Are you spending too much time during your construction projects working on these tough bits? If yes, then chances are you are a little ‘behind times’! For the ones who regularly work with automotive or industrial equipment, construction, heavy machinery, etc., having the best cordless impact wrench is nothing less than a blessing. It helps you to take care of a range of tasks with ease.
However, simply having an impact wrench will not do- you will need the ‘best’ as we mentioned to get the most out of it. While buying an impact wrench, there are several factors to consider- including the power source, socket wrench size, maximum torque, and much more. With that in mind, we have compiled the best of cordless impact wrench reviews that will help you to find what you need and make all your tedious tasks easy.
Best Cordless Impact Wrench Reviews – Editors’ Choice
1. DEWALT (DCF899HB) 20V MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit
This is a heavy-duty impact wrench that provides a maximum torque of 700 ft-lbs and a breakaway torque up to 1200ft-lbs. It has a 3-speed selection switch to allow adjustment of the torque/drive as per the application. The LED work light with the 20-second delay makes it easier to use this in dimly lit areas.
There are 2 variants of this model- detent anvil and hog ring. The former keeps the socket in place using a split washer and does not require an additional tool. the detent anvil however requires a tool (included)but will also hold it tighter.
This tool can handle a drop from up to 8 feet and is highly resistant to cleaning agents, grease and even chemicals. Unlike its rivals, the direction control switch is located just near the trigger, so it may get toggled a couple of times. However, it only takes a couple of uses to get accustomed to this.
2. Milwaukee Fuel High Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
The Milwaukee 2767 High Torque ½ inch Impact Wrench is among the most compact of cordless wrenches in its range, with a length of just 8.39 inches. It has 4 different drive modes and provides increased speed. This cordless wrench gives you 1,000 ft-lbs of fastening torque as well as 1400 ft-lbs nut-busting torques. With this wrench, you also get tool-free socket change along with a ½ inches friction ring anvil.
This is one of those impact wrenches that come to your aid when all others fail, thanks to the large amount of power that it as. The only con of this impact wrench is that it can be heavy to carry around if you use the 5 Amp-hour battery. However, an easy way to resolve that is to use 2 Amp-hour batteries and change them a bit more frequently as they will finish earlier than their 5-Amp counterparts.
3. Makita XWT08Z LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Wrench
The Makita XWT08Z LXT Impact Wrench powers you with 1180 ft-lbs of breakaway torque and 740 ft-lbs of Max Torque. This impact wrench has 3 different power modes. It has a 1/2inch anvil along with a friction ring that makes socket changes easy and quick. The motor is brushless that allows for a more efficient and cooler operation overall.
For working in darker areas, it is equipped with dual LEDs along with pre-glow and afterglow. It is powered through an 18V Li-Ion battery. Li-Ion batteries are comparatively quicker to charge as compared to other variants as well. Such is the power of this wrench that many users have observed that the first level is all they need to get their daily tasks done. Using it at the highest level 3 setting can damage the lug nuts- so be careful when you make the power selection.
4. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Wrench (PCC740B)
Next on the list of wireless impact wrenches that you can check out is Porter-Cable’s 20V Max Impact Wrench. Capable of producing 330 ft-lbs of torque and 1650 rpm, it also has a variable speed trigger that lets you select just the right amount of power. It is one of the most portable wrenches in the list, measuring just 9.9 inches in length. Socket changes are made quick with its ½ inch hog ring.
The wrench is powered by a 20-V lithium battery. It does not come with a battery life indicator, so you may need to keep a spare battery. However, its battery life is one of the longest in this range, so this will not be a problem that you have to face often. It is made of chemical-resistant material to allow for industrial use too. Porter-Cable also provides a 3-year limited warranty on this impact wrench.
5. Ryobi P261 18 Volt One+ 3-Speed 1/2 Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
The Ryobi P261 18 Volt One+ 3-Speed 1/2 Inch Cordless Impact Wrench is a powerful tool that delivers up to 32,000 impacts per minute and provides 300 ft-lbs of torque. It has a 3-speed selector to help you select the mode that is perfect for the job. The impact wrench has a triple-LED light system to help you work in dim lighting with ease. One of the biggest pros of this tool is that it works with any type of 18-volt One+ battery.
The wrench has a ½ inch square anvil along with a detent pin. This allows for a simple and secure connecting socket. There is no setup required, you can start using this impact wrench out of the box. While this may not be the most powerful of impact wrenches out there, it is the most affordable one in this range and takes care of most days and professional construction/industry needs.
6. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
If you are looking to buy not just an impact wrench but a complete solution, then the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit is something you can consider. This powerhouse provides you with 1375ft-lbs of maximum torque. What makes this a complete solution is that along with the impact wrench, you get the battery, charger as well the screwdriver kit. A single purchase gets you all set to begin working.
This impact wrench is powered by a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that is enough to get you through all your projects for a long time. It takes a mere 4 hours to go from 0 to 100% of battery. A couple of users have noted that this drill does heat up if you are changing over 100 2.5-inch screws in a day. But then again- that’s not something that most people would use it for every day!
Best Cordless Impact Wrenches Comparison Chart
DEWALT (DCF899HB) 20V MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit
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Milwaukee Fuel High Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
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Makita XWT08Z LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Wrench
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PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Impact Wrench, 1/2-Inch, Tool Only (PCC740B)
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Ryobi P261 18 Volt One+ 3-Speed 1/2 Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit
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What is a Cordless Impact Wrench?
How often does it happen that you’re in the of a DIY project and spending a lot of time and effort in removing or fixing lug nuts, fasteners, and large bolts? If it is happening frequently, then chances are that you have not started using a cordless impact wrench. This power tool helps in lessening or tightening large bolts, lug nuts as well as rusted/frozen fasteners with ease.
As the name suggests, a cordless impact wrench is also portable. These are battery-powered and you can use them for quite a while (depending on the battery capacity) without connecting to a power source. This is also one of the most important things to consider while buying an impact wrench. Let us go ahead and explore this along with everything else that you must look at while buying a cordless impact wrench.
Cordless Impact Wrench Buying Guide
This buying guide aims to assist you in finding all the answers to the questions you have, and other ones to come! There is a vast range of cordless impact wrenches on the market with many technical features to choose amongst. Its very difficult to decide on which is more useful regarding your needs, so we’re going to try to simplify the process for you!
4 Main Considerations When Buying a Cordless Impact Wrench
There are many things that you have to consider before buying a cordless impact wrench. Let’s first see some of the most important questions that you must answer before you begin searching for your cordless impact wrench.
What type of wrench do you need?
There are several types- electric wrench, pneumatic, and cordless impact wrench. While the first two are not as portable, a cordless impact wrench is relatively smaller and can be used without being connected to a power source. It also offers you precise control on the torque and available with different drive sizes (more on that later).
How much battery capacity do you need?
If your primary application of a cordless impact wrench will not exceed over 2-3 hours a day, then even less battery capacity will do. However, if you are regularly going to sites and using the impact wrench for longer durations, you may want a larger battery and preferably one that is Li-Ion. This will allow you a long time between recharges.
How frequently will you be traveling with the tool?
If you will be traveling frequently with this impact wrench, then portability is also a factor. You will require a lighter model with a smaller form-factor that packs in the required power.
What is your budget?
Your budget will help you to figure out what type and features can you afford. Right from the battery capacity to the motor type, everything depends on how much your budget is.
In addition to all these, there is one question that remains- and that is the biggest of them all. What features should you be looking for? There are a couple of things that you must decide while buying a cordless impact wrench. Let’s go ahead and answer just that.
6 Important Features When Buying a Cordless Impact Wrench
While buying an impact wrench, the variety in the market can often confuse one. You must have the right set of factors in mind while making the comparison. To make it easy for you, we have gone through the most important features that you must look for in your cordless impact wrench. Going through these will help you to narrow down your choices and buy the best one for the job.
Considering the shape of a cordless impact wrench, you must get one that offers a good grip. Look for models that have an ergonomic design and are comfortable to hold. The trigger placement must also be comfortable, along with raised or a rubberized surface. This allows you to orient the power tool in your hand by a light touch.
Your cordless impact wrench will be quite the investment, and you will want to use it for as long as possible. With that objective, pay special attention to the warranty being offered with it. Most brands offer a 3-year limited warranty, which may or may not cover the battery. Check what parts are covered under it and if there is a warranty on the battery too. And on that note, let’s move on to what you should look for in the battery.
The biggest factor in deciding the life of your cordless impact wrench is the batter type. The majority of the low-end and basic models use Nickel-Cadmium batteries. These have been around since 1899, and it’s time you gave those up. Lithium-Ion batteries are the better choice- these hold more charge and also provide power at a stable rate. Also, with most cordless impact wrenches, the batteries are external so you can change them easily as long as you stick to the same brand.
Similar to choosing a car battery charger, here also you must keep the difference between Amp-Hours and Volt rating in mind. The Voltage rating of a battery tells you how much power it can provide while amp-hours tell you the duration for which it can hold the charge. Try to get both these numbers as high as possible when buying a cordless impact wrench. Just like car battery reviews, these 2 numbers along with the cordless impact wrench reviews will help you narrow down your choices.
You have to choose between a ¼, 3/8 and ½ inch drive size. This is what helps the torque performance of your wrench. The bigger the drive size, the more will be the torque. While going in for ½” seems like the obvious choice, you must still keep the amount of power needed in mind. You can also check out a model that offers adjustable drives.
When choosing motor power, check the torque, the IPM, and the RPM. Higher power means more ease in tackling any type of job. Let’s also see what these 3 terms mean.
Torque is what most wrenches will boast about. In simple terms, it is the power that the tool can put out.
Revolutions Per Minute or RPM is the frequency with which the wrench spins the attached bit or socket.
Impacts Per Minute or IPM is the count of impacts of the wrench’s internal mechanism (known as Hammer). It is this very part of its design that adds the ‘impact’ in an impact wrench.
The higher these values, the better it will be for you. However- that is not all you have to look for in the motor, which brings us to the next feature.
And if you’re wondering where to gather all your tools and accessories check out our tool chest buying guide!
Brush v/s Brushless Motor
When you go for a brushless motor, then you have one less part to worry about. A brushed motor is made using carbon. On the other hand, a brushless motor employs a magnet for creating power. With a brushless motor, you have less friction along with less heat and a boost in performance as compared to brushed motors.
With a brushed motor, the motors have carbon brushes. You have one more part to maintain, clean, and that significantly decreases the lifespan of the tool as compared to its brushless motor-powered counterpart. An impact wrench with a brushless motor will cost you more. However, this cost is more than made up by the longevity of the cordless impact wrench.
As you begin to decide on these factors/features, you’ll probably have other questions too. Such as what is the difference between a cordless and pneumatic impact wrench, the benefits of going in for a cordless model, and so on. Let’s try to answer each of these one at a time.
Pneumatic v/s Cordless Impact Wrench
Pneumatic Impact Wrenches
Pneumatic or air impact wrench is powered through compressed air. There is an air compressor inside these wrenches to drive them and provide power. However, the problem with these is that power adjustment is not easy since there is no mechanism for that. You can only use those in areas where little torque is required without any control over it.
- No continuous power supply needed
- Can be used continuously for longer durations
- Pneumatic wrench has a smaller size
- No precise torque control can break lug nuts if too much torque is applied
- Compressed air units take space
- Tough to use in areas where compressed air source is not available
Cordless Impact Wrenches
A cordless impact wrench, on the other hand, uses batteries, which are lithium-ion in most cases. These are the most used impact wrenches in the market right now. There is a lot of variety available depending on your requirements and budget. Cordless impact wrenches also have torque adjustment mechanisms.
- Precise torque control mechanism
- Portable and compact
- Variety of compatible accessories available
- Periodic charging required depending on the battery size
- Can be expensive
Impact Driver vs Impact Wrench – What’s The Difference?
You may think that impact wrenches and impact drivers are the same things. While an impact wrench can perform the task of an impact driver, there are a lot of differences between the two. For instance, an impact driver has a ¼ inch opening outer shaft that is hex-shaped. Impact wrenches, on the other hand, have several socket types available with different sizes.
Impact drivers make use of rotational motion and add the hammering action downwards or sideways as required. You cannot use impact drivers for precise drilling since the hammering action will cause more harm than good. Impact drivers are mostly good for either driving in a screw or for tightening nuts. Since you can only use bits with ¼ inch hex shanks, its applications are somewhat limited.
Impact wrenches, on the other hand, get their torque from air, electricity or batteries depending on what type you purchase. Most impact wrenches, especially battery and electricity-powered ones have precise torque control. This makes them an ideal choice for precise drilling. With an impact wrench, tasks like removing nuts are made simple. Impact wrenches are great for pulling off even rusted lug nuts with minimal effort.
What is a Cordless Impact Driver Used For?
While we did talk about the differences between a cordless impact wrench and driver, let’s dig into a little deeper about the uses of the latter. A cordless impact driver is a high-torque tool whose main job is to tighten nuts and drive in screws. Impact drivers are used to driving fasteners and tools into dense surfaces. With a cordless impact driver, the only accepted bits are those that have a 0.25-inch hex shank. You can pull the chuck sleeve for inserting the bit or slip it into the chuck. Cordless impact drivers are smaller as well as lighter than impact wrenches and drills.
These are used by both homeowners as well as professional workmen. A cordless impact driver will give you a higher torque compared to normal drill drivers. The only downside here is that you will not have precise control over the amount of torque, as discussed earlier. One important thing for you to know is that often the terms Impact Drill is used in place of Impact Driver. These are both the same tool. The impact driver is used in most places since its main use is ‘driving’ fasteners.
If you’re one that checks and maintains their car regularly you might find our best car ramp article quite useful!
Can You Remove Lug Nuts with a Cordless Impact Driver?
If you are someone who has to remove lug nuts and does not have a cordless impact wrench yet, then you may be looking for alternatives. Chances are that you have a cordless impact driver handy, so this is the obvious question here. Can you use that to remove lug nuts? In theory, it may seem possible- but practically it is not.
In general, lug nuts require a torque in the range of 80 to 100ft-lbs. For the sake of discussion, let’s consider the required torque as 100 ft-lbs or 1200 in-lbs. Several 18-V impact drivers are capable of this torque. Does that mean it is the tool for the job? While it may be the right pick under the ideal conditions, it is not possible in a real scenario. The reasons for that are:
- The lug nuts can freeze or get stuck
- Rust may have formed on the lug nuts
- Over-tightening of the lug nuts during a service.
Thus, with all these real-world factors into consideration, you will not be able to remove any lug-nuts using just a cordless impact driver. If you are considering buying one, you will be better off knowing that this is not something that you will be able to do with it. If you are looking to remove lug nuts, then compact impact wrenches would serve the purpose.
5 Benefits of Using A Cordless Impact Wrench
At this point, you are probably wondering why go through so much detail to buy an impact wrench. The correct cordless impact wrench gives you several benefits, some of which are listed ahead:
- Save time and effort
Loosening lug nuts and bolts can be a hard task, especially if those have rusted out. With a cordless impact wrench, doing that is a matter of a few minutes at most. A cordless impact wrench is also handy when tightening them back up.
- No hassle of finding a power outlet
The newer variants are making use of Lithium-Ion batteries. Not only do these batteries last longer, but they are also capable of holding a lot more charge. This means your impact wrench spends more time doing the job and less time while charging.
- Compact and portable
If you are working on planning to work in an area where space is at a premium, having a cordless impact wrench will be a big benefit. In areas where it is not possible to have a large air compressor, a cordless impact wrench is a way to go.
- Torque Control
With a cordless impact wrench, you get precise control over the amount of torque you need. This gives you just the right power to get the job done without damaging the lug nuts or bits.
- Value for Money
Cordless impact wrenches have a long life if maintained properly. For models that have a brushless motor, there are even fewer parts that may go through wear and tear. This increases the life and value that you get from your cordless wrench.
How Does an Impact Wrench Work?
Now that you know all about how and why to buy a cordless impact wrench, knowing how an impact wrench works is also important. In general, an impact wrench makes use of an electric or air motor that gives a quick and intense twisting movement to the lug nut that it is trying to remove (or tighten). This movement is mostly in very short bursts of 5 seconds or even less. These short bursts of force on its fastener are what cause the lug nut to move (loose or tighten depending on what you are trying to do).
In addition to the extra force for improving the torque, the pressure generated also makes the fastener move forward. It is this extra pressure action that makes an impact wrench so quick and effortless in removal or tightening of lug nuts as compared to working by hand. Impact wrenches get power either through the air or via electricity (or batteries as in the case of cordless impact wrenches).
How to Use A Cordless Impact Wrench in 8 Steps
If this is the first time that you are using a power tool or a cordless impact wrench in particular, then you should know a couple of things. To help you with just that, here are a few instructions that you must follow before using such a powerful tool.
Tips for Using Your Impact Wrench Properly
Read the instruction manual
You must be aware of all the instructions and precautions that are in your cordless impact wrench manual. Every model has its specific settings. You should know everything about those and the specific safety guidelines for that model as well.
Put on the required safety gear
An impact wrench is a highly powerful tool. Before you begin using it, you must have your eyes and hands protected. While it is not common, accidents may happen, and the tool could slip or shrapnel could break away with force from the surface. Safety glasses and protective gloves are some of the things that you must have before using the wrench. Some models can get noisy too, so having noise-reducing headphones will avoid any damage to your hearing.
Select the right speed/torque
You must select just the right amount of speed for the task. Too little speed may not yield any result, while too much speed could damage the lug nut.
Choose the socket
Select a socket that fits the bolt or nut to loosen. Some impact wrenches already have a set of sockets or you may have to get one if yours didn’t. There should not be any wiggle room and it also must not be too tight.
Loosening the nut
The next step is loosening the nut. For that, you have to set it to reverse. The instruction manual will have details on how to do that. Generally, it is a switch on the tool itself. Hold the wrench firmly, put the socket on the nut and pull the trigger. Hold the tool in place until the nut loosens.
Removing the nut and bolt
After the nut has loosened sufficiently, you will be able to remove the rest of it with your hand. The bolt will also come off easily.
Tightening the nut
To tighten the nut, your wrench has to be in the forward setting. Get the socket that fits just right on the nut that you want to tighten. Position the bolt in the hole and the nut on its end using your end. Secure the socket on the nut, pull the trigger and hold it in place till the nut tightens.
Turn off the impact wrench and store it
Once your task is complete, turn off the wrench. You must store it in a clean and dry area for maximum care.
Cordless Impact Wrench Maintenance and Care
A cordless impact wrench is something that will last you for years. These are long-lasting power tools that find use in a variety of projects. However, to ensure their longevity, there are a couple of things that you too must do. Let’s see some of the most important care and maintenance tips for cordless impact wrenches.
- Use only the right bits or sockets
Always use only the right bits and sockets with your impact wrench. Using the wrong ones can damage the parts as well as cause any injury or accident.
- Inspect all its parts regularly
Before and after every application, thoroughly check the impact wrench. If any of its parts are damaged or misaligned, you must repair it before use. In such a case, ensure that you only take it to a qualified professional for maintenance and repair.
- Check all the cords periodically
Treat the impact wrench with care. Ensure that you carry it through the handle and not by the wires. Any wear or tear on your cords must be sent immediately for repair. If the tool has damaged cords, do not use it.
- Maintain and clean all accessories
The impact wrench and all its accessories must be kept away from any moisture, excessive sunlight, and heat. They should always be free of any dirt or debris. Any dirt in the moving parts can lead to jamming or misalignment and damage the tool permanently.
- Use just the right amount of torque
Using too much torque can cause a lot of damage to the sockets and studs. This may also lead to accidents.
- Make use of only recommended grease and cleaners
You should only use a recommended lubricant for all its moving parts. Follow the instruction manual while applying lubricants.
- Do a performance check
The impact wrench must supply a constant level of power in both directions. Check the torque output to get an idea of this. In case you feel that the torque levels are declining, then it may be time to take it to a professional.
FAQs and Answers
- Q: What is the difference between a cordless drill and an impact wrench?
A: A drill delivers the same amount of rotational power with high-speed. On the other hand, an impact wrench is a tool that provides a large toque at a lower speed via hammering motions.
- Q: Can we use normal sockets along with a cordless impact wrench?
A: A standard socket is not compatible with an impact wrench. A regular socket goes through heat treatment and hardens more than impact sockets. Impact sockets are ductile and cause less wear on the impact wrench. Using a regular socket is also a safety hazard and can break considering its brittle nature.
- Q: What can cause an impact wrench to have a reduced impact?
A: This is one of the most common problems with an impact wrench. This is due to either lack of lubrication or a stick lubricant that is jamming it. If it is the former, then simple lubrication following instructions in its manual will do the job. For a stick lubricant, make use of WD 40 to clean it. Sticky oils can make it harder for the motor to run easily.
- What are the essential air tools to have in your garage?
While this is but a short intro to one of the most powerful tools for your car out there, it is what you need to begin your project. As you look for the best cordless impact wrench, keep in mind all the factors discussed before making a choice. One of the best ways to find the right one is to read cordless impact wrench reviews done by experts. This will help you get a first-hand insight into what models offer the best value.
As it is with any power tool, you must always follow all the safety and maintenance instructions. These will help you to get the most out of your purchase and keep you safe at the same time. When used right, a cordless impact wrench will be the tool that helps you boost productivity and get most work done with minimal effort!