In this shopping guide, we continue our quest to build the perfect workshop and toolbox for those looking to get their build on. Impact wrenches are a relatively vital power tool for those looking to get some hefty torque in their repertoire. These typically aren’t included in power tool combo kits, so are they worth investing in? Yes, of course — although which impact wrench to buy and which is best really depends on a few of your needs. Let’s take a look at what we found.
What is an impact wrench?
An impact wrench is also known as an air wrench, an impactor, an impact gun, an air gun windy gun, a rattle gun, etc. It is a socket wrench power tool that is especially designed to deliver high torque output with minimal exertion by its user. It stores energy in the rotating mass and then delivers it suddenly to the output shaft. Though the hydraulic or electric power is also very much in use, the compressed air (pneumatic) is regarded as the most common power source. For that you’ll definitely need an air compressor.
Impact wrenches are known to be widely used in several industries like heavy equipment maintenance, major construction projects, product assembly, automotive repair and many other instances where high torque is required. Impact wrenches are widely available in all the workable sizes as well as in many styles depending on the application. Sockets and extensions for the impact wrenches are created with high tensile metal. Today, cordless electric impact wrenches have become more popular. Be sure to read our best impact driver or best cordless drill articles if you need an accommodation to your wrench.
How to pick which impact wrench to buy
- Price – There is a bit of a range when it comes to impact wrenches. The most popular models come just above $100 (if going cordless, you’ll need to buy batteries as well), while some budget-friendly tools can go as low as under $100. How much do you have saved up, and how much do you want to invest?
- Corded or cordless? Most of the popular models out there are cordless since impact wrenches require some more freedom when working them. But this all boils down to your preference. We put a few corded in here just in case or you can read our best cordless impact wrench for a more confined article.
- Size – The majority and average is 1/2″, but we’ve seen a few go higher and lower. We’d stick to the middle.
- Torque output – Basically, the higher the torque, the more power you’re getting. Most models we have in here will get most jobs done. Unless you’re looking to complete some industrialized projects, you’ll want to base your purchase off of torque. Most average around a thousand+ lbs of torque.
- Additive features? Quietness (some can get loud), specialized grips, LED light guides and more. What additional features are you looking for in your wrench? The more features, tpically the more money that it will cost you. But for some, it’s well worth the extra few bucks.
The best impact wrenches in the market
The DeWalt DCF899P1 impact wrench has a compact design as its length is 8-13/16 in. and it weighs merely 7.2 lbs. This is one of the best impact wrench models because it has a multi speed control for a number of applications (0-400/1200 /1900 RPM) and excellent 700 ft-lbs of max torque as well as 1200 ft-lbs of the max break-way torque. For its light weight and small size, it is very easy to handle. It has a 1/2 inch anvil with detent pin. This brilliant tool comes with a wonderful bright LED light placed at the lower part of the drill for optimum visibility which will never hurt. It is a very useful tool for everyday technical work and a non-professionals can also handle it very easily, not to mention it comes with a bag, charger and battery as well. You could always buy the bare tool if you already have a DeWalt battery and charger handy.
The Milwaukee 2454-22 impact wrench brings us a true “impact” that optimizes torque even in tight spaces. It is a very lightweight but a powerful tool as it offers up to 3x longer motor life and up to 2x extra run time than most other wrenches in the market (or so Milwaukee says). For the best control over speed and the power needed for the specific application, it also offers 2-mode drive control which gives you some versatility depending on the project. Its brushless motor provides a different spin as compared to other leading competitors because it runs with a constant power output but runs cooler as well. Its compact battery pack can deliver up to 20 pc more power as well as 2x more recharges than the standard lithium-ion batteries. It also has a built-in super LED light that can illuminate the dark locations which is a plus. We’d say grab this if you want to save a little money as compared to the previous model listed.
Ingersoll Rand (2235TIMAX)
The Ingersoll Rand 2235TIMAX impact wrench is designed to punish the most stubborn bolts with 1350 ft lbs of torque as well as 930 ft lbs of max reverse torque. The wrench has finely tuned “twin- hammer impact technology” which is their spin on an advanced way of getting power with such a small device. There is actually no job that can really stand in its way ranging from a garage to the highly technical industrial sites. It weighs only 4.9 pounds allowing you to work much harder and faster even for a longer time. To protect the tool it has solid construction as well — it comes with titanium hammer case composite housing and a steel-wear plate. From its components to its technology, the 2235 series is an extremely powerful and well-built impact wrench. Ingersoll Rand brings us high-quality tools.
Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV
The Campbell Hausfield TL140200AV impact wrench is a fine piece of technology as it has set the exclusive standard in performance and comes with a pretty cheap price tag as compared to other competitors out there. It’s more recommended for automotive applications but can work well with smaller projects as well. It is a 1/2” impact wrench which is considered highly ideal for tire rotation, exhaust repairs and brake repair. It is also regarded best in tightening and loosening of any other bolts with the power and speed of the compressed air. It has a built-in regulator in order to set the torque output; therefore, it is very easy to adjust. It is also very easy to grip with its lightweight housing and soft comfort grip while reducing fatigue during work. The torque output is 450 ft- lbs with 8500 RPM and 5.1 SCFM at 90 PSI, which isn’t too bad for the price point.
An 1150 hefty torque twin hammer model has been introduced by the AIRCAT 1150 impact wrench. It is a fine tool with the performance and power of 1295 ft- lbs. The 1400 bowls per minute turns it into a strong and very hard hitting twin 1/2 hammer wrench. This lightweight, smart tool comes with a decently built composite body along with an ergonomic handle that helps with overall use. Without any loss of power, the patented exhaust tuned system of AIRCAT converts the tool into a very low decibel level like 89dBa. This specific tool has a 15% larger rotor and cylinder that gives the hammer power as compared to many other 1/2 inch wrench competitors. It l is extremely recommended for all sorts of automotive torque applications but can work well with those needing it in their workshop as well. Worth the money if you have it.
This NitroCat 1200-K impact wrench is one of the most popular tools out there. It is a very fine, hard hitting 1/2 inch impact wrench considered as the best option with high power but lower noise. The level of noise is 82- 86 dBa. This exclusive line of impact wrench offers both twin clutch and twin hammer mechanisms. The reliable technology of the “patented tuned exhaust muffler” in all of the tools lets the discharged air pass without creating any back pressure, thus keeping more power within the unit but significantly reducing the noise. The patented ergonomic handle design is specifically made to relieve the fatigue and stress on the hands, arms and wrists of the user. Take a look at the user reviews on this one since they’re mostly all positive. If you weren’t feeling the AIRCAT and still want a more quiet, powerful impact wrench, this may be the one for you.
The Tradespro 837212 impact wrench comes with less of a brand reputation than others but the features and overall quality is pretty significant to include in this shopping guide. Although not the cheapest per se, it’s definitely considered budget-friendly when it comes to comparing to other popular impact wrenches in the market. To loosen the toughest nuts and bolts, this tool is used to produce 240 feet- pounds of torque. It provides the user a variable speed for excellent control as well as a comfortable shock absorbing grip to help reduce the vibration. It comes with a nice storage case, battery and a charger. The 837212 is not intended for continuous heavy duty use like in commercial garages but can do great around the home and driveway. We say take a look if you’re on a strict budget but don’t necessarily want the cheapest model possible either.
The DeWalt DCF883M2 impact wrench is their second appearance in here and for good reason. It is a compact but strong 20-volt cordless impact wrench that wonderfully fits into tight spaces. It delivers a pretty powerful 1560 inch- pound of max. torque to power through stubborn fastening jobs on wood, metal and masonry. You get some huge savings through this particular package if you don’t have the additional DeWalt gear yet — which includes a safety case, two 20V lithium-ion batteries (4Ah) and a charger. It is very lightweight at 3.4 pounds (with battery). DeWalt provides you the ability to defy drive removing fasteners in different work settings. You can ignite 3 front LED lights if visibility diminishes to shine on the work space with at least a 20 second shutdown delay. The socket changes are easily facilitated with a 3/8 inch hog ring anvil as well.
Capri Tools 32200
The Capri Tools 32200 impact wrench was a bit less known among users but rated surprisingly highly by those who have used it. The 8.5 amp electric impact wrench is quite a powerful tool with 260 feet- pounds maximum torque. It’s one of the cheapest models in here but still comes pretty reliable. It also offers you the comfort of electric power while eliminating the requirement for the air compressor. The easy grip of the tool that is combined with the dual bearing armature system provides the person less stress and less tiredness over time. The 1/2 inch hog ring anvil has been built stronger than the detent pin types, firmly keeping the sockets in place and allowing an easy rocker switch and it quickly switches between reverse and forward direction.
To top off our list, the Porter-Cable PCE210ch impact wrench is a 1/2 inch model that comes with a friction ring anvil and can perform the job without breaking the bank. It’s pretty affordable and although doesn’t have as many reviews (quantitatively) as the others, it’s still a budget-friendly tool to keep mind while you shop. This corded impact wrench has proved perfect for mechanics in several fields like construction, agriculture and automotive industries. It offers a 7.5 amp motor that is able to deliver the amount of power required for all kinds of job applications. It provides 240 feet/pounds of deliverable torque for a number of heavy-duty applications with 2700 IPM and 2200 RPM providing fast application speed for excellent increased productivity. It lastly features a soft grip handle for the comfort of the operator with less fatigue which is always a plus. Porter-Cable typically makes appearances in our power tool reviews and shopping guides.