It seems like rarely a day goes by without improvements in car maintenance products and technology. After 30 years, I’ve been around this craft long enough to know that if you’re not trying to keep up with it all, you can quickly become a dinosaur. I learned early on to say yes to any request to fix something or to try a new tool. So when I saw the new Ingersoll Rand 35Max 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench, I was willing to give it a try even though the size seemed a bit small for what I do.
There are always plenty of tire rotations each day at the shop and I also had a harmonic balancer to work on. I needed to see if such a compact tool could have the power to earn a place among mechanics.
Size and Weight
I will admit that I was skeptical of the 35MAX’s size and doubted that it could pack the punch I needed. It’s not an uncommon first impression as tools get smaller and lighter. Those of us that have been around for a while have been burned by cheap tools, but these days, truly professional level models are making great strides.
The impact wrench is remarkably light at 2.4 pounds. Its stubby design can fit into very tight spaces because it’s only 4.5 inches long. Compare that to other automotive-focused wrenches, even in IR’s catalogue, and you’re dropping significant weight and several inches.
The push-button forward/reverse switch is designed on the back rather than above the trigger like you’d find on a cordless tool. It’s simple to reach and change between forward and reverse on the fly.
Three forward power settings torque up to 360 foot pounds and are adjustable with a large dial on the back of the wrench. Reverse has just one speed. The dial for forward High/Medium/Low torque settings is simple enough to operate and finds a nice balance between moving too easily and not easily enough. I have an older IR wrench with a smaller dial and you have to work to find the sweet spot, but the 35MAX’s indexed speed selection drops in place just fine.
Take it to the MAX
When it comes to tire bolts, most experts will tell you to make sure your wrench has at least 200 foot pounds of torque to handle it. I don’t like playing it to close to the line though and the Ingersoll Rand 35Max has 360 foot pounds in forward, 450 in reverse, and up to 625 for nut busting.
Any concern I had that the 35MAX couldn’t handle the job because of its size was quickly dispatched. The power to weight is just impressive and it handled every nut and bolt I threw at it with ease. I followed up with a torque stick to double check the 35MAX’s accuracy – it was right on.
The 35MAX is great for tire rotations because of its weight. Working with tools at any any height approaching shoulder level or overhead will tend to fatigue you quickly along with exposing your need to do more push-ups. I’d quickly feel the weight of my old impact wrench while rotating tires, but the IR seemed almost effortless comparatively.
I also used it on a harmonic balancer where there’s a small space between the radiator and balancer. It’s a very tight squeeze for my usual impact wrench, but the 35Max got right in there and knocked it loose immediately. I could get used to this kind of compactness and weight in all my tools!
If there’s an area that could stand to see some improvement, it’s in the handle design. Picking up the tool and using it, you might not notice thanks to its small profile and light weight. Compare it to something like the handle on DeWalt’s 20V Max 1/2 Inch Impact Wrench and you’ll appreciate a handle that contours to your hand. IR’s handle has some texture to it and the diameter is good, but the shape could be better.
The Ingersoll Rand 35MAX 1/2-inch impact wrench features a twin hammer mechanism that IR says reduces vibration. It’s a tough call to make on this model since its stubby, compact design really means it’s in a different class than my other wrenches. The lab-tested numbers show vibration at 1.0 m/s2 which may not mean a whole lot until you compare it to other Ingersoll Rand models that range from around 2.7 to 7.6 m/s2.
All that to say that it may be the twin hammer mechanism, the compact design, or a combination of factors, but the Ingersoll Rand 35MAX produces less vibration than my other wrenches.
Although the tool’s longevity is beyond the scope of this review, IR claims the 35MAX will last twice as long as the competition. It stood up well to the tough garage environment. It has been dropped and thrown down and has held up very well. It withstands wear and tear admirably and that’s a good thing because it now lives in a wear and tear environment.
The Bottom Line
The Ingersoll Rand 35MAX is a compact, lightweight, durable air impact wrench that packs enough power to do the majority of the work I ask of my wrenches. It would have been hard to believe when I got started 30 years ago that we’d have a tool with this kind of power to weight ratio.
Not only would I recommend this to other Pros – I already have. I grab everyone that walks by and make sure they have a chance to use it. It’s a solid value at $139 and I’m happy to have it in my toolbox.
Ingersoll Rand 35Max 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench Features
- Twin hammer design
- Composite housing
- 2-year warranty
- Improved ergonomics with composite casing
- One-handed forward/reverse push button operation
- 3 forward regulator settings
- Large regulator dial on back
Ingersoll Rand 35Max 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench Specifications
- Drive Type: 1/2″ Square
- Max Nut Busting Torque: 625 ft. lbs.
- Max Reverse Torque: 450 ft. lbs.
- Max Forward Torque: 360 ft. lbs.
- Impact Rate: 1250 BPM
- No Load Speed: 8000 RPM
- Weight: 2.4 lbs.
- Length: 4.6 inches
- Max Air Consumption: 17 CFM
- Sound Level: 95.9 dB(A)
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: $139
Check out all Ingersoll Rand products at Acme Tools!