What Do You Use an Impact Wrench For?

Last updated on September 19, 2021

What do you use an impact wrench for exactly? And do you need it for your skill level at all? Let’s find out the answer. Read on!

An impact wrench is an extremely helpful tool, used in many industries – from auto repair, over product assembly, to heavy equipment maintenance. Although similar to an impact driver, an impact wrench is a slightly different tool.

To properly understand what an impact wrench can be used for, let’s check the key differences between this tool and an impact driver. The first thing to notice is that they look almost the same and even work similarly. Besides, in some cases, both tools can complete the same job. So, what’s the difference?

Impact Driver vs. Impact Wrench

impact driver

While impact drivers provide high rotational torque, and can even be used as drills, impact wrenches provide a high rotational force. In other words, impact drivers can rotate very fast, but can’t provide a sheer force that impact wrenches can.

While the impact driver works on batteries, the impact wrench mostly works on compressed air. That’s the main reason why these tools are so loud and powerful. Besides, while drivers provide an impact force in both rotational and axial direction (for hammering), impact wrenches only work in a rotational direction. 

Impact drivers are mainly used to drive screws and drill holes. Impact wrenches, however, are used to loosen or drive-in lug nuts and heavy bolts. While the first ones are primarily used in DIY and home improvement purposes, impact wrenches are used for more “serious” and professional work. These are the primary tools in most industries related to auto-repair, massive constructions, assembly lines, and so on.

When to Use an Impact Wrench?

impact wrench

Since impact wrenches provide incredible power considering their size, these tools should only be used in particular professions. For example, you might have seen them in automobile body shops. Their power allows impact wrenches to quickly tighten any bolts used on cars, even if the bolts are frozen or rusted. If your job requires you to tighten bolts pretty hard frequently, then an impact wrench is the tool that you need.

However, these tools can be disastrous for some projects, such as DIY stuff or projects related to home improvement. For example, if you use an impact wrench on a very short screw, you might over-tighten it and cause damage. Of course, some of these tools come with special attachments that prevent over-tightening, but those usually cost more.

An impact wrench can produce an extreme power of around 13,000 pounds. If you need to assemble and disassemble various things frequently, it will suit your needs perfectly. By getting an impact wrench, you will literally leave hand wrenches for good. 

Another thing that an impact wrench can help you with is to hang heavy stuff at ease. For example, if you bought a new cupboard or a wall-accessory for your kitchen, fastening nuts and bolts with a hand wrench might be tricky. An impact wrench will be of great importance, especially when it comes to safety; you don’t want your hanging things to start falling one day.

Who is an Impact Wrench for?

using impact wrench

Statistically speaking, most people don’t need an impact wrench. If you are not a professional, an impact wrench would probably sit and gather dust until that one day when you need it. In that case, an impact driver would be a much better solution. The main reason to get an impact wrench is if you are sure that your profession requires a tool with such power.

Some people don’t buy an impact wrench simply because they are afraid they won’t learn how to use it properly. After all, using a hand wrench seems to be more comfortable and even more natural.

Don’t worry – learning to use an impact wrench is a short and simple process. After you get used to it, you will realize that it’s your irreplaceable helper. It will save you time in the long run and definitely pay off.

As you can see, an impact wrench is slightly similar to an impact driver. However, if you are looking for a tool to satisfy your DIY purposes, an impact wrench might be too powerful. You should get one only if your profession requires heavy tightening and untightening on a daily basis.


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