Torque Wrench Vs Impact Wrench

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 12, 2022
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Tightening or loosening the bolts; sounds simple right? Honestly, it is as simple as it sounds. But the complexity arises when it comes down to using the right tool for accomplishing the job. In such a situation where you will require to tighten the bolts or nuts, a torque wrench and impact wrench may seem to be the suitable option. And both of the tools can do the job. Now the question is, how do you know when to use which wrench if they are used for tightening or loosening the bolt? Wait a while!
If you are stuck in a torque wrench vs impact wrench conflict, in this article you are surely going to find a feasible way out.

What Is A Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench is a handheld tool for tightening or loosening bolts or nuts to a specific torque. For those who do not know what torque is, it is the force that creates the rotational force to rotate any object. In terms of a wrench that’s what its job is. A torque wrench is a manually powered tool for precise torque control. It can use the predetermined torque force to tighten or loosen the bolts or nuts.

What Is An Impact Wrench?

The extensive use of an impact wrench takes place where a high power torque force is required to tighten or loosen the bolts or nuts. If you want to loosen a bolt or nut that is adamantly stuck into the grooves, an impact wrench comes at its resolve. It’s an automated machine that generates high torque power from air, battery, or electricity. Just take the bolt into its groove and press the button and hold it until the bolt is perfectly tightened.

Torque Wrench Vs Impact Wrench: Differences You Must Know

Power And Ease Of Use

Basically, both of the tools, the torque wrench and the impact wrench, are highly efficient in their respective jobs. But the main difference that distinguishes both of the tools is their power. You may already know that a torque wrench is a manual handheld tool. Therefore, it’s not the first choice when it comes to tightening or loosening multiple bolts at a time or stubborn fasteners. Trying to attempt any heavy projects with a torque handheld wrench, can cause agonizing fatigue as you will have to create the torque force with your hands. In such a situation where you need to work on day-long projects,  an impact wrench will be the ideal tool at your rescue. Its automated torque force will not cause any extra pressure on your hand. It’s simple to use and perfect for adamant bolts that require high pressure. There are pneumatic, electric, or battery-powered impact wrenches available in the market, leaving options for your convenience.

Control and Precision

Another significant feature that distinguishes an impact wrench and a torque wrench is the torque control. More often this is the case where a professional mechanic chooses one tool over the other. The torque wrench is widely known for its torque control that ensures the precise tightening of nuts and bolts. You can control the torque force or output from the controlling mechanism on the torque handle. However, you may ask why anyone needs control over the torque force when it can tighten the bolt at its best. But if you think a bit that nuts and bolts are made of steel they won’t get damaged but what if the surface is delicate? So if you put extra pressure on the surface while tightening the bolt, the surface or groove can surely be damaged. Sometimes over-tightening creates complexity at the time of loosening the bolt. On the contrary, an impact wrench does not offer any controlling mechanism. You won’t be able to select the precision you require for the job. The torque force of an impact gun is indefinite. That’s why it can be used for heavy-duty projects. If the bolts of your car, while remounting the wheels, get stuck in the groove only an impact wrench can help to loosen that for its high and indefinite torque power.

Benefits Of Having An Impact Wrench

  • The user will be able to perform any heavy-duty projects where speed and force are the prerequisites.
  • An impact wrench is less time-consuming. It can accomplish the task at the shortest possible time because of its automated power and with the slightest effort.
  • It gives no excessive pain in any body parts as it requires minimal physical exertion.

Benefits Of Having A Torque Wrench

  • Ultimate precision and control over the torque force.
  • For its precise torque force control mechanism, it doesn’t end up damaging the parts you will be attaching with bolts or nuts. Even, it saves the edge of the nuts and bolts from wear and tear while screwing.
  • A torque wrench is ideal for any small project, where tightening a few bolts will draw the end line of your task.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should we not use an impact wrench?

If you are screwing your bolts into a very sensitive and delicate groove that can be damaged by overpressure, you should not use an impact wrench. The same goes when you are attempting to tighten the lug nuts. However, you are good to go for loosening the lug nuts with an impact wrench.

Which wrench can be considered for regular use? 

When you will be using a wrench on a regular basis, using a torque wrench is a professional’s recommendation. Because it’s simple in function, lightweight, and very handy to use. It doesn’t require any additional power, so you can use it anywhere you want. And most importantly in a place where there is no access to any additional power supply.

Final words

Torque wrench and impact wrench are the two most common and popular wrenches used by all professionals. And for its extensive use in the mechanical industry, most people think both of the tools are identical in terms of their function. Therefore in this article, we have elaborately described how you can benefit from both of the tools for different purposes. We hope you will not be wasting your money on the wrong tool anymore.

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.