Trying out a new machine tool for the first time is an incredibly exhilarating experience. To get the best results from that tool, you will require proper knowledge of that specific tool. In this regard, our friend from Power Tools Pro has written a great piece here. Among several tools that are setting fire to the mechanical world, the impact driver is the one. As the tool is new for many people, we often get the question, what do you use impact drivers for? 

The answer to this question is quite simple and explainable by seeing the name of the impact driver. With an impact driver, you can perform any task that requires high impact or power. Thus, you can readily fix different types of screws into their respective places. Moreover, you can also use it for fixing large bolts and nuts that are often used in machinery. 

What is an impact driver and where to use it?

An impact driver is a mechanical tool that is constructed to perform specific mechanical functions that are not performed by common drills, hammers, and wrenches. It uses an internal mechanism that combines the rotational force of a drill with regular bursts of the manual hammer impact driver. As a result, the screw or bolt that needs to be tightened is subjected to sudden torque impacts. Hence, the tool gets its name from its driving mechanism, “impact action.” Modern impact drivers are either corded or cordless. 

Cordless impact drivers are battery-powered, while corded impact drivers are electrically powered. Different impact drivers have different sizes, dimensions, speeds, power, torque, and impact action values. These tools are as powerful as they can drive large wood screws effectively. 

The mechanical functions that were mentioned above include driving, fastening, and removing different types of small to large screws. Moreover, you can also use an impact driver for drilling purposes. Thus, you can use an impact driver for several purposes, including driving Phillips screws, deck screws, frozen or hard screws, large nuts, lag bolts, wood screws, masonry work, and a lot more. 

Uses of the Impact Driver 

Some of the main impact driver uses are listed below:

  • For driving self-drilling screws: 

One of the most important functions of impact action is driving self-drilling or self-threading screws. This is because the impact action mechanism that this tool uses perfectly matches the driving mechanism of a self-drilling screw. For example, a self-drilling screw does not require a pre-drilled hole. Instead of it, it directly starts threading itself into the material and then backs off to prevent itself from breaking and repeats the same procedure until it’s into the material. On the other hand, an impact driver produces an impact action by first employing forward rotational force, then employing reverse rotational force, and repeating the same thing. 

  • For removing screws: 

The screws that are required to be removed are often over-rotated, rusty, or very old. Thus, when it comes to removing screws, the task becomes difficult for an ordinary screwdriver. So, an impact driver is a reasonable tool for this objective. Moreover, another thing that makes it suitable is that it comes with a bit chuck, which comes in different shapes. So, you can easily select which one suits the screw you are going to remove. Furthermore, the high level of torque and speed that an impact driver produces readily removes the rusty screws from their places. 

  • For fastening thick screws: 

An impact driver is specifically designed for fastening thick screws like lug nuts, wood screws, heavy lag bolts, metal sheet screws, machine screws, socket screws,  carriage bolts, etc. All these screws require high rotational force and a strong impact action because all the materials into which they are fastened are hard and thick. Thus, a large amount of power is needed. Therefore, you should use an impact driver for this purpose. Although, the impact driver accepts quarter-inch bits only. However, on these bits, you can attach sockets to perfectly fasten these screws. You can fasten it by applying normal to high pressure. 

  • For removing car brake-drums:

Car brake drums are held together with hard nuts that must be removed with great force. Therefore, an impact driver with a high RPM value will be best for it. Before you start removing the brake-drum screws from their place, try to lose them first. For this purpose, you should apply low pressure first. The low to high-pressure setting on an impact driver helps us to do this, which cannot be achieved by an ordinary driver. After the brake-drum screws are loose, continue applying high pressure until they are removed from their place. 

  • For drilling holes: 

Another use of an impact driver is drilling holes. Although it is not a specific tool for this purpose, you can easily use it for drilling. The perfect time to use an impact driver as a drill is when you need something handy and you want to drill holes in tight spaces, as it is a more compact tool than ordinary drills. For drilling holes with it, you must use a hexagonal bit chuck that comes with the impact driver itself. Furthermore, it lacks a clutch, which means it will take longer to drill holes than a standard driller.

Which is more powerful, impact drivers or impact wrenches? 

Both impact drivers and impact wrenches are well-known impact guns. However, some features in them make an impact wrench more powerful than an impact driver. An impact wrench uses the same rotatory mechanism to run an air or electricity-powered motor. This mechanism produces a sudden twisting motion in the form of small bursts. These small bursts create an enormous amount of torque and power. An impact driver, on the other hand, uses rotatory force in the form of repeated forward and reverse motions to create torque. Thus, it also produces strong torque. Normally, the value of torque that an impact wrench produces reaches as high as 3000 ft-lbs, which is quite greater than the maximum torque of an impact driver 

Which is better, an impact driver or a cordless drill? 

An impact driver is better than a cordless drill. Unlike a cordless drill, impact drivers are more compact, lightweight, and powerful. Moreover, as compared to an ordinary drill, an impact driver offers features that make it compatible with a variety of applications. Furthermore, impact drivers are specially designed for long fasteners, for which a cordless drill is a useless tool. Plus, there are fewer chances of stripping screws or workpieces and getting fatigued while working with an impact driver. An impact driver comes with special bits so you can readily fasten up almost every kind of screw. Thus, an impact driver is far better than a cordless drill. 


In our verdict, an impact driver is a powerful impact tool that can perform versatile functions. It is our favorite tool for both DIY and professional use. Although it is less powerful than an impact wrench, it is still a more favorable tool than a cordless drill, which makes it suitable for beginners as well as professionals. Hopefully, you have got your answer to what do you use an impact driver for. 

Khuwalid Khalid
Khuwalid Khalid
Contact at Khuwalid.khalid@gmail.com