10 Ways to Use Your Impact Driver

Not sure if you’ll really use a cordless impact driver too much if you get one? Or maybe you have one already but aren’t doing to much with it. Check out these 10 ways to use that compact pack of power and to get some work done!

Build a deck1. Build a deck
Save yourself some time and energy next time you build a deck – use an impact driver. You’ll sink the screws in no time, and no matter what the screw type you won’t strip the heads.

Get yourself one with a light-weight lithium ion battery and keep your arm even happier!

2. Is this boring?Boring a hole
There’s nothing like curing boredom than making something around the house. Like wood chips. Or a hole. A big hole. Bore some big holes using some big torque.

If you need to hog out some big holes with that spade or auger bit, and you aren’t near an outlet for your corded drill, use an impact driver to blast through and still have battery power left over. Since the torque isn’t provided just by the motor, even tough jobs won’t wear down a battery as fast as a drill.

3. Change those tires
You’ll probably need at least an 18v version, but if the mechanic who put on your wheels wasn’t an overachiever you probably have enough power to take off those lug nuts in no time.

If they are overtightened or rusted or otherwise stuck, use a breaker bar to knock em loose, then switch to your impact driver to make short work of the rest. Then lubricate everything up, and screw them right back on.

Bonus tip: for those of you without a real floor jack, speed up the little scissors-jack that comes with the car and use the impact driver instead of the tiny lug wrench.

Drywall screw adapter
4. Rockin’ it old school
Yes, you can hang sheet rock with an impact driver. In fact, the light weight and compact size make it easy to wield and less tiring, too. Be careful not to get too carried away! Some impact drivers are tough to control with a light touch, so if you think you might have that problem just grab a drywall screw adapter and go to work.

5. Pilot holes
With a chuck adapter or a set of hex-shafted drill bits, you can transform your driver into a drill. Quickly drill out holes near the edges or ends of the workpiece. Although the impact driver has the power to sink a screw without the help, this will prevent splitting and cracking.

6. Don’t lag behind
Driving lag bolts is where these tools really shine. A cordless drill just doesn’t have the power to seat long lags without killing the batteries. You’ll still want to drill a pilot hole to prevent the wood from cracking, but luckily you already have to tool for that job, too (See #4 above!)

Make sure you have an impact-rated socket or you might be looking for a new set before too long.

Pile of screws7. Something’s screwy
Driving screws, of course! This is why most people buy an impact driver to begin with. Fast speed, high torque, no cam out, easy to handle… do we need to continue? Yes, you now have to worry about ripping the heads off of some of the weaker screws. It’s a small price to pay!

If you’ve ever tried putting a 4″ polymer-coated exterior screw into pressure treated wood, over your head, with a drill, and only got half way before you started stripping it… you know what we mean.

8. Light the way
Many of the current drivers sport a bright LED in the front. This allows you to work in the back of the cupboard under the sink with ease – and leave your 8 year old son playing out on the swing instead of shining a flashlight everywhere except where you need it.

Get the Makita with ‘Afterglow’ and you can even see for 10 seconds without having to hold the trigger – that should be long enough to get to that mini-fridge in the garage without anyone seeing!

A pile of nuts9. This is nuts!
We already talked a little about lug nuts, but there are lots and lots of nuts out there. And they all need to be tightened. Or loosened. Whatever.

Anyway, the point is that with a nut-driver attachment, or with socket adapter and socket set, you can speed through any nut-twisting activities with minimal effort or discomfort. Ok, this one got a little weird.

Old deck with old screws
10. Take it apart
You built a deck in #1, but what if you have to take the old deck apart first? There’s nothing worse than 15 year old rusty looking screws that are half-buried in wood. You can tell by looking that they don’t want to turn. And you know from experience that a drill will end up stripping half of them, if you are lucky.

On the other hand, impact drivers have the torque to loosen them up without stripping those heads – which you already knew if you were paying attention.

Start off easy if you are dealing with old fasteners – too much power, too fast, and you will rip the head off while the rest of the screw is buried in the wood. And then you have another sort of problem.

This entry was posted in Articles and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.