A Mechanical Judgement: Electric vs Air Impact Wrench

Who hasn’t faced a stubborn nut in his lifetime? A troublesome bolt that is almost reluctant to give in? Guess the answer is mostly we all have, at a certain point in life (be it human or mechanical)! Well… Jokes apart, the thought that often crosses our mind – what do experts use to straighten these obstinate objects? A wrench, especially an impact wrench is possibly the trickiest solution to tighten their screws!

Impact wrenches come in great handy when it’s about providing accurate torque whether in the domestic or, professional sphere. Among the rattle gun, windy spanner, and a hundred other models available in the market, the hydraulic and electric deliver the latest configurations. Modern machines like air wrench or electric wrench are pretty much simple to use and also, do not kick back like the previous models.

Now our choices to fix the tight nuts have got quite sorted, with only two standing out amid the crowd – electric and pneumatic impact wrenches. To discover which one wins the knock-out round in this air vs. electric impact wrench battle, stay tuned until the end and find out all the intricate details!

Everything You Need to Know about Air Impact Wrench

Pneumatic Impact WrenchPneumatic impact wrench, popularly known as the air-powered tool, bolt-on, or driver, is on an average WAY more impactful than a cordless one. The way an air brad nailer is capable of producing greater power compared to an electric one – the same theory is applicable here too!

The power source of the pneumatic impact wrench is an air compressor. Higher bursts of air turn on the functioning, eventually generating unbelievable twisting potential, which releases lug nuts, all in a jiffy! Engine, anvil, spring, and hammer make up a striking mechanism to multiply drive the wrench’s screwing force. With a blazing gun-like sound, you may have often seen this air impact wrench being used – to remove car wheels – to bolt or unbolt screws – in a professional mechanic shop.

Since it consists of a clamping feature, hence a good tightening is ensured through a powerful torque-wrench. The air impact wrench has significantly reduced the amount of effort and time required for a mechanic’s bolting-unbolting jobs! Even the most stubborn, rusted-out bolts can now be easily removed, without stripping off or harming any other small pins and delicate objects. The last-minute DIY hack it provides – you can interchange the sockets – so NO need to buy separate drivers for different diameters!

All You Need to Know about Electric Impact Wrench

Electric impact wrenches can be classified into two prototypes: Corded or, wired and Cordless or, wireless. Whether corded or cordless, all-electric impact wrenches are powered through electricity.

Corded Impact Wrench

Corded impact wrenchesCorded Impact Wrench require attachment to the electricity socket in order to be powered up. Though it’s a bit pricey compared to an air impact wrench, still it has improved portability as you don’t have to carry an air compressor along!

The Hammer unit is driven through an electric motor at the rear end of the corded wrench. This hammer unit later transfers its motion through speed and torque control to the ‘output shift’.

Cordless Impact Wrench

Cordless Impact WrenchCordless electric impact wrenches are the best available choice while traveling or, in terms of portability measures. You can work anywhere with this machine, even under the car without any hassle of managing tangled wires! And much to our awe, a cordless wrench usually tends to be more powerful than a corded electric wrench. In simple words, a cordless wrench extracts battery power to a greater extent and so, it needs more time in recharging as well!

With a drill machine-like sound, an electric impact wrench features minimal complication in its setting-up procedure, unlike a pneumatic wrench. Adding to the brownie points, it requires only simplistic maintenance after the periodical interval.

Comparative Analysis: Electric vs Pneumatic Impact Wrench

electric impact wrench vs air

The most notable difference between air and electric impact wrench is that the pneumatic wrench is powered through an air compressor and an electric wrench is powered through a battery source. Much easier to remember if you put it this way – both sources take after their names!

In order to answer more of your perplexing confusion, the ___ Research Team has pointed out a couple of dissimilarities between these two archetypes, presented right below!

Issue of Differentiation Air Impact Wrench Electric Impact Wrench
1. Source of Power Air Compressor Battery
2. Functioning Principle Impact force functions in a rotational direction. Spring force functions in the axial direction. Hammer functions in the rotational direction.
3. Portability Less portable due to additional weight of air compressor. Highly portable
4. Controlling Option Speed can be only minimally controlled due to airflow. Speed can be accurately controlled.
5. Power More powerful Less powerful
6. Sound System Noisier Less noisy
6. Heating System No overheating Often gets over-heated
7. Flexibility Greater flexibility Lesser flexibility
8. Applications Nail guns, assembly lines, air ratchets, auto repair, maintenance of heavy equipment, etc. DIY, constructions, home improvement, car tire generation.
9. Set-Up Procedure Quite complicated, due to attachment of compressor. Hassle-free.

Principal Features of the Impact Wrenches

As mentioned above, impact wrenches are the most popular among users for bolting-unbolting the naughtiest nuts and generally of dual kinds – the electric ones (corded, cordless) and the pneumatic ones. Now the question arises, how to identify a premium quality of wrench? Pretty simple! A standard of impact wrench will surely exhibit the following aspects:

Pneumatic Impact Wrench

  • Functions through the use of compressed air force
  • Applicable for loosening or unloosening LARGER sizes of nuts, screws, and bolts
  • The machine itself is light-weighted, but the additional compressor makes it heavy-weighed
  • The flow of air cools down the machine’s system
  • Worn-out parts are easily replaceable
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Longer-lasting

Electric Impact Wrench

  • Functions through the power of electricity (i.e. battery)
  • Applicable for loosening or unloosening mainly SMALLER (cordless), also Larger (corded) sizes of nuts, screws, bolts
  • Light-weighted machine body
  • Carry-able due to higher mobility
  • The non-existence of the internal cooling system
  • Often burns out due to over-heating
  • Requires periodical maintenance

Thought of Final Hour: Who Wins the Battle of Air vs Electric Impact Wrench?

Time to answer the ultimate query! Which one to take home? Well, both electric and pneumatic wrenches are significantly useful to deal with rusted nuts-bolts! But which of these two is the right choice for you completely depends on your purpose of usage, available workspace, and duration of usage.

If you are a professional mechanic or a shop owner, whose work involves heavy-duty screwing-unscrewing jobs, then an air impact wrench may be an optimal choice for you! Its power-packed compressed air force, constant cooling system, and long-terminal durability will prove to be just added to the stellar stock of your toolbox or garage shop.

And if you’re a home mechanic, occasionally needing to do some simple DIY fastening hacks, then better pick out an electric impact wrench! Its hassle-free settlement, simple maintenance will save hours in your busy schedule, as well as resolve the twisted bolt issues.

Large-scale professionals often use a mixed combination of both pneumatic and electric impact wrenches in their routine heavy construction and crucial minor work.