Electric vs Air Impact Wrench: Which One To Choose?
Wrenches are some of the most basic tools that any craftsman, automotive mechanic, or home repairman needs to have in their toolkit. But while wrenches are standard tools, manual wrenches can be difficult to use when it comes to certain tightly installed nuts and bolts.
This is especially true when performing maintenance or repair work on vehicles or larger structures. Sometimes, nuts and bolts are installed so tightly that it’s simply impossible for you to loosen or remove those nuts and bolts using muscle power alone. Even when you encounter regular nuts and bolts, it’s often easier to use a power tool instead of undoing all those bolts by hand.
Enter: impact wrenches. These capable tools provide the same fast response and excellent results as electric drills do for manual drills or screwdrivers. But while all impact wrenches can be helpful, it’s important to know the difference between electric and air impact wrenches so you know which one you should choose.
Quick Overview of Impact Wrenches
An impact wrench looks similar to an electric drill, but they serve different repair and maintenance purposes. An impact wrench uses a power source to drive a hammer hidden in its interior, which strikes an anvil that is connected to the square driver of the impact wrench. That hammer causes the driver to turn, applying powerful force to any nut or bolt that the wrench may be attached to.
In this way, the impact wrench can perform the same function as a regular wrench but with much higher power and without requiring muscle strain on your part. Most impact wrenches can turn nuts and bolts in incremental bursts of power with each pull of the tool’s trigger.
Electric Impact Wrench Overview
An electric impact wrench, as the name suggests, is powered by electricity. Electric impact wrenches come in either corded or cordless varieties. Corded electric impact wrenches provide more power than their cordless counterparts, and they can usually remove larger sizes of bolts, nuts, and certain types of screws. However, corded electric impact wrenches are a little more cumbersome.
Portability & Power
Cordless electric impact wrenches are incredibly portable and are usually smaller in size. Thus, they’re ideal for taking with you from worksite to worksite or for use in hard-to-reach places. However, cordless electric impact wrenches can run out of power quite quickly and are usually not as powerful as the other types.
Both types of electric impact wrenches may come with variable triggers, which offer you greater control over the turning speed of the tool. This can make electric impact wrenches better for precision wrench work, especially for beginners.
Air Impact Wrench Overview
The big difference between air impact wrenches and electric impact wrenches is that air wrenches use compressed air to power the internal hammer and turn the driver. Rather than relying on an inner motor, the compressed air does all the work. This necessarily means you need a powerful air compressor plugged into the impact wrench for the tool to function.
Portability & Power
Because of this, air impact wrenches are usually better for stationary work or use at a single worksite. Auto mechanic garages and similar places are great spots for air impact wrenches. Although air impact wrenches are definitely more cumbersome than cordless electric impact wrenches, they usually deliver more power. So, they’re better for taking care of bigger nuts and bolts.
While air impact wrenches don’t usually have variable-speed triggers, they’re pretty easy to operate and you can adjust the power of an air impact wrench by adjusting the attached air compressor.
All in all, the question of electric vs air impact wrenches is somewhat straightforward: do you need portability or power? If you need to be able to move your wrench from place to place, go with electric. If you only need an impact wrench at a single location, an air impact wrench is your best bet.
Either way, both types of impact wrenches can make your repair or maintenance work much faster and easier. Remember to consider your budget and experience level before making a final decision and you’ll be set!
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1 Electric Impact Wrench Overview
- 2 Air Impact Wrench Overview
- 3 Conclusion