Do The Job Right With The Best Air Impact Wrenches in 2017

The best air impact wrenches are able to put out more torque than you might think, so the drive mechanism cannot be poorly manufactured. Because commercial use is often in heavy work areas where the equipment itself takes a few hard knocks, you should check that the casing is as sturdy as the guts. Make sure that your impact tools have a half-inch drive, because anything less is not going to handle a heavy workload without frequent overhauls. These top rated air impact wrenches were chosen to meet those requirements, and have some additional benefits of their own.

Obviously, you’ll need a good enough air compressor for impact wrench use and something like a Goodyear air hose which can put up with a lot of “dirty floor” abuse. If working around cars, a good retractable air hose reel is highly recommended.

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TOP PICK:

AirCat 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench

The AirCat 1150 is the top ranked tool in its class for both performance and quiet operation, making it an impressive air impact wrench. Professionals will tell you that it performs as well or better than similar guns which sell for much higher prices. If you need the AirCat for working on engines or older vehicles, you will like the torque this gun can generate, with a moderately slow hammer speed that is intended to remove bolts rather than break them. It is much quieter than most of impact wrenches, generating only about 86db at maximum pressure. An AirCat 1150 can even be rebuilt by the user, which will reduce your costs over time compared to tools which have to go back to the factory.

aircat-1150-impact-wrench-reviewYou will not find many complaints about the AirCat 1150, but one key item comes up fairly often. The drive mechanism, called an anvil, does not secure the sockets very well. This is easy to work around by simply putting a small piece of paper over the anvil as you slip the socket on, which adds just enough extra dimension to hold your sockets firmly in place.

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RUNNERS UP:

NitroCat 1200-K Kevlar Composite Air Impact Wrench

For quiet operation and high performance, the NitroCat 1200-K is second only to its cousin, the AirCat 1150. It’s a favorite with NHRA race teams, which is a good indication of how well it can handle hard use and heavy handling. The biggest noticeable difference between this tool and the AirCat 1150 is that this one is quite a bit larger, even though they both weigh the same. When you are first getting used to this tool you have to remember that it has a lot of torque, and you could easily wring off bolts. After you become familiar with it, you will learn to avoid this problem. The NitroCat comes with a 2 year warranty and you can rebuild it yourself after the warranty expires. Unlike the AirCat, the anvil is better designed and sockets will not slip as much unless they are worn from use.

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Ingersoll-Rand 231C 1/2-Inch Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench

You can’t go wrong with Ingersoll-Rand tools as the brand currently makes the best air ratchet in the biz. While not flashy, the 231C has power and build quality at an affordable price. The worst complaints with it concern the manual, not the tool itself. If you do not understand the instructions for subjects like where to keep it oiled, you can get telephone tech support to explain items which are unclear in the manual. Otherwise, the 231C is a highly rated air impact wrench for any application. Of all the best 1/2″ air impact wrenches, it is by far the loudest, so be sure to use hearing protection when using it. The anvil allows you to swap sockets easily, but you may run into a problem with them slipping off if your sockets have some age and wear. As with the AirCat 1150, using a small piece of paper between the anvil and the socket will let you use those older sockets for a lot longer without having to buy new ones. It may seem like a cheesy fix, but all you need is to add a tiny amount of width, and paper is easy to come by.

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