There’s a growing trend of scaffolders using impact wrenches for the job rather than specially designed scaffold spanners or scaffold ratchet wrenches. This isn’t a surprise since those types require more physical manual input on the scaffolder’s behalf, making their work strenuous and awkward to carry out when halfway up a building. It’s much easier to use impact wrenches instead, but not all of these wrenches are made equal. Some are more suited to scaffolding work than others.
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Best Impact Wrench for Scaffolding – Comparison Table
Best Impact Wrench for Scaffolding – Reviews
Best Impact Wrench for Scaffolding – Buyer’s Guide
How to choose the right impact wrenches
Maybe you’re unfamiliar with how you can use an impact wrench on scaffolding, or you’re just not familiar with impact wrenches at all, whichever one it is, we’ve written this buyers’ guide to help you.
We’ve broken down impact wrenches into the different performance properties that you’ll want to pay attention to when buying, allowing you to read up on certain aspects of these products. This way you can get the best deals and see for yourself how some impact wrenches will be superior to others.
It’s not surprising that torque power should be first on the list of considerations when looking for impact wrenches. You want a wrench that’ll be able to deliver on what you have planned for it, but with impact wrenches, there’s the very real possibility that fasteners can get over-torqued so some caution is required.
Torque is expressed in Nm, or Newton-metres, and the number indicates how much torque force is generated when the impact wrench is being operated. You’ll naturally want a higher Nm capacity when working with fasteners that need to be very tight, but most of the time you can get away with using 200 to 400 Nm impact wrenches, hence why most of them in the list above fall within this range.
For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, so when your wrench is turning and impacting a fastening, you want a model that mitigates that feedback so you can keep a firm grip on the wrench.
Since you want to use impact wrenches in a way that, for some models, is beyond the expected method of use, it’s a good idea to shop for versatility. The three main versatile features we can think of are variable speed, directional control, and LED lighting.
Variable speed triggers are where the impact wrench spins faster the more pressure you put on the activation trigger. This allows you to control the speed at which you fasten nuts and bolts, which is great for when you need to use a very specific amount of torque and don’t want to hit the fasteners with a full blast of fast rotation.
Directional control is simply the ability to press a button and have the direction that the wrench moves in be inverted, allowing for easy and intuitive fastening and loosening.
LED lighting is important for visibility. Some products have small LEDs to indicate when the battery is charging, but we mean actual mounted LEDs that provide visibility when working in low-light or even dark conditions. The weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, and here in the UK, we’d place bets on it being overcast or raining a lot of the time. LED lights enable precise fastening by lighting up your immediate area.
Due to the nature of securing fasteners, your impact wrench is unlikely to see continuous use, and so the conversation about battery life is instead focused more on the quality of the battery itself rather than longevity.
For example, a lot of batteries enable about 20 to an hour of use, which doesn’t sound like that much but when considering that you’ll be using them for a few seconds at a time, it spreads out. As always, higher voltage batteries will supply more power.
Some impact wrenches don’t even operate off of batteries, instead using cords, but we’d advise that you stay far away from those if you’re planning to use them on scaffoldings. You’ll want a portable and relatively lightweight model that you can carry with you up and down the scaffold.
The best batteries are also rechargeable, since power tool batteries can get expensive when you’re making follow-up purchases.
A lot of the above-suggested products are actually bundles that feature some other equipment, so we thought it’d be handy to detail why you should consider a bundle, especially since they can be just as cheap as a single tool.
Bundles may include the variable-speed triggers mentioned above, since sometimes they’re detached and can be attached to the wrench for precision fastening. Otherwise, you’re likely to see belt clips, battery chargers, and carry cases advertised alongside the impact wrenches.
Battery chargers are fairly self-explanatory, and we’ve already explained above why you’ll want to get rechargeable power tool batteries. The carry cases are great for general transportation and maintaining its quality by not leaving it out and about, but the risk of them accruing damage of harmful debris is greater when working in areas under construction. That’s why it’s useful to have a safe storage space for your gadget once you’re done with it, so it doesn’t lie around gathering dust.
Belt clips allow you to carry the impact wrench on your hip by attaching it to, you guessed it, the belt. This is useful for when both hands are needed, like when manoeuvring yourself on a scaffolding.