May 18, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Ridgid 18V SubCompact 1/2-inch Impact Wrench R87028B

Ridgid 18V R87028B SubCompact impact wrench

Ridgid continues to expand its line of SubCompact tools, adding a 1/2-inch impact wrench to the mix. As part of that line, the Ridgid 18V SubCompact 1/2-inch impact wrench (R87028B) brings a key tool for auto mechanics. Our in-house Pros perked up when they heard about this new addition.


  • Smaller head size gets into tighter spaces
  • 3 Speeds, plus auto-tightening mode
  • Lighter and more compact than the Octane 1/2-inch impact wrench
  • Good value compared to other sub-compact impact wrenches
  • Several combo kits available


  • Bottom-heavy design


If you can get past the bottom-heavy design of the Ridgid R87028B 1/2-inch SubCompact impact wrench, you get a versatile, lightweight tool that produces up to 225 ft-lbs of breakaway torque.

Ridgid 18V 1/2-inch SubCompact Impact Wrench

Many brands, including Ridgid, don’t blow out their 12V tools to cover every possible need or function. That leaves a lot of holes if you want lighter-weight tools but still need to tackle different kinds of work. Often, it lands you on two platforms—12V and 18V. With the new Ridgid SubCompact line of tools, you can lighten the load but still tap into your existing 18V battery collection.

We’ve seen this now with the Makita Sub-Compact tools and also the DeWalt Atomic tools. Users seem to “get it”, and the concept of lighter-weight, lower power tools that emphasize space- and weight-savings seems to be taking off.

Big Bottom, Big Bottom…

You can’t really look at the Ridgid SubCompact 1/2-inch impact wrench without immediately thinking it’s modeled after J-Lo. Take a look:

Ridgid R87028B 18V subcompact 1-2-in impact wrench

But the head size—the money end of the tool—seems made for getting into tight spaces. While you can get even more diminutive tools like the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Stubby, Ridgid does a good job—and does it for just $139. The Milwaukee M12 FUEL Stubby runs around $179. The more powerful M18 FUEL Compact Impact Wrench costs $199 for the bare tool.


OK, so what about torque? Ridgid specs this model the same as the 3/8-inch wrench, with 225 ft-lbs of breakaway torque. On the fastening end, it maxes out around 200 ft-lbs.

This should give you enough torque to change tires. A mid-torque model gets the job done more quickly—you just pay a bit more for that increase in productivity.

This tool seems perfectly suited to jump between various jobs around the automotive shop which require a smaller profile tool head. We think this is where you will find the Ridgid R87028B shines. Having already tested the Ridgid 3/8-inch SubCompact model, we can speak to this tool’s effectiveness as an all-purpose impact wrench. The two tools are identical except for the size of the friction ring.

SubCompact impact wrench

If you don’t do much with cars or trucks, the Ridgid 1/2″ SubCompact impact wrench also does great on ledger screws, lags, or anything else that requires some serious torque and speed. While impact drivers do well at many of these tasks, an impact wrench avoids snapping 3/8-inch socket adapters.

2800 RPM provides plenty of speed to move bolts and screws at a decent clip. We also love the four driving modes available on this tool. In addition to the three different speed modes, the Ridgid R87028B impact wrench features an auto-tightening mode. This runs the tool at high speed and then stops it after the first impact. This lets you spin down the nut or bolt and then grab a torque wrench to get exactly the amount of tightening needed. All four modes sit on the rear of the tool bear the battery.

Ridgid R87028B Impact Wrench Ergonomics

With a length of just 4.31-inches and weighing just 3.5 pounds as a bare tool, the Ridgid R87028B makes for a very ergonomic tool. You can get a lighter tool, but the $139 price keeps coming back as a compelling reason why this might interest a lot of users.

Ridgid uses the same driver handle you get with their other tools. We like that its larger diameter favors medium to large size hands. We also continue to love the feel of the Hex Grip overmold.

Additional Features

  • All-metal gears
  • Belt hook
  • LED light
  • Compatible with all Ridgid 18V lithium-ion batteries


The Ridgid 18V 1/2-inch SubCompact impact wrench runs $139 as a bare tool. We ran it with 3.0 Ah Octane batteries, but you can also grab one of the new 2Ah battery packs for an even more compact footprint.

The Bottom Line

We got over the bottom-heavy look of the Ridgid 18V 1/2-inch SubCompact impact wrench pretty quickly. The amount of use you get out of a tool like this makes it very versatile and easy to recommend. Add the low cost of entry and it only gets better. SubCompact keeps you on the more prevalent Ridgid 18V battery platform and delivers compact ergonomics with just enough power. You can spend more on other brands, but the case for Ridgid seems pretty compelling.

Ridgid 18V SubCompact Impact Wrench Specifications

  • Model: Ridgid R87028B
  • Brushless motor
  • 3-Speeds plus auto-tightening mode
  • Speed (no-load): 2,800 RPM
  • Torque (max): 225 ft-lbs.
  • Length: 4.31 in.
  • 45% lighter and 40% more compact than R86011 Octane brushless 1/2 in. impact wrench
  • 1/2 in. friction ring
  • LED light
  • Lifetime Service Agreement (with registration within 90 days of purchase)
  • Price: $139 (bare tool)

Related articles

What is the Difference Between Hard Torque vs Soft Torque?

Apparently, there exists a fair amount of confusion about manufacturer claims surrounding what they call soft torque vs hard torque. A quick Google search, at least at this point, doesn’t reveal a whole ton of useful information. Manufacturers don’t seem to be terribly forthright with good working definitions of what these terms actually mean. So, […]

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You say lighter and more powerful than the Octane 1/2″, but the torque is less than half that of the Octane wrench, so that’s a typo right? I think you mean “compact” since that’s what Ridgid is promoting.


I have the 3/8 version and it rocks. Its nice to not have to use the big guy (High torque Milwaukee) on my lug nuts!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x