If you work in an auto repair shop or tire installation center, odds are you have heard or work with an impact wrench. An impact wrench is most commonly used in the automotive industry to tighten or loosen bolts (often on tires). You will also find them on construction job sites, on assembly lines, and in areas where the maintenance of heavy equipment is done. Impact wrenches are also referred to as a torque gun, air gun, air wrench, and rattle gun. The impact wrench is considered a high torque power tool that often is run on compressed air. Other means of power include hydraulic or electric powered impact wrenches, and the newer cordless ones are gaining in popularity. Just which type or brand is the best? Do you need a 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch or 1" impact wrench? These air tools are a mechanics best friend and safe you lots of time over the older, manual powered impact wrenches.
Buying Guide - The top brands of impact wrenches include Ingersoll Rand, Skil, Porter Cable, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Hitachi, Kawasaki, Bosch, Ryobi, and Chicago. Expect to spend at least $100 and upwards of $400 for the higher end impact wrenches with 3/4 inch or 1" sockets. An impact wrench that runs on an air compressor will give you the best power to weight ratio compared to the electric and cordless models. Ingersoll Rand gets excellent reviews online on several leading sites and the Ingersoll Rand 231C 1/2-Inch Air impact Wrench is a top selling product for around $100. The DeWalt DC820KA Heavy-Duty 18 Volt 1/2-Inch Compact Impact Wrench is another solid buy but you are going to pay almost two and half times more for this one than for the Ingersoll Rand. The Hitachi WR18DL is top rated cordless electric impact wrench that we could find and it runs on an 18 volt lithium ion battery. Don't think that the cordless models lack torque since the Hitachi can turn out 1950 inch/lbs and it offers the 1/2 square drive. You definitely pay for the portability of the cordless models as the WR18DL goes for about $260 and similar cordless models like the Milwaukee 0779-20 are not much cheaper ($235). We read reviews on Amazon.com, at Mytoolstore.com, and at Northerntool.com to find out which impact wrench gets top billing and which ones last the longest and provide the most torque and power needed to get jobs done. The great thing is that not only did we get excellent feedback from owners who are diesel mechanics, we also were able to get comments from DIY homeowners who use the rattle guns less often but still need them to perform when called upon. For the top selling impact wrenches go here.
Best Impact Wrench:
The Ingersoll Rand 231C 1/2-Inch Super Duty Air impact Wrench is a quality air tool that gets respect from mechanics and weekend users at home. With features like an adjustable power regulator, pressure fed lubrication, and an ergonomic contoured handle, the Ingersoll Rand impact wrench works well in all environments. The 231C is fairly priced and used in commercial garages and with home car hobbyists. Many owners say their Ingersoll provides plenty of torque power and rarely needs any maintenance to keep running properly. At about $100 this impact gun is hard to beat on value alone. If you want to get the 3/8" size, go with the Ingersoll Rand 2115TI which gets all 5 star reviews on Amazon.com. See the entire inventory of Ingersoll Rand impact wrenches here.
Top Rated Electric Impact Wrench:
The Milwaukee 9070-20 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench may be all the air tool you need at $175. The 7.0 amp motor delivers 300 ft/lb of torque and it comes with a speed dial setting. Other features include a pin detent system so adapters and sockets remain secure, a variable speed reversing switch. It weighs just 6 pounds and offers a good power to weight ratio. Owners say the Milwaukee impact wrench works wonders on fretted and rustic bolts. The 9072-20 electric impact wrench will save you time with all household duties like changing lawn mower blades or rotating your tires.
Cordless Impact Wrench:
Want the portability of cordless, but don't want to lose power and torque? Take a look at the Hitachi WR18DL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Wrench at $260. Owners say the small size 6 5/8 inches in length and the fact that it's lightweight (only 3 1/2 lbs) make this a sleek little impact wrench that maneuverable and compact enough to get into tight spots. The 18 volt lithium battery holds a solid charge and the Hitachi impact wrench gives you 1950 in/lbs of toqure with the 1/2 inch square drive. The build in LED light is another nice features as several owner comments mention working in dark, tight places where having a little extra light is much appreciated. It comes with two 3.0 amp hour lithium ion batteries, a quick charger, and a carrying case. For an entire listing of cordless impact wrenches go to Amazon.
Heavy Duty Impact Wrench:
When it comes to tough jobs, several reviews point towards the Ingersoll Rand 2141 3/4-Inch Ultra Duty Air Impact Wrench which features a twin hammer plus mechanism to make it more durable and the 1200 ft/lbs of maximum torque are enough to tackle any "tough nut". This well constructed 3/4" impact tool is strong, delivers plenty of power, and is relatively light at just 7 lbs. The DeWalt DW292 was another "heavy duty" impact wrench but a few reviews point out that this electric model can't compete with the more powerful air impact wrenches like the ngersoll Rand 2130 which is about the same price.