Electric vs Air Impact Wrench – Detailed Comparison

Last Updated on October 8, 2021

If you are someone who deals with repairing stuff, then you must work with an impact wrench.

However, I’ve seen many people struggling with picking among electric and air impact wrenches. Now, that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

In this article, I’ll pit both wrenches with one another and help you decide the ideal tool for you.

But before that, let’s get to know what impact wrench is.

What Is an Impact Wrench?

An impact wrench is practically a socket wrench that stores the input power from the sockets and releases all the power it has stored onto a rotating shaft in small impacts. They are also called impact guns, air guns, torque guns, and windy guns.

No matter what the name, all these impact devices have the same functionality of repairing cars or other heavy machinery. Out of all those numerous impact wrenches, the electric and pneumatic wrenches machine dominate the market, and we must get acquainted with both categories.

Electric Impact Wrench

Our Favourite Electric Impact Wrench:

DEWALT DCF889B 20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench
2,873 Reviews
DEWALT DCF889B 20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench
  • 400-Feet Pound of maximum torque to perform a wide range of heavy-duty fastening applications
  • Ergonomic handle provides user superior comfort and control
  • Variable speed trigger with electric brake provides user improved control
These first appeared in the mid-2000s and have been the pioneers for impact guns from that time. All the different versions of impact wrenches that are being used by the construction workers have been derived from the electric impact wrenches.

The electric impact wrench, as the name suggests, runs on electricity. They are available in cordless as well as with a cord. An electric impact wrench is normally connected to a socket and stores the electric charges several capacitors. When in use, the charged capacitors discharge and in turn, rotate the wrench at high speed.

Air Impact Wrench

Our Favourite Air Impact Wrench:

Neiko 30128A Composite Air Impact Wrench
279 Reviews
Neiko 30128A Composite Air Impact Wrench
  • HEAVY DUTY: This pneumatic impact wrench with twin hammer fastens at a no-load speed of 7, 500 RPM and delivers a maximum breakaway torque of 600 foot-pounds while with a working torque of 450 foot-pounds, which provide heavy-duty power and smooth balanced blows for all your automotive and workshop projects.
  • ERGONOMICS: The ergonomically grooved pistol-type handle gun grip is designed to maintain operator control, efficiency, accuracy, and reduce fatigue and slippage during extended periods of use to give the user an optimal experience at the work site.
  • FEATURES: The air tool has a control mechanism to easily switch between clockwise and counter-clockwise rotational torque direction to suit your fastening needs against stubborn lug nuts with the accompaniment of a ½” drive socket from your socket sets.
Recently, the air impact wrench is the most common form of impact gun in the market. It uses high pressured air with a low-cost design that provides a great power-to-weight ratio.

Installed with a vane motor which contains 6-7 vanes, the motor has a special lubricant, a type of special oil. This oil keeps friction in the rotating compartments to a minimum and allows the hammer to spin faster.

Electric vs Air Impact – Key Comparison

Let’s compare both these things feature-by-feature.

Power Source

Air impact wrenches have an advantage in this matter. It is run by an air compressor, which makes it more efficient in functionality. Whereas, in a cordless electric impact wrench heavy batteries are required which decreases the maneuverable factor of the device.


An air impact doesn’t require a battery or cord to charge it constantly. The lack of battery or power cord also makes it cheaper in comparison to conventional cordless or cord-included electric impact drills.


An electric impact gun is normally lighter compared to an air impact gun. This is because an air impact gun needs numerous mechanisms and components to provide high torques. The electric wrench requires fewer components and is small in size, which allows it to reach tough spots with ease.


Air impact guns fall behind when it comes to power. An impact gun uses Air compressors, which are incapable of generating high rotational velocities. But, an electric wrench uses electricity, which allows it to power through those stubborn nuts or bolts with ease.

Heat Resistant

When it comes to better heat withstanding capabilities, the air impact gun has an edge. It uses air, which is less capable of heating components through friction. The electric wrenches are not able to do that. Electric impact guns are operated by using electricity, which powers a contraption to rotate.

This contraption, due to friction, tends to heat up and requires rest. So the air “windy gun” is a better wrench for prolonged works.

Operation of the Wrenches

In an electric air gun, the impact force generated is solely rotational, and the mechanism absorbs the force in the axial directions. The functionality of an air wrench is different. It has no rotational or spring force but has equivalently powerful hammer force in a rotational direction.


In terms of accuracy, the electric wrench is more accurate. This is because the air impact wrench uses air, and its flow of air has to be adjusted constantly for minimal accuracy. The constantly changing flow of air decreases the accuracy of air impact wrenches.


The air impact wrench has a more industrial and heavy-duty usage such as Auto repairs, assembly works, and maintenance of heavy-duty work. On the other hand, the electric impact wrench is more suited for day-to-day works such as DIYs, home improvements, or constructions.


When safety becomes a concern, the air impact wrench clearly takes the prize.
Unlike the electric impact gun, which requires high voltage supplies to work, the air gun works on air, which is completely harmless. So with an air impact gun, there is no chance of harm.

The air impact gun also produces fewer noise pollutions. Its hammer moves in such a fluid and steady motion that it produces literally no sound.

Which One Should You Choose?

Both machines are one of a kind, and each of them assures excellent functionality. Picking the right wrench for the right task is not a tough deal, and, with the help of this article, choosing between an electric or air impact gun for the task at hand should be easier.

Though air impact wrench wins the comparison by a hairline. The device you are comfortable to work with is entirely up to you. And, most importantly work in a controlled environment where your safety is ensured.

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