Impact Drivers

I've seen quite a few posts and articles regarding impact drivers lately. I've never tried one but they are peaking my interest. Do they replace cordless drills entirely or are there some things they can't do. Can some of you folks out there who have them give us some reviews? It seems the tool companies are starting to push these things too, and are offering more models. ---BeerBoy
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Mike,
the Makita impact driver is VERY appropriate for woodworking. It's compact, making it easy to get into tight places, and it's easy to control, due to the slower turning speed as the screw gets tighter. When you begin to sink a screw it turns VERY fast, but as more torque is required it slows down. I wouldn't ever want to give up mine!
dave
Mike G wrote:

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what Glenn says! It's a really cool tool. I use mine all the time.
I'd still want to have a conventional cordless drill though. Yesterday I was up in the attic with the big boy--18V Makita 1/2" cordless, to use a self starting auger bit to go thru 2 2x4's (a wall's top plate). That was the best tool for the job, considering I didn't want to run an extension cord. As a matter of fact, in anticipation of moving a lot of wiring around in the attic about 4 years ago, I decided to upgrade from a crappy DeWalt cordless to the 18V Makita I drilled a lot of large holes up there. As long as you've got a spare battery, it's great. Since I already had an 18V cordless saw, I've got plenty of spares (total of 4 18V). I got tired of hefting the 18V around for small jobs, so I picked up a 9.6. For the right task, the 9.6 is wonderful. But, then...I wanted a small unit with lots of torque. Enter the impact driver. Another cool thing is it reduces cam-out of Phillips screws.
Get one, you'll LOVE it!
dave
BeerBoy wrote:

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Beerboy,
I've had the Makita 12v job a bit now, and it's really something. I had reservations that the impact portion would be hard to work with....it's not! To me, drilling holes is just the same as with a regular drill. You will need drill bits that have the hex end on them. They are a bit more expensive, but affordable.
When driving screws, as you encounter resistance, the impact portion of the driver kicks in. It slows down a bit, but the impact protion is amazing. There is a HUGE reduction in camming out screw heads. The torque is incredible. I have not used it to drive into concrete or metal, but I would assume it would be just as easy. The only point of caution would be as you drive the screw, you have to release the trigger, or you'll keep driving the fastener right on the the piece your working on!
My decision came down the the 12V makita and the Panasonic impact driver. Besides cost (panasonic ~$100 more) the 'keyless chuck' for the panasonic looked cumbersome. The fit of the makita is outstanding and I have huge friggin hands. I also live close to a Makita repair station, so if something lets loose, I can go there for repairs.
All in all, I recommend the impact driver. If your work is only on woodworking, save the money and get a nice 9.6 or 12V drill. But if your at all going to use it to put together a deck, or install stuff in concrete, go for it baby!
P.S. One drawback for the impact drivers are the noise. When the impact portion kicks in, it gets kinda noisy. So the baby is sleeping upstairs, you might consider a regular drill.
Hosta, Double-Chin Tony
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