Last updated: August 17, 2021

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ReviewBox brings you, as always, the best and most complete buying guides on the web to help you make the best decisions. Within the huge variety of categories, we have our extensive tools section.

In this issue we will talk about everything you need to know to get the best impact spanner for you. This tool has become more and more accessible to the general public, and it is no longer only possible to get one if you have a garage.

We want to help you be clear about your needs by providing you with all the tools you need to make the best purchase. By the end of this article you will be ready to get the most out of your new impact spanner and use it like a pro.




Summary

  • An impact spanner is a tool designed to tighten or loosen nuts easily with minimal effort. It takes some practice to master a proper technique, but once you get it, it will help you perform physically demanding tasks in much less time.
  • Generally you will find that there are either electric or compressed air powered impact spanners. Both work for the same purposes, but their power is very different, as is their practicality. Depending on your needs, which impact spanner you should buy depends on your needs.
  • We have found some buying criteria that are important to consider before making a decision. Some of them are the intended use, additional accessories or some precautions you should take. We will discuss these factors in more detail below.

The Best Impact Wrench: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Buying an impact spanner is not an easy task, especially if you have no previous experience with the tool. But don't worry, we really want to help you have all the elements you need to make the most informed buying decision.

A good impact spanner makes your life easier. (Photo: lopolo / 123RF)

What is an impact spanner and what are its advantages?

An impact spanner is a mechanical tool designed to provide high torque by means of a rotating mass. It helps to facilitate tasks that require great physical effort when performed with conventional tools such as cross spanners or common screwdrivers.

The most common application of this tool is in the automotive industry, especially those specialising in wheel rims. However, this tool is also widely used in mining, agriculture and construction, among many others. Basically, it is useful for any job that requires the manipulation of nuts and bolts.

Before using an impact spanner on real tasks, it is important to practice to get a proper technique. Although it is a tool intended to facilitate heavy tasks, improper use can lead to injuries and accidents. In addition, it is important to have some proper safety features in place during use.

Advantages
  • Facilitates physically demanding tasks
  • Increasingly accessible to the general public
  • Very ergonomic
  • Uses interchangeable dies
  • Covers a wide range of uses
Disadvantages
  • Can be dangerous if not used properly
  • Expensive
  • Home-made models are not as powerful
  • Requires maintenance
  • Requires practice for proper technique

Air or electric impact spanners - what should you look out for?

The most common types of impact spanners on the market are electric and air spanners. Both perform the same functions, but have particular features that are important to consider before purchasing one or the other.

Electric spanner. These spanners have been gaining more and more popularity in the market due to their practicality. You can find them corded or with a rechargeable battery, and they are powerful tools that are very light and compact. They are ideal for light to moderate applications, but can fall short for industrial use.

Compressed air spanners. This type of spanner necessarily uses a cable to connect to the compressor, and provides the maximum power possible. Some even have a pressure regulator to control the power. These are the classic impact spanners that have been used in machine shops for a long time.

Electric Compressed air
Power Limited Higher than electric wrenches
Connectivity Cable or battery Cable connected to a compressor
Portability Can be taken anywhere Stationary use in workshop

Are there hydraulic impact spanners?

Another type of impact spanner is the hydraulic impact spanner, powered by water under pressure. This is an incredibly powerful tool, perhaps even more powerful than the compressed air spanner. However, it is not as commonly available and its use is limited to industrial work with heavy machinery or other extreme applications.

How much does an impact spanner cost?

The price ranges of these tools depend on the power, as well as the quality of accessories such as batteries. On the other hand, there are some more powerful and practical impact spanners, usually cordless. Some of these come with a case, charger and in some cases a good number of different sized sockets.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of impact spanners

We have found some buying criteria that will help you decide which model is right for you. We are sure that after reading this section you will be ready to make the best purchasing decision - take note!

  • Additional accessories
  • Use
  • Maintenance
  • Precautions

Additional accessories

In addition to the different sizes of sockets and spanners you will need to work with your impact spanner, you should make sure you know what accessories you will need to purchase to make it work. Depending on the type of impact spanner you get, you will need to purchase accessories.

Compressed air spanner. To use this type of spanner it is essential that you have a compressor that will be connected to the current. This compressor must be suitable for the capacity of the spanner in terms of peak flow and pressure. We recommend that you seek advice and check the conditions of your electrical installation.

Electric faucet. If your faucet is wired for power, you will only need to connect it to the mains. But if your faucet is cordless, you'll need to make sure it has a battery. Some faucets include a battery in the kit, but we recommend getting an extra battery so you don't have to stop while it recharges.

Use

To choose the perfect tool, you need to be clear about what you want to use it for. An impact spanner for home DIY is not the same as a tool for heavy industrial use. In addition to power, time of use is an important factor in determining the ideal model.

Household. If you are looking for a spanner to help you work on your home repairs or if one of your hobbies is carpentry, you don't need a very heavy piece of equipment. It won't usually be a tool that is under constant demand every day, so we recommend compact cordless electric spanners.

Industrial. In case you are a construction professional or your machine shop is expanding, you will need to purchase an ad hoc tool. Since it will be in constant use and the tasks will be demanding, it is best to get a compressed air impact spanner, so don't forget to get a good compressor!

Maintenance

This type of tool requires regular maintenance

It is important to note that these tools require regular maintenance to function properly. It's not the most fun part, but you should be prepared to do it if you want your impact spanner to last a long time.

The most important thing for this tool is that the motor is lubricated at all times

Before purchasing your tool, check the technical specifications and be prepared with the oil recommended by the manufacturer. It is very important that the motor is lubricated at all times. We recommend that you read the specific maintenance recommendations for the model you are looking for in order to be prepared and prevent possible problems.

Precautions

There are a few precautions to keep in mind before purchasing your impact spanner. Some of these safety measures can be easily solved by purchasing basic protective equipment that you can get at any hardware store.

Protect your ears. These tools can be really noisy, especially industrial tools. Exposing your ears too close to the impact spanner or using it for prolonged periods of time can seriously damage your hearing. We suggest you purchase ear protection, either in a pea-shell or headband version.

Practice before you work. Using impact spanners is easy, but remember that you need to have a good technique to avoid hurting yourself. You should hold firmly with both hands: one on the handle and one around the top. We recommend you to check some tutorials to start practising in your workshop.

(Featured image photo: Juan Anuin / 123RF)

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