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Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver | Learn the Differences, Applications

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Aizaz khan
Aizaz khan
Aizaz was the first person to get a byline on his blog on technology from his home in Bannu in 2017. Then, he went on to a career in breaking things professionally at my electric sparks which is where he eventually took over the kit as a hardware editor. Today, as the senior editor of hardware for my electric sparks, he spends time reporting about the most recent developments in the hardware industry and technology. If he's not reporting on hardware or electronics, you'll see him trying to be as remote from the world of technology as possible through camping in the wild.

If you continue to pursue your love and need in the field of tools, you’re likely to encounter impact tools very quickly. Forgive me; both impactful tools (okay, I’ve got it off my mind now). Making the impact wrench vs. impact driver comparison will help you pick which device best suits the task.


One of the main differences between these impact tools is the design of the drive. Impact drivers utilize a 1/4-inch collet made of hex that can accept the 1/4-inch shanks of the spell. The majority of impact wrenches employ a square drive which is connected to a socket. There are 7/16-inch impact wrenches with hex sockets that workers in the field often carry.

Although there’s a relatively wide selection of sizes and ranges, impact drivers are available in two distinct styles, and all come with that 1/4-inch collet. Apart from the typical pistol grip shape, right-angle impact drivers can reach into tight spaces and an adorable pressurized palm.


image credit protoolreviews

Impact wrenches can cover a broader range of performance levels and come in more unique models. The most miniature impact wrenches feature one 1/4-inch square drive. 3/8-inch drives are the most common for smaller models.

image credit protoolreviews

As you progress in your performance, the 1/2-inch impact wrench is likely to be the most popular size, and virtually every tradesperson who utilizes this tool is using one.

3/4-inch and 1-inch drives are where to go if you require the most power. They are typically industrial-grade and heavy equipment with the power that many professionals outside of specific trades do not need.

image credit protoolreviews

When purchasing an impact wrench, consider compact, mid-torque, or high-torque. These categories provide a good idea of the power, but no specific power level defines each. For most weekend warriors or even professionals, A compact and mid-torque will suffice.

Here’s a great selection of the different styles of impact wrenches that are available:

  • Pistol grip
  • Stubby (short head that can reach into tight spaces)
  • Right angle
  • Ratchet (low-power version that can substitute hand ratchets)
  • Tool for impact use (7/16-inch Hex collet)


image credit protoolreviews

You can purchase an impact driver with a cord. If you’re interested in one, however, most construction sites are powered by cordless. Twelve-volt and 18V/20VMax will be the most popular.

Impact wrenches are available in corded and unplugged versions as well. However, the traditional sound of an impact wrench from the mechanic’s workshop or racing track is powered by air. Most tradespeople utilize cordless models, and mechanics depend heavily on pneumatics. Batteries are now more prevalent in automotive shops, however.

Remember that air impact wrenches can cost less, but you’ll need the compressed air hose and compressor. Include them in your cost calculation if you don’t have the tools.


Depending on the drive type, you can make a swift decision on the impact tool you should use. In general, it’s a screwdriver professional. An impact driver will be the best tool when using fasteners that require drivers like Phillips, slotted, or Torx. It can also drill using bits with an appropriate shank.

image credit protoolreviews

Make use of the impact wrench when working using hex head fasteners, like nuts and bolts, as well as timber screws. Instead of inserting a piece into the head, the socket is used to grip the head.

image credit protoolreviews

There are a few exceptions to the general rule. There are some exceptions, however. The socket adapters and bits for nut drivers that you can utilize using an impact driver to use hex head fasteners. Some adapters will allow the impact wrench to work with 1/4-inch bits.

Because you have an adapter, it doesn’t mean it’s suitable for all applications. Too much power can shred the heads of fasteners and break pieces. Insufficient power could strain the tool’s motor and cause it to overheat or fail to finish the task.

Makita XWT15Z 18V LXT(r) Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 4-Speed 1/2″ Sq. $144.00$160.20 (733)


You will generally get greater force (torque) with an impact wrench than the impact drivers. However, specific impact drivers in the 18V/20V max category are more potent than compact impact wrenches, particularly for the 12V platform. If you throw the impact wrenches that are compact away, you’ll almost always receive greater power from impact wrenches.

image credit protoolreviews

There are impact drivers that are more than 2000 lbs of power (167 Ft-lbs), and we’ve found that anything that exceeds 1500 pounds (125 Ft-lbs) is an excellent first-class tool for professionals.

Pro Tips: Impact drivers usually note their power using inches-pounds (in-lbs); however, impact wrenches measure their foot-pound strength (ft-lbs). Like you would come with meters and linear inches, divide the number by 12, to change in-lbs into Ft-lbs, or multiply twelve to transform ft-lbs into in-lbs when you need to compare the values.

On the other hand, impact wrenches begin at around 100 Ft-lbs (1200 in-lbs) and can handle about 1000 ft (12,000 in-lbs) of torque.

For reference to an impact wrench, one with 200 ft-lbs torque is all required to change the tires on a car for a passenger. A mid-torque impact wrench with at least 400 ft-lbs torque can accomplish the majority of tasks an auto mechanic needs.

image credit protoolreviews

Pro Tips: Most manufacturers market “nut-busting torque,” which is the amount of force of fastening an impact wrench can remove. The actual torque of fastening is less, so check the manual’s specifications to ensure that the model you’re looking at has enough power for the task you require.


Speed is not the only issue. Impact wrenches tend to have faster speeds, reaching around 3600 RPM using the top impact wrenches. A high-quality cordless impact wrench typically runs below 2000 RPM.

Suppose you’re working in a shop with pneumatic (air) impact wrenches, and the fashion changes. A high-quality mid-torque air impact wrench should be able to reach at least 8,000 RPM.


image credit protoolreviews
image credit protoolreviews

As we have mentioned earlier, impact wrenches and impact drivers are made from the same foundation with different motors. In addition to impact wrenches, impact drivers are nearly always smaller and lighter than impact wrenches with cordless motors made by the same manufacturer. The impact wrenches made of pneumatics may be more delicate, however.

When using impact wrenches, the weight and size of the tool generally rise with power levels. The size of the drive can give you an indication. 1/4-inch purposes can only be found on smaller models, and 1/2-inch movements are frequent on larger high-torque and mid-torque impact wrenches. 1-inch and 3/4-inch models are likely to be more significant.


In the ideal world, we’d have every kind of impact driver and impact wrench to ensure that the tool best suited to the job would be readily available. If you’re beginning and your main focus is more carpentry or construction projects, Get an 18V/20V max Impact driver for your first.

If changing the transmission is on your list, begin with an 18V/20V maximum mid-torque 1/4-in—impact wrench.

Choose both from the same manufacturer If you have space within your spending budget. So you can use the same battery for each tool and save money by adding more bare tools when building your collection.



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