When buying an air impact wrench, there are many features you will have to consider. Getting the best one can be relative. The best model for who does not regularly use an air impact wrench is not the same as the best one who actually do use it all the time. Nevertheless, there are general criteria you can follow which are the following.
How to shop for air impact wrenches?
One of the most important factors is to get enough torque. Needless to say, the higher the torque, which should be mentioned in the specifications of a model, the better the wrench is. A good thumb rule would be to get a minimum of 150 ft-lbs. Additionally, you might also want to be able to control or adjust the torque output. This lessens the risk of snapping a bold head or over-torquing a bolt itself.
Weight and Size
If you work every day with an air impact wrench, you may want to get a lighter one. Otherwise, a heavy one would be fine for short-term or occasional use. Obviously, you will get tired easily if you use a heavier one. As for size, the smaller the wrench, the better. While this allows you to use the wrench in tighter spaces, a smaller wrench also means lesser torque. Try getting just the right size for your projects.
No Load Speed
For first-timers, no load speed is simply its speed when not screwing any bolt. The higher speed obviously means, the faster it can screw. However, this comes as another trade-off since getting a wrench that is faster would often usually translate to having lower torque. If you find yourself in a dilemma with torque power and load speed, give priority to torque speed.
Impacts Per Minute
Straightforwardly, this is the number of times the hammer can strike an anvil within a minute. When it comes to this, you will want to get a wrench with a higher number of impacts per minute. This would mean that it can easily loosen bolts that are torqued tightly.
There are many different drive sizes you will find for wrenches in the market. However, you will notice that the two most common ones are the 1/2 and the 3/8. The former is a lot better overall since it can be used on many projects. But when it comes to more specific projects needing you to work in tighter spaces, you will definitely want to get the latter as it comes in a smaller size.
Balance and Ergonomics
Since it will be you working with the wrench for hours, you may as well get one that feels natural on your hand. An awkward feeling wrench, despite its good specs, may not work well for you. If you find one that feels great, see to it that it also has a good grip so that it does not slip from your hands even when you are sweaty.
When making any purchase for anything, it is always great to consider the warranty they offer. Most brands would offer 1 or 2 years of warranty while you may find that some offer a lifetime warranty. But these usually cost a lot more than the average. Although warranties themselves have nothing to do with wrenches, it sometimes shows you how confident the company is with their product. If they give a 1-year warranty, it may indicate that they are sure that their product can work well for at least a year.
It is important to remind you again that the criteria above should fit well for your situations. Different projects require different priorities of specs. But for whatever situation you need to use an air impact wrench, it would be a good general rule to get one that feels great when being handled (its ergonomics).
With the criteria laid out for you, below is also the list of wrenches that are worth your money. Most of the important specs will be mentioned but if you want to check them out more, you may do so by visiting their manufacturer’s website. The pros and cons for each are also based on the general trend of the reviews given by users who have bought and tested the product already.
Chicago Pneumatic CP7748 1/2″ Composite Impact Wrench
Although this may not exactly be cheap for many, you may still want to consider this since it’s quality goes well beyond its price. This wrench packs 1200-feet lbs of power and has a speed of 8200 RPM while still being incredibly light at 4.4 pounds. It comes with a self-retracting guide sleeve and has a 1-year warranty.
You would not have a dilemma between size/weight and power since this gives you both. For its weight, its torque power is incredible. A strong but lightweight impact wrench would usually mean that it would be noisy. But that is not the case with this one. Many reviews liked how it worked quietly. Ergonomics fit almost anyone and gives a good grip.
Changing direction of wrench while working with it can be a bit of a hassle. The knob can get stiff at times. Although there are few users who found it easy. It is still too expensive. The specs may be quite mediocre compared to others.
Ingersoll-Rand 232TGSL 1/2-Inch Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench Thunder Gun
Aesthetics may be minor criteria but you might like how this Ingersoll-Rand wrench looks just like other buyers. It’s torque power, both forward and reverse, is nearly half of the previous one but it goes up to 10,000 rpm with 1200 impact per blow which makes it perfect if that is actually what you are looking for.
Experts will have to agree that it’s 1200 impact per blow is quite impressive given its twin hammer design. It’s torque power can be easily adjusted so that you can use it for more specific occasions. Its handles are powder coated which makes it easier for you to hold on to it even with sweaty palms.
Some reviews mentioned other brands that are cheaper and may work the same. Other commented on how it is quite heavy and isn’t recommended for long hours of use. The price is still a bit too high for budget customers.
NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench
This is arguably the quietest working wrench. If the noise can be disturbing for you, this NitroCat wrench is even quieter than the Chicago Pneumatic since it is only 86 decibels. Its patented on most parts which also helps keep debris away from you. Since it is made with kevlar, you will be sure of its durability.
Unlike most in the market, you will probably get the most durability with this wrench due to it being made of Kevlar. It is made extra strong giving a 1300 torque power. Even with its relatively strong power, it gives a lot less noise than what many people expected. 86 decibels, in reality, is the same volume as when you normally speak.
External damage might be prevented but internal damage can and have happened. Might be bulky or awkward for some people. It’s durable but it does not last long compared to others.
NitroCat 1355-XL 3/8-Inch
If you like the previous air impact wrench from NitroCat, then you will also like its brother product the 1355-XL. Since the previous one is 1/2 inch, this one is ⅜ inch for projects that the previous one may not be able to handle. It has similar features except that its torque power is reduced to half and that this a lot lighter at 3lbs.
Again, like the previous one, its quiet technology is definitely something you should not take for granted. It’s good for many common industrial and automotive projects or tasks. The 1-year warranty covers parts replacements.
Also, like the previous one, it can be bulky and awkward for some people to use. The trigger can get stiff at times. Some mentioned how bad the parts were assembled.
DEWALT DWMT70773L 1/2-Inch Square Drive
This DEWALT air impact gun has a 650feet-lbs torque and features 7500 RPM and a loose velocity at 90PSI which is not that bad. It also has a dual hammer mechanism that further helps in breaking away fasteners. It also features an Ahead/Opposite technology that makes it easier to shift directions and or making adjustments to its power. This wrench weighs 5.3 pounds which is just enough for everyday use while giving 1,100 impacts per minute.
A lot easier to use than most with straightforward instructions. Users have an easy time gripping the wrench. Weight is perfect: it is not too light nor too heavy.
It lies more on the median being just an average. It does not exactly fulfill what it claims: being heavy duty. Dirt can accumulate quickly with the wrench.
Ingersoll Rand 231C, 1/2 Inch
If you have tried holding the DEWALT wrench and actually liked the feel it at least in its weight, then you will also like the feel of this Ingersoll Rand wrench. Also at 5.3 pounds, it is only 7.2 inches making it the most compound on this list so far. This is also one of the easiest to work with also featuring adjustable power regulator.
The 231C has just the right weight and is the most portable due to its short length. Many people have used it for many years already. First-time users of air impact wrenches should probably get this one.
The plastic trigger can feel a bit off as if playing with a toy gun. It can get noisier the more times you use it as some people noted. Does not work well for projects that need a heavy-duty wrench.
ACDelco ANI405 1/2-inch, 500 ft-lbs, TWIN HAMMER
You will probably get the first impression that this ACDelco air impact wrench is very compact. Sad to say that it is quite a hog weighing 6.2 pounds. Among the wrenches on the list, it has the least cfm at 3.9 with 7000 RPM and 500ft. lbs. of torque power. The speeds can be adjusted to 4 different options with 3 of them forward and 1 for its reverse. It’s covered in an aluminum alloy which is not the greatest but is worth the cheap price.
Can be adjusted easily and has more options than most. Perfect for home use due to its low power. The price is what definitely attracts people also given its specs.
6.2 pounds is too heavy for many people especially if used on daily basis. It does not work well for bigger projects. The quality may deteriorate the more times you use it.
Craftsman 1/2in. Impact Wrench 9-16882
Finally now on the cheapest side of wrenches, this Craftsman model offers a single hammer mechanism while still being reliable. The company has paid close attention to its ergonomics to make their customers feel natural when handling the wrench. It has a 400ft. lbs torque and 7400 RPM for free speed. It’s relatively low torque comes with less noise produced as well.
Has an internal silencing technology which makes it even quieter. Comfortable design with molded and contoured grip and trigger. Weighs only 4.2 pounds which are lightweight and is also more portable.
This is pretty static. It does not offer much variability in its speed. Made mostly for very simple projects given its super low torque power. Lighter than 4.2 pounds as most users suggest.
PowRyte Basic 1/2-Inch, 600 ft-lbs, Twin Hammer
If that last wrench was not what you needed because of its weak power, then you may opt to get this PowRyte. It offers 600ft. lbs. of torque power which is just slightly less than the usual average. It also gives 7,000 RPM but this time, it can be adjusted easily as well because of its design. In fact, the design is where this wrench stands out in when compared to the previous one. Plus, it even comes with a 2-year warranty which is unusual since most others would only offer 1 year.
It is made of die-cast aluminum housing which is durable. There is a built-in silencer to make it even more silent. Does the job well for a very cheap air impact wrench.
The whole thing weighs 6 pounds which are quite heavy and can cause fatigue during long hours of usage. It is stronger to do a lot more than the Craftsman but just a bit less to do anything else. The hog ring might be too close for some people.