Cordless Drills vs Screwdrivers: What’s the difference anyway?

If you are a DIY enthusiast, then chances are that you are highly invested in power tools. However, the endless options available in hardware stores for power tools can leave you lightheaded.

There are so many options that do the same job, yet have different names.

So, we have decided to make your task a bit easier and reveal the differences between a drill and a screwdriver.

Furthermore, we are also going to share with you the differences between a cordless drill and an impact drill, and if they can be used interchangeably.

Let’s first discuss the basic definitions of a drill and a screwdriver.

A drill, also known as a power drill, is a power tool that is primarily used to drill holes into various material surfaces. These include wood, concrete, metal, tile or brick.

A drill is also used to drive screws into surfaces, but that’s not what they are famous for.

A screwdriver is a manual tool that is used to fasten screws into surfaces with bits that fit into the head of the screws you are trying to secure.

The basic difference between a screwdriver and a drill is the speed of driving a screw into a surface and the resulting precision of drilling.

Even though the primary function of both devices is different, they are often used interchangeably. A drill is used to secure or fix screws into a surface, which is also why a screwdriver is used. But the difference lies in the speed.

A screwdriver has slower speed that allows precision while driving screws. However, a drill has high speed so it’s difficult to maintain precision while driving screws.

If you want to chip out materials or make a hole into a surface, then you’ll use a drill. For driving screws, you use a screwdriver to have better control over the speed. But a drill can also be used for the same purpose.

When to use a screwdriver?

When attempting to fix small issues, such as securing a cabinet door in its frame, or removing it or pining a picture on the wall or any other smaller home repairs.

When to use a drill?

A drill is used for hanging dry walls, cutting a hole or when you need to drive screws into a surface quickly.

Now that we have covered the difference between a drill and a screwdriver, let’s now talk about the cordless drill and whether or not it can be used as a screwdriver.

A cordless drill is a power tool that is used to dig holes and drive screws into surfaces. A screwdriver, however, is only used to driver screws and secure loose ones in place.

A drill can be used as a screwdriver but then you might have to compromise on precision. Since a cordless drill works on power from batteries, it features high speed and that can cause a screw to lose its way when pushing into a surface.

A screwdriver, whether manual or powered, can drive a screw only so far into a surface. Its main function is to secure loose screws in their place. Its best for small scale projects like fixing door hinges and tightening screws in windowsills.

Since both the tools are used for all kinds of construction or repair work, you can own both of them. Depending on the scale and urgency of your project, you can use both the tools alternatively. And a set of drills and screwdrivers is probably the best gift for people who love to do house jobs themselves.

How to Use a Drill as a Driver

Most drills are used to drive in screws, which is why they are called drill drivers. Owing to their ability to drive in screws, they are used as screwdrivers. If you haven’t done it yet, then you must give it a try.

However, there are certain factors to consider when using a drill as a driver.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to pick out a bit that is going to hold the screw you wish to drive into a surface.
  2. The next step is to decide on a speed.
  3. If you are a beginner, we’d recommend you keep the speed settings low. Once you get comfortable you can increase the speed.
  4. Start out with a slower pace then gradually crank it up to properly fasten a screw in.
  5. Turn the drill to screw settings. The device features that option just above the drilling bit. By turning the settings to the screw mode, you ensure that the drill is ready to drive screws.
  6. After fixing the screw settings, set a pace of the turning or torque force. This speed determines how smoothly your drill would rotate the screws into the cleft in the surface.
  7. Use a fresh bit that fits the head pf the screw you wish to fasten.
  8. In case the bit doesn’t fit the screw, stop the drill immediately and don’t keep on exerting pressure. Because doing so you’ll strip the head of the screw and even chirp out a chunk of the surface material.
  9. One more thing to consider, is to keep the pressure consistent. If you keep. increasing or lowering the speed you can hurt yourself.

What is an Impact Driver?

The next item on our list is an impact driver. We are going to discuss the differences between an impact driver and a regular cordless drill. Let’s first get the definition of an impact driver out of the way.

An impact driver is a tool that produces strong rotational force and forward thrust to push in large screws and bolts into surfaces. It’s ideal for large screws and nuts. It uses a concussive force that is a combination of rotational force and blow force to drive screws into surfaces.

A cordless drill also uses power to drive screws, but it is not ideal for large screws.

For example, for a 6-inch nail you would want to use an impact drill and not a regular cordless drill. For low impact pushing needs a cordless drill would suffice but for high powered driving force you should use an impact drill.

Since impact drill has a lot of impact, it jolts while pushing a screw into any surface. Hence, it lacks precision.

So, for projects that require precision avoid using an impact driver. But if you are working on something that requires you to drive screws quickly without break then you can compromise a bit on precision and therefore, can use an impact drill even if you are pushing in small nails.

Drills are great for digging holes into walls or other surfaces. It even chips materials with precision, so we’d recommend you to use a drill to drill holes, aside from fastening medium sized nails.

The last part of this article is going to cover the use of cordless drills as impact drivers. 

Many a times, DIY enthusiasts might be afraid to use an impact driver as it requires a certain level of expertise. In such a scenario, people do use a cordless drill as an impact driver. But the key is to choose the right bit that is going to fit the screw in.

In a nutshell, a screwdriver is best for the tiniest of tasks that require you to push in screws or fix loose screws in place. For a bigger project, you can use a cordless drill. It digs holes into surfaces along with driving screws. If you compare the two, a screwdriver is more precise than a drill.

For massive repair or construction process, your best option is an impact drill. It delivers intense force that can drill holes and drive the largest of nails easily. But then again, it lacks precision in comparison to the other two options.

We hope that we have helped you a bit in understanding the difference between the three types of power tools. And now it must be easier for you to distinguish between the degree of their impact and usage.

If your budget allows you then we’d recommend you buy all three devices as they would help you in different projects according to your need. Furthermore, it’s a shrewd investment because renting these tools can be unnecessarily burdensome on your pocket.

Last updated on:

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *