How to Choose the Right Cordless Impact Wrench

An impact wrench is an indispensable tool for mechanics – or anyone who needs to deal with overtightened or rusted nuts and bolts. Thanks to modern lithium-ion technology, impact wrenches can be made entirely cordless – making them more convenient than they ever have been.

How does an Impact Wrench work?

To get a stubborn bolt working, the impact wrench needs to generate a huge amount of torque – more than any human could feasibly generate. It uses a motor to built up tension, which it stores in a rotating mass before delivering it to the end of the shaft whenever it encounters resistance.

What different kinds of wrench are available?

Wrenches of this kind come in two varieties. There are pistol-grip ones, which come with a small pistol-style handle and a trigger; then there are inline ones, which basically look like a chunky screwdriver. The former tend to be more intuitive and convenient, but the latter might be easier if you’re having to work around tight spaces.

Impact wrenches also differ when it comes to the socket sizes available. The wrench will typically come with interchangeable heads. When shopping for a tool, make sure that it’s got the head that’s appropriate for the sort of nuts and bolts you’ll be securing.

Compressed air and pneumatic power are often used to generate the torque – though, increasingly, battery-powered cordless impact wrenches are being favoured as a superior alternative.

Why go cordless?

Cordless tools have several major advantages over their corded counterparts. Firstly, they eliminate the danger posed by trailing cables. Secondly, they eliminate the need to find a convenient electrical outlet. Thirdly, they tend to be easier to use, as you won’t have to contend with a cumbersome cable wrapping around your arm.

Modern batteries are smaller, lighter and more efficient than they ever have been. Moreover, they also tend to be cross-compatible, so a large number of workers can share a small pool of batteries, and you don’t have to go searching around for a matching one – just leave a few spares in constant rotation.This assumes that the batteries are of the same voltage, and come from the same manufacturer.

What features should I look for?

When you’re shopping for an impact wrench, you should look for a tool that you’ll feel comfortable operating again and again for hours on end. An impact driver should also be able to stand up to the punishment that an intense construction environment, or a workshop, can dispense. A more expensive all-metal tool might end up being cheaper in the long-term, as it will offer a longer lifespan.

Finally, you should look to compare the power of the wrench you’re buying. If there’s not enough of it, then you might find that your tool hinders more than it helps. If there’s too much, then you might end up paying over the odds.

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