If you’ve ever spent some time tinkering around with your car, you’ve probably stumbled upon a mechanic’s nightmare – a jammed bolt! If the bolt has rusted or has been tightened too much, it can be so frustrating to sort out! That’s where an air impact wrench can come to help. Also called an air impact driver, this tool is an investment, but certainly is worth every penny. As a professional mechanic, my father taught me the true value of it.
Again, having an air impact wrench saved me a lot many times during all sorts of DIY jobs around the home, I really wouldn’t be without one now! But the market scenario has changed lately. There’re literally hundreds of brands coming up with cheap and useless machines that don’t last more than a couple of months. So, the Drillly team has probed deep into the market this time to figure out the best air impact wrenches available today.
Whether you’re looking for something advanced, affordable, or one with high torque, we’ll have something for you in this guide, we’ll take you through a collection of top-of-the-line tools and provide you with the most useful information, so you understand everything about these wonderful tools.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Why Trust Us
Drillly is gradually becoming a household name for the woodworking and metalworking communities and DIY enthusiasts around the country for a good number of reasons. We’ve been dealing with all kinds of wood and metalworking projects for the most part of our adult life. We made numerous mistakes and we learned numerous things over the years. Our experience with all the latest tools and equipment helped us grow critical insights into different metal and woodworking tools.
For the most part of our reviewing process, we proceed with objectivity to derive facts from data analysis and field tests. Our research framework is set to detect the ultimate power tools and equipment for our audience.
We maintain no financial relationship with any brands or manufacturers. Instead, we stick to the facts. Our sole mission is to bring all the useful information on a reviewing unit to our readers, so they can make an informed buying decision.
Our Product Selection Process
We’d gone through a series of market analysis, consumer report analysis, specs check, feature analysis, comparison, field-tests, and reassessment of the final models in the light of expert’s views and understanding before we got our final list at hand.
Initially, we spent more than 30 hours doing extensive market analysis and research to hunt down the most advanced air impact wrench models with the highest number of positive reviews. That way, we were able to extract 25 top-rated models from the most reliable brands.
A group of community-based volunteers helped us manage all the listed models and we want to take this opportunity to thank them. Next, we took the initially listed models to our workshop to test them out. When testing we focused on they performed on a wide range of bolt sizes, gammed screws, and rusted joints. We also checked their built quality, power production, noise rate, versatility, weight, adjustability, simplicity in design, ergonomics, and durability. Based on these criteria, we championed 10 models from the rest.
Our quest didn’t end there. We also consulted with other professional mechanics, industry experts, and designers to talk about tour final selections. They shared curious perspectives on our models and we learned a lot from them. Based on our practical experience with the items and the newly found knowledge, we proceeded to write comprehensive reviews on the final models.
Our Top 10 Product List
So, what is the best air impact wrench? Well, here’s the moment of truth: there’s no single tool that meets everybody’s needs. That’s why we have a collection of them sorted, tested and reviewed for you to choose from. Let’s jump right on to it.
Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
Here is the list of other reputable brands and their popular models that couldn’t make it to our list as we didn’t have that much space to cover all of them:
CHICAGO PNEUMATIC (known for their 1200 ft.-lb. models and CP749, CP797, CP7782, CP7749, CP7763, CP7769, CP772H, CP8848 CP734h, CP724h, CP6060, CP7729, CP7731, Cp721, CP7732), Kobalt (known for 8 amp and 24v models and 350), Craftsman, Snap On (known for MG725, IM6500HP, MG31, IM31, IM6100, IM5100, XT7100, MG325), Butterfly Pneumatic, Porter-Cable, Bauer, Husky (knowing for H4435, H4470, H4455, H4480, H4430), Earthquake (known for EQ12XT), Matco (known for MT1769A, MT2138), Goodyear, OEM TOOLS, MAC Tools (known for MPF990501, AWP050), Wolf, Toptul, Harbor Freight Tools (known for Central Pneumatic, Earthquake XT), Hammerhead (known for low profile models), Cornwell (known for CAT4150), Wilmar Corporation (known for Performance Tool), Genius Tools, TOKU PNEUMATIC CO.,LTD., Kingtoyo, Kawasaki, Masterforce, Blue Point, and Campbell Hausfeld (CH).
Here are other less-known brands with great production lines:
Dobetter, Qiilu, WEN, AOBEN, Astro Pneumatic, Northern Tool, Erbauer, Hercules, VonHaus, Feidake, SKIL, Eastvolt, Toolman, GETUPOWER, FULLWATT, Waywax, WONDER MASTER, Rockwell, Metabo, Berkling Tools, Durofix, Girapow, WORKPAD, Moss, Wild Edge, Mighty Seven (M7), SALEM MASTER, Tradespro, Krisbow, ACDelco (known for ANI405), Stark USA, BOSTITCH, Cartman, ARTIZLEE, Werktough, Enertwist, TOOL KINGDOM, GreatNeck, Berkling, Prostormer, Xpert, GETUHAND, JUEMEL, AUTOJARE, WISDOM, RIDGID (often misspelled as rigid), TZTool, ToolPro, Dynamic Power, Klutch, NoCry, POPOMAN, BLACK+DECKER, Autozone, Kress, Anesty, Neilsen, Stanley (known for PROTO J150WP, J175WP), Dongcheng, JET, Hazet, Campbell Hausfeld, Avid Power, WORKPRO, NitroCat, Neiko, and EZ Travel Collection.
Other noteworthy tested models:
What Is An Air Impact Wrench Used For?
It doesn’t matter how high the ratings of an impact wrench unless it meets the specific requirement of your work. To pick the right model you got to have some basic knowledge about the tool. Let’s get to know some relevant points of information before making a decision.
1. Drive Size
The drive size of the air impact wrench is one of its most important features. This feature determines what you can use your wrench for. Most car repairs will use a half-inch impact wrench for thins like removing the wheels. Most home jobs or worksite jobs will require this size too. The most common sizes are 2in, 1 inch and 0.5 inch.
2. Torque & Speed
The air impact wrench’s torque matters because this will determine what it can be used for. In simple terms, the higher the torque, the more versatile and powerful the tool is. Sometimes, you won’t really need a high torque tool because even the low-torque ones are able to handle basic tasks such as loosening smaller bolts. So, before you part with your money, make sure you actually need all of the power that the tool has.
In terms of speed, you will need to see how many impacts per minute there are. The higher the number, the quicker the speed. Speed also depends on power output. Medium power range models swing between 12 to 18 volts range, on the other hand, heavy-duty models absorb 18, 19, 20, 21, 36 to 110 volts.
3. Dimensions & Weight
Air impact wrenches are hand-held so you need to consider their weight and dimensions. Holding something big and heavy for an extended period of time will be uncomfortable. A good tool will be lightweight and easy to use, meaning that you can get on with the task in hand with minimal fatigue in the hands. Remember that it’s a mini tool with lots of power output, so you got to handle with care.
4. Noise level
Air impact wrenches are noisy and you will need to use ear protection when you are using one. That said, there are varying noise levels produced by impact wrenches. NitroCat and AirCat wrenches are some of the quieter tools. Industrial tools tend to make more noise as they pack more torque.
As is obvious from the name, an air wrench needs an air compressor. Thus, you need to make sure that there is adequate airflow when you choose a tool. Most tools are rated in terms of airflow in their description or on the tool itself so ensure that it is appropriate for your job when choosing.
As with any tool you buy, you need to take into consideration the build quality of your air impact wrench. These tools are expensive and will see a lot of use with a hammer and anvil generating huge force inside. This is why the majority of air impact wrenches have housing that is reinforced. Usually, they are manufactured using metal or Kevlar. In terms of the cords, there are both corded and cordless impact wrenches available on the market. Cordless models are powered by strong batteries that are also rechargeable. They may provide less power output but are highly portable. When designing, portability is emphasized on the construction.
Different jobs will need different torque settings and different speeds so you need to think carefully about the intended use of your air impact wrench before purchase. There are multi-purpose models out there but these are the most expensive usually. If you are a right-handed person, make sure you get a right angle model and vice versa
8. Grip & Ergonomics
Different air impact wrenches suit different hand grips so you should test one out to see how it fits in your hand and check it is comfortable for you to hold. You should get one with an ergonomic handle that is made from high-quality materials. This will help prevent fatigue in your hands.
Air impact wrenches can be adjusted to change how much torque is applied. There are two ways this can be done. Firstly, cheaper models will have a dial to adjust the torque and usually, there will be three different options – low torque, medium torque or high torque. Models that are more expensive will have a torque adjustment system that automatically adjusts the torque depending on how much you pull the trigger down. However, you can learn all about the tool’s adjustment from the manual it comes with.
It is always a good idea to buy a product that has a warranty. A one-year warranty should be ok but opting for one with a bigger warranty for at least two years is a better choice.
As with all purchases, buy the best that you can afford. An air impact wrench should be seen as an investment, so consider your options really carefully before committing to buying one. Still, if you want something cheap that will do the job, you can get a 90 degree angled ratchet wrench. But then you’d miss out on the real experience and the efficiency an air impact wrench can add to your task. Also, look out for special discounts on Black Fridays.
There are a number of things you need to do to maintain your air impact wrench’s condition.
- Don’t use the wrong bits or sockets – using an incorrect part might end up breaking things or causing accidents or injuries.
- Do inspect your cords regularly – don’t drop it or drag it along, always carry it by its handle once it is switched off. Checking your cords regularly for wear and tear is so important.
- Check all parts regularly – make sure you look for any wear and tear and damage, including misalignment and get these repaired when they are noticed.
- Maintain and clean all of the accessories – keep everything out of hot and wet conditions. Make sure all parts are free of dirt and debris. If you let dirt accumulate, you could jam parts that could damage your tool.
- Use grease and cleaners that are recommended only – make sure you follow all manufacturer’s instructions for your product.
All machinery can be dangerous when not used correctly. This is even more true for things that use power like air impact wrenches. Here are some safety tips for your impact wrench no matter the type you have in your arsenal:
- Don’t use the tool if there is damage to it or its accessories – make sure you check before use
- Don’t use your impact wrench if it is wet or if it is raining – water and electricity do not mix and can cause electric shocks
- Always use your impact wrench in the correct socket and not a standard one as they can’t handle air impact wrenches
- Make sure you wear protective gear like goggles and gloves
- Keep control of the tool all the time
- Don’t use impact wrenches with aluminum as this can strip off and can damage the impact wrench
- After using your tool, remove the power and store it away somewhere safe and dry
Wrapping It up
In this buying guide, we have shown you the high-end pneumatic wrenches on the market. You should be aware that there are so many tools available out there so you need to find one that is right for your requirements and preferences.
We hope that our guide has provided you with enough information to have a deeper understanding of the specifications and features of the best air impact wrenches, allowing you to make an informed buying decision.
Certainly, a tool like this should last you for many years to come, so be sure not to choose the first one that comes up in your search. If you still can’t decide, our Editor’s Choice is an excellent all-rounder model to suit most people’s needs. Once you’ve bought one, don’t forget to share your thoughts and experience with us.
1. What size impact wrench do I need to remove lug nuts?
Ans: I would use either a ½-inch impact wrench or a 3/8-inch impact wrench. With these sizes, you will have enough power for removing the lug nuts without having to apply too much torque.
2. Can I use regular sockets with impact wrench?
Ans: No, you should never use a regular socket for your air impact wrench. There are big differences between standard sockets and impact sockets. Firstly, impact sockets have a lower hardness when compared to standard sockets. This is because it makes them more ductile and allows for a reduction in wear and tear on impact wrenches. It also means you can dissipate forces better. Impact sockets are much less likely to fail as a result.
3. How does a pneumatic impact wrench work?
Ans: The impact wrench stores energy and releases it with small impacts. When the trigger is pulled, it activates a motor inside the air impact wrench that begins spinning a weighty block. A tension spring is compressed when the block is rotated so far. Until that moment, all the energy is stored up. Once the rotation goes past this limit point, the spring lets go over the tension and creates small impacts against the wrench’s output shaft. An impact driver, therefore, rotates as well as hammering while rotating.
4. What type of air compressor is needed?
Ans: An air impact wrench needs an air compressor with a certain minimum size in order for it to work. Typically, if your impact wrench is ½ inch, you should get an air compressor that has 4 to 5 CFM at 90 PSI. You should also think about getting a 20-gallon size compressor so that you can avoid delays.
5. What are PSI and CFM?
Ans: PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. PSI is a common unit of pressure for things like tires. CFM measures the velocity of airflow in and out of a space. It is used in computer cooling systems as well as air impact wrenches and other things.
6. What Is the Difference Between a Pneumatic Wrench and a Cordless One?
Ans: A cordless impact wrench, as the name suggests, doesn’t have a cord. When you want to use a cordless wrench, you simply pick it up, attach the socket and begin. A pneumatic wrench, on the other hand, means you need to attach a hose. This might mean you have to attach it to a compressor as well as the tool and you’ll have to charge up the compressor before you grab your socket and begin. We discussed this factor in detail here.