Every workshop needs a decent selection of tools suited to every purpose. As a DIY enthusiast, you probably already have a full toolbox and several cabinets/shelves dedicated to the tools of your trade. Drills, screwdrivers, hammers, saws, belt sanders, and more are likely a part of your arsenal, but you may be missing one of the most amazing tools of them all: an impact driver. One of the most essential tools for plenty of home projects is the humble impact driver. Impact drivers are a versatile tool, useful for a variety of applications. Whether you’re working on a new home improvement/construction project or just looking to tighten up a few loose items around the house, an impact driver can be the right tool for the job. This article will tell you all about them and guide you on how to select the right model for your workshop.
What Is an Impact Driver?
Impact drivers are amazing little tools. While they may bear a striking resemblance to a drill, they are decidedly unique. Impact drivers are not drills and shouldn’t be confused with impact wrenches (which only handle ½” bits as opposed to a driver’s ¼” bits). To begin with, the primary use for an impact driver is to powerfully drive longer screws in tough materials. These can include driving long deck screws into thick wooden posts, fastening anchors to concrete, or driving screws into metal. Anything that requires more torsion than typical drilling will definitely benefit from using an impact driver. Like all power tools, impact drivers have some very specific parts. These include:
- The chuck, a quick-release holder at the front of the tool that holds the hex driver bits you’ll be using during your project.
- The variable speed trigger. Gentle pressure provides slower speeds, while increased pressure provides more powerful speeds.
- The speed and torque selector, which does exactly what you’d expect it to do.
- A forward/reverse switch, which also does exactly what you’d expect. Putting it in the center position usually locks the trigger so it won’t accidentally start running.
- Magnetic storage area for screws or other bits you may need during the project.
- A clip (sometimes) to secure the device to your tool belt if desired.
- A power pack (cordless version) or power cord…you know, so you can actually run the power tool.
Why You Need One
Other than the immediate practicality and usefulness of having an impact driver on hand, there are plenty of reasons to get one for your toolbox or garage. Sometimes you have work to do that requires much more power than any mere drill can provide. are you building a deck, patio, gazebo, or otherwise project that requires a great deal of large screws and bassinets. In that case, you’re going to need something with some level of power to drive those screws into the posts. Impact drivers make jobs like this significantly easier and handle large screws, fasteners, anchors, and bolts much better than standard drills. When you need some extra power, you need an impact driver!
Impact Driver Applications
So, you’ve decided to add an impact driver to your toolbox.But you may be curious as to what kind of applications the tools have for your DIY or home improvement projects. While they’re great tools for the tasks we mentioned above, they’re especially useful for loosening over-torqued bolts and driving in self-tapping/self-threaded screws. They can also be used to help disassemble particularly tough items. Because they use hex bits, they’re suited to many other projects and are especially useful for when you’re going to be using a ton of screws and fasteners. When you’re working with hardwoods or harder materials, an impact driver will deliver the best results too. Remember, though, that it’s a variable speed tool and not a precision instrument so plan your project accordingly.
Types of Impact Driver Motors
Choosing an impact driver eventually comes down to its intended purpose and the amount of power you’ll need for the tool. The electric motors that power impact drivers may be brushless or brushed. Brushed motors have little carbon brushes that pass electricity to an armature to energize copper wires, which creates a spinning motion between stationary magnets. Brushless motors reverse the coils and magnets, eliminating the armature and the need for brushes. Brushless motors are much more efficient and the ideal for any impact recorder you add to your workshop.
Accessories and Bits
Getting the actual impact driver is only half the fun of purchasing one; the other half is getting some accessories! Impact drivers can benefit from various accessories. If your driver is wireless, you’ll need a charging base and power supply. Why not get a few extra power supplies just to be on the safe side? You’ll also need a variety of bits to suit each task. What about a tip holder inside the clutch? They’re convenient and add extra utility to an already powerful tool. You can also get other great accessories like shears, a right-angle attachment, and socket adapters. Finally, you’ll want to get some sort of case to home your precious driver, bits, and portable battery.