Best Air/Pneumatic Impact Wrench Review And Buying Guide

If you are planning to invest in an impact wrench but have no idea where to start, we’ve got you covered.  An impact wrench is a reliable tool that is necessary for every household. You can use it on a number of jobs including minor fixes as well as major repairs.  

Impact wrenches make it easy for users to change tires in their vehicles especially since it helps you loosen and tighten lug nuts and bolts with ease. Before buying one, make sure you do your research first. There are different types of impact wrenches which are mainly categorized into the following:

  • Air/pneumatic impact  wrenches
  • Corded/electric impact wrenches
  • Cordless/battery impact wrenches

In this review, we will focus on air/pneumatics impact wrenches. Thus, we highlighted five of the best pneumatic impact wrenches in the market today including the AIRCAT 1150, DEWALT DWMT70773L, NitroCat 1200-K, Ingersoll 232TGSL, and Ingersoll 231C. We will also talk about the highs and lows of each model.

I. Air Impact Wrench Comparison Table 2019

NameSpecsPriceRating (Editor) 
Aircat 11501,295 ft-lb of loosening torque and Max. Torque 900 ft-lbs. ½ Inch$$$4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Buy On Amazon
Ingersoll-Rand 231Cmaximum torque of 600 foot-pounds. ½ Inch$$4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) Buy On Amazon
Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX930 ft-lb of maximum. Nut-busting torque of 1350 ft-lb. ½ Inch$$$4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) Buy On Amazon
Dewalt DWMT70773LMaximum Torque 650 ft-lb. ½ Inch$$4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) Buy On Amazon
NitroCat 1200max torque that ranges from 1,250 to 1,300 feet-pounds. ½ Inch$$$4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Buy On Amazon
Ingersoll-Rand 232TGSL625-feet-per-pound of maximum. ½ Inch$$4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Buy On Amazon

II. What is an Air Impact Wrench?

An air impact wrench is also referred to as a pneumatic impact wrench. This tool is handy and works great on various projects in the household. It is also very practical, convenient, and useful to use during automotive repairs. A pneumatic impact wrench requires an air compressor in order to work.

So, how does it exactly work? The compressed air provides higher torque capacity compared to electric tools. Hence, allowing the device to produce a powerful impact.

A higher torque capacity enables you to take on heavy-duty work. When it comes to minor repairs, a pneumatic impact wrench gets the job done faster and more efficient with minimum effort.

III. Why You Should Use a Pneumatic Impact Wrench

A pneumatic air impact wrench features qualities that make this tool attractive to many consumers. It comes in a compact size and weighs less compared to most impact wrenches especially since the power source of this tool comes from the air compressor.

Therefore, a small and lightweight tool allows you to work more freely and with ease. This is highly beneficial especially at times when your work requires you to maneuver at certain angles. 

At the same time, it also reduces signs of fatigue and strains on your hands and wrists. Hence, you’ll be able to work for longer periods without getting tired. Also, it doesn’t take up too much space on your garage.

It also requires low maintenance compared to other types of impact wrenches and does not come with motor features unlike its electric counterpart. Motor parts are more prone to wear and tear especially with frequent and heavy use. This also means may possibly have to spend more on repairs and maintenance in the long run.

IV. Best Top Rate Air Impact Wrenches

1. Aircat 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch

The AIRCAT 1150 is a highly rated 1/2 air impact wrench by many customer reviews on ecommerce sites. Take them with a grain of salt. You can't be too sure by these air impact wrench reviews by some of the customers. The reason why AIRCAT is considered excellent by many is because its design is both aesthetically good and functionally dependable. It's just the right size and its L-shaped design allows you to hold it like a gun. The wrench also has a 9,000 RPM motor, which is one of the strongest motors RPM-wise on this list. The only motor that's potentially stronger is the powerful 10,000 RPM of the Ingersoll Rand 232TGSL.

It also produces 1,400 blows per minute, which it turn gives you 900 feet-pounds of maximum torque and 1,295 feet-pounds of reverse maximum torque. The Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX has superior max torque at 1,350 feet-pounds. It's also relatively lightweight by weighing only about 4 pounds. The  2235TiMAX impact wrench weighs less but not by much. The aircat impact wrench is considered the best pneumatic impact wrench despite the 2235TiMAX outdoing it by several specs because it has fewer cons. Only the defective units tend to lack the speed and power indicated by its specs.

AIRCAT 1150


It's also the best air impact wrench for home use from our perspective because it's the more balanced brand. It's the jack-of-all-trades among the impact wrenches on this list. Many of the wrenches here lack the spec excellence of the AIRCAT impact wrench. It's doesn't have the strongest motor or the fastest maximum torque. However, it doesn't have negatives like requiring an excessive amount of lube due to its high maximum torque. The AIRCAT impact wrench also has a corrosion-free aluminum finish. Meanwhile, its placement of the flip lever at the bottom of the power tool is quite ergonomic. In short, it's mobile, versatile with its variable speeds, and really does deliver killer torque.

PROS

  • Features 900 feet-pounds of maximum torque and 1,295 feet-pounds of reverse torque
  • Capable of variable speeds
  • Weighs 4.63 pounds and has the compact size of 7.5 inches by 2.8 inches by 7 inches
  • Hard-hitting twin-hammer impact wrench
  • Immense power thanks to its 15% larger 9,000 RPM motor
  • A relatively quiet impact wrench at 86 decibels
  • 2-year parts and labor warranty

CONS

  • Requires instructions on grease lubrication for newbies
  • Several units tend to break apart easily

2. Ingersoll-Rand 231C Super-Duty

As for the Ingersoll Rand 231C, it uses the patented and proven Ingersoll Rand design that's known for its stability and ability to contain immense power. The ir 231c gives the AirCat 1150 a run for its money in terms of specs and killer torque. While the Aircat has 900 feet-pounds of maximum torque and 1,295 feet-pounds of reverse torque from a 9,000 RPM motor, this wrench has an 8,000 RPM motor that can deliver 600 feet-pounds of maximum torque. This makes it one of the best air impact wrench for lug nuts options out there or at least a close match to what the Aircat has to offer.

Sure, it's outdone by the Aircat in terms of maximum torque, lack of a reverse torque spec, and motor power, but it's a close competitor regardless. Also, even though the ingersoll rand 231c is a lot heavier by several pounds yet delivers less killer torque than its Aircat counterpart, the heaviness helps counteract the torque more. You're assured of more control even when you go for the maximum torque and speed. The utilitarian ingersoll rand model is mostly functional and practical, with nothing fancy added to it in terms of accessories and extras. Its Spartan is to its advantage though.

Ingersoll-Rand 231C


To be more specific, heavier but more compact impact 1/2 air impact wrench options like the ingersoll rand impact 231c gives you more benefits in terms of longevity, performance, and power since it's built like a tank without sacrificing its portability due to its more balanced dimensions. The ingersoll 231c also has handy features like changing tires or lawnmower blades with a simple pull of the trigger. In our opinion, it's aesthetically a good-looking wrench too in terms of sleekness. The AirCat is more lightweight though.

PROS

  • Even beginners can easily use it
  • Torque output is controlled by the adjustable power regulator
  • Torque output is controlled by the adjustable power regulator
  • Pressure-feed lubrication ensures it arrives already lubed
  • Specifically apply the right torque depending on which bolts you're screwing or unscrewing
  • Ergonomic handle ensures comfortable operation and maximum grip comfort

CONS

  • Several other models on this list outdoes it in terms of reverse maximum torque and raw power
  • Requires a hefty amount of lube

3. Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench

As for the ingersoll rand 2235timax, it's a good best air impact wrench for automotive repair and maintenance mainly because it has a relatively high torque output care of a powerful vane motor. The way the 2235TiMAX was designed also ensures your safety and control over the tool, although some customers have strong opinions in regards to that claim. More to the point, several users with either bad units or not say that the ingersoll 2235timax has issues with long-term usage and it's not at all safe on their hands since it causes them blisters and whatnot.

Although we personally didn't get blisters from using this Ingersoll Rand model, we can see why people would have ergonomic issues with its design. By our estimation, even though the 2235timax’s 1,350 feet-pounds of maximum torque is greater than the AirCat's max torque of 900 feet-pounds, that extra amount of torque comes with a price users will pay sooner or later as they operate the unit. This ½ inch bolt remover probably can't fit into smaller bolts that a 3/8 air impact wrench could, but 1/2 is the standard for most nuts and bolts anyway.

Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX


At 4.5 pounds, the 2235timax is a little lighter than the 4.63-pound AIRCAT 1150 and a lot lighter than the 6.5-pound Ingersoll Rand 231C. However, like the 231C, the ir 2235timax lacks a reverse torque spec found in the AirCat 1150. This truly powerful Ingersoll Rand model is also built like a tank. Sure, it has a plastic handle to keep it at 4.5 pounds but its housing is nevertheless impact-resistant and chemical-resistant. This makes it ideal for use in most workshops. It even comes with a tough titanium case to boot.

PROS

  • Efficiency, durability, and extra torque offered by finely tuned impact mechanism
  • The powerful vane motor offers 1,350 feet-pounds of maximum torque
  • The plastic handle helps make the unit lighter than most
  • The unit is chemical-resistant and impact-resistant, allowing it to survive drops and shop fluid exposure
  • The box comes with the unit itself and a titanium hammer case to protect it from harm

CONS

  • Serious ergonomic issues that tire the hand out
  • The balance is thrown off because of the plastic handle, making it front-heavy

4. Dewalt DWMT70773L 1/2-Inch

DEWALT is a legendary name in the power tool industry, so it should come to no one's surprise that it has its own line of air impact wrench offerings. Sure, its 650 feet-pounds of maximum torque might seem unimpressive compared to the TiMax's 1,350 feet-pounds of maximum torque or even the AirCat's maximum torque of 900 feet-pounds, but it's about the same as the Ingersoll Rand 231C torque-wise. Alas, this dewalt air impact wrench falls short in motor power as well, with its 7,500 RPM motor about 500 RPM weaker than the Ingersoll Rand 231C's 8,000-RPM motor power.

It's also 1,500 RPM weaker than the AirCat 1150's 9,000-RPM motor. All the same, the dwmt70773l features the standard-issue twin hammer mechanism found in all impact wrenches. As for its adjustable power regulator, this is a feature it shares with the AIRCAT 1150. Furthermore, the dewalt dwmt70773l is still on the running for the best air impact wrench around or at least on this list care of features like having housing bumpers that ensure its shock-resistance that's quite similar to the impact-resistant body of the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX.
DEWALT DWMT70773L


The regulator ensures you won't accidentally break bolts with over-torque or over-tightening. What's more, as far as the electric vs air impact wrench debate is concerned, this all-metal DeWalt impact wrench proves the superior abilities of air impact wrenches as far as raw power is concerned. Even at its size and weight, it's able to deliver 650 feet-pounds of torque and 90 PSI of load-free impact through a 7,500 RPM motor. This certainly makes it one of the best options for best air impact wrench 2019 in our minds. Furthermore, unlike the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX, its parts are all metal so it's more balanced and less top-heavy. In fact, you can do one-handed operations with this wrench!

PROS

  • Weighs 5.25 pounds and has the size of 10.8 inches by 9.3 inches by 3.6 inches
  • Also makes use of the twin-hammer mechanism and an adjustable power regulator to comply with torque specifications
  • One-hand operation care of the forward/reverse switch
  • Housing bumpers feature shock-resistance
  • Made of metal instead of plastic parts like the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX
  • 3-year limited manufacturer's warranty

CONS

  • Has the same torque as the Ingersoll Rand 231C but lacks the same motor power of both the 231C and AIRCAT 1150
  • Less torque than the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX and the AIRCAT 1150

5. NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch With Twin Clutch Mechanism

Although the NitroCat 1200-K isn't exactly a famous name like DeWalt, AIRCAT, or Ingersoll Rand, it has somehow ended up on this list because by our estimation, it has what it takes to belong on a list about the best pneumatic impact wrench around. The 1/2 air impact wrench weighs 4.15 pounds, making it the lightest of the impact wrenches on this list that vary in weight from 4.5-6 pounds. Does it being lighter mean it's as top-heavy or tiring to use as the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX?

Some might take it against NitroCat that it's made in South Korea versus AirCat in the U.S.A., Ingersoll Rand in Ireland, and DeWalt in the U.S.A. as well. However, even though it's not American-made, Irish-made, or even western-made, NitroCat has made the rounds in top 10 best air impact wrench lists and air impact wrench reviews because it's able to keep up with its occidental counterparts by specs and performance. For example, it has a max torque that ranges from 1,250 to 1,300 feet-pounds, although some customers contest it. It also has a reinforced twin-clutch mechanism and patented forward-reverse switch you won't see in other brands.


It's also relatively quiet at 86 decibels, which is the same rate of quietness that AIRCAT 1150 has. What's more, unlike the plastic-covered Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX, it has superior Kevlar housing and handle that allows it to be controllable at its size and motor strength of 8,000 RPM (comparable to the Ingersoll 231C). It's for all these reasons that only the AirCat and Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX outdoes this impact wrench in the consumer ratings.

PROS

  • Weighs 4.15 pounds and 8.2 inches by 7.4 inches by 2.7 inches in dimension
  • Patented Kevlar handle and housing to reduce motor impact and vibration
  • Switch can go forward or reverse
  • Exclusive reinforced twin-clutch mechanism
  • One of the quieter impact wrenches on this list that includes the 2235timax at 86 decibels
  • Although not as famous as DeWalt or Ingersoll, it has its niche in the impact wrench world

CONS

  • Some customers doubt the 1,250 feet-pounds claim by firsthand experience
  • A mostly unknown brand although dependable
  • Certain defective units glitch or stop working

6. Ingersoll-Rand 232TGSL 1/2-Inch

Last but not least is the Ingersoll Rand 232TGSL. The Ingersoll brand is so ubiquitous when it comes to the impact wrench industry that even on this list, like many other air impact wrench reviews out there, it was able to take 3 slots out of 6. It really is a company that's cornering the market when it comes to the best pneumatic impact wrench. The Ingersoll-Rand 232TGSL 1/2-Inch Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench Thunder Gun is a racing gun or impact wrench.

More to the point, racing pit stops depend on it in order to make 1 second tire changes by a pit stop crew moving in synchronization possible. That is the main claim to fame of the 232tgsl. It is racecar or racing grade kind of wrench used in F1 or NASCAR races. So that means it is good, right? Alas, this air impact wrench falls short of its peers on this list because even though it's great of quick tire bolt changes, its limited 625 feet-pounds of maximum reverse torque and 550 feet-pounds of maximum torque make it too specific in its applications while the other DIY-grade wrenches have a wider set of applications afforded by their higher torques and reverse torques.

Ingersoll-Rand 232TGSL


Like the DeWalt DWMT70773L, the AIRCAT 1150, and the Ingersoll Rand 231C, the ingersoll rand 232tgsl has an adjustable power regulator for more specific torque settings at every sensitive bolt in your car or appliance. It's also black like the AirCat although in all the other specs, AirCat has it beat. It has a lot of cons that has lowered its score. It's an otherwise decent air impact wrench with all the standard-issue features but many of the other wrenches on this best air impact wrench list is just so much better by our estimations.

PROS

  • A dependable industrial-grade racing tool used by professional pit stop crewmen
  • Powerful 10,000 RPM motor that's the most powerful on this list
  • Fastest wrench around, A master of lightning-quick tire bolt removal
  • A power regulator that's adjustable

CONS

  • Although it's fast it's not the most powerful wrench with the highest maximum torque
  • Too heavy and air blows all over its crevices

V. Conclusion

According to the ratings given by various ecommerce sites, the best and top rated air impact wrench is the AIRCAT 1150. To be more specific, by order of excellence, the 1st best impact wrench is the AirCat 1150, the 2nd best is the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX, the 3rd best is the NitroCat 1200-K, the 4th best is the Ingersoll Rand 231C, the 5th best is the DEWALT DWMT70773L, and the 6th best is the Ingersoll Rand 232TGSL. Many of these impact wrenches are either bulky and tough on your hands or lightweight and hard-to-control. The AirCat is able to balance both size and power.

More to the point, the Aircat 1150 is both pound-for-pound the most impactful high torque air impact wrench and one of the quietest ones in light of its killer torque and its L-shaped, lightweight design. It rises above this all-star line-up of air impact wrenches because of its combination of power, control, durability, precision, and ergonomic comfort.

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