Impact Driver vs. Impact Wrench: Primary Differences

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Impact driver vs. Impact wrench can be a bit of confusion for potential buyers. However, if you are looking to buy any of them and are confused about which one would suit you best, keep reading.

Starting from the name of these power tools here, we can see that the person who is not familiar with any tool can get confused for all the right reasons. The same goes for the person who has never bought tools but heard of them can consider these synonyms. I do not blame you; this was how my journey started.

Tools play a significant role in DIY projects here. Be it renovating a house, learning how to cut plexiglass, how to fix a stripped screw hole in metal, the list can go on. For me, it never stops. Once you start the DIY projects, there is no end to it.

However, for me, this came as quite a work that required efforts and tons of knowledge and experimenting. But you do not have to go through any of these processes. Because I will share my experience with you and the easiest possible way to do your projects in minimum time. Initially, starting from the basic knowledge of Impact Driver vs. Impact Wrench.

Alongside differentiating between impact driver vs. impact wrench, what do you use impact driver forI think it is essential to mention Impact gun. It is the same as an impact wrench, just another word used for the same tool.

Now that we are clear on these tools and understand the primary thing that these are different tools, now we should start digging into what it is the difference.

Predominant Differences of impact driver vs. impact wrench bold

In this section, the fundamental difference will be mentioned; however, we will have different sections below for the reader like you who want to learn in-depth.

  • The impact driver is powered through either electricity or battery, but the impact wrench is powered through compressed air.
  • The impact driver has 1/4 inches hexagonal hollow, but the impact wrench has 1/2 inches square shaft.
  • The impact driver has a force working in rotations and axial direction, but the impact wrench only works in rotation.

Usage of Impact Driver and Impact Wrench

It is time we gradually start moving towards which tool is best used for and how.

The impact driver is used for in-house projects such as DIY and renovation to give you an overview. On the other hand, the impact wrenches are used for more massive construction and car reparation projects.

If you were wondering which of the two tools is easier to use, then it does not matter which is more comfortable for you because they are not used for similar things.

But to clear you on this impact wrenches are more comfortable to use because they are comparatively lightweight.

What is an impact driver?

An impact driver is a power-tool here that works on the force generated from the internal mechanism in easy words. The prominent feature of the impact driver is delivering high rotational torque here.  If we focus on the impact driver’s movement, we can quickly determine a repeated hammering force sequence.

Now comes the part where we discuss the importance of 1/4 inches hexagonal socket. It is designed in the impact drivers to generate additional stress on the bits. As above, we have already mentioned the key differences.

Do not worry by reading this definition because it might give the impression that what an amateur has to do with all this.

This tool has nothing to do with the experience of a person, it is suitable for both the experienced and beginners. Keep on reading as I have planned to simplify it in easy words.

What does an impact driver do?

Now that we understand what an impact driver is, it is time to explore what it does.

This user-friendly tool is best for DIY projects here. Let me start with an example to build points, and you will be able to automatically understand the work.

For instance, wood is the most common material all the houses must-have. In addition to that, there must have been times when you liked to have something on a stud. Bearing in mind, we realized we need something to hang it on. Here comes the power tool, the impact driver.

It is used to drive screws into the material, not just that but also fasteners. So the impact driver is the power tool we require for driving in heavyweight materials.

Do not worry if it is still challenging to get or process because we are going deeper and deeper into impact driver vs. impact wrench and what is an impact driver used for that you will be cleared on the concepts soon.

Because you might be new to the industry of tools, there is a chance that you may get confused between a drill and a driver. To give you a basic idea, let us discuss the difference between drill and impact driver.

What is the difference between drill and impact driver?

What confuses the users is the definition of the drill, as it says it is a powered tool used to make holes.

However, there is more to this definition, which is necessary to know to purchase what you require. Cordless drills here have a smooth touch and much less torque than that of the impact driver. In addition to that, drills are only best for small and light tasks. If you plan to screw a heavy material, a drill will not do the work.

Kobalt impact wrench review

The main difference is that the drills are used to screw in materials that are lightweight and not dense. On the other hand, with an impact driver, you can screw thick materials. Unlike drills, the most significant advantage of the impact driver is that you can screw in and backwards if needed.

There could be times when it is difficult to differentiate between tools while looking at them. You can compare the size; if it is small, then it is an impact driver. Note that you must decide the tools for its needs; however, do not get confused by the drills’ smooth mechanism. As per reviews and personal experience, an impact driver is much easier to use than drills.

The most question I get asked is, Are Impact Drivers and Hammer Drills the Same? 

Alongside clearing the concepts of different tools, let us get through the hammer impact screwdriver. Hammer drills are not similar to impact drivers. Both have different tasks and locations to perform.

Hammer drills are named because of the vibration they produce. Their central area to perform is concrete, stones, and bricks.

Let us get back to the main topic we are covering in this article. Remember, it was essential to know the difference between different tools.

What is an impact driver used for?

It will not be wrong to say that every house must have at least one impact driver. The reasons fall under the need for drilling for DIY projects. One cannot deny that the cost of doing things yourself is much less than getting an expert person for the same reasons.

The impact driver performs the significant functions of drilling holes in heavy materials, alongside the loosening and tightening of screws and fasteners.

Considering that you might get back to the question, we cleared earlier, won’t a cordless drill do that? It certainly can, but with less efficiency. Above we have talked about the benefits of an impact driver, but every object has something that one doesn’t like.

For instance, impact drivers are also known for the noise they create during work. Furthermore, as this is a powerful tool with high torque, you may drive screws too far than needed. Lastly, the impact drivers require sperate bits.

We started this article with the comparison of two tools; impact driver vs. impact wrench. After getting the detailed insights of impact drivers, it is time to explore impact wrench.

Check the comparison between Kobalt vs. craftsman before making the purchase.

What is an Impact Wrench?

An impact wrench is also used for tightening and loosening of screws and nuts. But now you will wonder what the difference is then?

The critical difference lies in the working of these tools. 

An impact wrench is smaller in size than the impact drivers. However, it has an indirect effect on the force it exerts.

An impact wrench is a high-powered tool whose force is measured in foot-pounds. Therefore, it is called a high torque tool that looks smaller but contains more power than the impact driver and drill combined.

rigid vs. Ryobi impact driver

What is an impact wrench used for?

As cleared above, the impact wrench has more power; this is why it is not used for DIY projects and is usually not found in most houses.

The impact wrenches are mostly used at construction sites or car repair shops. If you wonder if you ever came across one at the automobile shops, then yes!

Scratch your thought and remember when the mechanic uses a tool to change tires; yes, right this one, is a pneumatic impact wrench. This description of impact wrenches makes us clear that we do not require it for household projects.

Impact wrenches come with different perks for the users. The most admired feature of it is that the holder’s wrist doesn’t feel stress during the working process. Furthermore, if you feel any nut is stuck way too hard, remember, it is never too hard for an impact wrench. It will loosen that up immediately. Moreover, it gives you the liberty of getting the related wrench for your needs as it comes in many types. ita

Consequently, let me show you the other side of these impact wrenches, why they are not preferred. It is majorly for the unusual noise and high torque that beginners do not handle very well. We have discussed the impact of driver vs. impact wrench in detail. There is a chance that you have set your mind on one tool you are going to get.

Those who have plans to get an impact wrench must keep reading to learn about the types to make the right purchase. And if you plan on buying an impact driver, then the buying guide below is another treasure for you.

Types of Impact Wrench

Pneumatic/ Air Compressed Wrench

Car mechanics use it the most, and it serves the purpose of removing lug nuts. It is used for its practical nature. However, it works on compressed air supply, so you might want to get rid of the idea of owning it for home.

Corded Wrench

It works on the electricity which you may think is at home. However, for the best results, you must get a robust socket for it.

Cordless Wrench

It works on battery. Do not struggle to learn about batteries because they come with your impact wrench. However, you have to charges the batteries as per need and instructions.

Hydraulic Wrench

It is not a very much common type of wrench because it works on a fluid mechanism. However, these wrench prevents the wrist injury but are still hard to use for the weight it carries, in addition to that these wrenches are much louder than the other types. It might cause you an ear injury if you did not have the ear protection on.

The Hybrid

Impact wrenches are not ideal for home, but if you are inclined towards buying one but can’t decide which one to get, relax!

It is 2020; you can get both in a single tool. However, the price might be a little higher but saves you from the mind quarrel of choosing one. Bosch GDX 18V 200C is a hybrid impact driver and wrench.

See this video to learn more about it.


If you think that there is a possibility of getting your hands on impact wrenches in the future, then take this model.

Impact driver vs. impact wrench, which one to get?

If you are planning to go for a single tool at the moment, you might be confused about which one to get. There is a possibility that you do not have a clear view of which one you are going to be used.

Based on my personal experience, I would recommend you get an impact driver. Once you get it, you will keep exploring its uses and advantages every day.

On the other hand, I will only recommend an impact wrench to those who have a specified tough job in their mind. Wrenches cannot be used in routine as compared to drivers.

Ryobi vs. Ridgid can give you a complete analysis before getting the tool.

Buying Guide

Given that we are clear about the difference between impact driver and wrench, you need to learn what considerations you must have before purchasing any of these two tools.


In tools like hammer or screwdriver, I will not ask you to consider the brand. The reason lies in the fact that those tools do not require much expertise. But as far as the impact driver and impact wrench are concerned, the brand plays a meaningful role.

You have to check the customer reviews about the quality and durability of the tool.


There are times when the tool gets hot to hold, but you can damage the working if you leave it right away. Therefore, you have to consider what safety measure it comes with. For instance, if it stops after getting hot or doesn’t let the dust in is an excellent item to get.


Some tools come with kits, which helps you keep the whole set in one place—hence a lower chance of losing valuable accessories. However, there could be some tools as well, which do not come as a package. Know that you have to bear the extra cost to get them.

Updated Tools

Todays’ technology is not the same as it has been years a got. It has been updated and well integrated. Now that you are spending money to get a tool, you may want to consider spending a little extra dollars on getting the exceptional features.

For example, the built-in LED would be of great help. Hence, you will not have any restrictions on working times.


One of the most crucial points to consider about your tool is the weight. Both the impact driver and wrench are going to affect your wrist. Beginners do not do well with heavy tools. It is recommended to check the weight of the tools before making the purchase.

Credible Brands

When I first started doing the home tasks, I was confused about the products and the seller, if he was honest with the products. Long story short, I had to spend hundreds of dollars initially to get the desired products.

But you do not have to go through all this; I am listing down the brands and short description to give you a head start.

DeWalt by Black and Decker

This brand has one of the most innovative products in the market. It has been operating since 1923; therefore, it has an in-depth understanding of the customers. Moreover, the products come with warranties.


This brand is known for producing the top cordless tools. It is a Japan-based brand but operates in the most notable countries of the globe.

So if you want a cordless impact wrench, then this is the brand whose products you will use.


This brand may cost you some bucks, but it is worth it. It produces power tools for decades. So if you are a beginner and have enough budget, this is the brand I would recommend you for your first project.


Earlier, as the option was given to have a hybrid impact driver/ wrench and you made a choice, know that you will be using it under this brand.

What to consider before starting the work?

The impact driver and wrench both are high power tools. Therefore working with any of these shouldn’t be considered an easy task. You must take the precautionary measures to ensure that no injury is caused.

It would help if you had your safety glasses on. Remember that the sprinkles or wood, or even dust particles can damage your eyes badly. We, sure, do not want to end the DIY in regrets.

As mentioned above, both of these tools will make noise, and depending on the material; some might be unbearable. To prepare beforehand, you must use earplugs. Note that you do not damage your hearing right away, but do not test it in the long term. 

Understand the mechanism of the tool and work that way. Note that your clothes should be simple and avoid accessories to keep the work smooth.

Now is the time to get hands-on the projects, you might want to start from how to fix a stripped screw hole in the metal.


Is an Impact driver worth it?

It will not be wrong to say that it is one of the essential tools to have. From the minimal tasks of hanging on walls to driving screws in heavyweight materials, it is needed.

Can Impact wrench be used as an impact driver?

Impact wrench has higher torque, which is not manageable by many. And there are times when the screw goes a little too far than intended. Therefore it is better to use an impact driver where it is needed. Or you can use a hybrid impact driver/wrench.

Do you need special bits for your impact drivers?

The tool kit mostly has all. However, in general tasks like fastening, you do not require special bits.

Can I use regular sockets with an impact wrench?

Straightaway no! Impact wrench carries more torque and power. A standard socket will not pass that much power, which will result in breakage and damages.

Can you use an impact driver to remove lug nuts?

Impact drivers are used to loosening nuts. However, you have to make sure that the nuts are tightened at less torque than your impact driver. Note that impact drivers do not work on nuts that have gone bad or frozen.

Is it normal that the impact drivers wobble?

Yes, impact drivers wobble, do not concern yourself with it. However, make your you do not loosen your grip.


The basic definitions of both the power tools have been discussed above. I hope it has cleared you on the term, impact driver vs. impact wrench.

However, the purchase solely depends on your and the projects you are planning to do. As a handyman, I would say that you could use an impact drill way more than an impact wrench.

The high torque and power of impact wrench may attract you but know that it is best for particular tasks and requires expertise.

Use the comment section to clear other concepts and get answers to your questions. Do not worry if you are a beginner because once I was too.

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