The revolution in lithium ion batteries has found it’s way into the tools for the home handyman, and of the complete collection none are more impressive to the first time user than a modern impact driver. It is possible to purchase a drill and an impact driver set for under $150, with each item having its own 18 volt lithium ion battery.
While the battery powered drill is impressive enough, and generally these come equipped with slow and fast speeds, so are suitable for drilling both wood and metal, it is the impact driver that will impress the first time user the most. If the first time user is upgrading from a normal battery power drill and driver, then they will be accustomed to having to pre drill holes for all but the most shallow holes and for all but the finest screw diameters, because without the drilling step the battery powered drill will just simply grind to a halt.
The modern impact driver however with an 18 volt battery is able to drive in a very large 150 mm screw, commonly called a bugle head hex batten screw. The impact driver works by producing a solid impact for every single rotation of the driver, which means that the screw is effectively being hammered into the timber at the same time as the screw is rotating, so the sensation for the user is almost that the screw is being sucked into the timber.
The advantages from this type of tool how many. Firstly it takes possibly 2 to 3 seconds to drive in a 150 mm screw right up to the hilt, which is very very fast. Secondly the work can be very accurate, as while the impact driver is hammering the screw it is done in such a way that it does not move the work, plus the operator can hold ther work with their left hand while inserting the screw. Thirdly as the screw is biting into the work it pulls the two pieces of timber together very tightly, which makes for a very tidy finish. Fourthly, the screws can be used sparingly because they are simply so strong and the finished attachment is very rigid.
For the home handyman the impact driver effectively means the end of the hammer and 4 inch nail, as a 4 inch batten screw costs around $0.25, but it is vastly quicker and safer to use and more effective and stronger as an attachment. The finished job can be a very neat flat head screw that is set absolutely flush with a timber, so gone are the deep hammer marks from missing the nails, and gone are the occasional bruised thumb and finger from the inevitable misses.
The impact driver is particularly impressive with hard Timbers such as macrocarpa, and is a very effective and quick attachment when making macrocarpa raised garden bed or macrocarpa based garden furniture or seating for example. The other major advantage of the modern impact driver is that it is simply a lot of fun to use for the home handyman. It is truly a revolutionary tool.