Last updated on April 17th, 2022 at 03:53 pm
When a big fastener (lug nut or bolt) has been tightened for months or even years, when it’s rusted and stuck, and cannot be removed with a regular socket wrench, which tool do you turn to?
Of course, it’s the impact wrench.
An impact wrench is used for loosening and tightening lug nuts in trucks, car suspension components, wheels, heavy machinery like tractors, ships, airplanes and so on. Anywhere a very high torque tool is needed to loosen or tighten a fastener on a piece of machinery.
Now, back in the days, pneumatic or air powered wrenches where the go-to tools for projects like this. However, since the early 2000s, cordless or battery powered wrenches have been coming on pretty strong.
They’re not only portable, but can now produce as much torque in ft-lb as air powered units. Without an air compressor, you can’t use a pneumatic impact wrench.
That also means they’re limited to use in the workshop, because taking them out means you have to string along a bulky air compressor machine.
On the other hand, a cordless or battery powered impact wrench has none of those limitations. It’s very portable, and there’re many latest models that will produce as much torque as those air powered ones.
Apart from pneumatic and battery powered impact wrenches, there’re also hydraulic units which make use of high-speed hydraulic motors.
Hydraulic wrenches like this produce very high torque and have high power to weight ratio. You’ll find these in large construction sites like shipyards, automobile factories, and large repair shops where a suitable hydraulic supply is on standby.
With so many types of impact wrenches and even more number of tool brands producing them, choosing one for your own projects can be quite difficult and time consuming.
However, we’ve taken our time to review many of these impact wrenches and I’ve listed 5 of the best right here in this article.
Here’s my list.
1. Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 Fuel Impact Wrench
Reserve the toughest and most stuck lug nuts for this Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 fuel impact wrench. Gone are those days when only a pneumatic impact wrench can bust the rustiest nut in the workshop or barnyard.
This Milwaukee 2767-20 produces up 1000 ft-lbs of torque for fastening or tightening nuts securely and up to 1400 ft-lbs for removing very stuck nuts from their thread.
So, if you’re really ready to work lose some nuts in the workshop or disassemble some heavy yard equipment, then this Milwaukee 2776-20 should be at the top of your list.
It’s cordless, so you don’t have to worry about owning an air compressor as is the case when you’re using a pneumatic impact wrench.
The model 2767-20 from Milwaukee features a 4 mode drive control so you can adjust the torque produced according to the demand of the job or the task at hand.
There’s a bolt removal mode that gives you the ability to remove nuts and bolts in a more controlled manner. With the bolt removal mode, the impact wrench slows down 750 rpm after the fatern has been busted loose from its stuck state.
Equipped with a ½ inch anvil, changing sockets on this Milwaukee 2767-20 is tool-free and seamless. You’ll hardly experience any downtime using it.
Ergonomically, Milwaukee made sure that it features a handle with a rubber overmold material to ensure good grip and maximum comfort during prolonged use.
Overall, the Milwaukee 2667-20 high torque impact wrench definitely stands out as one of the best tool you can use for the most stubborn fasteners either in the workshop or out there in the field.
Related: Types Of Wrenches And Their Uses
2. Dewalt DCF899HB ½ Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
Many power tool brands produce impact wrenches, but not many can compare head to head with some of the ones from Dewalt.
Talking about a Dewalt impact wrenches, one of the best ones you can get your hands on today is the Dewalt DCF899HB.
Although it’s kind of big in size compared to the other Dewalt impact wrenches, this nut buster got some hell-quenching power to match the size. It will bust-free any rusted nut you throw it at.
The Dewalt DCF899HB is rated at a max torque of 700 ft-lb and produces a breakaway torque of 1200 ft-lb allowing you to knock-free the most stuck fasteners on the job.
Its versatility comes from the fact that you can use it at 3 different speeds. There’s a 3 speed selector switch that can be used to adjust and use it at 400 rpm, 1200 rpm and 1900 rpm respectively, allowing you maximum control of the tool.
As with all other Dewalt tools, the Dewalt DCF899HB is built to be able to withstand falling and can handle impact with the floor pretty well even when dropped from a height up to 6 feet.
With a LED work light right at the base of the tool, working in a less-illuminated environment will pose no problem to the user as the LED work light shines brightly making sure you’re able to do your work at the right pace.
All in all, if you’re need an impact wrench that can handle the toughest fasteners, this Dewalt DCF899HB will definitely not disappoint.
3. Makita XWT08Z LXT Brushless Cordless Impact Wrench
Get this nut cracker to the workshop or jobsite and your guys will likely be jealous. The XWT08Z LXT is one of Makita’s cordless high torque impact wrenches that will never disappoint you when it comes to going at the toughest fasteners.
With a Max Torque of 740 ft-lbs and a breakaway torque of 1,180 ft-lb, you’ve got yourself a highly capable impact wrench in this Makita XWT08Z LXT.
Although it has all this power, you can still control the monster. It features a 3 speed power selection switch you can use to change the speed from 900 rpm to 1000 rpm to 1800 rpm, allowing you to match the speed to the application.
The wrench is equipped with a BL brushless motor, which means there are no brushes to change, no friction, it will run cooler and more efficiently over the course of your using it. There’s no need to service it. As long as there’s juice in the battery, you’re good to go.
The brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery usage, which means longer usage per charge for you.
A built in LED light with pre-glow and afterglow helps light up the work area helping you get the job done even when there’s not much illumination in the work area.
With a weight of 7.9 lbs. the MakitaXWT08Z LXT high torque impact wrench is not the most lightweight, but it’s definitely not something a good hand can’t handle. Although overhead tasks can begin to cause some fatigue after some time.
It features a ½ inch box-head anvil with a friction ring so you can change or switch sockets easily on the job.
Other features such as a forward/reverse switch and an electronic makes the Makita XWT08Z LXT even more easy to operate and more versatile, helping you to improve productivity.
Let’s not forget the tool hook that allows it to be easily secured in place when it’s not needed right away.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Makita definitely built something very good with this XWT08Z LXT cordless high torque impact wrench, and having it in your cordless tool arsenal will definitely go a long way boost what you can do on the jobsite or in the workshop.
4. Aircat 1778-VXL ¾ inch Vibrotherm Drive Pneumatic Impact Wrench
While we talk about cordless battery powered impact wrenches, it will be a very huge mistake to forget about pneumatic ones because even though it’s a little inconvenient to use them due to their air compressor reliance and the messy air hoses, pneumatic impact wrenches have served the craftsman for years. They have a better power to weight ratio and they’re still very applicable till date.
Now, if you have a good air compressor in your garage and you’re in the market for an air powered impact wrench, one of the best ones I’d quickly recommend is the Aircat 1778-VXL with Vibrotherm drive.
It comes in 3 drive sizes. You’ll find a ¾ inch, ½ inch and 3/8 inch drive size. This one here is the ¾ inch drive and it’s capable of producing 1700 ft-lbs of torque, allowing you to handle the toughest fasteners like those on trucks, trailers, tractors and other farm machinery.
Equipped with Aircat’s patented vibrotherm drive pin-less/twin hammer clutch, the absence of a pin that takes the full impact of the hammer in the Aircat 1778-VXL makes it lasts longer than the competition due to the reduced wear and vibration.
The pin-less twin hammer clutch reduces the vibration of the tool by up to 40 percent and increases the lifespan by up to 50 percent. Thus, if you get one of these, you’ll find out that it works quieter compared to other pneumatic impact wrenches, and you’d definitely be using it for a longer time.
An inbuilt noise muffler also helps to reduce the noise helping to keep your hand and ears at ease as you work with the tool.
The handle of the Aircat 1778-VXL is produced with triple injection molding process ensuring maximum operator comfort.
Aircat combined the power trigger and the forward/reverse control all in one place at the trigger position, providing a one hand operation and ensuring that control of the tool is all at your fingertips.
The 1778-VXL features a through-bolt motor assembly construction which eliminates misalignment of components, thereby reducing wear and motor air leakage, and at the same time increasing the performance of the tool.
If you want a high performance, highly durable pneumatic impact wrench with an incredible design, then you should be looking at these Vibrotherm Drive ones from Aircat.
5. Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX 1/2 Inch Titanium Air Impact Wrench
When talking about air tools, it’s a little bit difficult not to bring Ingeroll Rand into the picture. That’s why when I saw this Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX Air impact wrench, I simply had to see what’s it’s made of.
And guess what, it didn’t disappoint. If you’re going to get a pneumatic one, this Ingersoll Rand is definitely a very good option to go for.
When you get the Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX ½ inch drive pneumatic impact wrench, you get a highly compact tool that delivers up to 1300 ft-lbs of rusted-nut busting torque you can use wherever you work.
Whether you repair vehicles, heavy trucks, maintain or build ships, install or maintain rails, or work in an industrial construction lineup, this unit from Ingersoll Rand will definitely help get the job done.
Adjusting the torque and direction of the anvil is very easy, with a four-position torque regulator at the back of the wrench, and a forward and reverse direction button also at the back of the tool.
This allows maximum control over the tool so it can be adjusted to fit any application.
Talking about design and durability, this Ingersoll 2235QTiMAX is well designed and built to last.
It features a rugged composite housing and a hammer case made of titanium, ensuring it can withstand rigorous use both in workshop and jobsite settings.
And with just 4.7 lbs. of weight, you can use this wrench all day without getting tired of wielding it.
Overall, the Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX ½ inch drive impact wrench will serve you well when the most rusted stuck nuts needs to be loosened.