5 Major Differences Between An Impact Wrench & An Impact Driver

You may have thought that both impact drivers and impact wrenches are variations of the same tool. The tools might work in a similar way but they are very different.

If you are thinking of renovating your house or trying to complete DIY projects, you might be in a dilemma while choosing between an impact driver & an impact wrench. Both of these tools come in handy for completing tasks like fixing broken objects, making furniture, laying decking,

However, each of them has a unique purpose and benefit. Here, we are going to talk in-depth about both tools so you can choose the right one for your job.

What Is An Impact Wrench?

The primary purpose of an impact wrench is to tighten or fasten nuts & bolts.

Saying so, they are a bit different from an impact driver. An impact wrench contains seven times more torque than an impact driver. You will see the label in an impact wrench is in (ft.lb.).

If you do the math, you will see how much more torque an impact wrench generates than an impact driver.

Being a heavy-duty torque tool, it generates torque ranging from 1800-3200 ft.lb.

Four basic types of impact wrenches are available in the market. These are corded, cordless, pneumatic & hydraulic—each of the class has specific uses.

What Are Impact Wrenches Used For?

This tool is not a household tool. Mechanics are seen using it in the field and garages to tighten or loosen lug nuts.

Because it has a tremendous torque output, you can use it to loosen the toughest nuts & bolts.

Its firm grip design helps to put less strain on your wrists. In comparison to the impact driver, it generates seven times more torque, so it is largely used by the automotive industry.

Racing car mechanics can loosen lug nuts a lot faster by using this impact wrench. But that has to be a pneumatic impact wrench, so you can never use it at home.

What Is An Impact Driver?

At the first look of an impact driver, one can easily make mistakes by thinking of it as a drill. They almost look alike, but an impact driver is much more potent than a regular drill.

It has a high torque output ranging from 1500 – 1800 in.lb. (impact driver’s torque is measured in in.lb.)

An impact driver can drill through metals, wood, even brick. The main reason for choosing an impact driver over a regular cord/cordless drill is that an impact driver has a very low reactionary torque.

Thus, your wrist & thumb won’t hurt after working for a while.

However, the tool does not have a clutch. As a result, it can’t stop the drill itself even though it has reached the desired torque level. So, there’s a good chance that you can overdo the drive of the screw.

What Are Impact Drivers Used For?

Being identical to a regular cordless drill, an impact driver can function similar to a drill. In addition to its higher power & torque, you can punch holes for longer screws.

The additional torque works just fine for punching holes into the metals, woods, or bricks. Impact drivers are more suitable for use in household DIY projects.

You can also drill 1/4-inch hexagonal shank holes with this.

We can assume that a cordless drill can do the same job but what if the metal is a heavy metal, not just aluminum? What will you do then? You surely can’t make holes with a cordless drill on that.

That’s why an impact driver is superior to a cordless drill.

Comparison Between Impact Driver & Impact Wrench

The below-mentioned specifications can give you a clear insight into these two tools

1. Amount Of Torque Power

If you have a clear idea of the power required by a generator used in the house & in the factory, you will understand the difference between the impact driver & impact wrench.

Mathematically, a 1500 ft.lb. impact wrench & a 1500 in.lb. The impact driver is not the same. If you put both of those in the same unit, you will see an impact wrench can generate 18,000 in.lb.

That’s why an impact driver is used in DIY projects, whereas an impact wrench, is used in the automobile industry.

2. Efficiency

An impact driver is much more efficient than a regular cordless drill. But in comparison to an impact wrench, it is not so efficient.

Although the mechanism & structure is almost the same as the impact driver, an impact wrench generates much more torque.

In the case of an impact driver, efficiency depends on the applied force by the user.

3. Additional Requirements

You do not need to buy any additional tools to use an impact wrench. However, if you want to use an impact driver you will need to buy an extra hammer.

The small grip is enough to handle it properly.

You can easily handle the impact driver. But it would be best if you took extra precautions while managing the impact wrench as it generates more torque.

4. Endurance

Both tools are quite identical. Thus, the durability of these tools is almost similar. However, longevity may vary slightly. The impact wrench barely defeats the impact driver.

5. Adaptability

The impact wrench comes with a fixed shape. So, its uses are based only on that particular shape. You can’t use an impact wrench everywhere.

But, an impact driver has many sets of tools. Various shaped screws & bits come with an impact driver. Which makes the tool versatile and easy to use. But different sizes of nuts or bolts will require different impact wrenches.

Which One Should You Choose?

The answer is pretty much straightforward. If you are working in the house or doing some DIY projects or some light constructional works, you will need an impact driver.

The small crafts of the house are easily manageable with an impact driver.

Again, if you are an automobile enthusiast who wants to play around with the engines, or solely a professional machinist, go for the impact wrench.


You most likely have understood the basics of an impact driver & an impact wrench. Before getting any of those, remember to look for a few things like brand, weight, LED lighting, battery & accessories, etc.

Once again, understand your purpose & then buy the tool that suits all your needs.


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