If you’re relatively new to the world of power tools, then you’ll no doubt find yourself overwhelmed by the seemingly immeasurable number of tools that there are on the market. Just take the drill as an example: to the laymen, a drill is a drill.
However, if you delve a little deeper you’ll be faced with hammer drills, drill-drivers, right-angle drills, pneumatic drills, impact wrenches, and impact drivers—the list goes on, so it’s no wonder why many people struggle in the beginning to find the perfect tool for the job.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we have teamed up with the guys from Data Powertools Ltd to look at the differences between the impact wrench and an impact driver and illustrate which scenarios they are best suited for.
That way, you can make an informed decision as to which one is best suited to your trade, or whether you’ll need to invest in the both.
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Impact wrenches are heavier and much bulkier than impact drivers, offering a significant amount more torque. They use a square drive which is typically half an inch and are used for fastening and loosening sockets.
To give you an idea as to how much torque an impact wrench offers: an impact driver on the more powerful side of the spectrum offers 2,200 in. lbs of torque. An impact wrench on the other hand will provide approximately six times that amount, with 13,000 in. lbs.
Thus, if you’re only looking to do a few DIY jobs around the house, an impact wrench is going to be wasted on you.
However, if you are in the automotive repair industry, or you like to customise and fix up vehicles at home as a hobby, then you’ll almost certainly want an impact wrench.
If you’ve ever walked past a auto shop, you’ll recognise the high-pitched, speedy drill sound as the mechanics are removing lug-nuts and replacing tyres. Other than this, you’ll be hard pressed to find a situation where a formidable impact driver won’t be able to handle the job.
So, before going ahead and investing in an impact wrench, be certain that you’ll need the power behind you. Impact wrenches can be costly, given their monstrous size and capability.
- Compressed air or electronic power source
- Half inch square shaft
- Impact blows in rotational direction only
- Less RPM
- Higher torque
- Loosen/drive in lug nuts & heavy bolts
- Used for auto repair, heavy equipment, large construction jobs & assembly lines
- Impact Drivers
Where an impact uses a half inch square drive, an impact driver will typically use a quarter of an inch hex drive.
However, you can easily convert an impact driver to a half inch square drive using a simple attachment.
As mentioned above, the most formidable impact drivers will typically offer somewhere in the region of 2,200 in. lbs of torque.
Now, compared to the whopping 13,000 in. lbs of the impact wrench, understandably that might not sound like huge amount.
However, to give you an idea, that is enough torque to handle all DIY jobs, and even some light automotive work with ease.
When compared with a standard power drill, you will find that an impact driver will offer a significant amount more speed and precision.
This is largely due to the “impact” aspect of the driver. Impact drivers and wrenches deliver concussive rotational blows, as opposed to the standard spinning motion of a regular drill.
Thus, carrying out typical DIY tasks with an impact driver is a pleasurable and efficient experience.
- Electronic power source or cordless (battery pack)
- Quarter of an inch hexagonal socket
- Impact force in axial & rotational direction
- More RPM
- Less torque
- Drive screws and drilling holes
- Construction, DIY, home improvement
You may have found this article to have been somewhat biased towards impact drivers, however it’s important to note that there are no favourites here.
Our comparison is not to suggest that impact drivers are “better”, it’s that they are simply different. An impact wrench is a necessity for anyone in the automotive industry.
However, outside of that, a general tradesman will almost always get away with using a half-decent impact driver.
Related: How to use a drill for screws