Best Air Impact Wrench in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]
Impact wrenches stand out over their manual cousin’s thanks to two distinctions. First, they are motorized, allowing them to turn bolts longer and faster than a person could ever manage.
Second, the impact wrench does not turn a bolt in a single motion, but rather by repeated strokes of the torque socket against the angle of the bolt. These rapid and repeated shocks can serve to power through corrosion, dirt, and other blockages on bolt threads instead of binding the bolt tighter against them as a manual wrench might.
These two things combined put the impact wrench well above and beyond any manual competition. Although there exist a number of different types of impact wrenches, we’ll be focusing on pneumatic ones.
Here are five of the best air impact wrenches to help with your next car repair.
Related Article: Best Cordless Impact Wrench in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]
Best Air Impact Wrench – Comparison Table
|1. AIRCAT 1150||Check Price|
|2. Ingersoll Rand 231C||Check Price|
|3. Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV||Check Price|
|4. NitroCat 1200-K||Check Price|
|5. DEWALT DWMT70773L||Check Price|
Our Best Air Impact Wrench Reviews and Comparisons
This wrench uses a larger rotor than usual on top of a powerful engine to create an impressive amount of turning power.
- 1295 ft-lbs torque
- 1400 blows per minute
- Four and a half pounds
- 85 dB
What We Like About AIRCAT 1150
The turning power in this tool puts it squarely at the top of the range, and the relatively quiet operation is a huge plus.
What We Don’t Like About AIRCAT 1150
The socket can wobble hard when at full speed, especially when used in reverse.
- Good price for performance
- Exceptional torque
- Quieter than the competition
- Compact build
- FSocket wobbles in reverse
- Extremely sensitive trigger does not allow for modulation
2. Ingersoll Rand 231C
A no-frills wrench that delivers reliable performance for one job after another.
- 600 ft-lbs
- Twin-hammer design
- Internal power regulator
- Weighs less than six pounds
What We Like About Ingersoll Rand 231C
This tool uses a classic design and ergonomic grips to deliver power and comfort in equal measure.
What We Don’t Like About Ingersoll Rand 231C
600ft-lbs is less powerful than some similar wrenches deliver.
- Arrives lubricated and assembled
- Pressure-feed lubrication
- Internal power regulator
- Ergonomic grip design
- Easy to disassemble and service
- Relatively low torque
- Grip and trigger fittings are unreliable
3. Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV
This wrench cuts weight and price at once, while still delivering remarkable performance.
- 8oz shipping weight
- 550ft-lbs torque
- 3-speed regulator
- One-year manufacturer warranty
What We Like About Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV
This gun is among the cheapest air wrenches out there
What We Don’t Like About Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV
The components in this gun cannot be used with larger compressor tanks – ruptures and breakages have been reported as a result.
- Onboard regulator
- Grip cushion
- Reported to fail at higher pressures
- Relatively low torque
4. NitroCat 1200-K
This model uses a Kevlar housing to make their tool both lightweight and bulletproof-tough while still delivering top-shelf torque.
- Weighs 4.5lbs
- 86 dB running volume
- Kevlar housing
What We Like About NitroCat 1200-K
This wrench carries a number of innovations, including a comfortable forward/reverse switch, the Kevlar housing, and a double-clutch to break through even the toughest bolts.
What We Don’t Like About NitroCat 1200-K
The kevlar housing does not withstand vibrations as well as traditional construction and can leak after some usage.
- Gratifyingly light
- Good torque output
- Tough construction
- Comfortable reverse switch position
- Good exhaust placement
- Seal can leak after prolonged use
- Reports of manufacturer specifications being exaggerated
5. DEWALT DWMT70773L
DeWalt is a household name for any and all power tools, and this gun is here to offer the same storied success yet again.
- 650 ft-lbs torque
- Weighs 4.63lbs
- 7500 rpm
- 1100 blows per minute
What We Like About DEWALT DWMT70773L
As usual for DeWalt tools, this gun will deliver a mix of long term reliability and immediate comfort and performance that leaves users satisfied every time.
What We Don’t Like About DEWALT DWMT70773L
At over 4.5 lbs, this wrench is on the heavy side, making it harder to hold for long periods at work.
- Reliable manufacturer
- Ergonomic grips and bumper
- Adjustable power regulato
- Bottom handle exhaust
- Reverse switch positioned for one-handed operation
- Lower torque than other wrenches
- Heavier than many guns with the same torque
These are five of the most highly acclaimed air wrenches on the market today, each one with the potential to be a highly functional addition to your auto shop. Pick one inside your budget and meets your needs, and you should have no trouble integrating it flawlessly into everyday tasks.
As these wrenches are most often used to tighten bolts, it is worth reminding an aspiring mechanics that they are also a tool to tighten them. Tightening a bolt requires infinitely more caution than loosening it. Bolts must be tight enough to bear the usual and unusual forces put upon them, but should still be removable by an ordinary user.
Whatever model of air wrench you pick, always read manufacturer specifications as thoroughly as possible to make sure you know what size and pressure of tank are needed. Using the wrong tanks or hoses can lead to breakage in the wrench and a potentially lethal explosion of the air delivery system.
If you happen to notice your wrench starting to skip while working on a particular bolt, don’t keep trying and hope for the best. This sort of behavior will generally result in stripped lugs and very difficult work to get them off.
You may want to add a torque rod to prevent further damage on such an occasion. Another option is to switch to manual. Breaker bars may be old fashioned and hard to use, but there’s no denying the will get the job done.