Image example of hammer drill vs impact driver
Our research for this post:

Not sure whether you should get a hammer drill or impact driver? These tools are used for different kinds of applications. A hammer drill is used to drill holes in walls whereas an impact driver will be better suited for turning in screws.

You could say Hammer drills and impact drivers are in some ways very similar. However, there are some instances where you want to use one over the other.

Here at hphtools.com, we did our best to show you exactly what the differences are between the 2 tools. Pros and cons of using a hammer drill over an impact driver and which one is best suited for you!

Hammer drill VS impact driver what’s the difference?

The biggest difference between a hammer drill and an impact driver is that a hammer drill is used for heavy tasks like drilling into masonry. An impact driver can only be used for turning screws into light materials like wood or plugs. It is important to note that these power tools are completely different.

If you try to turn in a screw with a hammer drill you will most likely strip it. And when you want to drill a hole in cement using an impact driver you will likely not succeed either…

The Price difference

The price of these two tools is kind of similar. Where the hammer drill is the slightly more expensive choice of the two.

The impact diver also ticks a bit more boxes so in our opinion this would be the ‘winner’ at least price-wise.

Benefits of a Hammer drill

A hammer drill is a powerful drill that can be used for a variety of applications. The most common being drilling in though materials.

Hammer drills are often used for drilling holes in concrete, masonry, or metals. However, it is not uncommon to use a hammer drill for wood as well.

Our favorite hammer drill

  • Hphtools’ choice
Dewalt DCD996 hammer drill tool image

DEWALT DCD996b cordless hammer drill

Our score: 9.4

  • Great value for money
  • High rpm
  • Longest battery life
  • Good grip
  • Optimal bit grip strength
  • Pros
  • More powerful
  • Higher RPM
  • Great for drilling
  • Cons
  • Not usable for screws
  • Expensive

Jobs where you need a hammer drill:

  • Drilling a hole in masonry or concrete
  • Drilling holes in wood, PVC or other light materials
  • Mixing cement with a special attachment
  • Drilling into metal or steel

Benefits of an impact driver

Impact drivers are not specifically made for drilling holes. They are a powerful tool used for turning screws into walls and wood.

They are in general less powerful/strong than a hammer drill. This is because they don’t need the power to drill in dense materials.

Our favorite impact driver

  • Hphtools’ choice
Makita XDT131 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit

Makita XDT131 18V LXT® Cordless Impact Driver

Our score: 9.0

  • Great value for money
  • High rpm
  • Long battery life
  • Good grip
  • Tested – Best Impact driver
  • Pros
  • Ideal for screws
  • Lighter and more accurate tool
  • Cheaper
  • Cons
  • Not good for drilling
  • Less RPM

Jobs where you need an impact driver:

  • Turning screws into wood
  • Turning screws into plugs
  • Removing light lug nuts
  • Removing screws from various materials

Final Thoughts

So which one should you choose in the battle between hammer drill vs impact driver? Well like we said before, it depends.

However, if you could only buy one tool then we would recommend the impact driver. This tool is a bit more diverse and can be used on more occasions than the hammer drill.

hammer drill category image

Related: Best cordless hammer drills

We compared all the cordless hammer drills on the market! Let us help you make an informed buying decision.

Frequently asked questions

Although an impact driver is not made for it you can drill holes with it in masonry. Be sure to use the right drill bit and put the impact driver on its highest rotation speed.

The Author

Daniel Smith

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