Too Many Cordless Impact Wrenches To Choose From? We’ve Got Your Back!
On the hunt for the best cordless impact wrench this year? You’re in the right place! While impact wrenches are one of the core tools for mechanics covering the automotive and heavy equipment sectors, construction, landscaping, MRO, utility, and so many others use them as well. We got our team of experts together and determined which models deserve your consideration.
Best Overall Cordless Impact Wrench
Using Milwaukee’s latest generation of M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrenches, we’re getting the performance that helps us avoid turning to high-torque models thanks to fastening torque up to 550 ft-lbs and nut-busting up to 650 ft-lbs. When you’re working on passenger vehicles, this one impact wrench can replace the need for a heavier high-torque 95% or more of the time. Even for heavy equipment and diesel mechanics, they handle a ton of the work aside from lug nuts.
At the same time, these impacts are incredibly compact for their power level, just 6 inches in length and weighing right at 5 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery. All that makes this generation of M18 Fuel models the best cordless impact wrenches in our book. They’re available in a 3/8-inch friction ring (2960), 1/2-inch friction ring (2962), or 1/2-inch pin detent styles (2962P).
Price: $249 bare tool, $479 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries (based on the 2962 friction ring)
Best 3/8-Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
Milwaukee’s next-gen M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrenches have a 3/8-inch option and that model is our top choice as the best cordless 3/8-inch impact wrench. Aside from the performance and size we discussed above, there are a couple of big feature upgrades.
The 3-LED light ring does a much better job of eliminating shadows than foot-mounted lights. There’s also a 4-mode Drive Control that includes an assist mode. Using it, you can set nuts or bolts quickly before the tool automatically stops at 35 ft-lbs max. From there, use your torque wrench to finish it off and ensure you don’t damage the workpiece by over-tightening.
Price: $229 bare tool, $329 kit with two 2.0Ah batteries, $479 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries
Best 1/2-Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
Metabo HPT made some big improvements in its professional impact wrench line with a couple of models on its 36V platform. Earning our pick as the best 1/2-inch cordless impact wrench, the mid-torque WR36DE packs 568 ft-lbs of fastening torque under the hood. It hits hard in reverse as well and boasts 774 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque while maxing out at 2400 RPM and 3400 IPM.
On the feature side, this is a compact tool for the power it has. Additionally, this is the only model to make our list that work with either a battery or an AC adapter. Mobile mechanics on service calls don’t have to worry about the rain thanks to an IP56 ingress rating. 4 standard speed modes plus an assist mode wrap it up and as usual, Metabo HPT has a lifetime warranty on the tool.
Price: $199 bare tool, $399 kit with two 2.5Ah batteries
Best 3/4-Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
Makita’s GWT01 impact wrench is definitely worth your consideration as the best cordless 3/4-inch impact wrench. It boasts 1330 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 1510 ft-lbs of loosening torque. But Makita is more humble than most, and we find that their impact wrench real-world performance frequently exceeds what the specs say.
As we expect for this class, it’s a beefy tool. But what really sets it apart is the 6 assist modes—3 in forward and 3 in reverse—to go along with 4 standard speeds. Each one gives you a different level of tightening or loosening before automatically stopping and is really helpful when you’re working with fasteners that have various load sensitivities.
Price: $464 bare tool, $689 kit with two 2.5Ah batteries
Best 1-Inch Cordless Impact Wrench
When it comes to convincing stubborn lugs off of tractor-trailers or heavy equipment, there’s no sweet-talking them loose. You need massive power beyond what our other recommendations can achieve. Two models stand out from the crowd.
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. If this impact wrench can’t budge the lugnut you’re working on, chances are high you’re going to have to take a torch to it.
To deal with vibration levels that can damage the battery, Milwaukee developed an isolation zone to dampen it out. You also get customizable controls, tracking, and inventory management thanks to One-Key.
Price: $899 bare, $1399 kit with two 12.0Ah High Output batteries
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, they use a pair of batteries to help fleet and heavy equipment techs leave the days of dragging a hose behind.
Price: $1597 kit with four 5.0Ah batteries
Best Compact/Stubby Impact Wrench
DeWalt hit the scene with an unexpected surprise for us in the Atomic line—a compact stubby with 450 ft-lbs of breakaway torque… and we verified it on our test rig! It’s also legitimately compact with the sub-5-inch head angled up to ensure the battery doesn’t get in your way.
For control, there are 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.
Price: $219 bare, $429 with two 5.0Ah batteries (3/8-inch version also available)
Best Value Cordless Impact Wrench
In our search for the best value cordless impact wrench, we wanted power combined with a quality, pro-grade build at a price lower than the competition. Those characteristics are exactly what we found in Flex’s 24V 1/2-inch impact wrench. This is a high-torque model with 800 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 1150 ft-lbs of breakaway torque.
The speed tops out at 2000 RPM in mode 3 and there’s an assist mode for reverse to keep the nut from spinning all the way off. Under load, there’s an isolation zone between the housing and the motor to help reduce the vibration you feel in your hand. It’s a highly competitive design that’s ready to work for under $300 and there’s a lifetime warranty if you register your purchase by 12/31/23.
Price: $249 bare, $299 kit with a 5.0Ah battery and charger, $349 kit with a 6.0Ah Stacked Lithium battery and charger
Don’t need quite that much torque? Flex also has a new mid-torque model that’s also a great value!
Best Budget Cordless Impact Wrench
For the best budget cordless impact wrench, we wanted at least 200 ft-lbs of torque to make sure you can remove properly set lug nuts. The key here is “properly set”. If your lugs haven’t been off in a while, you may need to step up to the mid-torque class to move them.
With that disclaimer out of the way, there are several solid options to choose from. Our top recommendation for DIYers who want a quality build is Skil’s PWRCore 20 brushless 3/8-inch impact wrench. It has 220 ft-lbs of torque of breakaway torque with 170 ft-lbs for fastening with a quick 2850 RPM top speed. What sets it apart from the competition is that this model uses a brushless motor instead of brushed and it’s significantly more compact.
Price: $129 kit with a 2.5Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Impact Wrench Brands – More Recommendations From Brands We Trust
Most of the time, the best cordless impact wrench for you is one that uses the batteries you already have. If that’s you, here are our top recommendations from other brands we trust to get the job done.
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.
Price: $249 bare tool, $279 connected-ready bare tool, $399 kit with an 8.0Ah battery and charger
Craftsman joined the 1000 ft-lbs club with its V20 RP Brushless CMCF940M1. This high-torque model can fasten with up to 700 ft-lbs of torque and break up to 1000 ft-lbs. Considering Craftsman’s previous generation of impacts, the amount of power they’re getting in a relatively compact package is a big step forward in both performance and design. This one’s a good fit for serious DIYers and value-minded Pros that need an occasional-use impact.
The best part might just be the price tag, though. At $229 for the kit, this is currently the best value you can find for a high-torque model.
Price: $229 kit with a 4.0Ah battery and charger
As our friend Paul pointed out to us, DeWalt has a ton of cordless impact wrenches to sort through on the 20V Max line, plus some 12V Max offerings. So which one would we pick if we could just have one? The 1/2-inch Atomic we mentioned above certainly makes a strong case. However, it’s the DCF894 that Pros can turn to for all-around performance. It’s a solid mid-torque pick with 330 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 600 ft-lbs of breakaway along with 2000 RPM on the top end. You also get the option between hog ring and pin detent drive style. If you’re a fan of Tool Connect, you can get the same bones with the added tech as the DCF896.
Price: $219 bare, $419 with two 5.0Ah batteries ($269/$449 for the DCF896 with Tool Connect)
Need a high-torque option instead? DeWalt’s DCF900 is now available with 1400 ft-lbs of nut-busting torque!
Best Flex Cordless Impact Wrench
Flex earned our pick as the best value for a cordless impact wrench with its high torque model, but you may want to give the new mid-torque a close look. The FX1451 sports 600 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 750 ft-lbs for breaking with a top speed of 2700 RPM.
Three standard modes take care of the majority of your fastening needs. Forward and reverse each has an assist mode to help maintain higher control when it counts. With a significantly more compact package than the high-torque model, this is a fantastic all-rounder to cover the majority of your professional fastening needs.
Price: $199 bare, $269 kit with a 2.5Ah battery and charger, $299 kit with a 3.5Ah Stacked Lithium battery and charger
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 $150. For an impact wrench to keep around your garage for projects and repairs, it’s tough to beat.
Price: $129 kit with a 2.0Ah battery and charger, $149 kit with a 4.0Ah battery and charger
HART has been creating a DIY emporium at Walmart and even expanding into other cordless products you can use around your home, such as vacuums. For impact wrenches, they now have a brushless model that reaches into the mif-torque class. The 1/2-inch HPIW25 can break up to 600 ft-lbs, giving you legit power to break lugs loose and handle just about anything else your automotive and weekend projects might throw your way.
Price: $169 bare, $219 kit with a 4.0Ah battery and charger
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.
Price: Starting at $389
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 just $269 as a kit. It’ll handle anything serious DIYers need and the price is awfully tempting for budget-conscious Pros.
Price: $269 kit with 4.0Ah Ultimate Output battery
Makita has a lot of quality impact wrench options between its 18V LXT and 40V max XGT lines, including the 3/4-inch beast we recommended earlier. If it’s the most versatile you’re after, check out the mid-torque GWT07 (GWT08 if you prefer a pin detent). Its 560 ft-lbs of fastening torque and 810 ft-lbs of breakaway can handle most jobs that come your way. 4 standard modes plus 3 forward and 3 reverse assist modes ensure Pros have plenty of control to go with the performance.
Price: $394 bare, $609 kit with two 2.5Ah batteries and a charger
As we mentioned earlier, Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrenches are the best all-around. Then there are the 1-inch models we discussed that fill the needs for semis and heavy equipment. Milwaukee has impressive options on the compact side, too. Whether it’s lighter-duty automotive work or driving construction fasteners on professional jobs, give the M18 Fuel compact models a look.
Measuring just under 5 inches from tip to tail, the 1/2-inch models produce 250 ft-lbs of torque with a top speed of 2400 RPM. For many auto techs, pairing one of these compact models with a mid-torque covers every fastening job all day long.
Price: $219 bare, $329 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger
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.
Price: $171 bare, $286 kit with a 4.0Ah Max Output battery and charger
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.
Price: $219 bare tool, $259 kit with a 4.0Ah High Performance battery and charger
The 3/8-inch Skil impact wrench we recommended as the best budget pick is the highest-performing in the line currently. If you want a 1/2-inch drive instead, Skil’s PWRCore 20 brushless 1/2-inch impact wrench is rated for 200 ft-lbs of breakaway torque, but actually exceeded it by breaking nearly 300 ft-lbs in our testing! Like other Skil impact tools, the IW5739-1A hits harder than its specifications suggest. Delivering more than you expect for the price has been a consistent characteristic since Skil rediscovered itself as a high-value DIY brand that’s also tempting for value-focused Pros.
Price: $169 kit with a 5.0Ah battery and charger
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. Rising up to take the title of best cordless impact wrench in any category requires a lot of attention to the power-to-weight ratio.
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 that are just one generation back.
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’s 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 on 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.
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