Whether you’re in the workshop at home or repair shop downtown, tightening nuts and bolts by hand just won’t cut it. Sturdy pieces of machinery require a heavy-duty, high-powered wrench. If you’re looking to repair run-down equipment or reinforce crafts of your own with dependable nuts and bolts, you’ll need the best pneumatic impact wrench available to get the job done.
Top Rated Pneumatic Impact Wrenches. Our Picks
Our Editor's pick for the best pneumatic impact wrench is Ingersoll Rand 231C 1/2” Drive Air.... This pneumatic impact wrench is high-powered and durable, with various features that we believe would benefit your work performance. This pneumatic wrench has adjustable speed so that you have full control over the impact of your tool, and is powerful enough to deliver 600 ft/lbs of reverse torque. We feel this makes it the perfect pneumatic impact wrench for any project.
Pneumatic Impact Wrench Reviews
1. Editor's Pick: Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench, 1/2 Inch
Features and Benefits:
- This pneumatic impact wrench is powerful enough to remove rusted or stubborn nuts and bolts with ease. You can remove 5 or more bolts or lug nuts quickly, even before the compressor kicks in.
- Manufactured by a well-known and trusted company. The tool is reliable and tough, not easily broken. This particular impact wrench has been manufactured for over 20 years and is still trusted in the workshop.
- The torque adjustment is notched, which makes altering the power simple and precise to the amount you need for any level of job you’re working on.
- The impact wrench works wonderfully when given the proper air supply of 90 psi or above, however it still works quite well on a low air supply which is great if your air supply is limited.
- For the amount of power, reliability, and longevity this tool is very reasonably priced. If taken decent care of, it will last you years. With this impact wrench, you’ll get a lot of use out of the tool for less money than if you purchased cheaper pneumatic impact wrenches that aren’t as reliable.
- If for some reason you’re not satisfied with this tool, there is a 1-year warranty as long as you have the receipt or invoice. You likely won’t need to use this, however it’s a great thing to have just in case something goes wrong.
- The moving parts of this pneumatic wrench are made of sturdy metallic materials internally and externally, aside from the plastic trigger used to activate the tool. A tool made of metals is often a great sign of the quality. Even when dropped from minor heights, it holds together and remains a reliable tool. Definitely not easily broken.
- The lowest torque setting is just right for tightening nuts and bolts. It can easily tighten them up to 100 ft-lbs without overtightening the lug nuts or bolts.
- Effortless setup
- Lasts years
- Easy to control
- Powerful and reliable
- Very loud
- On the heavy side
2. Budget Pick: ACDelco ANI405 Heavy Duty Twin Hammer 1/2" Air Impact Wrench
Features and Benefits:
- For the price of this pneumatic impact wrench, you get decent use out of it. It’s more suitable for easier projects but is great if that’s primarily what you work with and aren’t looking to spend a large amount of money.
- If you’re unsatisfied or if the tool breaks, there is a 1-year warranty in place. Because this is a cheaper impact wrench, it’s great that this is available just in case something goes wrong with your tool.
- This pneumatic impact wrench is made with pretty good quality materials. Its moving parts are made primarily of metal, aside from the plastic trigger and rubber covering. Although it may not last as many years as some of the more expensive, higher-quality impact wrenches, you’ll be able to get decent use out of this tool.
- It’s powerful enough to deliver a 450 to 500 ft-lb torque which is suitable for lighter and some heavier-duty jobs alike. This tool should be able to handle stuck lug nuts and bolts just as well as any other impact wrench.
- The torque settings are great when you have various levels of stubborn nuts and bolts to insert or remove. Setting 1 gives about 90 ft-lb and is great for tightening nuts and bolts. The remaining three settings allow for varying degrees of power if you have very stuck bolts or lug nuts.
- Less expensive
- Get’s the job done quite well
- Great for light projects
- May not last as long as more expensive impact wrenches
- Not so great for heavy-duty projects
- A bit on the heavy side
- Very loud
Features and Benefits:
- If you’re not satisfied with this tool, which is highly unlikely given the quality and reliability, it comes with a 2-year warranty in the event that anything should go wrong with your pneumatic impact wrench.
- Regardless of the smaller size of this tool, it has a massive amount of power and can handle virtually any job. It’s great for heavy-duty loads or hard-to-remove lug nuts and bolts.
- The sound is reduced quite noticeably with this pneumatic impact wrench compared to most other high-quality impact wrenches. Even though you should still wear ear protection when using this tool, it’s great that it’s quieter than most.
- It’s manufactured by a well-known and trusted company. The tool is reliable and tough, and not easily broken. This particular impact wrench has been manufactured for over 20 years and is still trusted in the workshop. Not to mention a single pneumatic impact wrench of this type lasts most people decades with the proper care and storage.
- The tool is able to withstand drops from minor heights and is resilient against chemicals that may come in contact with it. This is great if you work in an environment that has a lot of fluids that may leak, such as in an automobile repair shop.
- A 21-gallon air compressor works perfectly with this pneumatic wrench and allows it to fulfill its purpose.
- Even when the tool isn’t oiled as frequently as it should be (before or after each use) it can still last and perform well without weakening. It’s not recommended that you don’t oil your pneumatic impact wrench often, but if you occasionally forget, this tool can handle it.
- Lightweight, only 4.6 pounds
- Impact and chemical resistant
- Built with sound-reducing technology
- Made with heavy-duty jobs and harsh environments in mind
- A bit pricey, not good for those on a budget
4. AIRCAT 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
Features and Benefits:
- This pneumatic impact wrench is very comfortable to hold considering how lightweight it is. It’s not bulky or overbearing, which is great if you work long hours in the shop with these tools.
- It’s on the quieter side, and it’s great that it’s not as loud as many other impact wrenches similar to it. However, you should always have protection for your hearing regardless.
- This tool is wonderful at removing stubborn lug nuts and bolts. Even nuts and bolts that have begun to badly strip can be removed by this pneumatic impact gun (though it may take a few tries).
- It’s made of high quality, American metal internal and external parts. It’s always very important to have a good-quality power tool and this one of them that should last you years.
- Not only does this pneumatic wrench include an easy-to-flip forward and backward lever, it also has amazing torque settings that can remove any stubborn or loose lug nut or bolt. Even the lowest setting has been shown to remove rusted or stuck lug nuts with ease.
- 1,295 ft-lb torque for loosening nuts and bolts
- Made of quality materials
- Sound-reducing technology
- 15% larger motor for additional power
- Impact wrench vibrates violently occasionally
5. DEWALT DWMT70773L 1/2-Inch Square Drive Impact Wrench
Features and Benefits:
- If you’re dissatisfied with this pneumatic wrench or something goes wrong with the tool, you have up to 3 years from the date of purchase to return it, thanks to a 3-year warranty.
- This pneumatic impact wrench is pretty powerful in relation to other impact wrenches of its kind. Even with a minor amount of air flow, this tool works amazingly well and is still powerful.
- The majority of the black material on the tool (as shown in the photo) is a rubber-like compound which is great for providing a cushion between the impact wrench and the environment surrounding it.
- It’s lightweight, under 5 pounds, which is great if you’re used to working all day with power tools. This also adds to the usability of the impact wrench, simply because the light weight allows you to gain better control over the tool as you’re using it.
- The oil used for lubricating various parts of this impact wrench is included with the purchase. It’s great that this is included so you won’t have to worry about going out and purchasing the correct oils for your particular tool.
- The power settings located on the back of the pneumatic wrench are easily adjustable and work well and accurately. Likewise, the forward and reverse button is simple to use.
- Housing and housing bumpers are made of durable materials
- A long-lasting tool that can take on virtually any task
- Not too heavy or bulky
- Oil included
- The rubber parts collect dust and dirt easily
What is a Pneumatic Impact Wrench
A pneumatic impact wrench is a type of ratchet used for removing, inserting, and tightening nuts and bolts. These tools are used primarily by mechanics and are better suited for those who work on automobiles or other large machinery. However, home crafters could possibly use them, though they are not the best option. We recommend using manual ratchets, battery powered ratchets or regular wrenches for home improvement tasks.
How does an air impact wrench work
Pneumatic impact wrenches work through an air motor when attached to a supply of compressed air. When the trigger of the tool is pulled there is a jolt of quick, rotating motion that allows for nuts and bolts to be inserted or removed from the machine you’re working on.
How to choose the best 1/2 air impact wrench
Overall pneumatic impact wrenches carry out virtually the same task. However, there are a few variations between impact wrenches, and you’ll need the best tool for your jobs. Here are a few things to consider when looking around for this power tool:
When searching for a pneumatic impact wrench, you should look for an impact wrench of dependable quality. Though it’s unlikely, the best cheap impact wrench made with many plastic parts is often a bad sign.
A more durable machine would definitely be made of primarily metal parts, aside from a plastic or rubber sleeve covering the back panel and top of the pneumatic impact wrench. The sturdier this tool, the more you’ll get out of it when working on difficult or large projects.
You’ll want to be sure you understand the amount of power you’ll need. If you’re working on jobs, such as removing the nuts and bolts from various places on a car then you’ll need to have the highest pneumatic impact wrench torque, being at around 500 ft-lbs.
Take into consideration the condition of the bolts you’re trying to remove; if they’re stripped, rusted, or otherwise.
Air Compressor Size
It’s important to take into account the size of the air compressor, which is essentially the only source of power for your pneumatic wrench. If you buy a heavier-duty pneumatic wrench to suit your needs, but don’t have an air compressor that is compatible with the amount of torque your tool can handle, then you won’t get the proper power for the work you’re needing to get done.
90 psi is the minimum amount of pressure required for a pneumatic impact wrench to perform adequately. If your compressor provides less than this then your impact wrench will not be as effective when used. However, if the compressor performs higher or equal to 90 psi, you have a compressor that is suitable for your tool.
When looking to buy an impact wrench, it’s important to know what size nuts and bolts you’ll generally be working on. The size of the drive should not be any smaller than the average size of the nuts and bolts you work with.
OUR TOP PICKS
Air impact tools. Types
Pneumatic Impact Wrenches
The Pneumatic impact wrenches are powered by a supply of compressed air. They can be used constantly without overheating, and actually become cooler as the air passes through the tool. These are very heavy-duty and used for both tougher jobs and automotive.
Electric Impact Wrenches
Electric impact wrenches are powered by, you guessed it, electricity. They come in corded and cordless. Corded electric impact wrenches require an electrical outlet as a source of power while the cordless runs on batteries.
Hydraulic Impact Wrenches
Hydraulic impact wrenches are not available for purchase by the average consumer, as they are mainly used in large industrial settings. These are incredibly big machines and run as liquid passes through it, rotating the hammer.
Manual Impact Wrenches
Manual impact wrenches are powered by your manual labor. The amount of force you apply determines the power of the torque used to remove bolts and nuts, although your force is tripled by the tool itself.
Best impact wrench for lug nuts. Advantages
Using any of the pneumatic impact wrenches above makes it easier to remove nuts and bolts that are difficult to remove manually using a tool set. So they are also great air impact wrench for lug nuts.
Whether a bolt is tightened by a machine (therefore much more difficult to remove by hand), rusted, or stripped, an impact wrench has the power and ability to remove them with ease so that you can put much less effort and time into removing the bolts.
On the other hand, if you’re working on putting a heavy piece of material together or securing various nuts and bolts, a pneumatic wrench can tighten these much more efficiently than you can by hand. This would allow for a far more sturdy piece of machinery or item.
Most powerful 1/2 air impact gun. Safety
Before using your pneumatic impact wrench, you should always check the hose for cuts or fractures, as well as the connectors to the air supply and wrench itself to be sure they’re properly inserted. Escaping air can decrease the torque of your tool, and damage it in the process.
Additionally, check to make sure all loose clothing or body parts (such as hair) are secured so that they cannot be caught in the rotating tool. A pneumatic drill press is quite loud, therefore it’s best to wear earplugs when using this tool to protect your hearing from damage.
Be sure to hold the tool tightly so that you have full control of it as it rotates and removes items. Taking care of your tools will not only help them last longer, but it will also keep you safe from dangers such as weakened internal metals from moisture.
Lastly, when changing sockets or performing maintenance on the tool, remember to disconnect your pneumatic impact wrench from its power source to keep you from accidentally activating the tool when your fingers are near dangerous parts of the impact wrench - and always disconnect the hose from the tool when you’re finished using it.
Best impact gun care and maintenance
If you’re wanting your pneumatic impact wrench to be reliable and be at your service for possibly decades, then it’s best for you to properly care for the tool. This includes:
- Inspecting the air impact wrench for moisture, which requires you to wipe away any moisture you may see and perhaps use a hairdryer to properly dry the internal and external parts of the tool. Moisture is harmful to the metals inside and outside of the impact wrench, causing rust and weakness.
- Properly lubricating the rotating hammer and air motor with their respective oils. This will keep your pneumatic impact wrench running smoothly and reduce friction of the moving parts.
- Taking the tool apart to remove any debris from bolts that may have found their way inside of the impact wrench. This will also keep your tool running smoothly and prevent future internal material-build up and damage.
- Store the tool well to avoid damage, part loss, or exposure to the outside elements.
Best impact wrench for the money. Tips
When using your pneumatic impact wrench, you want to be sure you’re using the tool efficiently for the most effective outcome. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Be sure you have connected to a compatible air source. The air pressure should be at the lowest 90 psi, but ideally should be higher than 90 for your impact wrench tool to reach optimal performance. If you have less than 90 you will undoubtedly lose efficiency when attempting to remove or tighten nuts and bolts.
- Use the right amount of torque, or power, for the item you’re working on. If you attempt to remove a nut or bolt with too little power, you won’t succeed in dislodging the part. On the contrary, if you apply too much torque, you could strip the bolt, damage your tool, or damage the item you’re attempting to remove the nut or bolt from.
- Read the manual that comes with your pneumatic impact wrench. No one will understand the mechanisms of your tool as well as the manufacturer that created it. Reading the manual will guide you and help you to understand the inner and outer workings of your impact wrench, as well as how to use it properly.
Q: What is a pneumatic impact wrench?
A: A pneumatic impact wrench is a power tool that’s used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. They’re much stronger than your regular wrench used for tightening or removing bolts by hand.
Q: How do pneumatic impact wrenches work?
A: Pneumatic impact wrenches work either by electricity or an air motor. When the trigger is pulled, there is a sudden rotating motion that allows for nuts and bolts to be inserted or removed from an object.
Q: When was the pneumatic impact wrench invented?
A: Pneumatic impact wrenches had been experimented with since the mid-1930s. However, they weren’t patented or used commonly until the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Q: Should I buy an electric or pneumatic impact wrench?
A: If you’re a home crafter, you’d be better off with an electric wrench simply because they’re not as powerful as a pneumatic impact wrench and would be more suitable for craft projects.
Overall the pneumatic impact wrench is the best option. They’re less expensive, not easily damaged due to overheating (like the electric), and would last much longer with the proper care.
Q: What size air impact wrench is best for lug nuts?
A: A ½ inch air impact wrench is perfectly suitable for dealing with lug nuts. It’s actually likely the best option. A more powerful impact wrench could possibly strip the lug nuts.
Q: How do I clean my air impact wrench?
A: Every once and awhile you’ll need to inspect your air impact wrench for moistness. The interior and exterior should be dried to prevent damage to the metal. A hairdryer is just fine for this. After cleaning, your air impact wrench should be oiled. Be sure to only use cleaners and oils recommended for air impact wrenches.
Q: How do I oil my air impact wrench?
A: Firstly, you need to understand that you must oil the rotating hammer, as well as the motor of the impact wrench. To do this, remove the oil plug nut that is over the oil entrance and insert approximately an ounce of motor oil to oil the rotating hammer.
Next, in the air port insert approximately 7 drops of air tool oil. This lubricates the motor. Finally, allow the tool to run for about a minute so the oil is evenly distributed, then drain any excess oil.
Q: How do I test an air impact wrench?
A: To test an air impact wrench, hook it up to air and look for any escaping air or delays in response when the trigger is pulled. Escaped air can weaken the torque of your air impact wrench, so it’s very important that this problem is corrected before you begin your work.
Q: What’s the difference between an impact wrench and an air ratchet?
A: The main difference between impact wrenches and air ratchets is the amount of torque they have. Impact wrenches give a much higher torque than the air ratchets.
Q: Does an air impact wrench just blow air?
A: No. An air impact wrench uses air to power its motor, which turns the rotating hammer and allows for you to remove or insert nuts and bolts into objects. If your air impact wrench is just blowing air it needs to be repaired.
What is the best air impact wrench: Our Picks
Our top pick is the Ingersoll Rand 231C 1/2” Drive Air... In terms of durability, quality, and power, we believe this ½ inch pneumatic impact wrench is the best impact wrench for anyone who often works with nuts and bolts. This tool is capable of working under various amounts of torque and is suitable for any larger project you may be working on. It’s made from sturdy materials, creating a lasting and durable pneumatic impact wrench that could last you decades.
Additionally, the best budget impact wrench is the ACDelco ANI405A Heavy Duty Twin Hammer... A great tool for those who are on a budget.
The Ingersoll Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX 1/2” Drive... is suitable for those who are looking for a heavier-duty work tool.
Resources & Further Reading
- How a Pneumatic Impact Wrench Works, howstuffworks.com
- Benefits of Air Impact Wrenches, bnproducts.com, 7/23/2015
- University of California Pdf, gvsafety.com
- How to Maintain Pneumatic Tools, cp.com
Last update on 2023-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API