What is an impact driver and what DIY jobs can it do?

screws with square flat heads in front of defocused impact driver and drill bit kit.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is an impact driver? You’ve heard the name, but you're not quite sure what it is or what it does. It looks a bit like a drill but there’s something slightly different about it. It looks more compact and the chuck doesn’t look the same.

It’s easy to get an impact driver confused with the best cordless drills. But, while it has a lot of similarities it also has some very subtle differences and is especially designed for a more specific job than a standard drill.

We take a look at what an impact driver is, what it is good for and the best type to buy. 

What is an impact driver? 

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.