Electric vs. Air Impact Wrench: What Should You Get?

When fighting against corrosion, one of the inevitable unfortunate eventualities that hit metals, your best bet is the impact wrench. This is the best to remove an old bolt or a nut that you wouldn’t even dream of turning manually, as, without it, this task becomes impossible.

This tool exists in two different variants; one is electrically powered (either corded or cordless), while the other uses pneumatic energy. The latter is basically powered by compressed air, just to be clearer.

Both types have distinct pros and cons when compared to each other, which makes one of them more suitable for daily usage. So let’s go through them together as you need to consider them when you’re about to make your pick between the two kinds.

The Power of Air

The pneumatic impact wrench, at first glance, is the superior kind since it offers so much more power than electricity. The ease you feel when working with is satisfying since you will be breezing through the job. Moreover, they use an external power source, which means that their capacity is a lot better, and a session can last a lot more, and you can get more work done in one go.

The only downside is that the power source has the tendency to be worn down, which means that only the tool will have better longevity.

Pneumatic Means Upfront Expenses

The power source, being external has yet another advantage when compared to the electric type: it is inherently cheaper since you need to buy the power source, which is either a stationary or portable air compressor, separately. Well,  you might think that this might actually be a disadvantage since you might have to pay more to get the power source along with the tool, and that is somewhat true.

Air’s Superior Punch to Electricity

Some types of pneumatic wrenches get their power from an electrical source, either with a cord or battery. However, it delivers less power than the pure pneumatic variant according to the numbers. It is a nice alternative to them, though, especially for home use.

Electric Means Upfront Savings

Compressed air has more energy stored than electricity, and that’s why pneumatic tools pack a punch relative to their electric-powered counterparts.

Cordless wrenches, just like cordless circular saws, cordless pole saws, and portable table saws, have the advantage of being more flexible. You can realize this result by obtaining a giant air compressor from any auto shop. This defines the difference between professional use or domestic one.

The need for more power comes at the expense of a heavier investment, that’s why you should think twice about it if you only have occasional use. Particularly, you should also factor in the cost of long hoses that you’ll need to connect the wrench to the source of compressed air.

Conclusion

For professional use, where you’ll need all the power you can get for many jobs, the air impact wrench is a must as it can handle the jobs that are more demanding especially in professional settings. For personal use, you might want to go for the electric variant as it packs just enough punch to finish any bolt job at home while being less of a strain on your budget.

References:

  • https://home.howstuffworks.com/impact-wrench.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_wrench
  • Our own experience