Do I Really Need an Impact Driver?

Impact Driver vs Drill

Do I Really Need an Impact DriverI’m going to spoil the ending. Yes you do need an impact driver, right away. Stop reading. Go to store. Buy an impact driver. Thank me later. If you feel the need to understand why, read on.

Impact drivers are creating a lot of buzz on the internet these days, and I’m sure a common debate is forming in thousands of households across the country; “Honey, I could really use an impact driver for the shop”… “Don’t you already have a big fancy cordless drill?” “Yes, but these are different, and I can’t go on living without one.”

Do I Really Need an Impact Driver? Impact Driver vs DrillImpact Driver vs drill; what’s the diff? Let’s sort out the differences between traditional cordless drills and impact drivers, so that woodworkers everywhere can prepare for this potential dialog in their own home.

An impact driver combines much higher rotational torque than traditional drills, with fast paced rotational tapping (not to be confused with hammer drills with deliver tapping from the rear to help power through concrete and other hard materials) which serves to nudge the fastener along while keeping the screw tip in place without spinning out of the slots. To understand this better, picture a wrench placed securely onto a bolt, and a hammer tapping it to give it some additional power as it turns the bolt. It essentially does what you intuitively do when you are driving a long screw and the goin’ starts to get tough. You stop the constant drilling, and start bumping the trigger and letting go to give the screw a bit more “umph”. This approach works to an extent, but the human reflex is only able to do about one bump per second, while an impact driver can deliver about 50 bumps per second. You might ask, “Don’t all those bumps make for a rough ride?” Well, think about driving down a rough road in a car. If you go slow it feels bumpy, but at high speeds, it just turns into a loud hum. It feels smooth in spite of all that bumping, but you do hear a loud hum as a result of all those impacts. Loud enough that you will want to wear ear protection if you are driving a lot of screws. Also loud enough that it will make you unpopular if you do a demonstration for your friends in a quiet office setting (yes, there is a story there.)

Where does an impact driver fit in a woodworking shop?

Woodworkers use drills for a combination of drilling holes and driving fasteners. Some of the work is lightweight, and some requires some brute force. Although I prefer building fine furniture with nearly invisible fasteners, I find myself driving long sheet rock screws on many projects in the shop, and that’s what the impact driver does best. For installing cabinets, building shop furniture, theater set construction, framing anything with dimensional lumber, or building a deck, the impact driver will be your new best friend.

But, it won’t replace your drill, and there are a few reasons why. Due to the extreme torque that is delivered by an impact driver vs. a drill, the impact drivers feature a hexagonal chuck design that doesn’t allow the shank to spin in the chuck when it is under load. This is a nice feature for driving fasteners, but I am not ready to discard the 200 or so round shank drill bits that I have accumulated over the years. So, if I want the ability to drive screws using my drill bit collection, and have the ability to drive fasteners without stripping the head or straining myself, I am going to need both. (You may have seen that coming.)

Do I Really Need an Impact Driver: Impact Driver vs DrillHey, where’s my clutch? Another reason an impact driver won’t replace your drill is that most drivers do not provide a clutch, which is their primary downside in my view. Regarding the clutch, the trade-off is length and weight. A keyless chuck adds a bit of mass and (more importantly) length to a drill, which can make it an unwieldy fit in tight spaces. Drivers are noticeably shorter, so you can get them into places where your cordless drill doesn’t have a chance. There are impact drivers on the market with a clutch, but they are quite a bit more expensive, and much longer than those without, and current generation designs do not allow the clutch to be used when the impact feature is engaged. So, it’s either a clutched drill, OR an impact driver, but not both at the same time. The optimal approach is to use a cordless drill with a clutch to drive lighter weight fasteners where a feather touch is important, and pull out the driver when you need the additional torque.

Do I Really Need an Impact Driver?: Impact Driver vs Drill Upside of a quick release hex chuck. When it comes to changing bits, the hex chucks on impact drivers are impressive. Just slide the outer ring forward, drop in the bit, let it slide back and it is locked and loaded. Very nice design.

Do I Really Need an Impact Driver?: Impact Driver vs DrillLet’s take a look at impact drivers from DeWALT and Porter Cable. When I performed my search for an impact driver, I found quite a few options that seemed like good choices. Several manufacturers are offering “combo kits” that include an impact driver along with a traditional cordless drill, using the same Lithium Ion battery (as someone with a cabinet full of different chargers and batteries, I say battery standardization is a great thing). When I compare the prices of these tools sold separately with the cost of the bundle, it is clear that the manufacturers are delivering significant value in the bundles. I like a good deal, and besides, the light, compact, fast charging Lithium Ion trumps my old Ni-cad batteries across the board, so I was sold on the upgrade. For applications that require pilot holes prior to driving fasteners (pretty common scenario), having a drill bit chucked up in the drill and a screw tip in the driver is a great approach. So, a combo kit it is.

Do I Really Need an Impact Driver?: Impact Driver vs DrillBased on features, value, and brand strength, I chose a combo kit from DeWALT for my shop and an impact driver from Porter Cable for use around the house as it will see a bit lighter use. I decided on 12V models rather than their 18V big brothers, because 12V delivers plenty of torque for woodworking and most DIY projects, and they are lighter and less expensive. If you are commonly driving massive lag bolts, or want to use it to remove the lug nuts from your truck, you might consider going with one of the beefier 18V models.

Not surprising, given that they are both from the same parent company, I found both the DeWALT and Porter Cable units to have a similar form factor and feature set. The DeWALT units are slightly lighter on paper, but not noticeably in my hand. All of these tools are so light compared to their NiCad cousins that a few ounces difference is negligible. Since DeWALT is targeted mainly for extreme demands of the contractor crowd, and Porter Cable seems to target both the tradesman and DIY market, I suspect that if you cut one open (I couldn’t get myself to do it) you would find some additional durability built into the DeWALT design, but that is speculation on my part. I am a fan of both brands, and I think either of these tools would adequately meet my needs as a serious hobbyist woodworker, and occasional DIYer.

Do I Really Need an Impact DriverHow about little light on the subject? Both brands also include an integrated light that comes on when the trigger is pressed, a feature that I will love the next time I am installing cabinets, or other projects where I am working in an enclosed space.

As I was trying to determine some basic real-world tests to put an impact driver through its paces, I came up with a project that was perfect. I signed up for a father/son project to build a 4′ x 8′ Lego tournament table which requires a lot of screwing together of 1/2″ plywood and 2 x 4s. The project called for about (40) 2-1/2″ drywall screws, countersunk into birch plywood. In order to make it a decent test, I rounded the screw count up to an even 100. The impact drivers never broke a sweat while driving these screws. It worked great to pre-drill with the drill, and drive screws with the impact driver. Perfect results on 100 out of 100, and no fatigue in my wrists whatsoever.

Do I Really Need an Impact DriverCan they drive 4″ screws? In addition to driving all those 2-1/2″ screws, I wanted to raise the stakes a bit. To me, a great test was thick shank 4″ sheetrock screws. I attempt to drive these from time to time with my traditional cordless drill, and it doesn’t like it much (in fact, it can’t finish the job). I was able to drive 4″ screws into framing lumber with ease using either driver. No kickback, stripping or slipping. It was fun. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t. I let my 10 year old son try it. He, too, could drive long screws, although he didn’t get quite as giddy about it as I did. But he’s never experienced the “joys” of attempting it with a regular-old-drill either.

Downsides. I would like to have a clutch built into the impact driver but that feature was not readily available in this class of product. The combination of high torque and no clutch makes it less than ideal for driving lightweight fasteners. Having said that, if I had the choice of getting a nice drill along with the impact driver or getting an impact driver with an integrated clutch, I would take the combo kit with the drill, and that is essentially what is being offered. Also, I would like to see a third battery in the combo kit. With two tools and two batteries, I am down when a battery dies, or sharing a battery which is no fun. But with a thirty minute charge time and impressive run time on a charge, I admit this is a minor concern for a weekend warrior. Frankly, there is not much else that I find lacking in these tools. So far, my expectations have been surpassed, and now the only question is longevity. Based upon the solid construction I am reasonably confident that I won’t wear these out, and I anticipate only buying again when the batteries no longer hold a reasonable charge.


As I said in the opening paragraph, impact drivers are absolutely amazing, and you will be glad that you bought one. To review some of the points covered in this article, here is a table that summarizes some of the key differences between an impact driver and a traditional cordless drill:

Do I Really Need an Impact DriverBased on the advantages of impact drivers in securing fasteners, I believe they are a good fit in a woodworking shop. Given the lack of a clutch on most models, and the inability to support round shank drill bits, drivers are not a substitute for a traditional cordless drill. Combo kits that include both an impact driver and a drill/driver using the same 12V lithium ion batteries offer a great spectrum of capabilities for woodworkers, and a great value as well. The tools that I looked at from DeWALT and Porter Cable are both superb choices for the woodworker. The DeWALT impact driver delivered slightly better power and performance, and the Porter Cable offers impressive value and very good performance (more than enough for my woodworking and DIY needs), so either one is a great choice. If you use your tools all day, and/or tend to be rough on them, you might lean toward the DeWALT. If you are looking for good price/performance, then the Porter Cable unit might appeal to you. Porter Cable also offers a comparable combo kit to the DeWALT, which would be worth consideration as well. Bottom line; you really can’t make a bad choice here.

Well, I have done my best, but if I have not given you ample ammo for your “yes, dear, I really DO need another drill” debate with your significant other, feel free to send him or her my way and I will help represent your case. Also, below you will see our youtube woodworking projects video reviewing both the impact driver and drills.

Photos By Author


DeWALT DCK211S2 12-Volt Max Drill/Driver and Impact Driver Combo Kit, $179
DeWALT Industrial Tool Company
1-800-4DeWALT (1-800-433-9258)

Porter-Cable T22216 PC120IDK-2 12V Impact Driver, $129
Delta Porter Cable

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82 Responses to “Do I Really Need an Impact Driver?”
  1. HM

    Great article, I’ve been wondering why I absolutely needed a inpact driver. Now I know. Wish I had read this before Christmas.

    • Doug

      I built a new deck and fastened the wood deck boards with a standard cordless drill and have no problems. Recently added to the deck and used an impact drill this. A month later the boards fastened with the impact drill are coming loose while the first boards are still holding tight. In my opinion, this impact drills are overrated and will cause problems with the installation later. We are installing screws, not hammering nails. These drills are trying to hammer the screws. I think this is a bad idea in soft wood.

      • Allen Eastcott

        I drill is meant for more precision work like drilling holes and the impact driver is meant to drive screws especially if you building decks or fences. To say an impact driver hammers screws is incorrect. Hammer drills do hammer but impact drivers turn screws with impact. I have built fences and decks for more than 30 years and a cordless impact driver saves time, effort and is light to handle. I don’t even know how a board can come loose after installing properly with wood screws.

      • John bailey

        I think most of us in the trades usually call them impact drivers not impact drills.. We do not generally call them drills. Take a good look at, for example the dewalt brushless XR 887 driver.. 3 settings.. 1to20 ft lbs.. 2to125 ft lbs… 3to152 ft lbs… We make our living using these little critters.. These things are great for cabinet door screws to 1/2×12 band bolts.. I also have Bosch 12v and several porta Cable 20v… Sorry didn’t intend to sound like a dewalt /porta cable commercial..

    • Commander. Dr Bob

      Excellent reviews, substitute in for major reflective” down to earth” with real individuals who have given their opinions. Commendable! Thank you so much. Long live this Great Republic!

  2. tablesawed

    I have used both, as the article said you NEED both, I am a contractor, and I have found the impact driver invaluable. The impact drivers ability to drive long screws into dimensional lumber, without stripping them, is unbelievable. Square drive, Phillips, torx, Phillips 2, whatever, they drive screws without stripping them.

  3. paulcomi

    I’ve owned a Festool 15 + 3 as well as previously a Porter Cable 18v and DeWalt 18v drill drivers and after picking up a DeWalt 18v impact driver, I sold the Festool. I drive screws much more than drilling and an impact works best for me for its weight./power ratio as well as its battery life.

  4. Grandpaj

    This is all I use for Kreg screws they bottom out and your done ,where as a cordless drill you can over turn and strip the tight fit

  5. G. Griffin

    I bought some Ryobi hex shank bits from Home Depot. They fit loosely in my new Porter Cable 12v impact driver. The tip wobbled badly. I took them back. PC does not appear to sell these bit. I’m looking at Dewalt DD5060, but I hesitate to order them(HD and Lowes don’t have this set) if I can’t easily tell that they fit snugly. Any suggestions?

    • Bill

      Avoid Dewalt, Ryobi. Buy good bits like Milwaukee or Makita and use a bit holder/extention. (2″) There are many good bits out there. Do a Google search for best drive bits and if possible use Torx or Square Drive screws. Good deck screws from your local home center or hardware store.

    • surfer

      Did you pull back on the lock? Most of the impact tools require you to lock the bits in place by pulling back or pulling forward on the outer ring. They are not spring retention (slip fit bits).

    • FlyZip

      I absolutely love my DW impact driver, which I have had for a number of years. Hardly ever use my drill driver any longer. I solved the round shank bit problem by getting an inexpensive keyed chuck…with a hex shaft from Ace. The hammer action only engages under load and never when I am drilling. Very easy to change between drill and driver bit with the slip ring.

  6. Christopher

    Great article..the one thing that really jumped out at me is the need to purchase unique hexagonal shaft drill bits. Did I get this right?

  7. Paul Mayer

    Hi Christopher, If you wanted to use drill bits you would need hex shaft bits, but I would discourage you from using drill bits in an impact driver as they do not perform very well due to the impact action which leads to rough drilling. The impact driver is much better suited for driving fasteners using standard hex shank bits. G. Griffin, I am not sure what to say on your question as I have not had any hex shank bits that didn’t fit well in my impact drivers (PC and DW).

  8. Derek Taylor

    Great article! My cordless ni-cad batteries are at the point of replacement for my 18v Craftsman Cordless drill, which still works great. I was weighing the cost of replacing the batteries versus getting a new unit with a lithium-ion battery. Lowes has a special right now on the PC 18v combo so I think my choice is made. Your article helped to seal the deal. Thanks!

  9. Paul Mayer

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, the manufacturers seem to price replacement batteries in such a way that promotes the purchase of new gear. The upgrade from ni-cad to lithium ion alone will be worth the upgrade price, especially in 18V where ni-cad batteries are massive. Let us know how you like your new PC 18V combo!

  10. Joe

    Great article, this is exactly the information I was searching for wanted a comparison to see if I really needed one. Thank you very much!

  11. Tim

    Thanks Paul! I wish I had read this 6 months ago. haha, My last project would have been so much easier. (Kitchen remodel)

  12. Jack2wheels

    I have two, a Porter Cable 20v lithium and the 20v lithium B&D. I really can’t see how I lived with out these. What a work saver!

  13. John Graves

    Fantastic article. I learned so much, and just at the time i’m making a buying decision. Much appreciated.

  14. Graham E

    A really useful, informative article, thank you Paul! Now I KNOW I need an impact driver!!

  15. Sue

    I’m a “superwoman”- -body worker, healer, caregiver, cook, maid, gardener, etc, etc. But when it comes to tools…pfffft! The batteries on my drill weren’t holding much of a charge- which was very frustrating when trying to do any project. I went on line to fine a replacement battery and found that for a little more than the price of 2 new batteries, I could get the combo of a new drill, 2 batteries, a charger, and, an impact driver. Great! But what the heck was an impact driver and what did I need it for??? Thanks for the very informative article…now, I know!…that I need all of the combo. lol This will save so much time not having to switch the bits back and forth, too.

    • Cid Young


      • WWGOA Team

        Great story; thanks for sharing! Good for you for “tooling up” and taking on some projects. Yes, you are correct; the term fastener is a generic term that includes anything that is used to hold two parts together; nails, screws, bolts, etc.

  16. william hassink iii

    I bought a Porter Cable combo kit, which had the drill/driver and the impact wrench. They are 20v and I love them. I will probably give my old DeWalt to my daughter. Just love my P/C. I wish I had it when I built my workbench. I ruined a lot of screw heads with my drill/driver.

  17. Michael Peirce

    Power tool geeks beware. Impact drivers are wonderful for the user, but utter hell if you are a neighbor. I am one of those neighbors whose life has been turned into a living hell because of my neighbor’s love affair with his impact driver.

    If you use an impact driver, please realize that your increased ability is bought at a very high cost – other peoples’ peace of mind. Unless you live miles away from anyone, your use of an impact drive WILL cause harm to others by creating a HUGE increase in noxious noise.

  18. Jason

    If I am starting to build my tool set would it be smart to invest in the impact driver over the drill as the only negative he seemed to mention was that round bits wouldn’t work. As I have nothing to replace I figure I could just build my set around the hex bits.

    • Steve

      In my experience, the impact driver’s battery is quickly depleted when boring holes through wood… Which is reasonable, since that’s not really its intended use.

      If you’re not sure and you can only afford one tool, buy the drill as it’s more flexible: it does a better job for lightweight work, and is capable of doing medium-weight work.

      If on the other hand your expected jobs will be mostly involve driving fasteners medium-to-heavy fasteners, buy the impact driver.

  19. Robert zBridges

    Thanks for the information! I got a Porter Cable 1/4″ impact wrench from Lowe’s, with a Christmas gift card, but got home and was pissed that I didn’t have a battery, or a charger! I wasn’t careful to notice they weren’t included! So I have to go back to the store, and was glad to get your information.

  20. Steven smith

    Been looking over the last couple of weeks to purchase combo kit. I read stacks of reviews, listened to what the big named stores had to say but I must say your information puts them all to shame. Well done and thanks, I’m confident in my purchase now!

  21. Sawdust Mike

    Excellent article Paul – thank you. I bought a Dewalt brushless impact driver and combination drill a couple of weeks ago. I have just built a log store and the impact driver made screwing in 80mm screws very easy and fast. Care is required not to drive in too far and pre-drilling is a must in situations were splitting the wood is a possibility. I would not go back to using a drill driver for such tasks – too much like hard work.

  22. Jerry Sparks

    I just got rid of my 18 volt Dewalt my son took it and I went to the 20 volt Dewalt and I had to get use to it as it is very strong but as a decking and fence contractor I wanted the extra power

  23. Micki

    Thanks for a great article. I’m just finishing a course at my community college on Intro to Carpentry and we used a couple Impact Drivers on our first project. This article helped me understand the differences between it and drills.

  24. Adolph "Hal" Hebert

    I really enjoyed your piece. I was particularly happy to see you use Bosch tools, although they were the 12 volt ones. Mine are 18 V, L-I and I cannot tell you how much I use them and use then hard. I don’t know how I ever got along without them. I did NOT sell my Festool, however!

  25. Ken Stott

    Excellent and informative. Thanks. I have bought a Makita Li ion drill and impact driver set and it is fantastic. Imoact driving is so noisy I can’t hear the neighbours complaining so it’s no problem. (Just joking! I’m only an occasional DIY man anyway.)

  26. Michael Harris

    Sensational article! I have been searching the internet for this information for a long time. Yours is the clearest and best info I have seen!. Well done and thanks,

  27. Efrain Martinez

    Bought a Black+Decker drill without a clutch and like to know if they make an adapter that I can use.

  28. Bongo

    It all depends on the work you do. For me, an impact driver is useless. The fasteners I deal with are rarely longer than 1.5″, and I have to drill holes as much as I drive screws. My primary tool is an 18v drill/screwdriver/hammerdrill. I use all 3 functions regularly, as well I use both speeds and almost 80% of the clutch range. I remember once unscrewing 1000 different screws in a day (taking stuff apart)… adjusting the clutch for each screw type, only using the minimum clutch needed for each screw … it really saved my battery juice and kept the drill cool. I deal with installation and assembly work… lots of machine screws, lots of thin materials, etc. Not much structural wood work except when dealing with TV mounts, however the regular 18v drill can deal with that. When I’ve had to drill 4″ wood screws into sandwiched 2×4’s… yea, my drill was crying and I ended up finishing the screws by hand. Still not worth buying an impact driver just for that odd time, unless a sale comes up.

  29. Martin

    Great piece written here… just wat I was searching for to know, nicly written.
    P.s. in conclution grapf it would be possible to also note the weight diference between them.

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Martin. Thank you for the feedback. The weight difference between the two is negligible. I would suggest choosing between the two based on your requirements rather than the weight.

  30. Gale Green

    Well I’ll be!! Thanks for a clear explanation. That really helps. Thank you again.

  31. Michelle

    Found your article while researching drill/drivers vs. impact drivers, I am have recently become a single mom n I want to beef up my ‘tool’ repertoire just to be able to do small odd jobs around the house, as my first ‘drill type’ purchase I’m not sure if I should go with a regular drill or an impact driver…n should I go with 18V or would 12 suit my purpose…just needing straight up opinion, both seem like good choices so I really don’t know which I should go with..please help!

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Michelle. This is a great question, and I’m glad that you asked. I have both a 12 volt and a 20 volt drill and impact driver. I prefer the 12 volt for most tasks because it is smaller, lighter and much easier to handle. The 20 volt is nice for heavy construction such as deck building, but I actually have built a couple decks with the 12 volt as well. I just end up charging the battery more frequently. So, for most people in most situations, I would advocate for the 12 volt.

    • Jer

      I’d say, depends on your budget and expected work capacity. Odd jobs around the house, and/or limited budget? Just go with a drill. If you find yourself picking up woodworking or other crafting as a hobby, then get an impact driver later, made by the same manufacturer so you can swap batteries between the two if need be. Same advice goes for the battery capacity. If you’re just using it to fix the odd job around the house and/or budget is tighter, go with the 12V. If you think you’ll be using it a lot, then go with an 18V/20V.

  32. Bret

    Good info. I’m getting a combo kit probably the Bosch in the video. Also impact will not replace your drill because the hex interface is not as tight and precise as drill chuck so they’re prone to some wobble which may not be desirable for some drilling applications.

  33. lana

    i am really disappointed with you. I signed up a while back.expecting videos so i can improve my skills. ha . is all there was was you trying to get me to spend more money. so then you want me to be a higher up member, so i do that too. so now i start skimming through and every time i find something that sounds good, it says BECOME A MEMBER. THIS was written at least 6 times. also you are still trying to get me to spend more money. what a disappointment. Lailani63

    • Customer Service

      Hello Lana, we are sorry to hear you are unsatisfied with WWGOA. Please make sure you are logged in to your membership when attempting to access any of the Premium content. The website does not recognize your membership unless you are logged in. If you need any further assistance accessing your benefits please call us at 1-855-253-0822 and we can assist you. Thank you, Hallie WWGOA Video Membership

  34. Steve Bright

    Problem is one can only safely use impact drivers for relatively short periods of time without fear of getting “white finger” , a HAV related problem which the manufacturers need to be warning users of. Regular drill/drivers can be used for a lot longer, in some cases all day without compromise. Ask the manufacturer for the HAV rating!

    • Allen Eastcott

      Would you give your 10 year old son a drill to drive a screw into a board or would you use an impact driver. Of course you would let him use the impact driver as if he used the drill and hit a knot the drill would keep turning and so would his wrist.

  35. William

    I use the Rigid 12 volt cordless drill and cordless driver. I’ve had them about a year. I’ve not found anything that 12 volt system won’t do. I love the impact driver if I’m driving long screws into soft or hard wood either one. It gets loud if you are drilling inside a carcass, but that’s why we wear ear protection. Enjoy your videos, Paul. Would like to see more of you.

  36. John Rau

    Looking for 2017 US sales data for impact drivers. Do you know where I might be able to find published information of this type? Thank you.

  37. John Williams

    Very well written with a touch of humor and a whole lot of good information. I really appreciate articles like this.

  38. Mark Ellis

    Are you a employee of DeWalt or B&D? I feel you have done a disservice to your customer base by only mentioning these two options in such away that is just wrong in a article like this. There are many other manufacturers that make these tools, some of which are possibly better choices.

  39. Loxmyth

    Clutch accessories used to be offered for drills that predated this becoming a standard feature. If one is available that will work with hex drive, that might be worth adding to the toolkit. Weight and bulk would be a nuisance, but maybe you could drive most of the way and then add the chuck just for the final 32nd of an inch and tightening down.

    I’ve got an old one somewhere n the basement; I’ll have to try that.

  40. Gene Durkin

    I I were building a deck, I’d want an impact driver. But for woodworking rather than carpentry, I don’t see the need. My 18v drill/driver easily does the job with #10 2″ – 3″ screws in hardwoods. Capable of overdriving the screw if clutch isn’t set right. But I always pre-drill, even in softwoods. And lube the screw. But I’m rarely placing more than 10 or so screws per project. If I were placing a few hundred and not worried about splitting the lumber, I’d want the impact driver to avoid pre-drilling, and preferably with a magazine.

  41. Jack Welsh

    Yup, everyone needs at least 1 impact driver…let me explain. Several years ago I had a contractor doing work on a deck and he had an impact driver (DeWalt) and I was so impressed with it’s ability to drive screws into the decking that I went out and bought one. I do a lot of pocket hole screw stuff and you cannot beat a impact driver. Like any/all of your power tools, you have to pay attention to what the tool is telling you as you use it; they do, in fact, let you know when you’re where you need to be before possibly shearing the screw off. I have DeWalt and Rigid Impact drivers and use them every week and, at times, very day all day when my used-to-be-wife sends me an email “can you do this” laundry list of honey-do’s. I finally bought her her own Rigid set of drivers that she uses in her organic farming business…didn’t cut down on my lists from her but at least I know that she has a backup set of the same things I use helping her and that has actually come in very handy…hasn’t put too much of a shortening on the lists but at least she’s gaining a lot more independence from having to rely on someone else…just a thought.

  42. Robert Reeder

    yes yes yes – – – – –
    I;v been using a impact driver for years. They drive screws faster with more control and with the proper drill bit – – – Well you need to try one

  43. Jeffro

    Love the impact driver. Have used one in my shop for years. My favorite is the Rigid brand for a number of reasons. It has a lifetime service agreement. And free batteries for life. You HAVE to register it to get all this service and free batteries but it is well worth it. I have driven 4” screws while building a barn with the 18 volt impact. They have never let me down.

  44. Robert

    YES! yoe do need an impact driver. I’ve had a Dewalt impact driver for a number of years and it does do the job as you described. I’m still a little fuzzy on the hammer drill/impact driver difference.

  45. Ted

    I agree with the article except about the light. I find that it doesn’t quite illuminate the work.

  46. Fleetwood

    When using a long screw over 1 1/2” or into hardwoods, I use beeswax from a piece of toilet bowl wax that I carry along on the threads. This reduces the friction and makes it easier on the driver and screw head.

  47. Joe Christensen

    One of the features of the lithium batteries that you did not mention. Unlike older batteries which gradually lose their charge and run more and more slowly, lithium provide the same power until it runs out of charge at which time it will no longer do any work until it is recharged. No more ‘is the battery running out of juice’. Put it on the charger, install the replacement battery, which you hopefully thought to recharge, and get back to work

  48. christopher

    Well written and some good info on the impact driver vs a “normal” drill.I have used my impact drive by dewalt for a few years and it comes in handy every week. Its a good addition.

  49. David Moffett

    I bought a dewalt impact driver recently but was very dissapointed. It rips the slots out of my phillips head screws.
    My 12 volt Makita impact driver on the other hand drives all but the largest screws with ease.
    I could be wrong, but it appears to me that the impact “whack” that the Dewalt driver gives the screws in not correctly timed and the whack and the twist are out of sync. The issue is not with the driver bit or the screws. Same bit, same screws, hust in a different driver.
    (There is no problem with shaped head screws just Phillips head.)

  50. sajid

    Hi, Paul Mayer. Stanley Black and Decker are moving 50 percent of manufacturing to the US. The plant will be in Fort Worth Texas and they will start to produce American made products again.