As I reached for my impact wrench in the middle of a rather special project, I wondered if this tool was able to adjust to the settings I needed. Frustrated, I did some research online to find out if impact wrenches are adjustable.
Are impact wrenches adjustable? It is possible to adjust the torque of an impact wrench, but it is not as easy as it sounds. Instead of simply turning a dial to adjust the settings, you will need to take a few extra steps to prepare the tool for your project.
Impact wrenches (learn more about them here) are helpful when loosening tightly fastened nuts and bolts, but most people would be surprised to learn that they can work both ways. With a little adjustment to the torque, you will learn that an impact wrench can be used for almost anything.
Are Impact Wrenches Adjustable?
An impact wrench is a power tool that automatically rotates to complete tasks without much effort from the user. The purpose of an impact wrench is to exert high torque onto other objects, usually to loosen them.
Not to be confused with the average wrench, an impact wrench is a high-powered tool that is used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. The shaft on an impact wrench will automatically rotate at relatively fast speeds to complete tasks faster than other manual tools.
The Purpose of an Impact Wrench:
- Tightening nuts and bolts
- Loosening nuts and bolts (when torque is adjusted)
Impact Wrench Characteristics:
- Power tool
- High torque levels
- Minimal effort from user
- Rotates automatically
- Has more power than most other tools
However, the torque of impact wrenches can also be adjusted to rotate the opposite way, allowing the same tool to both fasten and loosen the same object.
Impact Wrench Torque:
- Depends on air pressure
- Can contain air regulator
- Most impact wrenches do not have air regulators
- Two ways to adjust the torque levels
The torque levels of an impact wrench are determined by the air pressure that is available within the tool. In the most simple of circumstances, the impact wrench will already contain something called an air regulator, which controls the air pressure from the inside.
However, most of the average impact wrenches that are available on the market to not come equipped with one of these air regulators, so you will have to take additional measures to adjust the torque if this applies to your tool.
When adjusting the torque of your impact wrench, there are two separate ways you can go, which will be outlined in the next section.
How to Adjust the Torque of an Impact Wrench
The method in which you adjust the torque of your impact wrench will depend on whether or not your tool has a built-in air regulator. Like most impact wrenches, if you do not have one of these handy features, there are a few additional steps you can follow to be able to adjust the torque level on your tool.
What You Will Need:
- Compressor with air regulator
- Tool air regulator
- Air hose
- Impact wrench
How To Adjust The Torque Of An Impact Wrench (Method One):
- Turn on compressor, run until it reaches shutoff pressure
- Attach impact wrench to compressor using air hose
- Adjust pressure regulator on compressor to reduce the pressure
The first method of adjusting the torque of an impact wrench is to regulate the line pressure. For these steps, you will need a compressor with an air regulator, and air hose, and, of course, your impact wrench.
To begin, you will need to turn on your compressor, and leave it running on its own until it finally reaches its shutoff pressure. This will allow you to gain the amount of air pressure you need during the next few steps.
After the compressor has reached its shutoff pressure, you will attach it to your impact wrench, using the air hose to connect the two. Finally, you will simply adjust the pressure regulator on your air compressor in order to reduce the pressure on your tool.
How to Adjust the Torque of an Impact Wrench (Method Two):
- Attach the tool air regulator to the impact wrench
- Attach air hose to tool air regulator
- Adjust the regulator until you reach desired torque level
The second and final method of adjusting the torque on your impact wrench without a built in air regulator will include the use of a special tool air regulator, along with an air hose, and your impact wrench.
Initially, you will need to attach the tool air regulator directly to your impact wrench. Next, the air hose must be attached to the tool regulator itself. When this is done, you will be able to adjust the regulator until you reach the torque level you intended.
When you are adjusting the torque of your impact wrench, there are a few tips for ease of use and optimum safety that you should adhere to at all times. Take a look at the list below for some basic tips, and keep reading to find out why they should be followed.
Tips for Adjusting the Torque on Your Impact Wrench:
- If you will be adjusting several tools at the same time, use a tool regulator
- These methods will only reduce torque levels, not increase them
- Always pay attention to the maximum levels recommended by the manufacturer
- Don’t forget to wear eye and head gear to protect yourself while doing this
If you will be adjusting several tools at the same time, in a shop with a wide range of tools, for instance, it will be best to use a tool regulator in place of the compressor that was discussed earlier in this section.
This is due to the fact that the compressor will not be able to distribute an even amount of pressure to all of the tools that require it, but the tool regulator will offer more centralized pressure to each individual tool.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that the methods of adjusting torque will only reduce it, instead of increasing it. With that being said, you should always pay attention to the maximum levels that are recommended by the manufacturer.
Finally, don’t forget to wear the proper eye and head gear in order to protect yourself while dealing with any kind of power tool in any circumstance.
Why It Is Important to Adjust an Impact Wrench
Whether you will be using your impact wrench to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, it is equally important to be able to adjust the torque settings before use.
Why It Is Important To Adjust An Impact Wrench:
- Insufficient torque can cause damage
- Excessive torque can apply too much force
- Avoid dangerous accidents
Since impact wrenches are power tools, it is always important to stay safe while using them. Part of staying safe while using an impact wrench is making sure that the correct torque level has been adjusted within the tool.
Insufficient torque, or a torque level that is not high enough for the specific task, can break down the object that it is being exerted on. For example, if you are using your impact wrench to work on a car’s engine, and the torque is not set to a sufficient level, you might unintentionally shift the tension and damage the engine.
Similarly, excessive torque that applies too much force to the object in question will likely damage or even break the screws, nuts, and bolts it is been used on.
To avoid dangerous accidents as effectively as possible, you should always make sure that the torque level is correct on your impact wrench before using. In addition to wearing the proper safety gear, you should have no problems using your tool with all of these tips and instructions in mind.
In conclusion, impact wrenches are very handy tools in more ways than one. With the added versatility that comes with being able to adjust the torque levels, these tools can be used for almost anything you need them for.
How much does it cost to purchase an impact wrench?
Depending on where you purchase it and the overall quality level, you can find an impact wrench for anything from $35 to $5,000. However, the average price range for a decent impact wrench will be around $50 to $100, either online or at your local hardware/home improvement store.
Would you like to look at a top-ten list of cordless impact wrenches?
What is the difference between an impact driver and an impact wrench?
Impact wrenches have more mass, are usually larger, and hold a lot more power than an impact driver. Impact drivers most commonly use a one-fourth inch hex drive for securing screws, while impact wrenches are used for loosening or tightening nuts, bolts, and sockets.
Can you use regular sockets on an impact wrench?
Regular sockets are not compatible with impact wrenches for a variety of reasons. A normal socket will become damaged r completely broken when it is used on an impact tool, because the material of the socket itself is so fragile. So, in short, you will not be able to use a regular socket with an impact wrench.