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How Does an Impact Wrench Work?

How Does an Impact Wrench Work
Written by Randall Glenn
Last Update: August 23, 2021

Impact wrenches are one of the most versatile power tools for professional handymen/repairmen. These heavy tools produce huge amounts of torque which is more than enough to fasten or loosen lugs nut in a matter of seconds. These can be essential tools to use when loosening nuts which are tightly bound in place.

An impact wrench consists of an electric or air motor inside the body. This motor can apply sudden, an intense twisting motion of the rotating spindle onto the nut. The twisting motion often comes in short bursts which occurs every five seconds or so. The twisting motion can be reversed when needed which enables the impact wrench to fasten or loosen the nut.

The impact wrenches can be of great value when a professional repairman needs to bolt down hundreds of lug nuts every day. This is why it is good to know how these handy tools work so that we can make the most out of the tools.

How Does an Impact Wrench Work – Explained For Freshman

Electric Impact Wrench : Electricity powered impact wrenches are one of the most efficient impact wrenches that you may find. This is exceptionally handy when you have to fasten or loosen hundreds of nuts every single day but can’t afford to wait some time for the cordless impact range to charge. This tool can provide significant value because it can bolt the screws eliminating the constant fear of running out of battery. It also provides more torque and is quieter when compared to the cordless and air impact wrenches.

Electric Impact Wrench

Cordless Impact Wrench : Cordless Impact Wrenches can be one of the handiest tools where there is no reliable electric source. These are usable in areas with no electricity source. They can run unhindered with any restrictions of power. This impact wrench also eliminates the constant hassle of managing the electric wires. The only downside to using the cordless impact wrench is that it can get very noisy and you must consider buying an earplug when operating this power tool.

Cordless Impact Wrench

Air Impact Wrench : Air impact wrench is an impact wrench that is air cooled. It provides premium performance within a relatively small body-mass ratio. This is one of the more eco-friendly options as well. The air impact wrenches don’t need any electrical power source or charging, which is why these can be very handy when working in remote areas. The air containers inside the wrench can be replaced inexpensively which makes it one of the recommended impact wrenches to buy.

Air Impact Wrench

Three types of impact wrench have been stated with each requiring different sources of power. This is why the mechanism of one wrench may be a little different from the other, but as a whole, the working mechanism is just the same.

How Does an Impact Wrench Work

To know how the impact wrench works, we can look at a typical air impact wrench. When disassembled, the air impact wrench has a stainless-steel housing, an anvil, rotor and rotor blades, forward and reverse buttons and a rear cover. When an air cylinder is attached, and the buttons are pressed, air flows through a hole in the system to the rear plate. The rear plate lets the air into the rotor cylinder where it gets into contact with the rotor blades. The gravity causes one of the six blades in the rotor to stick out which holds the airflow. This is how the rotor starts to move. The movement of the rotor and constant air pressure within the housing creates a centrifugal pressure which circulates within the housing. This helps the rotor to move.

For electric and cordless impact wrenches, the process is even more straightforward. As AC is passed onto the rotor, the rotor gains kinetic energy. This enables the rotor to rotate around the fixed anvil. Thus, a circular motion is created. The short bursts of circular motion are then used to fasten or loosen lug nuts that couldn’t be done with a handheld wrench.


The impact wrenches are great pieces of equipment which can provide a much higher torque than a regular handheld wrench. These are ideal when working with tightly bound lag nuts and the rotational velocity of the powerful motors in such a handheld power tool gives the wrench an upper hand over the traditional handheld wrenches. This is why it is widely preferred and recommended by professional repairs men and other people.

By using a high-quality impact wrench, you’ll not only save time but will also save effort. This will enhance your overall productivity. As a starter, you may decide on purchasing a DeWalt impact wrench. This is one of the best impact wrenches that you may find within a reasonable price tag. It is one of the first choices for professional repairman and DIY experts. In addition to all that, you must always use high-quality tools in your workshop. These tools will make sure that you get your job done faster and more effectively.

About the author

Randall Glenn

A Certified Hand and Power Tools Technician

“Hey Glenn, can you help me with my cordless saw that won’t start?” “Hi Glenn, are you okay? I was wondering if you can put your hands on my inverter generator; its engine failed!” These are just some of the talks I usually hear 7-10 times a week. So, who am I? A hand and power tool expert; that’s what I do for a living. It’s my passion too as I love to see my neighbors working peacefully with their ‘noisy’ appliances and tools. Want to see what I’ve got to let you know? Read my articles on this website!

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