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What is an Impact Driver and why do I need one?

Posted by Katy | Toolstop on 20th Apr 2021

What exactly is an Impact Driver? Well, an Impact driver is a type of cordless drill driver, but instead of a standard 13mm chuck, it features a 1/4” hex bit holder. This Toolstop Guide talks you through what an impact driver is used for and and what does an impact driver do. So do you really need an impact driver? This blog post explains all!

what is an impact driver used for?

What is an Impact Driver?

In this Toolstop guide we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about impact drivers. What is an impact driver? What does an impact driver do? What is the best impact driver? To find out all of this plus more, keep reading!

What is an impact driver and do I need one?

An impact driver is a type of cordless drill driver, but instead of a standard 13mm chuck, it features a 1/4” hex bit holder which grips small screwdriver bits.

Impact drivers are all about hi-torque, coupled with high levels of impact. A typical impact driver will output higher levels of torque than even the top-of-the-range combi drill. Because of the torque available to you, you’ll typically be able to quickly drive long, wide screws into the toughest of materials. Another key feature and benefit to look for when choosing a cordless impact driver is the headlength. As you’ll be using your impact driver in tight, awkward spaces at times, the shorter the headlength the better. More affordable impact drivers will have one speed, and that’s fine. However, for more finesse, speed and torque control, 2 or more speeds is preferable. So, again, if this matters to you look for an impact driver that has at least 2 speed/torque settings.

Watch our short video guide cover the topic of impact drivers:

With each rotation of the bit holder the motor applies impacts coupled with high levels of torque. And all of this comes from a cordless tool that usually has a very compact head length, making it perfect for driving screws in tight corners or hard to access places.

But do you need an impact driver?

We have an extensive guide to everything you need to know about cordless drills, which you can access here.

We asked Eric from Bosch to explain the differences between impact drivers, combi-drills (sometimes called impact drills) and impact wrenches. Watch our exclusive guide:


Below we have listed our top 3 cordless impact driver picks available to shop at Toolstop along with their main features, benefits and specs. You can shop all impact drivers if none of these take your fancy.

  • Makita DTD153
  • Dewalt DCF887
  • Bosch GDX 18V-200 C

The Makita DTD153 is a small and compact impact driver with fully brushless motor. It will easily access all those tight, hard to reach areas. It can output 170Nm of torque and is capable of driving woodscrews up to 125mm straight into timber without a pilot hole. Other features include a one touch sliding chuck, electric break and LED job light.

Specification:

  • Standard Bolt: M5-M16
  • High Tensile Bolt: M5-M14
  • Coarse thread (length): 22-125mm
  • Max Fastening Torque: 170 Nm
  • No Load Speed: 0 - 3400 rpm
  • Net weight: 1.5 kg
  • Driving Shank: 6.35mm (1/4") Hex
  • Machine Screw: M4-M8
  • Impacts per Minute: 0 - 3,600 ipm

For full details of this model and to shop now, click here

The DCF887 from Dewalt features a fully brushless motor for increased power output. It will output 205nm of torque and a maximum of 3250rpm, which is 28% more powerful and 16% faster than its predecessor the DCF886. Application control is achieved through 3 motor speeds and torque settings. Read our blog post dedicated to this model here.

Specification:

  • Max Torque: 205 Nm
  • Power Output: 400 Watt
  • No Load Speed: 0-1000, 0-2800, 0-3250rpm
  • Impacts per Minute: 0 - 3800 ipm
  • Bit Holder: 6.35mm (1/4")
  • Weight: 1.34kg

For full details of this model and to shop it click here

The Bosch GDX 18V-200 C is an Impact Driver and Impact Wrench in one. It has a fully brushless motor to tackle the toughest of jobs, capable of outputting up to 200 Nm torque. This modle has a best head length to torque ratio making it ideal for use in tighter areas. You can even connect it to the Bosch Toolbox App which will allow you to easily personalise your tool settings.

Specification:

  • No-load speed: 0-3400 rpm
  • Torque settings: 3
  • No-load speed (1st level): 0-1100 rpm
  • No-load speed (2nd level): 0-2300 rpm
  • No-load speed (3rd level): 0-3400 rpm
  • Torque, max: 200 Nm
  • Impact rate: 0-4000 bpm
  • Tool holder: 1/4" internal hexagon and 1/2" external square

For full details of this model and to shop it click here


For many, their impact driver is a must have piece of kit in their toolbox. With the right bit attached it will even drill holes. If you’re working on jobs that require driving loads of screws, or long screws into hard material, then you should own an impact driver.

They’re ideal for building decks, screwing down plywood flooring and more. So, what’s your pick for best impact driver?


Cordless Impact Drivers at Toolstop

Bosch 2608596132 CYL-1 Drill Bit For Masonry

Bosch 2608596132 CYL-1 Drill Bit For Masonry

Bosch 2608596132 CYL-1 Drill Bit For Masonry

Bosch 2608596132 CYL-1 Drill Bit For Masonry