Handy work is good for the soul. We have all used the traditional manual torque wrenches to work on lug nuts, bolts, and screws. These tools work with outstanding precision when adequately calibrated, although more muscle, elbow grease, and time are needed to get the job done.
Cordless impact wrenches offer equally high precision, yet they save you both time and effort. If the cordless impact wrench bug has bitten you, this guide is for you.
Dive in, and let’s look at the key things to consider when buying a cordless impact wrench. We will cover all the basics that need consideration, irrespective of whether you need a machine for home use or professional use.
Let’s get started!
Choosing a Top- Quality Impact Wrench
Think of a cordless impact wrench as a powered version of a manual torque wrench. This is a tool frequently used in the auto repair world to tighten or loosen the lug nuts of all kinds of cars. It also comes in handy during product assembly, home building, and repair projects.
Irrespective of how and where you intend to use your wrench, here are the most crucial aspects to consider.
Motor Power and Torque Range The motor power and torque range of a machine will determine whether it can get a specific job done. Forget the slippery marketing gimmicks used on advertisements and focus on the specs of a tool.
Does it provide sufficient power to unscrew tuff bolts?
Even though impact wrenches are potent tools, some can only provide adequate punch for simple product assembly tasks.
If you need a unit for fastening and unfastening car wheel lug nuts, for instance, make sure your tool of choice offers at least 220 ft-lb maximum torque. This is plenty of punch to work on your car wheels and handle other medium-duty tasks around your home.
Naturally, more power is needed if you want a machine for use within a commercial or industrial setting. In this case, it is also vital to choose models with sturdy construction designed to survive even in the most unforgiving conditions.
Impact wrenches have different drive sizes. Some have 1/2” drives while others have 3/8” or 1/4” drives. The drive size shows the amount of torque you will receive.
Here’s the deal, different drive sizes are ideal for various tasks. When changing tires, for example, you need to use the 1/2” drive. The best cordless impact wrench will have an adjustable control that allows you to switch to the right torque rate for the task.
RPM and IPM
RPM (revolutions per minute) refers to the speed at which a wrench operates. On the other hand, IPM (impacts per minute) refers to the number of times the hammer hits the anvil with each passing minute. When a tool has a higher IPM and RPM, you get more power.
Nickel-cadmium batteries are almost completely phased out because of their high self-discharge rate. Currently, any cordless power tool worth buying will have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Such batteries are more durable, allow fast charging, and have a lower self-discharge rate.
Cordless impact wrench power is measured in voltage. Units that have more energy are perceived to provide more power. If you solely intend to handle light-duty household tasks, a 6V-12V device will suffice.
On the other hand, a 12V-20V machine is an excellent option for medium-duty jobs such as changing tires. In case you need an impact wrench for heavy-duty construction work, consider models that operate on 24V-36V.
Weight and Size
When using any other kind of power tool, operating an impact wrench puts you at risk of suffering from hand fatigue. Before choosing the product to buy, consider the average scope of your projects, your typical work environment, and the portability level you need.
The idea is to pin down an ideal machine for your needs. You may undoubtedly look more refreshing with a more vital, more powerful-looking tool, although the weight will take a toll on your wrist when working on longer, more demanding projects.
When it comes to choosing impact wrenches, a lighter, more compact unit is always better. You can find small yet powerful models that make it super easy to work around tight spaces. Such machines are also easy to carry to different work sites if you are a mobile contractor.
Generally speaking, impact wrenches are loud. It is crucial to wear ear protection, even if you only intend to work for a few minutes.
Although these tools are inherently loud, some machines are louder than others. Before buying any device, be sure to check out its decibel level. As a rule of thumb, the lower the decibel level, the better.
Ergonomically designed cordless impact wrenches offer enhanced ease of use. Consider choosing machines that have comfy, slip-resistant grips for enhanced comfort when working for extended hours.
True DIY enthusiasts and professional mechanics may also find it best to purchase tools with belt hooks for easier handling.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which cordless impact wrench has the most torque?
Cordless impact wrenches with brushless motors tend to offer better runtime and more power. Models like the DEWALT 20V DCF899P deliver up to 700ft-lbs torque and boast of a high RPM of 1,900.
You can also find tools like the POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor that generates an impressive 1,800ft-lbs of nut-busting torque. This is by far the most powerful cordless impact wrench, although it’s mainly ideal for industrial applications.
- How does cordless impact wrench work?
The science behind how cordless impact wrenches work is quite simple. These machines are battery powered and have a motor that builds up energy and transfers it to an anvil. This energy is then channeled to the output shaft, allowing you to operate the equipment.
- How much torque do you require removing lug nuts using an impact wrench?
80-100ft-lbs of torque is generally sufficient to tighten or loosen vehicle wheel lug nuts. Even the most stubborn, over-torqued, and rusty lug nuts can be freed using a machine with 220ft-lb to 300ft-lb.
- How long does it take to charge the battery of a cordless impact wrench?
Different models have batteries with exact specifications. However, the majorities of batteries fitted on cordless impact wrenches will take a maximum of 2 hours to charge fully.
- What Is RPM, IPM, and torque, is there any difference?
A machine with high torque, RPM, and IPM will deliver more power. However, these are different things that work together to enhance the overall performance of a tool.
While the torque of a cordless impact wrench refers to the twisting or rotational force, RPM refers to the speed of a machine (revolutions per minute). IPM stands for the amount of contact the tool has with targeted nuts (impacts per minute).
Cordless impact wrenches are powerful tools capable of generating plenty of torque to break free, even the peskiest lug nuts.
While the need to re-torque using your regular manual torque wrench cannot be underestimated, it is a fact that these power tools make work easier and speed up the completion of demanding projects.
Choosing the right machine from the parades of tools in the market can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, we’ve offered a guide that highlights the things to consider before buying a cordless impact wrench.
Taking these aspects into account when shopping will drastically narrow down your options, making it easier to pin down the best machine for your needs.