Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver:
Which Is Right For You

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As the world turns, so does the advancement and improvement of society happen in many circles of life. Before impact wrench vs impact driver tools became famous, newbies made use of standard electric drills and torque wrenches.

The desire for more efficient results, accuracy and comfortability while using these tools led to the development of Impact drivers and wrenches. As expected, the introduction of these two tools has accomplished greater results, so much more that many industries now produce these handheld devices.

Rather than just spin like standard drills, impact drivers and impact wrenches operate similarly as they make use of successive rotational blows to maximize the torque generated. However, these tools have much more details to them and you will discover more in this Impact Wrench vs Impact Driver review.

Top choices on Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench 

MODELS

WEIGHT

TORQUE

PRICE

Milwaukee 2767-20 High Torque Impact Wrench

6.5 LBS

750 IN-LB

Makita XDT131 Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)

6.7 LBS

1,500 IN-LB

What is An Impact Driver

Unlike a few years ago when Impact drivers remained a specialty tool rarely seen inside a work area. Today you see them almost everywhere! You can easily purchase an impact driver at most tool retailers such as Lowes or Home Depot. In fact, you can hear their characteristic chatter sound anywhere construction activities take place. In essence, what became so special about impact drivers or why the acclaimed popularity?

Unlike standard drills, impact drivers have enormous torque. This feature stands as an overwhelming advantage over these similar tools. In short, the high torque generated means you can use a small impact driver to bore a big hole or drive a bigger screw. Also impact drivers provide versatility not seen in any other tool in that it can also be used as a drill.

Consequently, when you attach small bits to impact drivers, they function effectively like drills. Talking about versatility, impact drivers allow you to work in one-handed, stretch and drive situations. This is due to it featuring a hammer mechanism that generates enough forward pressure, so you don't have to push so hard on the screws as you would when using a standard driver.

In essence, impact drivers are all about torque. When driving light duty fasteners, this tool operates like a cordless screwdriver. On the contrary when driving large fasteners, requiring higher torque, the "Impact" in the driver is brought to life. 

An impact driver is a tool that delivers a strong sudden, rotational and downward force, often used by mechanics to loosen larger screws(bolts) and nuts that are corrosively "frozen" or over-torqued according to wikipedia. As you read through other sections of the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison, you would discover its difference from its counterpart.

 How To Use An Impact Driver

Basically, the importance of tools and its usage depends on the technical know-how. We have a quick video below from Ace Hardware that explains how to use an impact driver in addition to our step by step process. However, the video provides a practical view to this section of the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison. 

Inserting The Battery

Make sure the cordless impact driver becomes switched off before placing in the battery pack into the tool. This is done by slipping the battery pack into the handle until you hear a ‘click” sound ensuring the precision.

Inserting The Screwdriver or Drill Bit

Choose a screwdriver bit or drill bit for the task at hand, making sure it has a ¼ inches (6.35mm) shank in order to fit perfectly into the cordless impact driver. Ensure the shank-end of the bit is clean and has not suffered any damage.

·       Use a bit holder

For smaller bits, always use a bit holder, which has a magnetic end for holding bits and a hexagonal shank. Furthermore, it fits into the cordless impact driver's chuck perfectly.

·       Insert The Bit

Ensure you place the bit in the chuck until you feel it engage with the back of the chuck.

Adjusting The Settings

·       Set Rotation

Adjust the forward/reverse switch so that it remains in the 'forward' or ‘backward’ position.

·       Set Speed

If your cordless impact driver has different gears to select from, pick the one most suited to your current task. Therefore, the task dictates the type of gear to use.

·       Turn On The Light

The LED lights remain an exclusive feature. Working in a particularly dark space? Turn on the LED lights and increase your efficiency at work.

·       Turn On The Tool

Having made all the previous adjustment and settings, switch the tool on and get ready to work.

Using The Cordless Impact Driver

·       Squeeze trigger

Squeeze the speed control trigger gradually until the chuck and bit begins to turn. Fasten or decrease the speed while working depending on your needs. Therefore, if you feel that you require more or less power, fine-tune the gears accordingly.

Removing The Screwdriver or Drill Bit

·   Set tool aside and Remove Bits

When you have completed your project, turn off the tool and place it on a flat surface to allow the parts and bit to cool down. To remove bits, clutch the chuck with one hand and pull it forward, therefore, pulling out the drill bit with your other hand.

What Is An Impact Wrench

An impact wrench otherwise referred to as impact gun has many alternative names like rattle guntorque gun, air wrenchair gun or windy gun. The impact wrench exists as a very vital tool in the armory of any DIY enthusisast. This is because you will definitely encounter a rusty bolt that refuses to shift or take on a project that requires loosening and tightening quite a number of bolts.

However, there is no better way to handle duties like this, except with an impact wrench. To avoid loosing skin or bleeding knuckles, impact wrenches became built to make tightening and losing of bolts, nuts and screws easier.

Similar to the impact driver, impact wrenches generate enormous torque. Furthermore, they have gained popularity for tasks like repair, maintenance or assembly work. Unlike electric drills, impact wrenches can unbolt rusted fasteners and produce the power that drills lack.

It also features rotational motion that helps to deliver quick, rapid impulses in succession. Impact wrenches are also versatile as they are broadly grouped into three types.

  • Pneumatic Impact Wrench.
  • Electric Impact Wrench.
  • Hydraulic Impact Wrench.

The differences in these types are seen in their source of power, where the pneumatic models get powered by compressed air. On the other hand, as you can already tell, electricity powers the electric model. Regardless, you should know that these models remain advantageous for different tasks. And that they remain unique from impact drivers, and that's why we have the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison.

How To Use An Impact Wrench

An electric impact wrench remains one of the important power tools for home improvement and other DIY projects. The high torque level ensures you complete heavy jobs with comfort and efficiency. Furthermore, the wrench also features a hammering function that comes in handy when fastening screws, nuts and bolts.

In this section of the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison you will find a simple guide on how to loosen and tighten nuts with the torque gun. As well as a quick video to explain how to use an impact wrench. However, the video provides a practical view to this section of the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison. 

 Step 1 – Select Correct Socket

Selecting the proper socket size for the fasteners in use remains an important factor. This is because incorrect sizes of socket can damage the fastener heads. Furthermore, if the wrench remains connected to the power outlet, disconnect before changing sockets. Once you choose the exact socket, press it steadfastly onto the square drive of the torque gun.

Step 2 – To Loosen Nuts

Firstly, grab the wrench with your hands. Then pull the rocker button and place the socket directly above the fastener. Consequently, allow the torque to build up as you maintain the wrench over the nut. The torque action gradually helps to loosen the nut.

Step 3 – Dislodging the Nut

To dislodge the nuts, adjust the switch to the “reverse” setting. Then, grab the wrench with both of your hands to provide enough stability as you work. Pull the trigger to the utmost extent and place the socket against the nut head.

Ensure you keep your finger on the trigger while working out the socket on the nut head. Consequently, the torque action will loosen the nut. Finally, release the trigger once the nut becomes dislodged. Continued torque action may cause damage to your work piece.

Step 4 – To Tighten Nuts

Use your hands to install the nuts and ensure it doesn’t cross thread. Choose the right socket to be used on the wrench. Then, press the socket chosen firmly onto the wrench square drive. Fine-tune the switch to the “forward” setting. Then grip the wrench firmly and pull the trigger gently.

Position the socket over the nut head and then control the spindle speed by gently restraining your finger on the trigger. Thus you need to keep up with this action until the nut becomes nipped up.

For Tightening go back to the first nut and work the socket onto the nut head. Then, pull the trigger fully. Actually, about 3 impacts should provide enough to tighten the nut. Ensure you don’t over tighten as it could stress the work piece.

Step 6 – Turn off Machine

As soon as you complete your work, ensure you turn off the machine. Furthermore, unplug from main power outlet and remove sockets used and store the tool properly.

Best Impact Driver Vs Impact Wrench

If you look up the words “impact driver” vs “Impact Wrench” on Amazon, Home Depot, Acme Tools, or other popular online seller, you will definitely see hundreds of results. Although It’s hard to make sense of it all, you probably don’t know where to begin. This guide will take you through every details you need to decide on which impact driver vs impact wrench remains best for you.

Top 7 Impact Wrenches

1.   Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench

The first tool to make the review list in this impact driver vs impact wrench remains a tool from Ingersoll. Construction workers and manufacturing craftsmen have become famous for using the Ingersoll Rand 2235TIMAX.

IR stands as a famous manufacturer of impact tools and this model doesn't prove to be an exception. Although this device came as an upgrade to the Ingersoll Rand 2135TIMAX, it has a number of features not seen on the earlier model.

The build features include a titanium hammer case, composite housing and a steel-wear plate that ensures the tool remains sturdy even in the harshest working environments. Consequently, it weighs an extra 250 feet per pound torque, meaning it has a slightly bigger size. 

In addition to that, this impact wrench has 1,350 feet per pound nut-bursting torque providing up to 8, 500 RPM. This only means that it can remove a bolt that became fastened by anything. Besides the impact of up to 1350 feet per pound it also has an extreme reverse torque of about 930 feet-pound.

The Ingersoll-Rand 2235TIMAX has an exclusive twin hammer mechanism of impact that syndicates power and performance to give the most efficient results. So, it remains an overall lightweight tool with an average weight of 4.6 pounds.

PROS

  • The balance and grip provides maximum comfort
  • Very durable build
  • User friendly
  • Exclusive twin hammer mechanism
  • Reverse Torque feature

 

CONS

  • Larger size than predecessor
  • Louder noise due to improved operation

2.   Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench

The Ingersoll-Rand 231C stands as the second product from IR to make the review list of impact driver vs impact wrench comparison. However, this should come as no surprise as IR strive for continuous improvement and perfection. This unit features quite a number of technical upgrades and improvements to it's build and design.

The Ingersoll-Rand 231C has a varying price range when you order online. The bargain price always includes free shipping and, if you meet the conditions, same day delivery. The tool offers adequate versatility to suit a professional mechanic and other craftsmen.

If there existed a tool which rightly proved that you can get plenty of heavy duty work done by a featherweight piece of equipment, the I-R 231C impact wrench definitely lives up to the billing. It weighs just 5.3 pounds, a little more than the I-R 2235.

Furthermore, it only measures 7.2 inches from handle to tip which remains acceptable. Although the design has endured a number of RD backed updates, this will ensure the 231C offers the least stress on your body even for long hours.

It features one of the most efficient adjustable power regulators in the industry. Flick it in the opposite direction if you need full blast power to work through the hardest aspects of your project.

Furthermore, it delivers a maximum torque of 425 pounds per feet. Just like the I-R2235, it features the exclusively developed Twin Hammer Plus impact mechanism. 

 

PROS

  • Ships fully lubricated and ready to go
  • Adjustable power regulator
  • Lightweight
  • Exclusive Twin Hammer mechanism

 

CONS

  • Produces lot of noise
  • Inefficient for heavy-duty tasks

3.   Milwaukee 2767-20 High Torque Impact Wrench

POWERSTATE has gained popularity for producing top notch power tools over the years. It's no surprise a unit from this manufacturer made it to our list of impact driver vs impact wrench comparison. This brushless motor delivers up to 1,000 feet per pounds of fastening torque and 1,400 feet per pounds of nut-busting torque. This simply means the tool can handle the toughest task thrown at it.

It Provides the maximum productivity by removing stubborn and high torque fasteners up to 2 times faster than the competition. Although most compact cordless High Torque Impact Wrench have shorter lengths, it records 8.39" in length.

Furthermore, it features an industry leading 4-mode drive control with bolt removal mode, permitting ultimate control. The bolt removal mode delivers supreme nut-busting torque to break fastener free. Consequently, it slows down to 750RPM for more regulation when removing fasteners.

REDLINK PLUS intelligence avoids damage to the tool and battery caused by overloading or overheating The REDLITHIUM batteries deliver more work per charge and more work over the life of the battery.

Furthermore, it features a friction ring design to ensure fast and easy socket changes. The Premium rubber over mold endures corrosive materials and offers increased comfort when in use. Also it costs much more than the I-R 231C, in terms of price.

Finally, this tool also offers reduced user fatigue weighing just only 6.5 pounds with the battery not included. Adding beauty to the environment when working in a darker space, the LED light illuminates the work area. All of these amazing features is the reason why we rated this unit as the best device on our impact driver vs impact wrench review list.

Pros

  • Powerful torque
  • 4-mode drive control
  • Additional bolt removal mode
  • Friction ring design
  • LED light
  • Five years warranty for satisfaction purposes

Cons

  • Expensive 

4.   DEWALT DCF899HB High Torque Impact Wrench

DeWalt has become a household name when it comes to power tools. They have gained popularity for producing efficient tools that remain big in competition on the market and this unit is no exception. In fact, when talking about the tools on the impact driver vs impact wrench review,  DeWalt remains a big name. It features a brushless motor different from other units reviewed for superior performance.

Furthermore, the heavy-duty impact mechanism with maximum torque of 700 feet per pounds and breakaway torque of 1,200 feet per pounds ensures this unit can take on the toughest jobs. Also, it has 3-speed selector switch for controlling the tool.

As with some other units, the LED light helps to brighten the work area for added efficiency. Battery fuel gauge adds to the overall build quality for an awesome design.

Although the build quality doesn’t stand as the best ever seen, yet it can be as durable as it can get. A grip of the tool guarantees that you’re holding a product that will remain strong for a long time. Not only that, but it features  a great battery life that's better than other devices.

The main issues many users have with this impact wrench has to do with the charger. A lot of people complained about the inefficiency of the charger or that it only features a single volt charge. Unfortunately, there’s just one battery included in the box, which means you cannot preserve one on the charger as you work.

Pros

  • LED Light feature
  • Great Battery
  • Multiple speed settings

Cons

  • Some problems with the charger

5.   AIRCAT 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench

The next tool reviewed on our guide of impact driver vs impact wrench remains a distinct unit. The AIRCAT impact wrench is an impact tool that uses compressed air(distinct feature) to offer the power needed to work. Occasionally, it gives a loud hissing sound when used due to the compressed air.

For enhanced nut tightening and loosening activities, the AIRCAT 1150 has grown to become the ideal air impact wrench to use. It produces 1400 hits per minute making it the one of the hardest hitting air impact tools out there.

This powerful product from the Aircraft Pneumatic Tools has a price range great for hobbyist or beginners. The durability and reliability it offers justifies the price. Although the AIRCAT 1150 became commonly used in mechanic or tire shops, the air impact tools remain relatively simple to use.

The sheer power and performance provides loosening torque of 1,295 feet per pound, enough to deal with stubborn nuts. The ergonomic handle design adds to the overall awesome quality of the build.

Also the all-black composite body with aluminum finishing provides enough durability for the toughest work environment. In addition to that, the impact wrench keeps debris away from the operator’s face using the unique through-the handle exhaust feature. Overall this model fails to disappoint in our quick comparison on impact driver vs impact wrench​​.

PROS

  • Powerful torque generated
  • 15% larger cylinder and rotor produces enough power
  • Portable and Lightweight
  • Low operational sound
  • Faster, reliable and sharp hard hitting twin hammer mechanism

CONS

  • The snap ring on the anvil of the AIRCAT 1150 doesn’t get a good grip of the socket.

6.   Porter-Cable PCE211 7.5 Amp 1/2" Impact Wrench

Looking for an affordable, corded electric impact wrench on the impact driver vs impact wrench review list? The Porter-Cable PCE211 then becomes your ultimate choice. It features a 7.5-amp motor delivering a low 450 feet per pound torque. Although the speed has a rating of 2,200 RPM and 2,700 BPM, the unit is effective in its own way.

It has a 1/2-inch hog ring anvil that makes socket changes easy. Furthermore, it features a forward/reverse rocker switch for easy fine-tuning. It weighs 7.8 pounds, similar to some of the cordless impacts with batteries.

This corded electric impact isn’t as powerful as all other products on this review list. But, it’s an inexpensive substitute if you don’t want an air compressor at home and have easy access to a power outlet. But for more heavy-duty jobs, you will definitely need something that offers more torque output.

Finally, the Porter-Cable PCE211 features a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Price
  • Decent power for a corded electric
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Weight 

7.    DEWALT DCF899B High Torque Impact Wrench 

DeWalt provides an upgrade to the existing units in the impact driver vs impact wrench review list. This remains another DeWalt product to add to the list of units with brushless motor for superior performance. The DeWalt DCF899B features a heavy-duty impact mechanism with maximum torque of 700 feet per pounds and breakaway torque 1,200 feet per pounds.

Since it’s a trend observed among DeWalt’s product it has 3-speed selector switch for control. Powerful torque coupled with this with a multi-speed control setting ensures you have a tool that’s powerful and incredibly easy to control.

Thus referred to as an excellent all-rounder. It doesn’t finish highest of the class in any category, but it’s also way better than the last.

The build quality has a really durable and sturdy look to it. Not only that, but it features a decent grip too. It boasts of a great battery life too, and even has a nifty little LED light to lighten up darker working conditions.

The chief issues people had with this unit has to do with the charger. Many people said that the charger became defective in a short while or that it only had a single volt charger. Unfortunately, there’s only a single battery in the box, which means you can’t save one on charge ready to use when the other runs out.

All of these amazing features got this unit onto our impact driver vs impact wrench review.

Pros

  • Very good at most things
  • LED light feature
  • Multiple speed settings
  • Durable build

Cons

  • Problems with the charger
  • Doesn’t have any unique feature better than other units

Top 4 Impact Driver

1.   DEWALT DCF885C1 20V Max 1/4" Impact Driver Kit

As stated earlier, expect to have DeWalt as much as possible on the impact driver vs impact wrench quick comparison. The DeWalt 1/4 inch impact driver is the ideal purchase for a beginner due to its compact build, which gives it a lightweight body. All contractors and DIY projects enthusiast should have an impact driver. 

Most users prefer drivers like the DCF885C1 20V Max because it makes it easier to use in different places without having to bother about dragging around a long cable.

Also because DeWalt remains one of the top brands to think through when selecting an impact driver. It features a hex drive system, which simply means that the user can attach any fastener on it. These includes lug nuts, screws and bolts. The versatility it offers makes it suitable for various tasks.

The charge is fitted with automated shut off feature, meaning that when the battery completes recharging, it will cut off the power supply. This ensures the user does not have to bother about energy wastage.

To change the bits on this impact driver, you will come across little complication. This ease remains another benefit it offers beginners or first-time users.

 DeWalt built the DCF885C1 with LED lights that turns on exactly 20 seconds after pulling the trigger. The improved visibility makes it possible to work with the impact driver in dark tight areas.

Weighing just 2.8 pounds, it remains very portable and lightweight. Supporting voltage rating of 20V and delivering maximum torque of 1,400 inches per pounds, it can handle tough tasks with ease.

Pros

  • A lot of power per charge (1,400lbs of torque)
  • Compact to fit into tight areas.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • 3 LED lights for enhanced visibility.

Cons

  • Low lasting battery life.

2.   DEWALT DCK240C2  Drill Driver/Impact Combo Kit

If you need a high-quality power drill, then you should consider the DeWalt DCK240C2 from this impact driver vs impact wrench list. Those already accustomed to the world of power tools don’t need to be told DeWalt. For the newbies or beginners, know that DeWalt remains one of, if not the biggest, manufacturer of excellent power tools in the market today.

This unit is very light weight, versatile, and is improved for accessing tight spaces. Purchasing this unit, you get a drill and a driver in this combo set.  

This set is considered as really great option for people who just started out in the world of tools and trying to grow their collection. This models lightweight won’t leave you fatigued after long hours of work as it features a weight of only a few pounds.

The dimensions of the product remain the best for small spaces. In short, the smaller the drill, the easier the use for a variety of different projects.

Furthermore, it features an ergonomic grip design, which ensures that users enjoys a comfortable experience with this tool. Talking about the build, the motor featured on this drill is also impressive. The unit has multiple speed settings that gives you the option to operate the drill at a rate of 0-450 RPM, or 0-1500RPM.

The variable speed component, and the high rate of maximum power increases user’s efficiency. Like most modern high-end tools, the DCK240C2 places high emphasis on the visibility of your work piece.

This is done through the placement of three LED lights near the chuck of the tool. These LED's light up the darkened spaces.

Pros

  • Combo Set
  • Good Motor
  • LED Light
  • Compact Design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • High Price Point
  • Battery problems after extensive use

3.   Makita XDT131 Cordless Impact Driver Kit (3.0Ah)

Makita breaks the trend of DeWalt products in this impact driver vs impact wrench review list with an impressive unit. The Makita XDT111 18V LXT Lithium ion cordless impact driver remains one of the best impact drivers packed with features. It delivers both power and speed effectively when required. Furthermore, it has a four pole motor with four brush design that supplies more speed without affecting the torque.

With this incredible motor, you can achieve variable speeds from 0 - 2900 RPM and 0 - 3500 RPM.  In addition to is speed is its maximum power which is 1,460 pounds of torque. This driver also features a branded LXT technology that makes the charger to charge the batteries alike and doesn’t charge them again when full.

This features improves the battery life and overall sturdiness of the batteries. Measuring only 5-⅜ inch in length and weighing just 3.9 pounds, this impact driver becomes full of its worth.

The 3.0Ah batteries on this unit remain the one feature which you cannot ask more for. These cells can hold for the whole day, and with the rapid charger in the kit, you won't be disappointed.

It also features an LED light attached just above the trigger that helps to light up the dark spaces and make operations much easier.

Not only this, but the driver also features Extreme Protection Technology (EPT) that provides better dust and water resistance. This protection ensures you can operate the tool in any kind of conditions such that your job doesn’t hold because of the tool.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Durable all metal gear housing plus entire body made of plastic
  • Latest and reliable technologies
  • Rapid charger with clear LED indications
  • Three-year limited warranty and 90-day return period

Cons

  • Reduced weight giving a less premium feeling

4.   DEWALT DCF887B 3-Speed Impact Driver

Last on this impact driver vs impact wrench review list, we also have another unit from DeWalt. This impact driver has additional screwing features and fastener damage like other devices on our list. The DeWalt DCF887 model thus becomes the perfect addition to any craftsmen’s toolbox. It has great quality and offers a 3-LED halo light ring that makes you see in darker conditions.

It features the modern brushless technology and 250Nm of torque. This DCF887 model also features a 3-speed setting that helps get the job done 3 times as fast or slower. The compact, portable and lightweight design allows users to fit it into tight spaces without hassle.

Furthermore, the weight of this unit makes it easier to use for long periods of time. However, the product doesn’t rate so well with regard to the quality of the batteries.

Additionally, the model needs enhancements in the setting strength as there have been issues with varying the setting from the 1st to others. Despite this, it’s still an impact driver worth whatever prize slammed on it!

DeWalt has grown to become a trustworthy brand producing good quality products for both beginners and professionals. They offer a great 3-year limited warranty on their products (including this DCF887 model!). This means that if have any issues, they can sort them out! 

Pros

  • Brushless motor technology
  • 3 Speed Settings
  • Compact and Lightweight Design

Cons

  • Wobbly Chuck
  • Bad quality included batteries
  • Low setting strength

Difference Between Impact Driver and Impact Wrench

Although, these tools have been discussed in details in all the sections of the impact driver vs impact wrench comparison. It's important to understand the thin line that exist between them. Impact Wrench works great on jobs calling for care or accuracy. Also, it supplies constant torque as seen in most of the products reviewed. 

Furthermore, impact wrenches accept a wide variety of drills, screw-driving bits and other accessories such as rotary sanders and wire-wheel brushes. 

Impact drivers on the other hand powers screws through some very dense material with higher torque and concussive blows. Unlike the wrenches, it prevents wrist strain because it’s doing more work. As expected, it drives long screws with little effort and has less tendency to strip screws.

Advantageously, you can easily fit impact drivers into tight spaces due to its smaller body. Unfortunately, it costs more than the wrenches and produces much noise. Sometimes it could be too much of a beast for delicate duties.

Finally, you should become aware of our top picks of all the tools reviewed in the impact driver vs impact wrench list. The Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 stands as the best amongst the impact wrenches. While the Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion takes the top pick amongst the 4 impact drivers reviewed.