As seen in:
Milwaukee Electric Tool
M18 1/2-Inch
DEWALT
20V MAX XR
Makita
18V LXT
Bosch
18-Volt Brushless
Ingersoll Rand
Hi-Torque Impact One
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Good

Powerful torque (1,100 ft.lbs.). Runs at two speeds.

Excellent amp hour and torque stats. Good grip.

Decent torque. Rocker switch trigger. Package includes two batteries instead of one.

Decent power and performance. Operates at three speeds. The slim handle is ideal for smaller hands.

Generates up to 1,100 ft.lbs. of torque. Impact mechanism has a protective aluminum casing.

Bad

Rare complaints about product defects.

Includes only one battery.

Only runs at one speed.

Warranty lasts for just one year. Some owners complain about noise output.

Runs at only one speed. Fewer features than its competitors (no LED, no belt loop).

Bottom Line

Pricey yet competitive, this tough, quality-made tool appeals to amateurs and professionals alike. It's the best on the market.

A tool with impressive power figures from a highly regarded company.

A substantial, high-quality impact wrench with plenty of dedicated fans.

Small and lightweight, this compact impact wrench sells for an affordable price.

This simple tool is low on features and price, yet it's high on quality. It's the best bargain impact wrench available.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
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Products received from manufacturers
143
Models Considered
16
Hours Spent
1
Experts Interviewed
294
Consumers Consulted

Best Impact Wrenches

A decade ago, a good impact wrench required a bulky compressor in order to deliver an adequate performance. Thankfully, today's cordless impact wrenches offer a convenient, powerful alternative. To ensure a level field, all have half-inch drives. Each manufacturer offers similar 3/8-inch drive alternatives, and low-cost adapters are readily available if you want to handle both.

We examined dozens of models. Below are the five best impact wrenches that made it through our rigorous selection process.

Products we Considered

Milwaukee Electric Tool
M18 1/2-Inch
DEWALT
20V MAX XR
Makita
18V LXT
Bosch
18-Volt Brushless
Ingersoll Rand
Hi-Torque Impact One

Considerations

Power, Torque & IPM

All cordless tools rely on battery power, but when you're dealing with tough bolts and nuts, torque is arguably the most important power factor. Impacts Per Minute (IPM)–the number of times the wrench "hits" the nut or bolt–is another useful guide.

Weight & Build

A top cordless impact wrench isn't necessarily the lightest tool in your box. However, good ergonomics make usage more comfortable, especially if you plan to work your wrench for long periods. Because these tools endure quite a bit of abuse, build quality is vital for durability.

Features & Warranty

From multiple speeds to LED lights that help illuminate dark corners, each tool sports unique features that make it stand out. Given how hard these tools work, warranty length is also a factor worth your consideration.

Price

The best impact wrenches aren't cheap, but they're good at what they do. So good, in fact, that it's difficult to separate our final five. In this section of our ratings, we look at feedback from owners and evaluate each wrench in terms of both price and real-world quality.

Considerations

Power, Torque & IPM

DEWALT DCF899P1 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque

Before we delve into the details, a quick note about torque. The term "torque" is surprisingly difficult to define. That's because several factors–diameter of bolt, thread depth, and so on–each make a difference. Every manufacturer quotes impressive torque figures, but each has its own way of measuring those figures. Unfortunately, no common standards exist in the measurement of torque. Maximums are useful for general comparison, but these figures shouldn't be taken as a precise measure.

The DEWALT DCF899P1 runs a 20-volt brushless motor rated at five amp hours. While there's little practical difference between the 18- and 20-volt motors used by all of our top impact wrenches, brushless motors are more efficient than older brush motors because the latter suffers energy loss through the heat generated. Historically, brushless motors have been considerably more expensive, but as we'll see later, this isn't always the case.

"Amp hours" (Ah) is another term that's difficult to define precisely, but in real-world terms, the higher the number, the longer the device can maintain peak performance. When it comes to Ah, the DeWalt outperforms everything else here. Torque figures are also impressive, though they're not extraordinary in this company. Breakaway torque–the initial force needed to get the nut or bolt moving–is 1,200 foot pounds (ft.lbs.) with a maximum of 700 ft.lbs. in normal use. It generates 2,400 impacts per minute (IPM).

Makita XWT04M 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless High Torque Impact Wrench Kit

The Makita XWT04M LXT's 18-volt brush motor is rated for four amp hours. That's less than the DEWALT, but while the drive unit may not be quite as efficient, it still delivers plenty of power. Makita quotes a torque value of 325 ft.lbs., which is just a fraction of the torque generated by the DEWALT. But this doesn't mean the Makita is weak. Rather, it underlines what we've said about how torque figures are calculated differently by different manufacturers. Our research turned up no complaints from owners about lack of torque or power in general. In fact, we found quite the opposite: the majority of owners love their Makita. IPM is rated at 2,200.

Bosch IWBH182-01L 18-volt Brushless 1/2-Inch Pin Detent Impact Wrench

Like the Makita, the Bosch IWBH182-01L sports an 18-volt motor rated for four amp hours. In this case, however, the motor is brushless. The manufacturer points out that the motor never needs maintenance and that it should last longer because of its construction. When it comes to torque, Bosch quotes in inch pounds (in.lbs.) rather than ft.lbs. That figure is 1,650. As there are 12 in.lbs. for every ft.lb., that translates to a figure of 137.5 ft.lbs. for the Bosch–the lowest in our review so far. We don't understand why, but the manufacturer claims that this tool is the most powerful impact driver in its class. We do know that, as with the Makita, you'd struggle to find anyone who thinks badly of its performance. IPM is 3,200.

Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1 1/2" Hi-Torque Impact One Battery Kit

Ingersoll Rand is one of the best-known names in this sector. The company has manufactured excellent air-powered impact wrenches for decades. You'd expect their cordless W7150-K1 to encompass that reputation and experience, and it does. But in terms of numbers, its 20-volt, three-Ah brush motor is by no means the most impressive here. It does, however, generate 1,100 ft.lbs. of "nut-busting" torque and up to 780 ft.lbs. normally. IPM is also competitive at 2,300.

Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2" Inch Impact Wrench

Our final choice, the Milwaukee 2763-22 M18, is another with an 18-volt brushless motor. Like many others in this sector, it sports a power rating of four Ah. Just like Bosch, Milwaukee likes to emphasize the advantages this kind of power unit offers: cool running and more efficient power transfer. It certainly delivers competitive figures for torque, quoting the same "nut-busting" 1,100 ft.lbs as the Ingersoll Rand and a similar tightening number of 700 ft.lbs. When it comes to IPM, it's right up there with the best at 3,200.

Milwaukee quotes a "nut-busting" torque figure of 1,100 ft.lbs. and a similar tightening number of 700 ft.lbs.
Considerations

Weight & Build

An impact wrench needs to be robust. Because of this requirement, the typical tool is quite big and heavy. The DeWalt is roughly 10 x 10.5 inches and weighs a little over six pounds, so it's certainly no lightweight. However, it's not particularly large when compared to its rivals.

As you'd expect from a company with DEWALT's stellar reputation, the DCF899P1 is made very well. Thanks to its protective shielding, it will survive a drop of six to eight inches. This model has a detent pin anvil for socket retention rather than a hog (or friction) ring. Opinion is divided as to which is best: the detent offers more positive grip, and the hog ring offers faster changing. In general, less-experienced mechanics go for the former, while professionals choose the latter.

Those who have only seen the Makita in pictures (where it looks quite slender) or read the manufacturer's description of it as "compact" might be surprised by the sight of it. It measures roughly 12 x 11 inches and weighs over six pounds, so it's a substantial tool. It's another model with high-quality components and finish throughout, and though the manufacturer doesn't ascribe a "drop height," they do say that the handle will absorb shock if you let it go. Socket retention is by way of a friction ring.

You won't find an impact wrench much smaller than the Bosch, which is nine inches tall and under six inches from front to back. At just 3.6 pounds, it's also among the lightest in its class. Bosch focuses on this aspect of the tool, pointing out that the grip has a small diameter with desirable ergonomics. Whether that's true will depend on your physical size, but it could well be important if you have small hands. Sockets attach via a sloped pin detent, which is designed to be both fast and secure.

Ingersoll Rand has designed many professional-grade tools for busy workshops. As such, the rugged, fuss-free look of this cordless impact wrench comes as no surprise. The manufacturer's claim that it's the shortest impact wrench in its class must be taken in context. It's actually about 9.5 x 11.5 inches–far bigger than the Bosch. (It must be remembered that the Ingersoll Rand and the Bosch are aimed at different markets!) The Ingersoll Rand weighs 6.8 pounds and has a friction ring anvil. We like the fact that the impact mechanism's aluminum casing offers plenty of protection.

At a little over 10 x 8 inches and a weight of 6.2 pounds, the purposeful-looking Milwaukee sits somewhere in the middle of our impact wrench review in terms of size and weight. Once again, we have all-metal protection at the business end, reflecting the manufacturer's reputation for tough quality. Whether you get one for home use or not, Milwaukee definitely wants the public to see this tool as something a professional would choose. This approach carries through to the Milwaukee's socket retention, which is by way of a friction ring.

The aluminum casing surrounding the Ingersoll Rand's impact mechanism offers ample protection.
Scott
Expert Consultant
Scott
Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

Scott completed his first woodworking project in the 5th grade, and he’s been an avid woodworker ever since. For the past 46 years, Scott has enjoyed remodeling homes, building custom cabinets and mantels, installing hardwood floors/trim work, and many other unique projects.

Considerations

Features & Warranty

DEWALT DCF899P1 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque

With a brand like DEWALT, you expect useful features. This impact wrench doesn't disappoint. Features include an LED work light to brighten dark corners, a battery charge indicator (they call it a "fuel gauge"), and three speeds: 400, 1200, and 1900 rpm. The majority of impact wrenches demand good trigger control from the user because the power is "full on." The DEWALT gives those with less experience more control by allowing them to back off the power. This package also includes a nice tool bag, a charger, and one battery. The warranty lasts for three years, but we recommend that you read the fine print. (This applies to all warranties for all impact wrenches!)

Makita XWT04M 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless High Torque Impact Wrench Kit

One of the Makita's coolest features is the rocker switch trigger. Rather than fiddling with a different button for forward and reverse, you simply press the upper or lower part of the lever. This is a single-speed tool. Aside from the handy belt loop, the rest of the features are standard fare: an LED light, a charger, and a sturdy canvas bag to hold everything. Notably, Makita throws in two batteries instead of just one. This is definitely a benefit, though it's important to compare prices to see what it would cost to buy an extra battery for those impact wrench kits that only include one. Purchase of the Makita includes a three-year warranty.

Bosch IWBH182-01L 18-volt Brushless 1/2-Inch Pin Detent Impact Wrench

Bosch has a reputation for advanced electronics, and that's certainly an area they emphasize here. With three speeds, this impact wrench has a "Performance Control System" which is particularly valuable to the kind of owner it's aimed at. The selected speed is shown by a set of indicators at the base. (Some owners have mistaken these indicators for a battery charge indicator.) There's an LED, a belt loop, two batteries, and a sturdy case for the charger. Unusually, the Bosch's warranty lasts just one year.

Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1 1/2" Hi-Torque Impact One Battery Kit

The Ingersoll Rand is a purposeful, professional tool. The patent-pending soft grip handle is designed to reduce vibration, which is a valuable benefit. However, that's it for the "bells and whistles." There's no LED, no multiple speeds, and no belt loop. You get a single battery, a charger, and a tough, blow moulded case. Like most of its rivals, the Ingersoll Rand's warranty lasts three years.

Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2" Inch Impact Wrench

It seems that Milwaukee is aiming to position its impact wrench somewhere between the professional-grade Ingersoll Rand and the consumer-oriented Bosch. It's certainly tough, but Milwaukee also draws attention to its "Redlink Plus Intelligence" (which basically means there are two speeds to choose from) and "Redlithium battery technology" (which is claimed to offer a longer run time). Apart from the usual LED, the manufacturer includes a charger, two batteries, and a solid case with purchase. In line with the majority of other impact wrenches, the warranty lasts for three years.

The Ingersoll Rand's patent-pending soft grip handle reduces vibration–a valuable benefit.
Considerations

Price

DEWALT DCF899P1 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque

DEWALT's quality means they're never the budget brand, but at a price of $349, this wrench delivers an excellent competitive value. It's got plenty of power for those who want to push it to the limit and multiple speeds for those who require flexibility. It's big, but the handle is quite slim, and owners say the ergonomics are fine. Indeed, feedback is overwhelmingly positive; this tool receives one of the highest satisfaction ratings of any tool we reviewed.

Makita XWT04M 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless High Torque Impact Wrench Kit

It's difficult to criticize the $339 Makita impact wrench. Indeed, it's a popular choice among consumers. But while it offers two batteries where others include only one, some of the technology isn't as up-to-date as we'd like. (It's a brush motor, and it runs at just one speed.) A few owners don't like how large it is (you might struggle in tight spaces), but nobody complains about a lack of power. Compared to the other winning impact wrenches on this list, you might find a better deal for your money elsewhere.

Bosch IWBH182-01L 18-volt Brushless 1/2-Inch Pin Detent Impact Wrench

If you're looking for a compact impact wrench, you'll struggle to find one better than the Bosch. At a cost of $290, it's a terrific value. Perhaps it doesn't deliver the high performance of some competitors, but not everyone needs to crack huge wheel nuts off giant earth movers. The only complaint from owners is that it's pretty loud. (Then again, none of these tools are what you'd call "quiet.") Other than that, it's almost impossible to find anyone with a bad word to say about it.

Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1 1/2" Hi-Torque Impact One Battery Kit

You'll see Ingersoll Rand air wrenches in workshops everywhere. They are, without question, one of the market leaders. For just $373, you can have Ingersoll Rand's cordless impact wrench and benefit from all the experience and quality that goes into their "pro" tools. OK, so it's a bit basic, but almost everyone who bought one is delighted with it. There have been a couple reports of battery problems, and some consumers don't like the position of the forward/reverse switch. However, many owners rave about the Ingersoll Rand's tremendous torque and how long it runs before it needs recharging.

Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2" Inch Impact Wrench

Milwaukee has a reputation for making tools at the premium end of the market. As such, the $401 price tag on their impact wrench comes as no surprise. That's still competitive, and for your money, you get a comprehensive kit that receives rave reviews from testers and owners alike. Owners have registered a few complaints about defects, but not recently, so we wonder if this was a production issue that's been resolved. The overwhelming majority of owner comments are positive. Many people say the Milwaukee is a wonderful alternative to professional air tools.

The Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 is a comprehensive kit that receives rave reviews from testers and owners alike.

Best of the Best

The contest for our "Best of the Best" title was close, and we doubt that any of the choices on our shortlist would leave you disappointed. That being said, we believe the best impact wrench on today's market is the Milwaukee 2763-22 M18.

The Milwaukee's dependable motor is the widely used 18-volt, four-Ah version. Because it's brushless, there's no power drain and no overheating problems. Importantly, it delivers impressive torque: 700 ft.lbs. in normal use and up to 1,100 ft.lbs. for cracking stubborn nuts. Its service life is excellent.

Most impact wrenches are substantial tools. The Milwaukee manages to deliver top performance in a comparatively compact and ergonomic package. At the same time, the manufacturer acknowledges the kind of punishment impact wrenches generally take by encasing the mechanism in a protective metal shroud.

The Milwaukee impact wrench hails from a rare breed in that it's a master of all things. It has the power delivery of a pro tool like the Ingersoll Rand, yet it also offers amateur-friendly features like the two speeds and LED. It comes with a strong case, a charger, two batteries, and a three-year warranty.

To give a fair and balanced review, it's always important to consider what owners say. We're happy to report that their feelings are pretty much the same as ours: the Milwaukee offers phenomenal torque, great build quality, and the undeniable convenience of a cordless tool. It's tough to find anyone who doesn't rate is as the best impact wrench on the market.
Best of the Best
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The Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 offers phenomenal torque, great build quality, and the convenience of a cordless tool.

Best Bang for your Buck

Choosing the winner in our "Best Bang for Your Buck" category was extremely hard, but in the end, the award for the most impressive value goes to the Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1.

If you picked the DEWALT, you'd have a great impact wrench. The Makita? Apart from being a bit large, it's a superb tool. And if you need performance in a compact package, the Bosch is probably your answer.

But the Ingersoll Rand offers just about everything those impact wrenches do and then some. The 20-volt motor is among the most powerful here. Its torque figures of 1,100 ft.lbs. or 780 ft.lbs. are outstanding. It includes the friction ring socket attachment that professionals prefer, and it's built like a tank–though it's not bigger or heavier than much of the competition.

So why didn't it win our Best of the Best title? This simplistic wrench offers only one speed, no LED, and just one battery. We'd prefer a brushless motor, too. On top of that, the Ingersoll Rand seems to focus more on professional use than some amateurs would need.

That said, there are plenty of consumers who would buy this impact wrench for the brand name alone. Ingersoll Rand is arguably the best maker of air-powered impact wrenches, and now it has entered the cordless market with a tool that's every bit as powerful–just ask anyone who's bought one! Added to that, it currently costs just $373, and that's an absolute bargain.
Best Bang for your Buck
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Ingersoll Rand is arguably the best maker of air-powered impact wrenches. Now they've entered the cordless market with the splendid W7150-K1.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Adrian
    Adrian
    Senior Engineer