One of the most useful pieces of equipment in any household is an impact wrench. Whether using it to change tires or taking care of an old over-tightened or rusted nut or bolt, buying a proper cordless wrench saves you a lot of time and frustration. In this article, we will guide you on how to choose the right cordless impact wrench that will make your day to day life a lot easier.
Back to the Basics
Like any good equipment buying guide, we need to first start by knowing our equipment.
Unlike cordless drills, battery-powered wrenches boast significantly higher torque and power figures. A small but highly efficient electric motor produces a lot of energy driving the anvil located at the end of the wrench. As a result, the immense amount of torque generated is used to fasten nuts and bolts. Apart from that, cordless impact wrenches also feature a host of varying socket sizes designed to fit different types of nuts and bolts. If you are a motorsport enthusiast or F1 fan you already have an idea of its precision.
Cordless vs Corded vs. Pneumatic Impact Wrenches
In recent years, cordless wrenches have been growing in popularity compared to their corded siblings. The portable nature of battery-powered wrenches makes it ideal for homes, personal garages, or places that lack any power source. Corded wrenches are generally lighter as they do not come with rechargeable batteries and can only be used at places that can accommodate a power cord.
On the other hand, before the arrival of battery-powered wrenches, pneumatic wrenches dominated the market. The gas-powered devices even boast higher torque figures than regular electric wrenches. However, the extra power comes at a cost as pneumatic wrenches require a lot of maintenance and consume a lot of power.
How to Find the Right Cordless Impact Wrench?
Now that we have an idea of the device it’s time to look into some key factors while purchasing the right impact wrench. Always keep in mind that the right equipment has the power to significantly change your life and make day to day tasks much easier and hassle-free.
1. Carefully analyze torque figures
One of the most important factors to consider while buying a battery-powered wrench is the amount of torque it generates. Comparing torque figures of different models gives you a clear idea of what is best for you. Nowadays, cordless wrenches even come with multiple torque settings and added functionalities. Moreover, buying a wrench with varying torque settings prevents overtightening and saves power as users can apply the exact torque settings required for a particular task.
2. Check battery voltage
With the term “battery-powered” in its name, checking the voltage rating of the battery is an important criterion for choosing the perfect wrench. Like every other battery-powered equipment, cordless wrenches feature various power ratings. For instance, a wrench with a 20-volt battery has a higher power output than an 18-volt one.
3. Decide on the body type and socket size of your wrench
Another key factor to consider while buying a cordless wrench is its body type and how it is suited to your needs. Cordless wrenches generally come in two body types: an inline style shaped more like a large screwdriver where the grip is behind the hammer and anvil. On the other hand, a usual pistol-shaped wrench is the one we regularly see with the grip beneath the motor and anvil. Both serve the same purpose, but the inline wrench is much sleeker and suited for narrow and tight spots.
Whether inline or pistol-shaped cordless impact wrenches come with varying socket sizes to fit different nuts and bolts. The following table guides you on various socket sizes and their compatibility.
Impact Wrench Shape
|1/4-inch||Inline and pistol|
|3/8-inch||Pistol and an inline butterfly wrench|
|1-inch||Pistol and T-shaped inline wrench|
4. Check battery life
Buying a cordless wrench with a higher battery life has multiple advantages. It allows you to work longer hours on a single charge. Always make sure to check out battery life ratings such as 1.5 Ah or 3 Ah while buying an impact wrench. A wrench with a rating of 3 Ah will significantly run for a longer time compared to the 1.5 Ah rated one. Apart from that, it is also advisable to go for brands that use the same battery pack and charger as your other devices.
5. Compare motor speed
Like torque figures, motor speed also determines the quality and utility of your wrench. Generally, wrenches with a higher rpm are preferred over low rpm ones. For instance, a 3000 RPM rated impact wrench boasts higher torque figures and better performance compared to a wrench rated at 2000 RPM.
Nowadays, companies even offer multiple motor speed settings on wrenches taking the utility of the device to new heights.
6. Ergonomics and comfort
While this might be the most overlooked part, it is vital to emphasize user safety and ergonomics. A wrench with a good ergonomic and comfortable grip reduces the strain on your hands caused by the fast-spinning motor. Apart from that special vibration-absorbing gloves can also be worn to lower the vibration and impact on your hands. It is generally advisable to choose wrenches with a lower vibration and sound level.
7. Durability and reliability
Most cordless impact wrenches usually come with a 2 year or a 3-year warranty and are specifically designed for heavy-duty applications. Make sure to look for design enhancements such as a strong metal body for the gear housing or high-quality plastic that will absorb a significant amount of wear and tear. Moreover, battery-powered wrenches with a brushless motor generally last longer due to fewer moving parts and less friction.
8. Try it out!
Last but not least, try the equipment. Online technical reviews like these do give you a technical idea, however, no amount of reviews can give you a hands-on experience of using a piece of equipment. Trying the equipment out gives you much-needed confidence and lets you analyze how it is suited to your needs. It is advisable to ask for a trial from your manufacturer and discuss your requirements before finalizing the purchase.
Wrapping it Up
A powerful and ergonomic chordless wrench is much more efficient than any handheld tool out there in the market. While there might be countless options to choose from, it is also a good idea to spend time doing some research and comparing various models. Factors such as battery voltage, body type, motor speed, and torque figures should be carefully considered while making a purchase.