How to Use an Impact Driver

A hand impact driver is a simple tool that can help you with various tasks. However, when you first get your hands on one, you will probably wonder how to use an impact driver correctly. Luckily for you, this process isn’t difficult, and you don’t need to be a professional to use this multipurpose tool. 

What is an Impact Driver?

Impact drivers combine concussive blows and rotations to drive fasteners quickly. It’s a much lighter tool compared to a drill, and it’s even easier to use. Also, even though these two tools look alike, they are entirely different. First and foremost, a drill has a keyless chuck, and you can connect various shank bits in a few shapes, which get secured when you twist the chuck. Opposite to that, an impact driver has a collet that you can put ¼ hex shank driver bits in it. You can insert or release them by pulling the collect forward. Also, an impact driver drives screws and bolts that likely wouldn’t fit a cordless drill. 

Compared to a regular drill, it produces several times more torque and won’t twist your wrist. Also, you are unlikely to strip screws, and the additional force enables you to drive them more precisely. All of this makes an impact driver an excellent tool compared to a regular hand drill. 

Keep in mind that impact drivers do need some getting used to. The clutch isn’t adjustable, and they are louder, so have your neighbors in mind when you plan on using it. We’d also suggest you use gloves, protective glasses, and earmuffs when working with this tool, just in case. Any electric tool requires some precaution measures, and an impact driver is no different.

If you want to learn how to use an impact driver, you’re on the right spot! Let’s get started.

Step #1

First off, you have to prepare your impact driver. Think about the size of the hole and screw you’ll need. Then, take the appropriate impact bit with ¼ inch hex-drive shanks, and connect it with your impact driver. Keep in mind that the impact bit has to be compatible with the fastener type, as well. If you make a mistake here, every next step will be in vain. 

Step #2

Impact drivers are potent tools that can produce a significant amount of energy. However, not all materials require that amount of power. If you aren’t well educated on the material type, you may end up ruining it. 

In short, the more torque you use, the slower the speed should be. Using too much torque while at a fast speed setting can ruin the material you are working on. Typically, you can adjust the speed of the impact driver via the trigger on it. The more pressure you put on it, the slower the speed will be. Some impact drivers have a speed selection option, which makes everything much more comfortable, but reduces the control you have over the device.

Softwood or drywall require less torque, and thus the speed should be higher. Opposite to that, heavy-duty materials, such as deck supports or concrete, require more torque and low-speed settings. This will make the process faster, easier, and more precise.

Step #3

Now that everything is ready, it’s time to screw everything up. First, you should pull back the collet and slide in the impact bit. Let go of the collet once the bit is secure. Ensure everything is in its place, as you don’t want the bit to fall off once you press the trigger. 

Now, press the trigger. The impact driver will tighten, and it will keep tightening while you’re applying pressure. As your screw is close to reaching the material surface, release some pressure. Otherwise, you may risk damaging the material. Not only that, but you may strip off the screw head if you over-fasten. The closer you are to finishing the screwing process, the slower the speed should be.

Step #4

The clicking sound you hear is the sign that the tool is working correctly. This means the mechanism of the impact driver is forcing the screw into the surface. Once the top of the screw is flush, you shouldn’t allow the driver to click anymore. If it does, you risk damaging the screw, the hole, or the material itself.

Once the process is done, disassemble the impact driver and return the impact bit to its place, so you don’t lose it. If necessary, leave the tool to cool out a bit before packaging it.

And with this, you’ve learned how to use an impact driver! As you’ve noticed, the process isn’t complicated. It requires a bit of patience, but once you do it for the first time, it’ll get more precise and more comfortable to complete.

Should You Buy an Impact Driver?

If the only job you need to accomplish is to drill holes, then a standard drill is enough. Also, if you need to drive a medium-size screw from time to time, there is probably no need to spend money on another tool. However, suppose you want to do a more significant DIY project that involves a lot of screws, such as building a deck or installing a plywood subfloor. In that case, you should consider purchasing a good impact driver.

This tool will help you complete the job much faster, as it can enable you to drive large screws in most materials in a matter of seconds. It won’t twist your wrist, and it requires almost no physical strength at all.

Most impact drivers you can buy today work on batteries, so they don’t require cords. This enables you to have flexibility with your location and projects. Keep in mind that the more powerful the impact driver, the more batteries it requires, making it more substantial. 

Bottom Line

For simpler and smaller house projects, a standard drill can work just fine. However, if you expect to have to drive a lot of screws, investing in a good impact driver is a smart decision. This tool is easy to use, lightweight, and it can make the renovating process much faster.

Knowing how to use an impact driver properly can make your life much easier. We hope this article helped you learn something new. Enjoy your DIY projects in a new way!

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