Impact Driver Vs Impact Wrench – What You Should Buy?

Impact Driver Vs. Impact Wrench is with many differences that you should know before you buy it. The mechanism, power generation, torque production, speed controlling, weight, size, and usage are a few of them. What is your necessity, and which tool do you need for your purposes?. So let’s see in detail about all of these.

The impact driver is used to drive screws, and impact wrenches use to tight or loose the lug nuts. These tools are used for driving screws and nuts. So let’s note down your necessity and let’s see which one is suitable for your task.

Impact DriverImpact Wrench
TorqueLess torqueHigh torque
UsageDrive screwsUse for lug nuts tight and lose
SpeedMore speed Less speed
MechanismImpact mechanismImpact mechanism + torque multiplier
Chuck Size1/4″,3/8″,1/2″ 1/4″,3/8″,1/2″ ,1″
ChuckHex shankCollet ( Friction ring, Pin detent)
Differences Between Impact Driver and Impact Wrench

Impact Driver and Impact Wrench Mechanism

Impact mechanism generator Source: Youtube
Epicyclic gear system Source: Wikipedia

When we consider both tools we should pay attention to the major mechanism. Both tools are operated with the impact mechanism. The impact mechanism is a rotational hammering action around the anvil. There is an anvil and it is subjected to rotational hammering action when the tool is loaded.

Due to this reason its torque is increased. This mechanism can provide extra torque for the tool more than regular spinning.

How does an Impact driver work? impact drivers are powered by the electric motor (brushed or brushless). The motor is connected to the hammer. When the hammer is rotated it hits with the anvil. Due to the hammer action, it provides the rotational force to the anvil. When the hammer hit on the anvil it starts to turn. When this action is continuously happening it can generate more torque than regular spinning.

This torque is enough for the driving screws inside the wood for impact drivers.

What is an Impact wrench? The impact wrench also has the same impact mechanism as the impact driver. But there is an additional gearing mechanism called the epicyclic gear system. That can increase the torque of the impact wrench. Impact wrenches are used to tighten or lose the lug nuts. Impact wrenches need more torque than impact drivers.The epicyclic gear system produces this additional torque.

Torque and Rotational Speed of Impact Driver and Impact Wrench


Speed is measured with the RPM sated by Revolution Per Minute. When we consider the power, torque and rotational speed, There is a combination of these 03.

Power = Torque * Angular velocity
P= τ * ω
ω = (2 * pi * rpm)/60

When you analyse this you can clearly see when the speed is increased the torque is decreased and when the speed has decreased the torque is increased.

Both tools are with different speeds and torques. Most impact drivers are with fixed speed and torque.

  • Impact wrenches are with more torque than impact drivers hence it is less speed than impact wrenches.


When we work with screws, nuts and bolts torque is the most essential factor. When the screw is tightened or penetrates into the wood its resistance is increased due to the material friction. In order to prevent this, we need more torque.

Normally impact wrenches are with more torque than impact drivers. The reason is lug nuts are with more diameter and tools need to be compatible to work with high torque and stresses. Therefore impact wrench is designed to work under more torques.

Normally we measure torque with Nm. But considering both tools;

Impact driver – in-lb ( small torque values)
Impact wrench – ft-lb (More torque with considering impact drivers)

In generally, impact wrenches can provide more than 1000 Nm torque and impact drivers can handle about 400-500 Nm torque. But there are specially designed impact drivers. Those can handle the same torque as impact wrenches.

When you search in-depth about these tools you may find two types of torques. Those are breakaway torque and tighten toque. Tighten torque is for tight and breakaway torque is loose torque. Loose torque is always large. Because stability moving requires more power than dynamic moving.

  • Impact wrenches are with more torque than impact drivers.

Usage of Impact Driver and Impact Wrench

Impact Driver
Impact wrench

According to the torque difference, these tools are used for different purposes also. What is your job to do? Is it screw fixing or lug nut’s works?

If you need to drive screws inside the wood you should have an impact driver. As well as it is suitable for domestic, DIY projects.

And if you wish to handle more torque you should buy the impact wrench. That is suitable for removing lug nuts of vehicles and many industrial purposes.

Impact drivers are good for driver crews and impact wrenches are good for lug nut tasks.

Chuck and Collet Differneces in Impact Driver Vs Impact Wrenches

Impact driver and Impact wrench chuck and collet

Chuck and Collet

Internally produced torque is transfer to the nut or screw using an anvil. There is a chuck end of the anvil. Sometimes anvil has been designed to mount the socket. let’s see how these are different and why they are?

The most important factor is transferring the torque to the screw or lug nut. As you are well aware impact wrenches are more torque than impact drivers. Hence the end of the anvil is designed for that.

Impact driver uses to drive screws. This task needs less torque than impact wrenches, Therefore the end is a hex shank chuck. That can mount screws easily.

When considering the impact wrenches we use sockets. These sockets should provide more strength in order to transfer the torque. Therefore anvil end is a collet. And there are two types of collets. Pin detent and Friction ring are them. Pin detent is more secure than friction ring.

Chuck and Collet Sizes

Normally impact drivers are with fewer chuck sizes considering the impact wrenches. Impact drivers are with 1/4″ 3/8″,1/2 and impact wrenches are with 3/8″,1/2″, and 1″ mostly. According to the purpose its size can be changed. But Domestic usage of 1/2″ is enough.

Size and weight of Impact driver Vs Impact wrenches

Impact wrenches are more weight than impact drivers. Impact wrenches are small sizes and it is more powerful. Due to the rotational hammering action, the tool is not size much. But impact wrenches are more size than impact drivers. Weight is the same.

Using an impact driver is very easy. There is no effective load to the hand. You can use it using one hand.

Can I use Regular Sockets in Impact Wrenches?

Most regular sockets are not able to use in impact wrenches. Because regular sockets are not thick than impact driver sockets. When a regular socket is subjected to an impact mechanism it can be cracked easily. In order to prevent these impacts, driver sockets are specially designed with sufficient thickness.

Can I use Impact Wrench As an Impact Driver?

Impact wrenches can be used as impact drivers with using the chuck adaptor. Chuk adaptor can be mount to the impact wrench and another end is with a hex shank. The hexagonal bits can be mount to the impact wrench using this adaptor. Due to the power of impact mechanisms, it can be damaged so use the proper strength adaptor for the impact wrench.


Impact drivers are suitable for driving screws and DIY projects. Impact wrenches are used for more torque projects such as industrial projects. So when you buy it make sure whether it is suitable for your project.

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.