Brand loyalty to Craftsman is all well and good, but sometimes users have to compromise power for a nice design.
The term “heavy duty” is one to take with a pinch of salt when dealing with power tools. There are different interpretations on what this means. Some expect both a tough build and strong performance, but often get just one or the other. There are some buyers that love the Craftsman range so much that they stay loyal to the brand with all their power tools. This Crafstman Impact Wrench is a great example of that. There is a lot to love on first impressions – both aesthetically and financially – and many consumers will feel they are getting a good deal. Yet, there is a compromise to make when it comes to the power and performance.
What features are on offer with this Craftsman 9-19984 Impact Wrench?
Understandably, the sales team at Craftsman are keen to highlight the potential power and benefits in this air-driven system. They promise plenty of torque and reliable effort from the twin hammer system, strong build and air inlet. That inlet also has a swivel system for an uninterrupted flow and ease of movement. This is said to lead to a “hard hitting” approach for minimal effort when trying to remove troublesome lug nuts. Additional benefits claimed here include the lack of noise, lighter wear and ergonomic design.
Key features in the specification for this Craftsman 1/2-Inch Heavy Duty System include:
1) 580 ft/lbs of maximum torque
2) that “hard hitting” twin hammer hammering unit
3) the swivel air inlet
4) a patented dynamic silencing system
5) a light weight of just 5.07 pounds
6) a comfort grip
Let’s start with those aesthetic and financial first impressions with this Craftsman 9-19984 1/2-Inch Heavy Duty Impact Wrench, and the advantages they provide.
It sounds a little superficial to focus on the look of a device first. Yet, this is a surprisingly attractive tool compared to other modern products. There is a simple, streamlined design with black, red and chrome elements. The lack of a giant battery pack clipped to the bottom certainly helps. The red comfort grips are also a nice touch for long term use.
The next benefit here is that this is an air-powered model rather than a battery operated one. There are downsides to a battery operated power tool that aren’t always apparent until consumers switch to an air-powered device. The cost of any power tool is a key motivator for consumers. They want the best value possible and this model seems to provide that. It has the look and build of a quality model, at the price point of something cheaper. The lack of parts and simple build means affordability, which can outweigh other deciding factors. Other benefits to this battery-free option are that it lower both the wait and the weight. There is no need to wait for the device to charge back up and it only weighs 5.07 pounds.
This Craftsman 9-19984 is quiet, attractive and affordable. Still, there is a major downside in the lack of power.
The first drawback here is that this is an air model rather than a batter operated one. No, we haven’t suffered from a bout of short-term amnesia here. While there are some great advantages to this approach in some situations, there are also some downsides. For some, the pros of the lack of noise and the lower cost are overshadowed by the performance. Users see this in two ways. First of all, there isn’t the consistency of power that you get in a battery operated model. Secondly, there isn’t as much torque.
As we all know with these impact wrenches, torque is the key to a quick, effective performance. This device has a maximum torque of 580 ft/lbs, which is considerably lower than that of other top brands. Some may argue that some models in the same price band are even weaker, which makes this comparatively powerful. However, there are many 4 and 3 star reviews for this impact wrench that state torque as their main issue. Defenders of this system point out that it is a basic option for occasional use. One buyer adds that it is “not really powerful enough for daily mechanic use”. Therefore, the appeal largely depends on purpose and expectation. It can remove a clean lug nut without much effort on many family cars. But, it isn’t going to help those working on fleets, or those faced with rusted nuts.
Finally, there is that issue of a “heavy duty” model.
As we mentioned above, a power tool can be heavy duty through its power or its build – ideally both. The power is lacking, so what about the build quality. Unfortunately, one buyer did report some cosmetic damage to the chrome finish with knocks and scrapes. There is no real damage to the device on impact, so the build does seem sturdy enough. Yet, this does damage the overall look of the tool, which is one of those initial selling points.
Let’s take another look at those pros and cons on this to see if this is a compromise worth making.
1) A nice design
2) A lower cost for affordability
3) A light weight and good grip for comfort
4) A quieter operation than other wrenches
1) The torque is weaker than other models
2) It has struggled with tougher jobs
3) The chrome elements scratch too easily
In short–and especially compared to other offerings from the same brand–this particular Craftsman impact wrench is rather weak. There is no getting away from that fact. That isn’t to say that it can’t handle the job, but it isn’t going to offer the efficiency and strength of other models. The lack of the battery pack is a major factor here. Still, that choice does lower the cost, weight and noise of the device. If power isn’t a big priority, compared to the cost and ease of use, this Craftsman 9-19984 1/2-Inch Heavy Duty Impact Wrench could still be a good choice for the right user.