Many of our readers have asked us, “Which should I buy, a power drill or an impact driver?” It’s a common question, especially for those just starting out. The simple answer is, if you can only afford one tool, go for a power drill. However, if you have the means, consider investing in a dual-use kit that includes both tools. There are some great deals available that won’t break the bank.
Understanding the Differences in Function
To better understand why one tool may be more suitable for your needs, let’s delve into how each one works. A power drill rotates with constant pressure on the chuck until it no longer has the power to continue. However, if you engage the clutch, you can control the amount of force applied. On the other hand, impact drivers have a hammer/anvil mechanism inside. As the hammers rotate, they strike the anvil, generating more power in a short burst.
To visualize the difference, imagine pushing against a sandbag versus punching it. When you push, you can apply less force but maintain it smoothly. However, when you punch, you generate more power but only for a moment. A power drill is similar to pushing, while an impact driver is more like punching.
At first glance, it may seem like the impact driver has the upper hand in terms of power. It’s true that an impact driver can deliver more force. So why should you consider buying a power drill? Let’s explore a few reasons.
Drill and Impact Driver Functions
The drive mechanism and power of an impact driver make it ideal for specialized screwdriving tasks. No drill can match its speed and ease when driving larger fasteners. You can even use an impact driver for light socket work, as long as you use an impact-resistant sleeve.
However, when it comes to drilling with twist drills, spade bits, Forstner bits, self-feed drills, hole saws, and similar applications, an impact driver may not provide the smoothness you desire. If you’re looking for clean, precise holes, it’s best to rely on the constant pressure of a power drill.
Why Choose a Power Drill
In drilling and boring tasks, power drills outshine impact drivers. While you can use an impact driver for these tasks and some brands even offer specialized bits for impact drivers, you’ll achieve better results with a power drill. It provides a smoother drilling experience and allows you to apply the exact amount of force required for the material and fasteners you’re working with. The result is a clean and precise finish, with all screws perfectly flush with the workpiece. Impact drivers may lack finesse in this regard.
What’s the Best Cordless Drill Kit Under $150?
If you’re wondering about the best cordless drill kit under $150, consider the Ryobi. It offers a great balance of entry-level performance and value. You can purchase a set of batteries starting at around $100. For improved professional performance, the $150 Ridgid kit is another excellent option. By saving money on your initial purchase, you’ll have the opportunity to add more tools to your collection or save up to buy premium tools with cash, avoiding interest charges on your credit card.
With a few extra dollars in your pocket, you can even treat your spouse to a nice lunch on Thursday without worrying about credit card debt.
But Why Not Get Both?
Ideally, having both a power drill and an impact driver would be the best solution. This way, you have the right tool for every drilling and driving task. You can use the power drill for making pilot holes and the impact driver for driving in fasteners. This eliminates the need to switch drill bits for each fastener, ultimately enhancing your productivity.
While high-end tools like the Milwaukee 2804-22, with its impressive 1200 in. lbs. of torque, can cost $299 for the kit plus an additional $70 for an impact driver, it’s not necessary to invest in top-of-the-line products right away. Just as you wouldn’t buy a house your parents have spent years saving for as soon as you graduate college, you don’t need to accumulate debt for your tools either. Instead, consider starting with more affordable options and gradually upgrade as your experience and needs grow.
We’re passionate about helping new professionals in their chosen trades. If you have any questions, such as whether to buy a power drill or an impact driver, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Alternatively, you can leave a comment below!