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Hammer Drill vs. Impact Drill – What’s the Difference?

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Hammer drills and impact drills are the common types of drills that we mostly use for various purposes.

Though they similar, their functionalities are totally different. If you are wondering, what is the difference between the duo, and which one do you need the most, then you can find the answer here.

In this article, we will discuss in detail about each tool and try to understand its differences. This will help you to save your time and sort out which one is best for the list of tasks that you have to do.

Without any delay, let us drill down into the discussion.

What is a Hammer Drill?

A hammer drill is the one that is most commonly used for drilling into hard surfaces like concrete and masonry. As the name says, it comes with a built-in hammer capability that accomplishes the above task. It is basically a heavy-duty type device used by craftsmen. Some hammer drills come with a versatile option that allows the device to function as a regular drill. All you have to do is switch off or disable the hammer action and turn on the standard drill feature.

How does a Hammer Drill Work?

A hammer drill user hammer function for working. As a part of this, it vibrates or pulsates with back-and-forth motion when pushing the hammerhead into the hard material.

What is an Impact Drill?

An impact drill is primarily for driving in screws and nails faster. Popularly known as impact drivers, these handheld devices are better at drilling holes. These tools are either cordless or corded and often come at variable speeds. They help you to drive large nails into the wood in just a few seconds.

How does an Impact Drill Work?

The impact drivers use an impact mechanism that creates a rotatory motion when driving screws and bolts of all kinds.

Hammer Drill vs. Impact Drill

Below is a table that highlights the distinguishing features between the hammer drill and the impact drill. This will help you get a fair understanding of both tools.

Parameter Hammer Drill Impact Drill
Working Mechanism Vibrating or Pulsating moving back and forth. Rotational Impact.
Appearance A hammer drill has a three-jaw self-centering chuck. An impact drill has a hex socket.
Drill Head A hammer drill has SDS-plus or SDS-max drill head. An impact drill has a quick-release drill head.
Application To drill holes into brick, concrete, blocks, masonry, and even rock. To fasten screws and bolts of all kinds.
Mostly Used By The craftsmen in the construction industry. Electricians or in shops for driving screws, nails, etc.
Speed A hammer drill comes in two speed ranges. An impact drill comes at variable speeds.
Models Available in both cordless and corded models. Available in both cordless and corded models.
Torque A hammer drill requires less torque. An impact drill requires more torque.
Size A hammer drill is large and bulky in size. An impact drill is small and compact in size.
Noise Hammer drills tend to be very loud. Impact drills make much noise when operating.
Weight A hammer drill is heavy when compared to an impact drill. An impact drill is less heavy when compared to a hammer drill.
Cost A hammer drill is very costly when compare to an impact driver An impact drill is relatively cost-effective than a hammer drill.

Let me take you through each feature for a detailed understanding.

1. Working Mechanism

The hammer drill uses a hammering mechanism. This makes the user feel like a hammer that hits fastly when driving the hammerhead into the hard material. This tool vibrates or pulsates with back-and-forth motion when pushing. It also comes with an adjustable clutch that facilitates applying less force.

The impact drill uses a rotational impact. It makes the user feel like a cordless screwdriver when fastening the screws or bolts.

2. Appearance

A hammer comes specially designed for tough materials. It with a three-jaw self-centre chuck that can take different types of bits and sizes.

Unlike hammers drills, an impact drill does not contain any chuck. Instead, it has a hex socket for holding the adapter. You can attach drill bits to this adapter for drilling.

3. Drill Head

Coming to the drill head, a hammer drill has an SDS-plus or SDS-max drill head that helps you drill through walls having a thickness of several feet. An impact drill has quick-release drill heads that are just perfect for every job.

4. Application

You can use a hammer drill for drilling holes into tough materials like brick, concrete, blocks masonry, and rock as well.

Contrary to the above, you can use your impact drill only to fasten or remove screws and other bolts of all kinds.

5. Mostly Used By

If you ask us about who uses the powerful hammer drill mostly, then the answer would be craftsmen. They use this versatile tool for drilling concrete and other hard materials in the construction industry.

When it comes to impact drills, mostly electricians or technicians use them for driving large screws or fasteners when working with wood.

6. Speed

Hammer drills usually come with two speed ranges. The speed may usually range from 1500 BPM to about 40000 BPM. Contrary to the above, an impact drill comes at variable speeds.

7. Models

Both hammer and impact drills come in corded and cordless models.

8. Torque 

A hammer drill requires less torque when compared to an impact drill. The impact drill applies constant torque (high) throughout the drilling process.

9. Size

A hammer drill is comparatively larger and bulkier in size than an impact drill.  On the other hand, an impact drill is very small and compact in size.

10. Noise

Both hammer and impact drills tend to make a loud noise when operating.

11. Weight

A hammer drill is relatively heavy when compared to an impact drill.

12. Cost

Coming to the price, a hammer drill is very costly when compare to an impact driver.  Investing in an impact drill can be a cost-effective affair.

Let us have a look at the table depicting the various activities performed by a hammer drill and an impact drill.

Activity Hammer Drill Impact Drill
Fasten Screws No Yes
Drilling Wood Yes Yes
Drilling Metal Yes Yes
Drilling Stone Yes Yes
Drilling Concrete Yes No
Drilling Tiles and Brick Yes Yes
Drilling Block Yes No
Demolition No No

Conclusion

I hope this article gave you ample information on what hammer drills and impact drills are. Now that you are aware of everything related to both tools, choosing one that suits you best will no longer be a time-consuming and confusing task.

Write to us in the comments section below if you find this article informative. Let us know if you have any questions or need more information on the same. Feel free to add your inputs to this article and tell us if we missed out any points.

We would love to hear and learn from you.

Stay home and stay safe!!!

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