A screw that’s too loose or too tight will cause problems sooner or later. Enter impact wrenches.
These powered tools use a cool combination of torque and force to help you tighten loose screws and loosen extremely tight screws.
No need to break a sweat (or your tools) to ensure a screw or bolt is fixed properly. An impact wrench produces an amount of torque most of us usually can’t. It does so via a motor that powers a rotating mass.
If you’re looking for quality 1/2 & 1 inch impact wrenches, read on. I’ll cover the best wrenches and a helpful buying guide in this post.
Ready? Let’s go!
Impact Wrenches Buyer’s Guide
As with any other tool, there’s a lot to consider when buying an impact wrench.
Each one has different variations, and what you choose solely comes down to personal requirements.
Here are some key factors you should consider before you pick up an impact wrench:
Impact wrenches using air pressure and electricity are more commonly used in the mechanical world.
While the hydraulic-powered impact wrenches are usually limited to industrial applications.
Okay, but which one should I get? Well, let’s take a closer look at these.
- Compressed Air Impact Wrenches. These are usually connected to an air tank and use air pressure to create the force required for the job.
You’ll usually find this kind of impact wrench at the mechanics since they’re more powerful than electric ones.
Most of these are lightweight but require a full air tank to work. So they’re better suited for professional use.
- Electric Impact Wrenches. Varying in size from a pistol to a drilling machine, electrical impact wrenches are far more convenient to handle. Although not quite as powerful as the compressed air type, they’re sufficient for many jobs.
You can also choose between a corded and cordless impact wrenches.
If you’re a non-professional and looking to get an impact wrench for home use, I’d say go for an electrical one.
In case you slept through that physics class – torque is the twisting force that (in our context) acts on the screw or bolt to fasten or loosen it.
It’s the defining feature of any impact wrench and each of them has a defined maximum. You can use a torque chart, like the one below, to see which torque you need.
Some electrical impact wrenches let you choose between different torque settings to make them more versatile. Choose a range that’s more suitable for whatever you’ll use the wrench for.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. The socket size defines what size of nut or bolt you’d be able to use the impact wrench on. Usually, machines with a bigger socket size offer more torque and vice versa.
Generally, impact wrenches with a higher voltage will be more powerful. Machines of 18-20 volts are more suitable for heavy-duty use. Smaller impact wrenches with a rating of 12 volts or less are better for smaller, remote, overhead work.
Corded vs Cordless Impact Wrenches
To keep things simple, I’m basically focusing on electrical impact wrenches in this post, which I assume you’re more interested in.
As I said, there are two kinds of electrical impact wrenches you can get; corded or cordless. Here are some main differences between the two:
Cordless impact wrenches offer you more mobility and flexibility. They also offer more freedom in terms of where or when you can use it as you’re not always eyeing a power source to plug it in.
Corded impact wrenches limit movement and might be a bit of a hassle to handle with the wire getting in the way.
Most corded impact wrenches have a force of 250-300 ft/lbs which is adequate for lug nut use. However, if you need more power cordless impact wrenches are better for the job.
Corded impact wrenches will cost anywhere between $50 and $100. While cordless ones can set you back $250-$400.
Now, let’s look at the best ½ and 1-inch impact wrenches I rounded up – these will last you decades.
Detailed Reviews of the Best 1 Inch & 1/2 Inch Impact Wrenches
If you’re in the market for a portable impact wrench that doesn’t compromise on quality, you’ve got to get your hands on this wrench one by Dewalt. It weighs a mere 3.4 pounds, is cordless, and is designed to easily fit into tight spaces. It also aids visibility with the 3 LED lights on-board.
It features a ½ inch drive size along with a hog anvil that helps you change sockets quickly and easily.
Along with being portable, the Dewalt DCF880HM2 is also designed for improved dexterity. A textured anti-slip comfort grip with a contour helps you hold the wrench in place. And it provides better control especially when you’re working in tight spaces. Even with longer operation your hands won’t cramp.
It is powered by a rechargeable 4.0 Ah XR Li-Ion battery with a 24-hour life. It can be charged with the fast charger provided with the impact wrench. The battery has a nominal voltage of about 18volts and can produce up to 150lbs of torque.
Launched in March 2013, it currently retails at $264.99. It has a 3-year limited warranty. It comes with 2 batteries, a charger, and a case for the tool.
|Ergonomic design, comfortable grip||The torque might not be as powerful as advertised|
|Additional LED lights eliminate shadows while working|
|Comes with a carrying case for added portability|
|The battery life is good enough for most tasks|
|Reduces required work time|
If you’re like me and need a good quality impact wrench to keep in your truck just in case, this Dewalt wrench is a great choice. On first impression, it’s easy to use, relatively simple to maneuver for occasional users, and pretty lightweight to work with.
It might not produce too much torque, but I think it’s good enough for mundane tasks like lug nuts. So unless you specifically need a heavy-duty tool, this one might suffice.
For the price, it’s one of the best ½ inch impact wrenches you can get.
So you really need an impact wrench but your wallet’s not cooperating? Consider this impact wrench by Avid Power. It costs about $100 and works just as well as some of its pricier competitors, producing a torque of 330 lbs.
Equipped with a powerful 20 volt motor, this impact wrench can produce a max tightening and loosening torque of 3,983 in-lbs and 4,465 in-lbs respectively.
You can adjust the speed with the pressure you apply to the wrench trigger. It can go up to 2000 RPM. It’s powered by a 3.0 Ah Li-Ion battery that only requires 1-2 hours to charge. The impact rate is a massive 2700 BPM.
This powerful impact wrench weighs 4 lbs and sports a textured comfort grip for better handling. The speed trigger feature is easy to control and comes in handy when you’re working on multiple nuts/bolts simultaneously.
The wrench comes with 4 impact sockets, a fast charger, and a tool bag. It was first available in October 2019.
|Affordable||The battery might get busted sooner than expected so you’ll have to get a replacement|
|Quick charging battery|
|Good battery life|
|Holds up strong despite the high torque, good quality construction|
|Works on even the most stubborn, rusted bolts|
It’s hard to find a better impact wrench at this price. It’s cordless, well-built, and delivers an exceptionally powerful torque that a lot of big names fail to provide.
Not only does this impact wrench work well for applications like lugnuts, this high-impact and high-speed machine also impresses in heavy-duty tasks.
If you need to work on your car in the near future, make your life easier and just get this impact wrench. There’s not much at stake given the price – definitely the best value you can get.
It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to spend extra on a tool that you won’t use a lot.
You can get a corded impact wrench instead, for a fraction of the cordless price. And this one by PORTER-CABLE is one of the best corded ones on the market.
It only costs about $79.99 but comes with a 7.5 amp motor that can produce a torque of up to 450 ft/lbs. That rating may not be much but it should be sufficient enough for lug nuts, and for installing and removing other fasteners.
It produces a speed of up to 2200 RPM with an impact of 2700 BPM.
In terms of design, this impact gun has a drill-like look to it. It weighs around 8 lbs and is about 12-inches long. This might be heavy for some users but a powerful motor is a heavy motor.
It comes with a hog ring anvil for easy socket change and features a rocker switch for forward/reverse rotation.
The Porter-Cable PCE211 was first available in April 2017 and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
|Powerful torque||Might be a little too large and heavy to work in confined spaces|
|Consistent performance||Limited flexibility|
|Works well for rusted, stuck nuts|
|Good quality construction|
If you want to buy an impact wrench but can’t justify the price of cordless or air-powered ones, a corded one is your best bet.
While many people believe that corded impact wrenches somewhat lack in performance, the Porter-cable PCE211 just might prove you wrong.
The biggest downside I believe is the weight and the bulky body which might make it difficult to work with in confined spaces.
But otherwise, in terms of torque and performance, this particular Porter-Cable Impact Wrench PCE211 delivers a winning combination of power and consistency.
This Ingersoll Rand 2850MAX has a solid alloy steel construction that’s tough right to its core. The quality built and powerful motor allows it to withstand heavy-duty work without any physical or chemical damage.
This power-packed tool promises a massive 2100 inch-pounds torque and a speed of 5500 RPM. It will help you remove all sorts of rusted, stuck-on bolts that wouldn’t budge otherwise.
Some users claim the power to be comparable to the most powerful, pneumatic impact wrenches. And this additional power doesn’t mean more noise.
This impact wrench is built with a 360-degree adjustable handle that offers better grip and more control than the standard drill/gun design.
You can also adjust the handle to suit the job better. It claims to be about 25% more lightweight than other 1-inch impact wrenches, reducing fatigue while working.
The Ingersoll Rand 2850MAX was first available on 18 April 2018 and now sells for $642.19. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
|Solid steel construction||Might be a little too expensive for some|
|Ergonomically designed, adjustable handle||The handle might not be very sturdy in some positions|
|Lightweight compared to other 1-inch impact wrenches|
|Less noise production|
Working with 1-inch impact wrenches can be daunting since they’re often heavy and difficult to maneuver.
Thankfully, the Ingersoll Rand 2850MAX proves otherwise. It’s lightweight and easy to handle without having to compromise on the power.
So, are you an avid tool enthusiast and looking for a heavy-duty impact wrench that won’t tire your arm out in seconds and lasts a while? Get this one by Ingersoll Rand and thank me later.
Need a 1-inch impact wrench without breaking the bank? Get the AirCat 1992 1″ Truck Tire Impact. Priced at $303.18, this impact wrench promises great value and reliable performance.
Unlike other impact wrenches that depend on charged batteries and power outlets, the AirCat 1992 Truck Tire Impact is air-powered.
This means it derives its energy from compressed air to produce a torque of 1800 ft/lbs at a speed of 5000 RPM. It connects to a 1/2inch NPT air inlet that works best with a 220V compressor.
Since it’s air-powered, the wrench weighs about 26 labs. But it’s designed with an inner cavity of a D grip handle that you can adjust for both left or right-handed use by rotating it.
The wrench is designed as a hard-hitting pin-less hammer for greater impact. It also features an 8-inch extended anvil and a combined- friction ring and a through-hole anvil that enforces socket lock-on.
The wrench’s body is designed with triple-heat-treated Nickel chromium and Molybdenum alloy steel. This is powerful enough to withstand high pressures and last a long time. It’s reliable for heavy-duty tasks that electric-powered impact wrenches fail at.
This AirCat 1992 1″ Truck Tire Impact was first launched in August 2017. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
|Affordable||Might be a bit too heavy for some|
|Good quality construction||Added hassle of connecting to an appropriate air tank|
|Can withstand heavy-duty use|
|Lightweight compared to other 1-inch air-powered impact wrenches|
If you’re on a budget and can’t compromise on power, this AirCat impact wrench will make you happy. It delivers high-impact torque that’s unmatched by its electric competitors and it’s made to withstand the massive power for decades.
The downside is, it’s bulky and you need a full compressor tank to fuel it. But if you see yourself using it quite often, it just might be worth the hassle.
Plus this model is designed to enhance comfort with its D-grip and extended anvil. So if you’re looking for an air-fueled impact wrench, it doesn’t get better than this.
So, now you have a much better idea what kind of impact wrench would suit you best; an electrical corded one, a cordless one, or an air pressure-powered one. Also, make sure to cross-check your required torque with that of the tool using the torque chart.
Once you know what kind of impact wrench you want, you can venture into the different products. Here are my top recommendations of both, ½ and 1-inch impact wrenches.
For ½-inch impact wrenches, the AVID POWER 20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench would be my top recommendation.
With over 2000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6/5 on Amazon, this tool is a customer favorite for a reason. If you’re using a ½ inch wrench, you would expect it to be portable enough to be used in small spaces with ease.
The AVID POWER 20V MAX not only meets that expectation but also provides an impressive amount of torque.
Coming to 1-inch impact wrenches, the Ingersoll Rand 2850MAX stands out as my top choice.
From durable construction down to delivering a torque of 2100 inch-pounds, this impact wrench checks all the boxes.
It’s well-designed and is not as heavy as other 1-inch impact wrenches. If you can afford it, I’d say pull the trigger on this one.
Of course, I always recommend that you consider your personal needs and preferences. It put the best ½ and 1-inch impact wrenches in front of you with this post. See which one suits you best.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you liked this post, feel free to check out similar articles on our site.
Thanks a lot for reading, and have a great day!