Impact wrenches are marvelous tools that are useful for a variety of different jobs—both on the worksite and at home. They’re good for construction or manufacturing jobs, car repair, and even in some circumstances, home projects. Of course, before the consumer can purchase these tools for whatever jobs they may need them for, they first have to find the best ones available. Tools that will hold up well under stress and provide the user with many years of service. With that in mind, we’ve taken a good hard look at the models available and have reviewed the ones that we feel are the best impact wrenches available.

Quick Summary of Impact Wrenches

 Editor’s Choice 

Milwaukee M18 1/2-Inch High Impact Wrench  (review)

 Also Recommended 

Makita XWT08Z LXT Cordless Square-Drive Wrench  (review)

 Also Consider 

Ingersoll Rand Model 231C 1/2-Inch Air Impact Wrench  (review)

Reviews

Milwaukee M18 1/2-Inch High Impact Wrench

 Editor’s Choice 

Milwaukee is a company that has a long and storied tradition of making some of the best tools in the world, and this impact wrench isn’t an exception to that rule. This wrench is designed for some of the toughest jobs and is designed with quality components. This wrench features a brushless motor that should last longer than traditional motors, and it has a heavy-duty rubber over-mold that’s designed to hold up against even corrosive materials. This rubber over-mold also makes this wrench a bit more comfortable to use, although we do have to say that this wrench isn’t very light and comes in at approximately 6-pounds.

This wrench isn’t just built tough, however. It also has quite a few features that make it a pleasure to use. This 8.39-inch tool has a 4-mode drive control that gives the consumer a ton of control over their jobs. This product also has a Redlink-Plus Intelligence system that keeps the tool and/or the battery from overheating due to an overload, so the consumer doesn’t have to worry about burning their wrench up when performing tough jobs. And speaking of using this tool for jobs, this product features an LED light that helps to illuminate the work area and is easy for the consumer to control.

Additional features that can be found on this impact wrench include the use of Red Lithium batteries that last longer than traditional lithium batteries and a friction ring design that makes it easy to make socket changes on the fly. Although the consumer does have to purchase the battery for this unit separately, it’s otherwise one of the best impact wrenches available. It’s certainly a wrench that we would recommend consumers taking a good hard look at to see if it’s something that they might want to add to their tool box. If they do, then we think that they’ll be happy with its design.

PROS:

  • This tool has a lot of power.
  • It has an LED work light.
  • It has 4-mode drive control.
CONS:

  • The battery is sold separately.

Makita XWT08Z LXT Cordless Square-Drive Wrench

 Also Recommended 

Even though this impact wrench costs more than many comparable models and ships as a bare tool—meaning that it doesn’t come with the battery—it’s still one of the best models that we’ve come across. And really, we’re not surprised by that fact. After all, Makita has been making some great tools for quite some time now and this one is just another tool that they manufacture that adheres to some high standards and does its job quite well.

This impact wrench is approximately 10×10.3×3.9-inches and weighs around 7-pounds. It features a brushless motor that delivers up to 740-foot pounds of maximum torque and 1,180-foot-pounds of breakaway torque. This model also has three speeds that are selected by a switch. This allows the consumer to have precise control over their fastening jobs. That makes it a useful tool for anyone from mechanics to pipefitters or even people doing DIY projects at home.

Because of this tool’s brushless motor, consumers can expect this tool to run cooler than wrenches with ordinary motors and to run more efficiently. They can also expect a longer service life, which is a good thing considering that the price of this tool makes it a considerable investment.

Of course, several other great features can be found on this wrench. These features include a 1/2-inch anvil that is equipped with a friction ring that allows for quick and easy socket changes. This wrench also comes with dual LED lights that can help illuminate work areas but can be turned off to conserve battery life if the lights aren’t needed. Overall, we think that all of these features make this impact wrench one of the better ones that we’ve reviewed. It costs a little bit more than some other comparable models, but not by much and we feel that its quality overshadows this increased price point.

PROS:

  • This tool has a lot of power.
  • It has dual built-in LED lights.
  • It has an electric brake.
CONS:

  • This is a bare-tool.

Ingersoll Rand Model 231C 1/2-Inch Air Impact Wrench

 Also Consider 

Another impact wrench that we’ve enjoyed reviewing was this one from Ingersoll Rand. The Ingersoll Rand Model 231C is an air impact wrench that has a classic design and is contoured to make it easy to use. It’s also one of the more affordable wrenches that we’ve reviewed, costing almost half the price of many other comparable models. Of course, this means that this product isn’t as well-built as other wrench models, but that doesn’t mean that it’s inferior. It just means that it’s not going to be able to tackle some of the tougher professional jobs that other impact wrenches might be able to accomplish. For home use, however, we feel that this is a perfectly acceptable tool.

This tool has a twin-hammer mechanism that allows it to supply a maximum of 600 foot-pounds of force. It also features an adjustable power regulator that allows the consumer to control torque output quite easily. It’s a tool that ships fully lubricated as well, so the consumer has one less thing to worry about when they’re setting it up. Because this is an air-powered model, the consumer also doesn’t have to worry about hooking up extension cords or dealing with unwieldy lithium batteries. Just hook it up to your compressor and it’s ready to go.

This product has an average air consumption of 4.2 cubic feet per minute, weighs just 5.8-pounds, and has a noise level of 99-decibels. It also has variable speed, is approximately 7-5/16-inches long, and delivers 1,200 impacts per minute. All of these features make this a handy tool for the consumer to keep around the home for any projects that need to be done. And it’s for these reasons that we’ve decided to place this high-quality and inexpensive impact wrench on our list. We feel this tool is a good one for anyone to have in their toolbox.

PROS:

  • It has a maximum torque of 600 foot-pounds.
  • This is an inexpensive air impact wrench.
  • It has a nice design that is easy to use.
CONS:

  • It’s not as durable as other air impact wrenches.

A Guide To Impact Wrenches

Impact wrenches are tools that are used by a variety of different industries and by professionals all over the world. These tools are used by mechanics, construction workers, machinery maintenance, and a variety of other professionals. They’re also used more and more often for home DIY car and home maintenance. Regardless of what jobs they’re being used for, however, one thing is for certain. Everyone needs their tool to do its job and do it well. 

Since we know how important it is for consumers to purchase the best impact wrenches available, we’ve decided to not only review some of the ones that we think are great but also write a guide that will help all of our readers choose a model that will perform as they expect it to perform and hold up to years of use and abuse. With that said, below are some of the things that we think are the most important things for our readers to consider when purchasing a new impact wrench. 

Type Of Impact Wrenches

The first thing that consumers should consider is the type of wrench that they’re going to need. For this guide, we’re going to list three different types of wrenches: Air Impact Wrenches, Electric Impact Wrenches, and Hydraulic Impact Wrenches. Below is a closer look at each of these models. Let’s take a look at each category and find out what distinguishes from the other ones. 

Air Impact Wrenches

These wrenches aren’t powered by electricity or by lithium batteries but are instead powered by air. These models hook up to a compressor and these types of wrenches were some of the first ones ever created. It’s a time-tested design that allows the consumer to get a lot of heavy-duty work done.

Electric Impact Wrenches

These wrenches come in both corded and cordless varieties. Corded ones plug into an ordinary outlet and are limited by the length of their power cord. Corded wrenches are becoming increasingly difficult to find thanks to the increased power and lower price of lithium batteries. Cordless models have sort of run away with this category and most of the electric impact wrenches that can found nowadays are indeed cordless. 

Hydraulic Impact Wrench

Hydraulic impact wrenches are powered by hydraulics and are used almost exclusively for manufacturing or construction jobs. They’re extremely powerful, but can be dangerous to use if the consumer isn’t familiar with them. That’s why this tool is mainly for professionals who have access to a hydraulic power setup. 

Torque

The next thing that the consumer should think about is the torque of the impact wrench. The amount of power the consumer is going to need depends on their needs and what jobs they need to perform. Impact wrenches range in power from 100 foot-pounds all the way to 1,000+ foot-pounds. The consumer should choose a tool that supplies at least 100 foot-pounds of force. 

Impacts Per Minute

Impacts per minute are another thing that the consumer needs to think about. As a general rule, the higher the impacts-per-minute, the faster the tool will be able to loosen bolts. 

No Load Speed

The no-load speed is an indicator of the speed at which the wrench turns when there is no load present on the wrench. Higher speed can usually loosen or tighten screws at a more rapid pace, but that generally means that it is delivering less torque. If the consumer has to decide between speed and torque, then they should definitely choose a model that delivers more torque over speed. 

Drive Size

Drive size is another important consideration. Most consumers purchase impact wrenches with either a 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch drives. Those are the two most popular sizes today. As a general rule, 3/8-inch drive wrenches will have less torque and will be used for smaller jobs. 1/2-inch wrenches will usually have more torque and are generally used for bigger jobs. 

Size And Weight

The size and weight of the impact wrench are going to be determined by a variety of different factors. For example, wrenches with more powerful motors tend to be larger and weigh more. So, it’s up to the consumer to match their power need against the size and weight of the unit. If the consumer needs a smaller wrench, they might have to choose a less-powerful impact wrench. 

Additional Factors To Consider

The above points are some of the most important ones that consumers are going to want to consider before purchasing their next impact wrench. However, those aren’t the only factors that the consumer should consider. Below are a few more that the consumer might want to think about before making their final decision. 

  • The balance of the wrench.
  • The ergonomics of the wrench.
  • The warranty on the tool.
  • Torque adjustments.