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How Does an Impact Wrench Work?

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 11, 2024

WORKPRO 20V Cordless Impact WrenchEver had to attempt to unfasten a lug that is wound too tightly into place? Tried all the wrenches you have lying around but to no avail? That is where an impact wrench helps out. Oft times, other than being just being tightly wound, you may find that the head may be stripped so bad that a simple, traditional wrench would not just cut it.

These impact wrenches are pretty much the tools we bow down to when we have the above problems. So, in today’s article, let us take a peek into the world of impact wrenches, their form, and how does an impact wrench work.

Bestselling Impact Wrenches

So, how do impact wrenches work?

How Does An Impact Wrench Work

Torquewrenchcenter says, whether you have a hard to grip lug head, or simply a case of tightening too hard, investing in an impact wrench for the shop is always a good idea. The proper usage of one means that there is not a lug nut too tight you could not unscrew, albeit with a little elbow greasing.

The mechanics are quite simple, really. The humble impact wrench makes use of either air or an electric motor that can generate and deliver high torque instantaneously. This is delivered directly to the stubborn lug nut in strong, yet short bursts (about one every five seconds).

Instead of long continuous torque delivery, it is indeed these short bursts of movement that causes a bolt to loosen or tighten, even if it is with the most minor of increments. That being said, these impact wrenches can also be used to tighten lug nuts. So, they can be used in both disassembly and assembly processes.

The pressure from the wrench works two folds. One, it provides the additional force, and hence it ends up further enhancing the torque of the impact wrench. Two, the pressure also pushes the fastener at the front end of the wrench forward, even if it is incrementally.

The two stages above go a long way in helping the impact wrenches work up the fastener or lug nut. More so than it would be ever possible with going at a lug nut with hands and manual wrenches.

Types of Impact Wrenches

Now, these impact wrenches can be of two types. They are either pneumatic, that is, they are powered by air. Or they are electric, powered by… Well, electricity.

Pneumatic Wrenches

The pneumatic ones generally provide the most torque out of the two types and are considered to be the ones used by professionals. You would see them generally in use in workshops by professional mechanics. They are generally lighter than their electric counterparts and are usually easier to use too.

These wrenches require an air compressor to work their magic. These wrenches are fairly simple in design and are thus fairly inexpensive compared to their electric counterparts. No electric components, thus the odds of having a malfunction are quite rare. The biggest advantage? These pneumatic ones do not overheat.

Any heat generated by these pneumatic wrenches is in the rotating elements within, but the heat quickly dissipates because of the pressurized, compressed, circulating air. These make these pneumatic wrenches ideal for manufacturing plants, for use in assembly lines as they can go a long work time without worrying about the heat

All of the above, in turn, makes the pneumatic wrench very durable and easy to repair.

Electric Wrench

The pneumatic wrenches may be playing the light card, but that does not really mean that the electric wrench is a slouch. They pack enough to meet the needs of DIY-ers or the weekend warriors who tear up the house on the weekends. These wrenches do not need an additional air supply or a pump; hence you can keep them in your car.

All we need to use these electric impact wrenches are good ol’ electricity. Simply plug them into a wall, and you are pretty much set. These electric wrenches make use of. Well, an electric motor that is affixed to the rear of the wrench. This motor, when in use, drives the hammering units in the middle, which in turn drives the output shaft.

Okay then. That sounds all well and good, but what do we benefit from this electric motor? We get more speed than a traditional pneumatic wrench and, of course, better torque control. And since we do not need to tote around an air compressor wherever we go, it really drives up the points for portability.

All of the above comes at a cost, though. These electric impact wrenches are more expensive than their pneumatic counterparts and overheat more due to the plethora of moving and mechanical parts within.


Final Words

And so that is pretty much all there is to it. Hopefully, we managed to round off all the bits and bops and properly explained it all off. Feel free to make your way back here again for another peek. Till the next one. Peace out.

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