If you’re shopping for one tool to rule them all, there are some pretty great reasons to look at cordless impact wrenches. Here are a few!
Tired of working on nuts and bolts with your hand socket set? Or maybe just tired of working with heavy equipment all the time? It might be time to consider adding one of these bad boys to your tool arsenal.
The technology itself has come a long way and may represent the best of all worlds.
Besides convenience, versatility, and ease, here are eight great reasons to try going the battery-operated impact route. (click the link to view what we believe are the two best options)
1. You’re Tired of Using Traditional Hand Wrenches
If you haven’t taken the plunge with a cordless, pneumatic, or electrical impact of any kind, the change is trans-formative. It’s the difference between going from a basic hand drill to a power drill or hammer drill.
An impact wrench delivers a tremendous amount of torque, to the tune of 13,000 lbs. or more. In fact, it might even be too powerful for some, but give it a try. Bolts that took minutes to loosen or tighten take an instant.
Just don’t use your old socket set sockets with your fancy new impact wrench. Doing so can damage both the sockets and the wrench mechanism. Stick with what’s rated for the machine.
2. You’re Tired of Running a Compressor Line Every Time
Some years ago, cordless wrenches had a bad reputation for being under-powered and generally unreliable. Not so anymore.
That means that higher end models are more than adequate for shop duty. No more dragging around a heavy air compressor when you want to swap out a few tires.
Plus, having a more portable, quieter impact is kinder on your and your co-worker’s ears. Consider it an investment in staving off hearing aids for a few years.
Are air compressor-driven or pneumatic impact wrenches still more powerful? No doubt about it. But for many jobs, they’re simply not necessary or even practical anymore.
Check out this guide to 2017’s best cordless impact wrenches to find one that’s right for your shop.
3. You’re a Shade Tree Mechanic Who Wants to up His Game
If a cordless battery wrench is good for a professional mechanic, then it’s great for a shade tree or DIY-er.
It might even make you feel a little more like a pro (and impress your friends while you’re at it). You can use it on lug nuts, control arms, and even brake calipers.
You might find yourself turning into a bolt-tightening machine. Just don’t over-tighten; with all that extra torque, you need to learn the right touch to not strip bolts and make your life miserable later.
4. Your Impact Driver Isn’t Cutting It
Did we mention extra torque? The big difference between an impact wrench and an impact drive is how much torque the former delivers over the latter.
This also means that impact wrenches are bigger, heavier, and generally more cumbersome than impact wrenches, though as technology improves impact wrenches are becoming more streamlined.
And when you need power and torque, the impact wrench offers maximum versatility, capable of loosening and tightening more than an impact driver can.
5. You Need to Secure Heavy Things
Need to mount or hang something heavy?
The best way to make sure your mounts are secure is to torque those fastening bolts and nuts down real tight.
It’s practically impossible to do that better by hand than with a power tool made specifically for the task.
Just make sure you’re mounting it somewhere that can bear the load; the wrench can’t do everything for you.
6. You Work on More Than Just Cars
Anything cordless impact drivers can do, their impact cousins can do too. Overall, impact wrenches can just do more.
So even if you’re not a big shade tree mechanic but like keeping on top of the maintenance of other tools and vehicles, from your lawnmower to your ride-on tractor, an impact wrench can help you repair these with greater ease.
These wrenches do wonders for tightening loose engine bolts and can help keep old equipment in fighting form for years to come–which will save you money, too.
In other words, it’s an investment worth making.
7. They’re (Often) the Only Way Remove Machine-Tightened Nuts and Bolts
If a bolt was secured in a shop with an impact wrench, chances are you’ll need an impact wrench to remove it.
And even if you don’t need one, chances are you’ll be glad to have it in terms of time, sweat, and effort saved.
Just make sure you choose the right wrench and socket for the job. Impact wrenches come in both pistol style and inline styles (you can probably guess what each one looks like).
Aside from the pistol style having more power, these usually take a more versatile array of socket sizes, from 1/4″ all the way up to a full inch.
Pro tip: If you’re having a hard time removing a supremely machine-tightened nut or bolt, try using your body weight to brace against the wrench. This helps stop it from vibrating as much and helps the impact wrench achieve a better grip on your target. (For more in-depth help & information, see our article on removing rusted nuts and bolts)
8. You’re Building a Deck, Gazebo, or Other Carpentry Project
Impact drivers are probably thought of more often for carpentry projects than impact wrenches, but the cordless IM will do the trick and possibly tighten joists and other supports even better than a driver can.
For big projects, like that giant pergola you’ve always wanted to build, having a portable impact wrench can be a very welcome addition to your tool set.
That said, just be careful that your nuts and bolts are properly threaded before applying that machine-level torque to them. Otherwise, you run a high risk of damaging the threads.
Call it the “measure once, cut twice” approach. A little care now will save you a world of headache later.
Interested in Cordless Impact Wrenches? Learn More Today!
One final thing: Cordless tools don’t have to break the bank and the impacts are no exception to that rule, especially nowadays.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for a professional-grade tool, there are some very fine prosumer-level wrenches–like this OEMTools Impact Wrench–that should fit well into any handy hobbyist’s toolkit. If you’re looking to spend a bit more on a popular mid-range performer, you might consider the Ryobi, which we review for you here.
Want to learn more about the benefits of battery-powered wrenches? Check out our tips on which ones are best, how to use them, and other practical advice! To further increase your knowledge, check out the video below–and thanks for checking us out!