Whether you are a mechanic or you are a craftsman, an impact wrench is certainly a tool that you are going to want to have in your workshop. A highly powerful wrench, an impact wrench is often used for loosening lug nuts from cars and trucks, and any other situation that requires the use of heavy torque. When it comes to buying an impact wrench, you are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from. While having a lot of choices is a good thing, it can make it difficult to determine what type of impact wrench you should purchase. So, how do you determine which tool will work best for your needs? – By reading this buyer’s guide, of course! In this guide, we highlight all of the important things that you need to know in order to purchase the best impact wrench for your needs, including the different types of impact wrenches, the factors that you should take into consideration when purchasing one, the features that they can offer, and the best impact wrench brands. After reading this guide, you will have all of the information that you need to find and purchase the impact wrench that will best suit your needs.
Types of Impact Wrenches
An impact wrench can either be shaped like a pistol, or it can be shaped like an oversized screwdriver; whichever form it comes in, this tool has a motor that will build up energy through a rotating mass that is located inside the wrench. This then pushes the mass into an anvil on the end of the wrench, which creates enough torque to fix a large steel bolt in place. The mass, which is similar to a hammer, continues to rotates so that you feel very little impact when you are using it.
With all of that said, while impact wrenches are all designed to do the same thing, where they differ is how they are powered. There are three types of impact wrenches, which include:
- The pneumatic impact wrench
- The corded electric impact wrench
- The cordless electric impact wrench
Below, you will find a detailed description of each of these three types of impact wrenches, including how they work, their benefits and some of their disadvantages, too.
The Pneumatic Impact Wrench
The pneumatic impact wrench is powered by compressed air. This is the most traditional of all impact wrenches, and it was the first type of impact wrench made. Pneumatic impact wrenches require an air compressor to supply it with the compressed air which serves as its power source. They come in a variety of drive sizes, which include 0.25 inch, 0.375 inch, 0.50 inch, 0.75 inch and 1 inch. Basically, the drive size describes the amount of torque that the tool can provide. For example, a 1 inch drive size can produce torque of 3000 feet/lbs. Generally, the higher the drive size an impact wrench offers, the larger the amount of torque it can produce. The main advantage of a pneumatic impact wrench is that it can be used constantly, even in situations where there isn’t any power available because all that is needed to operate it is compressed air, which is not difficult to find. The pneumatic impact wrench is also typically smaller than the other types of impact wrenches, which makes it the perfect for working in tight areas or restricted spaces.
On the downside, it can be difficult to adjust the power on a pneumatic impact wrench. Typically, they do not offer with a power adjustment mechanism, which makes it difficult to use them, particularly in situations where less power is needed. When just a little torque is needed, a pneumatic impact wrench may produce excessive power which can end up breaking, shattering or damaging the bolts, which is definitely not a good thing.
The Corded Electric Impact Wrench
The corded electric impact wrench is powered electricity. It has a power cord, which connects the tool to a power source. The corded electric power wrenches aren’t very common, since more manufacturers are now shifting towards creating cordless ones; however, models can still be found, though they are only available in drive sizes of 0.75 inch and 0.50 inch. The corded electric impact wrench typically has a longer body than pneumatic wrenches; the extra length is added by an electric motor, which produces the torque. The main advantage of the corded electric impact wrench is that as long as there is a power supply, it can be used continuously. Also, the amount of power can be regulated, which makes them useful in situations when little torque is required. Electrical impact wrenches also do not require an air compressor to operate, which is also another benefit. On the downside, because you need to have access to a power supply in order to use this type of impact wrench, it is rendered completely useless if you are not near an electrical outlet. This can impact where you can use the wrench.
The Cordless Electric Impact Wrench
The cordless electric impact wrench is, as the name suggest, is powered by batteries. Typically, lithium-ion or nickel-cadium batteries are used. The batteries can range from 18 to 28 volts, depending on the model, and they are usually rechargeable. The cordless electric impact wrench is one of the most common on the market types of impact wrenches on the market. They come in a variety of models, drive sizes and price ranges. The main advantage of the cordless electric impact wrench is portability. Because it does not require an external source of power, it can be used virtually anywhere, making them very versatile. It offers convenience and flexibility, especially when you need to make repairs outside of your workshop and there isn’t a power source available. On the downside, the cordless electric impact wrench is less powerful than corded or pneumatic impact wrench because the batteries simply cannot store enough power to produce enough torque for more powerful tasks. The power in the batteries also tends to run out faster, which can lead to interruptions when you are trying to get your work completed.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Impact Wrench
In order to choose the best impact wrench for your specific needs, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration. Some of the most important factors to consider include the torque the impact wrench offers, the weight of the tool and the number of impacts per minute. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best impact wrench for your specific needs. To learn more about these and other factors that we consider to be the most important when you are shopping for an impact wrench, keep on reading.
The torque of the impact wrench
One of the most important factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when shopping for an impact wrench is the torque that it offers. You want to make sure that you have enough torque to remove the fastener that you are trying to remove. The higher the torque, the more capable the impact wrench will be. At minimum, an impact wrench should offer 150 feet – pounds of torque.
The weight of the impact wrench
The weight of the impact wrench is another important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration. The weight of the wrench will impact how comfortable you will be while using it. If you are going to be mainly working on short projects, weight won’t be too much of an issue; however, if you are going to be using it for longer periods of time, a heavy impact wrench will be cumbersome.
The size of the impact wrench
The size of the impact wrench is also important. Typically, the smaller the size is, the better; however, the smaller the size, the less torque it is probably going to have. If you are going to be working in smaller spaces, an impact wrench that is small in size will work well for you.
The impacts per minute
The number of impacts per minute is also something else that you want to pay attention to when you are shopping for an impact wrench. The number of impacts per minute refers to the number of times the hammer hits the anvil in one minute. Typically, a higher number means that your wrench will be able to drive screws in faster and loosen bolts that are torqued more tightly with greater ease.
The no load speed
This refers to the speed at which the wrench turns when there isn’t a load present. Usually, a higher speed will fasten screws more quickly, but this also means a lower torque. If you aren’t sure which to pick, opt for more torque.
The drive size
The drive size is also important. Typically, a ½” drive will work for most applications, and is therefore the most popular size. The 3/8” drive size is the second most popular size. Tyipcally, while a 3/8” will be smaller, it will also offer less torque.
The torque adjustment of the impact wrench
This will allow you to control the output torque of the wrench, which will help you reduce the chances of overtorquing a bolt or snapping its head.
The build of the impact wrench
Not all impact wrenches are designed with the same balance and ergonomics; two elements that are important to the function of an impact wrench. Shop for a wrench that will fit your hand, that offers a comfortable grip material, and that is well balanced, as this will help to reduce fatigue when using the wrench.
The Cost of the Impact Wrench
The cost of the impact wrench is also something that you are going to want to consider. These tools can vary widely in price, so you want to make sure that you set your budget before you start shopping so you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with spending. Generally, the more powerful the wrench is and the more features that it offers, the more expensive it is going to be.
The Features Impact Wrenches Can Offer
There are a number of features that impact wrenches can offer. These features are intended to make the impact wrench more versatile and easier to use. As was mentioned above, the more features that an impact wrench offers, the more expensive it is going to be. It is important to understand the different features that an impact wrench offers so that you can determine if you want or need them, and if the added price will be worth the investment.
Here’s a look at some of the top features that an impact wrench can offer.
In order to make it easier to see what you are doing, you may want to consider purchasing an impact wrench that has a built in light. With this feature, you will be able to clearly see what you are working on.
Some impact wrenches come with a case, which makes it very easy and convenient to carry your wrench around in. It also helps to protect your impact wrench.
To ensure your impact wrench doesn’t slip while you are using it, look for one that features an anti-slip grip, which will not only prevent slipping, but it will also improve comfort.
The Best Impact Wrench Brands
If you want to purchase the best impact wrench possible, you are going to want to choose one of these brands.
Craftsman is one of the most trusted names in the tool industry. Their impact wrenches are versatile, offer a number of features, are easy to use and extremely powerful.
Another well known name in the tool market, Dewalt impact wrenches are powerful, durable and last a long time. This company makes several types of impact wrenches, so you will be sure to find one that will suite your needs when you are shopping with them.
This company has been in business for generations. They are committed to producing high quality products, and their impact wrenches are exceptional. Users report that they are durable, that they last a long time and that they can get any job done.