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I have been trying to find this answers, before I can buy the tool.

I have had some bad experience with corded tools, and would like to go for a cordless/brushless drill/driver. Not interested in any fan-based branding, but the tool which can last me longer.

I have seen examples online where people have used Impact driver to drill 2.5" holes into brick walls, and then drive 5mm screws. I understand that Impact driver is more about "Driving" and Drills are about "Drilling" - but it also appears that now these days you can get Masonry Bits that fits into 1-1/4" chucks for typical impact divers.

I do need to drill holes at home (both inside the house and outside the house) on brick walls. Besides, I will probably be mending my neighbouring fence due to some typical wearNtear. I don't want to feel like I lost again to a power tool. I really like Impact Drivers, but I still cannot understand whether impact driver will be sufficient for my case.

Could someone please clarify whether this can do the job for me?

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    You will fine it much less work to put holes in mortar instead of brick ; so plan ahead. For some holes in mortar , I would not even bother to get an impact drill. Jan 16 at 21:32
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    Here's some reading on different types of drills and drivers. For making srew holes in brick you usually want a hammer drill. For driving screws into those holes if they are very tight an impact driver is helpful.
    – jay613
    Jan 17 at 16:32
  • From the comments to my answer it turned out that in some regions, those old compact solid bricks are still used. I assumed the bricks nowadays to be always hollow with multiple cavities for better insulation. So the dos and don'ts when drilling do depend on the type of brick - solid or hollow?
    – xeeka
    Jan 19 at 8:54
  • Impact drivers and Hammer drills are different. Impact drivers adds a rotational impact which works great for screws and bolts, hammer drills adds a forward impact which works good for chipping away concrete with masonry bits.
    – rtaft
    Jan 21 at 14:37

3 Answers 3

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As noted in one of the comments, an impact driver will be great for driving screws, and might also be sufficient for drilling holes in your brick. To be honest, thought I've got a few twist drill bits on 1/4" hex shanks, I don't think I've ever used one. I've got drills and that's what they're for - drilling holes. There is something to be said for having the right tool for the job.*

If you find that your impact driver is not doing the job for drilling, go online, find your local tool rental store and rent a hammer drill for a day (or even half a day) to get all your holes drilled. In my neck of the woods, I doubt it would cost more than $30 for a full day rental, and would probably be even less than that. (Prices vary, YMMV, etc.)

If you're efficient with your work and have all your holes pre-marked, you could probably get away with a half day rental, and it would almost cost more in gas to drive to the rental place and back than it would to rent the tool (oh yeah, and the appropriately sized bit).

* I realize that not everyone has a garage to store tons of tools, nor the budget or desire to own one of everything, so this isn't a criticism, just some shared wisdom.

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    I'd rent an SDS rather than a regular hammer drill. Mark all your holes first & you could have it back at the rental in less time than it took to mark them ;) Owning your own SDS is either a professional necessity or an absolute luxury, depending on what you do for a living. At something like £600 for a good one, renting is the way to go for the average DIYer ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 18 at 12:44
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It sounds like you want a drill/driver instead of an impact driver.

Most Many cordless drill/drivers have a "hammer drill setting" that can be engaged and works quite well for poking a few holes in concrete, stone, or brick, then disengaged for driving screws or drilling in other materials like wood, etc. Mine has three settings: A "slower/higher torque" selection for driving screws, a "faster/lower torque" selection for drilling holes, and a "hammer drill" setting for drilling holes in masonry and stone. It's not really like a "real" hammer drill, and you'd want a real one if you were doing this all day long or making really big, deep holes, but it works well for situations like this where you just need a couple of holes once in a while.

Image showing drill,driver,hammer settings on Milwaukee. From GarageSpot. Link to article below.

An impact driver is a different kind of tool that works really well for threaded fasteners but not so good for drilling holes. They're really handy to have around for such things, but are not a full replacement for a good drill/driver. The "impact" here is applied along the rotational axis and greatly helps with tightening/loosening threaded fasteners. It doesn't do a whole lot with helping to drill holes in masonry. A hammer drill has the "hammering" going on longitudinally to the bit and helps it penetrate rather than helping it "twist."

Article: When to Use What: Cordless Drill/Driver vs. Impact Driver

You'll get adequate driving capability from the drill/driver and superior drilling capability. The hammer drill functionality will be useful here and there doing typical household jobs. An impact driver is really handy to have because it's better at loosening very tight screws and bolts.

Having both is very useful when used in tandem: Use drill for pilot holes and the driver to drive screws without having to re-chuck bits. Very often cordless drill/drivers and impact drivers are sold together at a discount along with batteries and chargers.

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  • Perfect answer except for one word: most. Based on my experience (lots of browsing the aisles of Home Depot and looking online, occasional buying), it is "many cordless drill/drivers have a "hammer drill setting", not most. Which I suspect is a combination of manufacturer cost-savings at the low-end together with limited consumer need (some people never have a need to drill into masonry) and limited consumer knowledge (I have used cordless drill/drivers for many years but only discovered hammer drills - and bought a cordless drill/driver/hammer drill - relatively recently. Jan 21 at 15:38
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact - You're right. I googled around just now and was kind of surprised by how many didn't have the feature.
    – gnicko
    Jan 21 at 18:17
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Impact or hammer drill modes should not be used when drilling into bricks, since the hole will be irregular and wider than anticipated, especially if the brick has holes for better thermal insulation.

Less important is the drill tool, more important is to use a drilling bit made for bricks, which is always kept sharp enough. Sometimes a bit must be resharpened every 3 holes.

A good practice is to get a helper who sprays water into the hole/onto the bit in order to cool it - f.e. using a flower sprayer.

Otherwise the hardened drill bit edge can overheat very quickly thus loosing its strength.

Edit 20220121:

Downvoting led to the understanding that different types of bricks are used in different loations. The 2 different types are

  1. Full solid compact bricks without cavities.
  2. Hollow bricks with air cavities for better insulation.

Since the question does not specify the brick type and to get a useful general answer for both types, here is a clarification:

For type 1, impact drills may be used. This is reflected by all other answers/ comments so far.

But for drilling into type 2, impact drilling must not be used, since the thin walls inside those bricks could be destroyed. For type 2, a hardened sharp steel bit is recommended by brick manufacturers. Sucking out the dust during drilling like in case of type 1 is not important, because the dust can easily fall into the hollow chambers. But cleaning the hole after drilling is important, f.e. with a pipe brush, to remove the remaining dust from the dowel contact zones.

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  • Drilling irregular or wider holes than anticipated sounds like user error or inexperience to me, not an inherent trait of hammer drills. Of equal (frankly more) importance to watering the bit is using suction to remove dust and debris that gets trapped in the hole from drilling, or you'll find your screws/bolts only fit 1-3/4" of the way into the 2" hole you drilled.
    – TylerH
    Jan 17 at 15:12
  • Triangular pits & larger-than-anticipated holes rather than precise drilled holes is exactly what you get when trying to use a cheap domestic hammer drill instead of a proper SDS. Masonry bit do not rely on "sharp" at all, they're blunt instruments with a great force behind them. Any half decent drill bit will do hundreds of holes into regular brick or block; fewer if you're drilling engineering brick, but few consumers will ever have to do that, as they're rare in regular housing. Into regular brick an SDS will need the depth feeler attached, otherwise in two seconds you've gone right through
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 18 at 8:31
  • @Tetsujin But why do (at least European) manufacturers of bricks exactly recommend what I wrote? Don' t they have enough knowledge and experience with the methods of drilling into bricks? F.e., have a look into this site of a manufacturer of bricks (since 1862): www-juwoe-de.translate.goog/de/verarbeitung/… Is there any difference in bricks manufactured outside Europe? If no and you downvoted, please reconsider your decision.
    – xeeka
    Jan 19 at 7:48
  • That's not brick as we know it, that's very fragile multi-layer cement/ceramic block. Its strength is vertical only & it's no wonder you have to treat it with kid gloves.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 19 at 8:02
  • @TetsujinOk, in Europe those historical old-style solid bricks without air cavities are no more used/allowed since 50+ years, since the insulation effect of hollow bricks is much better.
    – xeeka
    Jan 19 at 8:42

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