Impact Driver or no?

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Forum topic by Odiferous posted 02-14-2013 04:44 AM 2471 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 2187 days

02-14-2013 04:44 AM

I bought a Hitachi 14.4V drill a few years back and loved it, but I think apartment life (i.e. sitting on a shelf unused) killed the batteries—it still works great when the battery is fresh off the charger…for a handful of screws/holes. Now that I have no short supply of home repair projects, as well as trying to set up a shop, having my only cordless being a cripple is getting frustrating, but I’m on a tight budget.

I’m considering three options, and can’t seem to decide between:
  • Suck it up and keep using my corded drill. Nowhere on my property is out of reach of an extension cord.
  • Have a battery refurbished for ~$30. Even if I tried to do it myself, it wouldn’t cost much less than that.
  • Buy an impact driver – Direct Tools has the Ridgid 18v reconditioned for $80, and groupon has a $70 for $30 deal running—so that’s $40+tax. Sounds like a good deal, and I drive a lot more screws than I do drill holes, but I’ve never used an impact driver. Would there be enough value in having a cordless driver around if I didn’t have a cordless drill?

31 replies so far

View Bruce Taylor's profile

Bruce Taylor

21 posts in 1934 days

#1 posted 02-14-2013 05:05 AM

Keep an eye on Craig’s List in your area. I’ve had good luck buying used cordless tools there. The huge difference to eBay, of course, is that you look the seller in the eye when you make the deal. You can tell a lot about trustworthyness that way.

-- Captain Bruce, Washington State

View bladedust's profile


206 posts in 2263 days

#2 posted 02-14-2013 05:17 AM

In answer to your question whether you should get an impact…...HELL YES. Got my first one a couple of months ago and I’m pissed at how many screw heads I stripped by just using my Bosch drill and not knowing the value of an impact gun. Stop lamenting and get one, you’ll be glad you did.

-- ok, is it cut once measure twice, cut twice measure once???? I know....I'll just keep cutting until it's long enough.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2282 days

#3 posted 02-14-2013 05:19 AM

I use my cordless impact driver all the time, so I find it to be a very useful tool in my shop. I’m not going to get into recommending specific brands—everyone has their personal favorites. I will recommend trying to find one with lithium ion batteries (as opposed to NiCad).

-- John, BC, Canada

View pjones46's profile


1001 posts in 2639 days

#4 posted 02-14-2013 05:19 AM

Try these guys for reconditioned tools. I have a Hitachi WH12DMR 12V Cordless Impact Driver which I purchased about four years ago. Needed batteries for it and bought another reconditioned WH12DMR 12V Cordless Impact Driver in the “A” class for $99 which came with case, two batteries, tool and charger and not a scratch on it. Looked like a brand new tool for less than half the cost of a new tool kit. By the way the new batteries priced out at about $55 each best price new, so I got a deal.

Check out Hitachi torque and I think you will find it is among the highest.


-- Respectfully, Paul

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 2187 days

#5 posted 02-14-2013 01:18 PM

I know you can get hex-shank drill bits—are these things useful for drilling at all, or is it really not something I’m going to want to do much?

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2245 days

#6 posted 02-14-2013 02:31 PM

I have a super nice brand new Milwaukee that I would HIGHLY recommend. If you are looking for a bargian, this isn’t at close to 200.00. I’m not sure I would ever drill with it. Since it is just a hex lock chuck, I imagine there exists the possibility for a lot of run out.

If you have never used one and are driving screws with a traditional drill/driver, you will kick yourself for not getting one a long time ago. Say goodbye to twisted wrists, stripped out screws, and damaged bits.


View stnich's profile


118 posts in 2921 days

#7 posted 02-14-2013 02:35 PM

Personally I hate the noise that an impact driver makes. Don’t get me wrong they have there uses under the right circumstances. Do you really need an impact driver to install a couple of screws for hinges. I worked for a trim crew awhile back and most of the guys used them for everything. It got real annoying having to listen to that racket all day long.

View ChrisK's profile


1962 posts in 3078 days

#8 posted 02-14-2013 02:39 PM

I love my cheap Ryobi one. I use for pocket hole screws all the time. As soon as the screw starts to tighten it goes to impact mode and you can control the depth to a 1/4 turn of the screw. Its a great way to drive screws. When this one dies, as I expect it to do I will replace it with either a Rigid or Dewalt. I have not used to drive bolts yet. I have tools I usually reach for first, but I should try the small impact gun to see what it will do.

-- Chris K

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2595 days

#9 posted 02-14-2013 02:43 PM

They are not really for drilling per se, they are mainly for turning screws and bolts. Way more torque on these than a drill. A good combo kit that contains both drill and impact is a good thing to have around. Even my little 10.8v impact delivers a wallop. The noise is a bummer though.

View SignWave's profile


440 posts in 3031 days

#10 posted 02-14-2013 02:48 PM

I’ve stripped many phillips head screws with a regular drill (even one with a clutch), yet until recently I had doubts about the need for an impact driver. I recently go a Bosch 12v impact driver and will say that I’m a convert. For driving screws it is definitely worth it. I got a drill/impact combo, and I can use one to drill pilot holes and the other to drive screws, which really saves time not having to switch bits. Or if I’m just driving a lot of screws (e.g. hanging drywall), I can use one while the second battery is charging. With a 30 min recharge time, I’m never without power.

I would be hesitant to buy a cordless drill used, because I’m guessing that the reason that they’d be getting rid of it is that the batteries are failing, and it would be hard to know that by just looking at the tool or with limited use. With the cost of replacement batteries so high, the economy of buying a new one seems to outweigh the risk of having a used tool with dying batteries. Just my humble opinion.

-- Barry,

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#11 posted 02-14-2013 03:01 PM

I got the Milwaukee 1/2” drill & 1/4” impact driver combo set a couple years ago.
They use the Lithium Ion 18v, 1500ah batteries and the set came with two.
I love this set, but it was the most expensive battery tool I ever bought at $200.
One warning, that little driver will twist the head right off a 3/8” hex bolt if you push it.
Ridgid has a similar set right now for about $179 and I believe they include the battery in the warranty.

Once you ever use a tool with a Lithium Battery you will never go back to Ni Cad.
A fringe benefit is the Li Ion can sit on a shelf for months and will hardly loose any charge at all.

It’s wise to consider what battery tools you might ever want in the future and after you have a set with batteries then you can add to the set with bare tools at a reduced cost.
But, be careful here, I bought a Milwaukee 18v circular saw thinking I already had the batteries I would need. Not true. the saw requires the bigger XL 3000ah battery which costs $100 by itself.

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 1941 days

#12 posted 02-14-2013 03:11 PM

I bought the Ridgid 18v impact driver/drill combo from home depot for $179 and am extremely happy with them. I had never had an impact before, but I LOVE this tool. I dont think I would ever give it up. They are a loud tool to use, but they are worth the noise. Lots of power and light weight. The impact will twist the heads off of kreg screws pretty easy though.

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3370 days

#13 posted 02-14-2013 03:19 PM

+1 on SignWave – I love my little Bosch combo set. Built a 450 sq-ft deck with that little impact. Wouldn’t trade them for any other.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#14 posted 02-14-2013 03:27 PM

I was in a similar boat to you.

I used to be an low-voltage contractor and used my cordless tools daily. with a constant charge-discharge the batteries would last for years and years. after I stopped working and the batteries just stood there, they all died out – completely (can’t take a charge).

Seeing that I will only have the occasional use for these tools, I sold them all (bare tools) and am just using corded versions (or in my case, manual hand drills for now) that won’t run out of batteries as I do not need the cordless functionality anymore. one thins less to worry about.

If you do want to go cordless, make sure you are getting Li-Ion battery tools. these batteries would have longer life and should maintain their charge even when not used for longer periods of time

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2966 days

#15 posted 02-14-2013 06:39 PM

Stick with a drill driver. An impact driver is great if you’re banging in screws left, right and centre, and in conjunction with a drill, but for what you are looking for I think you’d be better off with a drill driver, or just a new battery or battery rebuild.

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