Impact Wrench Recommendations?

NCL4701

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At the risk of starting something akin to an oil thread…

I am not a professional mechanic but have occasional need for a decent 1/2” impact wrench. The biggest stuff I work on is a 1/2 ton pickup, L4701, and implements associated with the L. I have been using a rather low end Chicago Pneumatic 1/2” air powered impact for the past 30 years or so. It still runs, and that’s swell, but it won’t stop, which is not swell. I have reworked the valve twice before, lubricating, replacing O-rings, etc. to alleviate this behavior (yes, I do oil it routinely) but it’s at it again and I’m at the point of replacing it. Max reverse torque on it is around 350 lb-ft, max forward torque around 295. Not a particularly powerful tool even for a 1/2”, which adds some to my motivation to replace with something with a bit more grunt, although it does do what I need it to do, albeit at times having to give way to a 3/4” breaker bar and cheater pipe.

I have a battery operated Milwaukee drill, which is a wonderful tool. However it is probably 20 years old (on its third set of batteries) so unlikely to be battery compatible with anything new.

I am not totally adverse to staying with pneumatic, but there are times it would be quite handy to have something not tethered to a compressor. In light of my not making money with it and occasional use, cost is at least somewhat of a consideration. One of the things I routinely use this for is R/I mower blades and I prefer to not have to remove the deck every time the blades on the riding mowers need sharpening so while a low profile isn’t necessary, something massive isn’t highly desirable. I already have a reasonably complete set of 1/2” impact sockets and don’t see a need sufficient to justify the cost to move up to a much beefier 3/4” drive wrench and 3/4” sockets.

All that said, any recommendations on either a decent pneumatic or battery type impact?
 

trial and error

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Im in a similar situation as far as not using mine proffesionally. Go cordless and brushless , no matter what brand you go with. I have primarily ridgid tools and batteries so I went with a ridged 1/2" brushless a few years ago and it hasn't disappointed me at all, granted there are bigger stronger ones now, but the one I have hasn't left me wanting for more. Any one of them except a bottom of the barrel brand will have more Grunt then the old Chicago (which I also have) since buying the cordless the pneumatic hasn't been used but maybe once or 2x. The beauty of most of the cordless ones is they have multiple speeds/torque settings so tightening small stuff isn't a concern and it will handle most of the big stuff as well I'm prettybl sure the old milwakee 18 volt stuff batteries is compatible with the new stuff and if that is the case I would in your case go with a millwakee albeit they are one of the more expensive brands, there is a reason for that. Just keep in mind that going with the highest torque one you can afford is never going to be a regret you have and since most cordless models have soeed/torque selectors having too much gun is never a problem
 
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Thunder chicken

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I agree with ^.
Whatever brand of tool you have most of, get their 1/2 impact. Check out the specs, most have 2-4 various sizes/torque levels.
I have a dewalt, a mid powered one. The 5ah battery came with it and delivers enough juice to do anything a home mechanic has needed. I've done some suspension work on my car and it's removed or twisted off every rusted bolt/nut I've needed it to.
 
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luc.who

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I ended going with a dewalt 1/2 and very happy with it so far. about 6 months of use on tire rotations, d tractor and lawnmower maintenance. What I didn't realize when looking at them was how many options dewalt has. Here is the matrix I used to help decide.. of course I could have some errors here and prices.. well they may have changed..
No code has to be inserted here.
 
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CGMKCM

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I went with DeWalt because I already had several 20V DeWalt tools. Several really good options (see video link).
A compact 1/2" driver should be able to handle what you work on. I have a Ingersol Rand Titanium impact that has not been touched since buying the battery powered impacts.
I added a second link to a Utube site that does testing of power tools maybe TMI.

Project Farm
TT
 
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luc.who

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I ended going with a dewalt 1/2 and very happy with it so far. about 6 months of use on tire rotations and tractor and lawnmower maintenance. What I didn't realize when looking at them was how may options dewalt has. Here is my comparison matrix.

Well after multiple attempts to enter my table.. I give up. I went with 800 break away torque.
 
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ve9aa

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I have a "good" 1/2" air impact (middle tier stuff) but find myself grabbing the breaker bar and cheater pipe on those difficult lugnuts on a variety of cars every spring maybe 25% of the time, so last year I upgraded to a Dewalt 20V 1/2" impact and am very happy with it.

Now only once in a blue moon do I ever need to grab a breaker bar. This year
I had 1 stubborn lugnut out of 3 cars.

It runs on the same 20v batteries all my other Dewalt stuff runs on and is most definitely stronger than my 6 -7 yr old air impact......which is of course tethered to the house with a hose.

With the Dewalt, I can go anywhere....Even go change a tire for my wife somewhere away from home. "Honey, I have a flat tire" on a phone call used to mean grabbing my 4-star wrench, breaker bar and cheater pipe. Now it means tossing the impact in the rescue vehicle and going.
 
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ve9aa

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I ended going with a dewalt 1/2 and very happy with it so far. about 6 months of use on tire rotations, d tractor and lawnmower maintenance. What I didn't realize when looking at them was how many options dewalt has. Here is the matrix I used to help decide.. of course I could have some errors here and prices.. well they may have changed..
No code has to be inserted here.
I think there's something wrong with the formatting in your post. ie: no Matrix
 

NCL4701

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chim

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I have no experience with other brands, but between the two I know about I'd get either a DeWalt or Milwaukee, depending on which battery platform you already have. DO CHECK the specs of any impact first. For example, there's a substantial difference between a deWalt DC889 and a DC899.

I replaced all but a couple DeWalt 18V tools when they went from NiCad to LIon batteries because the 20V tools are more advanced - many are now brushless. Run time on my 20V grinders is several times what the 18V would run. DeWalt called the 18V tools "cutoff tools" and not "grinders". They were well-suited for cutting padlocks on Storage Wars, but would never sharpen the 5 blades on my RFM with one battery.

When DeWalt came out with the superior 20V tools with better run time, they started calling them "grinders". Plus the 20V platform should be supported for quite a while. When choosing the 1/2" impact I compared specs. The DC899 had better torque, so I went with that.

The hi-torque Milwaukee and this DeWalt performed the same when we pitted them against each other removing lug nuts from a Gradall 544D. The mechanic always had a rough time removing those lug nuts till she got her Milwaukee M18 and thought no DeWalt would do it. The performance of the two impacts was the same.
 
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Daren Todd

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I have 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" cordless impacts from Mac tools. And are made by dewalt. The impact has seen a ton of use and abuse for 4 years now.

By far, my first choice would be Dewalt for cordless.

Second choice would be Makita 40vlt line. Work purchased a 3/4" 40vlt impact for me to use, and that thing is a beast.

I'm a fan of most of the Milwaukee line of cordless tools except for their impacts. The weak spot is their bearings. The other weak spot is the clips to hold the battery in. I've seen a bunch of those impacts out there on jobsites with duct tape holding the batteries on sounding like they are full of gravel.
 
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fried1765

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I have 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" cordless impacts from Mac tools. And are made by dewalt. The impact has seen a ton of use and abuse for 4 years now.

By far, my first choice would be Dewalt for cordless.

Second choice would be Makita 40vlt line. Work purchased a 3/4" 40vlt impact for me to use, and that thing is a beast.

I'm a fan of most of the Milwaukee line of cordless tools except for their impacts. The weak spot is their bearings. The other weak spot is the clips to hold the battery in. I've seen a bunch of those impacts out there on jobsites with duct tape holding the batteries on sounding like they are full of gravel.
+1 DeWalt!
 

trial and error

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Well that would certainly be an upgrade from my old CP. Do you find you need two batteries for it to keep it running through a moderate project or is one usually sufficient?
As for the amount of batteries, it depends on the AH rating usuually when grabbing the impact wrench I go for the 6 AH or at minimum the 3Ah. My 4 ah batteries are not high output. Ussually I run out of fasteners before the battery goes down 1/4%. But my projects are ussually pretty quick If your gonna get just one battery I would get the biggest one you can afford, but a 6ah should do most any job and then some. Like I said I have multiple options but have never needed to reach for a second battery when using the impact, the 7-1/4" circular saw is a different story
 
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mcmxi

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All that said, any recommendations on either a decent pneumatic or battery type impact?
I've had a 1/2" drive IR pneumatic impact wrench for years but found torque lacking in many situations. I was having a hard time getting the blades off the Land Pride RCR1884 rotary cutter so a couple of years ago I bought a Milwaukee M18 1/2" drive like the one that @Jchonline posted a link to.

I've got a lot of DeWalt tools but decided to buy the M18 and I have mixed feelings about it. I like the fact that it's not tethered to an air hose, I don't like the friction ring, I don't like the button to change torque setting, and I'm not crazy about the direction button either but that's a common issue for me on other tools too. I like the battery life, the torque settings themselves are useful, it seems durable, it makes easy work of most nuts and bolts, and it's way better than the IR. I would probably buy the DeWalt version if I needed to replace the M18 but only because I've had such a positive experience with all tools DeWalt, and I'm talking a lot of tools, and I'd like to try a different brand of battery powered impact for comparison's sake. That's really why I bought the Milwaukee, to see what all the fuss was about.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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re: One of the things I routinely use this for is R/I mower blades and I prefer to not have to remove the deck every time the blades on the riding mowers need sharpening

I haven't removed a deck in decades for blade changing since I installed an I-beam in the garage. Press a button and the electric cable hoist lifts the front end of the riders up high,and safe. EASY access to the blades and deck cleaning. 42 year old air gun easily removes the bolts..burp,burp, off.

Busted a breaker bar removing nuts off the D-14. Emailed PROTO, gal sent pictures of 2(as mine was old...) , I chose the longer bar, NEXT day it was delivered.
 

NCL4701

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re: One of the things I routinely use this for is R/I mower blades and I prefer to not have to remove the deck every time the blades on the riding mowers need sharpening

I haven't removed a deck in decades for blade changing since I installed an I-beam in the garage. Press a button and the electric cable hoist lifts the front end of the riders up high,and safe. EASY access to the blades and deck cleaning. 42 year old air gun easily removes the bolts..burp,burp, off.

Busted a breaker bar removing nuts off the D-14. Emailed PROTO, gal sent pictures of 2(as mine was old...) , I chose the longer bar, NEXT day it was delivered.
Similar procedure here. Works great so long as the air wrench works. My 30 year old air wrench that was the best I could afford 30 years ago (i.e. the cheapest I could find) busted. Now the procedure doesn’t work, so I’m back to a wood block blade chock and breaker bar until the impact is replaced. I can do the wood block thing without removing the deck by using an appropriate length 4x4 but it is way more of a pain than zipping the nut off with an impact. 😕

That high torque M-18 Milwaukee is looking pretty dang sweet. I still ain’t rich but 30 years since I bought the last one I can afford a little better than the cheapest impact wrench I can find on sale.

Appreciate all the feedback and advice. I haven’t ever used a battery impact. From a distance they look almost too good to be true so hearing from folks that have them is encouraging and I kind of figured at least a few here would have experience with them.
 
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trial and error

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B7100dt manual trans. homemade FEL, 4 way hydraulic dozer blade
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."I haven’t ever used a battery impact. From a distance they look almost too good to be true"


Idk If they wil last 30 years. But they are the cats meow for quick and easy no compressor no hose no cord just grab and go
 
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