impact driver vs impact wrench

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench: Which Should You Opt For?

If you’re working on a project, you need to ensure that you have all the necessary tools and materials to finish the task. You’ll also need to know the difference between an impact driver vs an impact wrench.

In MyBoatPlans, you will get a complete list of what you will need for your chosen project.

Choosing between an impact driver vs impact wrench or any other tool may be overwhelming at times.

Using excellent tools will ensure the success of whatever project you’re doing, be it as simple as fixing broken items or building a boat.

For now, let’s focus on impact drivers and impact wrenches and how you can use them on your project.

What Is an Impact Driver?

This tool looks similar to a standard drill but produces more power.

It can quickly drill through bricks, metal, and wood thanks to its high torque.

Impact drivers are compact and can eliminate the risk of your wrist from getting twisted due to the tool’s intense force.

It’s outfitted with a standard hexagon collet that measures ¼ inch for the bits to stay in place.

This loud tool is perfect for driving screws with ease, even on hard materials.

However, an impact driver does not have a clutch unlikes power drills.

This power drill feature automatically halts the tool’s function after reaching a specific torque level.

Uses of an Impact Driver

An impact driver is mainly used for driving large fasteners, long screws, and lag bolts quickly.

It is also a perfect tool for standard drilling tasks.

This power tool can drive-in or loosen jammed screws with ease.

It may not be as popular as cordless drills, but they can prove their worth.

Impact drivers are also suitable for standard drill works by attaching drill bits to fit its hexagonal shank.

Benefits of an Impact Driver

The most notable benefit of an impact driver is its ability to produce high-torque and high-impact levels.

Another critical feature worth looking at is the tool’s head length.

The shorter the head length of an impact driver, the better it can perform in tight and awkward spaces.

This compact device can easily fit in narrow spaces and is comfortable to hold even for long periods.

An impact driver is convenient to use on self-driving screws, which require higher torque because you don’t have to make a hole.

You will not experience any recoil when using an impact driver due to its intense power.

The lightness of this device also eliminates hand strain and fatigue.

Drawbacks of an Impact Driver

Impact drills have two disadvantages worth considering.

One is the level of noise they produce when used. Another is that you need to use dedicated bits to accomplish various tasks.

impact driver vs impact wrench

What Is an Impact Wrench?

An impact wrench is smaller, shorter, and thicker than an impact driver, but has more power.

Its standard type can fit 1/2 inch sockets of different sizes.

It also has a loud sound but because of the amount of power generated when in use.

Different Types of Power Sources

There are four types of impact wrench power source, namely:   

  • Corded: Corded impact wrenches have to be connected to an electrical source to function.
  • Cordless: A cordless impact wrench usually comes with a rechargeable battery pack that needs constant charging.
  • Air-Powered: Race mechanics commonly use an air-powered impact wrench because of its impressive speed.
  • Hydraulic: This not-so-common power source uses a fluid technology for its hydraulic power source with low-pressure.

Uses of an Impact Wrench

Impact wrenches are always present in a mechanic’s toolbox.

They usually use this tool to loosen lug nuts on trucks and cars.

This tool is also suitable for all high-torque situations and various industries like automotive repair, product assembly, heavy equipment maintenance, and construction projects.

Benefits of an Impact Wrench

An impact wrench can remove a stubborn bolt quickly without too much effort; in fact, this same tool can also secure bolts.

Most impact wrenches are compact and lightweight, allowing you to use them even in tight areas.

Impact wrenches also have a design that can help eliminate hand strain and fatigue. Plus, they have an impressive speed.

Drawbacks of an Impact Wrench

This device is not suitable for home use, especially because of the deafening sound it produces.

Impact wrenches are also not suitable for beginners.

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench

Now that we have defined each power tool let us check their differences in several important features.

Torque Output

An impact driver produces more RPM but with less torque. An impact wrench does the opposite with less RPM but with higher torque.

As such, impact wrenches are more powerful, making them perfect tools for heavy-duty jobs.

Basic Principle

An impact drive features a ¼ inch hexagonal collet while the impact wrench has a ½ inch square drive.

Impact drivers use force in an axial and rotational direction, while impact wrenches blow in rotational direction alone.

Impact drivers can drive screws and drill holes. On the contrary, impact wrenches can loosen or drive-in heavy bolts and lug nuts.

Power Source

Impact drivers are usually powered by electricity or batteries, while impact wrenches use electricity and compressed air to function.

Ease of Use

Impact drivers are more user-friendly that even newbie DIYers can easily adjust to the tool’s functions.

That said, although an impact driver is user-friendly, an impact wrench is hefty and has more power.


Impact drivers have a natural advantage in this aspect because they usually come with various adapter bits and accessories.

They can accommodate various screw sizes and shapes without the need to buy a different driver.


Impact wrenches offer better efficiency based on the high amount of force they produce and the incredible speed they can complete a task.


When it comes to durability, you can expect both power tools to last a long time.


An impact driver is perfect for drilling long screws for different surfaces like wood or metal.

On the other hand, an impact wrench can either tighten or loosen bolts and nuts.

Impact drivers can easily handle DIY projects, renovations, carpentry, and general household chores.

On the other hand, impact wrenches excel in heavy-duty tasks, such as car operations or auto repair, product assembly, heavy equipment maintenance, and large construction jobs.

impact driver vs impact wrench

Safety Tips When Using Power Tools

Although impact wrenches and impact drivers are two different tools, there is no difference in how to use them safely.

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe while operating either an impact wrench or an impact driver:

Wear Eye and Ear Protection

Always wear excellent safety glasses while working to protect your eyes from dust and other flying debris.

On the same note, protecting your ears is as important as keeping your eyes safe.

That is most especially since these tools have loud sounds when being used.

You can wear earplugs to prevent damage to your ears.

Don’t Wear Loose Clothes and Jewelry

Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can get caught in the device as you work.

These things are safety hazards that you can avoid easily.

Always Rely on the Instruction Manual

Read and understand the instruction or owner’s manual before using any power tools to prevent accidents and serious injuries.

Take Good Care of Your Tools

It’s vital to regularly check the condition of your tools before you start using them.

Make sure to clean after every use and store it in its designated area.

These practices will not only prolong the lifespan of your equipment but will also ensure your safety.

Specifically, impact wrenches require regular lubrication to maintain its excellent functionality.

Use the Correct Accessories

Never use accessories not specifically designed for your power tools.

Doing so will not only damage your device but will also put you at risk and be injured while using it.


Building a boat will require different tools for various tasks to complete its construction.

MyBoatPlans provides a comprehensive guide on what tools to use for a specific work, allowing you to get the most out of your devices.

A cordless drill has been part of the boat making process for a long time.

With the addition of impact drivers, you can get past issues you might encounter in the engine compartment or other boat parts.

On the other hand, the compressed air power from an impact wrench provides fast and efficient performance of different tasks that an impact driver cannot perform.

Which One Should You Use?

So, which one should you use between impact driver vs impact wrench to finish your boat building project?

Generally speaking, there are certain aspects in the boat building stage where you will require both tools.

Driving in large screws is a task that can be carried out by an impact driver, whereas an impact wrench can help you with tightening nuts and bolts with impressive speed.

Make sure that you look for the essential features when checking power tools

They include power, speed, battery life, motor type, size, weight, and comfort.

Building your boat’s console according to MyBoatPlans guidelines and recommendations using these power tools will ensure a successful project.

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