Breaker Bar Vs Impact Wrench

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 12, 2022
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Hand tools, such as a breaker bar, were typically used to remove nuts and bolts. Now, this is no longer the case. People are shifting from hand tools to automatic tools. In most places, you will now find an impact wrench rather than a breaker bar as the primary wrenching tool.

Though the breaker bar isn’t as advanced as the impact wrench, it also has some benefits that an impact wrench won’t be able to provide. Therefore, we are going to discuss breaker bar vs impact wrench so you can determine which is best for you.


What Is A Breaker Bar?

The breaker bar is also known as a power bar. Whatever the name is, the tool comes with a wrench-like socket on its top. Sometimes, you may get a swiveling head in place of the socket. These breaker bars are more convenient due to higher torque. Because you can get higher torque from any angle without using much of your hand force.

Generally, the breaker bar is made with rugged steel, and there is almost no report of breaking this tool when used for wrenching tasks. Even if it breaks, you can quickly get another from any hardware store as it is not expensive at all.

As the tool is used for turning nuts and bolts, you will find many sizes and shapes so that it fits in different-sized nuts. Besides, this hand tool is also available with variations of different angles. However, getting more torque mainly depends on the bar size. The longer the bar, the more torque you can get from a breaker bar.

What Is An Impact Wrench?

An impact wrench has the same purpose, just like a breaker bar. You can tighten or loosen the frozen nuts easily using this power tool. So, the impact wrench is also a ubiquitous tool to find in every mechanic’s toolbox.

The internal hammering system of an impact wrench allows it to create sudden bursts, which can quickly stimulate a frozen nut’s movements. Besides, it is very effective in tightening big nuts. You should just make sure that the threads are not stretched out or the nut is not over-tightened.

The impact wrenches come in various types, such as hydraulic, electric, or air. Besides, these tools can be either cordless or corded according to their characteristics. Anyway, the most popular size is the ½ impact wrench.

Differences Between Breaker Bar and Impact Wrench

The most considerable difference between these tools is speed. The time gap is not comparable in any way since one is a hand tool and another is automatic. However, that’s not all. We’ll discuss more of these tools below.


Typically, the impact wrench makes the wrenching process smoother, and you don’t need any physical force to run this tool. So, it is evident that the breaker can never win in this battle.

Most importantly, the impact wrench works very fast using external power sources. So, you just need to fix a nut into the socket of the impact wrench and push the trigger several times to get the job done.

On the contrary to that condition, you need to use the breaker bar manually. After fixing the breaker bar socket into the nut, you need to turn the bar repeatedly until the nut is loosened or tightened perfectly. This task is not only time-consuming but also hard laboring.

Power Source

As you already know, the impact wrench is available in three major types. So, in the case of a hydraulic impact wrench, it is powered by the pressure created by the hydraulic liquid. And, you need an air compressor to run the air or pneumatic impact wrench. Both of these are run using a pipe-based line connected to the power source. And lastly, the corded electric impact wrench uses direct electricity through the cable, and you need lithium batteries to use a cordless impact wrench.

Are you thinking about the breaker bar’s power source now? It’s actually you! Because you need to use your own hands to create a lever and work with this hand tool.


The breaker bar is not something that has been modified or experimented with a lot. So, its evolution is not that much to talk about. The only noticeable changes have come to the socket. And, still, there are not many variations available, though. Sometimes, you may find different sizes for the bar, but that doesn’t affect the work effort remarkably.

At the same time, you can get a wide variety of sizes and shapes as well as types of impact wrenches. You already know about the types, and all of those types also have various sizes available in the market.


Though the primary use is the same, you cannot use the breaker bar for heavily rusted nuts and bolts. Besides, you won’t be able to use this tool continuously since your hands will get tired easily. So, using it for smaller purposes can serve you well in the long run.

To point out, you cannot use the impact wrench in such places where a breaker bar can fit easily due to its long structure. Gladly, you can work with various angles using the breaker bar. However, an impact wrench is always a better choice for more convenience and additional power.

In summary

Now you know the outcome of the impact wrench versus breaker bar battle. Additionally, we hope you have learned a lot today. You may want to consider some factors before making a decision. When it comes to power and usability, the impact wrench is almost incomparable to the breaker bar. You can, however, use the breaker bar if you enjoy using your hand force and need usability from various angles.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.