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Drywall Screw Gun Vs Impact Driver: 12 Differences [Detailed]

Drywall Screw Gun Vs Impact Driver

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Struggling between the power of a drywall screw gun and the precision of an impact driver? Both tools can lend their unique advantages to any project, but knowing which option is best for you involves understanding some key differences.

Drilling screws into drywall and other materials is easy with these tools. The main difference between a drywall screw gun and an impact driver is how they drive screws into the material. Drywall screw guns operate at high speeds and low torque, while impact drivers are designed to deliver powerful torque at high levels.

To help you make the best choice for your project, we’ll take a look at what makes these two tools different and how they compare in terms of mechanisms of operations, RPM and torque, controlling, unique accessories, applications (versatility), after work finishing, size and weight.

With the help of this post, readers can gain knowledge to discover which tool is best suited for their various projects. Gain clarity and confidence in tackling any project with ease.

Drywall Screw Guns Vs Impact Drivers: Differences

Drywall gun for a screw head

A drywall screw gun and an impact driver are two standard tools used in construction. While the two have similar functions, there are some critical differences between them that make one better for specific tasks than the other.

Understanding these key differences can help you select the best tool for your job, regardless of which tool you choose.

Mechanisms of Operation

Drywall screw guns are powered by electric motors oscillating to drive a spiral-shaped bit into material. The bit spins around in a circular motion at high speeds to quickly drive the screw into place. This allows the user to apply steady pressure to the Screw Gun while controlling its speed with a trigger on the handle.

And drywall screw guns usually come with adjustable depth settings so users can set how far they want their screws driven into the material.

Impact drivers also employ electric motors but use a hammering action instead of an oscillating one. Pulling the trigger sends rapid pulses of energy through the bit, which drives it deeper into the material with each strike.

Impact drivers tend to be much more potent than drywall screw guns due to this method of operation and can quickly drive larger and thicker screws into harder materials such as metal or hardwood without requiring much effort from the user.

And impact drivers don’t require adjustable depth settings since their hammering action ensures that each strike will drive the screw further down until it is completely seated.

RPM and Torque

Another key difference between drywall screw guns and impact drivers lies in their rotations per minute (RPM) and torque ratings resulting from their different operational mechanisms.

As mentioned, drywall screw guns use an oscillating motion powered by electric motors, allowing them to achieve higher RPMs than impact drivers but with lower torque ratings overall due to their lack of hammering action capability.

Drywall screw guns use speed and moderate torque ratings ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 RPMs and 70 to 100 in/lbs, respectively, whereas impact drivers with lower RPMs (999 to 4000+) deliver higher rates of power when more is needed at 800+in/lb depending on its size.


Cordless screw guns

Both come with adjustable triggers, enabling users to dial up or down their speed according to the drywall job.

With adjustable clutch settings, both tools offer great control over the amount of pressure applied to a bit. This allows users to avoid stripping threads and having to redo tasks. It’s ideal for amateurs who haven’t worked with power tools yet.

The learning curve is easy enough that even inexperienced carpenters can quickly master the art of building simple items like bookshelves or drawers. But impact drivers provide more power and torque than their counterparts, meaning you must have a strong grip to keep them steady when working.

Special Accessories

Regarding special accessories, the difference between drywall screw guns and impact drivers is relatively minimal. Both tools generally come with the same accessories, such as different sizes and types of drill bits and driver’s heads.

The only real difference is that a drywall screw gun is designed for more delicate applications, such as hanging drywall or installing trim, while an impact driver is designed for tougher jobs, like driving large bolts and nuts into wood or metal.

One accessory that differs between these two tools is the types of hammer drills available. Drywall screw guns typically come with a lighter hammer drill head designed for light-duty applications such as drilling into soft materials like drywall or wood.

On the other hand, impact drivers usually come with heavier hammer drill heads designed for stronger materials like metal and masonry.

Both tools also generally come with interchangeable heads, so you can choose between Phillips head or flathead screwdrivers, depending on your job. And some models will have special attachments like socket sets or nut drivers to help you complete tough tasks quicker than ever before.

Applications (Versatility)

One of the most notable differences between a drywall screw gun and an impact driver lies in their versatility in application.

A drywall screw gun is great for delicate jobs like hanging drywall or installing trim since it has a lower torque output than an impact driver, which makes it easier to control, so you don’t accidentally strip screws or injure yourself if things get too tight.

On the other hand, impact drivers provide much more power and are often used in construction projects because they can handle tougher materials like metals and masonry without damaging them in any way.

They can also easily drive long bolts through dense materials without any issues, making them ideal for larger-scale projects like deck building or fence installation.

After Work Finishing

Cordless screw guns

A drywall screw gun is perfect for DIYers looking to work on sensitive items such as furniture. Its low torque output prevents heat from building up during use, thus avoiding any damage that could occur due to overheating. And its clean finish means you won’t have extra post-work effort with sanding down or polishing afterward.

Since an impact driver produces a lot more torque than a drywall screw gun, it produces more heat, which can sometimes cause damage to sensitive stuff. Their high torque output means that when you’ve driven the last bolt, there won’t be any burrs left behind because the tool will just shear them off.

Size and Weight

When it comes to selecting the right power tool for your project, size and weight are two crucial characteristics. Drywall screw guns offer great portability as they tend to be smaller and lighter than their impact driver counterparts. This makes them ideal for lengthy jobs where every ounce counts.

Nevertheless, these tools aren’t lacking in power though. Both drywall screw guns and impact drivers boast enough strength that no job is too big or small.

Here are some examples of drywall screw guns and impact drivers:

Cordless Electric Screwdriver

This versatile cordless electric screwdriver is designed to tackle all kinds of everyday tasks. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, allowing for increased run time and improved performance.

Its variable speed settings make it perfect for working with different materials, from wood to metal. The ergonomic handle provides comfortable handling, and it’s LED light helps illuminate your work area for added visibility. And the magnetic bit holder allows easy accessibility when changing out bits.

Brushless Cordless Drywall Screwdriver

Cordless screw guns

This drywall screwdriver is perfect for professionals looking for high-torque drilling performance in tight spaces or on the go.

It features a brushless motor for up to 50% longer runtime and 25% more torque than traditional brushed motors, plus an LED light that illuminates dark work areas such as wall cavities and ceilings where other lights may not reach.

Its two-speed gearbox offers extra control when driving screws into drywall or other materials, while its 19+1 clutch settings help prevent overdriving screws in delicate applications.

Drywall Screw Gun with Variable Speed

This drywall screw gun lets you precisely adjust power while avoiding overdriving screws and damaging materials such as drywall or wood trim molding. Its high torque motor sets itself apart from traditional drills.

With 2500 to 4000 RPMs providing ample power to drive through thicker and tougher materials like cement board or hardwood flooring without stalling out or leaving large holes behind after installation.

Drywall Screw Gun & Impact Driver Kit

This mighty 20V brushless motor cordless impact driver can be paired with its included drywall screw gun to drive screws into materials up to 12mm thick without the risk of stripping from applying excess torque.

The user-defined preset torque shut-off system controls you while drill bits and 10-bit sizes stored tactically within the tool’s handle provide ultimate convenience. All packed tidily away, freeing precious space in your tool bag or workbench drawer.

Brushless Cordless Impact Driver

Impact driver with cordless screwdriver

This impact driver is ideal for projects requiring advanced power and precision control thanks to its powerful 20V Max Li-Ion battery, which allows extended run time with minimal recharging needed throughout the day’s workload.

With a lightweight yet durable design and superior ergonomics, this tool packs plenty of punch thanks to its triple hammer mechanism producing up to 3300 RPMs plus 2400in/lbs of maximum torque, giving users maximum power at just under 4 lbs weight.

With three-speed setting modes, including low/medium/high, plus two instant reaction modes that can switch between clockwise/counterclockwise applications makes this ideal for any carpentry-related job around the home or garage.

Can You Use an Impact Driver as a Screw Gun?

Yes, you can. An impact driver is a powerful tool that drives screws into the material faster and with greater torque than a traditional screwdriver. It uses a hammering action to drive the screw into the material, making it ideal for driving screws into hardwoods, steel, and other materials where traditional screwdrivers may struggle.

The higher torque also allows for more control when driving multiple screws in close proximity without stripping or damaging the workpiece.

Why May You Avoid an Impact Driver as a Drill on Drywall?

You cannot use an impact driver as a drill on drywall because it cannot penetrate the softer surface of the drywall. An impact driver is designed for driving screws rather than drilling holes through the material, so its hammering action is not sufficient for penetrating drywall.

Furthermore, an impact driver’s high-torque output can damage drywall due to the force applied when driving screws. An impact driver will create too much dust and debris when used on drywall which could result in poorer performance from the tool over time due to increased wear and tear.

Is an Impact Driver Better Than a Screw Gun?

Is an Impact Driver Better Than a Screw Gun

At the end of the day, both drywall screw guns and impact drivers are essential tools that can help you with home improvement projects. When choosing which one to use for your application, consider factors like speed, torque level, and the overall purpose of your project.

An impact driver is undoubtedly up to the task if you need driving power with greater torque capabilities. And if you require more speed while driving screws, then a drywall screw gun will suffice. Whichever tool you decide to use in your project, ensure that it can accomplish what needs to be done safely and efficiently. And consider any questions you may have about your specific project before purchasing either tool so that you get the most out of your investment.

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