The greatest advantage one can have while working is to have the right set of tools for the job. It doesn’t really matter much whether you are a pro level expert, a professional contractor, a DIYer or just a simple hobbyist, your tools will be always your biggest asset.
Nowadays you can find a number of tools on the market that can perform similar tasks. This makes your job of selecting the ideal tool for a particular project really tough. A similar confusion has been seen among the woodworkers and DIYers about the impact driver and the impact wrench. They find it extremely difficult to select the best one for their respective jobs.
What’s the fuss all about?
The impact driver and the impact wrench are two of the most reliable and trustworthy tools power wrenching tools available in the market today. But to be honest you only need any one of them for your work. One thing about both of them can be said that you can be sure to get a large amount of torque when compared to a regular torque wrench or a drill. But to make a clear-cut choice between them you need to understand each of their applications, pros, and cons. Besides that, you need to understand your requirements too.
Understanding each one of them
The impact driver
Every day you will come across odd jobs in your project or workshop that will require you to drive in screws through various materials. In such a scenario the regular drill can help you but they always do not offer you with enough torque. Thus they become completely unusable for some cases.
To handle such cases you need something more powerful, a bit versatile which can produce an extra amount of torque. This is the point when an impact driver comes to your rescue. The impact drivers look similar in appearance to a standard drill, but they provide way more torque which makes them faster and more efficient in performance. This is the reason why they have become a primary tool in workshops. These tools are highly versatile and have multiple usages, it makes them the prime choice of woodworkers.
Most of the impact drivers use a quarter inch (1/4) hex drive which serves as the best option for driving screws in any kind of material. Also, you have an option here to convert them into ½ inch square drive by coupling it with an adaptor for fastening bolts and sockets.
The impact drivers are features fast-paced rotational tapping action which drives the fastener or the screw inside. While at the same time it ensures that is must not spin out of its place by keeping the tip of the screw in its position.
A regular impact driver provides you with torque in the range of 2,300 in-lbs, which is ideal for most of the household jobs.
For general household and DIYs projects such as constructing a desk, installing cabinets, repairing drawers and such simple construction, it gives you the complete working range.
- Ease of use: These impact drivers are very convenient to use. They provide decent torque for the most of day to day jobs and also ensure that the screws do not slip out of its place. This is quite something that no drills can achieve. They are a very useful set of the tool in any home.
- Compact tool: When you bring the size into consideration a smaller drive with a similar power rating will always be preferred. These power tools are compact and lightweight in construction thus handling and working with them is quite fun.
- Ideal for screws and bolts: if you are working with wood and the main need is to drive screws and bolts, this is the top pick for the job.
- Affordable: Ok you can argue that this device is costlier than a regular drill, but look at the advantages you get. But when you compare it with an impact it will be a cheaper option.
- Lack of torque control: Most of the impact drivers available in the market today does not come with a torque regulator. Which means for smaller projects the screws or bolts can be over torqued, causing the screw heads to be stripped and even damage to work surface.
- Works with selected bits: I personally do not consider it a shortcoming as these devices are designed to work with only selected hex bits. As it has the locking mechanism. But still, some people believe that it limits its application.
What kind of impact driver you should have?
For DIY and household projects impact drivers serves as the ultimate fastening tool. It features incredible power to drive screws and bolts, thus increasing your overall efficiency. You can go for a cordless impact driver or a wired one, but make sure that it delivers at least 2200 in-lbs of torque. The size should be compact and handles must be ergonomically designed. Look for the one with the longer warranty period.
The impact wrench
Consider the situation where you have a higher torque requirement and you have tried all your drills, impact drivers and wrenches and all of them are of no use. The solution arrives in the form of an impact wrench. It has enough power to care for your toughest fastening needs, as it delivers a constant high torque output.
Some of you may even say that the impact wrench looks like a regular drill, but that is just for deception. As a drill continuously delivers high-speed rotational power whereas the impact wrench rotates at lower speed but has high torque because of the hammering action.
The impact wrenches are not compact in size rather they are bulkier as they are designed for more power output. They are easily five to six times more powerful than regular impact drivers. They feature a ½ inch square drive to mount the sockets and attachments. The primary application of an impact wrench is to lose or fasten the sockets and fasteners.
When you have an impact wrench no job is too big for you. You can easily take a bigger project that requires heavy torquing. Machine maintenance, construction, and mechanical work will look like a walk in the park.
The power of these devices is in the range of 13,000 in-lbs and even greater, this is far more than any impact driver
This mighty tool does not only take cares of the big jobs but can also help you complete everyday tasks such as building decks, chaining wheels of automobiles and loosing lug nuts.
- Delivers high torque: When all of your impact drivers and drills fails to deliver required torque, impact wrenches won’t let you down.it can deliver enough torque to handle all the applications
- Ease of use: Don’t go on its size, I know its bulky but working with these tools is quite fun. These are light which makes bolting or loosening at a tedious angle a much easier and effortless task. Now say no to tired hands.
- Ideal for all nuts & bolts: These are ideal for all the nuts and bolts, doesn’t really matter what their shape and size are. Still, you can drive screws with it by using proper bit. These wrenches are highly efficient in doing their job.
- Bulky: This is the trade-off you must have to withstand. The extra power and torque come at the price of increased size. You can still easily handle it but most of such devices weigh quite much. It will definitely take some time to get adjusted.
- Slightly costly: These tools lie on the expensive side when you compare them with other drives and drills. If you really need that higher torque and power then you should not have any issue paying something extra. Don’t go for these until and unless you really require them, else your investment would be ideally sitting in your workshop.
What kind of impact wrench you should buy?
The answer to these question lies in that fact that what kind of usage do you really have, what will be the main use of the wrench in your toolset. If you are a professional then you can go for an air powered model or else electric impact wrenches will work too. Look for a model that comes with speed trigger to deliver the right amount of torque.
Head to Head
Now let us compare these two devices on various fronts and have a look that which of the two get ahead of the other.
- Power: When you talk about power there is no need to even ask, impact wrenches are the clear-cut champion over here
- Size: When are counting on compactness and portability the smaller device get an edge over the bigger and score one here. Impact drivers will take this round
- Ease of work: Well here is something that goes unexpected, you may believe that this will be favored by the smaller device but you are wrong. It’s a tie as they are designed for a totally different set of people and they feel quite comfortable with it
- Cost: When you are talking about the money that you are going to invest, then an impact driver will be preferred as its cheaper option. Go for impact wenches only when necessary.
- Application: Both of them have proved to be of multiple uses, but as a team, we prefer that impact wrenches served us better on multiple occasions.
It is really important to have either one of them in your toolkit, but which is the one that you should go for. To make the correct choice you need to analyze your work and find out your requirements. You need to have a proper insight into your work.
For example, an impact wrench will be of no use for daily household fixes and similarly impact driver won’t be of much use when you work professionally. Select a tool depending on the most of your job requirements, don’t just go for the specs or try to save more money, as in such a case you can end up buying both the tools. Just analyze your needs and make the purchase.