Few tools are as useful as a cordless impact wrench. It’s useful for home improvement projects and good to have if you have a flat tire or like to work on vehicles in your spare time. By bringing more torque to bear than even most drills, a good cordless wrench will save you time and frustration. No wonder there are so many options to choose from! To simply your buying process, we’ve reviewed five of the best products on the market. Following our review we’ve got a buying guide to help you navigate through the decision making process.
Top 5 Best Cordless Impact Wrench Chart
The 5 Best Cordless Impact Wrenches
1. DEWALT 3/8″ Cordless Impact Wrench Kit – Best Overall
Sized at just 5.7” from front to back and weighing just 3.4 pounds, the Dewalt DCF883M2 is one of the most compact and efficient cordless impact wrenches around. It is durable enough to survive rough treatment. The no-slip grip fits comfortably in your hand and increases your control. Since it’s small and light, it’s good for getting into tight spots and you’ll be able to use it all day without getting tired.
The Dewalt Lithium-ion battery pack included with the product has an impressive 24-hour battery life which is about a third higher than for most power tools. The hog ring anvil simplifies changing out sockets since they are held by friction instead of removable pins.
Another feature is the variable-speed trigger which gives you the opportunity to adjust the impact wrench’s speed depending on your application. Three LED lights turn on with the trigger to provide visibility. They remain lit for 20 seconds after you release the trigger and are an appreciated feature when working in a space with limited visibility.
The maximum torque for this product is 130 foot-pounds. This is more than enough for changing a flat tire. However, it will be on the low side for some applications. It comes with a limited 3-year warranty.
2. VonHaus Cordless 1/2″ Impact Wrench Set – Best Value
The VonHaus gives you the most foot-pounds per dollar as it’s priced quite low yet provides a maximum torque of 300 foot-pounds and a tightening torque of 260 foot-pounds. This is more than enough power for most applications. While reasonably compact and durable, the VonHaus weighs 7 pounds, twice as much as the DeWalt.
Like the DeWalt, it has a variable trigger so that you can adjust its speed. Its battery has a rapid charge feature, reducing your wait time. The battery also apparently maintains its charge for a long time, making this a great wrench to keep in your trunk for changing flats. The directional switch is also convenient, as are the included belt hook and tool bag. The 5-year warranty’s great, too.
The two main complaints with the VonHaus are that it doesn’t come with a light and that it’s loud. We recommend wearing ear protection for extended use. Finally, the VonHaus brand has a more limited product line of power tools than some others, which is a disadvantage for more dedicated tool enthusiasts.
3. Milwaukee M18 1/2″ Impact Wrench – Premium Choice
With 1,100 foot-pounds of maximum torque and 700 foot-pounds of tightening torque, the Milwaukee compares favorably with air-powered counterparts. If all you are going to use it for is changing tires, however, it may be overkill, since lug nuts are typically spec’d to 100 foot-pounds. The wrench weighs almost 8 pounds and is bulky.
There are two tightening modes to choose from and the ½ inch anvil uses a friction ring to make socket changes fast and easy. There is also a convenient LED light.
Despite its size and weight, this wrench is not difficult to maneuver for short periods, but it can become tiring over time. The battery performance is not stellar as each battery only gives about 4 hours of continuous runtime. Milwaukee provides two batteries so you can recharge one while using the other. While this wrench is easy to maintain, durable and long-lasting, it’s also one of the more expensive ones.
Due to its raw power, it is one of the few cordless wrenches that can readily switch between a home and professional setting. If you want a tool that can handle the widest range of applications, this might be the one for you. It comes with a limited 5-year warranty.
4. Ingersoll Rand 1/2-Inch Impact-Wrench
The Ingersoll Rand W7150-K2, like the Milwaukee 2763, can match air-powered tools. It has 1,100 foot-pounds of torque and exceeds the Milwaukee in terms of tightening torque with 780 foot-pounds. However, it does not have a lower torque option.
You get 2 batteries with your order, so you can use one while you charge the other. At 6.8 pounds, it is slightly lighter than the Milwaukee and is more streamlined so it’s easier to use in tight spots.
It has 4 LED indicator lights to help you gauge how much power remains in your battery. It does not, however, have an LED light for working in low visibility conditions.
This wrench is tough and can survive abuse such as being dropped on a concrete floor. Unfortunately, it does not have the longevity of other products on this list, at least according to customer reviews. Several people complained that it stopped working after only a year.
So, while it is less expensive than the Milwaukee, lighter and provides a higher tightening torque, it may not last as long.
5. PORTER-CABLE 1/2″ Cordless Impact Wrench
With 260 foot-pounds of torque, the Porter-Cable hits the middle-of-the-road niche. It’s not as powerful or pricey as the Milwaukee or Ingersoll-Rand. However, it’s more expensive than the VonHaus with less torque and while it’s less expensive than the DeWalt, it’s also nearly twice as heavy at 6 pounds.
It does facilitate precision work with its full variable speed trigger and allows for easy socket changes with its ½ inch hog ring. It’s also a high-quality design with Stanley Black & Decker as its parent company. Because it’s built to last, it’s doubtful you’d need the 3-year warranty. It also has some nice features such as a trigger-activated built-in LED light.
In other words, it’s a great all-purpose tool that will last a long time but it doesn’t excel in any given niche. If you already own Porter-Cable power tools, though, then you will be satisfied with this product.
How To Buy A Best Cordless Impact Wrench
Now that we’ve reviewed five great cordless impact wrenches and you’ve seen how they compare, why don’t we talk about which features might be considered the most important. This will aid you in making the right decision by helping to clarify which qualities are most important to you. Since each individual’s needs vary, what is the best product for one person will not be the best for another. For example, someone who only uses an impact wrench to deal with flat tires will need something very different than someone who occasionally likes to make home improvements as well, and that person will have different needs than a dedicated garage mechanic or someone who likes a tool he can take to and from work. So, evaluate what your particular needs, which will help you to prioritize among the traits listed below.
How much power does a cordless impact wrench put out? This is probably the most important consideration for many people. Power is measured in torque and is typically expressed in foot-pounds. The most powerful cordless impact wrenches compare favorably with those that use compressed air and can deal with even heavily rusted nuts and bolts quickly and efficiently.
However, if you are only using your tool for dealing with flat tires, then you won’t need that much power. Most specs for automobile tires specify that the lug nuts be tightened to about 100 foot-pounds of torque. This means that any of the products we’ve talked about will qualify to do this job, and so other factors become more relevant.
On the other hand, if you regularly rebuild engines or work in construction, you’ll want a powerful tool.
Powerful wrenches tend to weigh more than less powerful ones, though there are exceptions. The weight of your tool impacts how long you can use it since you’ll get fatigued faster with a heavier impact wrench. However, a lighter wrench is not always better. While your arm is less likely to get tired from holding it, you may find that it’s not stable enough for your application. That being said, all else being equal, most people prefer the lightest tool that can get the job done.
You might wonder why size and weight are listed separately. While lighter wrenches are often smaller in size, that is not always the case. It depends on the construction of the product. Also, some styles might be sleeker than others. For someone who is only using his wrench to change flat tires, power and weight are probably not top considerations, but size might still be. After all, he wants the tool to take the minimum space possible in his trunk.
Dedicated home mechanics face a tougher choice when it comes to making trade-offs. For them, having a smaller impact wrench is often necessary as they will be trying to maneuver in the tighter confines of engine compartments. Unfortunately, they also often need a more powerful wrench to deal with corroded lug nuts. Therefore, the decision making process is tougher for them.
For serious work, having a larger 3/8 inch or ½ inch drive that can fit full size sockets is an important consideration as compact wrenches often have smaller ¼ inch drives. Of course, an impact wrench that has a larger drive wrench will also tend to be larger overall so it might not be ideal for tight spaces.
Durability and Endurance
How tough do you need your tools to be and how long do you want them to last? While all of the products listed above are reasonably tough and will endure a certain amount of abuse, some environments will be rougher on others.
Additionally, if you are planning to use your tool for many hours a day, every day, then you’ll want something that will go the distance. The last thing you want is an impact wrench that fails in the middle of a job.
Cohesive Tool Sets
If you already have several DeWalt tools, then it might make sense to try to get another if you can find one in the line-up that fits your needs. That way you can swap out batteries as needed and not have to have multiple charging stations taking up space on your workbench.
All else being equal, most people would prefer to spend less money on a tool. One thing to remember though is that many variables factor into determining what is actually going to be the least expensive tool overall.
For example, some tools might cost more up front but because they are highly durable and long lasting, they will be a much better value than a more flimsy tool or one that has a shorter lifespan. The money saved in the long run on a quality product will make up for the initial higher outlay.
Another factor to consider is your current tool line-up. If you already have several Porter-Cable tools, then buying another saves you money on batteries and chargers. If your new impact wrench is going to be your first cordless tool, then take a bit of time to see what else is available in various brands. That way as you need to add more tools you can be assured that you’ll be able to find compatible ones that meet your needs.
That said, you could always choose an individual tool and purchase it as a kit with a battery and charger. You may feel more limited like this since you’ll likely only have one battery, but if you’re not going to use your wrench daily, it may not matter as much to you.
We’ve looked at 5 of the most popular brands of cordless impact wrenches and believe that your best choice depends on your needs. If you want a tool that is incredibly light and maneuverable while still providing the power you need for most home applications, then the DeWalt impact wrench might be the right one for you. If money is your primary concern, the VonHaus model will provide your best value. If you want a high-powered impact wrench that can go up against many air-powered ones, then the Milwaukee 2763 is probably your best bet, though the Ingersoll-Rand has a higher tightening capacity. Finally, the Porter-Cable is a solid middle-of-the-road option if you already are invested in the brand.