Best Impact Wrench For YOU

We are asked what the best impact wrench is for working on automotive projects on a weekly basis.  This conversation quickly turns from impact wrenches to sockets and what the user currently owns.  We feel that 1/2″ drive seems to fit most people best as inexpensive sets that go from 13mm to 32mm are readily available.  Our generalization that 1/2″ works for most is because most DIY people will use hand tools to remove the smaller bolts and nuts.  The large items are most important as they are the most labor-intensive and time-consuming.

We believe that a properly sized impact wrench can remove 80-85% of all the bolts and nuts on your vehicle.  Many will be too small and a few will be too large.  smaller fasteners can easily be removed with hand tools while some of the larger fasteners will need some heat or penetration oil to get them to break free.  Improperly sizing this torque wrench will lead to one not using it as often due to weight and fatigue.

Time is Money

The time is money saying fits most full-time mechanics well as the faster they can complete a job the more money it makes them.  This is also true in DIY automotive projects, but in a different way.  Generally, the better the tool the more money it will cost and the faster it will complete a project.  In the DIY world, does one care that an impact wrench will not loosen one bolt on a vehicle and that it needed to be heated or treated with lubrication before it was removed?  Are you willing to take a little extra time messing with a bolt or nut to save money on having a top of the line high powered tool?

All of these questions are important when looking to buy the perfect impact wrench for you.  How much are you willing to pay to save a little time?

Torque or Power

Go big or go home is how many people feel about power!  That is a great saying but with impact wrenches, it will cost you a lot of money and also have you using a very impact wrench for small jobs.  The perfect impact wrench would be small and have all the power available to the user through multiple settings.  But we all know that technology still demands that size and weight are a factor in power.  So there has to be a middle ground where light weight, adjustability, and power meet.  Currently, many people call this line mid-torque impact wrenches.  They are small and easy to use all day without fatiguing the user.  These smaller tools can also loosen and tighten nuts and bolts faster than hand tools and save the user energy.

In general, the high torque impact wrenches will weigh enough that most would not want to use them all day on a project.  The comfort factor is not optimal.  While a small impact wrench will be the most comfortable, it might not be able to complete the tasks needed.  Here again, a middle ground must be found.


When you look at all the factors, the Ridgid 18-Volt GEN5X Cordless Brushless 1/2 in. Impact Wrench really fits the bill for many users.  With 450 ft lbs of torque and a price of $150, it is hard to beat.  The size is perfect for using all day and the 4 modes allow for use on small to large fasteners.  The tool is small enough for us to grab and use as our main impact wrench for light duty work rotating tires, but still strong enough to use on suspension bolts that stretch the limits of a 1/2″ drive.  This size of impact wrench is a game changer for people who use this tool all day  With the size of this new impact wrench, there is no need for a compact impact wrench in 1/2″.  The Ridgid impact wrench work for 90% of the fasteners in the automobile world, leaving the large high torque impact to only pick up the really heavy duty work.