A lot of people are interested in cordless impact wrenches, but do not know enough about them to feel confident enough to make a purchase. That‘s why we will try to explain the pros and cons of buying and using a cordless impact wrench and provide some details so you can decide if a cordless impact wrench is the right tool for you.
First off, when we say impact wrench, we are talking about a masculine tool, not a ¼ inch or some kind of hex driver. We mean a ½ inch drive impact wrench like you would use to remove rusty lug nuts with. Many people are skeptical that a cordless impact wrench can deliver the power and performance like that of the classic air driven impact wrenches. Of course some of the benefits of having a capable ½ inch cordless impact wrench are obvious.
You don’t always feel like firing up the old air compressor every time you have to change a tire or remove a stubborn nut. Also, sometimes you will have to work in a location where you just can not get an air line to. What do you do if you have to go into a crowded junk yard where you can’t drag your air compressor to do the job? A cordless impact wrench would no doubt be a great addition to your arsenal of tools, but are they capable? Are they economical? Well, lets do some comparison shopping and find out.
Half inch Cordless Impacts vs. Half Inch Air Impacts
While it’s true that you will not find a cordless impact in your grandpa’s tool shed, today they are a very practical alternative to the air driven Goliaths.
First of all, to help you decide if you want to add a cordless impact to your tool box, we will compare their performance and specs. The comparisons shown are based on average specs for quality brands of cordless and air ½ inch impact wrenches.
Air ½ drive impact wrenches deliver about 600-800 ft. lbs. of torque. They usually weigh between 4 and 5 pounds and cost between $175 and $250 on average.
Cordless ½ inch drive impact wrenches deliver 240-325 ft. lbs. of torque. They weigh between 7 and 20 pounds and cost from $300 to $550 in general.
As you can see by the preceding comparison, cordless impacts are not as powerful as air impacts. Also they weigh more and cost more. Those are three big disadvantages. Lets look at the pros and cons in more detail though.
Pros and Cons of Cordless Impact Wrench
-Slightly less durable
-No air line to drag
-Convenient less preparation to use
As you can see the disadvantages are more severe than the advantages, so overall in many cases, people are going to prefer to use their classic air impact wrench, but in cases where you need a quick and convenient impact, the cordless impact is much more versatile than the air impact. There are simply many areas and situations where a cordless impact is an asset and sometimes even the only way to get the job done, making them a necessary addition to many mechanic’s and homeowner’s tool chests.
Comparison of Popular Brands
- 18 volt Milwaukee: 240 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 18 lbs, cost is about $350.
18 volt Dewalt: 300 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 7.5 lbs, cost about $300.
26 volt Milwaukee: 325 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 20 lbs, cost about $430.
18 volt Bosh: 300 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 7.5 lbs, cost about $370.
18 volt Makita: 325 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 7.5, cost about $360.
26 volt Dewalt: 325 ft. lbs of torque, weigh 7.5, cost about $545.
Any of the above cordless impacts will get the job done. Also you may want to consider Snap-on and Craftsman brands. As you can see by the comparisons above Milwaukee takes a huge hit on weight, weighing in at more than twice the weight of other brands while not showing more performance or better cost.
It should also be mentioned that the main advantage of the 26 volt models is that the battery life is usually double that of the 18 volt models. Typically a 18 volt battery will give you 1 hour of use and a 26 volt battery will give you about 2 hours of use.