Best Air Impact Wrenches for the Money 2019: Reviews and Buying Guide
More or less every car owner had come across the situation when they had to deal with a dreaded jammed bolt. It almost sounds like a nightmare when you need to fix something quick, but the bolt is too hard to loosen.
In such cases, having the best air impact wrench works like a savior.
This kind of wrench also comes quite handy to deal when you have to unbolt any hard rusty nut in your home or garage. These wrenches are powerful enough to unbolt nuts even if the Hulk tightened them. Also, you will feel more control over the operation.
To ensure you get the perfect impact wrench for your work, here is my top 10 recommendations after hours of research along with a buying guide.
What Is an Air Impact Wrench and Why It Is Used for?
An air impact wrench refers to a power tool with a socket wrench. This tool requires minimal exertion and delivers high torque output compared to conventional hand-power wrenches.
The wrench suits best for the people who regularly have to work on their cars. When working on the car requires you to tighten and loosen a lot of nuts and bolts, your hands will get tiresome at some point.
Works such as removing lug nuts and changing brake pads require you to put extra effort if you use a traditional wrench. Loosening a tightened nut gets quite difficult sometimes, especially if it’s rusty. In this case, an air impact wrench works like a tonic.
In automotive shops, where the professionals have to deal with lots of nuts and bolts, individuals get the most advantage from such tools. It takes away a lot of hassle from the works.
Industrial workshops, construction sites, and industrial installation also require air impact wrenches to increase the efficiency of their work.
Best Air Impact Wrench Reviews
Below products are different from one another in various aspects. Depending on your work and requirements, this review section will help you take a wise decision before making the final decision.
1. Ingersoll Rand 231C Air Impact Wrench, ½ Inch
The first product on the list has a classic design. This air wrench from Ingersoll-Rand is powerful enough to provide some great performance.
When it comes to deal with stubborn lug nuts, bolts, and other fasteners, you would require a tool that delivers enough power. This air impact wrench is able to deliver a torque of 600 feet-pounds which gets the work done pretty smoothly. Its twin-hammer mechanism further ensures you will get more efficient performance.
Not all the nuts and bolts require the same amount of torque to install and remove them. Therefore, Ingersoll-Rand implemented power regulator to adjust and put necessary amount of torque where it needs. It allows you to adjust the torque whenever your working requirement demands.
No matter how well a tool performs, you must ensure you feel comfortable using it. This air impact wrench weighs only 5.8 lbs. and measures 7.3 inches in length. Its compact design won't let your wrists and hands get tired. The ergonomic design feels quite comfortable while holding it in hand.
Maintaining this tool doesn't require you to give special attention to it. As the wrench has a streamlined two-piece construction, it's very easy to maintain. The manufacturer is kind enough to deliver it in a fully lubricated state so that you can use the tool right after unboxing it.
- Twin-hammer mechanism with 600 foot-pounds torque
- Adjustable power regulator
- Ergonomic and compact design
- 8,000 rpm rotational speed
2. Aircat Killer 1150 Torque ½ Inch Impact Wrench
This one is the most popular among professionals and one of the most selling impact wrenches. The wrench is able to deliver maximum 1295 feet-pounds of loosening and tightening force with a torque of 900 feet-pounds. With 1,400 blows per minute, it is the best air impact wrench for lug nuts compared to its competitors.
The most amazing thing about this tool is the noise level. You would expect from such a powerful tool being very noisy during operation. But, thanks to Aircat’svery own exhaust technology that produces relatively less noise which is 86db.
One of the major issues that people face when working for prolonged hours with such tools is the fatigue feeling. The tool weighs only 4.5 lbs. and due to this,there will be no such feeling on your hands, arms, wrists with this one.
The killer torque comes with the patented tuned exhaust muffler technology to let go the discharged air without producing further back pressure.
- Delivers 1,295 feet-pounds of force
- Fairly quiet operation at 86db
- Tuned exhaust muffler technology
3. Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench, ½ Inch
With great torque power, comes great responsibility. This wrench is able to provide some serious torque. It delivers nut-busting torque of about 1350 feet-pounds and on the other hand, the reversible torque is about 930 feet-pounds.
No matter how hard the nut requires you to unbolt it, 2235TiMAX will get you covered.To deal with rusty and tough bolts, it boasts finely tuned twin-hammer impact mechanism for working more effectively. It handles heavy-duty applications like heavy equipment repair and suspension work at ease.
The impact wrench comes with power regulator adjustment with four settings. You can quickly adjust torque output for different tasks. Two push buttons are also there to let you change the direction to forward and reverse and vise-versa. To ensure the utmost durability, the wrench had to undergo through a rigorous test.
Working on a workshop or any industrial worksite requires you to do the toughest work possible. In such heavy-duty cases, you can rely on this impact wrench. Its rugged construction consists of a titanium hammer case, durable composite housing, and steel wear plate that stands solidly against harsh working conditions.
The wrench weighs only 4.6 pounds. Such weight as well as its ergonomic handle allow you to work using it for a prolonged time without feeling uncomfortable while holding it.
- 1350 and 930 feet-pounds for nut busting and reverse torque
- Twin-hammer mechanism
- Four position power regulator
- Forward/reverse button
- Durable rugged construction
- Lightweight and ergonomic handle
4. NitroCat 1200-K ½ Inch Air Impact Wrench
The next impact wrench is from NitroCat. It is one of the closest competitors to the previously reviewed wrench of Ingersoll. The body of this wrench is made of durable Kevlar composite that adds high strength to the wrench and ensures toughness.
This wrench is able to deliver 1295 feet-pounds of torque. With such amount of torque, you will easily be able to deal with rusty nuts and bolts no matter how hard they stuck. It makes this hard-hitting tool the best pneumatic impact wrench in its class.
Although it’s a powerful wrench, the sound it makes is relatively low. People found it making about 82-86db sound which is less than its close competitors. The exhaust muffler technology allows discharged air to pass without producing back pressure. It helps to retain more power while reducing noise significantly.
The manufacturer implemented twin-clutch mechanism to this hard-hitting wrench ensuring you bring the most of your tightening and loosening effort.
For easy switching between forward and reverse operation, there are three settings for forward and one setting for reverse direction. You can change the settings using only one lever which makes it extremely easy to switch. Due to the handle exhaust, there will be no debris on its face regardless of how rusty the bolts are.
- 1295 feet-pounds of torque
- Less noise
- Twin-clutch mechanism
- Durable Kevlar composite construction
- One lever to switch between directions
- Exhaust muffler technology
5. Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench ½ Inch
Another impact wrench from Ingersoll. This one delivers nut busting torque of about 1350 feet-pounds with the maximum reverse torque of 930. The wrench easily qualifies for doing some serious assembly and disassembly jobs.
Like most other impact wrenches from this brand, it also comes with the twin-hammer mechanism. It delivers maximum power to accomplish your working mission. So, no matter how hard the nuts and bolts need you to be, the wrench can easily punish rusty bolts and powers through tough applications.
There are four options to switch between different power modes and adjust torque amount so that you don’t unnecessarily put too much pressure on bolts. You can select to go in forward or reverse with a dedicated push button.
Ingersoll ensures their each product successfully passes through a rigorous test so that the customers can use the products for a long time. This wrench wasn't an exception to this. It can easily survive the toughest applications without any major issue.
The case of this impact wrench is made of titanium hammer, composite housing, and steel wear plate so you can use it in the harshest working environments without worrying about the durability. Weighing only 4.6 lbs., the wrench won’t let you feel fatigue even if you use it for longer periods.
- Nut busting torque 1350 feet-pounds
- Reverse torque 930 feet-pounds
- Twin-hammer mechanism
- Sturdy titanium hammer case with composite housing
- Produces less noise and lightweight
6. DEWALT DWMT70773L ½ Inch Square Drive Impact Wrench
Our best air impact wrench reviews would have been incomplete without having at least a single product from the DEWALT. Let’s see what this well-reputable brand has to offer for you.
The impact wrench is able to deliver a maximum torque of 650 feet-pounds. This amount of torque is more than enough to break free stubborn fasteners. With RPM of 7500 and free speed at 90PSI, this tool provides powerful fastening.
Likewise, most other impact wrenches on the list; this one also has the twin-hammer mechanism to increase the efficiency of torque.
Not all the time you need to apply the same amount of torque. To deal with different types of bolts, you can operate this impact wrench with a single hand with the switch for operating the tool in both forward and reverse. Its convenient switching option allows you to quickly switch between the direction.
The best thing about any DEWALT product is the toughness. People mostly buy their tools and machinery for the sturdy structure. This impact wrench won't disappoint you in this regard. It has got a rugged construction with shock-resistant bumpers.
For prolonged usage, you would expect to get a lightweight impact wrench. Thankfully, this sturdy wrench only weighs 4.63 lbs. So, there will be no fatigue issue while using this one.
- Maximum 650 feet-pounds of torque
- 7500 RPM at 90PSI
- Forward and reverse switch
- Shock resistant and rugged construction
7. Ingersoll Rand 2115TiMAX 3/8 Inch Impact Tool
If you are looking for a small size impact wrench, take a look at this one from the brand Ingersoll. This minimal wrench is able to deliver 300 feet-pounds of torque in reverse. A tool with such amount of torque is more than enough to perform regular screw-work in households and for cars as well.
To provide you with more power, the manufacturer powered this tool with the 7-vane motor. The air is well-optimized to give you flawless performance. You will have impressive control over the tool once you have your index finger in its feature-touch trigger.
Even though it doesn’t perform as strongly as the other impact wrenches on the list, it comes with one-hand forward and reverse switching option for easy operation. In addition, its four-position power regulator ensures you put necessary amount of torque on bolts.
The length of the wrench is less than 6 inches and weighs about 2.5 lbs., which is the best in terms of convenient usage. Such a small impact wrench allows you to get access to tight spaces. Also, due to its minimal weight, there will be no fatigue issue even when you use it for a prolonged time.
Although it’s a small impact wrench which costs way less than its big brothers from the same manufacturer, it’s made of durable titanium material. That’s the reason why it weighs only 2.5 lbs.
- 300 feet-pounds reverse torque
- Minimal size and lightweight
- Powered by 7-vane motor
- Four-position power regulator
8. Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV ½ Inch Impact Wrench
If you are looking for an impact wrench for typical car repairs and other household repair works with an affordable price tag, take a look at what the Campbell Hausfeld has to offer.
Although it's a budget-friendly wrench, the impact wrench still able to provide the necessary power to do your job at ease. The machine is powered by a motor with a speed of 8500 RPM and the torque is able to deliver up to 550 feet-pounds with 1200 impacts per minute.
Such amount of speed is more than enough for day to day car repairing. Also, it performs really well when it comes to deal with rusty stuck bolts.
It ensures you can put the necessary amount of torque to each type of work. There is a three-speed power regulator allowing you to adjust the torque and speed. To bring the most out of work, the manufacturer made the impact wrench with twin hammer mechanism.
You won’t feel comfortable while doing any repair work if the tools are heavy. But the thing is, this impact wrench doesn’t weight that much to make your hands fatigue. It has ergonomic design as well as a soft grip handle. Weighing little over 5 lbs.,the tool will not make your arm and hand getting tired.
- 8500 RPM and 550 torque speed
- Twin hammer mechanism
- Sturdy ergonomic composite design
- 3-speed power regulator
9. NitroCat 1355-XL 3/8 Inch Composite Air Impact Wrench
This 3/8 inch impact wrench from NitroCat is one of the strongest wrenches in its class.It delivers loosening torque of 700 feet-pounds with 1750 blows per minute which allows to provide a breakthrough in performance and power. Furthermore, the twin-hammer mechanism is there to increase the efficiency of blowing.
The impact wrench is constructed with durable composite material. Ergonomic handle is designed to keep the debris away from its face. The sleek and rugged body will make you feel comfortable while using it.
Its superior internal mechanics makes the tool weighing only 2.75 lbs. Having such a piece of lightweight working equipment will not cause any fatigue issue even if you use it for a long time.
When it comes to how much noise it produces, you will find the tool fairly quiet compared to other impact wrenches in its class. It only creates 86dB of noise.
Not every time your work requires you to use the same amount of torque with every single nuts and bolts. Therefore, NitroCat was quite generous to offer a convenient flip lever for switching in forward and reverse direction for adjusting the amount of torque.
- 700 feet-pounds of loosening torque
- Twin-hammer mechanism
- Durable composite construction
- Weighs only 2.75 pounds
- Operates while producing 86dB of noise
- Flip lever for forward and reverse operation
10. AirCat 1000-TH ½ Inch Composite Air Impact Wrench
If you are looking for a powerful, durable and relatively quiet impact wrench without breaking the bank, look no further; this one from AirCat might be the one you need.
With 800 feet-pounds of torque and 8000 rpm free spinning speed, AirCat 1000-TH is one of the strongest impact wrenches within its class. You will love how swiftly it loosens rusty bolts. The wrench has the ability to run at high air pressure up to 170 PSI.
This handy machine makes 86 dB of noise which is relatively low if you compare with other conventional impact wrenches. One of the main reasons why people go for an air impact wrench is due to its lightweight. Herein, the wrench weighs only 4.5 lbs. and it will not make your hand facing any fatigue issue.
AirCat was generous enough to consider about the comfortability as well. They have made the handle of this wrench with ergonomic material. It feels really comfortable to hold. To ensure the durability of the product, the manufacturer used sturdy camouflage composite housing.
Like most other wrenches on the list, this one also comes with adjustable torque option. You can adjust the torque speed in forward and reverse direction with an easy flip lever.
- 800 feet-pounds torque with 8000 rpm spinning speed
- Weighs only 4.5 pounds
- Made of durable composite material
- Ergonomic handle
- Noise level of 86 dB
How to Choose the Best Air Impact Wrench?
You just cannot randomly buy an impact wrench without considering the important things that you need it for. So here are few things to look for in order to get a perfect air impact wrench.
## Drive Size
First, you need to determine for what reason you want an impact wrench. These wrenches come with various drive sizes that range from ¼ to 1 inch.
Drive sizes that are smaller than ½ inch are ideal for light works as they provide a low amount of torque.
If you are looking for an impact wrench for repairing cars and normal household and garage works, getting a ½ inch impact wrench will do the trick regardless of how rusty the nuts are.
On the other hand, drive sizes greater than ½ inch are used for heavy-duty works. If you are looking for a wrench for heavy-vehicle repairing or industrial works, go for the one with drive size of greater than ½ inches.
The drive size will determine the types of work that you are able to accomplish with the wrench. If you need to deal with heavy-duty works, wisely choose the size. Note that, if you consider getting a wrench with a higher drive size, the tool will be heavier.
But you have no choice to go with a heavier one, if you have to use the tool for construction or industrial purpose, as you cannot compromise about the performance. Because a smaller drive size and a lightweight wrench will reduce the efficiency of your work.
If you need an impact wrench for personal or professional use, you can get a wrench with small drive size while balancing the weight.
## Torque and Speed
How much force the tool can exert on a bolt and how fast it can loosen or tighten largely depends on the torque and speed of an impact wrench. In case of dealing with stuck and rusty bolts, more torque is better.
However, not every bolt you will loosen will require the same amount of torque and speed. Therefore, make sure to get an impact wrench that has adjustable settings, dial or regulator. It will prevent you from overtightening bolts. Also, it will help you to control the compressed air go through bolts that don't need full torque.
On the other hand, impact wrenches of higher speed have lower torque. Speed is necessary if you regularly have to deal with stuck bolts. If this confuses you which one to go with, go for the one that delivers higher torque.
## Weight Dimensions
After you take care of the performance, now it's time to consider about comfortability. A heavier impact wrench will feel more tiring to hold for a prolonged time. It will cause fatigue and often it may also lead to accidents. Therefore, a lightweight wrench would be highly suggested to get in this case.
If your working requirements demand you to reach hard reaching areas, then you need to also consider about the dimensions of the wrench you are about to get.
Ultra-compact or wrenches with long barrel can reach bolts that bulky wrenches cannot. Pistol style construction inline wrenches also reaches to such areas easily.
## Noise Level
If you are looking for a silent impact wrench, unfortunately, you will not find any. These tools require you to wear ear protection headphones to some extent while using them.
Nonetheless, you have the option to pick one that makes relatively less noise compared to others. Most impact wrenches make noise level about 75-90dB. However, there are some that only make 10 dB of noise or even lower.
But such wrenches lack performance compared to a wrench that makes about 80 dB of noise or higher.
Air impact wrenches are not inexpensive tools. Therefore, you don’t want to replace one just after few months of usage. So, you need to take the build quality into consideration before making the final purchase.
Most of the manufacturers use reinforced housing material like Kevlar to build the body. Materials such as composite housing, titanium hammer, and steel wear plate are also used. Be sure to get an impact wrench that is made of sturdy materials if your working environment is rough to tools.
For utmost comfort while using an impact wrench, you should go for the one that has an ergonomic grip on its handle. Having such a grip will make you comfortable when you have to use it for a long time.
The most certain way to know whether a wrench is durable or not is to read through the customer review section. If there is anything wrong with the build, users will surely say something about the issue.
Types of Impact Wrenches
Impact wrenches are of mainly 4 types. Each one of them differs from one another in terms of how they are powered. Let’s have a basic understanding of these impact wrenches.
Air Impact Wrenches
These are the type of wrenches that we covered in the review section. They are powered by compressed air. Often, you will see people using these wrenches with a short hose and directly fitting the wrench's drive into the tool.
Most of the air wrenches come with a regulator that sets the direction and controls the torque speed. This is to prevent over tightening the bolts that may cause them to break.
Air impact wrenches are low in cost compared to other types and weigh low as well.
Fields of Using Air Impact Wrenches
These type of impact wrenches are very popular for their performance and power. As they are lightweight, people don’t feel that much fatigue compared to other types of wrenches. You will find air impact wrenches are being used in automotive shops, homes, garages, and few construction sites.
Electric Impact Wrenches
As far as the electric impact wrenches are concerned, they are of two types.
Corded-Electric Impact Wrenches does a decent job of tightening and loosening stuck, rusty, and toughest nuts and bolts. They provide a similar level of torque as air impact wrenches do. The only difference is, due to the cord, you have to operate it within the range that the cord can cover.
Cordless-Electric Impact Wrenches, on the other hand, are mainly battery powered ones. There is no restriction of range; you can use it anywhere you want. They are similar to the air impact wrenches in the case of ease of use. But they are not as powerful as the corded ones.
Fields of Using Electric Impact Wrenches
People use corded ones in their homes, garages, and automotive shops.
Cordless ones are used by the homeowners, drivers, auto mechanics.
Hydraulic Impact Wrenches
A hydraulic impact wrench is operated through water under pressure and delivers torque to fasten or loosen nuts and bolts. These wrenches are extremely powerful, even more than air wrenches. They are the most uncommon type of wrench.
Fields of Using Hydraulic Impact Wrenches
These tools are used for heavy-duty operations such as manufacturing, construction, massive installations, etc.
Manual Impact Wrenches
It is the most common type of impact wrench. A manual impact wrench is powered by the hand. It comes with a head technology that converts spring power in sharp tensional blows. While fitting directly to the socket, it blows several times when someone applies force to the handle.
Fields of Using Manual Impact Wrenches
The travelers rarely use such wrenches in their camping area.
How Does an Air Impact Wrench Work?
An air impact wrench is powered by compressed air. Every wrench has a rotating mass inside of them. When the compressed air powers the motor, it transfers energy to the rotating mass. The momentum of that mass then allows it to act as a hammer and applies force to an anvil while creating a torque force.
Then with the help of that torque force, the tool loosens or tightens nuts and bolts. Some air wrenches use twin-hammer mechanism to increase the amount and speed of torque.
While on the other hand, some wrenches use a clutch for providing more power and torque to the anvil.
Benefits of Using an Air Impact Wrench
No matter whether it’s tightening or loosening a bolt, you will get some advantages for using an air impact wrench. At the time of tightening, the tool allows you to control the torque amount precisely. It prevents the nuts and bolts of being overtightened, which is a common scenario when you use the hand.
In addition to that, it also prevents the threads from stripping out due to the excessive force exerted on its structure.
When it comes to loosening bolts, you can loosen any bolt no matter how hard it's stuck and how rusty the condition is. It will save your precious time and energy by loosening the bolts within a few seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to adjust torque on air impact wrench?
In almost every ‘question and answer’ section of an air impact wrench, you would find people asking this question many times, ‘can you adjust the torque on an impact wrench?’ The answer is, yes you can; but the wrench must come with adjustable torque option, which is found in almost every impact wrenches.
Locate the power regulator or dial first. There should be a dedicated latch or knob for changing the direction in forward and reverse.
Choose the direction and adjust the speed using the dial. The way of choosing the direction will differ from brand to brand. Mostly, adjustable options are more for forward than what it's for the reverse.
How to use air impact wrench?
First, attach the hose with pressure unit and then to your impact wrench. Now, set the right amount of pressure (PSI) you want to work with. Make sure the hose line is straight and there is no kink or twist. Then, choose the direction; forward or reverse.
Now, set the right amount of torque using the regulator or dial on the wrench. Once you are done with adjusting the torque speed, attach the correct socket to the wrench’s bit.
Fit the socket bit to the bolt or nut you want to take care of. Finally, press the trigger and within a very short time, the nut or bolt will be taken care of.
What is twin hammer impact wrench?
A twin hammer impact wrench uses a dual hammer to hit an anvil in order to increase the speed or torque. It performs 2x efficiently than a single hammer wrench.
What is the strongest impact wrench?
As far as the performance is concerned, air compressed, air impact, and corded-electric impact wrenches are the most powerful ones.
How much PSI do you need to run an impact wrench?
Most of the air impact wrenches in the market run well on 90 PSI. However, impact wrenches for the industrial purpose might need more PSI as per the working requirements.
Before making your purchase, be sure to consider the key elements that will fulfill your working requirements. If you want the best air impact wrench for professional usage, you should overlook how heavy it weighs and focus on the power and performance it is able to deliver.