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Impact drivers and impact wrenches are quite popular tools among DIYers and professionals for drilling, driving, fastening, loosening, and removing bolts, nuts, and many more. Both these tools look and act pretty similarly. But in terms of power and capabilities, there are a few differences between these two tools. As a prospective buyer, you should know about these differences. Otherwise, you could end up buying the wrong tool for the job.
Before these tools were introduced in the market, most people typically used a torque wrench or standard drills. However, as time passed, people desired more comfort and accuracy which lead engineers to develop these modern and robust tools. Let’s first discuss the basics of these tools. Later, we’ll also discuss their differences and determine which machine will be best for you.
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench
An impact driver is the same as a regular drill but has more power inside. This power is measured in torque, and the higher the number is, the more power the driver has. A torque is the amount of force required to move something. The best impact driver can produce up to 1500-1800 lbs per inch (125-150 lbs per foot). In terms of design, impact drivers are sleek and compact. Moreover, these are lightweight too. So, using this for a more extended period is more effortless than bulky and heavier wrenches.
Impact drivers are widely used for tightening or loosening screws and drilling holes in hard materials. This driver can generate more force than a standard drill machine, and that’s why people like to use impact drivers most. Impact drivers are superior to drill machines because it’s more efficient and productive. For example, if you are driving a long screw in hardwood with a cordless drill, a few issues like shaking and imbalance may arise due to the size of the screw. Also, cordless drills take time to penetrate hardwood because of low torque. However, as the impact driver generates more torque, it will do the job quickly.
An impact wrench is an automated socket wrench with impeccable power to have in your arsenal of tools. It’s a strong tool to work with hex-head fasteners such as large bolts, lug nuts, and even timber screws. These are mainly industrial-level tools with high power levels. Impact wrenches are mainly used for heavy-duty work. These are typically used in automotive and construction work, but they are loved by all who need high torque output. Impact wrenches can produce roughly 2200 – 13000 in-lbs(180-1000 ft-lbs) of torque.
FYI, these wrenches are popularly used in Grand Prix or Formula 1 races to change the car wheels during pit stops. There are four types of impact wrenches: electric impact wrench, pneumatic impact wrench, hydraulic impact, and cordless impact wrench. The difference between these wrenches is the source of power. For example – a pneumatic wrench is powered by compressed air pressure, electric current powers an electric wrench, hydraulic impact wrenches use a fluid mechanism to work, and cordless impact wrenches need rechargeable batteries.
Because of high torque with less rotation, impact wrenches were made for more challenging applications. For example, impact wrenches are used to open or fasten large-diameter bolts while constructing bridges or building structures. Again, the impact wrench is a widely used tool for automotive jobs such as removing lug nuts in tires, vehicle chassis nuts, transmission, engine tweaking, etc.
Differences Between Impact Driver & Impact Wrench
The primary difference is that impact drivers are used for screwing in, which is mainly used for household work. On the other hand, impact wrenches are used to loosen or tighten lug nuts and bolts, and these are mostly used in automotive and constructive work. Now that you have an overall idea of these tools, their applications, and key difference, let’s move forward with their other differences.
Impact drivers are more likely to be found in three-power source configurations. They are – corded, cordless, or hydraulic. An impact driver produces an instant but powerful force of 1500-1800 lbs per inch. It doesn’t give a downward push on the screw. However, manual drivers can make a downward push if you hit the driver’s back with a hammer.
As previously stated, impact wrenches are available with four distinct power sources – cordless, corded, air-powered, or hydraulic versions, where pneumatic or air-powered ones are utilized for more heavy-duty and professional tasks. The impact wrench provides an impressive torque of roughly 2500 lbs to 7500 lbs per inch. However, unlike impact drivers, it can generate a tremendous downward force to loosen rusted or stuck bolts easily.
Because of the capabilities of an impact wrench, it is used to successfully remove bolts, shocks, and lug nuts. It is also used extensively in industries where steel beams and girders are fastened together. Vehicles that require heavy-duty work will benefit immensely from these tools as well. Its power is so immense that it can effortlessly install and remove fasteners.
The characteristics of an impact driver make it ideal for carpentry jobs and other minor applications. For cabinetmakers and RVers, it’s their go-to driver because it applies force smoothly, rapidly, and flawlessly. It can drive screws effortlessly into any material without fear of the heads being stripped off.
In terms of comfort, both of these tools are well-designed. You’ll hardly feel the torque provided by these tools. To achieve the best results, we feel that an impact wrench operator should have several years of experience using this item. However, training is not mandatory when operating these tools.
Unlike impact drivers, impact wrenches are specialized tools. Therefore, the vast majority of DIYers and household workers will not be needing it much. So, if you need a tool for a home project, we recommend getting an impact driver rather than an impact wrench.
You should only use an impact wrench if you have a specialized project that requires a powerful tool. If you are in charge of maintaining machinery or working in an auto repair business, you may purchase it.