Can I use an Impact Driver to Drill into Concrete?


I use Impact drivers for driving screws and fastening nuts and bolts. But I could test that whether it can use for drilling hard material such as concrete. There are special ways to do this. So I will explain it here step by step. Concrete, bricks, stones are really hard. Normally, I use a hammer drill for drilling the materials. But sometimes, I have a problem with my hammer drill. Then I use an impact driver for drilling concrete.

Impact drivers can drill into the concrete using a hex drill bit and 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 adaptor for that. I will explain you all in detail here. So keep read on!

Use Impact Driver with Wood, Bricks and Concrete

I could test the impact drivers with wood, concrete (no rebar), stones, blocks, and bricks. I used a Milwaukee impact driver with 18V. This is my regular used impact driver, and you can buy it online. So let’s move on step by step.

Normally when we use a hammer drill for drilling hard material. We are supported by a hammering mechanism which is along the drill bit. Impact driver works with rotational hammering mechanism. But it is not along with the drill bit. That is a rotational hammering action. Due to this reason, we have to force on impact drivers more than the hammer drills.

I tried to drill wood at first. That was no problem. I could use a regular drill bit for this. The drill bit well sharpened, and there was no distinguished difference. And then I moved to hard materials.

Drill Bits Selecting

Concrete Drill Bits Source: Indiamart.com

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 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.

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 break. But proper speed can maintain the sharp cutting edges as well as efficiency 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.

Check the Effciency of Hammer Mechanism

Hammer drills are with along hammering mechanism, and impact drivers are with rotational hammering mechanism. Among these, along hammering mechanism is more helpful for drilling hard material such as concrete. But 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.

How to Drill on 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.

Tom Mackenzy

I am Tom, I am really interested in DIY projects. I have my own workshop and I spend my free time with so many projects. So I would like to share my experience with you regarding power tools, woodworking, metalworking, etc.

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