Impact drivers and wrenches are both powerful wrenching tools that offer tremendous torque output compared to traditional drills. Although both are used for similar purposes, there are certain differences between them. Understanding their specific use will help you understand which tool will be better suited for your purpose.
We’ve outlined the specific uses for each impact tool, and the advantages and disadvantages to each. We’ve also listed our top picks and reviews on some of the best selling impact drivers and wrenches in the market right now.
Check out some of the best impact wrenches and impact drivers in the market right now and why people are buying them:
This Impact driver weighs just 2.8 lbs and comes in a compact build, making it just the perfect companion for beginners. The DCF885C1 20V by DeWalt is wildly popular in the market right now because it’s easy to work with as you don’t have to drag long cables everywhere you go.
It has a hex drive which gives you the flexibility of using all kinds of fasteners such as bolts, screws, and lug nuts. It also comes with an auto-power feature that’ll shut off the power supply automatically once the battery is fully charged so that you don’t have to worry about energy wastage.
Another big bonus for first-time users is that it’s quite simple to change bits on this model.
You’ll love the 3 LED lights which turn on 20 seconds after you’ve pulled the trigger. Now you don’t have to worry about working late at night thanks to these lights.
It may be lightweight and beginner-friendly, but you can easily handle tough tasks with this tool as it generates a torque output of 1400 lbs and supports a voltage of 20V.
This model from Makita is among the best impact drivers on the market right now. The XDT131 ensures both effective speed and power when required. It features a 4-pole motor with a 4-brush design to generate more speed without any impact on the torque.
You also get different speed settings with this model ranging from 0 to 2900 RPM and 0 to 3900 RPM. As if this isn’t enough, it’s also backed by a powerful torque output of 1400 lbs.
Thanks to the LXT, you don’t have to worry about overcharging the battery as it stops the charging on its own once it’s fully charged and hence improves its battery life.
It weighs just 3.9 lbs, and with the powerful 3 AH battery, you can work for the entire day without recharging in between. Don’t worry if you forget to charge the battery the night before because the rapid charger will take care of it in no time.
It’s also packed with Extreme Protection Technology that makes it water and dust resistant so that you can work in any conditions without compromising on the longevity of the tool. And yes, you don't need to bring out your own DIY dust collector when working with this one. To help you work in dark areas, it has an LED light attached right above the trigger.
This is a low-cost tool that gives you excellent performance for your daily use and is powered by Li-ion battery. In this model, the power is transferred by a planetary gear system to the hammer from a motor.
ONE+ packs some really cool features like a comfortable grip, screw holder and magnetic bit holder, LED illumination light and an auto-load chuck. All these are backed by a reliable 3-year warranty.
I would recommend this Ryobi ONE P236 impact driver to two categories of people – those who will be using it only once in a while and those who are beginners. If you fit into one of these two groups, the ONE+ would be a great purchase for you.
Dewalt is a popular brand known for producing high-quality tools, and this model is no exception. Packed with a max torque power of 700 ft per lbs and breakaway torque power of 1200 ft per lbs, you can easily handle tough jobs with this unit. It also comes with 3-speed settings to control the tool.
This Dewalt DCF899HB impact wrench has an inbuilt LED light for working in dark conditions. The build on this device isn’t the best, but it can last you for a long time.
The battery life is a plus point, lasting longer than most impact wrenches in this category. On the flipside, you might have some issues with its charger – it can be inefficient due to its single volt charge.
If you want an efficient tool at an affordable price, you might want to consider the Porter-Cable PCE211 impact wrench.
It’s packed with a 7.4 amp motor that delivers a low torque output of 450 ft per lbs, perfect for your daily tasks for tightening and removing heavy fasteners.
It has a 2-speed setting - 2700 RPM and 2200 RPM that makes it versatile and suitable for different projects.
Socket changes become easy on this unit because of its hog ring anvil that measures only ½ an inch. Additionally, the forward/reverse settings make it a convenient handy tool.
It weighs 7.8 lbs and is covered with a 3-year warranty.
The brands listed below are some of the most popular names among impact-wrench and impact-driver users.
This American brand started in 1924 and has been manufacturing high-quality power tools for woodworking industries worldwide. As of 2001, the brand has produced and sold over 800 accessories and over 200 power tools.
Some of our brand comparisons vs Dewalt:
Another notable brand compared to Dewalt is Makita. It is known for producing fine quality power tools such as the JV0600k jigsaw. This Japanese brand started in 1915 and has been serving the woodworking industries worldwide.
This is an American brand known for manufacturing tools, Porter-Cable started in 1906. Just like Dewalt, Porter Cable is known for developing the portable helical-drive saws and the belt sander as well as other prime power tools such as their PCE345 jigsaw.
In this section, we’ve included everything you need to know about impact drivers and impact wrenches so you can make the right purchase. Let’s get started!
Both tools may have similar appearances, but there are some distinctions you should be aware of.
First, they’re both used for different work situations.
Impact drivers can cover most of your carpentry, home improvement projects, and so they’re a popular tool among professionals and hobbyists.
Impact wrenches, on the other hand, offer tremendous torque power and they’re used for professional and commercial purposes. For instance, they’re widely used in automobile shops and industries as they can quickly tighten or remove screws on trucks and cars.
Using impact wrenches even for outdoor or backyard home projects can be detrimental sometimes. If you use this tool on the wrong screw, there’s a high chance for it to get over-tightened.
To prevent this from happening, certain impact wrenches have internal attachments, but they’re not so common and can be quite expensive compared to the standard models.
Impact drivers generally offer around 2000 in-lbs of torque power while impact wrenches can produce 15000 in-lbs of torque, which is seven times more than impact drivers..
There are several features to look for before you purchase an impact-driver or an impact wrench. We’ve listed some of the key features you must consider before buying either one of the products:
Impact drivers are also known as impact drillers and they can exert powerful hammering blows as well as high torque in the axial and rotational direction. They’re a perfect tool for both DIY hobbyists and professionals alike.
These tools are quite versatile and you can use them for driving fasteners and screws into the material. You can also use them to take out screws and fasteners or even drill holes through hardwoods.
Although standard wrenches and drills can perform the same tasks, they don’t offer the same torque as compared to impact-drivers. As such, you can complete your tasks much faster.
As with most standard drills, you may face some issues when drilling large screws into hard materials. An impact driver is more suitable for tasks like these. You’ll also find that they’re more superior to standard drills when it comes to efficiency and productivity.
Impact wrenches are mostly used when a high rotational force is required to drive large nuts and fasteners but it can also do the same tasks performed by impact drivers.
If impact drivers are more powerful than standard drills, impact wrenches have double the power of both combined.
Most professionals prefer using impact wrenches when it isn’t possible for any other wrench or tools to extract frozen nuts, fasteners, or rusted bolts, because of their high torque output.
These tools can be powered either by electricity or air compressor. The electrically powered wrenches are available in two variations - the battery powered cordless types and the corded units.
The cordless types, just like top cordless jigsaws depend on battery power and are less powerful compared to air compressed impact wrenches. However, the latter needs to be supplied with compressed air continuously.
As impact wrenches are packed with a higher rotational torque output than impact drivers, they’re mostly used in assembly line production and metal industries. They’re also widely used in automobile industries to tighten and loosen lug nuts.
If you’re looking for impact wrenches from reputable brands, you’ll have to pay a huge price. It’s also worth noting that you can get a decent tool for a slightly lower price if you buy off-brand.
Compact wrenches are generally powerful and offer more torque output in comparison to impact drivers, but as we’ve mentioned earlier, you only need an impact wrench for specific tasks and projects.
If you’re working on home improvements or DIY projects that don’t require much power, going for an impact wrench will be a waste of money.
That said, we have a winner in the impact driver category. The DCF885C1 20V by DeWalt stands out and is my top pick because of its versatility and ease of use. It’s portable and comes with 3 LED lights. The 1400 lbs torque power also makes it easier to handle tough projects.
As for impact wrenches, the Porter-Cable PCE211 is a popular choice because it’s efficient and gets the work done. It’s also a lot cheaper than most impact wrenches. The features it comes with makes it a great tool for all heavy-duty as well as special projects.
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