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Cordless Impact Drivers: Useful tool or gimmick?

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  • Cordless Impact Drivers: Useful tool or gimmick?

    I tried a couple of them at a woodworking show. They were promoting them mainly for driving screws in conditions where a cordless drill wouldn't produce enough torque to get the job done. Another selling feature that the reps mentioned was that these drivers don't twist your wrist like the higher voltage drills can.

    The dewalt & bosch units that I tried did seem to have a fair bit of zip. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to make a side by side comparison with a cordless drill/driver.

    Anyone using the impact drivers? Opinions?





    [This message has been edited by Herb W (edited 11-04-2005).]

  • #2
    My old racing partner had the first one of those I ever saw.
    It was a Snap-On brand (about $800 USD then) and he used it to change his tires between rounds. It was a very impressive tool actually.
    It would end up changing more than just his tires throughout the day and always survived on the charge it had when he showed up.
    I would have bought one but it worked out to about $1300 Cnd at the time. Too rich for me!
    Then...someone stole it off his trailer when he was pulling his car up to the line.
    They are far cheaper now.
    My son bought one for $150 Cnd at Canadian Tire.
    He uses it a lot at the local PNP since they quit letting you use a torch or grinder at these places.
    He says it works really well for what he's using it for.
    Russ
    I have tools I don't even know I own...

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    • #3
      I have a S&*tload of cordless tools and the impact driver is *easily* the one that gets used the most and gets the most work done. I hardly ever touch my cordless drills anymore unless it is for actual drilling. Way more power, smaller, lighter, and the impact feature gets rid of the torque reaction. I can hold a piece of 2" oak in my left hand and drill a screw all the way through with the impact in my right hand. This is with my arms fully extended, and its easy.
      James Kilroy

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      • #4
        when i saw the title if reminded me of a device i had as a teenager - a cylinder where you load a screw driver bit in one end, place it on the offending srew and wack the other with a hammer. It was just the thing for taking off the stupid philipls screws yamaha use to put the crankcase covers.

        advantage was it applied a strong torque and axial force at the same time so the screwdriver blade didn't skip. i wonder if they still make them?
        .

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        • #5
          duplicate...sorry

          [This message has been edited by Mcgyver (edited 11-04-2005).]
          .

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          • #6
            About 6 months ago I purchased the 1/2" drive 18 volt snap on cordless impact. It is by far the best cordless tool I own. I use it every day and it has the ability to remove the lug nuts off of my 1 ton service van and rotate all 4 tires and reinstall all the lug nuts total of 32 lug nuts off and 32 lug nuts back on and still have plenty of charge left over. While it was a little pricy at 600 with 2 batteries I would not want to be without it. The 18 volt Dewalt 1/2" drive is supposedly 25 or 50 more ft lbs then the snap-on and a lot cheaper. The Snap-on is 300 ft lbs of torque.

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            • #7
              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mcgyver:
              when i saw the title if reminded me of a device i had as a teenager - a cylinder where you load a screw driver bit in one end, place it on the offending srew and wack the other with a hammer. It was just the thing for taking off the stupid philipls screws yamaha use to put the crankcase covers.

              advantage was it applied a strong torque and axial force at the same time so the screwdriver blade didn't skip. i wonder if they still make them?
              </font>
              Yes they do have them here Mcgyver, we call them an impact driver. I have a couple that I still use when required. The advantage is that the batteries never go flat
              The disadvantage is they`re difficult to use one handed
              The chinco ones are crap though, as usual.

              Ken



              [This message has been edited by speedy (edited 11-04-2005).]
              Ken.

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              • #8
                18 volt 1/2 "Dewalt here, I love it , worth every penny.

                ------------------
                The tame Wolf !

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                • #9
                  <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mcgyver:
                  when i saw the title if reminded me of a device i had as a teenager - a cylinder where you load a screw driver bit in one end, place it on the offending srew and wack the other with a hammer. It was just the thing for taking off the stupid philipls screws yamaha use to put the crankcase covers.

                  i wonder if they still make them?
                  </font>
                  yup. i know Snap-On still does. i used to use one for removing car door hinge bolts on old VWs. one good whack and the bolts would come right out.

                  andy b.

                  The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

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                  • #10
                    Yes, Sears sells a manual impact wrench (probably Chinese) at about half the price of Snap-On, and Ace Hardware sells one (definitely Chinese) at half the price of Sears.

                    I bought one 25 years ago, no idea what brand, but it's held up well. Good excuse to use a hammer.

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                    • #11
                      bought a loader, still on the tractor, from a guy. he used a dewalt to get all those big bolts off out in the field. I will buy one soon.

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                      • #12
                        When I picked up my Bridgeport, the seller used a Snap-On cordless impact wrench to drive 1/2" x 6-8" lag bolts into the wood timbers used as a stabilization frame for the trip. It did a fantastic job, IMHO. (Comparing the spead and ease of driving said lag bolts by hand and with the impact driver) The only reason that I didn't rush right out and buy one of my own is that I suspected that they were not at all cheap.
                        The curse of having precise measuring tools is being able to actually see how imperfect everything is.

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                        • #13
                          Well, looks like it's unanimous that they're a useful tool...thanks guys.

                          Bought a 14.4 volt Canadian Tire 'maximum'.
                          Anyone know who the manufacturer is?

                          I'm surprised at the amount of tourque that some of them can generate. btw, did some reading on the dewalt site and they're bringing out some 36 volt tools with lithium ion battery technology, including an impact, in '06. No prices listed...

                          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">when i saw the title if reminded me of a device i had as a teenager - a cylinder where you load a screw driver bit in one end, place it on the offending srew and wack the other with a hammer. It was just the thing for taking off the stupid philipls screws yamaha use to put the crankcase covers.</font>
                          Mcgyver:
                          I too had one of those as a teenager (still have it). In my case, it was for taking off the stupid philips screws on the honda's covers.

                          [This message has been edited by Herb W (edited 11-09-2005).]

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                          • #14
                            One of these things:
                            http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/LIS-29200.html
                            They're great. I've got one I use about once every five years, but for those occasions it's just the thing.
                            ----------
                            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                            • #15
                              Mcgyver I'm on my second one, both made from recycled toasters in japan! They work great... And yes, Why the hell dont the jap bike companies use allen head bolts? At least thoes you could get out when they seize in from the "diss simular metal" corosion.

                              Besides, its great to see the expression on everybodys face when you take out one of thoes tiny phllips head screws on your buddys prize bike with a BFH (big ficking hammer)!!!!

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