We have all heard the phrase use the right tool for the job. And, if you are like me, you’ve probably used the wrong hand tool from time to time. It happens.
Power tools are a little different, specifically impact tools. It’s important to know the differences between an impact driver vs an impact wrench, which is where this article will focus.
Here’s the major difference between impact wrenches and impact drivers: Force also known as torque. Impact wrenches deliver more force (torque), which breaks bolts loose and tightens them far tighter than an impact driver.
Comparison: Impact driver versus impact wrench
Impact drivers are also typically known as your basic household drills, which uses a wall outlet or batteries. They are available at retail stores, home centers, and tool dealers.
Impact drivers usually have an adjustable head, or hex attachment, for use with a multitude of different types of drill bits.
In short, impact drivers are a smaller, less powerful version of a proper impact wrench but we’ll get back to that in a minute.
In every impact driver, there is a small hammer mechanism that will trigger when the gear ratio on the driver experiences resistance against whatever it is into which you are drilling (pilot holes in drywall, in support studs, etc.)
Let’s get technical about impact drivers
Based on the settings available on your particular make and model of impact driver, you’ll be able do dial in a specific quantity of torque.
This torque is what lets you fit two by fours together. Torque is a type of derivative on classical Newtonian force.
Pushing or pulling an object in a straight line is considered a type of “force.” Torque comes into play when the force is centered on an axial plane.
Torque is measured in units known either as “inch-pounds” or “foot-pounds.” There are 12 inch-pounds in a foot-pound.
Impact drivers will often offer a range of torque between 1600 to 1800 inch-pounds (133 to 150 foot pounds). Impact drivers are well suited for smaller environments, or tight spaces.
Impact wrenches: When you lots of torque!
The biggest difference between impact drivers and wrench is torque.
Impact wrenches leverage anywhere from 250 to 700 foot-pounds of torque on any given object. For reference back to impact drivers, 1700 inch-pounds of torque equals about 141.6667 (141 and two-thirds) foot-pounds of torque.
This shows without a doubt that impact wrenches are exponentially more forceful when it comes to driving nuts and bolts.
When it comes to industrial applications, the choice between an impact wrench vs impact driver is no contest.
Impact drivers are good for screws and small lag bolts. Impact wrenches, however, are more typically used on large connecting bolts, such as the lug nut on a car wheel.
Many impact wrenches are powered by air-compressors rather than batteries to maximize torque. They may be utilized in steel frame construction, auto shops, and Formula 1 Racing.
Similar design, differing versatility
Although one may say “Well, why not just get regular old wrench on there, add a small pipe over the wrench for extra leverage, and tighten our fitting?”
This is what both impact drivers and wrenches do for you. They cut out the middle man when it comes to efficient labor!
The spinning gears within impact wrenches and drivers are occasionally tapped with great force to make sure your fittings are as safe and as snug as possible.
Humans can’t apply the same amount of force as easily as these power tools. Both tools are integral in reducing the amount of time spent on tasks, but you definitely wouldn’t want to hang a picture using an impact wrench.
It’d be far too powerful, and there’s even a chance of tearing up your wall by using too much force. On the other hand, not using enough force can lead to stripped screws, broken drill bits, and all sorts of other time-wasting obstacles.
When on a job, do your work right the first time, especially now that you know the difference between an impact driver vs an impact wrench.