What is the Difference Between Impact Driver, Drill and Hammer Drill?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you and be incredibly grateful.

Difference Between Impact Driver, Drill and Hammer DrillOne of the most common questions we have heard from people who are getting used to drilling equipment: what is the difference between impact driver, drill and hammer drill?

In fact, this question has haunted not only new users but also many professionals around the world. Let’s find out the answer with us today.

What is the Difference Between Impact Driver, Drill and Hammer Drill?

The fundamental differences come from appearance, purpose, expense, operation method and weight.


First of all, the purposes of hammer drills and impact drivers are greatly different. A hammer drill is usually helpful when you want to drill hard surfaces, such as concrete or brick. Several hammer drills on the market provide special features to help you transform it back into a common drill.

On the other hand, if you have to drive in fasteners such as nails or screws, an impact driver will be a better option. It is also helpful for drilling holes. It is even possible if you need to drive nails through sheetrock. Yet, this kind of driver is not suitable for woodworking because its extra power may cause damage to the items being dealt with.


There are dramatic differences when it comes to the appearance of these two drills. The impact driver is much stubbier and shorter with a hexagonal socket. It may have an adapter attaching bits. In contrast, hammer drills are large and heavy with a drill chuck that have various sizes and bits.

Operation Method

An impact drill usually requires less pressure than a hammer drill. You may feel like your hammer hitting really fast because most of the time it has to deal with hard materials.

Loud operation is also common for hammer drills which vibrate back and forth. There is an adjustable clutch so that you do not need to apply too much force.

Impact driver has a rotary fashion. If more power is not available, it is nearly the same as a cordless screw driver. A special mechanism will start and give more force. Adjustable clutch which avoids using too much power is not available in impact drivers.


You should take a cordless drill into serious consideration, no matter whether you go for impact or hammer drill. A corded one will be heavier and cause many restrictions when you perform your jobs.

Nevertheless, you should get a second battery pack to make sure that your cordless drill will not run out of batteries. The power of cordless and corded ones is not so much different. The latest models of hammer drills usually come with lithium ion batteries which offer more power.


Last but not least, if you are much concerned about the price, it is important to note that an impact driver is often more economical than a hammer drill. However, if your job involves some tough drilling, it will be necessary to purchase a hammer drill.

What is the Best Impact Driver Drill?

DEWALT DCF885C1 20V Impact Driver

One of the best impact driver drills you cannot skip is the DEWALT DCF 885C1 20V with the ergonomic design that permits it to perform on any tight space. It is very lightweight and easy to hold in your hands. Though, the power of this driver is excellent and satisfies even professional contractors.

In addition, it is even equipped with a built-in LED light to improve visibility.

The only disadvantage we find in this product is that its battery does not seem to last long. Nevertheless, it also depends on the types of tasks you use the drill for.


  • Much power (1,400lbs of torque)
  • Lightweight
  • Additional LED lights


  • Battery does not seem to last long


Another wonderful impact driver you can find on the market is the Porter-Cable PCCK647LB, which comes with a brushless motor to offer 50% more runtime. It also provides much torque to allow large fastening applications, which you can choose between 1400lbs and 2900 RPM.

What we love most about this product is its quick-change hex, which gives you rapid drill bit changes with only one hand. It is particularly useful when you need to work in tight circumstances or on top of a ladder.

Besides, it is very lightweight and thanks to the ergonomic design, users can hold and grip it more easily.

However, we think that some improvements are necessary to make the batteries last longer. In addition, the lack of speed settings may cause difficulties for you to drive screws without snapping the head.


  • Warranty up to 3 years
  • Reasonable price
  • Brushless motor
  • Fast change hex
  • Plenty of RPM and Torque


  • Need some improvements about battery
  • Lack of speed settings

RIDGID GEN5X R86035SB 18-Volt Lithium-Ion ¼ in Cordless Impact Driver

Another great impact driver for any handyman is the Ridgid Gen5x R86035SB. It has solved one of the most challenging problems of other products – batteries. The manufacturer has improved its battery life so that you can use for an extended period of time.

More amazingly, you even get free batteries for life, which is included in their Lifetime Service Agreement. The battery indicator also helps you know how much time you have before it runs out.

Other excellent features include various torque and speed settings. And the price is absolutely reasonable.

The only disadvantage is that it is not brushless.


  • Excellent lifetime service agreement
  • Various torque and speed settings for better versatility
  • High speed transmission


  • Not brushless

What is the Best Hammer Drill?

Makita XPH12R Hammer Driver Drill Kit

Whether you need drill for house jobs or construction, the Makita XPH12R hammer drill is a reliable option that can help you finish almost everything. It is very durable over time, and more importantly, it is particularly resistant to debris or dirt. Therefore, you can make use of it on rough surfaces or falls off of buildings.

Besides, it has the Extreme Protection Technology that accelerates every job you are working on. You can make use of it for both driving and drilling, which makes it one of the most versatile hammer drills.

Its power supply is the most significant feature as the 18V Lithium-Ion batteries allow you to work for longer periods and only take around 20-30 minutes for full charging.


  • Lightweight
  • Great versatility for driving and drilling


  • Not suitable for concrete

SKIL 6445-04 120V Corded Hammer Drill

If the first hammer drill fails you when it comes to concrete work, you can count on this one – the SKIL 6445-04 120V corded hammer drill with powerful motor of 7.0 Amp. It is the most suitable option for homeowners who usually need to repair things. However, it is not the ultimate for professionals as a result of lacking power.

There is no speed or torque settings; it provides up to 3,000 RPM. Thanks to variable speed trigger, you can adjust the speed according to useful application as extra precision is necessary.

Even though it mainly serves simple jobs, its side assist handle can help you deal with more accurate and controlled jobs. The reasonable price is another advantage of this hammer drill.


  • Great value
  • Excellent power
  • Can work with concrete


  • Quite simple
  • Suitable for lighter work only

Ryobi P214 One+ 18 Volt Lithium Ion 1/2 Inch 600 Pound Torque Hammer Drill/Driver

Many people prefer simple tool, especially with an affordable price. There is no better option than the Ryobi ONE+ hammer drill, which comes with 2-speed range to help you speed things up.

Soft grip handle is another great feature of this drill because you only need two-finger trigger to control it comfortably. The battery is excellent and helps you finish the job even when it lasts long.

There is a LED light inside; however, many users complained that it does not deliver much brightness. In addition, the lack of timer causes the light to go out when you release the trigger. It may be inconvenient in some circumstances.


  • Reasonable price
  • Good battery life


  • Lack of timer on light
  • Lack of depth gauge

Final Verdict

We hope that our article has already helped you handle the haunting issues on difference between impact driver, drill and hammer drill. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and by understanding them, we hope that you can make a better decision when choosing the best drill.