Hammer Drill Vs. Impact Driver

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 28, 2022
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Drills are an integral part of the realm of power tools. These instruments are used to dig holes or fasten screws. They have been used by every worker throughout the course of time. Commonly used in woodwork, machine fabrication, metalwork, construction works, and in other fields, they provide great utility and versatility to a workman.

You can find many types of drills in the market. There’s great diversity to drills when it comes to its type. In fact, the number of drill types is mind-blowing. They vary according to their power, size, and speed. Three types of drills stand out most among others and are most used: the hammer drill, impact driver, and the traditional drill. Some other varieties include a rotary hammer, core drill, straight air drill, and so on.


In this article, we are going to discuss the two most important drills in the family, the hammer drill, and the impact driver and also differentiate between them. By the end of this article, you would be able to know which type of drill you want and gain some insight into these drills.

Hammer Drills

Hammer drills are a much-known name when it comes to drilling instruments. It is typically a pneumatic powered machine, although it may be gasoline-powered too, that’s not quite common nowadays. They are a kind of rotary drill. The impact mechanism is the reason it produces a hammering motion, thus being called the “Hammer” drill.

It carries out rapid bursts of hammer thrusts, which makes it able to shred the material which has to be bored. Thus, hammer drills make drilling really effortless and quick. Some hammer drills allow the instrument to toggle the impact mechanism. This allows the drill to function much like a conventional drill.

The hammer drill provides a lot of utility to its user. From basic screw work to demanding works, the hammer drill has you covered. Although they are a staple in construction works, they are much more valued for occasional drilling into concrete, masonry, stone, or other hard materials.

Usually, hammer drills come at a high price point, but they can be safe options for drilling into known surfaces. Therefore, they can be considered as a safe pick for most situations.

We will now discuss the pros and cons of the hammer drill.


  • Ideal for drilling into hard surfaces that other drills would rather not be able to drill through, like concrete.
  • An essential tool when it comes to construction and heavy-duty work.
  • A hammer drill can fulfill the role of both a hammer and a drill, sparing you from the trouble of getting both drills in your kit.


  • Comes at a hefty price.
  • Tougher to handle.

Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are quite similar to drills, but they are mainly used to loosen up screws that are frozen or corroded. They are also widely used by people for their works. It can also be used to tighten screws like regular drivers. This instrument can make many difficult projects possible to accomplish. 

The impact driver increases applied force perpendicular to the bit. The instrument has three components, a strong compression spring, the weight, and the T-shape anvil. When using, the compression springs rotate relatively to the speed of the weight, which in turn adjoins the anvil. 

The weight begins rotating slower upon meeting more and more resistance. The motor and spring rotate at its default speed. Due to this very difference in speed, the spring, rotating with greater force, applies pressure on the weight, which pushes it back to the anvil. This causes an increase in force applied perpendicularly. Thus, the impact driver is able to exert great force and provide greater control while working.

Impact drivers find their use mostly under the hands of mechanics. It is used to drive self-threaded screws. These handy instruments can loosen up stuck screws that wouldn’t be possible to unscrew with the help of traditional screwdrivers. 

They can also be used to remove car-drums and as well as to drive long and thick fasteners into harder materials. Providing the utility that impact drivers provide, these instruments are used a lot in construction, cabinetry, garage, workshops, etc.


Let us point out some of its upsides and downsides.


  • Screws stuck due to corrosion or other reasons can be removed easily with the help of impact drivers.
  • They have a higher energy output thanks to their high torque.
  • It makes time-consuming screw fastening so much faster.


  • It doesn’t come with any clutch mechanism, and that could potentially ruin your work.
  • It doesn’t have any method to control the torque.
  • It has a high price point.

Hammer Drill VS Impact Driver

Both tools belong to the same family of power tools. They are respectably effective in their own right. But some aspects of these instruments provide an edge over one another in different scenarios and for different reasons. That isn’t to say that any of these tools are inferior to the other. Here’s a comparative analysis of the two instruments so that you can decide for yourself which one is the correct tool for you.

  • The impact drill and the hammer have a noticeable difference in one basic point, its motion. The hammer drill applies force in a hammer motion. That makes it the perfect specimen to drill through hard surfaces like concrete or metal. The impact driver, on the other hand, has a rotational motion. That makes it ideal for drilling in and chipping through wooded surfaces.
  • The hammer drill is bulky and heavy compared to an impact drill. This does not make the hammer drill ideal for fastening screws. Although it has an option to switch to a conventional screwdriver, an impact drill can handle the job much better and efficiently. That being said, the impact drill isn’t capable of handling big tasks like the hammer drill either. So, it’s a balance for both sides.
  • The hammer drill is usually a pneumatically powered tool. It also comes in electric and gasoline power modes. On the other hand, an impact driver comes only with electric power.
  • The torque on a hammer drill can be controlled and adjusted; the same cannot be said for the impact driver. An impact driver is a high-torque machine. Torque is the twisting force of a drill that causes the rotation. Since torque can be controlled effortlessly by the hammer drill, it wins in this regard.
  • The impact driver comes with a ¼ -inch hexagonal socket. The hammer drill, on the other hand, comes with a 3-jaw SDS chuck.
  • The hammer drill finds its use mostly in construction and heavy-duty works. Since it is a powerful instrument with the capacity to drill hard materials like concrete, stone, and metal, it is used for heavier works. The impact drill is usually used in home environments or workshops to loosen or fasten screws on wooden surfaces or other similar surfaces.

Final Thoughts

The hammer drill and the impact driver, both, are very important power tools. Every man who is serious about their work will find the need for using these instruments in their workpiece. Both instruments are fairly credited for their respective uses. We are not declaring any one of them inferior to the other.

The comparison between the two devices should allow you to gauge your requirements and which should be the right instrument for you. I hope you found our article on hammer drill vs. impact driver helpful and we hope you learned a thing or two from it.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.