The article will first introduce the topic, followed by detailed explanations of what impact drivers and impact wrenches are. It will then discuss the critical differences between the tools, including drive styles, torque levels, speed, size, and weight. Afterward, the piece will explore the main question, explaining whether an impact driver can serve as an impact wrench, highlighting both the potential benefits and risks. The article will answer can you use an impact driver as an impact wrench, differences between them, how to choose between the two tools and the importance of investing in quality tools. A conclusion will sum up the main points of the article. The article will end with a set of unique FAQs about the topic.

Can You Use an Impact Driver as an Impact Wrench?

No, you cannot optimally use an impact driver as an impact wrench. While an impact driver and an impact wrench might seem similar on the surface, they are designed for different purposes and functions. An impact driver, with its hexagonal drive shaft, is primarily built to drive screws and fasteners with high torque and speed. In contrast, an impact wrench featuring a square drive for sockets is used for heavy-duty tasks that require significantly high torque, such as working on cars or machinery.

These tools also differ in terms of their speed and power. Impact drivers typically have higher rotational speeds and lower torque levels, making them ideal for tasks involving smaller screws. On the other hand, impact wrenches can generate higher torque, suitable for heavy-duty applications, but have lower rotational speeds.

Moreover, the physical size and design of these tools vary. Impact drivers are generally smaller, more maneuverable, and suitable for tight spaces. Impact wrenches, however, are larger, more powerful, and designed for jobs that need more power.

Attempting to use an impact driver as an impact wrench may lead to compatibility issues, potential damage to the tool and the fastener, and safety concerns. The tool might need to deliver the required torque for the job, leading to efficient or practical results. It could also harm the tool, mainly for tasks that exceed its designed capability.

It is, therefore, crucial to use the right tool for the job, not only for efficiency and productivity but also for the safety and longevity of the tools. If you need to perform tasks typically accomplished by an impact wrench and only have an impact driver, it would be better to invest in an impact wrench to ensure you have the right tool for your requirements.

Impact Wrenches

Understanding Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches

What is an Impact Driver?

An impact driver is a power tool that specializes in screw-driving tasks. These tasks include handling fasteners like Slotted, Phillips, square, and Torx. Light hex head fasteners can also be worked on using a socket adapter.

What is an Impact Wrench?

Contrarily, an impact wrench excels in fastening and loosening nuts, bolts, and timber screws. These tools come in different sizes and performance levels, including compact, mid-torque, and high-torque models.

Differences Between Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches

Drive Styles

Impact drivers utilize a 1/4-inch hex collet, while impact wrenches typically employ a square drive for socket attachment.

Torque Levels

Regarding power, impact wrenches generally provide more torque, with some models surpassing the power of compact impact drivers.


Impact drivers often exceed 2000 in-lbs of torque and reach 3600 RPM or more[^1^]. Conversely, cordless impact wrenches typically stay below 2000 RPM.

Size and Weight

Impact drivers are generally more compact and lighter. The size and weight of impact wrenches increase with higher power levels.

How to Choose Between Impact Drivers and Impact Wrenches

Selecting the right tool based on factors such as torque, power, size, and speed is crucial. Here is how to choose between impact drivers and impact wrenches:

  1. Consider the Purpose of the Tool: Impact drivers are designed for driving screws and fasteners, while impact wrenches are suited for fastening and loosening larger nuts, bolts, and thicker fasteners.
  2. Assess the Required Torque: Impact wrenches typically provide more torque, starting around 100 ft-lbs and exceeding 1000 ft-lbs, while impact drivers usually offer speeds up to 3600 RPM. Choose the tool that provides the torque necessary for your specific task.
  3. Check the Size and Weight: Impact drivers are more compact and lightweight, making them easy to handle for prolonged periods. Impact wrenches are larger and heavier, which might be a factor if portability or weight is a concern.
  4. Consider the Nature of the Job: For construction or carpentry tasks, an 18V/20V max impact driver is recommended, while for tasks like a transmission replacement, an 18V/20V max mid-torque 1/2-inch impact wrench is advised.
  5. Evaluate the Frequency of Use: Impact drivers are generally more versatile and suitable for regular DIY tasks and smaller projects, while impact wrenches are more specialized and often required by professional mechanics for heavy-duty jobs.
  6. Check the Power Source: If considering an impact wrench, think that pneumatic options require a reliable air compressor, and cordless models might have reduced torque output when powered by batteries.
  7. Brand Compatibility: If you already own power tools from a specific brand, consider sticking with the same brand for battery compatibility and cost savings.
  8. Price: Impact drivers have generally become more affordable and accessible compared to impact wrenches. Consider your budget when choosing between the two tools.
  9. Type of Drive: Impact drivers typically use a 1/4″ hex drive, whereas impact wrenches feature a 3/8″ square drive or more extensive.

Remember, the right tool depends on your specific needs, the nature of the tasks you’ll be performing, and your personal preferences. Always consider the above points before making your decision.

Discover a wealth of knowledge of impact wrenches! Dive into our other articles: “”Choosing the Right Impact Wrench.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is an impact wrench or impact driver better?

Whether an impact wrench or impact driver is better depends on the task. Impact drivers excel at screw-driving tasks and are lighter and more compact, making them ideal for smaller screws and woodworking. Impact wrenches provide more torque, making them suitable for fastening and loosening larger nuts, bolts, and long fasteners.

When not to use an impact wrench?

An impact wrench shouldn’t be used for tasks requiring precise torque control, such as driving small screws or delicate woodworking tasks. It could be better when working in tight spaces due to its larger size.

What is stronger impact wrench or impact driver?

In terms of torque, impact wrenches are stronger than impact drivers. They provide more force, starting around 100 ft-lbs and going well over 1000 ft-lbs of torque, making them ideal for loosening and fastening large nuts and bolts.

Can I use an impact driver for screws?

Yes, impact drivers are specifically designed for driving screws. They are smaller tools with a 1/4″ hex drive, suitable for driving smaller screws and providing high power for driving long or stuck screws/bolts.

Can I use an impact driver to remove lug nuts?

 While technically possible, impact drivers might struggle with this task due to their lower torque than impact wrenches. An impact wrench is typically more effective for tasks like removing lug nuts.

Can I use an impact driver as a torque wrench?

An impact driver is not designed to replace a torque wrench. A torque wrench allows precise control of the torque applied, which an impact driver doesn’t provide. Therefore, using an impact driver as a torque wrench is not recommended.


While it is technically possible to use an impact driver as an impact wrench, it is not recommended due to the risk of damage to screws or bolts over time. Choosing the right tool based on your needs will ensure optimal performance and safety.

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