Impact Driver Vs Hammer Drill – What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Sharaj

Do I need to purchase an impact driver even if I own a hammer drill?

What are the differences between impact tools and hammer drills?

These are some of the common questions that stump any buyer. Let us help you in the same today.

After reading today’s post, you will get answers to all the issues related to hammer drilling machines and impact devices.

Impact Driver Vs Hammer Drill

It’s not a big deal if you cannot differentiate between a hammer drill and an impact tool just by looking at it. They don’t look much similar, but still you will be only able to recognize the differences when you look closely.

In addition to this confusion, salespersons cannot tell you the real differences between them. Unfortunately, you might end up purchasing the wrong type of drill due to these hiccups.

An impact device and hammer drilling machine differ in terms of working and critical responsibilities. To ensure you get the right tool, you need to understand the dissimilarities. Let us discuss the same and some other details about both the power tools.

a. Basic differences

Impact driver: The sole purpose of an impact driver is to drive screws or bolts into different materials. You can use them to drill holes, and it’s the reason why these tools are also known as impact drills.

Hammer drill: Need to pulverize holes in metal or concrete? Hammer drilling machines are powerful enough to make a hole within granite, marble, brick, masonry and metal. You can also use a hammer drill for screw driving.

b. Design

Impact driver: As we stated earlier, impacts look somewhat similar to a hammer drill but is a compact unit with a hexagonal bit acceptance mechanism. You will not notice a bigger barrel, nor the other side handle.

Hammer drill: Such tools are more significant and come with a heavy barrel that has three-jaw chuck to accept the bits. Hammer drills has a more powerful version called SDS drilling machines like Ryobi R18SDS-0.

c. Working

Impact driver: Made to drive screws into hard materials, impact tools accomplish this task using rotational as well as hammer motion. There is an internal hammer that drives the output shaft in two movements; spin and simultaneously hammering it.

This hammer motion is measured or denoted by BPM (blows per minute). Some of the manufacturers also indicate it as IPM (impacts per minute). Whenever we need to measure the power of an impact tool, we consider IPM and torque.

If you focus, you can hear the sound of its spring-based hammer hitting the bit in the background. In other words, it goes like a regular screwdriver with a unique mechanism of hammering, which adds to the force and drives the screws through the hardest of the materials including metal, masonry or concrete. Makita DTD152Z is one of these devices that works on the same pattern.

Hammer drill: A hammer drill works on a mechanism wherein two toothed wheels are facing each other. These wheels collapse repeatedly after a while, transfer energy to the bit and crack the material.

When you turn on such machines, these two metal wheels pound against each other without any rotation. So, these tools chisel the concrete or material to an extent where you get what the required depth.

Due to their practical and powerful working nature, hammer drilling devices are popular among construction workers and a homeowner with their arsenal of tools. Try Bosch EasyImpact 550, if you need one of the hammer drills for your project.

d. Applications

Impact driver: Impact drivers are useful when you have to drill some screws inside hard materials like metal and concrete. You can also use it when you have to remove some corroded, frozen or stuck screws.

Apart from these regular uses, you can also deploy an impact device when drilling is reqired, but this usage is not optimal. When you exhaust an impact device, and still there is a need for some added power, look for an impact wrench like Dewalt DCF899N-XJ.

Hammer drill: When you need to drill holes through hard materials like stone or concrete; use one of the hammer drills. You can also deploy these devices to drive into softer materials, but for such objects, you can also use a regular drill. Irrelevant of the content or purpose, a drilling machine with hammering motion chips as like its pushing the internal atoms.

Hammer drills are not appropriate to drive screws. Still, they have the function of screw driving, drilling and impact drilling. When you need more power than a hammer drill can handle, you should choose a rotary hammer drill like Bosch PBH 2100 RE.

e. Price

Impact driver: Comparatively expensive then hammer drill, you can find an impact tool anywhere between £35 to £530. To get a high-quality impact, you need to spend at least £55.
Hammer drill

If you need a hammering device to drill, be ready to spend an amount between £30 to £3000. However, you can purchase one of such useful drills at £40. The price difference is not very huge. Still, when we talk about high-end hammers, they are expensive than impacts.

Impact driver or hammer drill; which one is right for you?

Both of these devices has a specific niche, so everyone can take benefits by keeping both of them into a personal tool arsenal or workshop. However, we know that everyone works with a different budget and hence, there is only one option to choose sometimes.

It’s simple to understand if you want to crack some masonry or go through some metal, use a hammer drill. For more power, you can try a rotary hammer machine. If you are looking to drive screws, then go for an impact tool.


We hope that this post was sufficient to provide you with the information about impact driver and hammer drills.

After reading all the differences between these two, you can easily decide which one is the right tool for your current project and future usage.

If you have further questions, we request to submit below in the comments section. We will provide all the required information in the next post.

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