A Reason To Try Impact Drivers - Popular Woodworking Magazine

A Reason To Try Impact Drivers

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In woodworking, there is major discussion, when talking about handheld tools, as to whether it’s necessary to have an impact driver. You bet these tools are great for homebuilding and many other users, but how often, while in the wood shop, do you need an impact driver? My answer, if you look at the projects I build, is not very often. Your answer might be different.

However from time to time a project does roll around where having an impact driver would be a boon, certainly shop cabinets and jig construction come to mind. And maybe if you had an impact driver in your tool arsenal, you would find more uses for it. But who wants to buy a tool that is, at least at the beginning, only used a few times?

Bosch has a solution. For those of us that are contemplating an impact driver, but have yet to be pushed over the fence, developed enough tool envy or built up an excessive amount of desire, Bosch introduced the 26618-01. It calls the tool an impact drill/driver. This tool is a true hybrid, one setting for impact mode and two settings for drill mode.

The 26618-01 is a 1/4″ hex-drive design, which allows for quick changes from driver tips to drill bits. It offers an ideal combination of torque, speed and control, all within a single tool. The two-speed motor (0-750 / 2,800 RPM) offers users the choice between high speed and high torque/low speed to match your drilling needs. Want to drive those longer screws or sink a couple lag screws into your bench then switch to impact mode and let the tool’s 1,500 inch-pounds of torque do all the work.

Being a compact 7″ length allows you to tackle tough tasks in tight spaces and when in those tight spaces, or simply when you’re in the dark, the 26618-01 has three LEDs. Not one LED that shines near the work area, but three lights that are sure to get the area illuminated.

The 18 in the tool’s number indicate it’s an 18-volt tool. The 26618-01 comes complete with two 18V Litheon Fatpack batteries (Bosch’s 2.6 Ah lithium-ion battery), and is compatible with the company’s Slimpack batteries as well. A 30-minute charger is part of the deal, too. As is a carrying case, bit tip and belt clip. The 26618-01 has a selling price at $399. Bosch also has a 14.4V impact drill/driver available. You can shave $20 or so off the price, but I would opt for the bigger voltage. Besides, bigger is better, right? 

– Glen D. Huey

PS – When I look at these tools with 1/4″ drive, I wonder if I would get the full potential out of these tools due to many of my drill bits being standard round bits. If you feel the same way, slip a 1/4″ drive chuck, such as this Bosch CHK14, into the socket. That should open things up to full use.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Dan Brantner

    I am in the construction trade and have had an impact for many years (actually on my second one). You could not pry that thing from my hand with a crowbar to make me go back to only using a drill/driver. Believe me once you have one, you will use it every opportunity you get instead of a drill. I’ve even used it to change a tire on a skidloader when no other tools were available.
    In the trades trying to find a contractor without an impact is like trying to find anyone without any cordless tool…very difficult.
    The debate about whether an impact tool is necessary in the shop is quite ridiculous, if you use screws at all. The introduction of this new hybrid does nothing to solve the debate. For the same cost you can buy a kit with both a drill and an impact. Why would you think twice?

  • Thomas Reno

    Gosh I have had mine so long and love it so much I figure everyone must have one by now. Use it for driving just about any fastener including 8" lags puting a post and beam deck together. It drives all fasteners like they were in butter!

  • Chris Friesen

    This sort of tool isn’t new…Makita has had a drill/driver/hammer-drill/impact cordless for quite a while now.

  • Allan A Campbell

    Here’s a thought which may be non-obvious:

    I use the impact driver to avoid gettin a screw too tight. I habitually strip pocket screws by forgetting to set the clutch on my drill-driver. The impact driver turns the screw more slowly so a few quick bursts as the screw pulls the joint tight avoids stripping.

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