Looking for the best air impact wrenches? We’ve got you covered. There are times when all you need is a simple socket wrench to get the job done right. But, there will always be times when a traditional ratchet is just not enough to get the job done correctly.
Sure, you can remove your lug nuts with a traditional ratchet, but it’s not the right tool for the job. At the same time, you don’t want to use an impact wrench to loosen the half-inch nut from the battery terminal. Likewise, impact wrenches use hammering action that allows them to safely remove rusted bolts and nuts that would otherwise snap in half under the steady torque of a traditional wrench.
Air vs. Electric
There are a lot of choices out there today when it comes to choosing the best impact wrench. The first decision that you must make, however, is whether to go with a pneumatic impact wrench or an electric one.
If you need an impact wrench that is lightweight, and easy to carry around, then the electric type is the best option. Electric impact wrenches are specifically designed for portability as well as speed. Their internal design is also much lighter. About the only thing that makes them heavy or difficult to carry around, is the battery.
On the other hand, if you need an impact wrench that provides a substantial amount of torque, then you are better off choosing the best air impact wrench you can find. Pneumatic impact wrenches are a lot heavier and bulkier as a result of their internal design. They are also more difficult to move around because they must be plugged into an air hose at all times.
In the end, if you need an impact wrench that is capable of providing the most amount of torque possible, then you would need a pneumatic impact wrench. However, if you are willing to settle for a little less torque, in exchange for a more solid hammering action, then an electric impact wrench can provide you with that extra power you need, even when there is no compressed air around.
A pneumatic impact wrench requires an air compressor in order for it to function properly. Most impact wrenches need to have a steady supply of compressed air, at a sufficient pressure level. Most pneumatic impact wrenches will need a minimum of 90 PSI in order for them to function properly. And while just about any air compressor can provide that much pressure, smaller compressors cannot meet the volume needed to operate an impact wrench for long periods of time.
When determining just how much of an air compressor is needed to operate an impact wrench, it is important not to become fixated on the horsepower of the compressor. Oftentimes, the horsepower ratings provided by the manufacturers can be misleading. Instead, focus on compressors that shut off at a higher pressure. Since you will need at least 90 PSI, the compressor should be able to produce at least 100 PSI continuously.
Weight and Grip
Because of their design, pneumatic impact wrenches tend to get extremely heavy. The internal components that allow a pneumatic impact wrench to convert pressurized air into rotational force, are composed almost entirely of metal. Manufacturers simply cannot use any form of plastic for these internal parts, because the plastic would disintegrate under the forces. As result, the more powerful an impact wrench is, the heavier that it becomes.
It’s important to take the weight of the wrench into consideration when making a final decision. After all, having to carry around and hold a heavier impact wrench for longer periods of time can quickly lead to hand fatigue. While a number of major manufacturers have developed ergonomically designed grips that make the handling of the rachet a little easier, it does not prevent hand fatigue altogether.
There are a number of different types of pneumatic wrenches and impact drivers that are available on the market today. But all of them share one main thing in common, they are all loud. The drive system of a pneumatic impact wrench naturally results in the production of a lot of noise. For example, your traditional pistol grip impact wrench can produce noises in excess of 90 dB, and a D-handle impact wrench will easily surpass the 110 dB mark.