FIND THE PERFECT IMPACT WRENCHS IN MINUTES
We have reviewed our top 10 choices below and also done in-depth reviews by brands, but if you are in a rush:
Here’s our top choice:Milwaukee ½ Inch (Check Price on Amazon.com)
When you need to change one or all four tires on your car quickly, you’ll appreciate having an impact wrench in your garage. These tools often work with an air compressor that provides the pressure and torque needed, but some models feature other types of designs. This simple tool is perfect for all types of car repairs and work on heavy machinery too.
Milwaukee gets our nod as the top model with its ½ inch product (Check Price on Amazon.com) that provides up to 700 pounds per foot of torque. This model also comes with a red lithium battery that lasts twice as long as other batteries and two modes for fastening. Make sure that you check out all the other products we found worthy of our list before buying your next tool.
How to Choose the Perfect One
What is the Maximum Torque Produced?
Even if you just want to change a flat tire without visiting the mechanic, you still need to know how much torque the tool produces. Some manufacturers use a pound per inch rating because this makes the tool sound more powerful, but you can determine the amount per foot based on that rating. For most jobs, you will need a rating of at least 150 pounds per foot, which is around 1,800 pounds per inch.
What Type of Power Does it Use?
Auto repair and mechanic shops use models designed to work with an air compressor, which means that you’ll need an air compressor of your own to use one of these models in your own garage. Many have a power cord that works with an outlet and uses electricity to power the motor. You’ll also find some that you can plug right into an outlet in your car for taking care of repairs while away from home.
Does it Have a Standard Socket Size?
Most of the models that you see designed for home use have a standard socket size of ½ inch, but there are others that have a ¼ inch or 3/8 inch socket size. This tells you the size of the sockets that you can use with it. You may want to look for a model that actually comes with a set of compatible sockets.
Are There Any Included Accessories?
While you shouldn’t base your final decision on any accessories that come with a power tool, those accessories can come in handy when handling some of the jobs around your home. Some companies provide you with a socket set that works with the chuck on the tool. Others may give you a carrying case made from a hard or soft material for storing the tool and accessories.
Does it Perform Other Functions?
When you need to save space and want tools that you can use in multiple ways, you should consider one that you can use in multiple ways. One example is a tool that functions as both an impact driver and wrench. Some models will also work as an impact hammer.
How Many Rotations Does it Make in a Minute?
The rotations per minute than a tool makes is its RPM rating, which many manufacturers refer to as its revolutions per minute rating. Look for one that produces between 1,000 and 2,000 revolutions or more per minute. In general, the faster it spins, the faster you can complete your work.
You should keep in mind that a higher rating may increase the overall weight of the tool and make it harder to hold. Find one that combines a low weight with a high RPM rating.
Top 10 Impact Wrenches on the Market
1. Milwaukee ½ Inch
This is our number one choice because it provides so much torque. When used on a fastening setting, you get up to 700 pounds per foot, but you can increase that torque up to 1,100 pounds per foot on other settings. It comes with a brushless motor that runs smoothly and won’t overheat and a friction ring for quick socket changes.
You can use the drive control feature on this model and choose between two different fastening modes. It also comes with a red lithium battery pack that Milwaukee designed to maintain a charge for up to twice as long as other batteries can.
Provides between 700 and 1,100 pounds of torque per foot
Friction ring makes sock changes easier
Has two fastening modes and other settings
Reverse switch can easily break when you use more pressure
May not provide as much torque as listed
2. Milwaukee High Torque
Milwaukee also makes this high torque model, which delivers more than 1,000 pounds of torque. Another benefit of this product is that it can run for up to twice as long as that same high torque output as other models can, though you will need to purchase a battery to use with it. It also comes with a five-year warranty from Milwaukee.
The ½-inch anvil that it comes with works with its friction ring to make changing bits and sockets easier, though you may find it hard to turn this ring. This model also features a drive control setting for using it as a fastener.
Produces more than 1,000 pounds of torque
Runs for up to twice as long as other models can at the same torque level
Comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty
Friction ring makes it hard for some to change bits
Does not come with a battery
3. AIRCAT Killer Torque
Suitable for fastening and loosening bolts and for using as an impact hammer, this AIRCAT model delivers quite a bit of power. It uses nearly 1,300 pounds per foot of torque for loosening and up to 900 pounds of torque when fastening. You’ll also find that it can deliver more than 1,000 blows when used as a hammer.
A larger rotor inside delivers more power but also increases the sound that the tool uses when running. Though it lacks a battery, this model does come with a warranty from AIRCAT that covers labor and all parts for two years after you buy this product.
Delivers more than 1,000 blows when used as an impact hammer
Has a larger rotor that creates more power
Produces 900 pounds or more of torque for fastening and loosening
Best for light work and not heavy-duty jobs
Motor runs really loud
4. DEWALT ½ Inch Square
When changing tires and doing other projects at home, this DEWALT model is a good choice, but it won’t meet up with the daily demands of an auto repair shop. It supplies up to 650 pounds of torque that might not be enough for some heavy-duty jobs. When used for fastening, this model has an RPM rating of more than 7,000.
Designed for using with just one hand, this one lets you operate it and reverse the wrench with a single hand. It also comes with housing bumpers that resist shocks and keep your hands from shaking.
Supplies up to 650 pounds of torque
Can operate the tool and change to a reverse setting with one hand
Housing bumpers resist shocks and keep your hands from vibrating
Only suitable for home use and not professional use
Has a lower maximum torque rating than other models
5. Kawasaki ½ Inch High Impact
One feature we like about this Kawasaki model is that it comes with a simple trigger that has a forward button on the bottom and a reverse button on the top for fastening and loosening. The manufacturer gives you a gear box made from durable metal that will hold both the tool and other accessories like the included socket set. This set
comes with sockets in different sizes for most household jobs.
Rated at 2,700 impacts per minute, this product also provides up to 220 feet of torque per pound. It has a 1/2-inch chuck and produces up to 2,100 revolutions per minute too.
Comes with a set of sockets suitable for most jobs
Produces a maximum torque of 220 feet per pound
Includes a metal box for storing the tool and all gear
Much heavier than it looks
Does not work effectively on all types of bolts
6. OEMTOOLS Heavy-Duty ½ Inch
Suitable for removing lug nuts from a flat tire, this OEMTOOLS is also strong enough for daily use in an auto shop. Though it does not come with any additional sockets and lacks a carrying case, it does have a powerful 120V motor that handles nearly any job, and this motor has a 60Hz rating. It comes with a long cord attached to one end that plugs into any socket or outlet.
The square drive found on this model has a hog ring retainer that makes it easy to hook up and use the socket size that you need. It also measures just 16-inches long to get into tighter or smaller spaces.
Measures just 16-inches long without factoring in the cord length
Has a 120V motor with a 60Hz rating
Comes with a hog ring retainer on the square drive
Lacks any protective case or carrying bag
Is too heavy for some users
7. BLACK + DECKER 20V MAX
When you have less space available in your tool box or live in a smaller home, you need a power tool that does double duty like this BLACK + DECKER model, which functions as both an impact driver and wrench. It has a 1/4-inch hex chuck that releases quickly to use the socket or bit that you need for the job at hand. This model also has an ergonomic handle with a trigger that you can squeeze with less pressure and slip-proof rubber grips.
Capable of supplying you with more than 1,300 pounds of torque, this tool offers the power needed for most jobs. It has on-board storage for bits and other accessories too.
Delivers more than 1,300 pounds of powerful torque
Works as an impact driver too
Weighs less than other models with the battery installed
May need some extra help when working with tighter bolts
Battery does not last that long
8. Campbell Hausfeld ½ Inch
Whether you want to do some quick repairs on your car or need to take care of jobs around the house, this Campbell Hausfeld is a suitable choice. While it’s not quite powerful enough for future use, it works great in most applications because it provides a steady 550 pounds of torque. It also comes with a rubber grip and rubber panels further down on the handle.
One nice feature of this one is that it has a twin hammer design that creates all that power, but this design lets it produce fewer vibrations. You can use it longer with less discomfort.
Has nonslip rubber grips on the trigger and along the handle
Produces a steady 550 pounds of torque
Twin hammer design produces more power with less vibrations
Only works with an air tank that holds eight gallons or more
May not produce as much torque as the packaging states
9. PowRyte Basic
For fast fastening and loosening without spending a lot of money, this PoweRyte model is one of your best options. The Basic costs less that other models but still delivers up to 600 pounds of torque per foot. It also features a design that lets you switch between a reverse and forward motion with one hand.
A built-in feature on the Basic actually reduces the noise produced for driving any time of the day or night. It comes with a rubber grip on the handle that keeps your hands from slipping and matching rubber on the trigger for your finger too.
Uses a twin hammer design to increase the power and torque produced
Can change from a forward to reverse motion with one hand
Provides up to 600 pounds of torque per foot
Too weak to handle more than basic jobs
Can break easily without regular oiling and maintenance
10. Wagan 2257 12V
Anyone who ever had a flat tire on the side of the road will appreciate this Wagan model, which the manufacturer designed specifically for changing tires. This set even comes with an adapter that lets you charge its internal battery via your car’s cigarette lighter to take off your lug nuts when you don’t have power. It comes with two socket wrenches in standard lug nut sizes too.
Also included is a bubble level for getting your car on more even ground and an LED light for seeing your tires in the dark. The power cord included in the kit is more than 11-feet long and allows you to keep the tool plugged in as you move around the exterior of your car.
Comes with an adapter for powering the tool via your car’s cigarette lighter
Includes two sockets that match the size of most lug nuts
Had an LED light for changing tires in the dark
Reviews claim that the motor seized up after just a few uses
Designed for changing tires and not larger or more serious jobs
The Milwaukee ½ inch is our top choice in this category of power tools because it comes with a red lithium battery that lasts up to twice as long as similar batteries. It also has a brushless motor that provides the power that you need without the risk of the motor overheating. The 700 pounds per foot of torque it provides for fastening works just as well as the 1,100 pounds per foot or torque it offers for driving.
A fraction ring makes it easier to change out sockets for future jobs. It also features a drive control setting for faster and more efficient driving.