Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench – #1 Guide on What Should You Use

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We know you will agree with me here: whether you are a beginner or a seasoned handyman – knowing what these tools are for is excellent for your technical and practical tool knowledge.

Always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’ a proper organized set of power tools will see you through the best projects: lay decking, furniture building, fixing broken things, or simply making something out of nothing, you name it! Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right power tools.

Truth be told, you might agree that when you look at these two kinds of power tools, they really look the same. A closer look, however, will tell us otherwise.

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench So how do you know which is which?

Short Version / TL;DR

Don’t have time to read through the article? Don’t worry, we get you – here’s a brief rundown on our Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench guide:

An Impact Driver is a kind of power screwdriver, having an internal-combustion engine as a power source with an impact mechanism similar to that of a hammer drill. Impact drivers are used to drive long, coarse-headed screws into materials that would not easily withstand the torque of a hand-wound screwdriver. The most common use of impact drivers is driving large wood screws into softwoods.

The design of an Impact Wrench is characterized by a high speed-low torque tool. This allows the user to deliver a large torque load to a nut or bolt with less effort than inserting a large socket into the device and turning it by hand. This is best and most commonly used to remove or fasten in nuts and bolts, most often found in automotive repair.


Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison table for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench to easily tell you which is which:

FeaturesImpact DriverImpact Wrench
Tool Holder¼ Inch Hex Socket½ Inch square shaft
MethodRotation & Axial ForceRotation direction only
OutputMore RPM > Less TorqueLess RPM > More Torque
UsageDrive screws inward and outward, Drill HolesLoosen & Drives Lugs, Nuts, and Bolts
Best ForDIY, Home Repair, Home Improvement, Basic ConstructionDIY, Auto Repair, Home Repair, Home Improvement, Basic Construction

Don’t have time To read? No worries!
Below are our top picks for your convenience

Dweller Power’s Best Pick

Best Impact Driver in the Market

DeWALT DCF887B 20V Impact Driver

DeWALT DCF887B 20V Impact Driver

  • Brushless Motor
  • Variable Speed Trigger: 0 to 1,000 – 2,800, 3,250 RPM
  • No Load Speed
  • No Memory
  • No Self Discharge

Dweller Power’s Best Pick

Best Impact Wrench in the Market

DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench w Kit

DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench

  • Brushless Motor
  • Max Torque of 700ft-lbs.
  • 3 Speed Switch
  • LED Work Light
  • Battery Fuel Gauge

Dweller Power’s Best Pick

Best Hybrid Driver/Wrench in the Market

Bosch GDX 18V-1800CB25 Hybrid DriverWrench Kit

Bosch GDX 18V-1800CB25 Hybrid

  • Hybrid Impact Driver/Wrench
  • EC Brushless Motor – 1,800in-lbs. Torque
  • CORE18V Battery Next Gen Li-Ion
  • Hammer & Anvil System
  • Single-Focused LED Light

What Is An Impact Driver?

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Impact Driver
Impact Driver | Photo Courtesy by Unsplash.com

Imagine a small rotating screwdriver in your hand- but has the force of a car engine. More or less, that’s a good description of the power an Impact Driver has. It is tough enough to drill through woodwork, various kinds of metal and even brickwork. It has very high torque, which is the force a tool uses to turn or rotate an object.

Torque is calculated in inches and pounds (in-lbs). An Impact Driver’s torque usually ranges from 1500-1800in.lb. Some can even reach 2100in.lb! Impact Driver with their machine operated torque reduces the risk of torque which can manually happen if you use a manual screwdriver.

Speed

Measured in RPM (rotations per minute) – To note, one should be careful when adjusting the speed of the Impact Driver. High speed is great for hard and tough materials, but you need a slower speed for softer materials otherwise you might break them. Speed control is essential with Impact Drivers

Noise

Impact Drivers are pretty darn loud. It is common practice to consider using ear protection when using Impact Drivers.

Driving Screws IN

Impact Drivers are designed to be used for all kinds of drilling for all kinds of materials. It makes things very easy, especially when dealing with long screws, mostly used in furniture work. Not only with drilling, impact drivers are also the best at removing screws that are misplaced, stuck, or have lost is use (Mostly from corrosion).

Portable and Compact

Impact Drivers comes in many sizes with different features, but majority of them now are very compact and portable, as they are mostly battery operated. Which makes them very handy and practical to use.

Caution: Impact Drivers lacks a clutch – a threshold of some sort that limits your torque once it reaches a significant level. Not having a clutch may make the user overdo their drilling. It is highly recommended that you practice using an Impact Driver with a few screws and plank of wood to test the torque

Impact Driver Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Very Powerful All Around Tool
  • Flexible – Can adapt to whatever the project needs
  • Portable and Compact – Easy to fit anywhere, easy to bring anywhere
  • Minimal Recoil
  • Quite affordable, you’ll never go wrong with this investment
  • Significantly Lighter compared to Power Drills

Cons:

  • Overwhelming power to inexperienced users – please practice before actual work.
  • Variety of bits doesn’t come in one package. Purchase is needed separately.
  • Noisy

Impact Driver Recommendation –
DeWALT DCF887B 20V Impact Driver

DeWALT DCF887B 20V Impact Driver

Features:

  • DEWALT built brushless motor, Compact, lightweight design for tight spaces
  • Variable-speed trigger, no load speed 0 to 1000, 2800, 3250
  • Same runtime and power in a lighter, shorter Package compared to DCB200
  • No memory and virtually no self-discharge for maximum productivity and less Downtime

Review:

The DeWalt DCF887 is a 20V Impact Driver that performs extremely well and is reasonably priced. It gets our Best Buy Award for it’s premium design, strong performance, and affordability. If you’re looking for an excellent cordless impact driver with a lot of power to spare, you should check this out. This is the best Impact Driver for this Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Review.

You will not be disappointed with the performance, design, and value of this product. With the DeWalt DCD985N 20-Volt MAX 1/4-Inch Impact Driver Kit, you can trust that you are getting top quality.

The latest DeWalt DCF887B 20V impact driver has a variable speed trigger that enables 0-3500 RPM in 1/10th of a second, providing 3X faster application speed than any other driver. The Tool Connect feature allows anyone to check on the battery’s charge and remaining runtime, or even start the driver from their phone.

The DeWalt 20V Impact Driver provides 3200 RPM under load. We expect to see a Pro-level impact driver in this class maintain a 2900 RPM. The DeWalt 20V Impact Driver confirms to industry standard and has no trouble driving a 1/4″ screw.

The DCF887B 20V Impact Driver from DeWALT is designed to handle most home workshop and construction tasks with relative ease. Delivering up to 1500 inch-pounds of fastening torque, the tool is especially suited for heavy-duty usage like driving screws or drilling into concrete, metal, or masonry surfaces.

No matter what you’re working on, the DeWALT 20V cordless impact driver is the best. It’s the most popular. With more than a 4 star rating on Amazon with over 3,600 reviews, DeWalt’s cordless impact driver has earned a place as one of the highest rated impact drivers out there.This is placed as Dweller Power’s #1 Most Recommended Impact Driver.

Impact Driver Tutorial for Beginners


What Is An Impact Wrench?

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Impact Wrench
Impact Wrench | Photo Courtesy by Unsplash.com

There’s a huge distinction with Impact Wrenches from Impact Drivers. They’re quite similar with their looks at first glance but with an Impact Wrench, imagine your manual wrench rotating bolts like a race car wheel. It’s extremely fast. Efficient and fun too.

They are used to either tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. They’re a bit smaller in size but don’t let that fool you, the can pack a punk. The force is measured in ft.lbs (foot-pounds)- and again, power isn’t an issue with this handy tool.

However, with Impact Wrenches – most of the use for them is for bigger projects. They can be used for home renovation and some home level steel work, but they are mostly used for cars and other kinds of automotive. Usually, to remove lug nuts as one example.

Impact Wrenches are mostly a tool used by mechanics during car repairs, as one kind of impact wrench, the Pneumatic / Air Powered one, which we will discuss in a bit, is incredibly quick and powerful. Best for such type of projects. Impact wrenches are also mostly used in assembly lines by construction workers, and as such – most use of an impact wrench is rarely used for DIY’s and Home Renovations. But don’t worry, we will discuss some of the few that can help around the house.

Kinds of Impact Wrenches:

Corded

As the name says, corded impact wrenches need to be plugged into an outlet. Most old types of Impact Wrenches are corded. These kinds of Impact Wrenches don’t show much value compared to modern Cordless Impact Wrenches now due to the technology evolving.

Cordless

As the name suggests, these require batteries. These battery sets usually come with the Impact Wrench you’ve purchased. You would need to charge batteries after and between uses. In terms of portability and ease of use, these are your best bet. They have the same operating power as the Corded type but with more usability in mind.

Air Powered/Pneumatic

Often, these were only used by car mechanics and race mechanics for pitstops. These allow lug nut removal at incredible speeds, among other things – they usually pack a punch with their kickback. These are not suitable for DIY’s and Home Improvement

Hydraulic

These operate under a fluid mechanism, relying on a low-pressure hydraulic power source. These are rarely seen and rarely in the market.

It works in the same way as an Impact Driver- designed with ease of use. With a simple squeeze of a trigger, you can start the rotation. They are quite heavy, which comes naturally with the power it needs to produce. However, like an Impact Driver, Hydraulic Impact Wrenches are designed to reduce our wrist risk and strain. One more thing, they are incredibly noisy, ear protection is a must.

Impact Wrenches Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • The force it can produce enables it to loosen even the toughest, corroded, stuck nuts and bolts
  • Designed to reduce wrist strain when being used
  • Four (4) Different types – the variations cater to what you specifically need
  • Work is done fast

Cons:

  • Usually not for home use – as said earlier, most of its use is for heavy-duty work (Automotive, Construction, etc.)
  • Not user-friendly- beginners need a lot of practice

Impact Wrench Recommendation –
DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench

DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench w Kit

Features:

  • Brushless motor for superior performance
  • Heavy duty impact mechanism with MAX Torque 700 feet/ pounds, Breakaway Torque 1,200 feet/ pounds
  • 3 speed selector switch for control
  • LED Work Light
  • Battery Fuel Gauge

Review:

Meet the new DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench brushless impact wrenches engineered to deliver maximum performance and portability. This is the best Impact Wrench for this Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Review.

It’s part of the 3 new high-torque impact wrenches which are the DCF899P1, the DCF889P1, and the DCF895P1. The company claims these tools rival any high speed brushless impacts on the market.

Dewalt designed the new high-torque brushless impact wrenches for demanding users, such as those in automotive, farm, heavy machinery repair, concrete fastening, road & bridge, elevator, and iron working industries.

Powerful impacts that are ultra-portable, all-purpose, and work with my current collection of 20V Max batteries.

With maximum torque of 1200 ft-lbs, the Dewalt DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench can remove even the most stubborn lug nuts. In fact, it goes beyond all of its competitors in this category. You won’t have to worry about lug nuts breaking in two with the Dewalt DCF899 1/2″ impact wrench and risking any further damage to your lugs and bolts.

The new DeWALT DCF899P1 20V impact wrench is a powerful yet compact hammer drill that’s suitable for use in all kinds of settings.

It comes with a powerful brushless motor, 3 speed and torque selectors, and an LED worklight.It’s part of a new line of powerful and compact impact tools that are designed to ensure that you can accomplish your required tasks in easy-to-reach and hard-to-reach spaces.

Impact Wrench Tutorial for Beginners


The Hybrid

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench – Think no more! We are introducing modern technology in action for Power Tools. The Impact-Driver-Impact-Wrench-Hybrid. One of the brands who have these in line is Bosch. Bosch’s 18V EC Hybrid Impactor makes the use of Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches be 2 in 1.

It is peak usability and design all made for the right person. Extremely powerful tool which lasts long with the Bosch ProCore battery line. It can be used with extreme precision that complements the speed control it has.

However, it is not cheap. But it is cheaper than buying a separate Impact Driver and a separate Impact Wrench. There are also great packages of these that comes with complete packaging and accessories to complete your arsenal power tool set.

Considering this option, especially if you have the budget, is a no brainer. Two times the power, for two separate kinds of work gives you the flexibility you deserve.


Hybrid Driver/Wrench Recommendation –
Bosch GDX 18V-1800CB25 Kit

Bosch GDX 18V-1800CB25 Hybrid DriverWrench Kit

Features:

  • Versatile two-in-one impact driver and impact wrench design – features a versatile hex shank with power Groove and a socket drive, an EC Brushless motor delivering up to 1, 800 in. -Lbs. Of torque, increased control for less fastener damage and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Two-in-one bit/socket – includes a 1/4 in. Quick-change hex shank with power Groove and a 1/2 in. Square drive, for using either bits or sockets
  • CORE18V battery – provides next-gen Li-ion 21700 cell technology in a lightweight, high-power battery with optimal performance
  • Bluetooth connectivity (when the optional GCY30-4 connectivity tool Module is installed) – links the impact driver to the free Bosch toolbox app on a connected device to customize settings and provide detailed Feedback for optimized tool control
  • Powerful EC Brushless motor – delivers a max of 1, 800 in. -Lbs. Of torque and up to 4, 200 IPM for professional power
  • Hammer-and-anvil system – designed for maximum impact energy

Single-focused LED light – located on the head of the driver for outstanding illumination

Review:

When it comes to Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench, the Hybrid model will always stand at the top, being the best of both worlds.

Bosch, the world’s largest power tool maker, is now a major player in the hybrid driver/impact range. The new generation 18V-1800CB25 delivers 2,500 in. lbs. of max torque and 1,800 flashes per minute in both impact and regular drilling modes for best-in-class performance.

At a reasonable price, each for two high capacity battery packs, it provides comparable or better performance than competitive units that cost hundreds

It’s the perfect tool to round out any home workshop. It’s an excellent option for both DIY’ers and first-time users thanks to its powerful torque and high octane impact energy, while convenience features make it more easy and comfortable to use.

Bosch GDX impact driver for DIYers. This 18V-1800CB25 impact driver is a powerful tool that will help you complete your home projects faster and easier. It helps you drive screws in any position, and it allows you to control the speed of the tool with the precision you need. But you never have to worry about it hurting your hands or wrist because it is light and easy to use.

The Bosch 18V-1800CB25 kit features a two-in-one impact driver and wrench, two 4.0AH 18-volt CORE lithium-ion batteries, and a charger.

The Bosch GDX18V-1800CB25 Impact Driver Wrench Hybrid masters the toughest jobs with ease. Its high-quality lithium and NiMH battery delivers an impressive amount of torque and an increased number of impacts per minute.

Bluetooth connectivity allows you to monitor real-time feedback that optimizes your energy management, ensuring superior performance. The ultra-durable motor housing reduces vibration, and the sturdy construction makes this tool a worthy investment.


Dweller Power’s Buying Guide

What to look for when searching for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench in the market?

Features

Models of Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches offer a different level of safety features than others. Some examples of these would be an automatic shut-down when the battery is fully charged or automatically is cut-off when it gets too hot. Others are dustproof, helping them to last longer.

Accessories

Think about this carefully because accessories will be your key to a flexible work environment with your Power Tools in hand. Think about what accessories does your tool have? Does it need a bag or a case to keep everything in place? Spare bits, spare batteries, spare anything?

An excellent way to check this would be to choose from packaged power tool kits which has all the things needed, including the accessories, in one package.

Tech

Some brands use new technology like LED lighting system for drilling with Impact Drivers, which is extremely useful when working in a dark environment. Others have built-in security features, like a lock mechanism. Some have Bluetooth to be connected with apps, which gives you an overview of the tool’s performance – really helpful to know the wear and tear level of your tools.

Although these costs an extra buck, it is usually getting your money’s worth. If you can, do not be cheap when purchasing power tools, as tech like these, will get you a long way.

Spares

This is really important to go with your accessories, especially with your bits and batteries. Always have a spare – two or more—one on the ‘go’ and one charging ready to be used when needed.

Brand

When it comes to Power Tools, especially for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench, you should always go for quality assured brands. They are known for their tools as being at the top of the game. Going for a less known brand can often lead to tool failure, which would cost you more than getting from a reputable brand.

Most Recommended Brands (In No Particular Order)

DeWALT – The name most known to a lot of Handyman’s. The company is currently owned by Black & Decker, and they sell hundreds of products. Including but not limited to, impact drivers, impact wrenches, saws, drills, and more.

They are also international, which gives access to such tools relatively easy if you are going to buy from them. They also come with a great warranty deal with their products and is progressive with new technologies- hence their tools are always reliable whether for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench.

Makita – The most famous Japanese brand for power tools. They now produce tools on an international level with bases in Brazil, China, Mexico, Great Britain, and the USA. They mainly specialize in Cordless tools.

They are also known for their three-year limited warranty deal on most of their products and they’re one of the best providers for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench.

Milwaukee – The luxury brand, most often known as such, is how they place their tools in the market. They keep usability and style in mind with their products. The level of consumer appeal they get is extremely high as well. They produce many types of tools, including Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches.

In terms of pricing, they are at the higher end of the market, but you get what you pay for their style and quality level. You will never go wrong with a Milwaukee Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench.

Bosch – The German Engineering at work. They are known for producing many kinds of household appliances and industrial machinery. They also make the best line of power tools all over the world.

Bosch produces high-quality power tools with durability and long term use in mind. They offer older functions such as Corded Tools, but their modern tools are kept on par with other brands. They also provide the Hybrid Impact Wrench/Driver discussed earlier.


Dweller Power’s Safety Guide

When it comes to Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench, we’ve stated the difference

BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER: Safety is a necessity when using power tools, especially with impact drivers and impact wrenches.

Here are the things you would need to take into consideration:

Eye Protection:

A good quality safety glasses will protect your eyes from debris, dirt or dust, and will come along way.

Ear Protection:

With Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench, the noise will always be a problem. Hence, ear protection is also important. Ear defenders or plugs will help a lot so your ear canals won’t get damaged from the noise of these set of power tools.

Clothing:

It is really important to wear clothing and gear that would not get in the way of your work. Having a set of tool belts that can be strapped tight works wonders. Also, to note, do not wear any other kinds of fancy accessories when working on your projects.

Manual Guidelines:

Always consult the Impact Driver vs Impact Wrenches’ manual. As we have said, if used correctly, these tools will not be a problem. Refer to the manual for detailed instructions.

Tool Accessories:

Impact Drivers vs Impact Wrenches need accessories to operate well. Study properly what is needed for your project and the corresponding bits and attachments for your tools. Again, always have a spare – just in case.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Impact Drivers need different kinds of bits?

Yes- you need bits specifically used for Impact Drivers, as regular drill bits don’t fit.

How about Wear and Tear?

It is possible to wear out power tools in general by overworking them and overusing them. BUT – they are incredibly tough. You can never go wrong using them when you follow the user manual.

Electric Impact Wrenches vs Air Powered Impact Wrenches – Which is for me?

As discussed above, Electric Impact Wrenches like the corded and cordless types are suitable for home use and other light construction projects that required DIY skills. Air Powered (Pneumatic) Impact Wrenches are the go-to of car mechanics and anyone in the automotive mechanic industry. Be sure to know where you would use which for which.

Will an Impact Driver or Impact Wrench break screws or bolts?

When used correctly, no. However, they are known to break screws and bolts when overused.

Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench
Final Thoughts

To conclude which is best for Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench, as we have discussed, impact drivers and impact wrenches are both different set of tools, for different purposes. Although they sound alike and look alike from afar. You need to know what kind of projects you will be dealing with so you can pick properly.

With the Hybrid model of the Bosch’s 18V EC Hybrid, that we have introduced, you have the option of having the capabilities of both, however, it is quite expensive. But you will get your money’s worth if you are always having projects that require the power of both tools with just one. These hybrid models will more likely appear more and more in the market because of technology and the need for necessity with their work.

Plainly saying, if you are the DIY guy or renovating a lot of things in your own home or this is part of your trade, the DeWALT DCF887B 20V Impact Driver is your best bet. Being able to drive screws with ease into materials is extremely helpful. It saves a lot of time, and it is also fun and addictive.

An Impact Driver from a good brand will help you complete your projects with ease and rather quickly. It is also a great addition to your power tool set collection, and I assure you – you will not regret this decision.

With Impact Wrenches, these are for more specialized kinds of trade. You would need a good experience in being a handy man or a repair man in the automotive industry if you want to use these with complete efficiency. But – having this in your power tool arsenal even as someone more focused on DIY and home repair projects is not quite bad, in fact it advances your reach of techniques should you find the proper use for Impact Wrenches.

If you find yourself working on projects that deals with a lot of nuts and bolts, like a car project, you might see yourself having one of these bad boys in your shed. DeWALT DCF899P1 20V Impact Wrench is one of the top in the lineup of Impact Wrenches that comes with a practical advantage due to its versatility.

This ends our Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench Discussion.

With that, please always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’, a properly organized set of power tools, including impact tools, will see you through the best projects. Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right impact tools.

We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice. 

Love our Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench guide? Leave a comment or drop us an email at [email protected], and we will get back to you as fast as possible!


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