Best Cordless Impact Wrenches: Loosen Stubborn Bolts
A quality impact wrench ensures you can drive bolts without breaking a sweat
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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON June 21, 2021
It can be frustrating to drive or remove a rusty lug nut or a bolt. However, there is a tool that can make this worker easier: an impact wrench. This tool helps you to drive or remove these stubborn bolts without twisting your arm. There are several types of these tools available, and choosing the right one can be challenging. Below we list the best on the market to help you make an informed buying decision.
The 8.81-inch DEWALT MAX XR impact wrench features a brushless motor to ensure long-lasting superior performance. This tool provides a torque of 700 ft-lbs and breakaway torque of 1,200 ft-lbs to ensure faster usage in tough jobs.
- Includes three-speed selector switch
- Settings include range from 400 to 1,900 RPM
- LED light lets you work in dim conditions
- Durable construction able to withstand a 6-foot fall
- Requires a battery that doesn’t come with the set
- Compatible with standard Dewalt chargers, but does not include one
Coming at a friendly price, this 20-volt cordless impact wrench offers up to 330 Newton-meters of torque. Featuring adjustable speeds and powerful lighting, this battery-powered model holds charge well and recharges efficiently.
- Simple controls make speed adjustments easy
- Includes automatic stop, and auto reverse functions
- Ergonomic handle design makes longer projects easier
- Only suited for smaller car tires
- Won’t handle bolts or nuts smaller than 15/16 inch
- Rubber exterior can get slick with perspiration, so wear gloves
The motor of this machine is powerful enough to deliver max torque of 740 ft-lbs and breakaway torque of 1,180 ft-lbs. It features a 3-speed power selection of 900/1,000/ 1,800 RPM and 1,800/2,000/2,200 IPM for enhanced fastening control.
- Brushless motor increases cooling efficiency
- Reduced friction results in longer lifespan
- Ergonomic grip makes it easy to handle
- Features a built-in light to allow work at night or in dark settings
- Comes at a high price point relative to comparable models
- Its power capacity can result in the battery draining quickly
- Slightly heavy and somewhat bulky
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Benefits of Cordless Impact Wrenches
- Improved power. Removing a pesky bolt that’s rusted in place is never fun when using a regular wrench. An impact wrench gives you more power and torque behind the bolt. No one wants to spend time cranking and wrenching their hands when you could easily remove the bolt with an impact wrench.
- Quicker access. Spending time on one bolt can ruin your day. You’ve got things to do, so why waste effort with a hand wrench without power? An impact wrench can remove a bolt in seconds so you can move on to the next job. Plus, you’ll look like a NASCAR pit crew and that’s always fun.
- Enhanced mobility. The cordless aspect comes into play with mobility. By being able to move around your car or workspace without a cable, you can accomplish more in less time. All you ever need to do is charge it, and that doesn’t take all that long to do.
Types of Cordless Impact Wrenches
Air Impact Wrench
If you’ve ever been in the back of a car mechanic’s shop, they will typically have a powerful air-powered impact wrench. They can be much more powerful than normal everyday impact wrenches due to the pneumatic air used to run them. However, the majority of them may come with a cord, so that may defeat the purpose of a cordless impact wrench. Although, you can find some, like paintball guns, that work by using CO2 or compressed air.
Battery-Powered Impact Wrench
A battery powered impact wrench is one that runs off of batteries. They’re pretty self-explanatory. What makes them stand out is they don’t require a power cord to function. This gives you a much wider range to work with. You can move around your vehicle without fussing with a cable. While they can lack in power, they are much more useful and reliable than a normal hand wrench. Not to mention your arms or fingers won’t hurt after using them.
The American-owned and run DeWalt company is known globally as one of the best manufacturers of tools. It is based in Maryland and started business in 1924, producing equipment made for construction, home improvement, and manufacturing. DeWalt’s impact wrenches stand out in the company's typically bright yellow color so you can’t miss them on the shelf. Check out the DEWALT MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit the next time you need to remove a rusty bolt.
While Makitia is a Japanese company, it competes with other top brands across the globe. You can find two of its larger headquarters in the United States in California and Georgia. Makita is a tool manufacturer that produces power tools for the working professionals or do-it-yourselfer. Consider the Makita Brushless Impact Wrench if you ever find yourself needing a solid impact wrench for your job.
Opening its doors in 1990, KIMO has since grown into an international name in the tools manufacturing industry. Based in the Zhejiang Province of China, this company focuses largely on research and development, positioning itself as a supplier of long-lasting lithium ion technology. Through its innovations, KIMO began distributing all types of power tools throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Effective January 7, 2020, KIMO entered the American market. It’s grown popular for high-quality power tools, especially cordless ones. The claim to fame is in the battery tech, which is a key reason the Kimo Cordless Impact Wrench is a fan-favorite.
Cordless Impact Wrench Pricing
- Below $100: You’ll be able to find a decent impact wrench somewhere in this price range. They will be battery-powered and have lower voltage but will still be worth your time and effort. They will be best for smaller jobs and may be able to get out even the toughest bolts.
- $100 and up: If you have a job that requires more torque and power, then we suggest looking here. These impact wrenches will come with much more juice to get through rust and debris. They can range all the way to $300 or more though, so be prepared. These are the ones you will most likely find NASCAR pit crews using.
All motors will feature what is called torque, or their power, noted in RPM and IPM. The higher the impact wrenches power, the more effective the tool will be to you. Also, note if the motor is brushless or not. RPM stands for revolutions per minute and tells you how many times the wrench spins the socket or bit. IPM (impacts per minute) refers to the number of impacts inside the tool.
You will be plagued by one thing when it comes to battery-powered impact wrenches—their battery. Lower-priced models will oftentimes come with less powerful batteries. If this is the case, you will be spending quite a bit of time charging them. You will want to opt for a battery with some juice and one of the best is lithium-ion. They will hold a charge much longer and therefore last longer as well.
When it comes to holding an impact wrench, you will want to get one that has an excellent grip. If it slips out of your hand, you won’t really get much done and it could injure you in the process. The majority of impact wrenches should come with some sort of stylized grip—typically rubber. This makes it more simple to use while also being more ergonomic.
- Type. Be careful when you purchase an impact wrench. You’ll want to make sure it is battery-powered if you want more mobility. You could also end up with an air impact wrench that runs off of compressed air. These may require you to connect them to a large air compressor. However, you may also find smaller canisters for them to function as well.
Best Cordless Impact Wrench Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- After using an impact wrench, check it and wipe it clean. Avoid using water or detergent to clean it because this may corrode your tool. When you’re done with cleaning and inspecting the tool, store it and avoid dropping it. This way you will keep it working efficiently and ensure that it lasts longer.
- Be careful when applying torque to your work. Excessive power can be dangerous and also can damage the studs and accessories.
- Keep your tool well lubricated. Its moving parts generate a lot of friction, and they need to be oiled. Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer when performing this maintenance task.
Q: What is a cordless impact wrench, and how does it work?
A: This is a tool that draws power from a battery and converts it into a powerful tiny thrust to perform the tough tasks of driving in or drawing out bolts. It does not have to be tethered to a power source when working.
Q: Can I use an impact wrench on lug nuts?
A: Yes, If you have the right model it can generate 100 lb-ft to 120 lb-ft of torque and should be enough to draw lug nuts.
Q: What is the impact of over torque?
A: Most setups have their own torque requirements. For example, a lug nut requires 90 lb-ft to 120 lb-ft. If you apply less torque than this, you may not be able to do the job. On the other hand, if you over torque, you may end up destroying the lug nut.
After careful consideration, we’ve named the DEWALT MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit as the winner of the roundum. The impressive torque paired with extreme durability helps it withstand any task.
If you want all the power without the price, consider the Enertwist Brushless Impact Wrench. Especially if you aren’t tackling anything too heavy-duty, the 330 NM torque is definitely sufficient.