Corded impact driver?

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Established Member
30 Jan 2023
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I have a reasonable corded power drill. It has a hammer action but it doesn't act as a screwdriver in any way.

I have no need for cordless technology: I hate having to manage batteries, battery lifetime, battery rating and charge all the time. Plug in (to socket) and go is what I want. The thing about being corded is that you have a guarantee of constant and very high power.

I'm finding the situation with regard to corded impact drivers very confusing.

Here we see a quite respectable cordless impact driver. It is said to have a torque of 170 Nm.

Here we see something calling itself a corded impact driver. Under "drive action" it says "Chisel, hammer, drill & screwdriver action". Under "maximum torque (hard)" it says "1.4 Nm" (!).

I'm looking for a piece of quality corded kit (240V) which
1) has variable, settable torque going up to 200 Nm or so, and thus a clutch.
2) ideally where you can screw in (or out) with a very low rpm and commensurately high torque (i.e. variable gearing).
3) ideally with a traditional, boring chuck which just works.

It'd be nice if it functioned as a drill, although as I say I already have one.

Does such a beast exist?
I think you might be after something that doesn't exist. Since Li-ion batteries came on the scene cordless tools have really taken over, they are so convenient, Li-ion solves many of the old battery problems and are really user friendly.

About the only corded impact driver I have seen is this one by Makita, I always think they are for use in a production environment.
Thanks. I think you may be right. I had spent a couple of hours today searching without finding that, so thanks.

One fly in the ointment though: the max torque there is said to be 90 Nm. Whereas a Makita cordless impact driver, on sale in the same site, has a max torque of 165 Nm.

On the face of it, odd: when you have greater power available, why manufacture something with half the torque?
On the face of it, odd: when you have greater power available, why manufacture something with half the torque?
This is little more than speculation but possibly the power factor would be too low. To greatly simplify, AC electric motors work best at constant speed and torque, outside of that there is more current flowing through the cable than the power rating indicates - they're taking power from the mains at some points and actively giving it back at others. All (single phase) AC motors do this but the imbalance is greater when the speed and load change. This is why machine tools may need 16A circuits and slow breakers when the headline power rating is within that of a 13A socket - the latter can't cope with the draw of spinning the tool up to speed when you turn it on.

An impact driver is the ultimate non-constant load, you only need to hear the banging in operation to appreciate that. The same concerns don't apply on DC from a battery, or indeed from an airline which was the traditional power source.
I have no need for cordless technology: I hate having to manage batteries, battery lifetime, battery rating and charge all the time. Plug in (to socket) and go is what I want. The thing about being corded is that you have a guarantee of constant and very high power.

I can relate to that but for a drill and impact driver it is worth going cordless, they are smaller and more compact. For anything that needs more power like a masonary drill then I turn to my 110 volt Hilti which will drive 14mm SDS drills into concrete all day long and not miss a beat and things like circular saws where to get power they use tow batteries. The sander is an odd case, even if you go cordless you are still attached via the extraction hose so why bother.
Corded impact drivers were traditionally 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4" and probably 1" square drives for sockets with 3/4" ones around 500Nm. The 1/4" hex drive came about when they added them to the cordless world to supplement drill/drivers, thus more or less skipping the corded world. Home Depot has at least 18 offerings in corded impact drivers up to 3/4" but only one, the Makita, has a hex socket. There are a lot more brands that they don't sell that are on the market too. What you want is made of unobtainium because the market doesn't want them. I use my air driven one when needed. My shop work doesn't need that kind of tool as the holes are all predrilled for the screws if I am using them at all. I don't have any corded tools except for a Stihl string trimmer.

Thanks for these insights.

One funny aspect of this is that there are a lot of corded drills out there... and the marketing of some (a lot) of them says that they are "drill drivers".

I assume this means that they have a clutch. But you rarely if ever seem to get crucial details: about the range of torque, whether the rpm can basically be dropped to 0, whether dropping the rpm comes with an increase in torque, etc.

Interesting point about the DC / AC aspect... so at least there might be some logic to this. Looks like I'm being impact-driven towards cordless.
Impact drill is not the same as an impact driver. Impact drill will transmit the force axially, like hitting the drill bit with a hammer. Impact driver will transmit the force radially, to turn the bit. They are not designed to be used interchangeably. It really depends what you are trying to do. Mechanism below is an impact driver. As the bit stops turning, a spring is loaded, once that load reaches a certain point, the spring releases and twists the hammer around to strike the anvil and add a bit of extra ooomph to the bit. It works in either direction.
A hammer action drill is only designed to work in one direction. Running it the other way will damage the teeth on the mechanism.
(On an SDS hammer, the hammer action and the rotation are generally seperate, so you can have one without the other, but most manufacturers recommend not using a chuck adapter in hammer mode.)
I think you are overthrowing the battery problem. Modern lithium batteries are very good. High capacity and low self-discharge. This means they last for a while (and fast to recharge) and the batteries are generally ready to use when needed. Probably my most used tools (diy). I have a twin set from dewalt. Cordless screwdriver/impact drill which has variable torque settings, necessary for assembling furniture etc and a small impact driver. The impact driver is used the most. The reason corded is difficult to find is that cordless are just so good and convenient.
I have an old corded drill driver that’s great for workshop use and I’m expecting will last for years. It took me a while to find and I had to get second hand as they had stopped making them. Makita do still do them, and that’s pretty much the only choice of new.
Cordless are great but I agree batteries have a lifespan. The corded hammer drill I bought 25 years ago is still working as it did when I bought it, the cordless I bought then is useless now.
I feel your battery concerns were valid with NiCad 30 years ago, but the technology really has come on, since Li-Ion became mainstream perhaps 15 years ago?

Batteries last for ages now, unless you are drill all day every day, it's simply not a worry. I know many people who have bought even a basic two-pack from Screwfix (impact driver and drill) and their old corded drills will never be used again.

I have a cordless SDS (Makita) now, and I doubt I'll ever use my corded SDS again, even though it's a technically a bit more powerful. The convenience of cordless is astounding.
Impact drivers are not compatible with a settable, variable torque slipping clutch. Thus using any torque numbers from an impact driver in your quest for a clutched driver is a mistake.

The Makita one linked to above has no torque setting and no chuck.

I think you need to seach for 'corded drill driver'.

Look at Makita DF0300 (Zoro) or HP0300 (Amazon). Note 10mm max. chuck.

The machine will not be as good as its 18v equivalent.
Batteries last for ages now,
Yes batteries have really improved since the days of NiCad and with much greater capacities but it is not an infinate power source unlike a corded tool that is plugged in. At some point you will have a decent tool that no longer works unless you buy new batteries and over the years I did accumulate a collection of drills where it was cheaper to buy a new drill on some offer with new batteries than just buy new batteries. Saying this I would not use a corded drill or driver because they are not expensive and offer so many advantages over a corded version, the makita DTD152 impact driver is really good, no cluch or torque settings but makes light work of 4 and 6 inch screws plus it is nice a short so can get into awkward places. Another tool on my radar that I keep thinking of is a right angle version to make access in some locations much easier, something like this
The issue here is that maybe a right angle drill would be better because then you can drill a pilot hole and drive the screw.

First thoughts were this
or this
I would just like to add that I have a rather large collection of cordless Drills and their batteries from NiCad to Lithium from the earliest days of this technology. We should not ignore where all of this toxic materials comes from and its disposal. I also have corded drills and a corded screwdriver that I have had for more than forty years and they still work, so old the corded driver has bits and shrouds for sloted head screws (remember those?).
Replacement Batteries like ink jet printer cartidges are overpriced, which is why it is often cheaper to buy the tool plus batteries rather than just the batteries, crazy world! Where cordless really score is outside on safety grounds.
Like the look of this Dewalt: up to 205 Nm.

On the subject of batteries, that Dewalt comes with one 4 Ah battery (and charger). It'd be nice to buy a compatible 5 Ah, so I have 2. "Aftermarket" batteries seem to be a bit of a nightmare judging by Amazon reviews, with some people saying you can't return these batteries by post if they turn out to be rubbish.

One official Dewalt 5 Ah battery seems to be £60-70. Gulp. They better last.
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