LAST UPDATED: May 24, 2019
Best Cordless Impact Wrenches: Loosen Stubborn Bolts
A quality impact wrench ensures you can drive bolts without breaking a sweat
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PUBLISHED ON May 24, 2019
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 out there, and choosing the right one can be challenging. We reviewed the best three on the market to help you make an informed buying decision.
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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.
Black+Decker Corporation is an American manufacturer that builds power tools, accessories, and home improvement products. The company has a central headquarters in Towson, Maryland just north of Baltimore and first started business in 1910. Black+Decker is one of the top competing brands in the United States and you can typically recognize its tools by its black and orange coloring. The Black+Decker 20V Max Impact Driver Kit is one of its best impact wrenches you can find.
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 2020
DeWalt’s MAX XR Impact Wrench is powerful and certainly reliable. It features a brushless motor for increased operating power so you can accomplish just about any job without issue. When it comes to power, the device provides a torque of up to 700 foot-pounds with a breakaway torque of 1,200 foot-pounds, so you take care of the toughest jobs.
The wrench also includes a three-speed selector switch (400/1200/1900 RPM) to give you a wider range of choices so you can decide the correct amount of power. It comes with an LED work light, which comes in handy when working at night.
However, the device will require a battery, which unfortunately is not included in the box. Plus, it does not come with a charger, so you will have to buy one on your own. Those are really two necessary things required to operate this impact wrench.
The impact wrench from Avid Power is one of the smaller, more pocket-friendly choices of tools. However, that doesn’t make it any less powerful than other competing brands of impact wrenches. The tool is capable of producing a torque of 2,035 inch-pounds and 2,200 RPM for driving fasteners quickly and removing bolts with ease.
As another benefit to you and your tool chest, the impact wrench is light and able to minimize fatigue while enhancing portability. Plus, it comes with a bright LED light for working in complete darkness. That, and its lithium-ion battery doubled with a capacity indicator and a charger make it one heck of a tool.
There are a few not-so-great things with the tool, though. There have been complaints that the tool does not produce quite enough torque for larger, more heavy-duty jobs. Plus, the tool’s battery is known to drain quite quickly if you are busy, so ordering an extra battery is recommended.
Makita’s Brushless Impact Wrench makes honorable mention for a few reasons. That doesn't mean it lacks in power, speed, or torque—quite the contrary. The tool features 740 foot-pounds of torque and a breakaway torque of 1,180 foot-pounds. Coupled with its three-speed power selection, you get a range of 900/1,000/1,800 RPM and 1,800/2,000/2,200 IPM for enhanced fastening control.
It also comes with a powerful brushless motor that helps cool down the machine, making it more efficient and lengthening its lifespan. Also, the simple ergonomic design makes this impact wrench comfortable to hold and easy to use.
However, the machine is rather expensive. There have been complaints that the impact wrench’s battery drains quickly. Also, some believe it is on the heavy side.
- 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 thorough research, we recommend the DEWALT MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit. It offers superior torque and it is durable.
For a pocket-friendly impact wrench, consider the Avid Power MAX Cordless Impact Wrench. It is lightweight, easy to use, and generates enough torque to drive large fasteners.