Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver – Understanding When To Use Which One

Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver

When it comes to DIY projects, whether it is a project inside the home or a quick upgrade to an automotive vehicle, one thing is for certain – you need a large number of tools if you want to get the job done the right way. People are increasingly looking toward tools that they can utilize in order to help them with certain activities without having to exert too much manual effort – and two particular tools that come to mind when we look at tools used today by people who enjoy DIY projects would be the Impact Wrench and, of course, the newer Impact Driver. Both of these tools offer a convenient way to perform specific actions in DIY projects. While the two tools do offer some similarities, it is important to understand the differences that are present between these tools and to ensure you choose the right option for the specific project that you are working on.

In this post, we will aim to help you better distinguish between an Impact Wrench and an Impact Driver. We‘ll provide an overview of both tools, look at the pros and cons that the tool has to offer, and consider what the tool is most appropriate for. After we have looked at both of these tools separately, we will compare the two to each other and help you realize which tool you should ultimately buy in order to get a specific task or activity done in the DIY project that you are working on.

What Is An Impact Wrench?

Let us start by looking at what an impact wrench is. These tools are quite old and were introduced to the market way before impact drivers were released. They are generally much heavier than a simple impact driver but do tend to offer better torque, power, and significantly better overall performance.

An impact wrench is sometimes also called a “windy gun," a "torque gun," or an "impact gun." These tools are essential to power tools that utilize basic socket wrench features. The idea behind an impact wrench is to deliver exceptional torque output power while minimizing the effort exerted by the individual who is using the tool. With an impact wrench, power is stored within the motor, which rotates at a relatively high speed. The power stored in this particular motor is collected through a rotating operation, and then ultimately released in a sudden motion. The power is sent toward an output shaft, which then delivers a specific function.

What Are Different Types Of Impact Wrenches?

There is a number of options available when it comes to buying an impact wrench to help you get the job done in terms of a DIY project you are doing at home. The main, or default,  option that you will find on the market usually impacts wrenches that are powered by compressed air. These tend to offer exception power and can be used for quite a large variety of projects. There are, however, other options that you may also want to opt for if you are looking for an alternative to the compressed air impact wrenches. Hydraulic power impact wrenches are also an option that you may be presented with when you are looking to buy one of these power tools.

Electrical impact wrenches are quite popular in the modern world, and they sometimes tend to offer the most impressive power compared to the other options. In addition to the standard corded electrical impact wrenches, many brands are starting to develop cordless options as well. These cordless impact wrenches tend to contain strong batteries in order to ensure they can still deliver adequate power in their operations, without any cords getting in your way while you are busy with a project.

What Do You Use An Impact Wrench For?

Impact wrenches are used by people in various industries as they offer versatility in terms of their performance and features. Electricians use these tools while they are doing maintenance and repairing heavy equipment, and mechanics are utilizing impact wrenches to assist in the repair of automotive vehicles. Construction projects also often call for the use of an impact wrench. When products are assembled – whether at a factory or at your own home – an impact wrench can also be extremely useful for ensuring all parts of the particular product being assembled can be secured together.

It should be noted that an impact wrench is not the same as a pulse tool, which is another useful tool that people sometimes opt for when they need to assemble a specific product.

Pros & Cons Of Impact Wrench

We’ve looked at what impact wrenches are, what types of these tools are available on the market, and we considered who impact wrenches are ideal for. Now, let’s take a look at what the pros and cons are of these tools to help you make the decision as to whether you should use an impact wrench or rather opt for an impact driver, or another particular tool that may deliver better performance regarding the project you are working on.

The major pros of impact wrenches would include:

  • These are high-power devices that can deliver exceptional impact, which makes them more effective than many other tools on the market.
  • The torque delivered by an impact wrench is usually much more than what is delivered by an impact driver.
  • Impact wrenches come in a variety of forms. You can choose between tools that gain their power from hydraulic technology or compressed air.
  • Impact wrenches can be customized by simply adding an attachment to the front of the tool. This instantly adds additional features to the product and makes it more useful for DIY projects that require better versatility in the tools that are used in the process.

Let’s also consider a couple of drawbacks in terms of using an impact wrench:

  • These tools are generally much heavier than alternative options like the popular impact driver.
  • Some of the impact wrenches that are currently available on the market tend to be very expensive, which could be a disadvantage when you are trying to complete a project on a small budget.

What Is An Impact Driver?

Now that we have looked at what impact wrenches are, let’s move our focus toward impact drivers. An impact driver is a relatively new type of tool on the market and works with either a battery or a cord in order to provide you with useful functions that will assist with drilling and driving screws. An impact driver is usually relatively portable and not too big, which means they are easy to hold in your hand while you are performing a certain task. Essentially, an impact driver refers to tools that can produce a sudden and strong force in a downward direction, along with a rotation at the same time.

What Are Different Types Of Impact Driver?

While the majority of impact drivers on the market today tend to be equipped with electronic features that make them much easier and convenient to use, there are still a range of manual options that people can opt for if they do not prefer the automatic impact drivers that are currently available on the market.

The automatic and manual types of impact drivers available usually have different operational features. The automatic option is most often considered easier to use since a motor is installed that is able to help deliver the force and rotation that is needed in order to tighten and loosen nuts and screws on a surface.

Manual impact drivers, however, are used in a different way. No simple button is clicked on these options in order to make them rotate and apply force. Instead, everything needs to be done the manual way with these particular devices, which might make it a little harder to loosen screws that are stuck, such as in cases where a screw was over-torqued during the initial tightening process.

A manual impact driver will contain an outer sleeve that is made from heavy materials. The sleeve is splined to the core of the driver. The inner core has a curved design, which is used to allow for rotation to be gained when force is applied simultaneously. A hammer is used to hit the outer sleeve of the manual impact driver, which then applies force to the inner compartment. The curved design of the inner part will then also start to rotate, ensuring you can effectively drive a screw – whether you need to tighten the screw or loosen it.

When it comes to electric impact drivers, there are different options that you can choose from. The majority of these tools tend to come as cordless impact drivers. The tool is usually charged with either a cable or by placing it on a dock. Once charged, the tool can be removed from the power source and can then be used without the need for a wire attached to the tool. This makes an impact driver a portable product that can be used for those projects that demand a flexible and mobile tool in order to reach tighter spots.

What Do You Use An Impact Driver For?

There are various projects where an impact driver can become an essential tool that will help you get the job done – not only more effectively, but also faster. This is important for people who have busy schedules and only a limited amount of time to spend on DIY projects at home.

A manual impact driver is often somewhat limited in terms of what you can do with the tool, but automatic and electric options are more versatile in most cases, offering a larger variety of features, such as attachable heads that instantly convert the impact driver between an electric drill and an electric screwdriver.

Even though the tool may seem like a standard electric screwdriver, it is important to note that an impact driver usually contains a powerful motor that can deliver extra torque. With this in mind, it means you can add more torque to a screw that needs to be tightened more than a standard screwdriver might be able to.

Pros & Cons Of Impact Driver

When it comes to determining of an impact driver is the right tool for a specific project, it is vital to consider both the pros and cons of these tools in order to decide if you should opt for an impact driver, or rather consider a different type of tool to help you out with your DIY project at home.

Let’s consider some of the benefits that you will gain from choosing an impact driver first before we take a look at the potential drawbacks that you might discover while using such a tool.

  • Impact drivers are usually very compact, which means the tools are relatively lightweight and won’t be difficult to use.
  • Most of the impact drivers that are available on the market today feature cordless operations. This means that there is no need to keep a wire attached to the tool while it is in use.
  • The cordless impact drivers that are available on the market usually charge in a relatively short period of time, and the batteries tend to last long, which means you won’t be facing failing products that will cause you to stop your project mid-way through in order to recharge the battery.
  • The excess torque offered by impact drivers that feature electrical components give you the opportunity to loosen screws that have become frozen — standard screwdrivers and even some of the alternative options that are available on the market.
  • Many of the impact drivers on the market tend to be relatively affordable, yet still provide adequate performance in terms of both power and torque. This means you would not be required to spend a significant amount of money in order to buy such a tool, but still able to gain access to a product that will help you get your projects done without any compromise.

Now that we have taken a look at the positive factors associated with the use of an impact driver let us focus on the negative factors as well to ensure you can gain a thorough and unbiased understanding of how these tools will help you in the projects that you are trying to complete.

  • When opting for a manual impact driver, your options are quite limited, and the manual labor required might not always provide you with the same torque and power that you would gain from an electric option or an alternative tool, even though the manual impact driver is the more affordable option available.
  • There are many tools out there with better levels of power on the market. While an electric impact driver can deliver more impressive power compared to manual tools, you may not be able to loosen all of the frozen screws that you come across while you are trying out a few DIY projects during your off-time at home.
  • Even though the batteries of impact drivers do tend to last a relatively long time, running out of battery power in the middle of a project is still possible, and this can be quite inconvenient when you are in dire need of the impact driver in order to continue with your project.

When you weigh the pros and cons listed here, you will gain a better understanding in terms of whether an impact driver would be an ideal option for your project, or if you should rather opt for a different type of tool that can provide you with more power and possibly a larger variety of features.

Bottom Line

Impact wrenches and impact drivers are both popular tools that are usually in the arsenal of people who enjoy working on DIY projects from the comfort of their own home. While there are some similarities shared between the two tools, the differences are what is important when it comes to realizing which one of these two tools would be the more appropriate option to use to perform a specific task in a project that you wish to complete successfully.

Both of these tools are important when it comes to activities related to power wrenching or power driving. The impact wrench is much older than the impact driver, as the impact driver was only recently introduced to the market as an effective alternative to the impact wrench. Even though the impact driver was introduced in such a way, it is important to understand that there are still many jobs that call for an impact wrench instead, as the torque and overall power that can be delivered with the use of an impact wrench is usually much more compared to what an impact drill has to offer.

Considering all factors, it is generally recommended to turn toward an impact driver when you need to loosen or fasten screws – a technique also usually referred to as driving screws. The round drive installed in an impact driver is perfect for such tasks. When it comes to loosening and fastening sockets during a DIY project, however, the more appropriate option to opt for would rather be an impact wrench. An impact wrench can sometimes also be converted to assist with driving screws when more power and torque is needed by the project that you might be working on.

Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *