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It sucks when you have to tow your broken truck to the garage because a stubborn fastener such as the axle nut or bolt won’t come off. It is even worse when the broken truck is within the garage yard but the air hose or power cord of your impact wrench is too short to reach it. Needless to say, no one even likes hoses and cords coming in their way while trying too hard to access a notorious fastener.
The good news is that you can buy freedom from cables by investing in one of the best 1/2 inch cordless impact wrench guns. This tool is robust and will break loose rusty, stubborn heavy-duty fasteners in seconds. You will not need to worry about plugging the tool into a power source.
What is an impact wrench?
An impact wrench is a type of power tool with high torque output for removing and installing nuts and bolts and other hex fasteners. This tool uses inbuilt rotational hammering action to generate the high torque needed to drive stubborn fasteners.
An impact wrench can be either electric, battery-powered, or air powered.
Another important thing to note is that impact wrenches have a square drive that accepts regular socket wrenches. The size of the drive can be 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″, or 1″. It depends on the application of the tool.
For instance, 1/4-inch & 3/8-inch drives are suitable for low and medium torque applications such as assembling and disassembling car parts held together by small fasteners whereas 1/2″ drive is excellent for medium to high torque applications such are removing lug nuts from cars and trucks. On the other hand, 3/4″ and 1″ impact wrenches are suitable for industrial applications for assembling and dismantling machines and structures that use heavy duty fasteners require very high torque.
In this article, we focus on the 1/2-inch cordless impact wrench. This is a heavy-duty battery-powered wrench that delivers the same or even more power than an equivalent electric or air impact gun.
Typically, a cordless impact wrench will feature a powerful brushed or brushless motor and a long-lasting high-capacity lithium-ion battery. These two components combine to deliver a huge amount of torque for a couple of hours to enable you to remove or install large fasteners without worrying about air compressor with tank or a wall outlet.
Specifically, we identify the 5 best cordless impact wrench kits on the market and share a buying guide to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Best Cordless Impact Wrench Kits
Dewalt Max XR 1/2 Impact Wrench Kit (DCF899M1) – Best Overall
- Max torque: 700ft-lbs fastening, 1200 ft-lbs nut-bursting
- IPM: 2400
- Max speed: 1900 RPM
- Operation modes: 3
- Anvil: pin detent
- Kit includes: Fast charger, (1) 4.0Ah battery, cloth tool bag
With an incredible amount of nut-busting torque (700 ft-lbs forward and 1200 ft-lbs reverse), the 1/2″ DCF899M1 Dewalt Cordless Impact Wrench is what all stubborn nuts and bolts fear. It will take off lug nuts, axle nuts, brake caliper bracket bolts, and other hardcore nuts and bolts on trucks, tractors, and other heavy-duty machines and bodies with the deserved brutality.
I consider the Dewalt cordless impact wrench 20V 1/2in a multipersonality tool. It has three operation modes that enable it to be either rough, mild, or smooth on fasteners.
Depending on how hard you want to fasten a nut or bolt, the selector switch allows you to deliver the right amount of torque without risking damage. The lower torque setting delivers torque at a speed of up to 400 RPMs while the mid-torque delivers up to 1200 RPMs and the high torque at 1900 RPMs and maximum torque.
This unit features a brushless motor, which enables it to operate effectively and efficiently. As you probably know, brushless motors run cooler than brush motors. As a result, a tool with a brushless motor generally has a longer life. The motor in the DeWalt impact wrench has an electric brake that stops the socket from spinning immediately.
Some impact wrenches are not usable in the dark unless you have a torch or headlamp. But this Dewalt impact wrench has an LED light next to the selector switch that shines. It shines a bright light on hidden nuts and bolts.
The light has a 20 seconds delay to increase visibility in dark work areas. But because of its positioning, it can sometimes cast a shadow on the target thus affecting its effectiveness in some tight spaces.
The DeWalt impact wrench kit 1/2 inch drive runs off the 20V max DeWalt battery pack and can be used with any tool in that lineup. The kit comes with a dual voltage charger that can charge the 20V max battery and the 12V max battery and (1) 4.0Ah XR battery.
Overall, the DeWalt high torque cordless impact wrench kit is without a doubt the best 1/2 inch cordless impact wrench kit. The tool will take out rusty lug nuts and axle nuts in seconds without whining. It comes with an unmatched 5Ah battery that can give you uninterrupted 8 hours of light and heavy use. You can count on this unit for tackling various car repair tasks including suspension works, brakes systems, tire rotation, and many other low and heavy-duty applications.
The major downside of this impact gun is that it is quite bulky on your hand. It weighs a whopping 7.2 pounds and measures 10.5 inches from top to bottom and 8.81 inches from front to back. And despite the slight tilt on the head to increase versatility, this tool is still too big to fit some very tight spaces.
Milwaukee 1/2 Cordless Impact Wrench Kit (2767-222) – Gold standard
- Max torque: 1000ft-lbs forward, 1400 ft-lbs reverse
- IPM: 2100
- Max speed: 1750 RPM
- Operation modes: 4
- Anvil: Friction ring
- Kit includes: Fast charger, (2) 4.0Ah M18 batteries, plastic carry case
The Milwaukee M18 1/2 impact wrench kit (2767-22) comes with the most powerful impact wrench. The tool is an upgrade from Gen 1 impact wrench (2767-22). This unit delivers the highest breakaway torque of 1400 ft-lbs and a fastening torque of 1000 ft-lbs.
Like the Dewalt, Milwaukee M18 impact wrench offers a few operation modes that give you more control over the tool to avoid damaging fasteners. You can select between 4 operation modes. Modes 1, 2, and 3 offer different impacts, RPM, and torque limits while mode 4 delivers the maximum torque for busting stuck rusty bolts and fasteners.
The milwaukee 18v cordless impact wrench features a powerful brushless motor. And as I mentioned, brushless motors prevent sparking and overheating. This ensures that the tool holds up longer.
The brushless motor also allows you to use the tool for extended periods without feeling uncomfortable due to heat. But if it overheats, there is inbuilt overload protection that will shut off the tool automatically. This feature shuts off power to the gun whenever abnormal heating is detected on the electronics, battery, or motor until the unit cools off.
To ensure that you remain productive even in less illuminated work areas, this cordless impact wrench from Milwaukee features a bright LED light with a 20 seconds delay. The light keeps those nasty bolts and nuts on the radar of the tool even in poorly lit spaces.
Another amazing thing about the Milwaukee 2767-22 impact wrench kit is that it ships with a Red Lithium m18 5Ah battery. This battery stores enough charge to last you a day of intensive work. Even cooler, you don’t have to wait for long hours waiting for the battery to charge.
With the quick charge technology introduced in the M-series battery line up, 30 minutes is enough time to charge the m18 battery from 0% – 100%. As if that is not all, the REDLink technology built into the battery allows it to deliver the same amount of power from the time it is fully charged to when it discharges. It also features an onboard fuel gauge to show you the state of charge of battery so that you can plan your work more effectively.
The only thing preventing the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2 impact kit (2767-22) from being our best pick is the price. It costs almost twice as much as the DeWalt. It is also quite heavy in the hands, weighing more than 7.5 pounds with a battery. Moreover, the straight head might be a bit of a problem when trying to access nuts and bolts in very cramped spaces.
But overall, the 1/2 Milwaukee 2767 high torque impact is the gold standard for cordless impact wrenches. It is the perfect battery wrench for auto mechanics and construction engineers who care more about performance than the cost of the tool.
Some of the applications for which this Milwaukee impact wrench stands out include installing and removing crank bolts, axle nuts, large and small lug nuts, and taking off rusty bolts from anywhere effortlessly.
The warranty cover on this kit is unmatched. You get 5 years on the tool and charger and 3 years on the battery. Lastly, this kit comes with a hard carry case that is easy to carry around and stack with other toolboxes during transportation.
Metabo HPT 36V 1/2 Impact Wrench – Best for construction
- Max torque: 568ft-lbs fastening, 774 ft-lbs nut-bursting
- IPM: 3400
- Max speed: 2400 RPM
- Operation modes: 4
- Anvil: friction ring
- Kit includes: Tool, Charger, (2) 2.5Ah 36V batteries, plastic bag
Some tasks require extraordinary tools and the Metabo HPT 36V 1/2 inch impact wrench is one of them. This unit is not as powerful as Milwaukee but has something other impact wrenches don’t have.
The Metabo HPT cordless impact wrench has IP56 rating. This means it can survive water jet for up to 3 minutes. You can use it in water without a problem. This video by Wroskhop Addict shows it running at full power inside a bucket full of soap water. It is the perfect tool for breaking loose nuts and bolts submerged in water. Provided you keep the battery dry to avoid shorting it.
Metabo HPT is also the perfect 1/2 inch impact wrench for wet weather. You can use it in the rain and you can be sure that water will not kill the motor or internal circuitry. This can be a nightmare when you try it with other impact wrenches.
And you don’t have to lose sleep if you forget this impact wrench outside overnight. It will still be ready to run in the morning despite the morning dew. But it is not a good idea to leave tools outside if you want them to last long.
Also, the Metabo HPT has dust protection, making it the best cordless impact wrench for dusty construction sites. You won’t need to worry about the motor overheating because of getting jammed by dust and debris.
Lastly, this battery powered Metabo impact wrench has three operation modes that give you good control of the speed and torque output to avoid overtightening fasteners or damaging them.
Overall, the 1/2 Metabo HPT cordless impact wrench is a nice compact and powerful alternative to the air impact wrench in construction. It does have a very high RPM that can damage fasteners but you can set it to any of the 4 operation modes to limit the torque and speed.
This unit also gives you better control over how you want the LED light to work. You can turn it off completely especially if work in a well-illuminated area or set it to come on with the trigger, or always on.
Lastly, this tool has a lifetime warranty cover. It cannot get better than that!
However, one of the drawbacks of Metabo HPT is that it might not be powerful enough to work on big trucks but it is arguably the best mid-torque battery impact wrench. Another drawback is that Metabo does not offer a wide array of cordless tools like Milwaukee or DeWalt brands.
Ryobi 1/2 inch Cordless Impact Driver (P261) – Best for woodworking
- Max torque: 300ft-lbs
- IPM: 3200
- Operation modes: 3
- Anvil: pin detent
- Kit includes: Charger, (1) 4.0Ah 18V battery, cloth tool bag
The Ryobi P261 18 volt Cordless 1/2 inch cordless impact wrench is one of the cheapest impact tools that delivers enough torque to take out wheels from a passenger car. With 300ft-lb of maximum torque, it is one of the best cordless impact wrenches that will remove most lug nuts and install lag bolts into woodwork.
This cordless wrench is equipped with a brushed motor that spins the 1/2 inch pin detent drive at a speed of up to 2900 RPMs. The hammering action delivers a maximum of 3200 impact per minutes, which is good for cranking down bolts. So don’t be surprised when this tool emits a spark or two out of the casing during the abrupt stop from its electric brake.
You have good speed control with the Ryobi impact tool because it features a very easy to reach 3-speed selector. The selector lets you choose between low, medium, and high speed depending on the application at hand. Furthermore, the unit features a variable speed trigger that lets you progressively control the speed and torque.
To deliver such an impressive amount of torque and speed, this Ryobi 3-speed 18V 1/2″ cordless impact wrench needs at least a 4AH battery. This One+ battery enables the tool to deliver maximum power enough to last for an entire full tire rotation exercise of torqued-to-spec lug nuts of a car before recharging. The only downside with this powerhouse it that torque varies with the state of charge of battery. In other words, the torque is not consistent with battery state of charge.
Generally, Ryobi 1/2 inch battery impact gun is perfect driving mid-range torque fasteners because of the excellent speed control you get and its friendliness to your pocket. You can use it for auto repair works such as wheel removal, tire rotation and other mid-torque applications.
It will take off lug nuts torqued to spec but will sometimes struggle to take off rusty bolts and overtightened lug nuts. Other times, it may overtighten fasteners if you do not set the correct operation mode and could result in damage. This impact tool is also good for electrical installations, plumbing, and woodworking. Wood workers can use it to gently drive lag bolts into hardwood without causing damage.
The tool comes with a battery, charger, and a cloth carry case. The main disappointment is that the performance of Ryobi impact wrench depends on the battery capacity. You will get the best performance with a battery of at least 4Ah.
Ingersoll Rand W7152 Cordless Impact Wrench 1/2″ – Best for Automotive
- Max torque: 1000 ft-lbs fastening, 1500 ft-lbs nut-bursting
- IPM: 2450
- Max speed: 1900 RPM
- Operation modes: 4
- Anvil: Retaining ring
- Kit includes: S7152 Tool, Charger, (2) 5.0Ah 20V batteries, cloth tool bag
The Ingersoll rand W7152 is the most powerful 1/2 inch cordless impact wrench. It is an upgrade to the W7150. This wrench has an angled head and delivers an impressive 1000 ft-lb of forward torque and up to 1500 ft-lb of reverse torque. This is the most powerful cordless impact wrench on the market. It is what you need to take off stuck rusty bolts and nuts from trucks and heavy equipment.
Unlike the previous model which was prone to overheating because of using a brush motor, this W7152 Ingersol Rand has a brushless motor. It is more efficient but delivers the same maximum speed 1900 RPM. However, the hammering system is more powerful because it produces 2450 impacts per minute compared to 2300 IPM in W7150.
The Ingersoll Rand cordless impact wrench W7152 has a variable speed switch and an electric brake, which give you better control of the tool so that you can deliver just the right amount of torque to a fastener at an intuitive speed. In addition, this wrench offers 4 power level modes: Full Power, Half Power, Wrench Tight, and Hand Tight. These modes enable the tool to adapt to different situations in the garage.
The IL W7150 is not light. It weighs over 7.5 lbs with battery, which is not a weight you would want to carry for a long time. But aren’t all high-torque impact wrenches heavy? Only that some are heavier and it is not good for the hand.
The Ingersoll W7152 uses the 20V battery platform. It is the same battery used in the W7150 and is compatible with many Ingersoll Rand cordless tools. The kit comes with (2) 5.0 Ah batteries and a charger that you can use with 110V or 220V wall outlet.
The Ingersoll Rand W7152 is generally as powerful as Dewalt or Milwaukee but will stand out in automotive use because of the angled head. It keeps the battery from becoming an obstruction in tight spaces, especially when trying to remove lug nuts or loosening crankshaft bolts.
Another reason why this Ingersoll Rand impact wrench is the best choice for automotive use is the ring LED light which cannot get blocked even in awkward positions. Also, the rotary mode selector switch at the back of the head is secure and difficult to change inadvertently. You can even switch the modes while the tool is still on the fastener.
The only drawback is the cost of the kit and the lack of a hard carry case like the one used in the preceding model.
Although cordless impact guns differ in various aspects, they exhibit the following similarities:
- They deliver all or more power than their air tool equivalent without the hassle of cables, hoses, or messy oils and lubricants.
- You can purchase a tool alone or as a kit.
- They all have warranty cover although the warranty periods differ.
- With each tool, you get more freedom and mobility at work.
This makes it quite difficult to select the best among them because they all tend to fulfill their primary purpose. However, you can still choose among them the impact wrench that perfectly suits your needs and situation using the buying guide below.
Cordless Impact Wrench Buying Guide
The best cordless impact gun can be selected by considering at least one or more of the following primary factors: budget, power/torque, motor type, battery lineup, tool weight and size, preferred brand, and warranty cover.
If you are working with a small budget and need to get a tool that packs an incredible amount of torque at a magnificent speed, then the Ryobi P261 18 volt cordless 1/2 inch impact wrench is the best bargain. It will do an impressive job at taking off mid-size lug nuts, driving lag bolts into wood, and performing other mid-torque applications. However, if budget is not an issue, you can go for premium impact tools such as the Milwaukee and Dewalt that deliver twice as much torque.
High torque applications will not take anything less than a tool that delivers the highest amount of torque. As such, you are only limited to the Dewalt, Milwaukee , or the Ingersoll Rand battery impact wrench tools. They deliver a nut-busting torque of not less than 1100ft-lbs and a forward torque of 700ft-lbs. However, the Milwaukee and Ingersoll offer better speed control with 4 speed/torque operation modes while DeWalt offers only 3 power modes. Depending on how much control you want to have over your tool, you can choose the best for your needs.
3. Motor Type
Cordless impact guns have either a brushed or a brushless motor. The latter is known to be less efficient because of arcing and overheating. The arcing or sparking occurs as a result of the switching action of commutator brushes that energize the motor. These brushes must be replaced when they wear out to reduce overheating and improve tool performance when you notice deterioration. On the other hand, tools with brushless motors do not need regular maintenance.
The advantage of cordless tools with brushed motors is that they are generally less expensive than those with brushless motors. So, depending on the compromise you are willing to make, you can choose whether to go with cordless impact gun with a brushless motor such as Milwaukee 2767, Dewalt, and Ingersoll or with brush motor such as the Ryobi P261
4. Battery lineup
Sometimes selecting the best impact wrench depends on what battery lineup you want to put your money on. As you know, a battery is very important with cordless tools. You want a battery platform that gives you flexibility and versatility to use with other tools of the same brand.
Also, the battery should not take ages to recharge. No one wants a high-capacity battery that will last you several hours between recharges.
In this case, the best battery impact wrenches on the market high-capacity lithium ion battery solutions that leverage quick-charging technology. Most of them will not take more than 30 minutes to charge a dead battery to full.
5. Tool weight and size
The weight of a tool matters but not so much when it comes to 1/2 inch battery impact wrenches. These cordless power horses are generally heavy because they are not meant to be used for long periods of time. They are not like cordless ratchets.
You should only use an 1/2-inch impact wrench to remove stubborn nuts and bolts that won’t come off easily with a small tool or to install large fasteners.
That said, high-torque impact wrenches are heavier than mid-torque wrenches. Also, some impact tools are built heavier than others. For instance, Milwaukee 2767 is a lot heavier than DeWalt and Ingersoll and they are all heavy-duty impact tools.
This particularly applies to people who want to be consistent with the brand of their cordless tools. This is influenced mainly by the battery lineup factor. As you know, lithium-ion batteries for power tools are not cheap. Therefore, it is cheaper, in the long run, to invest in one lineup so that you won’t have to buy a battery and charger every time you want to add a new cordless tool to the collection.
For instance, if you have other Dewalt tools or say a Dewalt lighted tool backpack using the 20V Max Battery lineup, you may want to stick with Dewalt impact gun because the batteries are interchangeable. You can even buy the tool alone in order to cut unnecessary expenses. This applies to other popular brands with a range of cordless tools such as Milwaukee, Bosch, Ryobi etc.
7. Warranty Cover
It is normal to want a warranty cover on a purchased tool, especially one that costs you a tooth and a nail. These five cordless impact wrenches come with at least a year of warranty coverage. However, Metabo offers a lifetime warranty while Milwaukee has an amazing 5 years of warranty cover.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which cordless impact wrench has the most torque?
The DEWALT DCF899P1 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque 1/2 Impact Wrench Kit is rated the highest with up to 1200ft-lb of nut-busting torque. However, the forward torque equals that of Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2 at 700ft-lbs.
Which cordless impact wrench will safely remove lug nuts?
All the five cordless impact wrenches will remove lug nuts but Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Ingersoll Rand have nut-breaking torque rating that allows them to break loose overtightened and rusty lug nuts
Which cordless impact wrench will safely install lug nuts?
All the five best impact wrenches will install lug nuts but those with better speed control are the most suitable. Nonetheless, the best practice when installing lug nuts is to first start the lugs by hand, then use an impact wrench to run the lug, and finally, use a torque wrench to torque the lugs to specification.