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Jeff T. writes: “I don’t currently have any air tools, but was wondering if in the meantime I could get away with one of the electric 1/2” impacts that are sold at Harbor Freight, Lowes, etc.  I was just wondering if they’re decent as I don’t have the money for a nice pneumatic impact and a compressor right now.”

We’ve got a test coming this week with Milwaukee’s V28 cordless impact, so we’ll let you know about that shortly, but I’ve never used other electric impact wrenches much.  Back when I was autocrossing, I saw people using ’em to speed up wheel swaps, but I was way too poor back then to buy one.

What say you?  Are they decent?  And if you like ’em, what’s your favorite?  Let us know in comments.

Electric Impact Wrenches [Froogle]

 

31 Responses to Hot or Not? Electric Impact Wrenches

  1. fjr says:

    I own a ridgid right-angle 12v cordless impact (it was featured a month or so ago here)…

    I love it.

    I bought it one night after fighting with the ball joints on my dad’s car for 2 nights. I couldn’t spend any more time on the car, I needed it done. It seemed spinning the bolt faster with more torque was the only thing that was going to make it spin up. It worked (probably just before the battery died).

    I’ve used it everytime I need to spin bolts since then. In many cases you will have to hit it with half a turn by hand just to make sure it’s tight but it certainly cuts down on the time and wrist strain involved in taking things apart and putting them back together.

  2. Rick says:

    I’d be curious to know too.. MaxTools seems to have a decent deal on a DeWalt electric Impact Wrench PLUS a full SAE/Metric Flank Drive Impact Socket Set all for $169 – ::link:: (The impact socket set you can use down the road when you do get a compressor and air impact wrench)

    The only thing I can see, admittedly just by looking at the specs, it seems that the electric models have much lower torque than the air powered versions. I would have guessed the battery powered models would be lower in torque, but I would think the corded electric models should be able to muster a decent amount of torque. The DeWalt musters only about 240 ft-lbs.. But from what I can tell the air powered models seem to have 1000 or more ft-lbs.

    I’d be curious to hear what else others have to say about them.

  3. Joe says:

    I’ve been using a 1/2″ Makita electric impact wrench for the past 10 years for everything from breaking rusty old truck bolts to driving lag bolts. Works great, especially when you need an impact wrench and you don’t have a compressor handy. I’ll be getting a Dewalt 18v impact next.

  4. willbone says:

    The DeWalt is great, you will be glad you have it. I just got one.

  5. nrChris says:

    Looking forward to the review–someone just featured a car kit with a mini electric impact wrench aimed at quick changing flat tires. I will have to dig that up–unless it was featured here and then I am feeling not too smart.

  6. sweetalker says:

    I have a ridgid electric 1/2 impact and a 3/8 Snapon Cordless. The 1/2 does well, but when you need something with a lot of torque, there is no replacment for an air impact.

  7. Harry says:

    I would say warm depending on what else you have available. If you have an compressor and air tools, then an electric corded impact is NOT hot. However, it could prove handy if it’s all you have and you don’t mind the weight and overall size of it. I am surprised these corded impacts haven’t been updated with smaller size, more power, less weight as the cordless versions have been.

  8. Roscoe says:

    We have a full shop at work with plenty of air, but I still reach for a 20 year old Craftsman Electric Impact Wrench. It’s never failed and is easy to use. Another big plus is we can use it in the field with a generator. If you’re on the fence, electric impact wrenches are also very handy for mower blades and putting lag bolts into wood (decks). I’ve always been curious as to what the big fuss is about air-powered impact wrenches.

  9. ambush27 says:

    well air powered impact wrenches are more powerful, but the real question is whether the electric ones are good enough. based on the specs as i only have an air wrench, the cordless electric ones are usually called impact drivers and are scarcely better than a corded drill and often have a quarter inch hex instead of a half inch socket. however the higher end cordless impact wrenches can often produce nearly as much torque as a low end air wrench. the bottom line is most should have no trouble with the average job, but i wouldn’t use one for any drivetrain or suspension jobs.

  10. Jeff T says:

    I decided to go ahead and jump at the more expensive pneumatic option yesterday. I went down to Harbor Freight and since I had some in-store credit there, I got the “Earthquake” 625 ft-lb 1/2″ impact for ~$60 out-of-pocket. My birthday is coming up in March and I’ve already asked the wifey just for money to support the “compressor fund”. I chose the pneumatic because although now all I have is a really small mini-SUV, I used to have a really big Lincoln Town Car (yeah, I know). When I needed to replace the shocks one time, I had to use a friends air tools and if it wasn’t for them, I could have never got anything done. The car had been out all seasons for at least 1 year, so it was pretty darned rusty under there.

    Most satisfying day of ever working on a car though – I got so much done and those air tools were so frickin powerful, I fixed all sorts of issues quickly. That was the most fun car ever too – V8 boat – I had a “truck box” in the trunk to haul tools around that trunk was so darn big, I would use it as my “luxury work truck.” It was a 92 with great paint, etc…

  11. Trevor D. says:

    Hot. And Cordless please! Makes tearing motorcycles apart on the lift go much quicker, especially for engine side covers, which are usually held in place with many 6×1 8mm hex head or 5mm allen head screws. zip zip zip zip zip zip… done!

  12. bruce says:

    I have the Milwaukee electric impact wrench. It has a varabile speed motor, plenty of power and you don’t have to listen to an air compressor run to use it. It is usable anywhere you have electricity. It is also quiter than and air impact. It is no louder than a drill motor unless it is hammering.

    It comes with a 5 year warantee and only cost a little more than the other brands if you shop around. Also, it is made in the USA!

    I bought mine at CPO Milwaukee and got it in three days.

  13. Jeff T says:

    You guys might find this interesting. I just saw a 3/4″ electric impact on HF’s website for something like just $80. Rated at 400ft/lb and it uses a really large pin-clutch mechanism. Although cheap, it looks to be pretty darned powerful, especially for $80 or so.

    If you look around at most of these ones online that are rated at ~250ft/lb, you notice they ALL have the exact same casing, just different color or packaging. I went to Lowes and checked out the Kobalt one above, and the HF one that I also saw seemed to be identical. The Kobalt was $140, the HF was $40. Weird.

  14. Jim Nutt says:

    I picked up one at HF a few years ago for about $40. It’s pretty handy for changing tires, but won’t necessarily break the nut loose (especially if it was last put on by Conan the Mechanic). It sure beats spinning them off by hand though..

    jim

  15. Joel says:

    I LOVE these things, but I’d opt for one that has a decent warranty. I had one from Canadian Tire (Motomaster) and all their stuff has a lifetime warranty – I wrecked one by completely abusing it and just took it back for a replacement. I think I could probably do this until the end of time with this particular retailer.

  16. Paul says:

    Joel Says:
    I LOVE these things, but I’d opt for one that has a decent warranty. I had one from Canadian Tire (Motomaster) and all their stuff has a lifetime warranty – I wrecked one by completely abusing it and just took it back for a replacement. I think I could probably do this until the end of time with this particular retailer.

    Ha-ha! That is great Joel! A warranty that is honored without a song and a dance is the mana all tool users dream about. It is what put Craftsman on the map.

    I don’t have any electric impact wrenches, I do have some air ones, a 1/2, and 3/8s guns. Those and a couple air ratchets do make mechanical jobs move right along. I don’t think everyone’s concern about ultimate torque is such a big issue with how the tools are used over time. Really if the hardware is that stuck too much torque is just going to break the hardware on you anyways. You should really loosen up the hardware by hand, for better feel.

    But stubborn, or long winded. or restricted access hardware is where power drivers really shine, saving you from wrist burn spinning wrenches. Getting the job done fast, while keeping you fresh.

  17. Titus Pullo says:

    I bought a HF 12V model on sale for $9.99 a few years ago. It plugs into the cigarette lighter but also has clips for direct connection to the battery. I bought it mainly to change tires especially when they overtorqued by impact wrenches at the local repair shop.

    However, I have been impressed with it. While working on my car, it has come in handy more than a dozen times on super tight bolts that weren’t budging no matter how much I tried (rusted caliper bolts & motor mount bolts). Its not made for continuous use, but then I only pull it out when I have no other choice. It has its own case with 4 sockets to adapt to most lug nuts out there. BTW, one of these days I’m gonna use it on the infamous Honda Crank Pulley Bolt on my Accord and see how it goes. LOL.

    Best tool investment I have made to date!

  18. I was wondering if I could ask Roscoe what model number Craftsman impact wrench he has. I’ve got a Craftsman model # 27511 Industrial impact wrench. I would like to know if he has one like mine and if he could send me a copy of the owner manual. Good response from Roscoe….

    Roscoe Says:
    February 10th, 2007 at 10:02 pm
    We have a full shop at work with plenty of air, but I still reach for a 20 year old Craftsman Electric Impact Wrench. It’s never failed and is easy to use. Another big plus is we can use it in the field with a generator. If you’re on the fence, electric impact wrenches are also very handy for mower blades and putting lag bolts into wood (decks). I’ve always been curious as to what the big fuss is about air-powered impact wrenches.

  19. Jim R says:

    I’m on a pit crew for a local dirt track racer. We are contemplating on buying a new 1/2″ electric or 1/2″ cordless impact wrench. I had seen that Craftsman makes a 19.2V attachment. I already have a 19.2V set for easy changeability but wondering if it is powerful enough for changing tires and stuff???

  20. LL says:

    Jim R. check out the goodyear 24volt impact wrench at pepboys
    (170+ 200? torque) or the aleganey? 280lb torque.

    goodyear was on sale 69 w/rebate now ? 100 I have had this model for last year no problem but only one battery with it. allegany looked interesting

    also check out menards, had 24 volt with 2 batteries for 60?
    2 batteries=backup when pulling parts at local pick and pull junk yard. (also menards toolshop warrenty…keep receit for tools)

  21. Keith says:

    I have Habror Freight 1/2″ Model ($79.00). I bought it because the local “garage jockeys” jammed my F-250 lug nuts on so tight that jumping on the wrench wouldn’t budge them.

    I used the HF wrench and it had to hammer on them in place for a while, but it did eventually bust them all loose. The HF was rated at 250ft/lbs, but I weigh 230 and even jumping on a long wrench handle that was over a foot I couldn’t budge them. I also like that it saves lots of time versus a lug wrench, as with eight lugs per wheel it can take forever to spin them off with a lug wrench.

  22. Joe says:

    Tutus Pullo said, “I bought a HF 12V model on sale for $9.99 a few years ago. It plugs into the cigarette lighter but also has clips for direct connection to the battery… one of these days I’m gonna use it on the infamous Honda Crank Pulley Bolt on my Accord and see how it goes.”

    Damn! That’s exactly what I was wondering if the exact same impact wrench from HF would do! I HATE that bolt! I guess I’ll try it and let y’all know how it goes.

  23. Joe says:

    Okay, I bought it and tried it. I got the Chicago Electric 1/2″ Drive Heavy Duty Digital Impact Wrench, which plugs into a cigarette lighter and is supposed to put out 250 ft-lbs max. It’s HF part number 98701. It was $40. At first it wouldn’t deliver an impact in the loosening direction, only in the tightening direction. So I took it apart and turned around the little pawl that engages the anvil after the flywheel thingy spins up. After that it worked. The exploded diagram in the instruction manual shows the pawl in the orientation I changed it to.

  24. Clark F says:

    Ive got Snap-On’s new 18V cordless, and love it. Use it all the at home. for smaller fasteners, ill usually break them loose with hand tools, and zip em out with an el cheapo black and decker 7V cordless drill and 3/8″ drive socket adapter. Sooner or later, Ill shell out for Snap-Ons 3/8″ cordless, or maybe DeWalts.

  25. Pete says:

    The HF Chicago Electric corded model ($40 on freq sales )is great for occasional use but I think the specs are are overstated . Buying a used Dewalt or Milwaukee for $ 75 would be better ,but then again you just can’t drive over to the store and pick it up .

  26. Mechaguy says:

    I just bought one of this tool at lowes and used it right away to change my tire and doesn’t work at all!!!. This tool sucks and doesn’t have enough power to get the tire bolts loosen up. I’m returning this piece of s**t back and probably get me an air tool instead. Don’t waste your money on this useless tool. I paid $150 tax included and im gona get my money back.

  27. Tom Cook says:

    I have a pretty old Craftsman Coommercial Adjusta-Torque Trigger Control electric Impact tool There doesn’t seem to be any adjustment for torque and has no torque. I can put a socket on and hold the socket in place with my hand while running. I mean zero torque.

    I would like to use it to crank my popup trailer up and down. Can it be repaired, if so where? Or is it even worth it?

  28. DNero says:

    I purchased a Allegheny cordless Impact Wrench powered by a 24.0V rechargeable battery. At first it seemed like it would be great I was able to do one or two jobs with it but after that the battery would never hold a charge long enough to make this tool any good at all anymore. Every time I would take it out to use it the battery was dead, even right after a fresh charge it wouldn’t do more than a few turns before it would slow down & die. I even purchased a second battery to alternate but it didn’t do any good, they were both the same. I wish I could return it but I can’t find that darn receipt.
    It’s the Allegheny CIW114 Cordless Impact Wrench, DON’T waste your time with this one.

  29. Miguel says:

    My coment is just the same as the one from DNero: I have an allegheny 24 volt impact wrench, but the batteries keep dying, I have bouth 2 extra batteries, both are no good I have one that is with tool and seam to be working for now. I want to buy another or battery to have an extra one, buy I don’t find the place where to buy it. Originally I gouth them at a Pep Boys store in Downey California, but they dont have them anymore, which is worse they don’t even remember they some time ago sold that tool brand. I would appreciate if somebody can tell me where I can find a distributor of the brand “ALLEGHENY”
    Thank you very much.

  30. B Series says:

    Well I have read this entire “Hot or Not”.. and only know that i need to rebuild much of the front end of my 2000 B2500 b/c of the hell fire heat in Texas and won’t be buying a cheap cordless to unbolt anything. A cheap 120V might work & be a lot easier than borrowing a compressor. But I know a $50. 1/2″ Harbor Freight Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench rated at a torque range:25-300 ft. lbs. with Max@425 ft. lbs. Free speed:6500RMP ought to do the job even if I don’t know what “Free Speed” rating is? When I can spend $100+ for an Impact Driver I will get IR231c + compressor for another $100+ … Funny thing is since they are all made in China whether craftsman, IR with American Company Labels and they pretty much look alike except for the Brand on them & color, they should work just as well. I am tired of looking at & researching all these brand names “all the products are manufactured in China”?

  31. Jose pimentel jr says:

    I was looking forward to knowing what is the price of the half inch impact wrench Kobalt with the socket set all in one suitcase

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