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The Ubiquitous Drill


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When most people think of cordless power tools, the classic drill driver probably comes to mind first.  By and far, most brands offer more drills than any other single type of tool.  A lot of homeowners might not even fathom buying a lot of power tools, but will usually have a cordless drill of some sort tucked away, ready to hang a picture or do some other mundane household task.  A hammer function can increase the usefulness of the drill, though it's not an absolute need for the homeowner or DIY'er.  This thread isn't really about drills, though, as we already know they are the most versatile drive tool out there.  Instead, it's about more specialized alternatives that can save time or trouble on projects.


First is the impact driver, a tool that's familiar to most and in some cases has supplanted the drill.  While lacking a conventional chuck and the accuracy that comes with those, the impact driver allows quick but changes and can drive screws far faster than most drills.  Also, recent years have seen many manufacturers develop impact rated drill bits, allowing the impact to close ground on the drill just a bit more (no pun intended).


Next is the cordless screwdriver.  Similar in appearance to the impact driver but lacking an impact feature, these often have a drill-like clutch allowing the experienced user to adjust torque and drive depth.  Perfect for driving screws into softer surfaces, a screwdriver may or may not be a welcome addition to your tool box.  


Finally comes the screw gun.  Usually designed for either drywall or flooring/decking, these have adjustable nose cones designed to ensure perfectly driven screws, often have a collated screw attachment, and can be locked in the "on" position, with the drive bit only spinning with pressure exerted on the tool.  Though by far the most niche of the four tools introduced here, the screw gun is a game changer for those hanging drywall or building a porch.


Please share your opinions and comments.  Note that I omitted the rotary hammer and some other specialty drill/drive tools, but we can discuss those if there's interest.  Just a conversation starter...

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When I first started using power tools, I bought the Porter Cable brushed combo set in 20V. I gotta say, for the first couple years I never used the impact driver at all. It seemed unwieldy, and over drove the screws I was trying to attach. The drill on the other hand was perfect with the adjustable clutch.


Then one day a buddy of mind convinced me I was missing out, and showed me how to properly run an impact. Then it was my drill that became the odd man out. Eventually when I started to try my hand at woodworking and began watching videos from various tool channel and creators, I began to use both equally.


So now I find that the foundation of a good beginner power tool set is an Impact Driver, Hammer Drill, and Circular saw, plus all various hand tools. Everything else is a "nice to have" option, like my SDS Rotary drill.

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On 4/24/2022 at 10:15 PM, fyrfytr998 said:

So now I find that the foundation of a good beginner power tool set is an Impact Driver, Hammer Drill, and Circular saw, plus all various hand tools. Everything else is a "nice to have" option, like my SDS Rotary drill.


I agree with this, everything else is just "nice to have" for the average beginner.  There are some tools that become must haves for certain projects, though, such as the aforementioned rotary hammer for drilling a lot of concrete or the reciprocating saw for demolition work.


The screwdriver and especially the screw gun are a bit niche, but I use my 8v Max and 12v Max screwdrivers a lot.  I'm about to start hanging drywall at the flipper house, so my three 20v Max Screwguns are going to get a workout in the coming weeks.

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