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February 19, 2021
Impact power tools are great for handling a variety of tough projects. From driving in screws to removing stubborn nuts, impact tools make these tasks easy to accomplish. Thanks to modern innovations and intensive R&D on lithium-ion batteries, cordless impact power tools have been taken over the market. They have become powerful and efficient enough to replace corded and even some pneumatic tools, but not all impact tools are created equal. This begs the question, what’s the differences between an impact driver and impact wrench? Let’s take a quick look.
When putting them side-by-side, impact drivers and impact wrenches are very similar in design, until you notice the drive. Impact drivers features a drive (also referred as chuck or collet) that only accommodate 1/4" hex bits, which is great for when you need to fasten different types of screws. The drive on impact wrenches is different, they are called square drive. They come in three common sizes: 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2" square drives. Additionally, they are also available in two styles, friction ring or pin detent. Instead of screwdriving bits, impact wrenches are known to operate with sockets.
TOP IMPACT DRIVERS
DEWALT DCF887D2 20V MAX 1/4-INCH 3-SPEED BRUSHLESS IMPACT DRIVER KIT
MILWAUKEE 2551-22 M12 FUEL 12V SURGE 1/4 INCH HEX HYDRAULIC DRIVER KIT
DEWALT DCF801F2 12V MAX XTREME BRUSHLESS 1/4 INCH CORDLESS IMPACT DRIVER KIT
DEWALT DCF809C2 20V MAX 1/4 INCH BRUSHLESS COMPACT ATOMIC IMPACT DRIVER KIT
MILWAUKEE 2853-22PO M18 FUEL 18V 1/4" LI-ION CORDLESS IMPACT DRIVER WITH PACKOUT KIT
Another noticeable difference is between the power and torque. These two handheld impacts both deliver great power, no argument there, but how they are applied and used in the field is very different. For example, impact drivers are mostly used to drill in (or remove) long screws into a variety of material. The torque on these drivers is measured in inch-pounds (in-lb). Whereas impact wrenches are used to loosen or tighten hex head fasteners like nuts and bolts. The force created by them is measured in foot-pounds (ft-lbs). When comparing, impact wrenches will usually offer more power and torque.
TOP IMPACT WRENCHS
DEWALT DCF894P2 20V MAX XR 1/2-INCH DETENT PIN ANVIL IMPACT WRENCH KIT
DEWALT DCF902F2 12V MAX XTREME BRUSHLESS 3/8 INCH CORDLESS IMPACT WRENCH KIT
MILWAUKEE 2767-22 M18 FUEL 18V 1/2-INCH FRICTION RING IMPACT WRENCH KIT
MILWAUKEE M12 2554-22 M12 FUEL 12V 3/8-INCH STUBBY IMPACT WRENCH KIT
MILWAUKEE 2864-22 M18 FUEL 18V 3/4-INCH FRICTION RING IMPACT WRENCH KIT
So let’s recap: impact drivers and impact wrenches are very similar in design, but that is where the similarities end. These two impacts are very trade specific in my opinion. Which one to buy or operate really depends on the application or task. Let me ask you this, does your day consists of driving in screws at a job site or DIY project? If so, an impact driver is what you want in your hand. The speed and power will help bury those screws in fast! If you’re working on automobiles or industrial machinery that requires to remove or fasten nuts and bolts, grab an impact wrench. This will give you the torque you need to get the job done!
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