Which Impact tool do you need? How will I decide?
Choosing the right impact tool depends on your specific needs and the tasks you plan to tackle. Here are some considerations to help you decide which impact tool is best for your requirements:
Impact Driver: Ideal for driving screws and fasteners. If your tasks involve a lot of woodworking, construction, or general DIY projects, an impact driver is versatile and provides excellent control for precise work.
Impact Wrench: Suited for heavy-duty applications involving nuts and bolts, such as automotive repairs or construction with larger fasteners. If you work with large machinery, or vehicles, or frequently encounter tight or rusted fasteners, an impact wrench is more appropriate.
Impact Driver: Offers lower torque compared to impact wrenches. Suitable for tasks where high torque is not a primary requirement.
Impact Wrench: Provides higher torque, making it effective for applications where significant rotational force is needed.
Size and Portability:
Impact Driver: Generally more compact and lightweight. Ideal for tasks in confined spaces or when portability is a priority.
Impact Wrench: Larger and heavier due to the increased power. Suited for tasks where the tool’s size and weight are less critical compared to its torque capabilities.
Cordless: Both impact drivers and impact wrenches are available in cordless versions, providing mobility and flexibility. Consider the battery platform and voltage when choosing a cordless tool.
Brand and Quality:
Consider reputable brands known for the quality and durability of their tools. Brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, and others have a strong presence in the market.
Some models come with extra features such as adjustable speed settings, LED lights, or brushless motors. Evaluate these features based on your preferences and the specific demands of your tasks.
Consider your budget constraints. Impact drivers are generally more affordable than impact wrenches, so if your tasks don’t require the higher torque of an impact wrench, an impact driver might be a more cost-effective choice.
Before making a decision, it’s crucial to assess your specific needs and compare the specifications and features of different impact tools. Reading reviews, consulting with professionals in your field, and testing the tools if possible can also help ensure that you choose the impact tool that best fits your requirements.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrenche – Get The Right Tool For Your Job
Before the popularity of impact drivers, DIY’ers only had two options when it came to power-wrench driving: the torque wrench and the regular electric drill. The drill was the most common tool for general-purpose driving, while the powerful wrench (also known as a socket) was typically used for automotive repair/restoration purposes (removing lug nuts and frame/chassis bolts).
General overview Impact driver vs impact wrench
The main difference between Impact wrenches and impact drivers is that wrenches are usually heavier, bulkier, more powerful, and have more torque than drivers. Also, impact wrenches use a ½” drive and are made for loosening/fastening sockets, whereas most impact drivers use a ⅜” hex drive and can be used for driving screws.
However, ⅜” impact drivers can be easily converted to a ½’’ square drive with a simple adapter bit like this one, so you can use them with socket drivers.
What is an impact wrench?
An impact wrench is a type of hand-powered tool that uses a hammering motion to tighten or loosen fasteners in wood, metal, plastic, rubber, etc. This is achieved by striking a hardened steelhead.
What is an impact driver?
An impact driver is a tool that you use to drive nails. It has a long handle and it’s designed to be used with a hammer. The idea behind the tool is to get the most out of your nail gun by driving it straight into the material.
What is the difference between an impact wrench and an impact driver?
The main difference between an impact wrench & an impact driver is that the former is used to loosen or remove fasteners from workpieces such as nuts, bolts,
How much more torque do impact wrenches have than impact drivers?
Lots of things. For reference, this 18V Milwaukee M18 Fuel corded impact driver (one of our top picks for the best cordless impact drivers) has about 2,000 in. pounds of torque. It’s a behemoth of a cousin – the M18 ½“ impact wrench – delivers over 6x this much power – about 13,000 in.-pounds. pounds.
Unless you’re doing something really big, like renovating a semi-trailer in your driveway, this much power is useless for most household chores.
For situations where standard drills just aren’t powerful enough, impact drivers are excellent tools. However, they’re not meant for general purpose use (drilling screws, driving nails, etc.).
They are used almost entirely as high-torque socket wrenches for removing large, extremely tight nuts (like what you’d see on an automobile). You know that high-pitched, sonic-sounding drill that you hear whenever you go for an oil change or tune-up at the mechanic or auto shop. They’re impact wrenches.
Impact wrenches and impact drivers operate in a similar way, in that they use a concussive rotational blow to the driver to maximize the torque.
If you were using a standard socket wrench, you’d be able to loosen the bolt by turning it counterclockwise. You can’t loosen the nut by yourself, so you take a smaller sledgehammer and hit the wrench repeatedly until it loosens up.
This is what impact tools and drivers do – deliver powerful rotational blows to maximize their torque. For a full article on impact drivers and their functions/uses, check out this article. Also, here’s a video showing the main differences between impact wrenches (which are used for tightening bolts) and impact drivers (used for driving screws).
When to use an impact wrench vs an impact driver
Most average homeowners and DIY’rs probably won’t have much use for an impact wrench. For around-the-house projects and light automotive work (such as removing oil pan bolts, lugnuts, etc.), you can easily get by without one.
It would be nice to have one for zipping up and down lugs on car wheels.
But if you’re not willing to make a significant financial investment, you’re probably best off using a 4-way lugs wrench like you’ve been doing for the past 15 years.
Impact drivers, on the one hand, are very practical and easy to use for DIY purposes. On the other hand, they are more compact and deliver more power than a standard cordless hammer drill. However, they are infinitely more user-friendly and intuitive than a full-size hammer drill.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Drive Styles
There are two main types of impact tools: the ones designed for people who want to be aggressive drivers and the ones designed for people looking for a more relaxed driving Impact drivers to use a one-quarter-inch hex collet to accept one-quarter-inch shank bits. A typical impact wrench uses a square drive that you connect to a socket. Utility workers often use 7/16-inch (2.5 cm) hex impact wrenches.
There’s a pretty good range of sizes and performance options for impact drivers, but they’re all made from one style of head and they all feature that ¼-inch hex collet (or similar). Aside from a standard gun grip form factor, you may also find right-angle impact wrenches to reach into tight spaces and even a fun little palm model Impact wrench. The smallest impact wrench has a 1/4-in. square drive while 3/4-in. drives are more common on compact models.
Next up in performance, 1⁄2-inch impact wrench are probably the most common sizes and nearly every tradesman who uses this kind of tool already has one.
For extreme power, 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drives are where we look. These are mainly industrial level and heavy equipment tools with high power levels that most pros don’t need.
When you’re shopping around for an impact wrench, be sure to look for terms like compact, mid-torqued, and high-torqued. These classifications give a good idea of the power level of the deck, but there’s no set power rating for each one. Most weekend warriors and even construction pros can get by with just a compact and a mid torque.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Power Sources
If you really want an impact wrench, you can get a corded version, but the vast majority (if not all) of construction sites these days use cordless tools. 12V and 18/20V Max are by far the most common, but they also come in other voltages. But the classic impact sound from a mechanic’s workshop or the race track is usually powered by air. While most tradesmen use cordless tools while mechanics rely heavily on pneumatics. Automotive batteries are becoming more common in auto repair shops.
Keep in mind that while air-powered impact wrenches tend to cost less than cordless ones, they require a compressor and hose.## Inputs If you don’t already have a cost calculator, add that into your cost calculation.
A difference between using an impact driver and an impact wrench.
You can make a quick call on which impact tool to use based on the driving style. Generally speaking, an impact driver is a screwdriver specialist. When you’re working with fasteners that require a driver bit such as slotted, Phillips, square, or Torx, an impact driver is the right tool for the job. It’s also capable of drilling with bits that have a compatible shank.
When using a hex head screwdriver, turn to an impact wrench for driving hex head fasteners such a nuts and bolts or timber fasteners. Instead of inserting a needle into the head, you use a socket to grab around the head.
Some exceptions to the rule exist. You can use a socket adapter and a nut driver bit with an impact driver to drive hex head fasteners. You can also find adaptors that allow your impact wrench’s bit holder to accept 1/4 inch bits.
Just because you can buy an adapter doesn’t mean that it’s right for every type of application. Too much power can cause fastener heads and bits to be sheared off and broken. If there isn’t enough power, the tool could burn out, or it might just not be able to do its job properly.
Impact Driver Vs Impact Wrench Torque
- If you want to do heavy-duty work, you should buy an impact wrench.
- If you’re looking to buy a compact impact wrench, avoid buying one that runs on 18 volts. Impact wrenches are tools designed to tighten bolts and nuts on machinery.
- A torque wrench measures torque in foot-pounds (ft·lbf) while a torque screwdriver measures torque in pound-feet (lbf). Always use the correct size nut buster.
- If you don’t have any idea how much torque you need, ask somebody who does.
- The same goes for sockets. The number listed on a box isn’t always what you’ll actually need.
- You should also consider the type of fasteners you’re tightening when you’re buying an impact tool.
- For example, a screwdriver has a larger diameter than its handle. It means you’ll need a larger impact wrench to tighten it correctly.
- Before you go out and buy a new impact wrench, check the specifications on the box. They’ll tell you what size you need.
Speed Differences Between Driver and Wrench
Speed is not an issue. Impact drivers usually have higher speeds than non-impact drivers, reaching up to 3600 RPM or more. A good cordless drill is usually between 1000 and 2000 RPM.
If you’re in an auto parts store using air impact wrenches, the trends change. An excellent mid-torque airimpact wrench can reach speeds of up to 8,000 RPM.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Size
As we mentioned before, there are some impact drivers and impact drills built on the same foundation with different motors. Impact drivers are usually smaller and lighter than cordless tools from the same manufacturer. However, they’re not always better. Pneumatic impact drills can be lighter than electric ones.
A bigger hammer has a greater force at its tip than a smaller one. The drive size can give you some clues as to which type of impact wrench you need. Compact models use 1/4-inch drive sizes, while mid and high torque impact wrenches use 1/2-inch drive sizes. 3/4- and 1-inch models are even larger.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Final Thoughts
We would own every type of impact wrench and impact driver so the right tool for each job was always available.## Inputs If you’re just starting out and your primary focus is on construction or carpentry projects then start with an 18V/20v Max Impact Driver.
If replacing the transmission (or tranny) is on your radar, start out by purchasing an 18V/20V Max Mid-Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench.
If you have room in your pocket, buy them both from the same brand. So that you can use the same batteries in both tools and save some money by buying additional bare tools as you add them to your collection.
On the clock, Ken dives deep into the practical limits and comparative advantages for all kinds of tools Off the clock, he puts his faith and love for family first, and you’ll usually find him in the kitchen cooking up something delicious, on his bike riding, or taking folks out for some fun on Tampa Bay.
Impact Wrench Tools
1. Ingersoll-Rand C ½”
The Ingersoll Rand 231c 1/2″ drive air impact wrench is lightweight and has a maximum torque rating of 600 ft-lbs.
It’s a great quality tool with a standard ½” square drive – it delivers up to 5,000 in. of torque. lbs of torque, which is a very affordable price tag. However, it’s not a hydraulic wrench, so you’ll probably need a hydraulic pump to operate it. The Ingersoll Rand 261 is the bigger brother of the Ingersoll Rand 231C. It has over 13,000 inches of cutting capacity. pounds of torque.
This heavy duty impact wrench is also a little bit heavier than the other two options. This makes it ideal for applications where you might need to apply a lot of torque.
You can get this impact wrench for under $100. The Bosch 2200 series is another good option if you want to go cheap. It comes with a standard ¼” square drive and has a max torque rating of 500 ft.
2. DeWalt DCFHM Cordless ½” Kit
It’s a pretty good deal – the package includes two 4.0 amp batteries, and the tool itself delivers about 1,700 in. lbs of torque – Not bad, but most decent-quality impact drivers nowadays will deliver around the same amount of power
3. PorterCable PCE ½” Corded
We’d consider adding an impact wrench if we were thinking about adding one. We’d probably go for something like the PCE 210 from Porter Cable. It’s corded, so it’s not as easy to use as a cordless option.
However, with its affordable price tag, it will allow you to add a useful new tool to the arsenal at an affordable cost. Provides nearly 3,000 square feet of space. pounds of torque, so it’s a good deal more powerful than even the best impact drivers available.
4. Milwaukee M Cordless ¼” Impact Driver
It’s probably the best cordless impact tool on the market. If you wanted to take a general consensus, it would be the best cordless impact drill on the market. Milwaukee’s M18 battery packs are known for their speed and longevity – they’re the fastest and longest lasting in the industry.
The M18 is also one of the most powerful on the market. It has a maximum torque of 2200 ft/lbs and a maximum RPM of 28000.
The M18 can handle just about any job that comes your way. Its compact design allows you to carry it easily. It’s light weight, making it easier to maneuver through tight spaces.
It’s also fairly inexpensive. You can pick one up for less than $150.
If you’re looking to buy an impact driver, then the M18 from Milwaukee is definitely worth checking out The driver itself delivers 2,200 inches. lbs of torque – a staggering number for such a sleek and comfortable tool.
5. Makita XDT ¼” Cordless Impact Driver
The Makita XDT111 is a cordless impact driver that is slightly less powerful than the Milwaukee 2656 but has a much better price tag. Provides nearly 1,500 square feet. lbs of torque – enough for general home and lightweight automotive use.
6. DeWalt DCFC V MAX ¼” Impact Driver
DEWALT 20v Max Impact Driver Kit, DCF885C1, 1/4-inch, Compact Battery, 1.5 Amp, 20V MAX, 2 Year Warranty, $99.99, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.cn, Amazon With the compact battery pack, though, you won’t get a lot of heavy-duty use out of the tool in one charge.
For powerful tools like an impact driver, you’re usually better off buying the larger 4.0 amp batteries than the smaller 2.0 amps. Delivers up to 1,400 square feet. pounds of maximum torque.
The tool is designed for use with a cordless drill and comes in two sizes:
Impact Driver Size (in) – 3″ x 6″ x 12″, or 5″ x 10″ x 20″. The smaller size is great for small jobs around the house, while the bigger size is ideal for heavier projects.
Is impact wrench better than impact driver?
The superiority of an impact wrench or impact driver depends on the intended application. Impact drivers are generally more versatile and suitable for tasks like driving screws and fasteners into various materials. They are compact, lightweight, and provide excellent control, making them ideal for carpentry, woodworking, and other construction applications. On the other hand, impact wrenches are designed for heavy-duty tasks, such as automotive work and construction involving large bolts or nuts. They deliver higher torque and are better suited for loosening or tightening stubborn fasteners.
Can I use an impact wrench as an impact driver?
While an impact wrench can generate more torque, it may not be the best choice for precision tasks like driving small screws. Impact drivers are designed for tasks that require controlled power and speed. While some impact wrenches have adjustable settings, it’s advisable to use an impact driver for applications where finesse and precision are crucial.
Do I really need an impact wrench?
The need for an impact wrench depends on the nature of your work. If you frequently deal with tasks involving large bolts or nuts, such as automotive repairs or construction projects with heavy-duty fasteners, an impact wrench can be indispensable. For general-purpose tasks like driving screws or smaller fasteners, an impact driver is likely more versatile and suitable for a broader range of applications.
What is the difference between a manual impact driver and an impact wrench?
A manual impact driver is a hand-operated tool that converts downward force into rotational force. It is primarily used for loosening or tightening screws, bolts, or nuts and is suitable for tasks where precision and control are essential. In contrast, an impact wrench is a power tool that uses compressed air, electricity, or battery power to deliver high torque, making it suitable for heavy-duty applications like automotive repair or construction tasks involving large fasteners. The key difference lies in the power source and the scale of tasks each tool is designed for, with the manual impact driver being more manual and precise, and the impact wrench being a powerful tool for larger and more demanding jobs.
Summary Bottom Line
Bottom line is, impact wrenches are much more powerful than an impact drivers. Most typical DIY’ers won’t find much use for the insane amounts of torque that these wrenches produce.
I’m not sure if you’re referring to a “standard” or “impact”. I have both and they are very different tools. The standard one has a long handle with a trigger on it, while the impact driver has a pistol grip.
Impact drivers are much better for the average user than regular ratcheting sockets, and with a standard adapter bit, they can easily be adapted into an impact wrench and used with socket drivers.
The best thing about impact drivers is that you don’t need to have a special socket driver in order to use them. You just need a standard socket driver and a good quality impact driver.