An impact wrench can be an extremely useful tool in the armoury of any at home mechanic. After all, we’ve all encountered that rusty bolt that simply refuses to shift, or that upgrade project that needs us to remove and replace about 15,000 bolts. There is however a better way to tackle these jobs that doesn’t result in skinned, bleeding knuckles, tears, tantrums and wrenches thrown through windows.
The answer to your prayers is an impact wrench. This wonderful tool has never met a bolt it couldn’t loosen, and frankly if you are smart enough to invest in the best cordless impact wrench you can you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.
But which tool is the best we hear you cry, though it’s muffled a little on bleeding knuckle you’re sucking on. Read on, friends, to find out…
The Best Cordless Impact Wrench
Our first product on the list and we’re coming in hot with a model that’s an early contender for best cordless impact wrench. That statement may seem little over the top until you take a dive into the features and design points that have been packed into this tool.
First off we have a 20 Volt brushless motor. We go into why brushless motors are great further down in the buying guide section – for now just take it that it’s a great sign to see one installed here. In addition, this tool is packing a high quality ½ inch anvil which allows the wrench to generate up 700lb/ft of torque.
1900 RPM is also impressive, whilst the 3 speed selection allows for more delicate control than you would generally expect on these types of tools and a LED work light is a useful little extra.
All that and it’s tough as hell as hell too, built to the high standards you expect of DeWALT. It’s so tough in fact that DeWALT claims it can happily survive a 6-foot drop – a design feature we would recommend you don’t test out too regularly, no matter how tough this little puppy is.
700ft/lb of Torque
½ Inch Anvil
3 Speed Selector Switch
- Weight6.4 lbs
With it’s red color scheme, little white lighting bolt and small size, this cordless impact wrench from Milwaukee kind of looks like a ray gun from a 50’s Sci-Fi flick. Beneath it’s cute exterior however beats the heart of a high quality tool from a manufacturer with a deserved reputation for quality.
The brushless motor inside can deliver up 1000lb/ft of torque at it’s highest setting, a remarkable level of power that will allow you to tackle the loosening/tightening of just about any bolt you come across. At the same time, a 4x speed control gives you ample control to tailor the power delivery to the level you need.
A rubberized overmold has been used to case the tool as well. This provides a protective layer against corrosion and impacts whilst making it comfortable to hold. Finally, built in anti burnout tech protects the motor and anti overload software protects the battery from damage.
Around 200 bucks for the tool alone makes it easily one of the more expensive on out list – but you are getting a heck of a lot of high quality wrench for your money.
Less than 9 Inches in Length
4x Mode Drive Control
Contains Tech to Prevent Burnout & Overload
Rubber Overmold Casing for Protection and Comfort
- Weight6.64 lbs
Makita are another company with a well-earned rep for bringing high quality power tools to the market, often dripping with high-end features. The stand out design feature of this cordless impact driver model however is the fact that it is absolutely tiny.
A total length of barely 5 inches and a weight of less than 3 pounds means this tool is one of the few things around that is actually smaller than your Dad’s… ego. Jokes aside, if you need a tool to fit into tight spaces, this could be the one for you. It also boasts a comfortable ergonomic grip, a 3x speed power selector for effective control and the brushless engine we like to see.
The only downside is that to achieve that small size and weight, the motor is also small and a bit underpowered. It can generate up to 210lb/ft of torque that will be enough for many jobs – but it is packing less of a punch than the majority of the tools on this list.
210ft/lbs of Torque
Very Small – Barely 5 Inches in Length
3 Speed Power Control
- Weight2.85 lbs
Our next model comes from Porter-Cable, and this impact wrench is specially designed for use with cars. This is due to the rugged housing of the tool that is resistant to chemical erosion, making it perfect for working in, around and on cars and all the various chemicals they contain.
As a more basic model we do not have a brushless motor on board, however the motor inside is still pretty powerful, generating up to 310lb/ft of torque. Couple that with a RPM of 1650 maximum and you have a tool that packs a pretty useful punch.
At almost 10 inches in length and 5 pounds in weight, this is one of the bigger tools on the list. With a price tag of around 10 bucks though, whilst it may not be the most advanced model around it’s certainly very good value for money.
Produces 330lb/ft of Torque
Max. 1650 RPM
Hog Ring for Quick Socket Changes
Variable Speed Trigger
- Weight5 lbs
This model from Ryobi is small and compact, but packs a very useful 18volt motor. It can generate up to 300ft/lb of torque, which is a very useful amount of power indeed. Add to that the fact that it also boasts 3200 IPM (Impacts Per Minute) and this is a very strong tool indeed.
The benefit of buying Ryobi is that their power packs are interchangeable. If you already have some Ryobi brand tools in your tool chest already then you will be all set to go. If you don’t, Ryobi are bringing out new, stronger battery packs with up to 4amp hours. They could be a worthwhile investment to go alongside this tool.
With a price tag of around 150 bucks, this is a solid midrange tool with decent power and good Ryobi build construction. There’s nothing earth shattering here, just a very solid power tool.
300ft/lb of Torque
Small and Compact
- Weight1.61 lbs
Our second tool from DeWALT to make the list and another from the smaller end of the spectrum, this impact wrench has a length of 5.75 inches and a weight of just 2.3 pounds. That makes it even smaller than the compact model we looked at before.
This model also suffers the same basic weakness as the other compact too – lack of power. Whilst DeWALT are clever and officially list the torque as a very impressive sounding 1,740 Inch/pounds, that actually only equates to about 145ft/lb of torque.
Whilst it is one of the weaker models on the list though it still has some useful stats and features. 2400 RPM and 2700 IPM makes for a pretty fast operating wrench action, whilst the construction is nice and tough with a comfortable, ergonomic handle.
Very Compact & Low Weight
2400 RPM & 2700 IPM
Textured Anti-Slip Grip
145ft/lbs of Torque
- Weight2.3 lbs
This entry from the renowned power tool manufacturer ticks a lot of boxes for us – but it also has one significant drawback.
The main impressive feature is the price – around 200 bucks for an impact driver (of Bosch build construction don’t forget) complete with no less than 2 battery packs. The batteries themselves are 2.0ah, meaning they can deliver power for prolonged periods – and the fact you get a pair means one can charge as the other is used.
As far as other features, what can we say – it’s a Bosch! So it features a brushless engine (great to see), easy and intuitive power control for accurate operation and built in protection from overload – all the well thought out design points and features you expect.
Time to get to that drawback we mentioned though and it is this – this impact wrench is a little underpowered. It only generates 137.5ft/lb of torque, a bit less than we would have liked to see. Still, despite that it remains an excellent, well-built tool with a remarkably low price.
Complete kit (With Batteries & Charger)
½ and ¼ Inch Socket Compatibility
137.5 Ft/lb of Torque
Bosch Quality Construction
- Weight6.6 lbs
Our next product comes from Black & Decker, and has the distinction of having two stand out features – it is very versatile, and it is very cheap. To tackle the later, it has a price tag around 60 bucks but does include a battery for that price, easily making it the cheapest on the list.
The versatility element comes from the fact this is an impact driver, rather than a dedicated impact wrench. That means that the chuck (of ¼ inch size) can accommodate both wrench style sockets and also screwdriver bits. This means it can tackle stubborn bolts and screws, making it a very useful design.
It is a budget model so you are not going to get the bells and whistles that you would find on premium tools – no brushless motor, very basic speed control, no overload protection and a pretty weak 114ft/lb of torque.
It is though a very versatile tool with a price tag that won’t break the bank.
114 Ft/lb of Torque
- BrandBlack & Decker
- Weight3.25 lbs
This bad boy from Craftsman is all about the power. It’s motor can kick out a max 3000 RPM & 3000 IPM for incredible fast action, whilst 300 ft/lb of torque makes this one of the strongest tools on the list.
You need a good a battery to power all though which is why Craftsman have bundled a top quality one in this impact wrench kit. It is a Lithium-Ion battery for superior performance (always good to see) and is rated at a phenomenal 4ah. That means it can deliver the juice to run the tool for hours on end – because what’s the point of having an outstanding tool like this if it is sat on the bench half the time waiting for a battery charge?
A comfortable ergonomic handle is designed to make the tool easy to hold whilst 3x built in LED lights illuminate the work area. A price tag of about 180 bucks makes this one of the more expensive items on the list, but if you’re looking for a complete kit that comes out the box with plenty of power you should take a look at this one.
300 Lb/Ft of Torque
Includes 1x 4ah Lithium ion Battery
Built in LED Illumination Lights
- Weight2.2 lbs
By delivering an incredible 700lb/ft of torque, there is one thing this impact wrench from Milwaukee doesn’t actually need – you. Or rather it doesn’t need your weak-ass human arm holding it back because if this bad boy was truly let off the chain it would probably snap your arm clean off.
As it is, the tool has a very effective 2-position power button. In position 1, the power is limited to 100 lb/ft for when you need accuracy and a gentle touch. Setting 2 unleashes the dogs of war and allows you to crank out the full 700 lb/ft of torque for unrivalled power. There is no rusted or over-tightened bolt on earth that is going to be able to resist that level of power!
It’s not all about the power of course, with a comfortable ergonomic grip and intuitive speed-control trigger making it comfortable and easy to use, whilst built in LED lights illuminate the workspace.
Lets face it though, it is the power that’s the real selling point, and you’re going to have to dig deep into your bank account to gather up the 300 or so bucks this tool will set you back. If you do though, you are essentially buying the Thor’s Hammer of impact wrenches, and nuts and bolts will tremble at the mere mention of your name.
700 Lb/Ft of Torque!
2x Power Settings
- Weight6.2 lbs
Best Cordless Impact Wrench Buying Guide & FAQ
That is out list of 10 of the best cordless impact wrenches on the market today. But with a price range that stretches from 50 bucks to over 200, what are the features you should look out for in premium models, just what has been trimmed from budget ones – and can you afford to lose them?
Then once you’ve made your choice, how do you get the most out of it? We’ll look at that and answer some the most frequently asked questions about these highly useful little tools.
Features to Consider when Buying a Cordless Impact Wrench
Battery Type – Cordless tools live and die (literally) by their batteries. More basic models will be powered by Nickel-Cadmium battery packs. This style of battery was invented way back in 1899 (when your Grandmother’s Grandmother was nursing a huge crush on teddy Roosevelt). Frankly, as a design it’s starting to show it’s age.
If you can afford the extra money, it is well worth investing in a Lithium-ion style of battery. Not only do they hold more charge, they can give it out at a steadier rate. That means that the power they deliver is just as useful at 10% of total battery charge as it is as 100%.
Also remember that battery voltage is the amount of power the battery can kick out, whilst Amp Hours is the amount of time it can hold that charge. Both numbers are important and you want them to be as high as possible.
Grip – Impact wrenches can actually come in a few shapes and sizes, but in this guide we’ve concentrated on models that – if you squint – look like standard power drills. We’ve done this as most cordless style impact wrenches are of this type. They are also simple to use. Because of their shape they do need a good grip, so make sure you bear that in mind. A good grip should be ergonomic, so it’s comfortable to hold, with good trigger placement and a raised or rubberized surface so you can orient the tool in your hand by touch only.
Motor – Yes, pay attention to the torque it is putting out as well as the RPM and IPM as these are key indictors of the motor power. The higher the power, the more useful you’re going to find the tool because it will be able to tackle more jobs (if you’re unsure of the difference between Torque/RPM/IPM, we tackle it in the FAQ section below).
In addition to that though you also need to be aware of whether the motor is brushless or not. A brushless motor is almost always going to be seen in premium models because they add quite a few dollars onto the price tag.
For the purpose of this guide it’s enough to say that brushless motors have no moving parts (eliminating wear and tear for a longer lifespan) and are more powerful.
Benefits of Using a Cordless Impact Wrench
Power. Yes, at the end of the day it’s all about that delicious power, baby! Let’s face it; if a regular wrench were enough for the job, you’d just use that. The fact that sometimes (often in fact) it’s a real struggle to loose some rusted on or tight bolts is the reason Impact Wrenches were invented. They put an incredible amount of power right into the palm of your hand.
Mobility. By going cordless, you are taking that power and adding a real degree of mobility to it. Yes, there are pros and cons to corded and cordless devices, and you must ensure you get the best battery (and perhaps a pair of them) to offset the biggest negative of cordless devices. Still, the biggest plus is mobility and not having to worry about being tethered to a power outlet.
Speed. Again, if a regular wrench could do all the jobs then we wouldn’t be looking at impact wrenches. Another advantage they have is speed, with an impact wrench able to tighten/loosen many more bolts than you could ever expect to achieve with a traditional wrench over the same time period.
Cordless Impact Wrench Charging and Maintenance
The tools themselves are pretty tough and they are also pretty well locked up in their housings, making it hard to get at their guts for any in depth maintenance – not that they really need much anyway. Just wipe them down with a rag after use and clean up any chemicals or oil that may spill on them.
The battery is a different matter though, and in some ways the weak link of the design. It therefore needs some careful (but not difficult) maintenance to ensure it continues to perform to a high level.
Air Impact Wrench vs. Cordless Impact Wrench
Air Impact wrenches are the Mack-Daddy of wrenches. They deliver phenomenal levels of torque, more than capable of tackling any job you throw at them. They are also a huge pain in the ass and have to be hooked up to big tanks of compressed air.
That’s why you will see them in many pro garages, but not in many home set-ups. Frankly, the tech has now come to the stage that the best cordless impact wrench is more than capable of deliver the power you need, without the hassle and expense of compressed air versions.
Cordless Impact Wrench FAQ
Q: What is a cordless impact wrench?
It is a powered wrench that draws its power from a battery. That means it has the power to tackle tough jobs with the maneuverability of not being tethered to a power outlet.
Q: How does a cordless impact wrench work?
A: It contains a mass mounted inside which rotates to build stored energy. This mass is pushed trough the socket as a serious of tiny but powerful impacts, delivering far more torque than a standard power tool.
Q: What’s the difference between a standard drill & an impact driver?
A: See above. A standard drill simply rotates the bit. An impact wrench uses the additional power of the impacts from the rotating mass to deliver extra power in the form of torque.
Q: Can I use my impact driver on concrete?
A: No. A hammer drill would be the better tool here.
Q: Will a cordless impact wrench remove lug nuts?
A: Yes and no (helpful, huh). Yes, in that most lug nuts should be fastened with a torque of about 100 lb/ft. So if your impact wrench can generate 100 lb/ft it should be able to remove the lug nut.
However, as times passes and the lug nut is frozen, stuck or starts to rust (or is accidently over-tightened in the first place) more torque is needed from the impact wrench to get it undone. So it really depends if you’ve got a model with enough torque power to tackle the job.
Q: What does variable trigger speed mean?
A: It means that that the speed/power being utilized by the tool changes with the degree of force you put on the trigger. Depress it 50% of the way and get 50% of the power in the selected mode. Pull it all the way back to get full power.
It’s useful for easily (but not very accurately) adjusting torque and RPM on the fly.
Q: What’s the difference between RPM, IPM and Torque?
A: In the realm of the Impact wrench, Torque is king. Most wrenches will boast of their torque in their product descriptions and with good reason. Torque is after all the sheer power that the wrench can put out, and the best cordless impact wrench is going to generate high torque – if it doesn’t, it won’t be the best wrench, simple.
RPM and IPM are important too of course. RPM of course stands for Revolutions per Minute, and refers to the times the wrench can spin the attached socket or bit. Impacts Per Minute (IPM) refers to the number of impacts form the internal mechanism (referred to as the “Hammer”) which is the part of the design that puts the Impact into Impact Wrench.
Our Top Pick
As ever, it’s a real tough field to pick a winner from. It is though hard to look past the Dewalt DCF899HB as the overall winner. It just packs so many features into such a well-designed chassis it simply has to win.
Of all the features it is the brushless, 20 Volt motor that is the real jewel in the crown, combining genuine power with the brushless design’s longer life span. That makes this a great investment tool that should provide years of high quality service, paying for itself many times over.
Add in the traditional top quality construction and high-end build materials you expect from a company like DeWALT and we have no hesitation crowning this tool as the best cordless impact wrench on our list today.