Can I Use An Impact Driver to Drill Into Concrete?

Normally, I use an impact driver for screw tasks in my day job. But one day, my hammer drill was not working and I had no tool to drill the concrete. So I tried to drill the concrete using my impact driver. That was not easy but it was possible. So let me explain how I did this.

Can you use an impact driver to drill into concrete? You can use an impact driver to drill into the concrete using a hex drill bit with a carbide tip. You can use 350-800 RPM speed, and impact mechanisms will increase the efficiency of the drilling. If there are no hexagonal drill bits, you can use a hex shank adaptor for mounting the circular drill bit.

Using an impact driver for drilling concrete is a really optional way. You can realize that when you do it. But for that, you will need additional tools such as drill bits or adaptors for that. I will explain you in detail here. So keep reading on!

Can An Impact Driver Be Used On Wood, Bricks and Concrete?

If you have to use your impact driver on these materials, you can do it. Because impact drivers have higher torque and lower RPM. So it can be used for wood, bricks and concrete at any time if there is no other solution. But it is not efficient and the tool will not last long.

Before using an impact driver for drilling tasks, you should know these things.

  • Most of the impact drivers have keyless chuck and the bit section shape is hexagonal. So cylindrical drill bits will not remain inside the chuck.
  • You should use hexagonal drill bits if you do not use any adaptor
  • Impact driver chuck size is 1/4″. So the drill bit size also should be 1/4″
  • Impact drivers have higher torque and lower RPM (sufficient for drilling)
  • Circular drill bits are not able to use in the keyless chuck
  • If you can’t find hexagonal drill bits, you can use an adaptor to hole the drill bit in the collet.

I tried with the hexagonal drill bits. So let’s see, how to do this properly in depth.

How to use an Impact Driver to Drill into Concrete?

1. Drill Bits Selecting

Hexagonal drill bits
Masonry and woods hexagonal drill bits

Before I move to hard materials, I have to select the drill bit which is suitable for drilling hard materials.

Normally we use HSS drill bits for high-speed drilling for wood. And also, for the concrete, metal, and stone, we use a carbide tip. Although we use an impact driver, we should select the drill bit, which is enriched with more carbides. These are called masonry bits. The masonry bits are different from the regular drill bits.

Regular drill bits are with sharp cutting edges, and masonry drill bits are with angle drill bits. The tip is made with carbide. According to the usage of SDS or SDS Plus, there are differences in the drill bit cross-section.

Then I could pay attention towards the chuck. As you are well aware, impact driver chuck is a hex shank. For this, I needed hex drill bits. There are many hex drill bits in the market. But I selected Milwaukee hex drill bits for my usage. That is the brand I use for many years.

When you buy a drill bit, you should select the diameter of the drill bit that is compatible with chuck and select the masonry bits for the hard material and high-speed drill bits for wood.

  • If you are not able to find the hex drill bits you can use a hex shank adaptor for mounting the regular drill bits. When you use this you can use impact driver as a drill.
Hex shank adaptor
Use a hex shank adaptor if you can’t find hexagonal drill bits

2. Set the Drilling Speed

Drilling speed is very important for efficient drilling. You know that is a factor for drill bit safety. If we drill too fast, the bit can be melted or broken. But proper speed can maintain the sharp cutting edges as well as efficient cutting.

Normally we use high speed for drilling wood, and low speed is for drilling hard materials. Considering the impact driver, there is a low torque with considering the combi drill. Therefore it will not affect the wrist too much.

I used speed 1 for concrete drilling and speed 2 for wood drilling as we used for regular usage. The obtained result was below, and you can clearly see how much time to drill with an impact driver as well as a hammer drill.

ToolHammer drillImpact Driver
1/2″ Drill bit09.15 sec12.55 sec
Concrete drilling with Hammer Drill and Impact Driver

Considering the impact drivers, there is no much speed with considering the hammer drills. And when the load is increased, the impact mechanism is activated. Therefore the time is different.

When the drilling force is high, I could observe the impact mechanism. That was really helpful to drill inside. But that will not speed up the process.

And also, I could not force too much on the impact driver as we do on the hammer drill.

3. Check the Efficiency of the Hammer Mechanism

Hammer drills are with long hammering mechanisms, and impact drivers are with rotational hammering mechanisms. Among these, along hammering mechanism is more helpful for drilling hard material such as concrete. But the impact driver’s hammer mechanism is not much affected like the hammer drills mechanism. Due to this reason, I could observe the drilling efficiency is less than the hammer drill.

The Hammer mechanism is affected good as well as bad. Because when we are drilling the wood, the sharpness can be reduced due to the hammering mechanism. That is not much effective as a regular drill. If you can switch impact mechanism and drilling mechanism, you had better use the drilling machine for drilling wood.

4. How to Drill Concrete and Rebars?

Most concrete is made with rebars. Rebars add additional strength to the concrete. Mostly rebars are used for increasing the tensile strength. Normally we will need an SDS max drill bit for drilling concrete with rebars. But we have an option.

We can’t drill it with a regular carbide tip because the impact driver may not have much power for that. Then we have to use the same diameter bar cutter for cutting inside rebars. That is the easy way for drilling with a hammer drill or regular drill. Sometimes hammer drill also not much power to drill the concrete and rebars.

So, in this case, I could use a rebar cutter for cutting inside rebars. That was not easy to do with an impact driver. But no option.

Drawbacks and Conclusion

Using an impact driver for drilling hard material such as concrete is not a correct solution. When I did it, I could face many problems such as rebar cutting, finding suitable drill bits, using proper speed, and many more. That is not like the hammer drill. I had to apply additional force to the tool and pressure it to penetrate in.

So that is not a real solution for the hammer drill, combi drill, or any SDS drill. But if there is no option, this is not bad.