Why there is a Difference Between Impact Drivers and Drills?

Impact drivers and drills are used for different purposes and mechanisms also. When you buy it, you should know its usage, mechanism, purpose, and many more. Here I have lined up all in detail the main differences between impact drivers and regular drills for you.

Impact drivers and drills are used for different tasks. Mainly, impact drivers are for the driving screws, and drills are for drilling holes. Impact drivers have more torque, and drills have more speed. The chuck is used to mount the tool in drills, and the hex shank is used to mount the tool in impact drivers.

There are different models of corded and cordless drills, and the speed of the drill is variable to an impact driver. Unless you are aware of these variables before purchasing the item, you will lose your money and your worth, time, and the product. Let’s see what the most suitable tool for your need and want is. You can see the main deferences below that have been summarized for you. So let’s read on!

Difference Between Impact Drivers and Drills

Drills are used for drilling purposes, and impact drivers are used for driving the screws or use as an impact wrench. This is the main task that we use these both tools. According to its usage, the machine has been designed to gain more power and more efficiency.

The comparison is made by considering the same brand and the same power supply.

DrillImpact Driver
Work PurposeDrillingScrew Driving
Front EndChuckHex Shank
Operating MechanismSpinningImpact Mechanism
Torque MechanismConstantAdjustable
Difference between Drill and Impact Driver

Let’s discuss each point in detail

Main Purpose

These tools are designed for specific tasks. The drill is for the drilling or boring holes, and impact drivers are used for the driving screws or removing purposes. Because of this, You can use it to improve your performance and efficiency. There are many cordless tools available in the market, which is a great comfort to use if you are looking for a cordless tool, check below.

Advantages of the cordless impact drivers and drills
1. Lightweight
2. Single hand controlled
3. Easy to use
4. Quick charge
5. Variable torque and speed
6. No power supply cord

Front End

The front end is the place where the bits are mounted. So by seeing this is a bit difficult to introduce. But there is a difference. When you see the front of the impact driver and a drill, you can see there is a huge difference.

In a drill, we use a drilling tool where mount to chuck and impact driver we use hex shank to mount the screw.

Chuck – chuck is used to holding the drill tool on a spindle without moving here and there. There is a gear tool that can lose the sleeve of the chuck, and by rotating, the gear teeth tool can be tightened.

Hex Shank – This is like a clamp, and quickly we can change the bit by moving backward of the sleeve. Here bits cross-sections are hexagonal due to high torque but drill bit.

Read More About – Why Does My Impact Driver Chuck is Loose?


Impact drivers have more torque rather than drills because driving a screw need more torque than drilling a hole. The drill bit is properly sharpened, and it does only cut and removes. But impact driver bit needs more torque to penetrate the screw inside the wood.

Operating Mechanism

Considering these tools, there are different operating mechanisms. Normally drills are with high speed and low torque, and impact drivers have low speed and high torque.

Inside the impact drivers, there is a spring-based up and down mechanism when rotating. It can quickly hit the bit and release the energy of the inertia. Because of this impact, drivers are with more torque.

Torque Mechanism

Drilling a hole required constant torque because of the sharp cutting edge and tool control. When the speed is high, its edge is much sharp. You can try low-speed drilling and high-speed drilling. Finally, you can realize high speed is better than low-speed drilling.

When the screw is driven into the wood, its resistance is increased due to the friction. Therefore we need more torque for deep driving. So the torque can be adjusted due to this. According to the material, you can adjust the torque of the impact driver.


Drills are more speed than impact drivers. Speed is measured with the RPM, and it’s about more than a thousand. When the RPM is high, its cutting sharpness is also high. Due to this drill cant change the RPM of the tool.


Considering the size drill tool is more length than the impact drivers. The reason is, time drill is with the hammering option. For the hammering, the mechanism needs more space due to its movements. Hence front is more length than the impact driver.


The normal drill is with the noise of the inner gears. But impact drivers have impact mechanism noise rather than the drill noise.

Are Impact Drivers and Hammer Drills the Same?

The main difference between a drill and an impact driver is the type of force they are using. Regular drills rotate faster into place, especially in soft materials, and make holes, but the impact driver has a different function, and it’s not designed to make round holes. It is for the drive screw with high torque.

In general, impact drivers and hammer drills are not the same tools. These both are with different mechanisms. The hammering action is parallel, and the impact mechanism is perpendicular to the bit. Therefore hammering power is applied along the bit and impact power is perpendicular to the bit axis.

Most of us confused impact drivers with hammer drills. Hammer drills have the ability to vibrate bits back-and-forward rapidly while spinning, and this action provides the necessary energy required to drive faster through hard materials such as concrete or bricks.

An impact driver, which is lighter than the hammer drill use with wood to make long screws or to fastener the work. It has large screws and bolts; it is more efficient than the regular drill because it adds two three-time more torque and extra rotational force.

So, if your job involves a lot of large fasteners, an impact driver surely makes your job easier, and you should be aware not to drill into hard materials like brick or concrete through an impact driver, and for that, you have to use a hammer drill.

What Drill Bit Can I use With an Impact Driver?

Impact drill bits are shorter and durable than conventional drill bits, and the dark grey to black colored finish will help you to identify them quickly. Bosch Hex 9 multi construction drill bits, Dewalt Tough case impact drills, Milwaukee Shockwave step drill bits are widely using with impact drivers. 

With the right drill bit, you can drive much faster and easier and save your equipment and the material you want to drill.

Although impact drivers can only be used with impact-related 1/4′, 3/8′, 1/2″, hex shank accessories, all the hex shank drill bits are not suitable to use with them as most of the flat drill bits with hex shanks are designed not for drilling with impact drivers and using them will cause the material shatter and hinder the product.

Can I Use an Impact Drill Instead of the Regular Drill?

When purchasing an item, you will wonder about the correct equipment for your need as you are confused with multiple drilling machines in the market. Identifying your need and want and choosing suitable machinery for your work is an important task you must practice.

Impact drivers are majorly designed for driving screws but not to drill holes, and it outperforms to drive a lot of screws, both thick or long. Instead of the adjustable keyless chuck of a regular drill, the impact driver has a quick release heck chuck which makes it easier to switch between bits.

Using a conversion chuck adaptor, you can use an impact driver as a drill.

In tests performed by popular mechanics, most impact drivers were able to tighten 3/4″ inch, not in less than three seconds, and few were even able to do the job in half a second. The amount of the torque in an impact driver can apply to the turn in motion, and it worked by delivering short bursts of force instead of the steady turning motion in the drill.

For drilling small holes in light-gauge steel and softwood, you can use an impact driver with a standard hex-shank drill bit, but for larger holes (than 1/4), you need a bit rated specifically for an impact driver.

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.