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Both impact wrenches and impact drivers are tools that many DIY enthusiasts swear by and often have ready in their toolbox. However, with such similar names, the difference between both tools may not be clear, and it can also be confusing to know which tool you should use for which job. Here’s the comparison between impact wrench vs impact driver – right tool for your diy project.
Keep reading to learn the differences between an impact driver and an impact wrench, and find suggestions to help you figure out which tool is right for your next project.
Difference Between Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver
Before knowing the differences between an impact driver and an impact wrench, it is important to understand what each tool can do.
An impact wrench is a power tool used for loosening or tightening various nuts and bolts. Impact wrenches have a hammering mechanism that features strong, quick blows to bolts that would otherwise require extensive manpower, making this tool suitable for even rusted or oversized bolts that are difficult to turn.
An impact driver combines a drill’s rotational force with bursts of impact similar to a hammer drill. This force helps drive the fastener past points of resistance. Impact drivers are usually lighter than other types of drills, making them easier to use in some instances. They handle large screws and bolts more efficiently than compact drills and offer two to three times for torque than drills.
Despite the similar names, there are several distinct differences between an impact wrench and an impact driver. The main differences between the two tools include:
- Impact drivers are primarily used for drilling long screws into metal or wood, whereas impact wrenches loosen or tighten nuts and bolts.
- Impact drivers are commonly used by a wide range of DIYers and for many types of renovation projects. Although impact wrenches are good for several different projects, you will primarily find them used in the automation industry.
- Impact drivers are easier to use than impact wrenches, which are generally heavier and more powerful.
If you determine that you need both an impact wrench and an impact driver, there are a few tools that combine the capabilities of both tools, but it is usually best to get each tool individually.
With these differences in mind, you can begin to determine whether it is an impact wrench or an impact driver that is the tool that you have been missing from your toolbox. To help you decide, check out the suggestions on the best of each tool below.
Best Impact Wrench
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Impact Wrench Kit with Detent Pin Anvil
- Product 1: Up to 330 ft lbs max of fastening torque at only 3.48lbs
- Product 1: 3 mode settings to complete a variety of applications
- Product 1: Dewalt built Brushless motor for increased efficiency and runtime vs. Brushed DEWALT DCF894B 20V max* XR 1/2 in. Mid range cordless impact wrench with detent pin anvil (tool only)
The DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Impact Wrench can deliver up to 1,560 pounds of fastening torque, while the tool itself only weighs 3.5 pounds and omits the inconvenience of a long cord. The small size makes it ideal for tight spaces.
With precision wrench control, this impact wrench will pause before impacting to help prevent overtightening. At 2,700 ipms, this tool works on even the toughest wood, masonry, and metal. The kit comes with batteries, which come with a 3-year service warranty and provide up to 10 amp-hours of capacity.
ACDelco ANI405A-NK1 Pneumatic Heavy Duty Twin Hammer ½” 5-Speed Impact Wrench
- Our value packed air Impact and Ratchet Wrench Combo Tool Kit comes with an impact wrench: ANI405A (1/2”, 500 ft-lbs., 8,000 RPM), with a bottle of lubricating oil.
- Our 2 lightweight, heavy duty, and powerful 500 ft-lbs. and 60 ft-lbs. torque wrenches are engineered with high-quality materials for fast and easy removal work.
- Unlike other brands that offer tools with limited features, our air impact wrench features 5 free speed up to 8,000 RPM (No Load Speed)
The ACDelco ANI405A-NK1 Pneumatic Impact Wrench delivers 500 pounds of torque and offers 5-speed ups at up to 8,000 RPM, making it a versatile tool for many tasks. Slim yet sturdy, this pneumatic impact wrench proves to be durable and long-lasting thanks to its user-friendly design.
This impact wrench is lightweight with an ergonomic soft-grip handle to support your hands during long working hours. The design makes it easy to use and balance while helping to reduce vibration and fatigue. This pneumatic impact wrench also comes with a bottle of lubricating oil and an air adapter hose.
Best Impact Driver
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver
- DEWALT built brushless motor and XR Li-Ion batteries of DEWALT impact driver deliver more run time and capacity over standard units
- The cordless impact driver has 3-speed settings for optimized application versatility
- Precision drive in speed 1 for precision applications and added control
The Dewalt 20V Max XR impact driver operates on XR Li-Ion batteries and a brushless motor to deliver more capacity and run time than other similar models. This tool is one of the most versatile options for impact drivers, as it features three-speed settings for versatility.
This impact driver’s lightweight design makes it ideal for compact spaces, while the three LED lights will provide visibility in those tight spaces. Although impact drivers are generally not best to use for jobs that require precision, the Dewalt 20V Max XR impact driver provides added control thanks to its precision drive function.
Black & Decker BDID1202 12-Volt NiCad Cordless Impact Driver
- 4x the torque and 2x the speed than other 12-volt drills for driving screws and other large fasteners
- 1/4-inch chuck size (with hex shank)
- Provides over 800 inch-pounds of torque; operating at 0 to 2,800 BPM, 0 to 2,600 RPM
This Black & Decker impact driver is an affordable but reliable addition to your toolbox. Providing over 800 inch-pounds of torque, this impact driver provides four times the torque and twice the speed of other power drills to drive screws and other large fasteners.
The compact size of this impact driver makes it ideal for getting into tight areas, and it also includes an impacting block for high torque without kickback. The batteries come with the impact driver, and it also comes with a 2-year warranty.
Although it is not the most heavy-duty impact driver, the Black & Decker impact driver is a great choice for those who take on lighter DIY projects that require a little more power than a drill.
Both an impact wrench and an impact driver provide a large amount of torque and can be great additions to your toolbox, but you will want to make sure that each of those tools is right for your DIY project. If you are looking for a versatile tool to tackle driving in large screws and bolts, then an impact driver will help you get the job done. If you are a home mechanic and are constantly working on your car, you will make good use of an impact wrench. Once you determine which tool is right for you, your DIY project will go much smoother.