For quite a few years now, the Kobalt brand has built a good following as an affordable, acceptable, and diverse set of tools for the majority of handymen nationwide. Now with their still-young 24V MAX Volt extended battery system and variety of usable tools, they have increased that diversity a bit more and even improved it. Here, we will dissect these Kobalt tools a bit and give you a better understanding of just how they might fit into your hand and desired application.
Along with the MAX Volt system comes a few different choices of cordless impact wrench offerings:
- The Compact 3/8-in Drive
- The Compact 1/2-in Drive
- The Full-Sized 1/2-in Drive
The price of both the 3/8-in and 1/2-in drive Kobalt impacts are the same but they actually do differ a bit in their specs (surprisingly), so for clarity, this article is related to the compact 3/8-in Kobalt impact.
ABOUT THE 24V MAX POWER SYSTEM
Kobalt’s latest tool system offers a bit of changes from their old lineup so they are worth noting first, as they apply to all three impacts we are reviewing.
Right out of the gate, Kobalt upgraded their battery system to 24v, which is in and of itself a substantial increase in power. I still have fond memories of my Black & Decker 24v hammer drill–it really was a beast for the price and time it came out. However, the question is how well does it actually perform?
The company’s MAX Power page states that these new batteries deliver up to 50% more power than before, and allow users to benefit from a longer-lasting run time, up some 3.6 times. This may be hard to believe for some but, as I have good experience with 24v drills, I tend to accept this as being at least mostly true before I even pick up one of Kobalt’s tools.
Within this small lineup of seven tools, they decided to offer all of them as brushless, meaning that they will run more efficiently and effectively, as well as have lower repair costs. Normally, brushless tools are more expensive than others but the costs have been dropping more day by day–something that is clearly evident in Kobalt’s decision to offer their powerful, new tool line as such.
The Kobalt 3/8-in Compact Cordless Impact Wrench
- Considered ideal for installation and breakaway of nuts, bolts, and fasteners, especially in compact spaces
- Has a brushless motor which delivers 150-ft-lbs of torque in forward or reverse for ease of tightening and removal of large nuts and bolts
- Controls are electronic and variable; quick: able to generate up to 2,300-RPM and 3,500-IPM with no load time speed
- LED light built into the unit provides illumination directly onto focused working areas
- 100% compatible with all 24v Kobalt batteries (batteries and/or chargers sold in kits or separately only)
- 1-year satisfaction guaranteed return policy and 5-year limited warranty
- 5-year limited warranty comes standard with all Kobalt tools and impact wrenches
- This impact is a tool-only kit and the battery-charger combo must be purchased separately if not available in a kit
- Charge Time: Less than an hour
- Color: Blue
- Drive Size: 3/8-in
- Forward and Reverse Switch
- Impact Wrench Size: .375 in
- IMP (Impacts Per Minute): 3500
- Length: 5.75 in
- Material: Plastic
- Maximum Torque: 150
- No-Load Speed: 2300
- Batteries Included: 0
- Tool Weight: 2.4 lbs
- Battery Voltage: 24-Volt Max
- Case: No
- Charger Included: No
- Variable Speed: Yes
The first and most obvious benefit is a mostly unique feature to this impact wrench: the battery power. While many cordless tools are still coming out in smaller voltages, the 24-V variety is, in my own personal opinion, one of the best choices a person can make, especially in a drill of such compact size as this Kobalt impact wrench.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF
This impact line hasn’t been around very long and hasn’t yet proven itself to be “long-term.” I was more than pleased with my 24-V hammer drill as I mentioned before, but it wasn’t long before Black & Decker pulled this line and with it any hope I had for fresh batteries, support, and additional tools. Will/would Kobalt do this? Hard to say–it’s still early.
Again, as with some other tools we have looked at recently, it is not exactly what we would label an “all-inclusive, anything goes” impact wrench, but it is indeed a powerful little tool.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I have a history of purchasing Kobalt tools, primarily because of my aversion to certain other hardware stores around my home combined with the fact that these were readily available and often within my price range–not to mention the uniqueness they sometimes offered.
It would be an absolutely amazing tool if the torque and RPM were increased, but the fact that the price is very fair–not to mention the 24V power and IPMs–causes me to be lenient.