Our other sites:

Cordless impact driver advantages and disadvantages

Shop for Cordless Impact Drivers

Advantages

Cordless drill driver, cordless impact driver are small

They’re compact

Compared to cordless drill drivers, impact drivers are smaller and often lighter. As a result, they can squeeze into some of the awkward and confined spaces that drill drivers cannot.

cordless screwdriver, cordless impact driver

They’re powerful

The average cordless screwdriver can produce around 10 Nm of torque, with the average drill driver producing around 50. Most cordless impact drivers can deliver a whopping 150 Nm!

Impact drivers driving in larger screws This is due to the hammer and anvil mechanism inside the tool which delivers a series of quick and powerful blows to the side of the screwdriver bit as it inserts screws.

This means that most cordless impact drivers can drive larger screws into tougher materials much faster.

Cordless drill driver with kickback

There’s minimal kick back

When using a cordless drill driver to drill large holes or drive large screws in tough materials, the motor will encounter resistance, making it harder to turn the chuck.

Direction of rotation of the drill bit, direction of kick back If resistance is too high, the motor will not be able to turn the screw or drill bit. As a result, the rotational power being transferred to the bit from the motor is transferred back to the body of the drill instead, turning it in the user’s hands. This is known as ‘kick-back’ and can cause strain to the user’s arm and wrist as they try to hold the tool steady.
Injury can be sustained if kick back occurs at speed. Sometimes when working at high speeds, kick-back can happen unexpectedly and cause injury to the user.

Due to the cordless impact driver’s higher torque, most models are able to overcome the resistance that would otherwise cause kick back.

Disadvantages

Torque settings are displayed on a numbered torque ring

They don’t have torque control

Unlike cordless drill drivers and screwdrivers, impact drivers don’t have torque control, a feature that allows you to control how much torque is delivered at one time using a numbered torque ring.

If used correctly, torque control helps prevent stripped screw heads or damaged work surfaces due to the tool delivering too much power.

Too much torque can strip the screw head Impact drivers do not have torque control but they are extremely powerful. As a result, when using an impact driver for delicate applications involving smaller screws and softer materials, it’s easy to damage the screw or work surface.

For more information, see our section: Why don’t cordless impact drivers have torque control?

Cordless impact drivers are perfect for quick removal and insertion of screws Cordless impact drivers are perfect for rough construction work involving the repetitive insertion or removal of screws. Their power makes them ideal for projects in which speed and efficiency are more important than a neat finish.
Impact bits in a cordless impact driver

You may need to purchase impact bits

Because of the high level of torque that impact drivers can deliver, regular screwdriver bits can wear down or even break extremely quickly when used in them.

Impact bits are specially designed for use in impact drivers. They have slightly different designs to regular bits and manufacturers claim that they can withstand higher levels of torque before needing to be replaced.

Impact bits set As a result, if you purchase an impact driver, you may need to also purchase a set of impact bits if you don’t want your existing bits ruined.
Keyless chuck for a cordless drill driver

They don’t have a 3-jawed chuck

The chuck is the part of the tool that holds the screwdriver or drill bits. Cordless drill drivers have a chuck with 3 jaws that open and close to accept bits.

Drill bits have a straight shank, screwdriver bits have a hexagonal shank 3-jawed chucks are popular with users because they can hold bits with straight shanks as well as hexagonal (most drill bits have straight shanks, while all screwdriver bits have hexagonal.)

Impact drivers have hexagonally-shaped quick-release chucks which can only hold bits with hexagonal shanks. Nowadays, there are drill bits available with hexagonal shanks but you may not be able to use your existing drill bits in the impact driver.

Impact drivers have a quick release chuck There are two reasons why impact drivers don’t have 3-jawed chucks:

1. A quick-release chuck is much shorter and can even be integrated into the tool, making the overall design more compact.

Drill bits can have hexagonal shanks, although impact drivers are designed for inserting and removing screws 2. The second reason that cordless impact drivers don’t have 3-jawed chucks is because they are designed primarily to insert and remove screws rather than drill holes.
An impact driver wont be able to hold a hexagonal shaped drill bit shank as well as a 3 jaw chuck

They’re not really designed to drill holes

Although you can use an impact driver to drill holes, they don’t have a 3-jawed chuck so you will have to purchase drill bits with hexagonal shanks.

As well as this, the quick-release chuck on an impact driver will not hold the drill bit as securely as a 3-jawed chuck will.

Drilling with a cordless impact driver You may find that if you try to drill with an impact driver, the drill bit wobbles around, making it hard to drill a straight hole or achieve a neat finish.
If you already have a cordless tool of one brand, consider sticking to that brand, as accessories are usually interchangeable

They’re not cheap!

The compact design of the cordless impact driver and all that extra torque comes at a price, especially if you want a couple of batteries included with your tool.

If you already have a cordless tool, consider purchasing an impact driver of the same brand and voltage. This should allow you to share batteries between tools and could save you some money.