The Tool Every Homeowner Should Have According To Mina Starsiak Hawk

When you ask someone as sharp but down-to-earth as Mina Starsiak Hawk, the daughter in the mother-daughter duo on HGTV's "Good Bones," to pick a tool as a must-have for homeowners, you might expect it to be something versatile like a hammer or a 6-in-1 screwdriver. Or, perhaps something a little mundane but critical for precision, like a honing guide or torpedo level. Instead, Hawk's answer was the spot-on, practical advice of someone with a toolbelt and stuff to do. "An impact drill," she told the Home and Garden Remodeling Show

Also known as an impact driver, there are some key facts about impact drills you should know before you buy one. At a glance, you're likely to look at an impact drill and think it's a regular drill, so knowing what sets it apart is instructive. The most obvious difference is the way things attach. Regular drills have chucks, devices that rotate to clamp down on any bit below its maximum size. Most impact drills have collets that only accept bits with a ¼-inch hexagonal shaft. Since there are adapters that let you use ¼-inch hex bits with drills, you might wonder why you'd want a more limited impact drill. The answer lies below the surface in the impact drill's spring-loaded mechanism that creates a jolt of extra force, giving it a boost that regular drills lack. 

The power of impact drills

Because of the extra power, a decent impact drill can do most of the work of many other tools around the home, something Mina Starsiak Hawk can appreciate. It provides most of the functionality of a drill driver, hammer drill, and impact wrench, and it can replace any type of screwdriver you might use for a DIY project. An impact drill does a great job when you need to drive long screws into a deck, for example. It's also great for dealing with difficult materials, like when you're attaching metal siding to the steel frame of an outbuilding, hanging a hose reel on a brick wall, or driving an anchor into concrete. 

You can also use the power of an impact drill like an impact wrench for nuts-and-bolts tasks like changing a tire or removing a rusted-on bolt or nut. Just remember that you'll need impact-rated square-drive adapters to use an impact drill with sockets. And, however you plan to use your impact drill, you must use impact-rated bits or risk destroying them.

As with all cordless tools, brushless motors are more powerful and efficient than brushed motors. Prices for a brushed impact drill with one battery and a charger at Lowe's costs from about $80 for a Craftsman 20-volt Max to about $144 for a Bosch 18-volt. Brushless models range from $80 for a Skil 12-volt to $219 for a DeWalt XR 20-volt Max