Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench with LiHD Battery

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench Feature
PTR Review
  • Power 9.0
  • Run Time 10.0
  • Performance 9.5
  • Ergonomics 8.5
  • Build Quality 9.0
  • Value 10.0

Metabo has taken a tool that fell in between a high torque impact wrench and an impact driver and created a more versatile toption. By giving the Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL 12 speeds, it brings almost all of the 18V impact driver applications into its fold.

Overall Score 9.3 (out of 10)

Moving from an impact driver to an impact wrench is more than just changing the bit retainer to a socket adapter. It means you’re moving way up in power and to a completely different set of applications. Impact wrenches are common around auto shops thanks to the intense metal to metal connections they often secure. You’ll also find them on industrial and commercial jobsites where they make a living around steel frame structures.

The Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench is in the middle of the power range of impact wrenches. On paper, it’s right where it should be for compact impact wrenches. Its 295 foot pounds of torque make it a versatile tool that can handle your light and medium duty metal applications while moving into screw driving applications with a simple adapter. In fact, Metabo’s official title of this impact wrench is an impact screwdriver according to their website.

My first thought? Well, 295 foot pounds is 3,540 inch pounds of torque – way too much for screw driving! Metabo has brought the old idea of a multi-speed driver around to a new and compelling innovation – the 12 speed impact wrench. I brought the idea up to a few other guys from the PTR team, and it seems I’m not the only skeptic in the group. We’re going to take a closer look at how the Metabo SSW 18 LXT 400 BL Impact Wrench is dialed in.

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench Specifications

  • Power Source: Metabo 18V Lithium-Ion Battery (tested with 3.1 amp hour LiHD)
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 2150 RPM
  • Torque: 295 Foot Pounds (3,540 inch pounds)
  • Maximum Impact Rate: 4,250 IPM
  • Weight: 4.2 Pounds (including battery)
  • Bit Retainer: 1/2″ Square
  • Included in Kit: Impact Wrench, (2) 3.1 Amp Hour LiHD Batteries, Belt Hook, Case
  • Online Price: $399 (5.5 amp hour LiHD kit),  $329 (3.1 amp hour LiHD kit), $319 (bare tool)

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Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL First Impresssions


The Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench has a footprint in between an impact driver and a drill. It’s clearly smaller than the high torque impact drivers out there while still coming in under the length of a standard 18V drill. You are looking at a much more powerful tool than an impact driver, so the weight is higher at 4.2 pounds with the battery. It’s not the lightest of the compact impact wrenches, but it’s way under the high torque models.

Balance on the Metabo Impact Wrench is good with a slight forward lean when gripped. With the 3.1 amp hour LiHD battery, the weight and balance didn’t fight against me on overhead applications. I have a medium sized hand and I found the handle to be on the large size for me. It’s not an issue when it comes to grip, I just prefer a thinner handle.

Everyone that I’ve had try this model have taken a minute to figure out the battery eject. The lock is on the tool rather than the battery. I have found that using the heel of my hand to press against it is the easiest way to get the battery out.

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench – 12 Speeds?

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench Mode Dial

Let’s talk about those 12 speeds for a minute. With brushed motors, you actually needs a physical gear box to have multiple speeds. With brushless, however, electronic controls are already built into the system – creating multiple speed settings isn’t a big deal.

We know at top speed, we’re going to get 2,150 RPMs, 3,450 inch pounds of torque, and and 4,250 IPM. Is the lowest speed low enough for fastening duties though? We’re going to see 590 RPM, 1,151 inch pounds of torque, and just 1,200 IPM in mode 1. So… yes, I’ll give that a cautious vote for fastening. I’ll give a more confident vote for the fact that we get 12 separate speed/torque settings for applications that require more precision.

Just as a comparison, my 12V impact driver puts out 2,000 RPM, 1,100 inch pounds of torque, and 3,000 IPM. Metabo definitely has the torque in Mode 1, but the RPMs and IPMs are significantly lower, so we’ll have to see what happens.

Metabo LiHD Battery Technology

Metabo LiHD Battery

We’ve already gone into some detail about Metabo’s new LiHD battery technology. By creating a higher density lithium-ion cell, Metabo is claiming 67% greater power and 87% more run time than traditional lithium-ion batteries. It’s a bold claim that is game changing. In speaking to the Metabo crew at STAFDA this year, they explained that simply changing the battery changes the tool.

In the case of the Metabo SSW 18 LXT 400 BL Impact Wrench, LiHD batteries took the torque rating from 295 foot pounds to 325. While not exactly a 67% increase (it’s actually only 10%), that doesn’t take into account run time and speed, much less the actual speed of performance. There’s clearly something magical going on inside that battery pack, and it’s changing the playing field for Metabo.

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Performance

We’re tool junkies. That means that we’ve got impact drivers for screw driving and impact wrenches for socket applications. We just don’t do a whole lot of crossover. The idea of taking the power of an impact wrench and giving enough versatility to replace an impact driver is pretty forward thinking. That’s what we decided to do – try it on the same socket applications we expect it to perform well in and try to drive screws with the control we expect from an impact driver.

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench Nut Busting

Lug nuts and lag bolts are really no challenge for the Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench. This is expected as you really need just 200 foot pounds of torque to handle lug nuts. Since most impact drivers can handle lag bolts with reasonable results, it should be no surprise that Metabo’s impact wrench can drive 1/2″ x 6″ lags with relative ease. Here’s the thing—having 12 speeds allows you to dial in a wider variety of specific torques that gives you consistent results every time in these high stress applications.

Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench Screw Driving

The question we were all curious about was in the ability to drive screws. We picked up a 1/2″ square to 1/4″ hex adapter at Lowe’s. There were plenty in stock, so finding one shouldn’t be an issue. Figuring low speed was the place to start, there was plenty of control and torque to sink a 3″ screw into pine with no problem. It was actually a little on the slow side, though the impact mechanism didn’t have to kick in until it was halfway through the drive.

With a little experimenting, I found that Mode 5 matched the driving speed of my go-to Ridgid 18V impact driver. I thought the trade-off would be control. That didn’t turn out to be the case. The trade-off is compactness. Using an adapter adds another 1-3/8″ to the 6-1/2″ you’ve already got. What you gain in versatility is worth it if you’re not constantly working in tight spaces.

Another subtle performance effect I noticed was a slight soft start. Normally, you’ll feel an impact tool pull to the side if you just hold it up and start it. The soft start on the Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL Impact Wrench creates even greater control when starting to drive a screw.

Editor’s Note on Torque and Speed: Your tightening torque depends on the impact duration. With an impact duration of approximately 5 seconds, you’ll reach the maximum tightening torque at any of the 12 speeds/modes. With that said, the torque curve depends on the type of application. Here’s a quick guide of how this works (image courtesy of Metabo):

Metabo torque curve

With a hard screwdriving application (screw couplings in hard material such as metal), maximum tightening torque is already reached after a short impact duration (See figure a). With a soft screwdriving application, however (driving in soft material like wood), a longer impact duration is required (See figure b). Metabo’s general recommendation is to simply determine the correct impact duration by carrying out trial screw driving. Because speed affects torque, and applications are infinite, there’s no real effective way to tell you what each of the 12 torque/speed levels will do in a way that’s practical.


Metabo has taken a tool that fell in between a high torque impact wrench and an impact driver and created a more versatile option. By giving the Metabo SSW 18 LTX 400 BL 12 speeds, it brings almost all of the 18V impact driver applications into its fold. For the professional working in industrial and commercial applications, this is an impact wrench that replaces the need for an impact driver by just adding a $7 adapter. Even residential construction pros will enjoy the combination of applications you can tackle.

For a guy that could carry both tools, I’d rather not if I can help it. When compact work is required, I can turn to my 12V kit to reach the areas this model can’t. I’d recommend this for any professional that frequently turns to a blend of compact impact wrenches and full size impact drivers to get the job done. This is just based on how we were able to test it. In addition to auto shops, Metabo also recommends this for shipyard use and anywhere else that requires specific torque settings and repeatable results.

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