Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench – Which One to Get?

impact driver vs impact wrench

A Mechanical Opportunity Cost: Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench – Which One to Get?

What is a mechanic’s nightmare? A troublesome tough-to-crack nut? Or an obstinate screw that will never seem to the drive-in? Guess it’s both, almost all of face these dark hours somewhere at a point of life. But what is the experts’ quick fix to solve these problematic issues? 

An impact driver is the trickiest solution to drive those obstinate screws in. Furthermore, an impact wrench is the heaviest fix to crack those naughtiest bolts and tighten them. Whether in professional or domestic spheres, these two machines make their cloud-soaring appeal… 

Moreover, with their current configurations and simplistic use, impact drive and wrench do not even kick back like previous generation torque-wrench or standard grill. But to find out which one excels as a more economical choice in this impact driver vs wrench mechanical encounter, keep tuned right here with us! 

Comparative Analysis: Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver

The most notable difference between the impact driver and impact wrench is in their power generation and application. To get rid of the perplexing questions over your mind, let’s have a quick sneak peek over the significant distinctions between these two – sorted out by the _____ Research team – presented right below!

Issue of DifferentiationImpact DriverImpact Wrench
I. Source of PowerElectricity (both cordless and corded)Electricity (both cordless and corded), Compressed Air (only corded),
II. ClassificationsOf only one typePneumatic, Electric, Hydraulic and Hybrid
III. Output of TorqueOn an average approximation, 1500 – 1800 inch-lb. of torqueOn an average approximation, 2200 – 4000 inch-lb. of torque
IV. Output of Combined ForceHigher rotations per minute (RPM), lower torqueLower rotations per minute (RPM), higher torque
V. Functional DirectionFunctions in both axial and rotational directionsFunctions in only one rotational direction
VI. Size of Tool Holder¼ inch hexagonal socket½ inch square shaft
VII. ConvenienceEasy to useHeavier in weight
VIII. FlexibilityAdjusts to different sizes and shapes of socket connectionFixed size and shape of socket requirement
IX. ApplicationsDIY, Home improvement, Workshops, Construction workAutomobile repairing, Assembly line, Heavy machine maintenance
X. Suitable forLight – Duty ProjectsHeavy – Duty Projects

Old-Generation’s Cordless Drill or, New-Generation’s Impact Driver?

Hearing the famous buzz of the impact driver, antique-lovers often pop up a question – why use newer-generation impact driver or why can’t we just go back to the old cordless drill method? Well, the answer is, you can, but probably you won’t want to after knowing the upsides of an impact driver! The impact driver supplies much more power than any random cordless drill. Though a cordless drill performs almost all the intricate jobs the same as an impact driver, still can’t beat it at efficiency and variations of power… 

Due to the smaller size, the impact driver requires lesser effort from a mechanic on the rush days operation. For instance, in the case of fastening screws – cordless drills use only one kind of power, which is rotational power. A leap ahead from that, impact drivers use a variety of mixed powers. It uses both percussive power and rotational power, according to the required circumstances.   

Everything You Need to Know about Impact Driver

Now adding to what we already know about impact drive from above, let’s dig a little bit deeper on what an impact driver does! It’s a mechanical power tool with internal impact procedure, to generate higher rotational torques. On the exterior side, it features a large outer sleeve and long screws. An impact driver operates in the axial direction. 

How Does an Impact Driver Function?

First, during the collision with a hammer, using this impact mechanism, a greater rotational force is created. Second, this abrupt rotational torque makes the driver spin and temporarily turns it into a drill machine. Third, the drilling mechanism is then used to loosen larger screws or otherwise, tighten them in a vice-versa process. 

Applications of Impact Driver

You may find it convenient using impact drivers in different home improvement projects, mechanic’s job, carpenter’s job, workshops, or, large construction projects and so on.

Its multi-dimensional applications include:

  • Loosening and tightening fasteners, screws or nuts (in the process as mentioned above)
  • Drilling holes into wood, hardwood, plastic, heavy metal, Aluminum and other hard materials. 
  • Hexagonal shank drill bits are used for co-assistance in this project.

All You Need to Know about Impact Gun

In the marketplace, an impact wrench is also popularly known as a pneumatic wrench, impact gun, air gun, rattle gun, air wrench, rattle wrench – well quite a few names! In many ways, an impact wrench is similar to an impact driver. For instance, like an impact driver, am impact wrench is a higher-torque using the machine too. Their functions are quite similar to an extent also. Again in several other ways, it differs from an impact driver. On instance, an impact wrench is more expensive, more powerful and smaller in size, but more substantial in weight. From its appearance, the impact wrench looks like a gun or small drill machine. 

What is the Difference between Impact Wrench & Drill Machine?

The distinction between an impact wrench and drill machine is created – in their functions. Though from the exterior side, both of these look quite similar, but they vary in action. A drill machine is known for supplying a high-speed rotational power on constant motion. The case is NOT the same with an impact wrench. An impact wrench instead produces a higher torque forcebut at a low-speed. Hammering action is applied in this process.

However, both the drill machine and impact wrench generates an explosion (not in a bomb explosion way!) of power and energy, at the output processor of several machines.

How Does an Impact Wrench Function?

First, the impact wrench’s working principle is to use its motor for the mass rotation process. Second, in this way, the targeted mass achieves energy. Third, after the weight has produced the required amount of energy, it is then joined to a part named as, the anvil. Fourth, this anvil is located at the output shaft where the higher-torque impact force is caused – as the outcome of the entire process.

Applications of Impact Wrench

Impact wrenches apply a lot of power which is often unnecessary for DIY projects at home. Or you may even consider it detrimental – as driving more force will ruin your working objects. Due to this compelling production, an impact wrench is typically used in construction projects, assembly lines or heavy machine maintenance.

Its heavy applications include:

  • Fastening or loosening hard-to-crack nuts, screws and stubborn bolts
  • Changing car, truck or other vehicle wheels
  • Building the deck of gardens

Principal Features of the Reciprocating Impact Tools

As mentioned above, impact tools are generally accessible in the market for their heavy-tricky impacts on the working surface as well as, the most stubborn bolts or naughtiest nuts. And among the impact tools, the most user-friendly is the tricky-project impact drivers and heavy-project impact wrenches. But the question arises, how to separate these two from one another? Pretty simple! Surely there are some identifying criteria which will stand out them among the crowd of hundreds.

A. Impact Driver

  • Powerful Enough for Nearly All Projects: Impact drivers are powerful to handle most projects due to their adaptiveness. Since this driver is built of new-generation tech, it is convenient to use. Also drives enough power to drill into long screws. 
  • Compact Tool: An impact driver is small and light-weighted. Hence, it is easy-to-handle for both professional mechanics and home mechanics.
  • Flexibility: Impact drivers can adjust to different shapes of sockets, as well as with varying sizes of bits. 
  • Affordable Price: Comes at quite an affordable price for everyone to purchase.
  • Best for Screw Driving: Impact drivers are most popularly and best used for driving longer length screws into wood, metal or hardworking surface.

B. Impact Wrench

  • Power-packed Force: Impact wrenches provide much more power than any other impact tools or even impact driver. It creates such a tremendous amount of force that even the toughest nut is sure to be loosened. When neither torque wrench nor standard grill provides enough power you need, you can be sure that an impact wrench’s power-packed torque force will never disappoint you. 
  • Reduction of Wrist Strain: Many versions of impact wrenches have been designed to reduce the wrist strains while operating.
  • Different Types: Impact wrenches are mainly of four kinds. The electric one (mechanism of electricity), the pneumatic one (mechanism of compressed air), the hydraulic one (mechanism of fluid), and the hybrid one (mechanism of impact-wrench conversion).
  • Faster Production: An impact wrench usually produces power and works at a rapid speed.
  • Heavy-Weighted: Due to the extra torque and force generation, an impact wrench tends to be bulkier and more substantial in weight.
  • Relatively Expensive: The best in kind impact wrenches often cost more than hundreds of dollars to buy. And this is quite expensive from the viewpoint of a home mechanic as rarely the need arises to use them. 
  • Not so Ideal for Home Use: Maximum home improvement works require light-duty. Which is why these projects do not demand the higher torque output, supplied by impact wrench. 

Can an Impact Driver Be Converted As an Impact Wrench?

For most of the average mechanical users, an impact driver is a more practical tool. This is because the final torque production by an impact wrench is barely put to use. And another good news is, Yes, Impact drivers can also be converted into impact wrenches.

Once another ½ inch square shaft is adjusted with an impact driver’s ¼ inch hexagonal shank – it can also work as an impact wrench. But this process costs quite an amount. In this combined tool, you get nearly three speeds and thus, can nail much more different jobs than before. One such option is the BOSCH GDX 18 V 200 C tool. This convertible impact tool can be a budget-friendly choice, rather than buying two different tools separately. 

Thoughts of Final Hour: Who Wins the Battle of Impact Wrench vs Driver?

Time for the final query! Which one to take along? Well… Both the impact wrench and the impact driver are equally useful to deal with obstinate objects on the harsh working surface. But which one is the suitable choice for you – will depend on your type of work and place of use. 

If you are a home mechanic, whose work often involves light DIY project or home renovation – you will probably find an impact driver more useful then. It offers excellent value for money, produces significant power, and avails some extra brownie points. If you are a professional mechanic, whose work often requires specialized automobile repairing, heavy machine appliance, assembly line project – then an impact wrench should make a quick pick for you. This will deliver an enormous amount of power and precision work, just suited to your need.

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