As a mechanic, one of the most valuable tools that you can have in your arsenal is an impact wrench, mainly due to the versatility that it offers. You can use it for a wide range of applications, including tightening and unfastening lug nuts.
Another attractive aspect of this tool is the high torque that makes it easy to loosen rusted bolts that often damage the car’s body.
But with all the benefits that this tool offers, it is vital that you get the right size for the job. This will help you get the best out of the wrench and also get the work done efficiently.
Our article will give all the information you need regarding impact wrench sizes. Have a read to find out.
Table of Contents
- About Impact Wrench’s Sizes
- Suitability for Different Tasks
- Types of Impact Wrenches for Automotive Work
- Features of Modern Impact Wrenches
- Closing Remark
About Impact Wrench’s Sizes
The first thing you need to know is that impact wrenches are available in different sizes, which affects their suitability for handling various tasks. When we mention the size, we are simply referring to the drive anvil’s dimension, i.e. the distance between its flat edges.
Let’s start our discussion by looking at the typical sizes of impact wrenches you are likely to encounter.
I) 1/4 and 3/8-inch
As the smallest impact wrenches out there, they are compact and well-suited for use in confined spaces. Some of their popular designs include inline grip and pistol grip style, and they are the ideal choice in situations where accuracy and precision are the priority.
II) ½ Inch Wrench
Since this category of impact wrenches lie in the middle of the chart, they offer the perfect balance between precision and power. They are the most popular impact wrenches and also quite powerful enough to handle the tasks that the smaller tools can’t.
Even with the power they possess, you can still use this tool to remove nuts and bolts without damaging them due to applying excessive torque.
III) ¾ Inch and 1-Inch
As you would expect, these are the largest sizes on the chart plus they are also the least popular. This is probably due to them being so powerful that you cannot use them for any project around the home. They are more suited for professional settings such as construction sites where their power can be put to good use.
Suitability for Different Tasks
Let’s now look at some of the tasks that the different impact wrenches of various sizes can handle comfortably. Note that the jobs we will discuss below are just a fraction of the functions that the tool can handle, and there is much more that you can use it for.
I) Impact Wrench Size for Automotive Work
When it comes to vehicles, the ideal impact wrench size will be determined by the type of car that you have. A ½ inch wrench offers enough power and flexibility needed for working on a regular-sized vehicle. That size is perfect as it provides the power required and does not interfere with the maneuverability needed to get the job done.
But for a bigger vehicle such as a truck, a ¾ inch wrench would be the ideal pick to handle the larger components usually found in such an auto.
II) Impact Wrench Size for Lug Nuts
When it comes to replacing old lug nuts on your vehicle, we recommend that you stick to the range of 3/8-inch and ½-inch impact wrench. This is because the tools in this range offer sufficient power for the job while not applying too much torque that may damage the lug nut.
III) Impact Wrench Size for Changing Lawn Mower Blades
Changing the lawnmower blades is another common use of impact wrenches, and you need to keep in mind that you do not need a lot of power for the process, but precision should be a priority. You can only achieve this by using smaller impact wrenches, and we recommend that you settle for either a ¼ or 3/8-inch impact wrench.
Such tools are small enough to offer the precision you are looking for and has sufficient power to change the blades.
Types of Impact Wrenches for Automotive Work
It is crucial that you know the different impact wrenches out there that you could use for various automotive tasks. In this section, we shall discuss some of them and the main applications that you could put them to.
I) Corded Impact Wrench
As you may have guessed by reading the name, this is a tool that comes with a cord that you will have to plugin for the wrench to turn on. At the rear of this device is a built-in motor that turns on as soon as you plug in the switch. It will then drive the hammer unit to produce the rotational torque that you will use to loosen the bolt nuts with ease.
Other notable features of a corded impact wrench are: it is versatile, lightweight and portable. However, they tend to be pricey and prone to overheating.
II) Cordless Impact Wrench
This is the opposite of a corded unit in that it does not have a power cord and is powered by a battery. Thus, it is easy to carry it around while holding and storing other issues that should not pose any trouble for you.
Due to the factors mentioned above, such units are popular with individuals who travel a lot and work in areas without electricity supply.
However, the cordless impact wrench has its fair share of drawbacks. For instance, the battery needs constant recharging, and you may be at a disadvantage if you are without a spare or in an area where you cannot recharge it.
Also, the battery can be too heavy, which translates to the unit’s overall bulkiness.
III) Air Compression Impact Wrench
An example of an air compression-based unit is the Pneumatic impact wrench. Since such units run on compressed air, they tend to be lightweight and rarely overheat even when used for the entire day. Another advantage that it holds over the first two items that we looked at is that such units tend to cost less.
However, when you buy such an impact wrench, you will have to purchase it along with an air compressor. Then, such a unit has a low torque level, and this may make its performance to be questionable.
Features of Modern Impact Wrenches
Most of the impact wrenches arriving in the market come with new features and advanced technologies. For this reason, they tend to be more effective and cost more since working with them is now easier.
Some of the features we are talking about include embedded LEDs, better grips, lightweight batteries, among others. So, you can hold your device for longer, plus you can easily use it in areas with poor visibility.
In the end, we can safely conclude that the ½-inch impact drill would be the best device that you could settle for. This is because it packs enough power to make it suitable for numerous tasks such as home repairs and professional tasks, including automotive work.
We have also checked out the other sizes of impact wrenches and the applications that you could use them for since we understand the importance of getting the ideal size for the task at hand. Next time you go shopping for the ideal impact wrench for working on your vehicle, we believe you will be in a better position to make the right choice.