Hammer Drill VS Impact Drill – 4 Facts You Should Know for Choosing the Right Drill for Your Project


Working on DIY projects often involves driving screws and drilling holes. Whether you pick a suitable saw blade or another tool, it’s critical to have the right gear for the job. 

A hammer drill and an impact drill might have similar appearances, but their performance varies. It’s important to properly use each tool, such as diamond drill bits, but you’ll need to find a suitable device first.

In this article, we are focusing on the difference between a hammer drill and an impact drill. So, here is what you need to know when choosing a suitable tool for the next project!

Table of Contents

1. What Is a Hammer Drill?

Working indoors with a hammer drill

Caption: Working indoors with a hammer drill

A hammer drill is a powerful tool for drilling holes through different materials. Therefore, it’s suitable for granite, marble, brick, concrete, and other materials. 

It’s a handheld tool, which means you hold it in your hands while operating it. Each device comes with a drill bit that you push back and forth into the material. 

Apart from the standard hammer drill driver, you can also use rotary hammers, which are more powerful. So, a rotary hammer could be a better choice if you are working with rough materials.


  • It’s capable of drilling holes through various materials.
  • Some drills come with regular and rotary hammers.
  • These tools offer excellent versatility.
  • It’s capable of driving bolts and screws.
  • The product offers a high torque.


  • It comes with a small learning curve, especially because it’s heavier.
  • The price tag can be higher than for impact drills.
  • You might lose the chuck key.
  • Apart from drilling, it doesn’t handle other tasks well.

2. What Is the Impact Driver/Drill?

A cordless impact driver

Caption: A cordless impact driver

It’s crucial to distinguish whether you use an impact driver or drill. An impact driver serves for driving screws, fasteners, and bolts into holes. It features high rotation, so it can generate torque when needed.

Apart from driving, these tools are also suitable for removing screws and bolts. Therefore, they are handy for removing rusty units when necessary. Check out this video to remove a fastener with an impact driver.  

An impact drill performs the same action as its hammer counterpart. Therefore, it can drill holes through various materials. Depending on the device, some units only have the driving function, while others can also do the drilling.


  • It can drive screws and bolts but also remove them.
  • The tool offers high torque when it’s necessary.
  • Easy to operate, even if you are a newbie.
  • Some units are suitable for performing the drilling action.
  • They don’t have a chuck key, so you can’t lose it.


  • It doesn’t always have the same precision as hammer drills.
  • The longevity depends on the unit.
  • The versatility doesn’t match the hammer drills.
  • It doesn’t perform well in other tasks apart from driving screws.

3. What Is the Difference Between the Hammer Drill and an Impact Drill/Driver?

We use a table to summarize the difference between Hammer Drill and Impact Driver.

ProductUsesDesignDriving ForceMechanismRotations per minute (Speed)TorqueChuck
Hammer DrillDrilling holes through various materialsLong nose and handlesElectro-pneumaticHammer action2K-3K Changeable3-jaw chuck
Impact DriverFastening and loosening screwsReminds of a screwdriverElectricRotation action2K – 3.5KNo controlHexagonal socket

The next section in our hammer drill vs. impact drill guide focuses on the tools’ actual differences. So, let’s look at how they perform in various areas. That’ll tell us how to pick the perfect device for your upcoming project.

3.1. Hammer Drill VS impact Drill: Uses

Looking at their uses, you’ll understand the crucial difference between these tools. So, hammer drill uses primarily covers drilling into different materials.

Therefore, you can use them for anything from wood to tougher materials like bricks and stones. You might find this video useful for drilling holes in thick metal.

On the other hand, an impact driver primarily serves for driving screws in various materials. Therefore, you can use it for driving and loosening bolts, nuts, and screws of different sizes.

3.2. Hammer Drill VS impact Drill: Design

Newbies might find the design of a hammer drill driver and impact driving units similar. So, the critical difference is the three-jaw chuck present in hammer drills.

To clarify, it holds the bits, making it a convenient addition. The standard hammer units remind of a power drill, while rotary tools are larger and heavier.

On the other hand, impact drills have a shorter head. Additionally, they are noticeably stubby around the barrel and feature hexagonal sockets for inserting the bits.

3.3. Hammer Drill VS impact Drill: How Do They Work?

In short, the standard hammer drill offers repeated blows in the desired direction. Therefore, the force moves along the tool’s length or vertical axis. Thanks to that, it can drill holes in different materials. The suitability for various applications depends on the unit’s specifics.

If you use a hammer impact driver, the force is primarily in the rotation direction. You’ll find the power moves through the vertical axis. However, these concussive blows don’t have the same force as hammer units.

3.4. Each Accepts Different Drill Bits

You’ll find an option to insert bits into an adjustable chuck in an impact drill. So, this tool is suitable for hex-shank and standard drill bits. As for the hammer units, you can insert the same bit types.

However, the difference is they should be more durable, so carbide-tipped ones are a wise choice. So, if you use only an impact driver, it requires inserting special driver bits offering a suitable impact rating.

4. Hammer Drill VS Impact Drill – Which Is the Best Drill for Your Project?

A DIY project of building a drawer

Caption: A DIY project of building a drawer

Each tool has specific advantages and drawbacks, so you can use both in the workshop. Therefore, it’s all about choosing a suitable device for your project. 

DIY enthusiasts doing masonry projects will benefit from using a hammer drill. However, professionals might find rotary hammers more suitable since they deliver additional power. So, rotary units are a smart choice if you plan to do demolition work.

While you can use an impact drill for concrete, finding a high-quality unit is vital. Meanwhile, you might discover impact drivers are convenient for at-home projects. These tools are cheap and useful. Therefore, they can make your job easier when driving and loosening screws and bolts.


Although they are similar at first, you can notice some differences between hammer and impact drills. In summary, you use hammer drills mostly for drilling holes, while impact drivers are for fastening and loosening screws.

Moreover, there might be differences in design, mechanism, and the chuck used.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact NCCuttingTools. We’ve been in business for years and can help you choose the right tools and accessories for your workshop.

You can order top-quality products and receive them in the shortest possible time frame, ensuring you start the desired project as soon as possible. 

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