Impact Wrench vs Breaker Bar – Which One is Best for You?

Impact wrench and breaker bar are two different style tools, but there are very few differences between them. So if we go to find the main difference between the impact wrench vs breaker bar, we can see that an impact wrench is a power tool, and a breaker bar is a manual tool.

Many people are confused about their main differences. In this article, we will try to highlight the use of these tools and explain the differences between them; it will help you know the details about their use.

Definition: What is an Impact Wrench?

Impact Wrench vs Breaker Bar
Impact Wrench

An impact wrench is a device wrench power tool; basically, it is designed to give maximum torque output using a user’s minimum effort. Many people know impact wrench by different names, including torque gun, air wrench, windy gun, rattle gun, impact gun many more.

An impact wrench is designed to be used in heavy equipment maintenance, product assembly, automotive repair, and all tasks that require, for instance, maximum torque.

Definition: What is a Breaker Bar?

Impact Wrench vs Breaker Bar
Breaker Bar

Breaker Bar is a very common tool for regular purpose use. Many people know it as Power Bar. It is specially designed to use both tightening and loosening tasks and is also used to break extremely tight straps easily.

One of its remarkable features is its long non-ratcheting bar, which helps a lot to produce a lot of torque and force. It is also a very strong tool, which can be easily rotated in any direction.

Impact Wrench vs Breaker Bar: Detailed Comparison

In this section, we will discuss the main difference between impact wrench vs breaker bar. From which you can easily understand which is the perfect choice for you. Let’s see.


In terms of price, the Impact wrench is much more expensive than the breaker bar. Because the impact wrench has many advanced-level features included, you can easily do a lot of heavy-duty work.

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On the other hand, the breaker bar is a common purpose usable manual tool, it is very budgeted friendly, and you can get it in the market at a reasonable price.


If we compare the power of both the breaker bar vs impact wrench, we can see that the impact wrench has a lot more ahead than the breaker bar.

The impact wrench is designed especially for heavy projects, where heavyweight equipment, major construction projects, automobile factories, and much other high rotation output work can be done quickly.

On the other hand, the breaker bar is a manual hand tool, so it needs to be controlled with the help of your hand pressure. It is an excellent choice for any small project with small nuts, bolts, screws and regular purpose use. Also, it can break rusted nuts and bolts perfectly.


The breaker bar and impact wrench are almost the same in terms of durability. The impact wrench has enough power, which helps you complete any type of work quickly and it is also powerful and flexible, easily controlled.

On the other hand, breaker bar tools are made of durable aluminium, steel, and sturdy materials. It has long-lasting performance, and you will always get the best result in tightening or loosening.


If you ask me which tools are perfect for accuracy, then my answer would be a breaker bar. There are many reasons for this. First, there is no control system in the impact wrench. It just has a speed control trigger, which allows you to control its speed. Second, the impact wrench often over-tightens the nuts bolts; there is a chance that the nuts bolts will be damaged.

On the other hand, the breaker bar does not have any specific torque value setting systems. However, since it will be tightening a tool with the help of your hand’s pressure, you have a way to fully control the manual so that you can tighten the tools according to your guess.

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Tightening and Loosening

The breaker bar is much better in the case of tightening because it helps you to have complete control while tightening so that you can avoid extreme tightening by assuming a certain amount of torque. On the other hand, impact wrench does not have control systems. As a result, you will not be able to control the extra tightening easily, and there is a chance of damage.

In the field of loosening, an impact wrench is a great choice. It can easily loosen nuts and bolts effortlessly. You can also use the breaker bar in the field of loosening if you want.

Impact Wrench vs. Breaker Bar: Pros and Cons

Impact Wrench Pros:

  • High torque output for quick fastener removal.
  • Suitable for heavy-duty applications.
  • Saves time and effort in high-volume tasks.
  • Ideal for breaking loose stubborn or rusted fasteners.

Impact Wrench Cons:

  • May lead to overtightening if not used carefully.
  • Requires a power source (electricity, compressed air, or batteries).

Breaker Bar Pros:

  • Precise torque application with manual control.
  • Suitable for delicate or precise tasks.
  • No need for a power source.
  • Easy to use and maintain.

Breaker Bar Cons:

  • Slower compared to impact wrenches for high-volume tasks.
  • Requires more user effort for torque application.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What size breaker bar do I need?

The breaker bar’s length is essential, and a longer bar means higher torque. You can use a 16 to 24 inches breaker bar to get the perfect general work purpose.

How much PSI is needed to run an impact wrench?

Many impact wrench runs require an air compressor, which requires around 90 PSI to operate properly, and 80 PSI to 100 PSI to operate. 

How much torque do you get from a breaker bar?

Regular breaker bars have sockets on their heads. So 150 ft-lbs will easily break a 3/8 inches drive. Also, about 300 ft-lbs will easily break 1/2 inches drive.

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What size impact wrench do I need for automotive work?

For regular vehicles, a 1/2 inch impact wrench is usually perfect for both flexible working and power. Also, the help of an impact wrench of this size is perfect for any other large and small work.

Can you use a breaker bar as a torque wrench?

The short answer is “Yes.” You can use the breaker bar in the absence of a torque wrench. There is not much difference between them. Only the torque wrench makes a click sound when accurate torque is reached so that you can realize the perfect measurements. On the other hand, you have to understand yourself when torquing with the help of a breaker bar.

Final Verdict: Who Wins the Battle? Which One is Best for Your Work?

Impact wrench and breaker bar are two essential tools in the automotive industry. If you want to get faster results, also if you find a tool for working in a heavy-duty and large project, then an impact wrench is an excellent choice for you to work. On the other hand, if you want to do something in detail, then, of course, a breaker bar is favorite choice.

But in my opinion, these two tools are essential. So you can keep two tools in your collection. In this case, you must try to buy tools from a trusted brand to get the most excellent performance.

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