Impact Drivers Vs Impact Wrenches – What Are The Differences?

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Sharaj

Impact drivers and impact wrenches are similar tools but with significant differences.

Choosing between the two depends largely on your goals and expectations.

However, if you know the differences between the two, it will be easier for you to make the right decision.

Impact Driver

Ryobi Impact Driver 18V

An impact driver is also called an impact drill, and it is a powerful tool with the capability of exerting high revolving torque and hammering blows with the aid of an inner impact mechanism. It is an indispensable tool for professionals and DIY dudes.

Usually, it is used for driving screws and fasteners into objects. Also, it can be used to remove screws and fasteners when you reverse the switch.

Besides, it can be used to drill holes in sturdy materials, but if you want to drill masonry, you should use a hammer drill. Cordless drills can also be used to do the jobs of impact drivers but with less efficiency.

This is because impact drivers make use of a blend of percussive power and rotational power for quick driving of screws and fasteners.

Impact Wrench

impact wrench

An impact wrench is also known as an impact gun, and it is an ideal tool for driving fasteners and lug nuts requiring high rotation force. It can be used to tighten or remove bolts, screws as well as fasteners.

It performs the same role as an impact driver but with greater force and power. Where other tools fail, especially when frozen nuts or rusted bolts are concerned, an impact wrench will rise to the occasion.

Usually, impact wrenches are powered by compressed air or electricity. Compressed air-powered wrenches are more powerful, but they require the consistent provision of compressed air.

Electric wrenches can be cordless or corded, and the cordless models make use of batteries. Impact wrenches are popular in the automobile/metalworking industry and production assembly lines.

Differences Between Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches

Even though they look similar, impact drivers and impact wrenches have some significant differences. The two tools are used in entirely different settings.

An impact driver is used on many home improvement projects, carpentry works and so on. As a result of this, they are trendy among amateur DIYers as well as professionals.

Due to the huge power of impact wrenches, they are usually used by professionals. They are very popular in automobile workshops because their ability makes it possible to use them for tightening or removing car/truck bolts quickly.

It is worthy of note that the power of impact wrenches may not be ideal for home projects. For example, if you use them on a wrong screw, especially a short one, you may end up over-tightening the screw.

Some impact wrenches have internal attachments preventing overtightening, but they are more expensive and not as common as regular impact wrenches.

A typical example of the superiority of an impact wrench over an impact driver is given below. An ideal impact driver should be able to provide you with a torque of about 2,000 inch-pounds.

If you get an impact wrench, you should expect a torque of about 1250 feet-pounds which is equivalent to 15,000 inch-pounds. This is about 7 times more power.

Who Should Get Each Kind of Tool?

An impact driver is the best choice for amateur home fixer and professionals can also use it. It has a wide range of applications ensuring that you get value for your money.

However, if you will be involved in specific jobs like machinery maintenance, auto repair, construction projects, and so on, you will need an impact wrench.

Getting An Ideal Impact Driver

If you can lay your hands on a perfect impact driver, it will be easy for you to carry out active jobs at all times.

Since it will give you more torque than an ordinary drill, it is essential to get it right when making a choice.

Cordless or Corded?

Your expectations will determine whether you should go for a cordless or corded product. With a cordless machine, you won’t have to worry about confinement as you can move around without much hassle.

You can use it to drive any fasteners into both hard and soft materials. However, if used for driving large fasteners in quick succession, it can get hot.

Corded models are popular in garages and workshops because they have more power to drive and remove stubborn fasteners. They come with an improved gear reduction system, making them last longer and stay cooler. They are usually heavy, and this can slow down your work.

Which Type Should I Go For?

If you want a cheap option that will be used to drive large fasteners quickly, you can consider the corded model.

However, you need to note that it is cumbersome and your movement will be restricted. Cordless models are more expensive but will do the job more conveniently because they are lighter.

What To Consider

If you want to purchase an impact driver, you need to put your ear to the ground so that you will be able to make the right choice. You will need to decide if you are going for a brushed or brushless motor.

Brushless motors are more effective than brushed motors but more expensive. Brushless motors generate less noise and heat, and that is why they are convenient for use.

Also, you will need to consider the torque of the machine you want to buy. If you are purchasing a cordless product, you need to consider the battery capacity so that you will have the idea of its runtime. A right product should also have an ergonomic handle so that its operation will be convenient.


Choosing between an impact wrench and impact driver remains very critical because of their similarities.

However, with the breaking down of the differences between these two tools in this piece, it should be easier for you to choose one that will meet your expectations.

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