Impact Driver vs. Hammer Drill

When you’re working on projects either at home or for work, it can be especially hard to find the right tool when there are multiple tools that can accomplish the same – or similar, purposes.

For example, impact drivers and hammer drills are capable of very similar tasks, but they are also very different.

Consequently, it’s important to make sure you have a firm understanding of the differences between these two tools.

That way, you’ll be prepared with the information you need to make the choice that will get the job done in the most efficient way.

Related Reading: See our top 5 stud and joist drills review

​What is an Impact Driver?

impact driver

An impact driver is capable of behaving much like a drill when it comes to tasks that don’t require high amounts of power.

However, when they meet more resistance, they make use of a rotary impulse to help items with getting into the wall or other areas you may need fasteners for.

What people tend to enjoy about these products is that they are lightweight, but still capable of providing you with a lot of power.

Furthermore, they don’t tend to use up as much power as other options, which creates a higher level of efficiency for just about any task.

Although these are great tools overall, there are some downfalls to them that are worth considering.

These devices don’t include clutches or chucks, so adjusting them isn’t too much of an option. Some can also find that they can have problems with the batteries on certain models.


  • ​Extremely powerful
  • ​Lightweight and easy to use
  • ​Plenty of torque
  • ​Consumes lower levels of power
  • ​Creates less fatigue


  • ​No adjustable chucks
  • ​Doesn’t include a clutch
  • ​Battery use can be frustrating

​What is a Hammer Drill?

hammer drill

When you really need some power on your belt, a hammer drill is a great place to start.

These tools are capable of driving into extremely hard materials like cement and other kinds of masonry. In order to allow for this ability, the device has to be a bit larger, heavier and more sturdy.

A benefit these tools have is that you get access to an adjustable clutch. Because they can also be used as drills, you get a high level of versatility.

When you need to hammer into a wall, you’re covered. When you need to drill, you can use the same tool.

It’s worth keeping in mind that because these devices carry so much power, they also need a bit more strength and control due to their added bulkiness.

You’ll also want to make sure you have some hearing protection when you use one of these machines because they can be quite loud.


  • ​Makes hammering tasks easier
  • ​Provides an adjustable clutch
  • ​Offers a high level of versatility
  • ​Allows for several speed settings
  • ​Highly durable


  • ​More unwieldy than other options
  • ​Can be very loud
  • ​May be harder to control


Taking a closer look into what separates these tools can help you to determine where they may fit into your own set of tools. Let’s dive into what these tools have to offer you.

Size and Weight

One of the first things worth considering when it comes to your tool choice is the kind of bulk you can handle.

Think about the tasks you’ll need it for and how much time you’ll need to spend holding the tool.

A heavier tool can result in quicker fatigue and the need to take breaks more often.

If you’re okay with taking breaks and want something with a lot of power, then a hammer drill may be ideal for you. Otherwise, looking into an impact driver might be a good idea, as they tend to be lighter.


While in some cases it might be possible to find both of these tools at similar prices.

However, you’re most likely to find that hammer drills tend to be more expensive. This makes sense considering they are a little more heavy duty.

 Regardless of which option you’re searching for, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a quality product. 

Don’t aim for the lowest possible price, but make sure to shop around and get something that will provide the best possible value at a price you’re happy with. From there, you can find a tool that will fit your needs exactly.

​Determining Which You Need

For most, the tool you need is going to depend on what you need to accomplish.

How hard is the surface you need to drill into? Are you going to need to do some more standard drilling for the same project? Do you already have either an impact driver, hammer drill or regular drill?

Some projects will have a clearer answer than others. If you’re new to DIY projects or handheld tools, make sure that you do some research on your project or make time to talk to a professional about what might work best.

Finally, thinking about your budget can also be a guiding factor.

Not everyone has a lot of money to throw into a new power tool, though it can be very helpful when you can. Don’t rush yourself into buying the least expensive thing, but try to find something in your price range that will last.


Some other aspects worth considering are making sure the tool you choose has a warranty you’re happy with and plenty of great customer service backing it up, just in case you have any problems or questions down the road.

The best tool brands know that taking care of their customers is just as important as providing a quality product.

Finding the tool you need for a given project doesn’t have to be hard.

It’s as simple as having a basic understanding of what each tool does as well as the pros and cons.

When you know those aspects, you can start to find the exact brand and model that will get the job done.

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