I was considering the purchase of a 1/2" electric impact wrench. The first application is to change out an anode rod for an electric water heater.

I was looking at some online, and the torque given in the specs between battery powered and wired versions is very close. The battery power specs claimed for a particular model said 4800 in-lb)] vs the wired version with 4140 in-lb.

I already have the battery that would fit the battery powered tool. Would either work just as well? Am I missing something (other than how long you can use it before the battery is drained)?

I also have a 1/4" impact driver with 1400 in-lb, would it work OK for this job?

I ask because I was reading in a Family Handyman magazine that you often need an impact driver to break the bolt loose. I haven't tried it yet with hand tools.

  • 3
    Never seen a water heater that needed anything more than a hand powered wrench to remove. Don't think I would even consider using a power tool for fear of stripping the threads or otherwise damaging it causing a big headache. A nice big heavy wrench. May 6, 2014 at 23:13
  • 3
    1/2" drive 18" breaker bar will do it. I've found that if you need anything else because it's rusted in, the anode's been gone for years and the tank will rust through in a couple months making the effort to get the rod remains out not worth the extra effort. The 1/4" impact driver is mouse power, so no. May 6, 2014 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


Either tool would be fine; but as stated in the comments, neither should be required for this job.

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