An impact wrench is a power tool used to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts. Impact wrenches produce torque with the energy from their power source which could be compressed air, electricity or a rechargeable battery.
A best cordless impact wrench operates on batteries and provides the convenience of freedom and portability. Impact wrenches use accessories like sockets and bit; sockets are of two types- regular socket and impact socket.
Impact sockets were designed with the impact wrenches in mind; it is expected that when a person uses an impact wrench, impact sockets should be used also but it has been noticed that most technicians use regular sockets with impact wrenches. This affects the tool’s performance and poses a safety hazard to the user and any one close by.
The problem with regular sockets is that there were not designed to handle such amounts of torque and they may shatter and cause accidents and injury. Regular sockets are made from chrome which is a brittle material and can split or shatter with too much vibration.
Impact sockets are designed to handle vibrations and high torque without the danger of shattering. These are made from more malleable material which is softer and more flexible to handle the high torque produced by the cordless impact wrench. Impact sockets may split open, but they won’t shatter and send pieces flying like a regular socket will.
It is important to use the right accessories at all times with your cordless impact wrench to protect yourself and your tool. When using an impact wrench, your impact wrench should run out before your tool; using the wrong impact sockets will cause the reverse to happen because regular sockets cannot absorb vibration, making the tool feel most of the impact.
The anvil which is an important and expensive part of the tool may split or wear out when using the wrong sockets and may cost quite a lot to repair or replace; whereas the price difference between regular sockets and impact sockets is negligible.
Impact wrenches come in two shapes; inline and pistol shaped. The inline shaped impact wrench looks like an oversized screwdriver with the grip located behind the hammer and the anvil. The pistol shaped impact wrench looks like a pistol with the beneath the hammer and anvil. The sockets sizes to use correspond with the shape of the tool.
For example, a 1/2 inch socket can only be used with a pistol shaped impact wrench; same goes for a ¾ inch socket while a ¼ inch socket can be used by both the inline and pistol shaped impact wrenches.