No garage is complete without an impact wrench for making short work of nuts and bolts of all sizes. If you work on vehicles often or constantly reach for a hand socket set, then an impact wrench could save you loads of time and energy, speeding up your projects considerably. Modern impact wrenches aren’t just powerful; they’re often light, compact, and easy to squeeze into hard to reach areas of the engine compartment where it would be very difficult to turn a ratchet.
There are so many choices on the market when you look for impact wrenches that it can easily become overwhelming. Air-powered, electric, and cordless impact wrenches all have their pros and cons. Power levels range drastically, as do weight and size. We’ve tested many of them, and the following nine are the ones we thought were worthwhile. These reviews will compile all the information we learned through testing them all to help streamline the decision for you.
|Makita WT01ZW||1 Year||4.30/5|
|ACDelco ANI405||1 Year||4.20/5|
|Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV||1 Year||4.00/5|
Small, lightweight, and with an ample dosage of power, the DeWalt DCF883B MAX cordless impact wrench is a versatile tool that’s the right choice for many jobs, which is why it’s our pick for best overall. At just 2.2 pounds without the battery, this is one of the lightest tools we tested. With a battery, it’s still just 3.4 pounds, though the battery isn’t included. The cordless design of this tool is nice, though it means it’s a bit less powerful than the air and electric models. You’ll also have to deal with dying batteries, so keep that in mind.
When working in tight dark spaces such as an engine bay, the tri-beam LEDs that adorn the front of this impact driver illuminate your workspace, helping to make your life much easier. The 130 foot-pounds of torque isn’t very impressive, but in our testing, it was plenty to break lug nuts free on a truck. Though it’s not perfect, we think the DeWalt DCF883B is the most versatile and well-rounded impact wrench we tested, which is why it’s in the first position of this list and earns our highest recommendation.
Depending on how you look at it, the plug-in electric design of the Enertwist ET-IW-1020 electric impact wrench can be a plus or a minus. On one hand, it restricts your movement and ties you to a power cord. On the other hand, being plugged in means there’s no battery, and more importantly, it’s much more powerful than any cordless wrench we’ve tested. With 1,050 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque, this is one of the most powerful wrenches under $100 we’ve ever seen. The 450 foot-pounds of fastening torque is also at the top end of the scale.
With all the power packed into this ½-inch drive impact wrench, it’s amazing that it comes at such a low price. In fact, it’s priced low enough to leave money in your budget to outfit yourself with a full set of sockets. The power-to-price ratio of the Enertwist is the most impressive we’ve seen, making it the best budget impact wrench under $100 for the money. It’s a little bit heavy at 8.2 pounds, but this is a flaw we can forgive given all of the other positive traits this wrench exhibits.
Looking for the smallest, lightest, most maneuverable impact wrench on the market? The Makita WT01ZW 12V cordless impact wrench might be it, though it’s certainly not the most powerful. Fully loaded with a battery, this tool weighs in at a mere 2.1 pounds, the lightest impact wrench we’ve seen. Unfortunately, the battery isn‘t included and will need to be purchased separately. It’s a ⅜-inch drive, so you can fit your sockets directly to the wrench. Since it’s so small and maneuverable, the LED light is a great feature to light up the dark areas where others can’t manage.
The Makita is small and manageable but not very powerful. With a meager 1,000 inch-pounds or 83 foot-pounds of torque max, this is the weakest impact wrench we reviewed. This isn’t surprising given the 12V power supply, but it’s definitely the biggest drawback to this little tool. Altogether, this is a great choice if you need a tiny tool to fit in tight spaces, but for an all-around tool to fill a variety of roles, we suggest one of our top picks instead due to the lack of power in the Makita.
Whether tightening or removing bolts, the ACDelco ANI405 can provide up to 500 foot-pounds of torque to get the job done. This is considerably more than any of the cordless models, though not as much as the Enertwist in our second position. The ACDelco impact wrench is an air-powered tool, so you’ll need a big noisy compressor and you’ll always be tied to an air hose. This makes it far less portable, though you’re getting the power and reliability of compressed air in exchange.
You’ll get plenty of versatility with six speed choices. It’s also very rugged and durable, built to withstand the rigors of daily garage work. However, it’s a bit bulky and unwieldy compared to the small and sleek cordless models we’ve been enjoying. It’s also a bit hefty at 5.72 pounds, but it never felt unmanageable. A stout and dependable tool overall, it’s just not quite portable and compact enough to be our top suggestion.
Campbell Hausfeld is a trusted name in air tools, and the TL140200AV air impact wrench is a solid offering but not one of our favorites overall. Though it is affordably priced, you’re going to need to invest in a compressor and air hose if you don’t already have them. Of course, not just any compressor will do. The Campbell Hausfeld requires a large volume compressor to work properly, so expect to shell out a bit more for a larger compressor. Since it’s an air tool, you’ll always be tied to your hose and compressor, so you’ll sacrifice some movability that you’d get with a cordless model.
With 550 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque, this is a rather capable wrench. In testing, we didn’t feel that it quite lived up to that power rating though. It had no trouble with regular car and light truck lugs but sometimes failed to break loose lugs that were stuck or were on larger vehicles. With just 1,200 impacts per minute, it’s not one of the faster tools we tried, but for the price, we think it’s pretty solid. We think other models compare favorably to this one, but it’s still a great tool.
Filling our sixth position, the Avid Power 13 cordless impact wrench is a decent deal for what you get, though not the best value of the tools we tested. It is very affordable and includes a battery to power its cordless design. We also appreciated the light weight of this device, as well as the tri-beam LEDs to illuminate any workspace.
Despite being a pretty lightweight impact wrench overall, the Avid Power 13 is large and bulky. Once we saw its size, we hoped to see some decent power output. We didn’t hope for too much since the 170-foot-pound rating isn’t anything special, but it didn’t even seem to live up to this low rating. This wrench wasn’t able to remove most of the car lugs we tested it on, so it’s not the most useful for garage and automobile work. Though it’s priced lower, we think there are better choices available at the same price point that will give you much more capability.
Packing 300 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque and 260 foot-pounds of tightening torque, the Dobetter DBCIW20 cordless impact wrench seemed like a stout beast and we were excited to test it out. In the field, she let us down repeatedly. Our findings suggest its power claims are greatly exaggerated. This tool didn’t want to break free any bolts that were corroded or rusted. It even struggled with basic car lugs, something we didn’t expect with these power ratings.
Though underpowered, the Dobetter cordless impact wrench is still a heavy tool, tipping the scales at about 7 pounds. You’d think being so substantial would give it some rugged qualities. Unfortunately, poor longevity is one of our biggest complaints as ours died a few weeks after purchase. Aside from that, the 7-pound weight is the heaviest impact wrenches we tested, a title usually reserved for the electric and air guns. This wrench would be earning a much higher ranking on this list if it lived up to the power ratings advertised. As is, it’s outshined by several of its competitors and relegated to the lower rungs.
Just barely sneaking in below the cutoff price, the VonHaus cordless impact wrench is another tool that looks excellent on paper but doesn’t quite pan out when put to the test. If it lived up to its hefty torque ratings, this tool would be a contender for the top position. Three-hundred foot-pounds of nut-busting torque and 260 foot-pounds of tightening torque would be quite impressive in a cordless tool—if this one lived up to those numbers. In our testing, these numbers are stretched for appearances, since this tool didn’t even manage every lug nut we tried.
On top of the underwhelming power, this tool is quite heavy at about 7 pounds. You’ll be sacrificing a lot of maneuverability. It’s also very large and not the best for fitting into cramped quarters. No speed selections are available, so you’ll be relying solely on the variable trigger for control. Overall, it’s another tool that didn’t quite live up to expectation; and thus, doesn’t make its way to a higher position on our list.
Rounding out the bottom of our list, the TZTool 1200 impact wrench is an air tool that requires a large volume compressor to function properly. It’s going to require oiling before and after every use, which is more maintenance than we prefer to perform. That said, it’s very powerful on paper with 875 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque and 650 foot-pounds of tightening torque available at the trigger. Three speeds are available to dial in the proper setting.
The TZTool is at the very top of the price range, but it wasn’t one of our strongest performers. Though it’s got some hefty power ratings, it didn’t’ feel nearly as strong as advertised. Ours was able to easily remove lug nuts and most mildly rusted bolts, though we’d suggest something stronger for the most corroded nuts and bolts. Being tied to a compressor means that this tool is always going to be loud, something you’ll never escape with any air tool. However, the TZTool 1200 exacerbates the problem by also being extremely loud itself. Combine the sound of your impact wrench and compressor and your garage will be filled with a symphony of motor noise.
Some other posts we wrote about impact wrenches:
There are many features to compare for each of these tools. Our reviews are intended to help you simplify the decision and make it easier to pull the trigger on the right one. We covered a lot of information, so let’s quickly summarize our top two recommendations. Our choice for the best overall was the DeWalt DCF883B MAX cordless impact wrench. It’s small, compact, and lightweight at just 3.4 pounds with the battery installed. We think it’s pretty difficult to beat its well-rounded compromise of strength, size, and price, which is why it gets our highest recommendation.
In a close second place, our pick for best value impact under $100 is the Enertwist ET-IW-1020. This electric impact wrench is the most powerful one we tested, packing a very impressive 1,050 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque and 450 foot-pounds of fastening torque. It does this at one of the most affordable prices of any model we tested, which is why it’s earned our second pick spot. We feel confident giving both of these tools our full recommendation.
Featured Image Credit By: Avid Power MCIW326 mpact Wrench, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!