I am a total newbie on DIY woodcraft. I am trying to drill a screw in the wood using impact driver but the screw head breaks up. Do i need to put a hole on the wood first? What I do is directly use my impact driver to drill the screw with the screw.


  • If you are having trouble snapping heads off a pilot hole would help. With hard wood even with a pilot if you drive two far the heads will still come off.
    – Ed Beal
    May 27, 2016 at 19:24
  • wow thank you very much do I need a drill equipment to do that or can I use hammer drill with 630w to do that? I have never used my hammer drill on a wood before so I am wondering if I could just change the drill bit
    – JeVic
    May 27, 2016 at 19:36
  • Couple questions: does your hammer drill have a non-hammer mode? If so, just change the bit to a wood (or wood/metal) one. And are you breaking heads or simply rounding out the internals? If it's the latter, you might need to get better screwdriver bits. (Screwdriver bits wear out, and will then kill screw heads.) May 28, 2016 at 0:17

4 Answers 4


For speed and precision, I do two things.

I pre-drill the hole. That is especially important on hardwood. I often use special drill bits made for screws which include the countersink.

I drive with a speed wrench and a bit holder. This gives speed, control and superb tactile feedback that tells you immediately when you are having some kind of a drive problem. Once you get the knack, it becomes basically impossible to break a screw.

Also, I don't use drywall screws for anything but drywall. If you want a screw like that, use deck screws and consider star or square drive.


Sounds like you're using a sledgehammer to put in a thumbtack. A less powerful tool might be the answer.

A pilot hole will allow the screw to be driven more easily, and may solve your problem.

If the driver has a variable torque setting, try setting it lower. That way the clutch will slip before the screw breaks.

If you're using phillips head screws and they're stripping, try using Torx or Robertson drive instead.

You don't want to use a hammer drill when drilling wood, or driving screws. Hammer drills are only for drilling masonry, and should only be used with bits designed for them.


Two things to try:

  1. Pre-drill. By drilling a pilot hole in the wood, you're removing some wood to make space for the screw. Without a pilot hole, the screw is essentially wedging itself into the wood. This puts a lot more pressure on the screw as well as the wood. In weak woods, this can cause a split; with weak screws, the screw can break. Drill using a wood bit of a diameter slightly smaller than the screw. You mentioned using a hammer drill in your comment - it would be preferable to turn off the hammer function when drilling in wood (most hammer drills have a switch to control that function) because the hammer action will reduce your ability to control the drill and make a smooth hole. If your drill doesn't have such a switch, it may still do in a pinch, but try it on some scrap so you have an idea of how it handles.

  2. Use a stronger screw. Not all screws are created equal in terms of their strength and suitability for various applications. In particular, common drywall screws, while nice and cheap, are not good for use with hardwoods. A wood screw will likely be stronger and less prone to shear during installation, as well as during later use.

If those don't work, let us know what you're trying to build and what types of wood you're using.

  • does a Bosch GBM 350 good enough for wood works drills?
    – JeVic
    May 27, 2016 at 20:49
  • to be exact is the impact drill is what i need?
    – JeVic
    May 27, 2016 at 20:57

I own a rain gutter installation company, we've been having call backs to homes where we've installed new rain gutter. We use # 10 1.5 inch square drives to hang the gutter. The call backs are due to the screw heads breaking off which results in a loose or falling gutter. After speaking to screw manufacturer, he feels the impact driver is causing stress fractures and it's not an issue with his product. As of today we will not allow our installers to use impact drivers and will be switching back to screw guns with clutces

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