In a comment to our post about the new Milwaukee M18 impact wrenches that came out last year, a reader asked a question that has come up a couple of times:
What is the M18 FUEL 7/16″ Hex High Torque Impact Wrench Kit (2765-22) used for , googled it & hardly anything comes up.
So what are 7/16″ large hex impact drivers and wrenches used for? Generally, they are most often used with larger-sized drill bits in the construction industry.
These larger impact tools are especially favored by field professionals in certain specialized industries, such as those in electric power, telephone, and other utility sectors. That’s why many 7/16″ hex impact wrenches have robust tether attachment points – to avoid tool loss while a worker is up on a utility pole.
1/4″ hex impact drivers can be too puny to drive these monstrous bits, square drive impact wrenches are often optimized for use on fasteners, and 1/2″ drills – even if powerful enough – could subject users to dangerous counter-torque forces should a large drill bit jam or bind during use.
The huge reactive torque created when a large drill bit jams can be enough to twist or break your wrist, even if you’re being careful. This is something that should be avoided when working on stable ground, and so you definitely don’t want this happening to a worker when he’s working above ground such as on a utility pole.
Although less common, a number of brands manufacture 7/16″ hex shank screwdriver bits that also fit these impact drivers. You won’t find anywhere as broad a selection as with 1/4″ hex bits, and even 5/16″ hex bits, but they fit without the need for adapters – which are also available.
Do you use 7/16″ hex impact drivers or wrenches for any other applications? If so, please let us know in a comment!