Air vs Electric Impact Wrench

Air vs Electric Impact Wrench-Which is Better?

When fighting against corrosion, one of the inevitable unfortunate eventualities that hit metals, your best bet is an impact wrench. This is the best tool to remove an old bolt or a nut that you wouldn’t even dream of turning manually.

Without it, this task is practically impossible. Impact wrenches exists in two different variants; one is electrically (or battery) powered, while the other uses pneumatic energy. The latter is basically powered by compressed air, just to be clearer. That brings as to the inevitable debate: air vs electric impact wrench; which is better?

Both types have distinct pros and cons when compared to each other, which makes one of them more suitable for daily usage. So let’s go through them together as you need to consider them when you’re about to make your pick between the two kinds. So, air vs electric impact wrench: what’s the difference?

The Power of Air

The pneumatic or air impact wrench, at first glance, is the superior kind since it offers so much more power than electricity. The ease you feel when working with is satisfying since you will be breezing through the job. Moreover, they use an external power source, which means that their capacity is a lot better, and a session can last a lot longer and you can get more work done in one go.

The only downside is that the power source has the tendency to be worn down, which means that only the tool will have better longevity.

Pneumatic Means Upfront Expenses

The power source, being external has yet another advantage when compared to the electric impact wrench: the tool itself is inherently cheaper since you need to buy the external power source, which is either a stationary or portable air compressor.

The need for more power comes at the expense of a heavier investment, that’s why you should think twice about it if you only have occasional use. Particularly, you should also factor in the cost of long hoses that you’ll need to connect the wrench to the source of compressed air.

Well,  you might think that this might actually be a disadvantage since you might have to pay more to get the power source along with the tool, and that is somewhat true. But most shops already have a good air compressor.

Air’s Superior Punch to Electricity

Compressed air has more energy stored than electricity, and that’s why pneumatic tools pack a larger punch relative to their electric-powered counterparts.

Some types of impact wrenches get their power from an electrical source, either with a cord or battery. However, they often deliver less power than the pure pneumatic variant according to the numbers. It is a nice alternative to them, though, especially for home use or when you don’t have access to a compressor.

Electric Means Upfront Savings

Cordless impact wrenches have the advantage of being more flexible. You can realize this result by obtaining a giant air compressor from any auto shop. This defines the difference between professional use or domestic one.

Additionally, with electric cordless, you do not need a costly external compressor. Instead, the batteries or just plugging it it to your electrical outlet is all you need.

Air vs Electric Impact Wrench: Conclusion

For professional use, where you’ll need all the power you can get for many jobs, the air impact wrench is a must as it can handle the jobs that are more demanding especially in professional settings.

For personal use, you might want to go for the electric variant as it packs just enough punch to finish any bolt job at home while being less of a strain on your budget.

Recommended Impact Wrenches:

DEWALT Corded Impact Wrench with Detent Pin Anvil, 1/2-Inch, 7.5-Amp (DW292)
  • 1/2 inch cordless impact wrench has 345 ft-lbs of max fastening torque
  • DEWALT 1/2 inch impact wrench comes with 1/2-inch detent pin anvil
  • Battery-powered impact wrench comes with a forward/reverse rocker switch
  • Soft grip handle for increased comfort
  • 345 ft-lbs of deliverable torque in forward and reverse
Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX 1/2” Drive Air Impact Wrench – Quiet Technology, 1,300 ft-lbs Powerful Torque Output, Lightweight, Titanium Hammer Case, Gray
  • PRO PERFORMANCE: This Air Impact Wrench tackles heavy duty assembly and disassembly applications, suspension work, and industrial equipment repair with exceptional performance and control; Delivers up to 1,300 foot-pounds of nut busting torque
  • COMPACT, QUIET: Patented Quiet Tool technology reduces sound levels without compromising best in class power performance; Weighing only 4.6 lbs, it’s compact and light, so it minimizes hand fatigue, allowing you to work harder and faster
  • DURABLE RELIABILITY: Titanium hammer case and steel wear plate protect the tool from the harsh environments and can withstand repeated drops; Every component, mechanism, and function has undergone rigorous testing to ensure long-lasting performance
  • SUPERIOR CONTROL: Using the four position power regulator, you can seamlessly switch between power modes and adjust torque output for each task; The one-handed forward/reverse mechanism lets you change direction with a simple button push

If you like this guide, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of our articles, where we like to review different tools, such as tables saws, generators, and pressure washers.

Last update on 2023-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Hello, I've been working with power tools since I was a young kid helping out grandpa on the farm. My interest in building things started with him and helped me decide to make a career out of construction. I've built just about everything from pipe organs, custom cabinets, to houses.