A cordless tool kit, that includes a impact driver, offers value – but as a homeowner – the surplus of seldom used power tools may not be necessary, and that’s where power tool accessories create versatility for a single drill.
When choosing a drill driver for home improvement projects, a quieter standard drill driver may be preferred over the loud jackhammer sounding impact driver.
But what about the occasional fastener that a standard cordless drill driver can’t handle? When a ½” impact wrench serves a much needed purpose in a tool collection, it can be converted with a ½” square anvil to ¼” hex drive to be used with Phillips and Torx ¼” bits.
IMPORTANT: Proceed with caution when using high torque impact wrenches. Lighter duty fasteners can easily strip or break from overtightening.
Inserting and removing bits was difficult with the Milwaukee Shockwave adapter, and after a handful of tests, the bit locking mechanism failed, which leads us to believe the scenarios may be related, but no other products were purchased for further testing.
Update: The Milwaukee Shockwave (48-03-4410) adapter is no longer listed on the Milwaukee website. However, this adapter is still available to buy online. Additionally, a Milwaukee Tools Customer Experience Tech Support Adviser responded to our inquiry with this response, “the part can be bought through our customer service center 1-800-729-3878 with a credit card.”
Unlike the Milwaukee adapter, the DeWalt adapter didn’t break or cause any other concerns during our comparison test and has continued to function without issue; giving it a place in my impact wrench case as a valuable accessory when needed.
Update: The DeWALT Rapid Load adapter has been discontinued and is no longer listed on the DeWALT website. However, this adapter is still available to buy online.
Note: The Wera Adaptors are not impact rated, and we’ve yet to purchase any Wera products for hands-on testing, but many reviews mention success using the Wera Adaptor with impact wrenches.
Impact Wrench Adapters – What to Expect
If the compact design of an impact driver is important, using an impact wrench with an adapter may not be a suitable alternative.
A ½” square impact wrench with an adapter is 1.6″ (40mm) longer, on average, compared to an ¼” impact driver.
**Tool lengths will vary between manufacturers.
Complaint – “The ¼” hex quick-load mechanism is too deep, and a short driver bit is hard to remove”.
My Response – The DeWALT and Milwaukee adapters work best with longer, e.g. DeWALT 2″ Power Bits, as shown in the beginning of this article.
A shorter, e.g. DeWALT Insert Bit has very little tip exposed and is difficult grab hold of and remove.
Complaint – “Adapter is difficult to remove from impact tool compared to normal sockets”.
My Response – For safety, impact sockets require depressing the spring-loaded lock pin, for both attaching and removal. A screwdriver, torx, etc. will work to depress the ball spring.
Standard sockets don’t have the thru hole and just pressure fit, so they can slide on/off with greater ease.
Complaint – “Excessive wobble exists from the adapters on the ½” anvil connection”.
My Response – This issue is true and I’m not sure why the engineers chose to design the seat this way.
The picture below shows the design of a IR (Ingersoll Rand) impact socket (seat is flat), where the locking pin pushes tight against the back wall of the pinhole, allowing zero movement.
Both DeWALT and Milwaukee (right) copied the tapered seat design of a standard socket, thus allowing the adapters to sit further back on the ½” anvil. This makes the pin sit more forward or center of the thru hole (allowing 1-2mm of loose travel).
Note: The wobble only exists in static mode and has no effect on driving a fastener once pressure is applied.