Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver
They look alike but work very differently. Knowing the differences between an impact wrench and an impact driver will save you time, money and enable you to get your building or repair job done much quicker and easier. Read on to discover the differences and best usages for each tool.
What is an Impact Wrench?
An impact wrench packs a lot of power and goes by several different names.
This tool is also called an air wrench, air gun, torque gun and impactor and is primarily used in an industrial setting, such as large building projects which involve steel beams and girders or inside auto repair shops.
The largest and most powerful impact wrenches can deliver up to 7,500 pounds of torque per inch and is a needed tool for industrial building or repair work. There are smaller, less powerful types of impact wrenches which deliver between as little as 450 pounds of torque per inch (still a lot of power!) and are useful tools for many typical building or repair jobs.
What does an Impact Wrench Do?
An impact wrench is typically used to remove lug nuts, nuts, bolts and shocks. This powerful tool makes work of removing large steel pieces of all types. It also does an excellent job of installing large size bolts and nuts in steel beams and girders. A large building or demolition job which involves large scale nuts and bolts requires the usage of an impact wrench to ensure success in installing or removing vital parts that joining two or more pieces of steel together.
What is an Impact Driver?
An impact driver is designed to do one thing exceptionally well: drive screws. This power tool can drive in screws faster and better than any other tool, including a drill. While an impact driver can handle all regular size screws used in home building and remodeling, plus drive fat lag screws into thick, dense wood without a hitch, this tool is not designed for use in most industrial type settings.
The impact wrench does come in varying degrees of power and various socket attachments that range in size from 1/4, 1/2 and 3/8 inch and are easily changed with a square driver. The power of this tool is delivered via rotation to install or remove large bolts. The power varies and the smaller versions are useful around the house.
The impact driver drives in screws via rotation and concussive blows. This tool comes in various sizes and some models have attachments that allow the impact driver to do most of the same work as a standard drill. Even though an impact driver is designed primarily for home usage, there are certain home building and remodeling jobs this tool is not well suited for. Due to the concussive blows an impact driver uses to get the task done, the tool is not well suited for use with any type of soft building materials or soft woods.
Size and Price
An impact wrench is the largest and bulkiest of the two tools, that’s due to its purpose – removing or installing large nuts and bolts. The size of an impact wrench makes it difficult to use for standard jobs around the house.
An impact driver is about the same size of a drill and is much more easily handled and maneuvered around in tight spaces.
How Easy Are They To Use?
An impact wrench is not a tool anyone can pick up and begin to use properly right from the start. The successful use an impact wrench requires training and experience.
If you can use a drill, you already have the know-how to successfully operate an impact driver and no further training would be needed.
Both tools are similar in size and shape and both tools are designed to be comfortable for hours of usage on the job site. Both power tools transfer their torque into the screws and bolts instead of into the hand and forearm of the operator.
What are the Top-Rated Brands?
Ask 10 different people what is the best brand of an impact wrench or driver and you will get 10 different answers. There’s a lot of competition which is great for the consumer. Some of the top-rated beands include Dewalt, Milwalkee, Black N Decker, Makita, Ingersoll-Rand, and Bostich.
An Ingersoll-Rand 231C impact wrench will tackle most any job with its adjustable power regulator. The Bostitch BTMT72391 allows you to switch between low, medium and full power with ease and handles most any job too. The Tradespro 837212 impact wrench is affordable and comes with its own carrying case, battery and charger.
Dewalt makes several models of impact drivers and wrenches, both corded and cordless.
Hitachi offers an affordable driver for under $100 that runs at various speeds and comes with its own hard carry case. Kobalt also makes an affordable and practical impact driver that costs in the $150 range.