The term “impact driver” is something of a misnomer. The truth is, most people use the term interchangeably with ‘impact wrench’ or ‘impact socket set’ to describe any type of fastener that will provide an impact force when driving it into a material.
In this article we’ll discuss what exactly is meant by an “impact driver” and why you should care about them in your home garage.
Before we get started though, let’s briefly define the terms “socket head” and “driver bit”
A socket head is simply the part of the tool that accepts the screwdriver blade and drives it into the work piece. It is normally made out of hardened steel, aluminum or other metals depending on the application.
A driver bit is the actual bit that has been driven into the workpiece to be screwed or bolted into place. This can also be called a “driving bit”. There are different types of driver bits available, including hexagonal drive bits, Phillips drive bits, thread drive bits, etc…
What do impact drivers do best?
While there are many different types of fasteners designed for both commercial and residential applications (e.g., nails, screws, lag bolts, flat washers, rivets, etc.), impact drivers are typically used for installing hex head screws, which are commonly referred to as #6×0 screws or 6-pointed star screws.
Hex head screws have six sharp points around the circumference of their heads that allow them to easily bite into wood, plastic or even metal. They come in a variety of lengths, diameters and pitches. Most often they are found in 4 mm diameter and 10 mm length, although some manufacturers offer shorter lengths to accommodate smaller applications.
There is a major role of impact drivers in cordless drills as they help the person who is using it to use it in a better way in order to achieve best results from it. You can also consider some of the best cheap UK impact drivers compared at Tool Pick as it is best to choose it for better usage.
The main purpose of using an impact driver is to quickly and efficiently install these fasteners into various materials without damaging the surface or causing excessive vibration.
If you’ve ever tried to hammer a nail into drywall or plywood, you know how difficult it can be. Even if you apply enough force to overcome the friction between the head of the nail and the material, you may still end up drilling a hole, cracking the work piece or making a mess trying to get the job done.
Using an impact driver allows you to install hex head screws with significantly less effort and fewer problems. In fact, the only time you might experience any difficulty is when you’re attempting to drive a screw too deep. If you overdrive the screw, you could damage the screw threads, cause the head to split or bend, or strip the head off entirely.
Fortunately, the vast majority of impact drivers sold today are equipped with depth control features that make driving hex head screws easy and safe. These controls automatically adjust how deeply the tool is allowed to travel while being pressed against the work piece.
To operate these tools safely, follow these simple steps:
Set the desired penetration depth by turning the power knob all the way clockwise until you hear the motor windmill click.
Slowly rotate the trigger handle counterclockwise until you hear a light click from the motor again.
With the trigger handle held down, slowly turn the power knob all the way clockwise until you hear a loud snap from the motor indicating that the screw is fully seated and ready to be removed.
As mentioned earlier, some impact drivers feature a spring loaded detent system that allows you to remove the tool after hitting the screw head. Others rely on a push button mechanism that releases a lever once the head has been struck.
Regardless of whether or not your impact driver includes a detent system, always wear safety glasses when operating such tools. You never know when one of those pesky little pieces of shrapnel flying off the head of the tool will find its way into your eyesight!
Impact driver technology has advanced rapidly over the past decade, allowing consumers to choose from dozens of models and configurations capable of delivering speeds ranging from 200 RPM to 600+ RPM.
Many of these high speed models require special torque wrenches to properly operate, but others are designed to work just fine with standard hand operated drills, ratcheting wrenches or cordless drill motors.