Cordless Impact Wrenches Explained

They say a cordless impact wrench is a mechanics best friend. Certainly, when it comes to time saved, it’s hard to disagree with that statement! These tools are a fantastic addition to any workshop and are often used in fabrication, construction, and even demolition work. 

Historically impact wrenches used to be air-powered, and indeed they still are for some applications. However, with modern technology improving battery and motor power, cordless devices have made huge steps forward. These convenient devices offer a much less bulky option with performance comparable to their pneumatic counterparts.

We’ve picked out some of the best performing cordless impact wrenches from across the market below. Whether you need high speed, high torque, or a combination of the two, we’ve got something for you. If you are looking for something smaller and lighter, with a hex anvil – consider a cordless impact driver.

Cordless Impact Wrenches: Our Picks

Best Overall

1. DEWALT DCF899HB

Key Features

⤍ Massive 700ft lbs torque power

⤍ 3 Speed settings

⤍ Lightweight

⤍ LED work light integrated

⤍ Brushless motor

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Our Take

DEWALT’s DCF899HB is a great all-round entrant into the cordless impact wrench category, packed with a great set of features at a price that won’t break the bank. Equipped with the latest 20V brushless motor technology, this wrench combines great power with solid battery life.

Diving into the numbers, this wrench puts out 700ft lbs of torque at maximum, which is in line with the leaders in the category. On the loosening side, you’re looking at 1200ft lbs of breakaway torque which also puts it up with some of the more premium tools.

From an ergonomics perspective, this wrench weighs in at an impressive 5.8lbs, so is certainly by no means heavy. It features an integrated LED work light to help you see what you’re doing, and 3 speeds to cover different work scenarios – 0-400, 1200, and 1900 RPM.

Backed by hundreds of great buyer reviews, this is a great cordless impact wrench at a reasonable price. Buyers in commercial settings might look to invest in one of the more premium tools, but for the majority of use cases, this wrench will be an excellent choice. There is also a detent anvil version available here.

Best Value

2. Ryobi P261

Key Features

⤍ Great wrench at an affordable price

⤍ Mid-level torquing power in a lightweight package

⤍ 3 speed settings

⤍ Integrated work light

⤍ Great battery life

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Our Take

For buyers who aren’t as concerned with massive torquing power, the P261 from Ryobi could be the answer. This mid-level cordless impact wrench builds on Ryobi’s popular ONE battery technology, giving owners impressive run time and power from the 18V 4ah Lithium-ion battery.

While it may not be a leader in maximum torque force – the 300ft lbs on tap will be plenty for all but the most demanding applications. Combined with 3 speed settings and helpful light, this is a great little package at an affordable price. It’s worth noting that this is a fairly lightweight wrench as well, so it might be helpful for construction work where you find yourself moving around a lot and torquing lots of fixings to a medium level.

With rave reviews from buyers, the P261 ships with a battery and charger, so everything is included to let you get right to work.

Best Performance

3. Milwaukee 2767-22

Key Features

⤍ Massive 1000ft lbs of tightening torque

⤍ Huge 1400ft lbs of loosening – perfect for stubborn bolts

⤍ Small unit

⤍ 4 speed settings and integrated light

⤍ Great option for commercial and heavy duty applications

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Our Take

When it comes to all out performance – the pros reach right for the Milwaukee 2767. This impact wrench is by consensus a leader in its class – offering incredible torqueing, modern features, and superb build quality.

The Milwaukee lays out an impressive 1000ft lbs of fastening torque and 1400ft lbs of loosening – making it easily the best choice for demanding applications. Once you’ve got that bolt loosened, this wrench has one of the fastest removal speeds as well, so you can get straight on to the next one.

Equipped with 4 speed settings, and a work light, this tool is small for its class, enabling you to reach into right spaces other wrenches and pneumatics won’t go. It is very fractionally heavier than the competition, but only by a small amount, and the increase in performance is more than worth it.

If you want a cordless impact wrench that’ll be the last one you’ll ever buy, Milwaukee’s 2767 is that wrench.

4. Ingersoll Rand W7150-K22

Key Features

⤍ Powerful wrench with 780/1100ft lbs of torqueing power

⤍ Light for its power level at 6.8lbs

⤍ 1 speed setting

⤍ Reliable tool from premium manufacturer

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Our Take

Although not quite as powerful as the Milwaukee wrench, the Ingersoll Rand W7150 is another great unit which deserves a look. This long standing design was a staple of many repair shops, this machine has a ton of history and performance that can still stand up with the newer designs.

Boasting 1100ft lbs of loosening torque, coupled with 780ft lbs of tightening power, this wrench is definitely no slouch. It still uses a brushed motor, unlike some of the newer designs, but is actually surprisingly light at just 6.8lbs. From a speed perspective, with a 1900 rpm max speed this impact wrench is quite fast, and will certainly get bolts off fast so you can work efficiently.

From a feature perspective, this tool is slightly lacking however, having only 1 speed and no work light. Many people will be happy to sacrifice that for the great performance and reliability, but it’s worth noting when lined up against the Milwaukee.

5. Makita XWT11Z

Key Features

⤍ High RPMs for fast tightening and removal

⤍ Lightweight tool for repetitive tasks

⤍ 3 speed settings

⤍ Auto stop helpful for fabrication and automotive

⤍ Comparatively low torque

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Our Take

Next up is Makita’s XWT11Z, which is a more compact offering. Weighing in at just 3.8lbs, this is very much a lightweight cordless impact wrench, but for the right application, it’ll be a great choice.

Buyers who are looking for a low torque, fast and lightweight machine will certainly be a great fit for this Makita, which features a maximum torque of 210ft lbs. That is paired with a very high RPM though, so this wrench is a great fit for repetitive jobs like removing wheel nuts.

Makita have also included some clever features into this design, like the auto off feature for removing nuts. This clever innovation helps to prevent you from losing nuts, and will definitely be an added bonus in the automotive setting.

Powered by a Lithium ion battery coupled to a brushless motor, this little impact wrench is well suited to long days and sports great battery life compared to the competition. For certain types of application – this impact wrench will be your dream come true.

6. Makita XWT08Z

Key Features

⤍ Powerful mid-high level wrench

⤍ 740ft lbs tightening & 1180 ft lbs reverse

⤍ LED light

⤍ Lithium battery

⤍ Brushless 3 speed motor

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Our Take

The Makita XWT08Z is the bigger brother of the XWT11Z, and is quite a different impact wrench, clearly aimed at different applications. This model will be better suited to more demanding work, and packs significantly more power into a larger device.

Weighing in at 7.8lbs, this wrench is on the heavier side, but comes with some impressive torqueing ability. Putting out 740ft lbs of tightening power matched with 1180ft lbs in reverse – this cordless impact wrench is no slouch. The brushless motor is connected to a 3 speed controller, giving you the ability to keep all that power under control for more precise work.

Packed with all the modern features you’d expect from a great wrench; this machine includes an integrated LED light and a Lithium ion battery. Easily capable of out-performing its corded competition, this is a great all-purpose wrench for a shop setting.

7. ACDelco ARI2002

key Features

⤍ Great value mid-to-high power wrench

⤍ 3 preset tightening settings

⤍ 3 preset speeds

⤍ Brushless motor and Lithium Battery

⤍ Comes with case, battery and charger

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Our Take

A slightly lesser known brand, the ACDelco packs a lots of features into this unit making it an impressive entrant. The ARI2002 is very much a mid-to-high power wrench, and comes equipped to take on the most challenging torqueing tasks.

One of the standout features of this machine is the three preset tightening modes, which will help you hit your desired fastening tightness quickly and accurately. This will be particularly useful to fabricators and automotive applications who need to achieve specific torques.

From a power perspective, this cordless impact wrench sits among the most powerful – with 738ft lbs on the tightening side and 1100ft lbs in reverse. The brushless motor and lithium ion battery will give you great battery performance too – so no need to worry on that front.

Equipped with 3 speed settings, this wrench is a great alternative so many of the better-known brands, and comes equipped with a solid case, charger and battery for a great price.

8. PORTER-CABLE PCC740LA

Key Features

⤍ Afforable mid-power offering

⤍ 20V Lithium battery

⤍ 650ft lbs of torque power

⤍ Battery and charger included

⤍ Great for home applications

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Our Take

Another more under-the-radar brand, Porter Cable’s PCC740LA has received rave buyer reviews. We’d class this as a mid-power cordless impact wrench – but that still means it’ll be a great fit for all but the toughest applications.

Sporting 650ft lbs of torqueing power, this wrench is also reasonably fast at 1600 rpm. Powered by a 20V lithium battery, this is quite a light wrench at 6lbs. Buyers who are working in high precision applications with enjoy the full variable speed trigger, allowing you to precisely adjust your speed. This is a slightly different approach compared to what you’ll find on other designs, which allow variable speeds only at the lower end of their speed range.

Coming with the battery included, this wrench is ready to roll and will get you up and running at a very reasonable price-point. For most DIY and home applications, you won’t be disappointed.

9. Neiko 10878A

Key Features

⤍ Great mid-power affordable option

⤍ Variable speed trigger

⤍ 300ft lbs of torque

⤍ Comes with sockets, charger, battery and case

⤍ Rubberized grip

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Our Take

Another lower priced offering – Neiko’s cordless impact wrench is a great value option if you need speed without huge power. Spinning up to 3500rpm, this wrench is no slouch, and will torque up to 300ft lbs.

Featuring a variable speed trigger rather than separate speed settings, this wrench will function more closely to a cordless drill than some of the other cordless impact wrenches in this review.

Nieko have spent a good deal of time thinking about ease of use, and added a handy battery indicator to this design, so you can quickly tell if it’s time for a change. They also included a belt attachment, and the standard rubberizing you’d expect to find on more premium wrenches.

Probably best suited to the home mechanic, this wrench comes with a selection of socket attachments, a handy carry case, battery and charger. For a reasonably priced entry into the cordless impact wrench field, this a great choice, and many buyers agree.

10. Bosch IWHT180B

Key Features

⤍ Mid-to-high power wrench

⤍ Variable speed trigger design

⤍ Bosch tool interchangeable batteries

⤍ Reduced vibration and user fatigue

⤍ Integrated LED light

Our Rating

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Our Take

Another friction ring offering, this time from tool giant Bosch, the IWHT180B is an impressive wrench. This is a mid-level offering, delivering some 500ft lbs of torque in a well manufactured package.

Relatively lightweight, this design features a slender nose to fit into tight space, and benefits from cross compatibility with other Bosch cordless devices. Buyers who are fans of their cordless drills and saws will certainly appreciate this.

Control comes in the form of a variable speed trigger, and this wrench will spin up to 1900rpm, delivering reasonable if not standout speed. The wrench comes equipped with an integrated light, and makes used of a spring loaded internal hammer system to reduce user fatigue through vibration.

What to consider when buying a cordless impact wrench

Torqueing Power (Ft. Lbs)

Ah, the key ingredient! Although important, high torqueing power is not necessarily critical all the time. If you often work on high-torque applications like seized bolts, then it’s obviously essential. But there is normally a trade-off.

Generally, you will find the higher power wrenches will be a bit larger, heavier, and more expensive. On the other hand, having that extra power available is always nice to have. This is especially true if you have a variety of applications and never know what you might come up against.

Weight

Some cordless impact wrenches are lighter than others. It’s certainly worth taking a moment to consider your application.

If you travel in your work or do short repetitive tasks, you will appreciate a lighter weight wrench. It will help you work much faster and reduce arm fatigue as you move from fastening to fastening.

Speed (RPM)

For some applications, speed is a major consideration. If you have repetitive fastenings to do, a faster cordless impact wrench will save you a great deal of time. You will also be able to get through more in your day. Some devices feature variable speed settings, which is also preferable if you have repetitive tasks.

This is because you won’t have to depress the trigger entirely to hit top speed – helping reduce hand fatigue. For home use, a variable speed trigger on a simple one-speed device is enough to get the job done. The good news is that it often comes at a lower price point.

If you are looking for something more suited to drilling into materials then check out our drill press guide.

Battery & Brand Compatibility

Undoubtedly, many users find it easier to keep loyal to one brand and ensure batteries work across all their devices. If you pick a wrench from a brand like DEWALT, you can often use the same battery and charger across saws, drills and other cordless devices.

For the sake of convenience, we strongly recommend thinking about this. Generally sticking to the more respected brands is better than trying to pick up a quick deal.

Anvil Type

Depending on your sockets, you might need to find a detent-type anvil or a hog ring anvil. Detent rings use a small ball on the side of the anvil to secure the socket. Hog rings, on the other hand, use a small wire ring to secure the socket. These days, detent rings are widely preferred, but some people find them slightly harder to remove compared to hog rings.

All in all, check your sockets if you have some to ensure compatibility. Otherwise, we prefer detent anvils for their ease.

Anvil Size

All wrenches featured in this review utilize a standard ½” square anvil – which fits a variety of standard sockets. This isn’t the only anvil size available, however. You might want to quickly check if you have any specialist sockets which require a different size.

Cordless Impact Wrench Buyers Guide Questions

How do you use a cordless impact wrench?

Cordless impact wrenches are very straightforward tools to use. First up, you’ll need to make sure your battery is charged, then you’re ready to go. 

Next, you’ll need to find the correct socket for your fastening. If you don’t have the correct socket, you can seriously damage the bolt, so we strongly advise you to avoid trying to force the wrong size socket onto your bolt. Having selected the correct socket, check the desired torque setting for your application – making sure you won’t over tighten and damage the fastening.

Now place the socket and cordless impact wrench over the bolt, and push your weight against it firmly with both hands. Press the trigger, and the wrench will tighten the nut down to your desired torque.

What is the most powerful cordless impact wrench?

The most powerful cordless impact wrench we have seen is the Milwaukee 2767-22, which puts out an impressive 100ft lbs of tightening torque and 1400ft lbs of loosening torque.

That’s a huge amount of power, and should help you overcome even the tightest nuts and bolts!

Are cordless impact wrenches any good?

Yes, they are a fantastic tool! For applications where you need to quickly tighten a bunch of nuts and bolts, these things will save you a huge amount of time compared with doing it with a ratchet wrench by hand.

The other alternative is the old-school air impact wrench, which you still see used by Autosport teams. These are much bulkier, as they require an air compressor and a hose attachment, so they are much less suitable to most applications. Cordless impact drivers are often used for tightening screws and lower torque applications where a wrench is an overkill.

What is the best cordless impact wrench?

Obviously this depends on your application. Overall, we recommend the DEWALT DCF899HB, which is a great wrench from a performance standpoint and also great value for money. If you’re looking for all-out performance though, the Milwaukee 2767-22 will be the best cordless impact wrench you can find.

This unit has insane torqueing power, a great deal of speed, and is a very well manufactured and high-quality tool. For a home setting, you might look to one of our more value wrenches, which comes with a variety of sockets included, as well as batteries and chargers.

Will a cordless impact wrench remove lug nuts?

Yes, a cordless impact wrench certainly will, and is a great tool for this job. Most lug nuts on wheels should be tightened to 80-100lbs for most vehicles, and slightly more for larger trucks and semis. The problem is with rust and ceasing though, which can cause these lug nuts to be much tighter than the specified torqueing.

Make sure you have the correct size socket, otherwise you’ll damage the nut, and be in a great deal of trouble. Then ensure you’re holding the wrench against the nut perpendicularly, and brace yourself with both hands. You should be able to get the nuts off with a good cordless impact wrench which can deliver up to 1400ft lbs of torque! 

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