1 2
Coldsnap
Coldsnap Dork
10/31/16 11:08 a.m.

My tool shed consists of a single 3/8" craftsman socket wrench set. I go to my friends house to do major work, but I'm looking to start doing stuff myself. He has a Dewalt Impact drive we use on everything and it's pretty darn great, most things I don't need to breaker bar it, just impact it a bit to loosen then when putting it back on I'll get it tight then torque wrench the rest.

I was wondering should I pickup a impact drive or get a good 1/2" socket wrench set and breaker bar? I could see some +/-:

Impact drive - + easy + saves hand strain

1/2" Socket Wrench set +cheaper, lasts longer? +develop hand strengh (holy hell i weightlift 4x a week, have a pretty decent deadlift and my grip STILL gets tired after wrenching) -lots of turning

Robbie
Robbie UltraDork
10/31/16 11:15 a.m.

Sockets get into a lot of places that an impact doesn't fit.

But the HF electric impact is regularly on sale for $39 and its a hell of a tool for that price.

Coldsnap
Coldsnap Dork
10/31/16 11:17 a.m.
Robbie wrote: Sockets get into a lot of places that an impact doesn't fit. But the HF electric impact is regularly on sale for $39 and its a hell of a tool for that price.

So far I havnt found a place an impact can't fit. Its actually been easier in some sports where I can get enough leveradge from a wrench!

Furious_E
Furious_E Dork
10/31/16 11:37 a.m.

You could always pick up a nice set of 1/2" drive impact sockets and a breaker bar, then add the impact wrench at some later point.

I need to get an electric impact. All I have now is my POS Craftsman air powered impact, which rarely ever gets used because I hate dragging the compressor out and listening to it run almost constantly.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
10/31/16 11:42 a.m.

Why limit yourself? You can't have too many tools!

I've got a set of H-F or similar cheap 1/2" drive impact sockets that I use with my Kobalt air impact. You could use those same sockets with a breaker bar, or pick up another set with a ratchet.

outasite
outasite Reader
10/31/16 12:24 p.m.

I bought a battery powered 1/2 inch impact and never looked back. I also recommend a good set of deep 6 point impact sockets. My air impact stays in the box and the garage is quiet until I check tire pressures. I would also recommend the drill and accessory bits. Saves time and energy. Brains over brawn.

JBasham
JBasham Reader
10/31/16 12:33 p.m.

I have full socket sets in 3/8 and 1/2. I wrench cars pretty much every chance I get on the weekends. I can think of once when I broke a socket (and that was a 1/2). There are lots of times when I can't fit a 3/8 socket and wrench into the space it needs to fit.

Impact wrench is great. I use them all the time. The first two I got were ni-cad jobs, the usual suspects that everybody gets. Both of them frustrated me because they usually weren't up to the heavy stuff unless the batteries had just come off the charger. I got an obscenely expensive Dewalt 20v unit and have been totally in love with it. But for what I paid, it better be true love!

Coldsnap
Coldsnap Dork
10/31/16 1:20 p.m.

Yea I'll need a battery powered one. Reccomendations? I'm not dealing with rusted or stuck bolts on my Volvo 240 so everything comes out easily.

I've got a makita house drill with battery packs so maybe I can find a makita one since I've got battery packs..

Like this? https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00YI3E8WQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1477938229&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=makita+impact+driver&dpPl=1&dpID=41RIPOl-ERL&ref=plSrch

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
10/31/16 1:38 p.m.

Impact gun, easily. You'll have a hard time putting enough force into a 1/2" socket to break it without a cheater bar, and a quick zip with the impact would easily break loose anything that needs so much force.

Crackers
Crackers Reader
10/31/16 1:41 p.m.

I guess I'm in the minority with suggesting the breaker bar/socket set route.

IMO, everyone needs a breaker bar anyway.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Reader
10/31/16 2:02 p.m.
Crackers wrote: I guess I'm in the minority with suggesting the breaker bar/socket set route. IMO, everyone needs a breaker bar anyway.

Not the only one. This is a much more versatile tool than an impact gun.

But as previously mentioned, both is the correct answer.

I'd also highly recommend saving your money and getting a proper, quality cordless impact which the harbor freighters aren't.

I got three different ones that wouldn't take off lug nuts. The Milwaukee 1/2" 18v I got has rattled off hub and crank nuts

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UltraDork
10/31/16 2:12 p.m.

IMO, nobody should be attempting to do major work on cars without a 1/2" drive socket set and wrench. I have a couple of impact wrenches, and they are great, but there are just too many times when there's not enough room to use one. I can also apply a lot more force to a fastener with a breaker bar than with either of my impact wrenches, including the 3/4" one I inherited from a friend's father.

I've been spending the last week or so fighting with rusted and stuck suspension fasteners on the 02 Exploder we picked up for my son. We're talking about some seriously large bolts and nuts, the lower strut bolt on the front (which I ended up having to cut) takes a 24mm socket and is about 5/8" in diameter. I've needed every tool in the book for this job, ratchets, breaker bars, impacts, MAPP torch, cutoff wheels, sawzall, BFH, you name it.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
10/31/16 2:17 p.m.

There is one big benefit in my mind for manual sockets and ratchets/breaker bars. The batteries don't die mid project.

I have air powered 1/2" and 3/8" impacts and they save a lot of effort but I still generally fall back on hand ratchets because the guns are so awkward - especially under a car on jackstands. Because of that I've really been eyeballing the small cordless impact drivers - the sub-1/2" ones. I figure my big air gun is fine for lugnuts and suspension work, but all the other small work would be much easier with a light weight rechargable that could get me 30-40ftlbs of torque. So far in my studying I keep coming back to the DeWalt and Milwaukee brushless 18/20v units. They're lighter than most and stronger than most. Unfortunately, they also cost a lot more.

Get the socket set first. It was good enough for all the mechanics in history, and you're going to have to buy the sockets anyway. Get impact rated sockets. Then when the SO asks what you want for Christmas/Festivus/Birthday, give them a link to your preferred driver.

RevRico
RevRico Dork
10/31/16 2:22 p.m.

After finding a 6ft cheater on my 1/2" breaker to not be enough to open my oil drain plug, I'm shopping impact guns again. Also really would have helped with the suspension work, but oh well.

Both really is the right answer. For about $200 at HF without coupons, you can get a fantastic 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 socket set AND and impact gun that works fairly well. Any chunk of pipe will turn a ratchet into a breaker bar

Crackers
Crackers Reader
10/31/16 2:23 p.m.
jfryjfry wrote: I got three different ones that wouldn't take off lug nuts. The Milwaukee 1/2" 18v I got has rattled off hub and crank nuts

Do you have the base model, or the "Fuel" version? The "Fuel" is advertised as having like 800fp/t. For the extra $70 that seems worth it to me if that's a real number.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo UltimaDork
10/31/16 2:24 p.m.

If I had to pick one or the other I'd take a breaker bar and a piece of cheap gas pipe over an impact gun of any kind 11 times out of 10.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/31/16 2:54 p.m.

Impact wrenches are great at taking things apart, and some things putting back together.

But important things need to be properly torqued, or, more importantly- not "set to stun" tight.

Even if you have a good gun, you need good sockets and hardware.

codrus
codrus SuperDork
10/31/16 3:10 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Impact wrenches are great at taking things apart, and some things putting back together. But important things need to be properly torqued, or, more importantly- not "set to stun" tight. Even if you have a good gun, you need good sockets and hardware.

+1. Build a good, competent set of hand tools first, then add power drivers as needed.

Personally I'm not a big fan of battery-powered impact tools. They're much heavier than an equivalent air tool, have the annoying habit of running out of juice halfway through a project, and 3 or 4 years later the batteries don't take a charge any more and you're looking a a few hundred dollars to re-battery them and that's assuming the batteries are even still being made. Their major redeeming value is that you can take them to the track with you a lot more easily. Yes, air tools take more time to set up, but by investing in some plumbing, hose reels, auto drains, etc you can make them much more convenient. Yes, you can buy small 3/8" battery-powered impacts that will fit in places the big 1/2" air guns won't, but 3/8" air tools are even smaller. I have an Ingersoll-Rand 3/8" butterfly impact that I really like.

Coldsnap
Coldsnap Dork
10/31/16 3:13 p.m.

OK, makes sense. I'll pickup a good 1/2" wrench and a set of deep socket impact sockets.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse Dork
10/31/16 3:20 p.m.

Wait. You're doing all this in your own garage right? Skip the battery power. Plug in electric 1/2" HF special. 40$, powerful. Bulky, but you have a nice rachet set for tight spots. The batteries are awesome! But unless your doing a roadkill episode of a motor swap in a parking lot, it's not needed. Also, crazy expansive battery replacement and initial buy in. The plug works great because it's simple and easily replaced if broken. You will need extensions and swivels though. Regardless of what you buy. I tried doing my ball joints with a massive HF plug in. It worked but was cramped and required a lot of lego-style connections to make something that fit.

outasite
outasite Reader
10/31/16 3:45 p.m.
Crackers wrote: I guess I'm in the minority with suggesting the breaker bar/socket set route. IMO, everyone needs a breaker bar anyway.

You are correct, I have several different sizes and lengths. However, with an impact, you don't use them as often.

Crackers
Crackers Reader
10/31/16 4:13 p.m.

My electric impact pretty much never gets used. I forget I even have it most times.

I'd probably use a cordless much more, but I'm a little hesitant to dump the cash for a good cordless seeing as I never use the one I have now. Even when I was still spinning wrenches for a living I rarely used air tools compared to my colleagues.

daeman
daeman HalfDork
10/31/16 5:02 p.m.

When I did my apprenticeship, we were not allowed to use impact guns or air ratchets drig the first couple of years. The reasoning being that we needed to develop a good feel for effort required, and how to not cross thread or strip everything in sight. Even after we had advanced enough to use impacts, we would have had our asses handed to us for using an impact to do things up.

Impact guns are a great tool, but like any tool, misuse will often cause problems.

Build a good kit of quality hand tools and grow it as your skills increase

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
10/31/16 5:08 p.m.

I only have an air powered 1/2" drive impact, so I don't use it much because hassle of the compressor. I also do not have a 1/2" ratchet, but I do have a couple 1/2" breaker bars. I only resort to impact if I cannot get with breaker bar.

daeman
daeman HalfDork
10/31/16 5:29 p.m.
RevRico wrote: After finding a 6ft cheater on my 1/2" breaker to not be enough to open my oil drain plug, I'm shopping impact guns again. Also really would have helped with the suspension work, but oh well. Both really is the right answer. For about $200 at HF without coupons, you can get a fantastic 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 socket set AND and impact gun that works fairly well. Any chunk of pipe will turn a ratchet into a breaker bar

An impact gun is more likely than not The reason your sump plug is to berkeleying tight. Not that I'm blaming you, just that there's no logical reason for it to be that tight.

Also, you really shouldn't use cheater pipes on ratchets. You can damage the teeth in them, and in some cases have the ratchet mech fail completely. I don't think I'd like to be near a 6ft pipe with several hundred pounds of effort being applied when the ratchet head decides nope.

1 2

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
I3Wp9bZtlYaWwM5szuOYVpDBcp2Wf5HcNi4AeWam6GDpuJ4u25CXvxTm5BuIn5C5