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Impact Drill

Impact Drill vs. Hammer Drill vs. Regular – What Do I Really Need?

We’ve probably all gone down to the hardware store and spent more than a few minutes in the drill aisle.

Let’s face it– drills are great, and we always want to make sure we have the proper tools for the projects we’re working on, right?

In the drill aisle, we are faced with 3 distinct sections.  First we’ve got the regular drills, where we spend most of our time.  This makes sense, and we compare voltage and torque and stuff like that.  Then, we have the impact drills and hammer drills.

They looks super heavy duty and professional.  Some of them have handles. (That must mean something!)  All of them dazzle us.  But what really makes them different?

The Difference – Regular Drills, Impact Drills and Hammer Drills

I’ve assembled this short comparison below to help you understand the unique abilities of each drill and what makes them tick.  I know I used to be confused to, but now am enabled to drill easier and better thanks to an understanding of when I need each drill.

This guide should give you enough information to decide whether or not a impact or hammer drill would make a great addition to your tool kit at this time.

Regular Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

Regular cordless drills are great for most activities.  If you’re looking to buy your first drill, this is definitely the type of drill you need.

Great for sinking screws, drilling holes, assembling furniture and a whole host of other activities, the standard cordless drill is the perfect tool for someone who doesn’t own one!

  • Great for wood and other softer materials.
  • Best “everyday” drill.
  • Stinks at drilling and driving into concrete, block and bricks.
  • If you can only have one, get one of these!

Hammer Drill

Hammer Drill

The hammer drill is a highly specialized tool made especially for drilling and driving screws into concrete, bricks and other masonry.  It’s strength is in the pulsing hammer that basically feels like someone is smacking the rear of the drill with a actual hammer while you drill.  Therefore, a hammer drill can be hard to handle, and often has a physical handle to help control it.

A hammer drill is what you need if you are going to be drilling into concrete, but it sure isn’t a tool you want to use for anything else- your wrists won’t take it!

  • Has a pumping feel and sound that pushes the bit into the material, making it great for drilling into concrete, block and bricks.
  • Hammer function is always “on”
  • Loud and requires strength to control it.
  • Often has a handle to help guide it.
  • Not necessary for the average homeowner/hobbyist.  Really a very specialized tool.

Impact Drill

Impact Drill

An impact drill, on the other hand, is not as intense as a hammer drill, but is in a category of it’s own.  When an impact drill senses a tough material that it’s drilling into or driving a screw into, it steps up into high gear and delivers super-high torque to the material.  It may be loud at times, and may break bits, but an impact drill is a great upgrade from a regular drill for tough tasks that aren’t so tough they require a full-on hammer drill!

  • Works like a regular cordless drill.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Has a 1/4 hex bit adapter only – no chuck!
  • Kicks into action with super-high torque only when needed.
  • May break inexpensive bits.
  • Works best for driving long screws and bolts.  A recommended buy if you drive a lot of screws and fasteners.
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About the Author David

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