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Types of Impact Wrenches

Updated on November 28, 2016

Impact Wrenches

Impact wrenches are one of the most commonly used tools, and are found in virtually every mechanic's shop and construction job site. Further, an impact wrench can be manually operated, or it can be powered by electricity or compressed air. Certainly, impact guns make many jobs much easier to perform and are great time savers. Lastly, impact wrenches can often be misused by people who don't know about impact guns special needs.

The three main types of impact wrenches are electric impact wrench, cordless impact wrench and air impact wrench powered or pneumatic impact wrenches.

Electric Impact Wrenches

An electric impact wrench will make any mechanical job a breeze. Specifically, electric impact wrenches are available, either corded powered, or battery powered for automotive use. Furthermore, Battery powered impact wrenches come in power ranges from 12-volt or 24-volt DC-power. Similarly, an electrical or air-powered impact wrench works much the same way when you pull the trigger impact from tiny hammers inside the wrench is transformed into a rotary motion. Recently, cordless electric impact wrenches have become common, although their power outputs are still significantly lower than corded electric or air-powered equivalents. Lastly, quarter inch hex drive is becoming increasingly popular for small impact wrenches, especially cordless electric versions, allowing them to fit standard screwdriver tips rather than sockets.

Air-Powered Impact Wrenches

Compressed air is the most common power source for impact wrenches, providing a low-cost design with the best power-to-weight ratio. Many users chose to equip their air-powered impact wrenches with a short length of air hose rather than attaching an air fitting directly to the tool. Also, many air impact wrenches incorporate a flow regulator into their design, either as a separate control or part of the reversing valve, allowing torque to be roughly limited in one or both directions, while electric tools may use a variable speed trigger for the same effect. Lastly, select ergonomic designed air impact wrenches that reduce operator fatigue and comfort heightened for a longer time on the job.

Cordless Impact Wrenches

Cordless impact drivers and wrenches are undoubtedly the handiest and most versatile power tools for driving a wide variety of fasteners during almost any construction project. They're compact, lightweight, and compared to a conventional cordless drill they can deliver an amazing amount of speed and power with better control. To illustrate, cordless impact drivers work like a typical cordless drill until greater torque is needed, at which point the spring and cam mechanism kicks in, with up to 3,000 blows-per-minute (bpm) to increase the torque by almost triple the amount of a cordless drill (e.g. DeWALT's12-volt cordless impact driver develops 1,000 in/lbs. of maximum torque compared to 350 for a 12-volt drill). And, unlike a hammerdrill, the bit doesn't "hammer" in and out while rotating - it maintains contact with the fastener even as the hammering effect occurs inside the tool. After trying these tools, you'll wonder why you never picked one up before.

In brief, impact wrenches are widely used in many industries, such as automotive repair, heavy equipment maintenance, product assembly (often called "pulse tools" and designed for precise torque output), major construction projects, and any other instance where a high torque output is needed. Impact wrenches are one of the most commonly used air tools, and are found in virtually every mechanic's shop. These powerful, ergonomically designed wrenches offer versatility and reliability to electric and communications utilities, who demand a combination of high torque and on-the-job comfort. Therefore, anyone serious about tools should have one of these impact wrenches in their toolbox!


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A good impact wrenches must posses 3 important factors. 1st: it must be portable, easy to carry around and rechargeable battery without the wires. 2nd: small and compact, easy to handle, small in size, easy for storage. 3rd: powerful drilling. At least it serves the purpose of screwing and unscrewing, even the narrower place to reach.

    • dieseldodge09 profile image


      10 years ago from Texas

      I have to say I use impacts every day in my career as a diesel mechanic. I have owned several brands of half inch impacts like Snap on, Cornwell, and Ingersoll Rand. From my own opinion the Ingersoll Rand composite series blow away the top competition with higher forward torque and reverse torque, they also last longer. So make your next impact purchase worth while with Ingersoll.


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