You don’t know how does an impact driver work?
With these many tools on the market, I am sure that you have, at least once, came in a situation to see the tool, but you don’t know why is it different from the other one; or how does it work, and for what type of work you actually can use it!?
Don’t hesitate to admit…
…it happens to all of us! Simply, some tools really look similar, you are right, but they have totally different purposes.
For example, do you know how does an impact driver work? No?
Well, I have to admit that at the very beginning of tool exploring I didn’t know either, but I did some research, and some testing and I can now proudly share my experiences with you!
What is it? How does it work?
An impact driver is a must-have tool for your workshop! Trust me! You won’t regret if you purchase it.
Let`s first clarify what is an impact driver; an impact driver is a powerful tool designed to insert and remove screws and other fasteners, as well as drill holes.
The impact driver basic parts are:
Chuck is the part of the impact driver that holds screwdriver and drill bits.
All cordless impact drivers have a motor inside the tool’s casing. The motor can be brushed or brushless. We will talk about the difference later in this text.
The forward/reverse switch allows you to exchange the direction in which the chuck turns. Forward (clockwise) is used to insert screws and drill holes, reverse (anti-clockwise) is used to remove screws and back out drill bits.
This is where the cordless impact driver is held. Some models have a rubber grip and some just have contours in the plastic casing.
Some cordless impact drivers have an LED light for working in dark spaces. Some models have several LED lights positioned in a circle around the chuck.
All cordless impact drivers have batteries. In most cases, they are rechargeable.
How does an impact driver work?
Well, impact drivers have an impact function that delivers a series of strong rotational forces inside the tool, producing an extremely high level of torque when driving screws and drilling. When driving screws into materials, the tool will meet resistance. To overcome this resistance and continue driving in the screw, the tool must deliver more torque.
Using an impact driver with very soft materials can actually create problems as between the hammer strikes there’s no torque applied and so the screwdriver bit can rotate backward. The hammer is attached to the driver`s motor. The superior force, generated in an amazingly short period of time is what makes an impact driver the favorite tool for such a wide range of tasks.
How does an impact driver differ from a screwdriver or a drill
Compared to a cordless screwdriver or drill driver, an impact driver can deliver a much higher level of torque (turning force) thanks to the impact function. This enables it to drive larger screws more quickly and work with tougher materials.
Some Technical Details
Impact drivers come with a lot of speed, power, and torque. An average impact driver, typically, may come with 2000 BPM (blows per minute) and about 2500 RPMs (revolutions per minute). The torque can be around the 1000 inch/lbs., which means serious power and force.
Can it drill holes? Should you?
You can drill holes with an impact driver that is for sure, should you do it depends on how precise your holes need to be. You can definitely use it for rough construction needs, for example, holes for wires, but for precise placement, or size maybe this tool is not the right choice.
If you don’t have a regular drill for holes, and you have to use your impact driver then you should know that the important thing is a drill bit. You can use a standard hex-shank drill bit for small holes in light gauge steel and softwood, but for larger holes in heavy steel or hardwood, you will need a bit rated specifically for an impact driver.
When would one use an impact driver versus a regular drill?
We have learned that drills and impact drivers are similar but they work differently and have different strengths.
Drills are good for work that requires care or precision, like when you need to make a precise hole or drive a smaller screw. They apply constant power and have good control over a range of speeds and clutch settings. True, they don’t have speed like impact drivers, but for regular DIY tasks, we have found it as a perfect choice. Also, they are not as loud as impact drivers, so it makes your job more pleasant.
On the other hand, impact drivers provide much higher torque. You would like to have one if you are doing heavy-duty jobs, like driving long lag bolts. You can also use it for taking the lug nuts off your car wheels. They are a little bit difficult to control and it won’t be a good idea to use it for driving into something very soft.
Differences between Impact Wrenches and Impact Drivers
When we compare drills we say that impact drivers provide more torque in comparison to standard drill, but impact wrenches are huge and heavier tools and they are more powerful and provide higher torque than impact drivers. The impact wrench uses a square drive, usually ½ inch and is used for loosening or fastening socket. Whereas most impact drivers use ¼ inch hex drivers and are made for driving screws.
Another difference is that these tools have different applications. Impact wrenches will mostly be used for industries; car repair industry, construction projects, product assembly… On the other side, impact drivers are perfect for driving screws and bolts into the wood and other surfaces where standard drill cannot do the job.
Impact drivers deliver around 2200 inch/lbs. of torque, whereas an impact wrench can produce a lot more, nearly 13000 inches/lbs. Most of the impact wrenches are powered with compressed air as well as electrical and hydraulic models, which are present on the market.
Right tool is the most important thing; for general applications you won’t need impact wrench because most of the requirements can be easily done with impact driver, but for heavier work you will need tool that can help you to finish that job easier, and that is the time when you would need an impact wrench.
The impact driver is more of a DIY/household tool whereas an impact wrench is used for many industrial applications.
How to Choose a Cordless Impact Driver?
There are many different brands and models of impact drivers that you can choose and it is important that you choose one that is most suitable to your needs and requirements. When you are choosing your impact driver, make sure to choose the one that fits you the most.
Most of the top-rated cordless impact drivers have multiple speeds options, but some models run only at a single setting. Multiple speed option is what we recommend you choose because it sends power quickly to the bit itself and with having an option to select from high and low speeds you prevent damaging delicate wood surfaces.
Most cordless drills have an adjustable chuck that can accept different bits; cordless impact drills come standard only with 1/4-inch chucks. You can purchase adapters to use different sized bits with your cordless impact driver to use other bit sizes if you need to work with specific non-standard bits.
What Impact Driver Main Features And Specifications Should I Be Looking For?
Today’s tools, so do the impact drivers, generally have three RPM ranges. The higher the RPM is the faster the tool drives. When you really need a lot of power, you’ll put the impact on its highest RPM and fully squeeze the trigger for maximum force.
You will be very happy if your tool has a variable speed trigger. It gives you extra control as you slow down when the fastener is almost in the right place.
Torque represents the turning force of the impact driver and it helps to complete tasks such as inserting or removing screws and drilling. An impact driver can deliver a much higher level of torque due to its impact function in comparison to other tools. For example, 12V impact drivers have the 800- to 1200 inch/lbs. torque range, 18V around 1350 to 2250 inch/lbs. Let’s say that the average Pro model settling is around 1800 inch/lbs.
Many top-rated cordless impact drivers are lighter, more compact and more comfortable to use. Features such as pistol grips with rubber padding will help to reduce user fatigue. The compact design also helps with weight balancing, which makes using an impact driver even more ergo-friendly.
As you maybe already know, brushless motors allow for multiple speed settings and a speed selector (high or low) and typically run longer on a single charge. They can also help prevent overheating and may increase the overall life of your tool. If you’re looking for a tool capable of thousands of working hours, brushless motor is a crucial feature. It may be a little bit higher investment, but the long-term savings can easily offset the initial cost.
They are the standard in most cordless tools. This allows you to make quick adjustments as you work. Some manufacturers have built-in controls and fast releases to make bit changes even faster. Before choosing a chuck to find out the shank diameter of the bits you want to use, and then choose your chuck size accordingly.
LED Lights and Indicators
LEDs are more and more popular on top-rated cordless impact drivers. Some drivers include battery gauge which indicates battery life. LED lights are now very common in most drills, giving you additional high-frequency illumination.
New Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized cordless tool design. Not only do they hold a charge longer, but they also charge up much more quickly than nickel batteries. They deliver much more power while weighing far less, making it possible for a driver to be lighter and much easier to operate than a standard cordless drill. Most lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for up to four times longer than standard batteries if you store them properly.
What is the difference between 18v and 20v drivers? What about 10.8v and 12v?
Well, we should say that there isn’t any significant difference between 18V and 20V drivers. We can even say that they are the same. Let’s explain: Each one of those battery cells has two voltage ratings – nominal and maximum. When the battery is fully charged the amount of voltage is higher than when it begins to discharge, even slightly. Each battery cell has a nominal voltage of 3.6 volts and a maximum voltage of just over 4 volts.
So, the nominal voltage of 18V is 3.6 volts, while its 4 vats for 20V. It’s only a matter of whether the company is using nominal voltage or maximum voltage as its rating.
Again, no big difference between 10.8V and 12V. It’s just that almost all producers switched to 12V.
Can I use an impact driver to take off lug nuts?
Yes, you can. Not all of them, but there are some impact drivers that can take off lug nuts. You will need a socket attachment to fit your impact driver. Have in mind, that this is definitely not a primary purpose of impact drivers. The 12V won’t do the job. For taking off the log nuts you will need 18 or 20V.
We can say that 1200 in-lbs. isn’t enough to remove the log nuts that have been tightened a little too much or the really rusty ones that practically fall to pieces when you try to remove them. For these situations, you will need an impact wrench.
Can an impact driver be used for screwing in drywall?
Usually, for this task, you will need a drywall screw gun, but if you don’t have it, you can use your impact driver. It won’t give you power as a screw gun, but you will be able to finish your job.
What’s the best 18-volt impact driver on the market?
Well, not everyone has the right answer to this question, because we all have something that we like/don’t like. You can see our Buyer`s guide list and find the tool that you think will be just the right one for you.
As soon as it appeared on the market, this tool has won many hearts of tool fans. The capabilities of impact drivers are high and now that you know how does an impact driver work, hurry up and get yourself one.
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