Best Impact Wrench Review And Buying Guide
Tired of using manual tools to change your tires or fix your appliances at home? If you want to complete your tasks without exerting too much effort and time, it’s about time you invest in an air impact wrench.
An impact wrench is useful in so many ways. With this tool, you can easily loosen or tighten stubborn lug nuts and bolts with minimum effort. Impact wrenches come in handy especially if you want to finish the job faster in a more convenient way.
There are a variety of impact wrenches available in the market which can be quite confusing especially for first-time users. In this regard, we picked the top impact wrenches to help you evaluate each brand and model and see what fits your needs best. In this review, we selected the best brands and models and divided it into three categories: cordless, air, and electric impact wrenches.
We included Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Makita in the cordless category and pitted Aircat and Ingersoll-Rand against each other to see which air impact wrench can match your requirements. For the electric category, we chose Porter Cable to go head-to-head with Dewalt. We highlighted the best features of each model so that you can decide better which will suit you best.
I. What Is An Impact Wrench
An impact wrench is a socket wrench power tool that distributes high torque output with very little exertion by the user. The tool is most commonly used for loosening lug nuts. They are, in fact, actually much more versatile, and can be used in any high-torque situation.
These tools will always get the job done, regardless of whether the fastener is too tightly in place or is too stripped and worn for a wrench to grip. Impact wrenches offer additional force and grip to assist with the completion of assembling and dissembling.
Impact wrenches are often used in repair, maintenance, and assembly work because they offer reactionless tightening and quick results. Their handheld usability and unmatched affordability also make them a great power tool for individual DIY projects.
While there are other tools that can do what an impact wrench does, these options are not as efficient or effective. Plus, impact wrenches can even unbolt rusted fasteners. The rotation motion of the motor can loosen fasteners that have been stripped and cannot be gripped by a hand held wrench. No other tool is effective at this task.
With high torque output and strong rotational motion, these tools are incredibly versatile and powerful. They are also available in all sizes and several styles, which makes them great for a wide variety of applications.
II. How Does an Impact Wrench Work?
An impact wrench works by storing energy inside a rotating mass. It then delivers this potential stored energy into a sudden kinetic burst to its output shaft. This is what makes it different from a drill that rotates continuously with a consistent torque or an impact driver that's many leagues below the impact wrench in terms of overall torque.
Aside from providing extra force to improve torque, this stored power and pressure is also capable of pushing the fastener being worked on forward as well as back. It can both tighten and loosen. It also has a hammer mechanism that is allowed to spin freely after impact delivery instead of staying locked.
- Power Source: The impact wrench's most common power source is compressed air. It also makes use of hydraulic power and electric power as well, like the drill. Compressed air allows the power tool to have the best power-to-weight ratio as well as a low-cost design. Almost always, a simple vane motor is used on the impact wrench, typically with 4-7 vanes on it. A cordless version that uses an electric motor and battery power rose in popularity among DIYers as well.
- How a Pneumatic Impact Wrench Works: This is considered the most professional-grade impact wrench because it's the variant that offers the most torque and the best power-to-weight ratio. It uses air from a compressor to store energy on its shaft and vane-utilizing motor instead of easily depleted electricity. This means you get a wrench that's lighter and easier on your hands without sacrificing the torque. You'll need an air compressor on hand though.
- How an Electrical Impact Wrench Works: Like drills, you can get an impact wrench in corded and cordless varieties. Both require plugging the socket into an electrical outlet but one of them stores that electrical energy into a battery, allowing you more leeway when working with your power tool. The torque provided by this wrench is more than enough for the average DIYer. It's something you can bring with you on the road since it doesn't need an air compressor.
- Lubrication Systems: In order to keep the moving parts to wear down quickly, various lubrication systems are also used. One of the most common lube systems used in impact wrenches is oiled air. The other systems involve the use of special oil passages that are routed to certain parts or areas of the power tool that require lubrication. The hammer assembly specifically makes use of a sealed oil system to keep it operating smoothly without friction or overheating.
III. Types of Impact Wrenches
There are three primary types of impact wrenches available on the market today, for both at-home and professional use. These three types are cordless, air, and electric. Each type provides its own strengths and weaknesses that may play well to your needs and budget.
It have become the most common type of impact wrench used for everyday jobs. Like many cordless power tools, this widespread acceptance derives from their exceptional convenience and portability. Everything you need to operate a cordless impact wrench is built into its frame, including its battery power source. In terms of power and performance, cordless impact wrenches tend to remain fairly consistent over their lifetime, providing enough RPMs and torque to accomplish many standard jobs.
It have a lot in common with their cordless cousins, especially in terms of performance. These models also tend to provide an industry-standard level of performance when it comes to completing most jobs. However, an electric impact wrench trades in the weighty battery for an electric cord plugged into an electric socket. While this makes most electric impact wrenches lighter by nature, it also decreases their mobility and portability, due to their corded nature.
Finally, it stand out from the pack for implementing a unique method for tightening lug nuts and bolts – using compressed air. They pack an exceptional punch of RPMs and torque while preserving a lightweight frame. Because of their intended use, air impact wrenches tend to be built to last for decades, if they are well cared for.
Because of their noteworthy power, many mechanics and construction companies make use of them. These lightweight power tools don’t put extra strain on these workers’ arms. In addition, air impact wrenches are very unlikely to burnout, thanks to the fact that they cool down as more compressed air is introduced into its system. Electric or cordless impact wrenches, on the other hand, heat up substantially if used continuously.
It come with some noteworthy drawbacks though. While the tool itself tends to be affordable, this comes as only a partial investment. To use these power tools, you will also need large air compression equipment, which can be costly to those who don’t regularly work with the tool – such as mechanics. In addition, this type of impact wrench tends to be non-portable, thanks to its attachment to a weighty air cylinder.
IV. A Buying Guide for Impact Wrenches
Before you go out and purchase the first impact wrench available on the shelf, you should take some time to evaluate the various details that may impact your purchase. Not all impact wrenches were built to fill the same needs or meet every budget, so it is in your best interest to compare and contrast the leading models to find the impact wrench that was made for you.
1. Intended Purpose
Before you buy, you should evaluate what you intend to use your new impact wrench for. In broad terms, consider the types of jobs the impact wrench can help expediate and enhance. Then, consider if these jobs will take place primarily in one location – such as an auto mechanic shop or a construction site. Some impact wrenches are better suited to these locations, as they trade off portability for extra power. Your decision in this category should help guide you towards one of the three main categories of impact wrench – cordless, air, and electric – based upon each’s respective strengths and weaknesses (detailed above).
Also, you should carefully consider the specifications of each model and how they meet your specific work needs. For instance, every impact wrench will provide different gauges of their overall ability, including RPM, IPM, torque, and voltage. In general, a higher numerical rating for any of these categories implies that a device is more capable at its primary function. For example, a 24V cordless model will be able to supply more power to loosen a rusty bolt than a similar 20V model.
If you’re in the market for an impact wrench, you’ve also probably heard that torque plays an important role in performance. It does, as torque measures a tool’s ability to rotate a desired object. If your goal is to loosen lug nuts or tighten bolts, then you’ll want as much torque as possible (while remaining within budget, of course).
Finally, you should select an impact wrench that fits your budget. Every power tool comes with an up-front cost that may or may not respect the full cost of operating the device. For example, a cordless impact wrench may be a bit more expensive up front, but this cost balances out with its inclusion of a battery. On the other hand, an air impact wrench by itself is cheaper, but is overall more expensive to operate due to its need for compressed air equipment.
No matter where your budget stands, there is an impact wrench that’s right for you. Read on to learn about the best impact wrenches 2019 has to offer.
V. Top Best Impact Wrench Brands
1. Dewalt Impact Wrench
The Dewalt brand offers some of the most popular impact wrenches in the market. They offer a huge selection of tools for the toughest tasks. Plus, they’ve been around since 1924, so they really understand tools, and are committed to making some of the best.
You can find their products at almost every well-known tool haven, including The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co. and more. Individuals and business owners have been trusting their tools for years. Today, Dewalt is committed to innovation and is constantly releasing new items to fit the unique and ever-evolving needs of their large customer base.
2. Milwaukee impact wrench
Milwaukee creates impact wrenches for every project. They offer a wide selection of over forty different impact wrenches. They even have a line that pairs with a phone app to offer tracking and theft protection. This brand is at the height of power tool innovation.
Milwaukee tools are powerful and reliable. Plus, many of their products come with extended warranties to guarantee value and quality. Like Dewalt, this company has been in business since 1924. Almost 100 years later, they continue to provide durable tools for a wide variety of purposes, and their impact wrenches are no exception.
3. Ryobi impact wrench
RYOBI is an international tool producer with a wide variety of power tools available. They are committed to innovation, and even have a program for independent inventors and product developers to help their ideas become reality.
Power tools are their specialty. RYOBI offers 26 different impact wrenches. Each option offers unique features that prioritize convenience and usability. RYOBI also offers frequent buyer deals on their website, making their products incredibly affordable compared to other options on the market. They also back their products with warranties, and make it easy to order replacement parts on their website.
4. Craftsman impact wrench
Craftsman is one of the biggest names in the industry. They seem to offer just about everything. They also back their products with full confidence by offering a full lifetime warranty on most hand tools. In addition, power tools like impact wrenches are covered by a 3-year warranty.
Their products are certainly built tough and are tested before they’re put on the shelves. Reliability is their priority. They’ve also been in business for about 90-years and work tirelessly to maintain and continue their legacy all across the United States. They offer multiple impact wrenches and all of the parts needed for your project.
5. Ridgid impact wrench
RIDGID, created in 1923, creates tons of quality tools for the professional trades. Their main focus is to produce innovative tools for expert tradespeople who need quality products for their work. However, they also offer hand tools, power tools, and general-purpose tools to get the job done at home.
Plus, register your qualifying RIDGID product online within 90 days of purchase for a lifetime service agreement. This covers qualifying products for lifetime battery, parts, and service from a nearby service center. Users who qualify will also receive future discounts and promotions on other RIDGID products and services. It’s a game changer.
6. Aircat impact wrench
AIRCAT specializes specifically in pneumatic power tools. Among the tools they offer are popular air impact wrenches, or pneumatic impact wrenches. These products offer more torque than electric type. They are also usually lighter and easier to use.
The company focuses on producing quieter products without losing torque or speed. Each tool offers incredible power and efficiency. They have over fifty different impact wrenches with various free speed, square drive, max torque, and impacts per minute. With both professional grade and individual use products, it’s easy to find the perfect fit for you.
7. Ingersoll Rand Impact Wrench
Ingersoll Rand is a diversified industrial manufacturer based in North Carolina. Their products are represented by multiple brands globally. The company is committed to producing products in virtually all industrial markets that enhance operational efficiency, save energy, and improve productivity.
Beyond production, Ingersoll Rand is committed to partnering with stakeholders in pursuit of positive societal change and operate strictly on platforms of integrity and ethics. They are well known for their air impact wrenches, which are innovative and durable. They are also known for their compact look and for having the best power-to-weight ratios on the market.
8. Makita impact wrench
Makita is another leading brand in the power tool industry, offering a huge selection of types. They also offer some of the most innovative cordless equipment with their LXT Cordless System. This system uses 18V lithium-ion batteries and works with over 225 cordless Makita products, including hand-held power tools and even larger outdoor power equipment.
In addition, Makita offers over 64 impact wrenches to choose from, with various speeds and capabilities. No matter what the project is, chances are you can find a Makita product to fit yours. Plus, they’re super durable and easy to use.
9. Porter Cable Impact Wrench
Porter Cable is a well-known brand that provides tools and services all over the world. The company was created over 100 years ago, as a jobbing machine and tool shop in 1906. Over the years, Porter Cable has brought new innovations to the industry, and continues to offer quality products at an affordable price.
The company produces both corded and cordless impact wrenches, at a variety of speed and torque levels. Most of their products include a 3-year limited warranty on the tool, plus one year of free service. In addition, Porter Cable offers a 90-day money back guarantee. Overall, their tools are incredibly effective and customers often rave about their durability and ease of use.
10. Other brands
Of course, there are other power tool brands out there as well. These include Hitachi, Bosch, Kawasaki, Bostitch and more. Each brand offers its own unique variety of tools with various features. Both of the first two companies mentioned, Hitachi and Bosch, are known for producing great power tools.Bosch is actually one of the oldest and most reputable tool brands, with experience creating quality tools for over 130 years. In addition, Kawasaki is known for pneumatic tools, which would include air impact wrenches, and is a subsidiary of Stanley Porter Cable (which also owns DeWalt. Lastly, Bostitch offers quality options as well.
VI. Best Cordless Impact Wrench Products
1. Dewalt DCF899B 20v Max XR 1/2 Inch
As a strong contender in the cordless category, the Dewalt DCF899B delivers enough power without sacrificing movement. A lot of users rely on this model to help them perform various tasks around the garage and household.
Unlike other cordless impact wrenches, the Dewalt DCF899B is designed with a 20V brushless engine. Therefore, this power tool easily stands out from the pack.
Brushless engines have the capability of producing an excellent balance of weight to speed ratio. Hence, this feature alone crushes its brush engine counterparts.
This model is designed with a ½-inch anvil, which makes this tool useful for a variety of tasks. With a maximum torque capacity of up to 700 ft.-lbs., the Dewalt DCF899B certainly packs a powerful punch well above its weight of 3.48 lbs.
This model comes with a unique innovative Precision Wrench control to add more stability during applications. The Dewalt DCF899B can definitely get the job done with speed and precision.
2. Dewalt DCF894B 20V Max XR 1/2 Inch
The Dewalt DCF894B is another cordless impact wrench that is worthy of being included in our list. This model blows a lot of power and is designed in a compact and portable form. This top-of-the-line impact wrench makes it easy to tackle small and large-scale jobs.
Dewalt DCF894B has a capacity up to 330 ft.-lbs. of torque power. Similar to the DCF899B, this model also features a 20V brushless engine which allows it to achieve top speeds with a balanced weight. It comes with three speed settings to help you complete your task with precision and care.
3. Dewalt DCF889B 20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench
The Dewalt DCF889B is another excellent addition to this list. This powerful impact wrench packs in a maximum torque of 400 ft.-lbs. which can perform various types of fastening applications including minor and heavy-duty tasks. Dewalt is a highly reputable brand known for providing high-quality power tools which makes its tools popular among both amateur and professional users.
The DCF889B comes with an ergonomic design to provide better control and comfort to the user. This way, you won’t have to complain much about having tired hands especially when you’re working for longer periods. This impact wrench is designed with a magnesium case and all metal transmission which makes this tool sturdy enough to take on a number of tasks.
With this tool, you can easily remove tight lug nuts and rusty bolts with minimum effort. You can easily change brake pads and repair tires without any hassle. Plus, you can do a variety of tasks without depleting your battery charge.
4. Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 Fuel 1/2-Inch
Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 is a high-powered tool that is ideal for users who often do large-scale jobs. Even with its high-torque capacity at 1,000 ft.-lbs., this impact wrench is comfortable to use without over-powering its user.
Milwaukee tools are known for its performance and reliability. Hence, you won’t have to worry about stubborn and rusty lug nuts. It is designed with a friction ring which makes changing sockets easier.
The 2767-20 M18 comes with additional features that you won’t see in most of its cordless competitors such as the RedLink Plus intelligence monitoring system. This feature is designed to protect the batteries from overloading and prevent the hardware from overheating. Another perk of this power tool is that its RedLithium batteries generate more energy for every charge.
Overall, this cordless impact wrench simplifies the process and makes it easier for you to do repairs on your car as well as other large scale jobs around your household.
5. Makita XWT08Z LXT Lithium-Ion
When it comes to cordless power tools, Makita is another well-known brand that is highly competitive. Enter the Makita XWT08Z, a cordless impact wrench designed with a metal casing in a compact form. This tool offers an extended run time and long backup charges.
Its digital feature allows the user to view the power selections so that they can perform their tasks with utmost precision. When it comes to speed, it comes with three settings which enable the user to be in full control of this power tool.
This model is high-powered and made with professional high-grade machinery. Therefore, this tool is ready to take on heavy-duty jobs such as railroads, autos, iron, steel, and other hard materials.
If you’re looking for an impact wrench that is capable of executing small and big jobs, the Makita XWT08Z is a reliable and durable tool that can get the work done with ease.Enter your text here...
VII. Best Air Impact Wrench Products
1. Aircat 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch
The AIRCAT 1150 was designed with one goal in mind – making your industrial work as quick and efficient as reasonably possible. Designed for heavy-duty automotive and industrial applications, this impact wrench won’t leave you wanting for more power.
In fact, you’ll have all the air-power you need right in your hand with this model. When properly hooked up, it provides 1,295 ft.-lb. of torque. Because it doesn’t rely on a heavy battery, this model won’t weigh you down either, especially after multiple hours of arm-shaking work.
Unique to this model, It features a dual-hammer mechanism that exponentially increases the device’s fastening capabilities. What’s more, it produces nearly half of the amount of noise pollution of comparable air impact wrenches.
Many happy mechanics endorse the AIRCAT 1150, noting that they would never think twice about using a different air impact wrench. One mechanic even said that after setting up the tool as recommended, they were able to loosen a drive pulley bolt from a Honda vehicle (which are infamous for not coming loose, even when you want them to). Overall, the AIRCAT 1150 is one air impact wrench that you’ll be happy to keep around the auto shop.
2. Ingersoll-Rand 231C Super-Duty
The Ingersoll-Rand 231C was designed to make even the toughest of jobs easy with its steady power. It’s a great choice for jobs that require heavy-duty equipment, making it a leader in the industrial and automotive worlds.
It measures in at a little over 7 inches and is only about 5 pounds, allowing it to reduce stress that could be put on your wrists and hands. For on-the-go individuals, this compact and readily portable tool is efficient and convenient. The 231C can move as you do without any problems. It’s durable as well as ergonomic and easy to keep in premium shape with routine maintenance.
If you’re looking for supreme power, you’ve found it. Even though the Ingersoll-Rand 231C is compact as well as lightweight, it delivers 425 ft.-lb. of torque and moves at a highly impressive 8,000 RPM, simplifying tough work and making it easy to accomplish any task.
The 231C also has an adjustable power regulator that provides consistency and allows you to independently set power in both directions. With this powerful and durable tool on your side, you’ll be able to get through any task in no time with less stress on the hands and more consistent results.
VIII. Best Electric Impact Wrenches of 2019
1. Porter Cable PCE211 7.5 Amp 1/2 Inch
For those budget-conscious shoppers, the Porter-Cable PCE211 is a deal that should not be missed. From an affordable price tag to a standard level of power and performance, you’ll find this electric impact wrench to be a worthwhile investment.
The Porter-Cable PCE211 costs ½ to 1/3 as much as some competing impact wrenches. That being said, its 450 ft-lbs. of torque is nothing to scoff at, especially if you intend to use this impact wrench around the home. At 200 RPM, this model will be able to accomplish many of those simple tasks with ease. In addition, its ½ inch hog ring anvil makes quick work of even the tough socket changes.
With a low price tag, you might assume that this product is cheap in quality overall. But Porter-Cable backs up their product with a 3-year limited warranty, a 1-year service warranty, and 90-day money back guarantee, ensuring your overall satisfaction. And you will be satisfied with this impact wrench, especially after it doesn’t take a sizable chunk out of your wallet.
2. Dewalt DW292 7.5-Amp 1/2-Inch
DeWALT’s prime offering in the electric impact wrench category, the DeWALT DW292 provides precisely the kind of performance most are looking for. With even torque in both directions, you can be sure that this impact wrench will be able to do all that you ask of it.
It doesn’t need frills to distinguish itself. Instead, this model focuses on performance to meet your needs. With 345 ft.-lbs. of torque in both forward and reverse (2100 RPM and 2700 IPM respectively), the DeWALT DW292 can certainly rise to that calling. You won’t need to stop to switch between forward and reverse either. The DeWALT DW292 includes an AC/DC rocking switch that makes flipping back and forth easy and painless.
Though traditional views on electric impact wrenches would dictate that a corded model would act as an anchor, I believe that this model’s cord acts as an asset. Rather than struggling with the inconsistent power output of batteries, the DeWALT DW292 cord provides 7 amps of power continuously, ensuring you always have the juice needed to finish the job. With that in mind, you should definitely give this model a try, especially if you are looking for a quality electric impact wrench.
At the end of the day, the best impact wrench for you is the one that fits both your needs and your budget. If you intend to use your impact wrench around the home, you’ll likely find a cordless model to fit best with your other cordless power tools. However, if you’re working at an industrial level, you may find that the extra power and reliability provided by air and electric models to be optimal.
For most jobs like removing a tire, a manual lug wrench can do the job. But if you’re looking to add speed and convenience (as well as the feeling of working in NASCAR pit crew) to your work regimen, then it’s time for you to step up and purchase an impact wrench.