tools, drills, and other accessories.

The most basic models do not include any accessories. In these cases, you can get the accessories you need at any hardware store. In this case, you should know that there are different types of bits and chisels and that each one works on a specific type of material.

Summary

Impact drivers are fundamental tools in professional construction and masonry environments. They offer great performance and allow you to drill and chisel on very hard surfaces. They can be used to work on rock, concrete, metal, masonry, and brick among other materials.

Last but not least, keep in mind that if you intend to buy an impact drill, you must take into account the relevant criteria we mentioned in the last section of this guide. At the end of the day materials, spare parts or safety are key aspects, but so are the battery and value for money.

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(Featured image source: Dudchenko: 106463542/123rf.com)

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