Here we are at Christmas Eve and I still haven't told Father Christmas
what I'd like tomorrow!
I've often wondered about an impact driver. Ever since I bought an SDS
drill, I've wondered how I ever managed without it. Is an impact driver
in the same class? Would I be likely to use it instead of a regular
drill/driver for inserting and removing all screws - or does it have
limited application? Will I be more likely to smash the hell out of
According to Wiki (the regular one, not "our" Wiki) there is a
distinction between an impact driver and an impact wrench - the latter
providing rotary impact without downwards impact at the same time.
Presumably an impact *driver* wouldn't be suitable for undoing car wheel
nuts - I'd need an impact "wrench" for that?
Any experiences from users of either would be very welcome.
And I thought Screwstation were being optimistic with their "not too
late to click and collect email" ...
If you look on youtube, there are videos showing the higher torque ones
undoing wheelnuts with a 1/4" hex to 1/2" square adapter and suitable
wheel nut socket, could easily end up snapping the 1/4" shaft I'd expect.
The sort of device used for undoing car wheel nuts is a bit different from
an impact screwdriver. Mine runs up to speed, then whacks the nut at
An impact driver turns normally, and only starts whacking the screw when
needed. The beauty of them is they can produce a torque far greater than
their size suggests - and greater than the motor on its own.
*Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
I've gone one of these
for everyday use and use it all the time on screws small or large. Dave
is dead right, ridiculously powerful when you want it to be.
Yup, I've got a simiar Bosch and us it all the time.
I know the name 'impact driver' makes it sounds like it be a slightly
crude device that can mash up your screws, but IME it's less likely to
cam out that a plain cordless drill/driver.
If mine died, I'd be straight out to get a new one.
a cordless impact wrench has a male square end fitting to take a socket and
is generally a lot more powerful ie.
(Product Code: 2134J)
a cordless "impact driver" has a female end fitting to take a hex
(Product Code: 10050)
you can of course use a driver with an adaptor to undo small nuts/bolts but
not up to the size of wheel nuts
nether priduce a "downwards impact at the same time"
Thanks, yes. I had already come to that conclusion but those examples
Are you sure? The Wiki article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_driver gives the impression that
powered impact drivers *do* provide an axial force in addition to a
rotary impact - albeit not as great as the manual ones which you hit
with a hammer. Is this not correct?
[It's now too late to buy anything before Christmas, of course, but no
worries - they might be cheaper later!]
Another question: If I were to get a cordless impact driver for driving
screws, how useful would an air-powered wrench be for driving wheel
nuts, etc? I've got a compressor - not a massive one but big enough to
need wheels. Is that likely to power a windy wrench?
absolutely as i have both, its only the manual non electric bang it on the
head type that does that, by way of the bang on the head!
and yes an 1/2" air powered impact wrench in comparison is very cheap and
will remove wheel nuts with ease.
but do use quite a bit of air so you may have to wait for the compressor to
refill between 3 or 4 nuts
Mine holds 24 litres, and claims to be able to deliver 270
litres/minute - but the book says it's *not* designed to drive tools
which use a lot of air such as orbital sanders, rod grinders (whatever
they are!) or hammer screwdrivers. Where does that leave impact wrenches?
 Parkside PKO 270 A1 (from Lidl)
Sounds similar to the 1.5hp 25L SIP model I bought from Andy Hall some
years back - it will drive the impact wrench ok, but works best when at
full pressure. So you can only run the tool for a limited time before
needing to let the compressor recharge if you need the maximum torque
from it. Usually ok for doing a wheel's worth of nuts, but might start
to loose grunt if doing two in quick succession, or if you need to
hammer away at a stuck nut for 30 seconds etc.
Thanks. probably not worth it for the amount of car stuff I do these
days - mainly limited to swapping two sets (summer/winter) of wheels and
tyres twice a year. I have a wheel wrench with a long telescopic handle
for loosening the bolts, and I can then spin them out using an ordinary
cordless drill with a hex to 1/2" drive adapter.
It sounds from your other replies - for which many thanks - that a lower
capacity impact driver may be a useful addition to my tool kit. I will
have a serious look at them.
I have a pneumatic wrench, and its handy, but gets very little use -
probably because I do very little car related work. I last used it for
undoing the retaining nuts on the blades on the mower.
Still it was also fairly cheap (£20 to £30 IIRC), so not excessive for
the couple of times a year it saves a bit of time and effort.
Its close - perhaps not quite as dramatic shift, but still significant.
IME you will use it for most screw driving jobs since it requires less
physical effort than a drill driver. You need to keep the bit seated in
the screw head, but you don't need anything like the push you require
with a drill driver to prevent cam out.
Use good quality driver bits - the wiha and vera ones are good. SF own
brand ones not bad. You are probably less likely to damage a screw head
than with a DD (although see the comment about keeping the bit seated -
letting it "chatter" in the head will shag both).
This seems to be an area of confusion which suggests that there are
variations of mechanism out there in the market. The IDs I have (The
small Makita TD020D, the 10.8V LiIon one, and the 18V monster), all have
a rotary action only. They only differ from what would normally be
termed an impact wrench in having a 1/4" hex drive rather than a 1/2"
square socket drive, and the amount of peak torque available. My 18V ID
will do upto about 160Nm IIRC, whereas a large impact wrench may well do
400 - 600Nm.
However I suspect that there are some IDs that also have a linear hammer
action in addition to the angular one. (there was some controversy when
Steve Ramsey (YouTube - "Woodworking for mere mortals") made a comment
about a "tapping" action on an ID and started a flame war in the
comments with lots of harry style refutation and name calling from some
saying there is no hammer action, and from others agreeing.
You may find one of the more powerful IDs would shift a wheel nut (with
appropriate 1/4" hex to square drive adaptor - but it might not have
quite enough oomph.
I started with an 18V model (selected since buying it body only was
cheap and it used the same batts and charger as my combi drill). That
became the go to tool for screwing anything from about 3/4" size 6
screws and up. Its quite a lump in the hand though, and is less suited
for small stuff and furniture work.
The 10.8V is better for smaller stuff. (the 10.8V kit of combi and ID,
is often all I would take to a job site if say installing a TV on a wall
for a customer - plenty able to sink a hole in masonry for plugs and
2.5" screws etc). However I would not use if say screwing down a floor
or framing studwork.
The very small 7.2V TD020D lacks the power for anything much about a
1.5" screw, but is good on smaller stuff and in smaller spaces. I tend
to use that even for whizzing screws out of PCs etc, or say driving
small screws into the underside of a worktop from a kitchen cabinet
where its length and tubular shape make it good for "reaching in" to
If you have a compressor, then a full on impact wrench is fairly cheap,
and will do wheel nuts (you can also use it for heavy screw driving with
appropriate adaptors). The electric ones that do the same are very nice,
but quite pricey as they are less of a mass market thing.
Finally there are a few times where a drill driver will be more useful.
Firstly if trying to be quiet - IDs make lots of noise - so if working
in a busy office etc I might elect to use the drill rather than the ID.
There are also a few times where you can't shift a screw with an ID but
can with a drill - normally longer fastenings where they are stuck with
a fair bit if shaft still exposed. The elasticity of the fastening can
absorb and then recover from the angular impact without actually turning
the end, but it can't resist the continuous "wind up" from the normal
My recommendation if you are buying your first and want a general
building tool would be to go for something 14.4V or larger since it will
be the most versatile tool.
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