Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill | Difference, Benefit, and Drawbacks

Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill | Difference, Benefit, and Drawbacks

When it comes to drilling holes or loosening screws, the job is a lot easier when you’re using the right tools. An impact driver and a hammer drill are two different tools that are primarily used for these types of home improvement projects, so it’s important to know the difference. Although they tend to perform a similar function, which is to drill, there are still some major differences when it comes to the impact driver vs the hammer drill.

If you have a project at hand and you’re looking at buying a drilling tool, this guide will help you make the right decision. Would it be ideal to go for a cordless drill, or maybe you need an impact driver or hammer drill? Well, a lot of factors will determine that, and we’re going to break it down for you.

What is the Main Difference Between an Impact Driver and a Hammer Drill?

When you stroll down the power tool aisle of a hardware store, you’ll undoubtedly come across various drills and drivers that look almost the same. However, these similar-looking tools are different both in function and performance.

If you’re handling a project where you might need an impact driver or a hammer drill, this page will serve as a guide to choosing a tool that would be ideal for your project. Here is the main difference in an impact driver vs a hammer drill that you should take note of when purchasing.

  • Impact Driver – An impact driver is your best bet if you’re looking for something powerful enough to screw through wood or other softer materials.
  • Hammer Drill – A hammer drill, on the other hand, is a beast when it comes to drilling through rocks, brick, concrete, or pretty much anything else. With this tool, you will easily be able to inscribe anything on your stone, like a new house number for example. However, it is best for simply drilling holes, not for driving in screws, since it is more substantial and bulker.

If the above definitions didn’t answer your questions, we’ve included more information about the impact driver vs hammer drill discussion below.

What is an Impact Driver?

Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill

Simply put, an impact driver is a small, cordless drill, which you can use to tighten or loosen screws that conventional screwdrivers can’t handle. If you’re looking to stretch your screws with more torque, then this is the tool you need.

An impact driver is distinct from your typical standard driver because it comes with a unique driving mechanism that gets triggered when the current force is not enough. Furthermore, it has a hexagonal shaped collet, rather than three-jaw chucks.

When To Use An Impact Driver

An impact driver can get a variety of jobs done, from building decks to tightening some screws around the house. With this tool, everything suddenly becomes more comfortable. Aside from this, there are also numerous instances where an impact driver can become quite useful.

  1. To drive-in self-threading screws
  2. Loosening over-torqued or corroded screws, nuts, and bolts
  3. Driving in long and thick fasteners into any hard material
  4. Removing a car’s brake drums

Of course, there are other uses for an impact driver, but the list above includes some of the most common uses. If your regular drill isn’t getting the job done, odds are you need to look into an impact driver. We’ve got more on the benefits of impact drivers below.

Impact Driver Benefits and Drawbacks

Many people often wonder why they should go for an impact driver, instead of a cordless drill that can get almost all the work done. The fact is, there come some immense benefits to an impact driver, but there are also some drawbacks. It’s important to use the right tool for the job, so be sure to read the list below carefully to determine if an impact driver is the tool needed for your home improvement project.


Higher Torque

The force that an impact driver exerts is about five times more powerful than that of a regular cordless drill or driver. If you want to drive a screw through a sturdy material, the best tool is the impact driver. It would get the job done quickly.

Compact And Portable

When you compare the size of the cordless drill and impact driver, you will notice a massive difference. An impact driver is portable and compact, which you can use to work in any small space. Additionally, the head length of an impact driver is minimal compared to a cordless drill.

Self-Driving Screws

If you’re looking for a tool that allows you to drive screws without drilling holes, then an impact driver is up for the job. Since such an operation often demands a higher torque, an impact driver becomes the only tool suitable for such an undertaking.

Easy on The Wrist

Since an impact driver is compact, light, and doesn’t experience any resistance, they tend not to wear out your wrist. When you use a cordless drill instead of an impact driver, your wrist will notice a glaring difference between both tools.


Not Cheap

An impact driver is very costly, despite their compact design. If you want more power, you can also invest in more batteries, which aren’t cheap either. However, it’s worth the investment if you’re going to be using it a lot.

Compatible Bits

To work with an impact driver, you will need a compatible bit to get the job done. Specifically, you will need to purchase a hexagonal shank bit to begin working on your project. Be sure to check out our guide on the best drill bits for every kind of material.

Lack of Torque Control

Unlike some cordless drills that come with a control feature, an impact driver doesn’t. Torque control is merely a feature that allows you to choose how much torque you need. Since this feature is not available on an impact driver, users must be cautious to avoid damaging the screws or the drilling surface.

What is a Hammer Drill?

Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill

Hammer drills, on the other hand, are more formidable when it comes to drilling through anything. They come with a masonry bit that is capable of drilling through stone, concrete, brick, or perhaps mortar. Just like numerous other types of drills, the hammer drill works similarly to a jackhammer, able to exert more force when the current one isn’t enough.

There are different types of hammer drills in the market today, like the rotary hammer, corded drill with a hammer option, and a cordless drill with a hammer option. Before you buy a hammer drill, take note that this tool is not for driving screws, but rather for drilling holes.

When To Use A Hammer Drill

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As mentioned in this article, a hammer drill is a beast when it comes to drilling through any hard materials. These holes could be for anchor bolts, concrete screws, or perhaps wall plugs. Although this fantastic device is often used for heavy-duty construction drilling, it is a handy tool for occasional drilling of holes around the house, like drilling into a stud.

For instance, an electrician who wants to mount an electrical box on a wall might need to use the hammer drill to make a hole through whatever surface they are working on. In the same way, you can use this unique tool to easily drill in concrete walls, perhaps to hang a family photo or artwork. With this tool, your DIY projects become very easy.

Hammer Drill Benefits and Drawbacks

If you are going to be working on incredibly hard surfaces, then you don’t need to hesitate to go for a hammer drill instead of an impact driver. With this tool, you will be able to drill holes through concrete or masonry with little to no problems. Although there are numerous hammer drills on the market, so you’ll want to pay close attention to which kind you’re buying. As a good rule of thumb, the harder the material, the more powerful the drill you’ll need.

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of a hammer drill you should know before buying.


Drilling Holes

The primary function of a hammer drill is to burrow through holes no matter how hard the surface or material. It can drill through concrete, masonry, and any other surface without hassle.

Uses Rotational Force

A hammer drill uses a rotational force when it comes to drilling or driving screws into any surface area. The power creates an incredible pounding effect or hammering, almost similar to a jackhammer.


It is Heavy and Bulker

A hammer drill is more massive compared to an impact driver, which can often take a toll on your wrist. If you’re going to be working long hours using this massive tool, you might need to take occasional breaks.

Strong Vibration

Irrespective of the model you’re working with, the vibration coming from the hammer drill vs an impact driver is very noticeable. They produce tons of vibration that can sometimes make you uncomfortable.


If you have a massive project, the hammer drill will slow you down tremendously. When it comes to speed, a hammer drill can slow you down, simply because it’s a big, powerful tool. However, it’ll save you lots of time compared to an impact driver if it’s what you need to get the job done.


When deciding between an impact driver vs a hammer drill, you first need to assess the project at hand. If you don’t use the right tool for the right project, you’re going to have a hard time. While both tools are similar in function, they have a variety of performance differences, strengths, and weaknesses that you’ll want to take into account before you begin your project.