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1/4" or 1/2" impact wrench

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by Bowtied, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Bowtied

    Bowtied Rockstar 100 Posts

    hey guys i am wanting to buy an impact wrench and im curious here i want one that i can work on my bike and my truck with (so if the 1/4" means it will do everything BUT take of the wheels of the truck thats not a big exception) with emphasis on working on the bike more than the truck.

    im wondering whats the main differences with the 1/4" and 1/2" drive? just limited by range of sockets that will fit? if i need a metric impact gun should i not get one thats labeled in inches?
     
  2. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Get a 1/2" drive and you can use reducers when you need to use it for 1/4" sockets, but almost any socket in 1/4" is available in 1/2" too.
    Get a set of metric sockets with 1/2" drive too. A couple of extensions wouldnt be a bad idea either.
     
  3. Bowtied

    Bowtied Rockstar 100 Posts

  4. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy ↑↑↑ Has no life Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Definitely the 1/2" drive for a few reasons. First of all is torque. To keep from breaking sockets and snapping fasteners, the 1/4" drive will not put out nearly the amount of ft-lbs of torque the 1/2" drive will. Most of the time that's good, but sometimes you do want lower torque. Some impact guns offer adjustable torque. Also, if you need to break a small fastener loose, a 1/2" drive ratchet with a couple reducers should be able to loosen those fasteners. I have access to a 1/2 drive and a 3/4 drive impact for my impact needs.
     
  5. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner Gold Member 1000 Posts

    just want to clarify do you mean 1/4" or 3/8" or 1/2". using a 1/2" to do stuff with 1/4" will give you too much torque and break most things needing 1/4". reducing 3/8 to 1/4 or 1/2 to 3/8 is most common. In your example the 3/8 will do most everything except the bigger bolts (ie lug nuts bolts 18mm+). the 1/2 will do thos bigger ones. 1/4" is typically you smaller low torque bolts 10mm and below (obviously can do bigger etc. and 3/8 will reduce down) but look at the socket wrenches 1/4 is real small/short. 3/8 is bigger and a little longer, and the 1/2 is much bigger and longer giving more leverage.

    in your other post. I use the 1/2 impact gun for lug nuts big bolts etc. I have a 3/8 impact wrench for the other smaller stuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  6. Bowtied

    Bowtied Rockstar 100 Posts



    do you mean you bought the same electric impact wrench from harbor freight? i plan on doing some work on my motorcycle and truck with the impact wrench. i think i may end up getting 1 of each tho, a 1/2" and a 1/4"
     
  7. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner Gold Member 1000 Posts

    no i havent purchased the electric one. I have a 1/2" impact gun (like the pic but pnuematic) which i use for lug nuts and larger bolts or I will reduce it to attach 3/8" sockets for some of the more stubburn standard bolts. for most bolts on the car/truck i use a 3/8" impact wrench (pnuematic) or just a regular 3/8 socket wrench. I hardly use the 1/4 socket wrench as its mainly for small low torque bolts which I will do by hand. I do 95% of the work with 3/8" or the 1/2" reduced to a 3/8" socket size. if you are going to buy one get the 1/2" with 1/2" sockets and a 1/2-3/8 adapter with 3/8" sockets. or get a 1/2" and 3/8 if you want two
     
  8. BrownPats420

    BrownPats420 Member 100 Posts

    Chicago tools, too many nightmares here haha
     
  9. hotrodking86

    hotrodking86 Rockstar 100 Posts

    I would go with the 1/2inch drive, way more power and overall performance. Buy a good one that will stay with you for a while. I have had a few that went to crap from Harbor Freight, yes the cheaper ones. I tell you what, 2 years ago I bought a Snap On 1/2inch drive that has various settings. The main reason I got it was for stubborn nuts and bolts. This gun has 1600lbs of take off and 1000 lbs put on. Yes that's right, no error here, this gun is my baby I have yet to see a rusted or stubborn bolt that this thing cannot buzz off.
     
  10. Bowtie Man

    Bowtie Man Member

    I'll spare any of the reasons because every one else has more or less covered it. lol but iv'e got both and i don't even use the 1/4" only use the 1/2"
     

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