Picking the best air impact wrench for the task at hand is paramount if you want to preserve the materials you are working on. Damage and jams often occur due to inadequate tools, so there’s no harm in knowing what to expect from an air tool such as an impact wrench is, because – removing nuts and bolts can be a really difficult and frustrating thing to do.
If you want to know how to choose a useful air impact wrench to help you in your DIY life, we’ve prepared a whole guide for you. Below, you will find air impact wrench reviews, as well as the features a good air impact wrench should have. Let’s get into it!
Why Should You Have an Air Impact Wrench?
Air impact wrenches have many benefits. You’ll be happy to have one of these units in your life, especially if you were struggling with bolts and nuts until now. Here are some reasons why owning an air impact wrench could be a life-changing experience:
Ever had a shelf, for instance, that you wanted to be secured enough to the wall so it could hold even heavier objects? It’s not always that these objects are reliably set to the wall, and it’s hard to know whether they’d be able to handle heavy items.
But with an air impact wrench, you can secure a shelf to the wall with little to no effort. Since it works quickly, yet efficiently, the air impact wrench will make the installation process a piece of cake, while your shelf will be properly secured.
Nobody likes to spend eternity when repairing stuff, or when it comes to removing or securing something. With casual tools, this could be very difficult, but with an air impact wrench, it will be a very fast process.
Since an air impact wrench is so powerful and effective, it will allow you to remove or secure nuts quickly, being time-saving and efficient.
3. Loosening Tight Bolts and Nuts
Some nuts and bolts can be so tightened that a hand wrench won’t be enough to remove them, and you’d just be stuck trying to remove them to no avail. This won’t be the case with an air impact wrench, though.
Considering these units work with an air compressor and can create a lot of torque power, even the most stubborn nuts and bolts can be removed. So, if you often stumble upon one of these annoying things, you’d be more than happy to have an air impact wrench in your “arsenal”.
Drawbacks of Air Impact Wrenches
Just like everything else, air impact wrenches have their own disadvantages too. It’s best to be aware of them before you buy this type of product, or you could potentially end up with something that doesn’t satisfy you.
One of the most obvious disadvantages when it comes to air impact wrenches is the impossibility of getting accurate outputs. While some of these units come with accurate torque controls and the power can be adjusted, it might not be ideal if you’re dealing with more delicate items.
So, if you need to tighten bolts for delicate things that you cannot afford to ruin, you need something more sensitive. This means that an air impact wrench is not the right tool for you.
Another disadvantage is the fact that it needs an air compressor. While some other impact wrenches work with a battery or electricity, this one needs an air compressor, being less accessible for some people. Also, if you don’t know about this before purchasing the air wrench, you might not know how to turn the product on.
Best Air Impact Wrenches Comparison Chart
Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
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ACDelco ANI405 Heavy Duty Twin Hammer 1/2″ Air Impact Wrench
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Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
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Nitrocat 1250-K Air Impact Wrench
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Campbell Hausfeld 1/2″ Impact Wrench, Air Impact Driver (TL140200AV)
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NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench With Twin Clutch Mechanism
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DEWALT DWMT70775 3/8-Inch Square Drive Impact Wrench
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Best Air Impact Wrench Reviews (Updated List)
1. Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
If you want a high-quality air impact wrench, then you’ll hit the jackpot with this Ingersoll Rand product. Not only is it very easy to handle, but it’s also durable. Basically, it has an ergonomic 2-piece design that makes it very easy to operate. To make things better, the product is already lubricated so that you can use it straight out of the box.
While some other air impact wrenches could add pressure on your hands and wrists when using them, this product is different. It can efficiently decrease the stress on your hands and wrists, helping you have a nice operation. It is also very easy to carry around and control, which adds to its benefits list.
We also liked the fact that this Ingersoll rand air impact wrench has a durable construction and it’s meant to offer you a long-lasting performance. Nobody likes spending a bunch of money on something that breaks apart after a few uses, but with this Ingersoll model, you won’t experience any of these issues.
- Easy to operate
- Comes fully lubricated before being taken out of the box
- It’s very durable
- It’s easy to maintain
- It doesn’t add any stress to your wrists or hands
- The trigger seal might start leaking
2. ACDelco ANI405 Heavy Duty Twin Hammer 1/2″ Air Impact Wrench
It would be awesome to have a tool with multiple configurations, and with this ACDelco unit, this is now achievable. This product comes with a series of different configurations to make sure you find the right tool to complete your task. It means that you will be able to work more efficiently than ever, finishing each task with little to no effort.
A feature that we were impressed with was the different speed settings one. Certain tasks require different speeds to be finished properly, and that’s where this feature comes in handy. It can achieve multiple speeds for each forward and reverse directions.
On top of that, the unit is durable. It’s made of alloy steel, it’s heat-treated and has helical gears, in order to ensure durability for a long time. You can grip it comfortably, and it will feel very solid in your hand. The casting is very smooth and will fit your hand without issues, even though it has no cushion.
- Ensures a good grip
- Feels comfortable despite lacking cushioning
- It’s durable thanks to its alloy steel construction
- Has multiple speeds for more efficiency
- Good quality for the price
- It’s not too powerful
3. Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
In case you’re aiming for something more powerful, you can try this Ingersoll model. One of the best things about this unit is how easy it is for it to handle disassembling and assembling things. Basically, it can deliver up to 1,350 foot-pounds of nut-busting torque, having enough power to deal even with the most stubborn nuts.
Before this product was put for sale, it was tested to make sure it’s reliable enough to use. It was tested rigorously, and it’s been established just how powerful and durable this product can be.
Even if you’d expect such a powerful tool to be heavy and uncomfortable, it’s actually quite lightweight compared to similar products. It has an ergonomic handle, ensuring you can grip it properly, whereas the frame is lightweight enough to not put a strain on you while using it.
And since you also need durability with such a unit, you can rest assured that it’s sturdy enough to handle the toughest jobs. It has a titanium hammer case, as well as a composite housing and steel wear plate.
- Durable construction
- It’s powerful enough to deal with the toughest jobs
- Tested for your own peace of mind
- Lightweight and comfortable
- The plastic body doesn’t really help with the balance
4. Nitrocat 1250-K Air Impact Wrench
This air impact wrench can offer high quality for its price. Basically, it has a patented ergonomic Kevlar handle and housing. That being said, holding it in your hand while operating it will be very comfortable, allowing you to finish your task without too much strain.
It has 1300 flubs of torque, ensuring that you can deal even with the most annoying nuts. Sometimes, nuts will be hard to disassemble, but with this Nitrocat unit, you won’t have to struggle to remove or assemble them anymore – it will all happen smoothly.
Another thing that we really liked about this product was the patented quiet exhaust technology. Since the noise from this type of unit isn’t exactly the most pleasant one, having this particular product operate more quietly is truly a blessing. It won’t hurt your ears, and you can complete the process quickly and with no consequences on your hearing ability.
- The product is really powerful and can deal with nuts without problem
- It operates quietly
- It comes with a 2-year warranty
- It can help you finish your task quickly
- Some customers declared the unit stopped working within one year
5. Campbell Hausfeld 1/2″ Impact Wrench, Air Impact Driver (TL140200AV)
Are you looking for a multi-speed air impact wrench that can adapt to whichever task you have to deal with? Well, this is possible with this unit from Campbell. It has 3-Speed power regulators, which will help you select just the speed required for your particular task. This way, you will always have the right tension for your lug nuts.
Whereas other similar units will make you exhausted and cause your arms, hands, and wrists to be painful afterward, this product is different. It can make you feel comfortable while working. Thanks to its smooth twin-hammer mechanism and the fact that it’s lightweight, there won’t be too much vibration. This means that you can grip it properly. Consequently, you will be able to use it for longer periods as well.
Considering that you surely want something able to handle the sheer amount of power of the unit, this product is durable too, for a long-lasting experience.
- It’s durable and allows you to use it confidently
- The lightweight and comfortable design allows you to use it for longer periods
- It has a 1-year limited warranty
- Comes with 3-speed power regulators
- The design is user-friendly
- The chrome can scratch off very easily
6. NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench With Twin Clutch Mechanism
Do you want something quiet, which debunks all rumors about air impact wrenches being noisy? Then you should give this product a try. Compared to other similar products you probably used in the past, this one works without hurting your ears. That alone is a big advantage you should take into consideration, especially if you tend to use a unit like this a lot.
It is quite powerful too, as it has 1295 flubs of loosening torque. So, if you need to loosen some nuts that seem to have been stuck, you can easily escape the situation with this air impact wrench. On top of that, it’s durable enough for the job. Thanks to the Kevlar housing, durability will be ensured for a long time to come.
Don’t think this unit will be bulky just because it has so much power – actually, it’s quite lightweight, weighing no more than 4.5 lbs. What adds even more comfort is the patented ergonomic handle, allowing you to grip it nicely.
- Very comfortable as it’s lightweight and has an ergonomic handle
- It can operate quietly
- Can loosen tough bolts with ease
- The front seal might start leaking after some time
7. DEWALT DWMT70775 3/8-Inch Square Drive Impact Wrench
Let’s face it, some fasteners that are stubborn or stuck are some of the worst things to deal with, as you don’t know what to do anymore. But while it can be a real pain to handle this, it will get much easier with this Dewalt air impact wrench model.
This unit has a twin hammer mechanism, able to give you about 300 ft-lbs of breakaway torque. That being said, it can do a great job of removing any annoying fasteners and letting you continue whatever you wanted to do.
Aside from the obvious power of the product, we also liked the fact that it has a design that promises durability. It has shock resistant housing bumpers, thus ensuring the product will last even in case of impact. Concurrently, there is a rubber handle to offer more comfort when you use it. Isn’t that great?
- Great quality for the price
- A powerful unit that is able to remove any stubborn fasteners
- It is very comfortable when you grip it
- Has a durable design
- Comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- It’s not powerful enough to remove lug nuts
What Is an Air Impact Wrench?
An air impact wrench is a tool that uses compressed air in order to provide you with high torque when you need to loosen nuts and bolts. Unlike other ways to remove these, air impact wrenches ease your job by operating quickly and making sure you don’t become exhausted from all the effort.
Impact wrenches can be used in many types of activities, such as automotive, maintenance, and even DIY projects in some instances. They’re pretty versatile and easy to use, which is why so many people love them.
How Do Air Impact Wrenches Work?
It’s pretty easy to understand how these units work. As mentioned previously, an air impact wrench works by using compressed air. The air power is transmitted towards the machine’s motor, after which the motor sends it to a rotating mass. This mass is called a hammer, and the hammer hits what is known as the anvil – as a result, it creates the torque effect that helps you remove nuts and bolts without any issue.
There are also units that use twin hammers and, as you can tell, this mechanism includes not one, but two hammers that hit the anvil at the same time, from two sides. This is usually a better mechanism as it has higher torque power and is thus better at dealing with stubborn nuts and bolts. It will also promise more longevity for the tool since it uses less air power and has more torque.
Electric vs. Air Impact Wrench
Of course, air impact wrenches aren’t the only types of wrenches you can find in shops. Electric wrenches are also a common thing, and both of these machines have the same purpose – to help you with nuts and bolts.
But unless you’re an expert in this area, you might not be aware which one of the two is the better choice. After all, they just have different power sources. Well, there are other differences between the two that you might want to know.
1. Air Impact Wrench
Air impact wrenches are so awesome because they are quite cheap compared to electrical ones. So, if you’re on a budget, then this might be a great advantage for you.
Conversely, air-powered wrenches are more powerful. Thanks to the hammer mechanism, they are able to obtain more power than an electrically powered wrench. On top of that, they are smaller in size and more lightweight than a model with batteries.
However, the drawback with an air impact wrench is the fact that it requires at least one of the best small air compressors to be set up. The fact that it’s noisy is surely another annoying aspect of these machines.
2. Electric Wrench
Electric wrenches are amazing because they are pretty quiet. While an air impact wrench is quite noisy and will give you a bad mood until you’re done operating with it, an electrical wrench is different.
Another great thing about these units is that they can also be cordless. This means they’re powered by a battery, which makes them easier to use, as you’re not limited by a cable. You could also use them in places that don’t have power sockets.
Furthermore, they are easy to set up and use. Since they are powered electrically, they can operate as soon as they’re out of the box.
But even with all these advantages, we can’t ignore the drawbacks. While quieter, easier to set up and having a cordless feature, they lack the power that air impact wrenches typically have. Since some models include a battery too, they can be bulky and too heavy, thus being uncomfortable. In addition, they’re not that cheap – so, they’re harder to afford if you shop on a budget.
Air Impact Wrench Buying Guide
Our homepage was created to help you find the air tools of your dreams. This guide isn’t an exception either. You need to know what goes into finding the right air impact wrench to help you with your tasks.
Of course, finding the best one is a difficult process if you don’t know the features you should be looking for. Luckily, you have us to help you out. Here are the things you should pay attention to when buying an air impact wrench.
One of the most important aspects when it comes to air impact wrenches is power. After all, power is what you need when dealing with those annoying bolts and nuts that seem to be stuck. With some of these stubborn little things, the more power you apply, the better.
But just because you need a powerful unit, that doesn’t mean you should necessarily go for the strongest you can find. If you do that, you risk paying for power capacity that you don’t need, wasting your money this way.
Look at how much power the unit has before purchasing it, and determine if it’s enough for your tasks, or if you need less power.
Another one on the list of necessary things to look for is torque. With air impact wrenches, you can’t go wrong, not if you want them to get the job done. Having said that, torque can make a task easier, depending on how strong it is.
Usually, the more torque it provides, the wider the number of things it can be used for – thus, it’s more versatile. Torque is also able to make the unit faster, helping you get the job done much quicker.
This is why you need to make sure you pick the right amount of torque when buying your air impact wrench. Usually, if an air impact wrench has a torque over 1000 foot-pounds, it will be more than perfect for loosening stuck bolts, or rusted ones. When the number is smaller than that, it might not be an effective air wrench.
At the same time, if you just need an air impact wrench for more general tasks, you can get a unit with 500 foot-pounds of torque. It will be more than enough to get the job done.
But it also depends on the particular model that you purchase. Some air impact wrenches are powerful enough with only 500 foot-pounds of torque. It all comes down to the quality of the product. This is why you should make sure that you don’t settle for a cheap tool.
Most air impact wrenches are pretty small. People love them because they can be used in tight places, where an electrically powered wrench may not be able to reach. Even so, some models can be bigger than others.
You shouldn’t aim for the smallest one unless you really need it for very tight spots. As a general rule, the smaller the unit, the less powerful it is. If you end up with a small air impact wrench that reaches a hidden spot, yet it doesn’t have the necessary power to remove stuck nuts, it isn’t a very good deal.
Find the right balance between size and power, and you will have what you need.
One of the things many people tend to overlook when buying an air impact wrench is the grip. You’re going to hold the unit for a while if your activity requires more effort, so you can’t afford to have an uncomfortable grip. It will only ruin your effectiveness and make you rush so you can escape the sensation.
Many air impact wrenches have ergonomic grips, or cushioning materials on their grips, for increased comfort. Look for one of these tools, and your hand will not have to suffer while you work.
Just like a pneumatic nail gun, air impact wrenches have airflow. As you already know, air impact wrenches are powered by an air compressor – otherwise, they won’t work. But having an air compressor is not enough – you also need to ensure your unit’s airflow is good enough.
More often than not, the airflow rating will be listed in the wrench’s description, or simply on the tool itself. This will help you decide if the particular air impact wrench is suitable for you and will get the job done.
Just make sure to check the minimum hose sizing. You have to coordinate it with the adaptor accessories and having the right size will ensure you don’t lose any air between the compressor and tool. Don’t overlook this aspect.
You definitely need to be careful when it comes to the speed of the product. There are two aspects that come into play when you look at the speed of an air impact wrench: the no-load speed and impacts per minute.
The no-load speed should not be too high. In general, when there is high load speed, torque isn’t as powerful as it should be. Less torque means less power, and thus the air impact wrench won’t have the most outstanding performance.
On the other hand, impacts per minute refer to the number of hammer strikes taking place each minute. Ideally, there should be a high number of hammer strikes, especially if you want the unit to be more effective. This way, the air impact wrench gets faster, making sure you will get the job done effectively and much quicker.
Another important aspect to take into consideration is the weight of your air impact wrench. If you use it for longer periods, you need something lightweight that doesn’t strain your hand. They’re handheld, after all, and holding a heavy one for a very long time will only affect your productivity.
It’s a good thing that air impact wrenches are not too heavy in comparison to battery-powered wrenches. Even so, there are particular models that are heavier than others.
Before you spend money on an air impact wrench, check the weight of the product. You’ll know just how heavy it should feel.
Believe it or not, but these small units can be noisy and give you headaches. If you use them for too long, you will go crazy because the sound can be very annoying. Using one of these without ear defenders would be torture.
There’s another solution, though – some air impact wrench models come with low noise levels, a special feature meant to make your experience better. So, look for one of these units that operate more quietly.
What’s cool nowadays is that we also have versatile units – this makes it possible to have adjustable air impact wrenches. Some models can be adjusted when it comes to torque power, being useful when you need to use them for multiple purposes.
Basically, there are more expensive models that can increase torque power at the pull of a trigger. This is a great thing for some people since the control is so easy to access. But even so, not all of these overpriced units deliver the same amount of quality. Some people don’t experience a smooth increase of torque at the pull of the trigger, while others say that torque doesn’t seem to increase, even when the trigger is being pulled down. This doesn’t make it worth the price.
At the same time, there are cheaper models that have an adjustable dial, helping you change torque to obtain the desired level. The dial is usually featured on the unit’s back, and you can set the torque to be low, medium or high. There are also situations when the dial is located near the trigger. This option makes it easier to use with only one hand.
Before you buy the tool, you also have to check the warranty. It has to be good and serve as proof that the unit will last and won’t stop working too soon.
A 1-year warranty is a very common one with many products, and good enough if you just need an air impact wrench for casual use. However, it’s better to look for something that has a 2-year warranty or more – especially if you will be using it a lot and you need something good enough to last very long.
Another thing to pay attention to is the brand. Not all brands are good at fulfilling their promises – that’s why you need to research the brand beforehand. Make sure that it’s a reputable name, and that they are always honoring their warranties. You can check that through customer reviews.
How to Use an Air Impact Wrench?
Using an air impact wrench is not that difficult. Of course, if you haven’t used one before, you may be confused, but you will see that it’s a piece of cake.
First of all, you need to have an air compressor available. The air compressor is needed to power your air impact wrench, or else it won’t work. Plug the air compressor and make sure it’s ready to operate.
Once you plug it, connect the air hose to it, and extend it. You need to check for any obstructions – as any obstacles in the air’s way will prevent the wrench from working properly. Take some air tool oil and drop about four to five droplets in the air inlet of the wrench, and do this each time you need to use the wrench.
Take the air hose and plug it into the air inlet of the air impact wrench. Next, you have to pull the trigger, in order to discover the air impact wrench’s direction before use. Look above the trigger for a button, which will help you determine the movements of the socket end.
Perform a test of the torque adjustment screw. This will help you find out the amount of air that flows to the turbine driver. After this test, it’s time to test the air impact wrench itself. Take your unit and set it to a counterclockwise motion on something that you need to work on. The socket end has to go around the lug nut.
Pull the trigger, and watch the machine do the work.
FAQ About Air Impact Wrenches
You might still have some questions on your mind that weren’t addressed. To make sure this guide offers all the information you need, here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to air impact wrenches:
1. What Size Air Compressor Do I Need for My Impact Wrench?
The size of the air compressor that you need depends on the power of your impact wrench, and the needed airflow to keep it working. With that being said, before you determine the size you need for an air compressor, you need to identify the CFM and PSI requirements of your air impact wrench.
Let’s say that you’re using a single air impact wrench. If it requires 5.0 CFM and 90 PSI, then your air compressor should be able to give somewhere between 6.25 – 7.5 CFM and 90 PSI. The tank size should be larger if you need to use the air impact wrench for longer periods. If you just need it for quicker things and don’t use it too often, a smaller tank may be enough.
Concurrently, if you intend to use multiple air impact wrenches with a single air compressor, you will require a bigger compressor. You can do that by adding each tool’s CFM and determining your needs this way. Also, regarding the tank size, if you use multiple air impact wrenches, it’s ideal to pick one with a larger tank. It will make sure you don’t run out of power in the middle of your task.
The key here is to look for an air compressor with higher CFM compared to your air impact wrench. You should also keep in mind that you will need a larger compressor for continuous use and a smaller tank for intermittent running.
2. How to Maintain An Air Impact Wrench?
You’re lucky – and that’s because air impact wrenches don’t require that much maintenance. They are pretty durable and will last for quite a while regardless of how you maintain them.
If there’s one thing to keep in mind, that’s definitely oiling the unit regularly. Oiling is necessary if you need the air impact wrench to work properly. On average, you should oil your tool once every 20 days. However, you can also do it on a daily basis if you want it to last much longer. As long as you take care of the oiling aspect, you should have a long-lasting experience with your product.
The best air impact wrench can totally change your life, as long as you choose to use a high-quality one. Your work will get better, and your anger levels will get lower.
Make sure to look carefully at the products presented in the air impact wrench reviews and remember the main aspects in the buying guide when you go shopping. You’ll have better chances of getting a product that can serve you right.