Reviews

Best Air Impact Wrenches: Remove Tight Bolts With Ease

Change lug nuts quickly and efficiently with these top air impact wrenches

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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON October 23, 2019

There are some jobs that are really hard to do unless you have the right tool. If you need to loosen engine bolts or remove your vehicle's tires, an air impact wrench will make the task much easier. Our buying guide below will help you find the best air impact wrenches available.

Best Overall
Ingersoll Rand 1/2" Quiet Titanium Air Impact Wrench
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Summary
Summary

This tool features quiet technology to reduce sound. It weighs 4.7 pounds and is built with a titanium hammercase, steel-wear plate, and composite housing that protect the tool from harsh environments.

Pros
Pros
  • It has more than enough power to do most jobs, and it's lightweight
  • The trigger is very smooth, and it's easy to modulate for removing plastic lug nut covers
Cons
Cons
  • The ergonomics could be a little better on the handle, and in reverse, the button may dig into your hand
  • It can feel noticeably front-heavy without sockets on it
Best Overall
Ingersoll Rand 1/2" Quiet Titanium Air Impact Wrench
Best Value
AIRCAT Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
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Summary
Summary

This wrench provides 1,400 blows per minute and a maximum torque of 900-foot pounds. Its 15-percent larger rotor creates extra power, and it comes with a two-year warranty.

Pros
Pros
  • It is relatively quiet, comfortable, and lightweight
  • It easily removes lug nuts without knocking or jerking
  • Also, the trigger response is similar to that of a variable speed drill
Cons
Cons
  • It may lose power after a year of heavy use, and it may not provide the power that it advertises
  • Also, the forward/reverse lever may occasionally stick
Best Value
AIRCAT Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
Honorable Mention
ACDelco Heavy Duty Twin Hammer Pneumatic Impact Wrench
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Summary
Summary

A handheld air impact wrench that’s built for the toughest jobs and perfect portability. This 2.5 x 7 x 8 inch tool has enough power to deliver 500 foot-pounds of torque and up to 8,000 RPMs so you can work frustration-free.

Pros
Pros
  • Offers four free speed settings up to 8,000 RPMs and one speed reverse
  • Built with lightweight yet durable composite housing that’s comfortable to hold in hand. Backed by ACDelco’s 100-percent satisfaction guarantee
Cons
Cons
  • Tends to burn out or blow out relatively quickly, meaning its lifespan is limited
  • It can also start performing at full speed as soon as it’s turned on, which is dangerous if you’re unprepared
Honorable Mention
ACDelco Heavy Duty Twin Hammer Pneumatic Impact Wrench

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Air Impact Wrench Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Ingersoll Rand 1/2

When it comes to the best of the best, it’s hard to top both the construction and the performance of the Ingersoll Rand 1/2" Quiet Titanium Air Impact Wrench. This little tool may measure just 3.54 x 1.18 x 3.94 inches in overall size, but it’s impressively durable and performs like an expert’s tool.


With this air impact wrench in hand, you’ll find that you’re prepared for almost anything. It’s able to tackle heavy-duty assembly or disassembly work, suspension and industrial tasks, and so much more. It delivers 1,300 foot-pounds of torque from a fixed square head, and its patented Quiet Tool technology makes it surprisingly quiet for the amount of power you’re getting.


Plus, this Ingersoll Rand impact wrench is also built with composite housing that’s impact- and chemical-resistant. It’ll survive drops and exposure to shop fluids, which means you can keep working despite unexpected accidents.

Best Value
AIRCAT Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench

The Aircat Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench might be budget-friendly, but it doesn’t sacrifice anything in favor of a lower price. This air impact wrench is just as durable and as powerful as you’d expect from a more expensive alternative — and it can really deliver on tough jobs.


Built with a blend of composite and metal materials, this air impact wrench is a bit larger in size, measuring 7.5 x 2.8 x 7 inches overall. It’s covered in a powder-coated finish, which enhances its durability and protects against common issues like rust and corrosion. And with a hard-hitting twin hammer mechanism, this little impact wrench will deliver 1,295 foot-pounds of torque for loosening items and a maximum of 900 foot-pounds of torque for tightening. It uses a rotor that’s 15 percent bigger than its competitors too.


Backed by a two-year parts and labor warranty, the tough exterior housing of this air impact wrench can also survive your typical wear and tear.

Honorable Mention
ACDelco Heavy Duty Twin Hammer Pneumatic Impact Wrench

Tackling jobs that require an impact wrench can leave you struggling with stubborn parts and systems — but if you’ve got the ACDelco Heavy Duty Twin Hammer Pneumatic Impact Wrench, you can get jobs done faster. Specifically built for heavy-duty, hard-work-required tasks, this impact wrench will get the job done in less time.


Built to be lightweight and nicely durable, this metal impact wrench is encased in lightweight composite housing. It measures 2.5 x 7 x 8 inches in overall size, and it can deliver up to 500 foot-pounds of torque while giving you five different speeds to choose from. You’ll find that this twin hammer pneumatic wrench gets to work quickly, and its 1/2-inch head is great at tackling jobs like tire rotations, tire removals, changing lawn mower blades, and more. It’s even equipped with four free speeds and one speed reverse so you can adjust for different tasks.


And every one of these speedy air impact wrenches comes with everything you need to get started: the wrench itself, a bottle of lubricating oil, and an air hose adapter.

Honorable Mention
NitroCat Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench

Tough trucks often require equally tough tools for repairs and maintenance work — but that’s exactly what the NitroCat Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench is built for. This awesome wrench is quite powerful, operates quietly, and is specifically built with a twin clutch so you can get down to work on heavy-duty to medium-duty trucks and frame work. 


With this air impact wrench in hand, you’ll find it’s bigger than many similar products at 9.25 x 8.5 x 3 inches in size. It’s constructed out of metal and a tough Kevlar composite exterior housing. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. And when it’s time to work, you’ll have 1,295 foot-pounds of loosening torque at your disposal. A patented easy-use flip lever allows you to choose forward or reverse motion, and the free speed can reach a maximum of 8,000 RPMs.


Even better, this handheld tool is quiet while it works. Thanks to a patented quiet tuned exhaust, it creates only 86 decibels while it operates, keeping your ears as comfortable as your hands.

Honorable Mention
Sunex Mini Air Impact Wrench

The Sunex Mini Air Impact Wrench makes working with just one hand a breeze. Specifically designed to be able to be controlled with nothing but one hand and your fingers, this tough little tool can make your work a lot easier, especially if you want something that’s light enough to reduce fatigue. 


Weighing 2.9 pounds and measuring just 4.9 inches in length (or height), this air impact wrench features quite a compact design and shape. It’s a bit stubby, with a short length that’s ideal for working in small or tight spaces. The ½-inch head uses a powerful “jumbo hammer” mechanism that can provide up to 500 foot-pounds of breakaway torque. And with three speeds to choose from, you can operate as quickly or as slowly as necessary for the job at hand. It even works in forward and reverse — you just have to flip a switch with one finger to change the direction.

Tips

  • Look for an air impact wrench with a lot of torque. Tools with more torque are easier and faster to use, particularly if the bolts are rusty and solidly stuck.
  • The average DIYer can use a smaller air impact wrench versus a professional-grade model. It doesn’t weigh as much and is easier to maneuver in tight spaces. You can also use it with a smaller compressor. 
  • You will need other tools in addition to an air impact wrench when you work on your vehicle, including impact sockets, an air compressor, and a retractable air hose.

FAQs

Q: What is an air impact wrench? 

A: An air impact wrench is also called a rattle gun or torque gun. It's a high-powered socket wrench that uses compressed air to loosen and tighten nuts, so you often hear the sound of hissing air when it's being used.

Q: How do I use an air impact wrench?

A: Attach the hose and wrench to the air compressor. Check the PSI, which should be between 90 and 100, and make sure the hose isn't kinked. Set the correct speed using the dial or switch on the wrench, and attach the correct socket to the bit on the wrench. Slip the bit onto the wheel nut, and press the trigger.

Q: What does “impacts per minute” mean, and why is it important?

A: The more blows or impacts per minute, the faster the air impact wrench will tighten screws or loosen nuts and bolts. Traditionally, impact per minute refers to the number of times a hammer strikes an anvil within 60 seconds.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best air impact wrench is the Ingersoll Rand 1/2" Quiet Titanium Air Impact Wrench. It's relatively quiet, lightweight, and powerful enough to work on most jobs.