Best Air Impact Wrench – Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

When you find that a socket wrench doesn’t provide the power you need, it’s time to look for the best air impact wrench. You’ll find air impact wrenches in a variety of sizes and forms, so it is important to find the wrench that works best for your needs.

Air impact wrenches are also referred to as impactors, air wrenches, impact guns, air guns, torque guns, windy guns or rattle guns. The purpose behind them is to deliver a high torque output while requiring little exertion from the user.

While there are some options that are one size fits all, you’ll still need to look at the power and weight of each unit. In addition, you’ll find many air impact wrenches at a variety of price points. This is nice when have to stick to a certain budget, but still want the convenience of a powerful tool to get the job done.

Many air impact wrenches produce more torque than you would think, so it is also important that you choose a model that is well-built. Poorly manufactured wrenches aren’t going to offer the durability and long life you desire.

Commercial air impact wrenches are best used in a heavy work environment. Because the unit is going to take some hits, you’ll want a casing that is sturdy and dependable. For most household uses or light industrial work, you’ll find that a 1/2-inch impact wrench should be sufficient.


Air Impact Wrench Reviews

PreviewNameAwardsPurchase

Ingersoll 2145QiMax

High Torque

Chicago CP7748

Mid-Range Torque

Ingersoll 231C

Lower Torque


Best High Torque Air Impact Wrenches (Over 1,200-Feet Pound)

For the highest level of torque, you’ll want to look for an impact wrench with over 1,200-feet pound of performance. With the higher performance levels, you can also expect a larger price tag, so that is something to consider. Most people find that the cost outweighs the ease and convenience of getting a job done quickly.

1. Ingersoll Rand 2145QiMax 3/4-Inch Composite, Quiet ImpactTool

Ingersoll Rand 2145QiMax

MAX Power: 1350-Feet Pound maximum reverse torque from a tool that weighs just 7.4-Pound and is compact enough to access tight spaces

This isn’t just the highest power air impact wrench on the list, but also the most expensive. With an impressive 1350-feet pound of reverse torque, you’ll agree this is the best air impact wrench currently available.

Not only does it deliver high levels of performance, but it also weighs just 7.4 pounds. This small and portable tool gets into areas that many other tools can’t reach. Because it is designed for industrial levels, it’s also strong enough to handle heavy impacts.

The Ingersoll Rand features a 16 percent increase in the overall motor efficiency plus a 7-vane motor, so there is never a lack of power. If that wasn’t enough, it comes complete with a two-year warranty if anything should go wrong.

Keep in mind that this unit is a ¾-inch drive, so it is designed for heavy-duty purposes only. Most residential and light industrial users aren’t going to need something of this size. In addition, it hits noise levels of 91.1dBA, which is less than many of the lower powered models.

If you are ready to upgrade your equipment to a more powerful, lightweight air impact wrench, this is definitely a strong contender. Not only is it easy to clean, but also features an air consumption of 8.5 CRM with 1,150 blows per minute. You won’t find another air impact wrench with the power and features that this offers.

If you are interested in seeing this powerful air impact wrench in action, be sure to watch this video:

What Customers Say:

Most users are in agreement that this air impact wrench is both light and powerful. One customer uses it to work on their RV with ease. With 80 percent of the users offering a 5-star rating, you know you can’t wrong.

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 1,350 foot-pounds
  • Free Speed RPM – 7,000
  • Average Air Consumption – 8.5 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 91.1 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 1/2-inch
  • Length – 8.5 inches
  • Weight – 7.5 pounds
  • Warranty – 2 years limited
  • What’s in the Box – Ingersoll Rand 2145QiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench, 3/4 Inch
PROS:
  • Powerful 1350-feet pound of reverse torque
  • Lightweight
  • Less noisy than other industrial models
  • 2-year warranty
  • Highly rated by users

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Geared mainly toward heavy-duty purposes


2. AIRCAT 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench

AIRCAT 1150

1,400 Blows Per Minute makes this the strongest hard hitting Twin Hammer 1/2 Impact Wrench on the market

If you are in need of the best air impact wrench at a lower price, the AIRCAT is a great option. With torque power of 1,295-feet pound, you know that all your projects will be a breeze. The ½-inch impact wrench features 1,400 blows per minute and consistently hits its target.

When you compare this to many of the others reviewed, you’ll notice that the rotor is 15 percent larger. This means a finer execution and additional power, even while working on difficult jobs. Despite the additional power, it still operates at just 86 dBA which is relatively quiet.

As far as maintenance goes, you only need grease and oil once per month for it to run without a hitch. One aspect that is unique about this air impact wrench is that it is rebuildable. You can salvage good parts from it and make it into a new impact wrench if need be.

There are several purchasing options available with this unit as well. It’s offered in various packages with an adapter and extension bar. Purchasing the items separately will result in spending more, so it’s a great idea to purchase them together in a package deal.

Just like the Ingersoll Rand 2145QiMax, this unit also features a 2-year limited warranty to provide some additional peace of mind about the purchase.

To see a real customer review this air impact wrench, check out this video:

What Customers Say:

Many of the users are pleased with the overall power and operation of this air impact wrench. One person commented that it was “smooth and powerful’ while another made the statement that is was “half the cost of other top guns on the market.”

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 1,295-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 9,000
  • Average Air Consumption – 4.3 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 86 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 1/4-inch
  • Length – 7.5 inches
  • Weight – 4.63 pounds
  • Warranty – 2 years limited
  • What’s in the Box – AIRCAT 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
PROS:
  • Powerful 1,295-feet pound of reverse torque
  • Available with accessories
  • Less noisy than other models
  • 2-year warranty
  • Lightweight

CONS:
  • Variable trigger is stiff
  • Need to read manual in order to get max torque setup


3. NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench

NitroCat 1200-K

Most powerful 1/2-inch impact in its class; Durable Kevlar composite housing with ergonomically designed handle (reduces operator fatigue)

As our last choice for the best air impact wrench on the powerful side, we found this NitroCat model. It’s ideal for ½-inch wrench applications and offers an immense amount of features. With its Kevlar composite housing, the wrench is strong and durable to withstand multiple blows over time.

This wrench also features a contoured design that relieves overall fatigue, even after long periods of use. Operating noise is at 86 dBA which is quite low compared to some other options. In addition, it features a twin clutch mechanism which offers the power you need while exhausting the debris out the bottom; away from your face.

The forward and reverse motions are easily managed with a flip lever that is easily accessible. With an operating pressure of 90-120 PSI and torque of 1,295 ft.-lbs. it is easy to see why this wrench is chosen by the NHRA Top Fuel race teams.

If you find that anything goes wrong with this air impact wrench, it is also covered by a 2-year limited warranty on both the parts and labor. The one downside to the unit is that even though it offers varying speeds, there isn’t much difference between the lowest and the highest. This can be frustrating for those looking to fine-tune a project.

The NitroCat makes a great addition to the arsenal of any experienced home user or light industrial user. It’s powerful, quiet and performs reliably time after time.

What Customers Say:

Most of the customers have referred to how excited they are about the high level of power this wrench offers at a low price. In addition, one customer specifically purchased the air impact wrench to remove 10-year old rusted bolts from their car and found it to work perfectly.

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 1,295-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 8,000
  • Average Air Consumption – 4.5 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 86 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 1/4-inch
  • Length – 9.2 inches
  • Weight – 5 pounds
  • Warranty – 2 years limited
  • What’s in the Box – NITROCAT 1200-K 1/2″ Kevlar Twin Clutch Impact Wrench
PROS:
  • Mighty 1,295-feet pound of torque
  • Kevlar composite housing
  • Quiet
  • 2-year warranty
  • Used by NHRA Top Fuel race teams

CONS:
  • Variable speeds aren’t ideal
  • Heavier and larger than some other options


Best Mid-Range Torque Air Impact Wrenches (Between 700 and 1,250-Feet Pound)

For those who need to find the best air impact wrench in the mid-range of power, we’ve put together a couple of options that should suit your needs well. These options are ideal for the average home user or light industrial worker and should offer plenty of years of life at reasonable prices.

1. Chicago Pneumatic CP7748 1/2″ Composite Impact Wrench

Chicago Pneumatic CP7748

Most powerful tool on the market in its class - 922 ft.lbs (1250Nm) of real torque in reverse

This professional grade air impact wrench is a great option for tire changes, general maintenance work or with MRO applications. That’s due in part to the lightweight composite materials that make up the housing. With 922-ft.-lbs. of torque, you have enough power to handle most daily tasks.

All the functions of the Chicago Pneumatic wrench are one-handed and the design features a contoured grip with maximum comfort in mind. There are three positions in forward: high, medium and low. This provides you with plenty of customization to get the job done right.

The wrench only weighs 4.4 pounds so it is lightweight and powerful. Inside this wrench, you’ll find a twin hammer mechanism for maximum performance. Unlike the units reviewed above, this does feature a slightly higher noise level of 94 dBA. In addition, the lower cost comes with a downgrade in warranty to just a year.

For the power and features you receive with this model, it’s amazing how low the price is. It’s a great option for someone that needs a high-powered air impact wrench at a price that is affordable by most.

See this air impact wrench in action:

What Customers Say:

Finding negative reviews on this air impact wrench is nearly impossible. One person stated that this wrench “breaks everything apart” while others commented on the smoothness and ease of use.

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 922-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 8,200
  • Average Air Consumption – 6.2 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 94 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 3/8-inch
  • Length – 8.5 inches
  • Weight – 4.4 pounds
  • Warranty – 1 year limited
  • What’s in the Box – Chicago Pneumatic CP7748 1/2″ Composite Impact Wrench
PROS:
  • Powerful
  • One-handed functions
  • Lightweight
  • Features a twin hammer mechanism
  • Reasonable price

CONS:
  • 1-year warranty
  • Sound levels are higher than other wrenches


2.  Ingersoll-Rand 2135TiMAX 1/2-Inch Air Impact Wrench

Ingersoll-Rand 2135TiMAX

Patented push button forward/reverse provides maximum control

This Ingersoll-Rand design is a higher priced model but is a favorite when looking for the best air impact wrench on the market. With 780 ft.-lbs. of torque power and a professional trigger, you’ll find this wrench sufficient for most everyday projects.

It offers variable speeds and patented buttons that offer the best control of any wrench on our list. Even with the upgraded design and features, this wrench only weighs 3.95 pounds which is one of the lightest we’ve reviewed.

Not only is this unit durable, but it’s also covered by the MAX Protection for two years. This offers you some additional peace of mind about the purchase, which is good because it is quite pricey. The Quiet Tool Technology is another patent covered by Ingersoll-Rand and the sound level reaches just 86 dBA.

With a titanium casing, you know that no matter what drops and bumps this unit takes, it will keep pushing forward. This is a great wrench designed for home garages and professional shops alike. If you can get past the price point of the wrench, you’ll find that it is worth every penny.

See this Ingersoll Rand in action:

What Customers Say:

With over 80 percent of customers giving this wrench a 5-star review, you know that you are making a quality choice. One customer feels that it clearly offers more than the 780 ft.-lbs. of torque power it claims to have, while others have mentioned how powerful and light the unit is.

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 780-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 8,500
  • Average Air Consumption – 5 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 86 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 3/8-inch
  • Length – 9 inches
  • Weight – 4.8 pounds
  • Warranty – 2-year MAX Protection
  • What’s in the Box – Ingersoll-Rand 2135TiMAX 1/2-Inch Air Impact Wrench
PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Patented buttons and noise control
  • Durable titanium casing
  • Variable speeds
  • 2-year warranty

CONS:
  • High price point
  • Design is different than most air impact wrenches


Lower Torque Air Impact Wrenches (Under 700 Feet-Pound)

If you aren’t in need of the highest powered, best air impact wrench, then a lower torque model might be ideal for you. They feature enough performance for most everyday tasks but offer a lower price tag. This makes them a reasonable option for most home users.

1. Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch

Ingersoll Rand 231C

Classic, reliable design offers proven power, performance, and durability

Ingersoll Rand is always an obvious choice when searching for the best air impact wrench on the market. They’ve established themselves as a leader and innovative company to purchase from.

This lower-priced model might have lower power at 600 ft.-lbs of torque, but it features an exclusive mechanism to focus on control versus power. The adjustable power regulator has a pressure-fed lubrication that enables you to tackle the longer projects.

With the unique two-piece construction, you’ll also find that it is quite simple to service. The contoured handle also makes this a great option for someone that needs to hold the wrench for long periods of time. Weighing just 5.3 pounds, you’ll find that your hand doesn’t get tired after extended use.

For those thinking strictly about power, this probably won’t be the model designed for you. Any of the other Ingersoll Rand air impact wrenches we reviewed would probably suit you better. But, if you are looking for maximum control, you won’t find much better than this as your best air impact wrench.

It does only feature a 1-year warranty which is understandable considering the lower price. It’s an ideal choice for anyone working in their home garage or doing hobby jobs. There is even a kit available that includes an extension bar.

Watch a customer review of this air impact wrench:

What Customers Say:

Over 90 percent of the customers gave this air impact wrench a 4-star or higher review which shows how happy they are with the product. One person even mentioned that this was the second wrench he has owned and the first one lasted 20 years.

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 600-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 8,000
  • Average Air Consumption – 4.2 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 99 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 3/8-inch
  • Length – 8.2 inches
  • Weight – 5.3 pounds
  • Warranty – 1-year limited
  • What’s in the Box – Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
PROS:
  • Unique two-piece construction
  • Lower price
  • Adjustable power regulator
  • Easy to use
  • Durable

CONS:
  • Lower power
  • Loud


2. ACDelco ANI405 1/2-inch Impact Wrench Pneumatic Tool

ACDelco ANI405

HARD HITTING TWIN HAMMER mechanism to easily fasten and remove

At the lower end of the spectrum, we have this ACDelco tool that could qualify as the best air impact wrench for a budget. It is weaker than all the other tools that have been examined but it is still a great piece of machinery. The aluminum alloy build is durable enough to handle the bumps and bruises it will receive.

Despite the price, the unit still offers some great features. There are a total of four modes: one reverse and three forward speeds. In addition, the design of the exhaust is unique because they’ve built it directly into the handle.

At just 500 ft.-lbs. of torque, this isn’t a powerhouse designed for industrial applications. While the wrench itself looks small, it does weigh in at over six pounds making it one of the heaviest we’ve reviewed. If you are planning to tackle projects that take a while, your hands and arms might become tired.

In addition, you’ll only receive a 1-year warranty with this air impact wrench which isn’t much of a surprise considering the low price. For those that don’t need a wrench often or just need to save a little money, this might be your ideal choice as the best air impact wrench.

What Customers Say:

With over 85 percent of the customers reviewing this low-cost wrench at four stars or higher, you know it must be a winner. Many people have made comments regarding the low cost and overall durability. One person mentioned that it “has already paid for itself many times over.”

Technical Specs:

  • Maximum Torque – 500-feet pound
  • Free Speed RPM – 7,000
  • Average Air Consumption – 4.0 CFM
  • Sound Pressure – 91.1 dBA
  • Minimum Hose Size – 1/4-inch
  • Length – 8 inches
  • Weight – 6.15 pounds
  • Warranty – 1-year limited
  • What’s in the Box – ACDelco ANI405 1/2-inch Impact Wrench Pneumatic Tool
PROS:
  • Durable
  • Lower price
  • Four available modes
  • Unique exhaust design
  • Good option for occasional home user

CONS:
  • Heavy
  • Low power


Best Air Impact Wrench Buying Guide

Before deciding on the best air impact wrench for your needs, you’ll want to have an understanding of what to look for.

What’s an Impact Wrench?

Impact Wrenches are called by numerous names including rattle gun, air wrench, impact gun, torque gun and air gun. The impact wrench uses a power supply; either from the air, battery or electricity. In this review, we dealt only with the air powered models.

The motor inside the impact wrench then transfers energy to the rotating mass. This mass operates like a hammer while providing torque to an anvil. This anvil then turns a socket with the hammering spikes until your fastener is loose.

The most common type of impact wrench is referred to as a pistol grip. It is shaped like an “L” and is easy to hold. The small profile allows users access to tight areas. Most impact wrenches are found in the standard drive sizes of ¼-inch, ½-inch and 3/8-inch.

When is an Impact Wrench Used?

The best air impact wrench is designed to install or remove nuts and bolts. Impact wrenches are helpful to remove the lug nuts on wheels when it is time for a tire rotation. They are also helpful with removing the subframe bolts on your vehicle.

For larger projects such as rebuilding an engine, the best air impact wrench will make your workload quite light. Some people also use impact wrenches to tighten fasteners, but you won’t want to torque them all the way. Instead, use the wrench to screw them in most of the way and then finish the tightening by hand. Otherwise, you might damage the threads or bolt.

The main advantage to using an air impact wrench is that you can remove bolts quickly without additional strain. Using this powerful tool dramatically cuts down on the workload. In addition, they tend to be a great option when you need to get into tight spaces.

Many people find that using the best air impact wrench helps them to loosen bolts that were otherwise impossible to remove.

Reasons Not to Use an Impact Wrench

There is always a risk of over-tightening a bolt when using an air impact wrench. This leads to stripped threads or weakened bolt joints. It’s also possible to twist off the head of a bolt when you have too much torque.

If this occurs, you’ll have to drill out the bolt which is time-consuming to say the least. To avoid this, be sure you only hand-tighten the bolts instead of completing the project with your air impact wrench.

Another thing that goes wrong is when users attempt to start the thread of a bolt with an impact wrench. Not only do you want to complete the job by hand, but you should also start the drive by hand. This ensures you don’t cross thread the bolt.

Never use your air impact wrench with a standard socket. They are made from thinner walls and often will break when using an impact wrench. Only work with a socket set that is designed for use with an impact wrench.

For your additional safety, you’ll want to wear protection anytime you use an impact wrench. This includes eye protection because you are putting a good deal of force on metal.

Choosing the Best Air Impact Wrench

With so many air impact wrenches to choose from, it’s no wonder that people aren’t sure which one fits their needs the best. Selecting the best options based on your individual needs is key. The person who works on cars every day is going to have a use for a more powerful wrench than someone doing hobbies here and there.

Torque

Removing bolts and fasteners requires enough torque. The higher the torque of an air impact wrench, the more capable it is of larger tasks. We’ve rated the air impact wrenches above based on torque so you can easily find the one that fits your needs.

Weight

You’ll notice that there is a wide range of weights available in air impact wrenches. For a small project, this might not be a big deal but when you are working on large projects, you’ll want to reduce fatigue with a lighter weight wrench.

Size

The smaller your impact wrench the better for working in tight spaces. The downside is that the smaller models also tend to feature less torque. It is a delicate balance finding the model that is the size you want with the power you need.

Impacts per Minute

This number is used to measure the hammer strikes that occur in a minute. The higher the number, the faster the wrench drives screws and loosen bolts.

No Load Speed

This number represents the speed the wrench turns at while there is no load. The higher the speed, the faster it works. Generally, the higher speeds also mean a lower torque. Most people prefer to focus on the torque of a unit over the speed.

Drive Size

While the most common is a ½-inch drive, you’ll find other sizes that are popular as well. The ½-inch works well on most applications while the next choice tends to be the 3/8-inch.

Ergonomics

Finding a wrench that properly fits your hand is important. You want the grip to be made from comfortable materials so that there is less strain during usage. In addition, it is important that the model you choose is well-balanced to reduce fatigue.

Warranty

Most manufacturers feature at least a 1-year warranty, but there were several with a 2-year plan. Normally a longer warranty will signify a higher quality air impact wrench, so it is wise to pay attention to.

Materials

Make sure that the air impact wrench you choose is made from high-quality materials. This ensures a long life and protects the wrench during common drops or abuse.

Customer Reviews

The best way to determine if a product is right for you is by reading what other users have to say. Look at the overall ratings of the wrenches to determine if the tool is going to withstand years of use. Most times you’ll find that all the answers you are looking for are right in the reviews of other users.


Conclusion

While there are many options available for the best air impact wrench, choosing what is going to work for you shouldn’t be difficult. Whether you are planning to rotate your tires or tackle larger projects, there is an air impact wrench designed to fit your needs.

Take your time and evaluate all your options. Be sure to read through customer reviews to ensure that the wrench is durable and worth the cost. Then, you’ll be prepared to save time and energy on all your future tasks.

 

 

 

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