Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench: Key Differences Explained

Table of Contents

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Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by John Patterson

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench

Knowing the critical differences between impact drivers and impact wrenches is essential before using the right tool.

This research article will give you a clear idea about Impact Driver Vs. Impact Wrench: What’s the Best.

When loosening large nuts or corroded screws and bolts, the entire process demands technicalities and some necessary tools for an efficient operation.

Before impact drivers’ popularity, as DIY” ers, we had two options for power wrenching or driving. One was the torque wrench, and the other was the quality electric drill.

This is why impact wrenches and drivers come in very handy in 2024.

It can be quite troublesome and tedious to work with stray pieces or in tight spaces.

Related professionals and mechanics encounter these issues due to their nature of work which is why the basic knowledge of these power tools is necessary even for a household man.

Impact Driver vs. Impact Wrench

Impact wrenches tend to be bulkier, heavier, and more powerful before they have more powerful torque than the impact drivers. The impact wrenches made for fastening and loosening sockets because of the use of a square drive, while the impact drivers used for driving screws and a hex drive.

However, with a simple adapter, you can convert an impact driver into a half-inch square drive, allowing you to use it with other socket drivers.

Watch the impact driver vs. impact wrench differences in the video below.

Impact Driver vs. Impact Wrench (video)

Functions

Read the impact driver vs. impact wrench functions carefully before you choose the right tool.

Impact Driver
  • Impact drivers are often used to loosen nuts, more large bolts, and screws.
  • Impact driver comes in handy when removing a bunch of nuts.
  • It is meant to make the process quick and less exhausting.
  • The impact driver is perfected for frozen nuts or bolts, corroded nuts, and a lot past the average torque.
  • An impact driver is also used in maintenance, construction, and manufacturing to remove other manual tools where operator fatigue and speed are significant issues.
Impact Wrench
  • Impact wrenches can be used to remove lug nuts in auto repair.
  • An impact wrench can also be used in product assembly lines and in maintaining heavy equipment.
  • The impact wrench can also be used for industrial, construction, and home-based.
  • To use minimal external exertion, an impact wrench can deliver high torque output.

When to Use?

Do I need an impact driver or an impact wrench? Well, when it comes to the uses of impact drivers vs. impact wrenches, they may vary.

For instance, the impact driver, in most cases, ‘s used for doing lag bolts and screws stuff in wood construction to a certain extent. The impact driver comes with a hex connected to a socket, making the connection more accessible and quicker.

The impact driver is often used as a one-handed tool, which is why it is perfect for replacing a cordless drill because it’s convenient to use and does a good job. Compared to the impact wrench, the impact driver comes in just one size.

The impact wrench, however, comes in different sizes and is used mainly by those with many mechanical tasks and complex tasks like timber bolting.

How to use an Impact Driver?

how to use an impact driver

Based on your requirements, the first step should be to pick the right impact driver and select a fair bit that will fit into the hex-shaped screw head. The hex-shaped head allows you to tighten the nuts because the head grabs the bolt correctly.

It is essential to ensure you have a tight grip, especially if you have a Power tool, to avoid it from tripping from your hands. After that, fix or tighten the screw or nut you want to adjust. Once you do, turn on the impact driver to turn on the power supply from the socket.

After which, the impact driver continues to loosen or tighten the target. It makes moving on to the next one relatively easy and navigable.

How Does an Impact Wrench Work?: Impact Wrench Uses

Sometimes the screw head may be too stripped or the lug nut too tightly in place, so a regular wrench may not allow you to have a good grip. The good news is that the impact wrench gives you the power to grip the hard-to-turn bolt with additional force.

Impact wrench has an air or electric motor that allows you to apply an intense and sudden twisting motion to the lug nut in short bursts, about five seconds. The fierce bursts will enable you to loosen or tighten the ball quickly. This means that you can use the impact wrench to either disassemble or assemble projects.

It is a pneumatic impact wrench because it is either powered by electricity or air allowing it to provide immense torque, making it a high-grade and professional impact wrench. It is easier and lighter to use.

An electrical impact wrench delivers enough punch for those looking to DIY. You can put it in your car if you need to change your tires because of the electric use.

Impact Driver Adapters

Impact driver adapters allow similar flexibility to the impact driver in driving and drilling capabilities. It comes in different lengths depending on the model impact driver you choose. It can also use for installing the sleeve, which tends to be a helpful accessory regarding conversion. It also allows you to replace the power tool with a ratchet.

Storage Instructions

Like every other tool, impact drivers and impact wrenches should never be left anywhere in the open, especially if kids run around.

Best Impact Driver and Impact Wrench

Now it’s time to know some high-quality impact drivers and impact wrenches on the market.

HAMMERHEAD HDIWO75 IMPACT WRENCH

This impact wrench is our top pick (corded) in this impact driver vs. impact wrench guide. Because it will allow you to make fast work of tough jobs, it also comes with high-torque applications like heavy equipment maintenance and automotive repair, making it more versatile than its competitors. It also features a motor 7.5-Amp that delivers a torque of 240 ft-lbs for heavy-duty applications.

Special Features and Benefits
  • The non-slip grip and forward/reverse rocker switch – gives you better control and comfort.
  • Metal gearbox – increases durability and delivers no-load speeds.
  • 240 ft-lbs torque – perfect for heavy-duty applications.
  • Square drive of ½”- secures socket retention.
What We Liked
  • This impact wrench offers easy two-finger operation.
  • The gearbox adds more durability.
  • This impact wrench is perfect for contractors with heavy-duty applications.
  • Delivers no-load speeds of 2700 BPM and 2200 RPM.
What We Didn't Like
This impact wrench doesn’t have a handler/lever placement.

Verdict

This impact wrench is valuable for its money and is designed for both professional contractors and homeowners looking to DIY.

DEWALT DCF899HB Impact Wrench

This impact wrench is best to pick (cordless) on our list because it has proven helpful in every category. I have a reputation for customer satisfaction and durability. Besides DEWALT offering quality power tools, this wrench is compact, durable, and very forceful. If you work in small and tight spaces, this impact wrench will be best suited for you because it allows you to get into smaller areas.

Special Features and Benefits
  • This impact wrench has a compact design, which is handy for professionals.
  • It has three (0-400/ 1,200/ 1,1900 RPM) speed control, allowing you to put the lug nuts or bolts back where they belong.
  • In a minute, it has 2400 impacts – offering pure wrench power.
  • The maximum torque is 700 ft-lbs on, and the maximum breakaway torque is 1200 ft-lbs – which makes it perfect for smaller and automotive bolts and nuts.
  • It has an anvil 1/2 ” with a hog ring – it helps exert pressure on the socket and can also easily be removed without any power tools.
  • This impact wrench comes2 with a detent pin – which can help elevate the wrench, and is almost the same size as the bolts or nuts.
  • It comes with a limited warranty (see warranty period on Amazon)- this makes you trust the wrench’s quality and ample time to return the tool if it has any issues.
What We Liked
  • Delivers incredible torque.
  • Compact design.
  • Hog rings that make the wrench easy to use.
  • It can handle a 6ft drop.
  • Has an LED work light.
What We Didn't Like
The charger and battery sold separately.

Verdict

This impact wrench can allow you to twist bolts and nuts in half the time you usually even if the nuts have sat outside for like twenty years. It has the power that will allow you to strip them away with an automotive application quickly. It is best for people looking for a long-lasting impact wrench to fit in their small spaces and still has a useful-looking tool.

Ryobi P261 Cordless Impact Wrench

If you prefer rugged DIY, the Ryobi P261 impact wrench is specially designed for you. It is also perfect for those on construction sites looking to install lag bolts into their woodwork. It easily removes the lug nuts from the automobile as well.

Unique Features and Benefits
  • Three-speed selector – allows easy adjustment from o to 3200 impacts in a minute.
  • Compact design- perfect for slippery conditions due to the rubber overgrip.
  • LED lighting – will enable you to work in dark or poorly lit workspaces.
  • Compatible 18V battery systems – allows you to work as soon as you remove it.
What We Liked
  • It’s a tool-only asset.
  • Long-lasting withstanding battery system.
  • Can work with even in the darkness.
What We Didn't Like
Battery-powered only.

Verdict

It can be used to remove lug bolts in an automobile and woodwork, making it perfect for those who prefer many DIY projects. It is also reasonably priced, making it a value for your money.

Makita XWT08Z Impact Wrench

For a long time, the Makita power tools have been used by professional mechanics because of their value for money and because they are easy to operate. It is a tool designed for multiple applications, making it perfect for those looking for a massive duty tool to add to their collection.

Special Features and Benefits
  • BLTM brushless motor – that is efficient and electronically controlled to save and optimize the energy use of the battery to about 50% run-time per charge.
  • Three-speed power switches – which give you exact socket changes.
  • An efficient brushless motor allows you to remove carbon brushless efficiently and will enable the tool to run more efficiently and more cooling for a long time.
  • Rubberized soft grip – give you increased comfort while on a job.
  • Dual LED lights that are built-in – provide you with a glow and afterglow that illuminates the working space.
  • The anvil impact mechanism and proprietary hammer allow maximum driving and fastening power.
  • Rapid optimum charger actively controls the voltage, current, and temperature.
What We Liked
  • Has a limited warranty on the battery, tool, and charger.
  • Soft on the hands.
  • Ergonomic and compact design.
  • It has protection computer panels that protect it against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating.
What We Didn't Like
Charger and battery not included.

Verdict

This tool offers you extended battery life and improved performance, making work much more comfortable and enjoyable. It can be powered by compact Lithium-Ion batteries and Makita 18V LXT to increase its versatility.

Let’s read the honest and unbiased review of some of the high-quality impact drivers available on the market. 

Milwaukee Impact Driver 

This combo is best for those looking for an impact driver and cordless drill set. This impact driver model is worth the price based on its specifications and features. It is all you need to work on various and just about any job site. It offers dependable performance because it features rechargeable batteries.

Special Features and Benefits
  • Power hammer drill – it utilizes the brushless motor for up to the drilling speed of 2000 rpm and torque of 1200 ft-lbs. 4-mode drive control – that gives you higher accuracy.
  • Two batteries – that are long-lasting with a claim of about 8 hours of battery life.
  • Hammer drill – that allows faster-drilling speed.
  • Redlithium XC 5.0Ah batteries – they give the kit powerful and efficient performance.
  • Powerstate brushless motor helps deliver faster driving speeds with a torque o 1800 in-lbs.
What We Liked
  • Battery packs have a cover of limited warranty (see warranty on Amazon).
  • Control stop tool damage.
  • It offers control for greater accuracy.
  • It comes with two belt clips, 2-bit holders, a carrying case, and a side handle.
  • Long-lasting battery life.
  • Four-speed settings.
What We Didn't Like
  • Only battery-powered.
  • This impact driver is relatively pricey.
  • Verdict

    This impact driver combo kit will allow you to quickly avoid stuff like stripping screws because it gives you control of the tool. It can rip through cement, making it one of the dominant power tools. With approximately eight hours of battery life, it is also highly reliable.

    DEWALT DCK240C2 Impact Driver 

    If you plan to buy an impact driver and a cordless drill together, this model might just be it. It has the torque, capability, and velocity to stand out. It is bundled with a DCF885 impact driver and DCD771 cordless drill, which is a significant advantage since you don’t have to buy the two separately. It is also a discounted version of the compact and drill driver. This is one of the best Amazon impact drivers we reviewed here.

    Special Features and Benefits
    • Improved visibility- because it features an LED that’s built-in with a delay of 20 seconds after the trigger.
    • Ergonomic and compact design – because it is designed to fit every user’s needs.
    • One-handed bit loading – which accepts bit tips of about an inch.
    • High-performance motor- because it has the Power ability that completes many applications.
    • Two 1.3Ah lithium-ion batteries improve the battery performance and only take an hour to recharge.
    • Weight 9 pounds – making it lightweight and less bulky than other models.
    • Non-slip and thin grip – allows you to carry with just one hand.
    What We Liked
    • It is useful and multifunctional for remote places.
    • It has a two-speed option.
    • Easy to carry power tools because it has a builder.
    • The LED lights enhance the visual display, making it easy to work in dark areas or poorly lit workspaces.
    What We Didn't Like
    Charging is not so fast because it takes about one hour to charge fully.

    Verdict

    This is one of Dewalt’s high-quality impact drivers because it is mainly designed for use in the most terrible place.  It is much power and quickly compared to previous versions. It can drill 117 ft lbs without any loading. It transmits 300 watts of power, and you can use the 16 clutch setting options to control the power around the neck.

    Ryobi One+ P236 Cordless Impact Driver

    This impact driver is known for its ability to sink fasteners with ease compared to other standard drivers quickly. This impact driver model is one of the top performers. Tools will be perfect for home improvement projects if you like to do it yourself. With a speed of 320 impacts per minute, it will allow you to deal with even the most hardened nuts and bolts.

    Special Features and Benefits
    • It has a three-speed gearbox – that allows you to work on intricate and delicate jobs with a switch.
    • Rubber Overgrip is notched rubber that covers the handle, offering you a steady grip even when you are in slippery conditions.
    • LED Lighting helps illuminate your work, allowing you to work even in poor lighting.
    • Magnetic Bit Holder – it is attached to the base allowing you to hold the tool on bits and fasteners that you require to attach the tool to a ladder or someplace higher.
    • Tool-Less Bit Change – no tools are necessary because you can insert your bits in the slot and quickly eject them by just pulling the collar back.
    • Magnetic Tray – helps keep the bits and fasteners on a unit allowing to use of the tool hands-free.
    • ONW+ COMPATIBLE – part of the 18V power family, means that the NiCad and Lithium-ion are compatible.
    What We Liked
    • This impact driver can be used without additional power tools.
    • It has a rubber over-mold that allows you to work with high accuracy.
    • The LED lighting makes working in poor light easy.
    • Compatible with NiCad and Lithium-ion batteries.
    • Compact design.
    What We Didn't Like
  • The batteries are included in the sale.
  • This impact driver is only battery-powered.
  • Verdict

    You can keep the speed of this impact driver low by swapping between either of the three options affected by a switch found at the rear of the tool. The magnetic tray adds more convenience to this impact driver. While working on a ladder, this impact driver allows you to work hands-free because you can hold the bits and the fasteners and keep them on with an onboard belt clip. It is indeed the height of comfort, convenience, and effectiveness for general contractors and homeowners.

    How We Wrote This Review?

    In our impact driver vs. impact wrench review and guide, we considered that impact wrenches & impact drivers are necessities in automotive garages and reputable fabrication shops.

    Therefore, we chose pro-quality impact drivers and impacted wrenches selections to ensure that we got the best power tools for everyone.

    With ideas from users, product experts, and researchers, we made sure that the impact wrenches & impact drivers we review can also be used for people with home garages.

    We selected the impact wrenches & impact drivers concerning their purpose and power.

    Depending on the application, environment, and urgency, the impact driver vs. impact wrench difference can be critical.

    When there are so many wires all over the place, the last thing anyone would want is to add more cables mixing in there.

    This is why we made sure that the impact wrenches & impact drivers were portable, run on battery, and learned on a limited power battery.

    Now read the few frequently asked questions about impact wrench vs. impact driver.

    FAQs

    #1. Can I use an impact driver on any concrete?

    Answer: Yes! It surprises some of the mediums you can use with an impact driver. Concrete is not left out in the list of items the driver can apply force and extra torque.

    #2. What is the dissimilarity between an impact driver and an impact wrench?

    Answer: Besides the power of the two tools, there is not much difference. An impact wrench can do 3000 lbs upwards, while impact drivers can go 1400 lbs of torque.

    #3. What type of job requires an Impact driver?

    Answer: Anything that needs fastening can make good use of an impact driver. Bolts, screws, nuts, and other perfect candidates apply for the impact driver.

    #4. What do you use an impact driver for?

    Answer: I use my impact driver for removing screws large lag bolts, and as well as installing giant timber screws.

    Conclusion

    We are at the end of our impact driver vs. impact wrench guide; we tried to answer all the necessary information you are looking for. We hope the differences between impact drivers and impact wrenches were helpful.

    When buying the impact wrenches and drivers that best suit your needs, ensure you take the required precautions and considerations before buying.

    Advancements in technology, such as lithium-ion batteries and brushless motors, will come in handy because it makes the power tools easier to use and more versatile.

    We hope in the future, you don’t need to ask anyone the differences between impact drivers and impact wrenches after reading our impact driver vs. impact wrench guide.

    Now it’s time to choose the right tool.

    If you are still confused about the impact driver vs. impact wrench, let us know by commenting here.

    About the author

    John Patterson

    Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.