From time to time homeowners ask us questions about tools. Recently, we were asked about the difference between drills and drivers and why one might be used rather than the other. In this article we’ll run through the basic types of drills and drivers and discuss the proper use of each.
The traditional drill has shed its cord and chuck key over the years but has remained basically the same since power was applied to the hand drill. The traditional drill is intended to do just that … drill. It is not intended for driving screws or turning bits or sockets. Drills can be utilized to bore holes in wood, plastic, metal and virtually any other material. Most modern drills will either have speed settings or be equipped with a variable speed motor, i.e. the farther you pull back the trigger, the faster the motor spins. Using the right drill bit and speed is key to avoiding damage to your stock (the item being drilled).
A hammer drill looks very much like a traditional drill. In fact, some drills are equipped with a traditional drill setting as well as a hammer drill setting. Hammer drills are intended, primarily, for drilling holes in concrete or masonry. Trying to drill into concrete or masonry without a hammer drill can be an exercise in futility and frustration. Be sure to use the proper bits for hammer drilling.
An impact driver is intended to be used for turning screws, bolts and nuts. Usually, impact drivers have a clutch that prevents them from over-tightening the screws, bolts or nuts on which they are being used. When the clutch engages you’ll hear a high-speed ratcheting sound. Nothing is wrong with the driver. You’ve simply reached the limit of its driving capability. Some impact drivers have variable torque settings that allow the user to set the point at which the clutch will engage.
Screw guns are very similar in appearance to the traditional drill. However, screw guns are designed primarily for drywall installation. If you plan to install much drywall yourself, a drywall screw gun will be worth its weight in gold. The tool is designed specifically for the job. You’ll be much less likely to over-drive your drywall screws which will result in improper installation of your drywall.