Best Cordless Impact Wrench Reviews of 2024

Best Cordless Impact Wrench Reviews

There’s only one way to know who makes the best cordless impact wrench—get them all in and test them head-to-head. After testing a dozen tools with various batteries for days on end, our team finally determined the best cordless impact wrench for any professional user or novice mechanic. We have specific recommendations for auto mechanics, heavy equipment operators, construction pros, and even those working in the landscaping, MRO, and utility fields.

Let me just say, decisively, that not all battery-powered impact wrenches are the same.

Most of the major brands can get the expected jobs done. If you’re already invested in a battery system, there’s a good chance your favorite brand has a decent cordless impact wrench to fit your needs. With this review, however, you’ll now know how it compares to other tools and brands as well as how it might perform with a better battery.

Check out our article on the differences between impact drivers and impact wrenches!

Our Top Picks for the Best Cordless Impact Wrench

DeWalt DCF891 impact wrench lag bolt test

DeWalt 20V Impact Wrench (DCF891)

  • Fastening Torque: 600 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 800 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 600/1200/2000 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 3.81 lbs
  • Length: 6.95 in

DeWalt has a ton of cordless impact wrenches to sort through on its 20V Max line. While the compelling 1/2-inch Atomic model (recommended below) certainly makes a strong case for compact ergonomics, it’s the DCF891 that Pros should turn to for all-around performance. It’s a solid mid-torque impact wrench with 600 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 800 ft-lbs of breakaway. That’s a big jump from DeWalt’s previous mid-range model even with some weight savings thrown in.

DeWalt gives you the options of hog ring (DCF891) and pin detent (DCF892) drive styles as well as a kit with oil-resistant batteries. As much as we loved using the more compact Milwaukee, DeWalt simply beat everyone else in overall consistency. If you want even more power, check out the high-torque DeWalt DCF961 which comes with 1750 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque!

About the only negative with this impact wrench is its length. At nearly 7 inches, it tops the more compact Milwaukee mid-torque by a full inch.

Reasons to Buy

  • Most powerful with a standard battery
  • Excellent power-to-weight ratio
  • Solid value

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want a more compact tool

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
5.0Ah Powerstack
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.25 lbs (5th place)5.43 lbs (5th place)
Breakaway Torque0.73 sec (1st place)0.61 sec (2nd place)
Inertia Torque382.8 ft-lbs (5th place)407.3 ft-lbs (5th place)
Lag Bolt TestSUNK (1st tie)SUNK (1st tie)
Power-to-Weight72.9% (3rd place)75.0% (2nd place)
most powerful Makita 40V XGT Impact Wrench gwt07

Makita 40V XGT Mid-Torque (GWT07)

  • Fastening Torque: 560 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 810 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 600/1200/1900/2300 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 4.37 lbs
  • Length: 6.75 in

It’s always tough for me to decide the model best deserving of the top title when it comes to 1/2-inch mi-torque impact wrenches. The competition is legitimately tight. In the end, the fact that Makita cost around $150 more than Milwaukee and DeWalt helped push it out of the running for our best pick overall. When it comes to power, however, the Makita GWT07 40V XGT impact wrench line edges out most of the competition except for the lag bolt test.

With 560 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 810 ft-lbs of breakaway, it’s the strongest performer we’ve yet seen in the mid-torque class. Beyond that, its real-world performance backed up its elevated specs.

It’s also a control freak with 4 standard speed plus 3 forward and 3 reverse assist modes. There’s even a flexible joint to help absorb some of the vibration before it gets to the battery. While not quite as compact as the smallest mid-torques, Pros may not mind adding some extra length for that increased power.

Reasons to Buy

  • Most powerful mid-torque impact
  • Advanced features for more precision
  • Highest power-to-weight ratio

Consider Another Model if…

  • You don’t want to pay a premium price
  • You want a lighter, smaller tool

Hands-on Testing Results

2.5Ah XGT Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
2.5Ah XGT Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.19 lbs (2nd place)5.19 lbs (2nd place)
Breakaway Torque1.08 sec (3rd place)1.08 sec (6th tie)
Inertia Torque500.4 ft-lbs (1st place)500.4 ft-lbs (1st place)
Lag Bolt Test2.0 in. (5th place)2.0 in. (8th place)
Power-to-Weight85.2% (1st place)85.2% (1st place)
Flex Mid-Torque Impact Wrench

Flex 24V 1/2-in Mid-Torque (FX1451)

  • Fastening Torque: 600 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 750 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 450/1600/2700 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 4.31 lbs
  • Length: 6.3 in

In our search for the best value cordless impact wrench, we wanted power combined with Pro-grade quality at a price lower than the competition. Those characteristics are exactly what we found in the Flex 24V 1/2-inch mid-torque impact wrench. It boasts more power than Milwaukee with 600 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 750 ft-lbs of breakaway torque.

The speed tops out at 2700 RPM in mode 3, and there’s an assist mode for both forward and reverse. Under load, there’s an isolation zone between the housing and the motor to help reduce the vibration you feel in your hand. The only downside is that it’s considerably heavier and not quite as compact as its closest competition.

Reasons to Buy

  • Best value in the industry
  • Very powerful mid-torque impact
  • Great performance on a standard battery

Consider Another Model if…

  • You don’t want one of the heaviest models out there

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.0Ah Stacked Lithium
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight6.44 lbs (9th place)6.56 lbs (12th place)
Breakaway Torque0.76 sec (2nd place)0.52 sec (1st place)
Inertia Torque361.3 ft-lbs (6th place)412.7 ft-lbs (4th place)
Lag Bolt Test1.13 in. (2nd place)0.25 in. (4th place)
Power-to-Weight56.1% (7th place)62.9% (8th place)

Need even more torque? Flex also has a high-torque model that’s also a great value!

Skil Mid-Torque Impact Wrench review best home use

Skil PWRCore 20 Mid Torque (IW5761B-10)

  • Fastening Torque: 480 ft-bs*
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 800 ft-lbs*
  • Top Speeds: 800/1400/1900 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 5.06 lbs
  • Length: 7.97 in

Until recently, it was tough to find a mid-torque impact wrench I wanted to recommend for home users. Both the quality and price of the Skil IW5761B-10 give me a solid choice for those who don’t need all-day professional performance. While the test results may not seem all that impressive, Skil just needs to up its speed to compete better with its peers. At its impressively low price point, I believe the trade-off is well worth it.

With a kit price of less than $200, this Skil impact wrench still manages to provide an LED ring light around the collet, decent fastening performance, and comfortable ergonomics. You can get better performance, but if you’re an average DIYer or home user, you likely don’t need it.

Reasons to Buy

  • Exceptional value
  • LED ring light!
  • Did we mention the low kit price?

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want a smaller tool
  • Power is your main objective
  • You can afford to bump up to one of our Pro recommendations

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight6.62 lbs (10th place)6.62 lbs (13th place)
Breakaway Torque4.42 sec (11th place)4.42 sec (14th place)
Inertia Torque386.8 ft-lbs (4th place)386.8 ft-lbs (7th place)
Lag Bolt Test4.38 in. (11th place)4.38 in. (14th place)
Power-to-Weight58.4% (6th place)58.4% (9th place)
DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench

DeWalt 20V Max Atomic (DCF921)

  • Fastening Torque: 300 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 450 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 2500 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Length: 4.97 in

DeWalt hit the scene with an unexpected surprise for us in the Atomic line—a compact “stubby” with 450 ft-lbs of breakaway torque. Of course, I didn’t take DeWalt’s word for it. I tested this Atomic impact wrench in our shop. Setting the torque on our rig to varying levels, I found this model could consistently remove 450 ft-lbs using a standard 5.0Ah battery. I even broke bolts as high as 461 ft-lbs.

It’s also legitimately compact with the sub-5-inch head angled up slightly to ensure the battery doesn’t get in your way. When using the tool, I loved the tri-LED lights that clearly illuminated the work area.

For control, DeWalt provides two standard and two assist modes. While there are other brands with more advanced controls, you have to give up some power to get it. Pair this tool with DeWalt’s 5.0Ah Stack Pack for even more power.

Reasons to Buy

  • Most compact impact wrench on the market
  • Excellent power-to-weight ratio
  • Lightweight (3.9 lbs with a 5Ah battery)
  • Four modes for advanced control

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want a more powerful impact wrench
  • Yellow clashes with your other tools?

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery– –
Measured Weight3.9 lbs– –
Max Breakaway Torque461 ft-lbs– –

Our Process and the Nitty Gritty

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews

Since 2008, Pro Tool Reviews has tested and evaluated cordless power tools for both construction and automotive professionals. We help our readers know which features to look for while providing comparative testing info on a tool’s performance and real user feedback. We’ve seen first-hand the changes and advances in brushless motor development as well as the dawn of smart tool connectivity.

In short, we understand how professionals use tools. You can trust Pro Tool Reviews because tools are what we do. When I recommend an impact wrench, it’s because it’s the one I would buy. I genuinely recommend tools that I believe are the best in each category based on more than 15 years of industry experience. I work around power tools each and every day. If you choose to buy something I recommend, my hope is that it works exactly the way you expect on your next project.

Other Tools We Tested

Milwaukee 2962 M18 Fuel Mid-Torque with Forge Battery

Best cordless impact wrench Milwaukee M18 FUEL Mid-Torque
  • Fastening Torque: 550 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 650 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 1250/1950/2575 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 3.56 lbs
  • Length: 6.0 in

Using Milwaukee’s latest generation of M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrenches gives you the performance needed to keep you from turning to high-torque models thanks to fastening torque up to 550 ft-lbs and nut-busting up to 650 ft-lbs. When working on passenger vehicles, this one impact wrench can replace the need for a heavier high-torque 95% or more of the time. Even heavy equipment and diesel mechanics will find they can handle a ton of the work aside from lug nuts.

At the same time, these Milwaukee impact wrenches are incredibly compact for their power level, just 6 inches in length and weighing just over 5 pounds with a 5Ah battery. The combination of real-world torque, compactness, and size makes this generation of M18 Fuel mid-torques a compelling choice for professionals.

Available in a 3/8-inch friction ring (2960), 1/2-inch friction ring (2962), or 1/2-inch pin detent styles (2962P) you can get the one (or ones) that best fit your application. While not the most powerful mid-torque impact wrenches in every test, Milwaukee captures an excellent balance of performance, size, value, and overall features. If we could ignore the data (we can’t), this Milwaukee would be the top pick for several of our reviewers simply based on feel.

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah M18 Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.0Ah Forge Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.19 lbs (2nd place)5.62 lbs (7th place)
Breakaway Torque3.08 sec (9th place)0.65 sec (3rd place)
Inertia Torque336.2 ft-lbs (7th place)398.1 ft-lbs (6th place)
Lag Bolt Test2.38 in. (6th place)SUNK (1st tie)
Power-to-Weight64.8% (5th place)70.8% (6th place)

Ryobi P262 4-Mode Impact Wrench

Ryobi P262 impact wrench
  • Fastening Torque: 450 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 600 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 1200/2000/2800 RPM (2000 Auto)
  • Bare Weight: 3.69 lbs
  • Length: 7.3 in

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.24 lbs (4th place)5.24 lbs (5th place)
Breakaway Torque1.30 sec (6th place)1.30 sec (9th place)
Inertia Torque209.1 ft-lbs (10th place)209.1 ft-lbs (13th place)
Lag Bolt Test1.9 in. (4th place)1.9 in. (7th place)
Power-to-Weight39.9% (10th place)39.9% (13th place)

I not only had the Ryobi P262 impact wrench run through our testing rig, but also sent it out to the ranch with Eli Mosley to see what he could do with it. After some work on front end loaders, tractors, and water sprayers, we got some pretty valuable feedback. Rusty lugs were no problem, nor was more delicate Mode 1 work on engines.

Ryobi boasts 450 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 600 ft-lbs of breakaway torque along with a 2800 RPM top speed on the P262. Three standard speeds and an auto mode help you control the applied torque in a very useful way. While not truly compact, the HP Brushless upgrade helps the Ryobi P262 enjoy a smaller profile overall. Still 7.3 inches from tip to tail, it shaves about three-quarters of an inch from the previous model.

This is a solid tool for DIYers or pros looking for a value tool. Except for the higher price, it would have been our top DIY/home user pick overall.

Ridgid R86012 Impact Wrench

Ridgid R86012 18V Brushless Mid-Torque Impact Wrench
  • Fastening Torque: 450 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 600 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 1300/1900/2800 RPM (2000 Auto)
  • Bare Weight: 3.69 lbs
  • Length: 6.8 in

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Max Output
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Max Output
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.19 lbs (3rd place)5.19 lbs (4th place)
Breakaway Torque1.34 sec (7th place)1.34 sec (10th place)
Inertia Torque252.2 ft-lbs (9th place)252.2 ft-lbs (12th place)
Lag Bolt Test2.5 in. (7th place)2.5 in. (10th place)
Power-to-Weight48.6% (8th place)48.6% (11th place)

Given the existence of the Ryobi P262 impact wrench, it’s tough for the Ridgid R86012 to find its place in the world. A half-inch shorter, and with roughly the same level of performance (give or take), the Ridgid struggles for significance.

With 450 ft-lbs of fastening and 600 ft-lbs of breakaway torque, Ridgid has nearly identical specs to Ryobi’s mid-torque impact wrench. It enjoyed slightly better performance in our inertial torque test but was bested by Ryobi in all other hands-on testing.

If you’ve already invested in Ridgid as a platform, this tool will be a great addition. If you’re just starting out, there are better choices for the money.

Craftsman CMCF921 Impact Wrench

Craftsman Impact Wrench lag bolt test
  • Fastening Torque: 275 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: ~400 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 900/1900 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 3.43 lbs
  • Length: 8.7 in

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight4.94 lbs (1st place)4.94 lbs (1st place)
Breakaway Torque3.24 sec (10th place)3.24 sec (13th place)
Inertia Torque162.6 ft-lbs (11th place)162.6 ft-lbs (14th place)
Lag Bolt Test2.75 in. (8th place)2.75 in. (11th tie)
Power-to-Weight32.9% (11th place)32.9% (14th place)

The Craftsman V20 RP Brushless CMCF921 consistently placed in the back half of our testing. This largely has to do with this mid-torque model’s lower top speed of just 1900 RPM. Even against the similarly-spec’d Skil PWRCore20, however, it trailed behind.

One thing it does have is a lightweight body—just under 3.5 pounds bare and only still a hair under 5 pounds with a 4Ah battery. This one may be a decent fit for DIYers and value-minded Pros who need an occasional-use impact wrench. Better yet, consider grabbing the CMCF940 high-torque model for better performance.

Kobalt KIW 124B-03 Impact Wrench

Kobalt 24V Cordless 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench Review
  • Fastening Torque: 500 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 650 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 950/1500/2200 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 4.25 lbs
  • Length: 6.8 in

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Ultimate
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Ultimate
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.81 lbs (5th place)5.81 lbs (7th tie)
Breakaway Torque1.08 sec (3rd tie)1.08 sec (6th tie)
Inertia Torque428.3 ft-lbs (2nd place)428.3 ft-lbs (2nd place)
Lag Bolt Test3.13 in. (10th place)3.13 in. (13th place)
Power-to-Weight73.7% (2nd place)73.7% (3rd place)

Like most flagship impact wrenches, this tool has some special modes designed for automotive professionals. Auto Slow activates when the tool is set in reverse and automatically slows once it senses the fastener is loose. This helps prevent the bolt or nut from falling or being thrown out of the socket.

The Hand Tight function stops rotation once the tool begins to impact. Doing so prevents over-tightening, thus, mitigating potential damage to the threads. We found it perfect for setting bolts and nuts before finishing them off with a torque wrench.

This Kobalt 24V 1/2-inch impact wrench also has surprising power. It’s also an eye-opening value at under $150 for a kit. With a relatively compact size, solid features, and above-average torque, I can recommend this tool for serious DIYers and any professional looking to jump into a value brand. As a brand, Kobalt offers tons of potential and has a wide variety of products.

Metabo HPT WR36DE 36V Impact Wrench

Metabo HPT 36V 1/2-Inch MultiVolt Mid-Torque Impact Wrench Review
  • Fastening Torque: 568 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 774 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 1500/1800/2100/2400 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 4.25 lbs
  • Length: 6.75 in

Hands-on Testing Results

2.5Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
2.5Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight5.81 lbs (5th place)5.81 lbs (7th tie)
Breakaway Torque2.44 sec (8th place)2.44 sec (11th place)
Inertia Torque417.8 ft-lbs (3rd place)417.8 ft-lbs (3rd place)
Lag Bolt Test1.38 in. (3rd place)1.38 in. (6th place)
Power-to-Weight71.9% (4th place)71.9% (5th place)

As one of two 36/40V products in our lineup, the Metabo HPT Multivolt impact wrench did pretty well. It excelled in our inertial torque test and held its own when driving our large lag bolt. Most impressively, it does this with a fairly efficient power-to-weight ratio.

This tool includes four “assist” modes you can activate on the foot of the tool. Each varies the torque by limiting the impact time when driving nuts and bolts in the forward direction. In each of the four assist modes, the tool stops after 1/2, 1, 1-1/2, and 2 seconds respectively. This mode doesn’t work in reverse. You also get an auto-stop mode that halts rotation to prevent over-tightening a fastener.

The Metabo HPT WR36DE impact wrench incorporates a physical vibration damper between the base of the handle and the battery interface. This helps protect the battery and doesn’t reduce vibration to your hand. Metabo HPT truly makes a mid-torque tool that performs well and then tops it off with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s also hard to beat the sub-$200 tool-only price.

Hilti SIW 6-22 Impact Wrench

Hilti Nuron cordless Impact Wrench SIW 6-22
  • Fastening Torque: 332 ft-bs
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 479 ft-lbs
  • Top Speeds: 1550/1750 RPM
  • Bare Weight: 4.0 lbs
  • Length: 7.2 in

Hands-on Testing Results

8.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
8.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Weight6.87 lbs (11th place)6.87 lbs (14th place)
Breakaway Torque1.10 sec (5th place)1.10 sec (8th place)
Inertia Torque305.7 ft-lbs (8th place)305.7 ft-lbs (11th place)
Lag Bolt Test2.75 in. (8th place)2.75 in. (11th tie)
Power-to-Weight44.5% (9th place)44.5% (12th place)

Improving upon the brushed 22V SIW T-A “high torque” impact wrench, Hilti moved to its Nuron battery platform and added a brushless motor. The result is a much shorter tool (by almost 2 inches) that carries less weight and just as much torque.

Using our Inertia Torque L-1000 impact tool torque tester, we found mode 2 to deliver as much as 305.7 ft-lbs. That put it near the bottom of the pack. If you want more torque, however, Hilti does have the SIW 8 impact wrench which specs out at 1,217 ft-lbs.

While Hilti provides acceptable torque, it doesn’t really lead in any categories. The strength of this product is the tool warranty that guarantees defects for 20 years and no-cost repairs for 2 years. You can also buy this and other Hilti tools for a monthly lease as part of their Fleet Management program.

More Recommendations for Pros

When it comes to convincing stubborn lugs on tractor-trailers or heavy equipment to get moving, there’s no sweet-talking them loose. You need massive power beyond what our other recommendations can achieve. Two 1-inch models stand out from the crowd.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1-Inch D-Handle Impact Wrench (2868/2869)

Milwaukee brought the first legit cordless D-handle 1-inch impact wrench to life on its M18 platform. With standard and extended anvil versions available, they deliver up to 1900 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 2000 ft-lbs of breakaway torque. The top speed is 1200 RPM for quick work on lug nuts. If this impact wrench can’t budge the fastener you’re working on, chances are high that you’ll need to take a torch to it.

To deal with vibration levels that can damage the battery, Milwaukee developed an isolation zone to dampen it—paving the way to what is fast becoming a standard. You also get customizable controls, tracking, and inventory management thanks to Milwaukee One-Key. It weighs 21.5 pounds before you add the recommended HD12.0 High Output battery, but it can do the work.

Ingersoll Rand 1-inch Cordless Impact Wrench (W9000 Series)

Ingersoll Rand’s W9000 series 1-inch cordless impact wrenches are the most powerful models by a wide margin. Boasting 3000 ft-lbs of breakaway and 2200 ft-lbs of fastening torque, no one else comes close, not even Milwaukee. With standard and extended anvils available, it uses a pair of batteries to spin the anvil at up to 890 RPM. At 25.9 lbs before you add the battery, it has some heft—but it’s worth leaving the days of dragging an air hose behind.

For all the rest, a 1/2-inch cordless impact wrench should take care of most professional jobs.

Bosch GDS18V-770 Cordless Impact Wrench

Bosch revitalized its 18V lineup with advanced batteries and BiTurbo brushless motors to form the ProFactor line, and the newest 3/4-inch high-torque impact wrench is a beast designed for professional use! The 3-speed GDS18V-770 packs 770 ft-lbs of fastening and 1250 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque with merciless efficiency. Right now, it’s in the hands of our marine mechanic, saving him some torch time by breaking loose bolts that have been exposed to saltwater way too long.

Flex FX1471 High Torque Impact Wrench

Flex earned our pick as the best value for a cordless impact wrench with its mid-torque model, but you may want to give the high-torque a close look if you need more power. The FX1471 sports 800 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 1150 ft-lbs for breaking with a top speed of 2000 RPM. Three standard modes take care of the majority of your fastening needs. Plus, a bolt removal mode helps control how fast a bolt runs out or a nut comes off after it breaks loose. Like the mid-torque model, Flex offers Pros a lot of bang for their buck here.

Hilti SIW 8-22 Cordless High Torque Impact Wrench

Hilti is high on quality and a great choice for commercial and industrial jobs in addition to general construction and they’ve announced the Nuron line as a higher-performing platform moving forward. For installation or steel construction jobs, get your hands on Hilti’s Ultimate Class 1/2-inch SIW 8-22. With 738 ft-lbs of fastening and a monster 1217 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque, it’s the most capable model currently in the line. Backed by a 20-year warranty, this premium professional impact wrench is sure to still be kicking long after other models hit the trash bin.

Kobalt 1424A-03 Cordless Impact Wrench

Look no further than Kobalt’s XTR line for a high-torque impact wrench if you’re on the hunt for solid power on a budget. The 1424A-03 is capable of an eye-popping 1200 ft-lbs of nut-busting and 750 ft-lbs of fastening torque. At the same time, this advanced tool is around $269 as a kit. It’ll handle nearly anything you come across and the price is awfully tempting for budget-conscious Pros.

Metabo HPT WR36DFQ4 36V 3/4-in High-Torque Impact Wrench

The 3/4-inch class is tantalizing with several quality high-torque options available. In the final analysis, it’s the Metabo HPT WR36DFQ4 that takes home the trophy of the best cordless 3/4-inch impact wrench this year. Performance is the primary talking point, with a whopping 1401 ft-lbs of fastening and 1770 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque. It’s no slouch in the speed department, either, with 1500 RPM and 2600 BPM on the top end.

There are a couple of other key points as well. This model earns an IP56 ingress rating to deal with dust and water better than most. Metabo HPT’s 36V impact wrenches are also the only ones among major brands to have the option of running corded using an AC adapter.

Ridgid R86012PDK Brushless Impact Wrench

Now that we’ve left the Octane line behind, Ridgid has the compact, mid-torque, and high-torque classes covered with its latest generation of brushless impact wrenches. Each earns our recommendation, but if we had to pick just one, it would be the mid-torque R86012. Its balance of size and 500 ft-lbs of fastening torque with 650 ft-lbs of loosening torque is all you need in most cases. With an assist mode to supplement the three standard modes, you have some additional control as well. This one is suitable for serious DIYers and Pros on a budget.

More Recommendations for Prosumers & Home Use

Ryobi PBLIW01 Cordless Impact Wrench

Ryobi brackets your options on its high-performance 18V One+ HP Brushless lineup with a compact, mid-range, and high-torque option to cover the three major classes. The strongest is the 4-mode 1/2-inch PBLIW01. Its brushless motor can deliver 700 ft-lbs of fastening and 1170 ft-lbs of breakaway torque. Targeting DIY needs and tempting Pros who need an occasional-use option, it’s the model we were anticipating to round out the HP Brushless line, and Ryobi delivered.

Greenworks IWD401 Cordless Impact Wrench

Greenworks has been busy expanding its line of 24V/48V lawn care equipment for homeowners and there are power tools that run on the same battery to supplement them. As a solid consideration on the high-value side, check out Greenworks’ 24V 1/2-inch IWD401. This model is capable of breaking up to 300 ft-lbs—plenty for most jobs around your house and garage. As an added bonus, there’s a USB port built into the battery so you can use it as a power supply.

The best part is the price. As a kit with either a 2.0Ah or 4.0Ah battery, you come in under $130. For an impact wrench to keep around your garage for projects and repairs, it’s tough to beat.

How We Test Impact Wrenches

We ran three performance tests on each of these impact wrenches to compare the torque, speed, and efficiency claims we see from manufacturers. Based on what we’ve found to date, the manufacturer’s specifications are not a great way to compare models. That’s where our custom test rigs come into play.

Our processes involve eliminating as many variables as possible to ensure we have clean tests and data to evaluate. That means throwing out any erroneous results and taking the time to ensure we have consistent data from which to draw our conclusions.

Inertia Torque Test

The first test we run measures torque using an L1000 inertia torque tester. We run the impacts at 3 intervals of 5 seconds each and take the highest torque reading from this calibrated machine. This helps us understand how much actual “soft” torque the impact wrench can manage when driving a fastener without coming up against a hard stop.

This kind of test simulates driving a large fastener into material like wood or concrete as opposed to locking down a large nut or bolt into steel.

Lag Bolt Test

The second test helps us see how far each tool can drive a 1/2″ x 10-inch lag screw into stacked and glued OSB. We run each tool for 30 seconds and measure just how much of the bolt is left standing proud.

A test like this also measures “soft” torque but in a very demonstrable way. In the real world, we want to know the capabilities each tool has for driving fasteners in difficult materials. In the case of this particular test, we only pre-drilled two inches to ensure the fastener goes down straight into the stacked OSB.

We also chose that material for its random nature. Using 2X material or even plywood brings in the possibility of some bolts having to drive through knots or similarly harder areas of a board while other tools may experience only softer areas.

Bolt Breaking Test

The final performance test is a traditional bolt-breaking application. Using a digital torque wrench, we set each Grade 8 nut on our rig to 500 ft-lbs of torque. We then use the impact wrench to break all 8 nuts in sequence, compiling an average removal time from the 5 most consistent times. Since we’re using video to track our results, accuracy is down the 1/60th of a second.

What is an Impact Wrench Used For?

An impact wrench is similar to an impact driver but with a larger drive system. Its impacting mechanism consists of hammer that spins and strikes an anvil to enhance rotational force applied to a fastener. An impact wrench does this typically at a slower rate but with far greater force in most cases.

The force of an impact wrench is useful for fastening or removing nuts and bolts, or driving very large lag screws. While most people think about them in automotive shops dealing with lug nuts, nearly every trade uses them frequently.

In general, the size of the fastener you’re working with determines how powerful your impact wrench needs to be. Be careful, though—using a powerful impact wrench can damage threads or even sheer off bolts. That can be a costly mistake, so make sure you’re using the right amount of power for the job and avoid going overboard.

What We Look For When Testing Cordless Impact Wrenches

Power and Speed

Whether you’re fastening or loosening, power is the name of the game for cordless impact wrenches. The more power you have, the better chance you have of getting the fastener moving quickly and not straining the motor.

Speed is secondary but still important. If you’re in construction or landscaping where you’re running long timber screws and the like, you want to run those as fast as you can while keeping them under control.

Size and Weight

Once you know how much power you need, finding it in the smallest, lightest package you can without giving up on quality is high on the list. Most impact wrenches are much heavier than impact drivers, and the vibration and noise of the tools can fatigue you quickly. Needless to say, I pay a lot of attention to the power-to-weight ratio of these tools.

In general, there are 3 primary categories to look at: compact (including stubby), mid-torque, and high-torque. You move up in power as you move up in size. Just keep in mind that today’s brushless models perform at a much higher level than before. It’s common to use a class size smaller to get the same performance as larger models from a generation or two ago.

Electronic Assistance and Smart Controls

Assist modes and smart controls are highly valued features for impact wrenches. Many fasteners have a torque rating and it’s easy to over-torque them if you’re not careful. Having an automatic stop helps you run a nut or bolt quickly and still leave it short to finish off with a torque wrench.

In reverse, auto modes can back off a fastener and stop or slow down significantly so you don’t run it completely off. When you’re working at height or just hate chasing rogue nuts and bolts, it’s incredibly helpful.

Smart controls such as Milwaukee One-Key, DeWalt Tool Connect, and Bosch Connected tools have added benefits. Inventory management and tracking are the major highlights, but there’s a lot more inside the apps that are worth considering.


Impact wrenches are violent, noisy, heavy tools and ergonomics can be an afterthought in some designs. However, reducing the weight, perfecting the balance, and creating a comfortable handle all make the tool easier to use and less fatiguing on long days.

Price and Value

As always, value is a big part of what we look at with any tool. It’s not about which one is the cheapest, it’s about getting the job done well while getting the most bang for your buck.

Want more? Check out our video review of mid-torque impact wrenches to see who we thought was the best overall (you won’t be surprised):

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