Impact Wrench Comparison
Impact Wrench Buying Guide
What is an Impact Wrench?
An impact wrench is a powered socket wrench that incorporates a hammering and twisting motion simultaneously to deliver high torque to the nut or bolt during driving or removing. Other names that an impact wrench has been known by include rattle gun, torque gun, air wrench and air gun. They will use one of three power sources: air, battery or electricity.
There are three common types of power that an impact wrench might use:
- Compressed air – many professional mechanics use compressed air impact wrenches at the garage when fixing cars. The air tank is connected to the wrench and acts as the main power source. The air compressor helps the impact wrench to generate a lot of torque. This makes it very good for heavier jobs. Without an electrical source of power, air compression impact wrenches are relatively lightweight. The only drawback is that you will need to have a tank of compressed air ready to make it work.
- Electricity – Electricity-powered impact wrenches also provide a lot of torque. They are not quite as strong as the impact wrenches that use compressed air. Electricity powered impact wrenches are well suited for smaller jobs such as a home workshop. You will need electricity to run these types of impact wrenches. Corded impact wrenches are not very heavy at all due to the absence of a battery supply attached to the impact wrench.
- Battery- Some impact wrenches use battery power. They are cordless which makes them very convenient to move around. You will need to make sure that the battery is fully charged so you don’t run out of power when you are in the middle of a job. Many users will buy an extra battery to keep on hand for when one loses its charge. This will prevent any lapse in using the tool.
What to Look for When Buying an Impact Wrench
When you are looking for a good impact wrench you want to be certain that you consider the different features that they can have. If you only use an impact wrench at home or rarely, you will not need the same quality or power that you will if using the impact wrench is something you use daily.
- Torque – Torque is what is needed to remove a fastener and having enough torque will determine the types of jobs you can do. Look for a minimum of 150 feet-pounds. (1800 in-lbs)
- Weight – How heavy the impact wrench is can affect certain things like how tired your hand and arm gets as well as other things. Weight isn’t that big a deal for short projects but if you’re doing a long project, a heavy impact wrench can cause a lot of tiredness .
- Size – The smaller the impact wrench is the better but unfortunately there is usually a sacrificing of torque the smaller the impact wrench gets. Not all the time but it is something to watch out for.
- No Load Speed – This is how fast the wrench turns when it is not doing anything. Higher no load speeds will fasten the screws and bolts more quickly but sometimes a higher speed means lower torque. If you have to choose between higher speed and higher torque, go with the higher torque.
- Drive Size – The most common drive size is ½” which works for almost all applications. The next size that is commonly use is 3/8”. That will be a smaller torque wrench overall and will have less torque than a ½” drive wrench.
- Ergonomics – Ideally you want to choose an impact wrench that is easy to handle and easy to hold and use, even for long periods of time. Comfortable grip materials are also important for comfort. A comfortable impact wrench handle means you can take care of longer jobs with less fatigue and cramping or soreness.
- Warranties – Find an impact wrench with a good Warranty. Most manufacturers offer at least a one year warranty, although you will find some that offer 2, 5 and even longer warranties.
- Torque Adjustment – This feature allows the user to adjust the amount of output torque that the impact wrench is providing. This is very good in preventing overtorquing or snapping a bolt head right off.
- Impacts per Minute – A higher n umber of impacts per minute means the impact wrench can drive screws faster and will also be able to loosen the bolts that are torque more tightly.
How Not to Use an Impact Wrench
- Don’t overtorque the fastener to ensure that it doesn’t get stripped or broken off.
- Don’t start threading the bolt using the impact wrench. Start it by hand and then go from there.
- Don’t use sockets that are not designed for impact wrenches.
- Wear safety goggles when using the impact wrench. Applying that much force on metal parts can result in tiny pieces chipping off and flying right into your eyes.
Compared to your other tools, impact wrenches are more specialized in what they do but that does not make them any less important or valuable in your tool box. Whenever you have to deal with larger nuts and bolts you will really appreciate having a goof quality impact wrench on hand. It is even more important if you work on vehicles for a hobby, or you have an actual automotive repair business.
The information provided to you in this buyer’s guide will help you by giving you the knowledge you need to sort through the many different impact wrenches that are available. Make sure you know what you will need your impact wrench for and how often you will be using it and you will be all set to choose the perfect impact wrench for your specific needs.
- Ingersoll-Rand – http://www.ingersollrandproducts.com/
- Bostitch – http://www.bostitch.com/products/
- DEWALT – http://www.dewalt.com/