Cordless Drill vs Impact Driver


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Power tools are essential whenever working on projects to make things much easier for you.

They are also great for many other things such as repairing, deconstructing and more. There are many power tools in the market. From creating a pilot hole to driving screws, power tools ease the job significantly.

Although these tools allow you to use screws with little effort in any project, some are more versatile than others.

One of the most versatile power tools is the cordless drill.

You can use it for any situation to drive a fasteners in or create a hole.

However, it’s not always about versatility. An impact driver is designed for more power, therefore it can drive in screws much faster and easier than a cordless drill.

An impact driver will be more reliable when driving a screw into tough or hard materials.

If you’re deciding which tool you should purchase between the two, check out this post on impact driver vs cordless drill.

Cordless Drill

A cordless drill is a handheld battery powered drill used to create holes and also fasten driver for small bolts, screws, and nuts. Cordless drills are better for drilling holes as they have more precision. Some tools allow you to control the torque and speed when drilling, therefore contributing to drilling holes more accurately.

What makes the cordless drill unique is its clutch that lets you drive the fasteners at the right depth.

It works by disengaging its drivetrain after the drill reaches a specific amount of torque.

This prevents the fasteners from getting snapped off, or driving the fasteners too deep into a piece of wood.

The chuck also accepts different types of drill bit.

The benefit of using the cordless drill is that it does more than just one job.

DIY-ers typically have the cordless drill as you can already do so much with just this tool.

It can use any of the myriad round-shank and hex-shank drill bits and drivers.

This is why the cordless drill is such a versatile tool.

The cons with having the cordless drill are that you still have to keep on changing bits whenever you want to change its functions.

When driving in screws and as the tool gets more resistance, the cordless drill may not be able to drive in screws fully as its output torque is less than that of the impact driver, or even standard drill in some cases.

It may be a versatile tool, but it doesn’t have the same power as an impact drill.

With strong resistance, sometimes, the chuck can also come loose.

The cordless drill can do so much but it is limited in power. Some cordless drills can be equipped with batteries that have higher amp hours. However, unlike the corded drill, it is easier for the cordless drill to get into tight spaces or further away from an outlet.

You can find more information about cordless drill batteries here.

If the material you’re working on is just too hard for the cordless drill, then consider having an impact driver instead.

If your projects are simple, the cordless drill is a must have for anyone.

Impact Driver

The cordless drill and impact driver share a few differences.

The impact driver is not your standard drill, as these tools are engineered to drive in screws with more force and torque. However, it is also good to know that this tool has a cordless version as well that allows for more flexibility.

Compared to a cordless drill, the impact driver offers the capability of driving in screws faster, easier and with much more power. If you are ever attempting screw in a fastener in a somewhat tough surface with a cordless drill, you may notice that you have to apply a certain amount of pressure to carry out the task.

The difference is that although impact drivers and cordless drills both possess that rotational motion, the former also incorporates a hammering action that aids in the driving process. Therefore, this action keeps the tool slipping in the midst of drilling or driving a fastener, while also providing way more power.

With this tool, there is no need for pilot holes beforehand, you can attempt to drive in screw and bolts from the start.

The impact driver and the cordless driver may look very much alike, but there is a few differences in their design difference. For instance, when it comes to size, impact drivers tend to be smaller and lighter.

Also, while the cordless drill is equipped with a chuck, the impact driver employs a collet which only uses a hex-shanked driver bits. Therefore, impact drivers have no chuck.

To put in a driver bit to an impact driver, you simply have to pull the collar off the collet and insert the bit.

With the collet and collar, the driver doesn’t come loose as it gets more resistance.

Although it only accepts hex-shank driver bits, it is a very reliable tool for heavy duty driving. In this regard however, cordless drill do have more bit options as their chuck is much more adaptable in that sense.

The impact drivers make use of bit rotation and concussive actions. This means that impact drivers can drive screws and fasteners into the hardest and thickest wood. As a result, the tool is twice or even three times more potent than an average cordless drill.

With the concussive action, all the force goes to the screw and not to the tool which makes using it much more comfortable.

While the impact driver may not have the slip clutch that a cordless drill has, you can still control the tool by just how much you pull on the trigger.

Because the impact drill can only accept hex-shank driver bits, you can’t use all your other round-shank bits for it.

But the impact driver makes up for it with its sheer power and ease of use.

If you need a tool for heavy-duty driving, definitely go for the impact driver.

Another aspect in which the impact driver trumps vs the cordless drill, is when unscrewing stubborn fasteners. If you have a rusty fastener or a bolt that has been drilled in too deep, the hammering action aids in this process.

It’s much more reliable than a cordless drill but not as versatile. This power and reliability of the impact driver comes at a cost, as generally speaking, they tend to be more expensive than the cordless drill.

Cordless Drill vs Impact Driver-Which one is better?

So, which one of these tools is better between the cordless drill and impact driver? There are different factors to consider in determining the answer.

First of all, it depends on what kind of work you are going to use the tools for.

If the project or the job doesn’t require much heavy duty work, the cordless drill should be more than enough. This can be determined for instance, based on the surface or material one is intending to drive fasteners in, or drill holes. If the surface is soft (i.e. wood, drywall, etc), then the cordless drill can be a good option.

Not only can you use both round-shank drivers and bits but you can also use their hex-shank counterparts. You can create furniture and do a lot of different types of work with the cordless drill.

The cordless drill has a clutch for better control, and with it, you can drive in screws at just the right depth. Some slip clutches have different levels of torque that can be applied for better manageability.

The cordless drill can’t do well when the material gives it too much resistance though.

It can fail with driving screws in, and its chuck can turn loose.

If the cordless drill is too limiting for your need, go for the impact driver.

The impact driver is all about power and to really drive in screws, power is needed.

Unlike the cordless drill, the impact driver won’t fail in driving in screws no matter how thick or hard the material is.

Not only that, it also has features that let you drive in screws much easier.

You also won’t need to equip it with a battery that has a higher amp hour. But, it is also important to point out that the bits are limited for the impact driver vs the option of bits available for the cordless drill.

So, which is the better tool? Again, it depends on the type of work you’ll need the tools for.

An impact driver can only do one job, and if that’s all you’ll need, you can go for the impact driver.

This is especially true when you are going to work on really hard and tough materials.

Meanwhile, the cordless drill can drive screws and make holes. If you need a tool that can do both, go for the cordless drill. You can find a list of the best cordless drills here.

A cordless drill however is a useful tool can come in handy in every household for any random project like installing a tv mount, assembling furniture. Therefore it is a must have product in your shed, as there might be a need for it eventually. The impact driver is more project specific.

That being said, there is no harm with having both. This is especially true when you need both the abilities of the cordless drill and the impact driver to complete your projects.

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