Electric Impact Wrench or Air — Which Is Better?

Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by Derek Bronso

Impact wrenches are mainly used in automotive shops to loosen tight wheel nuts. These are usually pneumatic impact wrenches that work with compressed air. A compressed air motor drives the working spindle either via a mechanical impact device or via an oil circulation device. On the other hand, there are also impact wrenches with an electric function. Here, the working spindle is driven by an electric motor via a striking mechanism. A special feature is that there are also models that are operated with the help of a rechargeable battery.

Electric Impact vs Air

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Compressed Air Impact Wrench

There are also air impact wrenches for home use, which are smaller and can be purchased for a bargain. A compressed air impact wrench requires compressed air, which is usually generated by an air compressor. Thus, it is often necessary to purchase a more expensive compressor or purchase a special torque wrench in order to be able to use the impact wrench effectively. It is also advantageous that there is no maximum duty cycle and thus hours long work is guaranteed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Impact Wrench

Electric impact wrenches can be found mainly in households, as they can be used very well. However, these are often not satisfactory from the performance and are not suitable, for example, for industrial automotive use. The area of application of these electric impact wrenches is thus relatively small.

However, there are also large models, which, depending on the design, even achieve a higher performance than air impact wrenches. However, these are very expensive and can therefore be found mainly in workshops.

In addition, there are also impact wrenches that work with a rechargeable battery. They are portable and handy, I keep one in the trunk of my car. Depending on the type of model, these can also perform very well. The greatest advantage of such a device is its mobility, because the cordless impact wrench does not need a connection and is therefore not dependent on a fixed location.


Each type of impact wrench has its advantages and disadvantages. So you need to be aware of what use you have for the impact wrench. If you need it for smaller work, it is better to use an electric impact wrench because of the mobility and handiness. Compressed air impact wrenches, on the other hand, are more suitable for larger work in workshops. However, for heavy-duty work, such as the loosening of wheel nuts, a model with sufficient power is always required, whether compressed air or electric impact wrench.

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