How to Use Impact Driver as a Drill

If you are wondering, is it possible to use your impact driver as a drill, the answer is yes, to a degree, there are some tasks that you should not use your impact driver as a drill, even though it can be. First, we will explain how you can turn your impact driver into a drill.

Turn Your Impact Driver into and Drill

In order to use your impact drivers as a drill, you will require Hex drill bits, these are drill bits with 1/4-inch Hex adaptor designed to fit into impact drivers.
Although there are many drill bits with 1/4-inch Hex adaptor that will fit into an impact driver, not all of these drill bits are designed to be used by an impact driver. You can use 1/4-inch Hex drill bits in a regular drill chuck, and they are designed to stop the drill bit spinning in the drill chuck.
There are various 1/4-inch Hex drill bits available:

Regular drill bits

These are your common drill bits designed to drill into various materials. If you are going to buy these for an impact driver, make sure they are high quality ones, or even better, one piece drill bit. With the cheaper ones, the 1/4-inch Hex bit is welded to the drill bit, and it is not uncommon for the drill bit to snap off the 1/4-inch Hex.

Wood drill bits

These are specifically designed to drill into wood, they have a sharp point at the tip, which allows for greater accuracy when placing the drill bit onto the wood to begin drilling. When using general bits on wood, sometimes when you begin drilling there can be some movement and you can sometimes begin drilling a couple of mm away from where you wanted to drill. These are the best for precision drilling.

Masonry drill bits

These bits are designed to drill better through masonry, they have a spade head tip to help the drill bit go through masonry with ease, the cutting spade head of the masonry drill bit is usually made from hardened metal material. Although these can fit in an impact driver, to get the most out of these in masonry, a hammer drill is recommended.

Flat wood drill bits

These drill bits are designed to drill large holes in wood. They are like a spade with a long sharp pointed tip to help it drill large holes.

Tile drill bits

Specifically designed to drill through tiles without cracking them. Dimond tile drill bits are the best type to use. However, we would not recommend using these with an impact driver.

The drawbacks of using an impact driver as a drill

The biggest problems with an impact driver is chuck wobble. Were you place the drill bit wobbles because it is surrounded by bearings, this is fine for an impact drivers intended use to fasten and unfasten. However, when it comes to drilling chuck wobble can cause issues.

If you require precision drilling, impact driver should not be used. For example, if you are drilling a 6mm hole in a brick wall, and you use an impact driver, with the chuck wobble, and the fact that more effort to drill it through the brick when compared with a hammer drill, the hole could end up being 8mm or 9mm.

Another issue with an impact driver is that when you encounter friction, the impact driver slows down/stops spinning its chuck, and begins its hammering function/impacts per minute, which makes it extremely hard to drill through stubborn parts of the material. A regular drill will continue to spin its chuck until it gets through the material.

Should You use You Impact Driver as a Drill?

Yes, you should use an impact driver as a drill in certain situations, if you are drilling through wood, metal and various other materials that do not require precision holes, and just need a quick hole, impact driver is grate for this.

For example, you are fixing door handles to a wooden door, you don’t want to drive the screw right into the door as it may cause cracking and the screw may not sit flush once in. You can use a 2mm Hex drill bit to drill pilot holes, then use the impact driver to fasten the screws into the hole.

However, when drilling through delicate materials such as glass or tiles, you should not use a impact driver, and use a dedicated drill.

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Arthur Allen has been using all sorts of power tools for the last 27 years, gaining a lot of experience on how they work, how to determine what makes a power good, and becoming an expert on the subject through many years of real world trial and error. Not only is Arthur and expert in tools, but various building jobs as well.