Hand tools vs. power tools, I think this war is going on since the seventeenth century. The hand tools are taking back their glory with increased exposure of the general public to industrial products.
Impact wrench vs. breaker bar is such a duo. They are two different tools doing the same task. As both of them are still in the market, they certainly have their separate sectors.
So, a better question is which one is better for your personal or professional needs.
After a little definition of both of the tools, we will move on to the comparison.
Breaker bars are simply a long non-ratcheting bar with a drive at one end and handle on the other used to break free socket wrench style sockets. Power bars is another name for this bar.
The longer the bar, the more power it can generate. With a cheater bar, snipe, or cheater pipe, the breaker bar can greatly increase its torque generation capability.
These are compact and can be used anywhere and by anyone. You can control the torque well here. Small versions of the breaker bar can be used with very small nuts, bolts, and fasteners.
Although the price for these bars is very low, you will have a hard time recognizing the top brands for breaker bars. Most of the brands will not have a product warranty and decent customer feedback.
It is a power tool. This tool is designed like a gun that uses electrical or pneumatic energy for generating torque. It has a drive head that can be connected with different adapters for different needs. The impact wrench is also called the impact gun, air gun, impactor, air wrench, rattle gun, etc.
These are generally used in manufacturing, production houses, or workshops. Some might also have one in their garage. It gives you a burst of energy that torques your sockets fast. However, the burst can also damage the sockets.
However, it is the easiest and fastest to use. Some of the best tool manufacturers make these impact guns. Make sure that you have the work for it before getting one.
Apparent Differences of Breaker Bar and Impact Wrench
Some of the differences between the two tools are very obvious. Let’s talk about them first before going to the deeper part of the pool.
The main difference is obviously the power sources. Breaker bars are hand-powered. So, they have their limits. But impact wrenches are generally powered by electric motors or pneumatic pressure from a compressor. Therefore, impact wrenches have less of a hindrance when it comes to increasing power.
An impact wrench, of course, costs more than a breaker bar. Pneumatic ones are gonna cost less, but they will require you to buy a compressor if you already don’t have one. On the other hand, going to the shop or using lubricant will be much easier. A little heat can help too, with the breaker bar.
Don’t heist to name the power tool to be the most efficient. Because efficiency means producing a greater effective value with fewer resources. And that award goes to the breaker bar.
Impact wrenches are great for professionals. You will find them in garages and workshops. But those won’t be great if you found yourself stranded with a flat tire.
It is no surprise that the impact wrenches will give you greater power output. Breaker bars will be able to do the same, but they will need cheater bars or some other kind of extension. But often, that gets exorbitantly high.
Impact wrenches are much safer. You can fall or trip using a breaker bar. It is also labor-intensive. But impact guns are way safer than them.
Impact wrenches have a lot of variety with many useful features. You will not find those in breaker bars.
As you can already assume, impact wrenches will be far louder than breaker bars. If it is a pneumatic impact wrench, then the sound gets even higher.
Less Known Differences of Impact Wrenches and Breaker Bar
If you haven’t used both for a long time, you won’t know some of the difference between the two that mostly fly under the radar. Here we talk about those points.
Level of control
Breaker bars give you greater control over the situation than impact wrenches. However, if you are in a situation where you don’t know the required torque or not dealing with the best tools, then impact wrenches will be great.
If you are not using a locked wheel, then using impact wrenches may have a greater risk than using a breaker bar.
Change of tool
Opening a nut with a breaker bar that had been locked with impact wrenches might have a problem. But you don’t have the same problem with impact wrenches.
Impact wrenches give short bursts of power. As you can’t control it, there is a good chance of breaking the fastener.
There is more we can write on impact wrench vs. breaker bar. However, we have covered everything that a beginner should base his decision on.
In conclusion, if you are getting one for occasional use, you can go for a breaker bar. But if you are an enthusiast or professional, then go for an impact gun. Now, you have to decide in which category you fall.