Best Air Impact Wrench For the Money in 2022 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Pneumatic or Air Impact Wrenches are the most powerful wrenches on the market, and while having a noisy compressor is often undesirable it’s the only way you’ll get a truly powerful tool. There are loads of options when buying but finding the best cheap air impact wrench is not an easy task.

When looking for the best air impact wrench for the money you’ll need to start with how much power you need. That means looking at maximum torque and minimal effort on your part.

The air impact wrenches are powered by compressed air. These also require an extra air compressor and not just a battery or plug. There are 5 common sizes ranging from 0.25-1” drives and larger drives can exert torque as high as 3,000ft-lbs.

The air wrenches can last all day as long as the compressor is running but still use the same hammer and anvil principle that electric ones use. The biggest disadvantage to pneumatic wrenches is that it’s often difficult to control the power, and with the higher power it’s easy to strip out or break a screw if you’re not careful.

In a Hurry? Check our top pics of Cheap Air Impact Wrench at a Glance

What is an Air Impact Wrench?

An air impact wrench is an automatic socket wrench tool that is engineered to deliver high torque output and requires minimum exertion by the user.

It generates an enormous amount of torque which is far more in comparison to that of a cordless or electric and miles ahead of the torque produced by hands. Also, there are features such as pre-adjusting the torque limit to prevent over-torquing, and the direction of the torque can be changed just by the flip of a switch.

Top 5 Best Cheap Air Impact Wrench for the Money

1. AIRCAT 1150 Killer Torque 1/2-Inch, Black – Top Rated Air Impact Wrench

AIRCAT 1150 1/2-Inch Drive "Killer Torque" Composite Impact Wrench 1295 ft-lbs
  • Power and Performance: 900 ft-lbs maximum torque; 1,295 ft-lbs loosening torque
  • 1,400 Blows Per Minute: The strongest hard-hitting twin hammer 1/2 impact wrench
  • Patented Tuned Exhaust System: Low decibel level of 89 dBa, with no loss of power; keep it quiet
  • Impact Wrench: With ergonomic handle for the user's ultimate comfort; powder-coated metal
  • AIRCAT Line: The most significant advances in the performance of pneumatic power tools

Things We Liked About This

  • With a well-known brand name, the Aircat produces an impressive 1295ft.lb of torque and 1400 hits per minute. Its twin hammer has driven, the same as the Bostitch, which makes it extremely strong. The tool is fairly lightweight in comparison to others on the market.
  • The handle has an ergonomic grip to make using it for a longer time easier. There’s also a special exhaust system that produces a very quiet 86 decibel output and a large rotor for better power.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • There are a lot of shakes when using this which makes it difficult to use for long periods and can shake parts loose like the snap ring.
  • It’s powerful but isn’t suited for heavy-duty jobs because of this. The rating is also misleading as this is only really functional up to about 500ft. lb.

2. Ingersoll-Rand 2135TiMAX 1/2-Inch – Affordable Air Impact Wrench

Ingersoll-Rand 2135TiMAX 1/2-Inch Air Impact Wrench
  • Maximum power - 780 feet per pound maximum reverse torque and weighing just 3.95 pounds
  • Maximum control - featherable trigger, wider range of power regulator settings, and patented one hand forward/reverse switch
  • Maximum reliability - rugged design backed by a new two year limited warranty
  • Through-handle exhaust; 360 degree swivel inlet

Things We Liked About This

  • IR is known as a great brand for tools, but it’s also costly because of that. With a lightweight and super-duty air impact wrench at under 4lb, this is a very maneuverable tool. Its maximum 780ft. lb power seems low compared to the Aircat but it’s genuinely got that power consistently which is more important.
  • Considered to have the best power-to-weight ratio in this class the sensitive trigger also helps to produce excellent control and performance. The power regulator dial also helps to make the pressure adjustable so that it’s fully adjustable. The four positions give this the widest range of settings of any here.
  • This also has a standard 1/2” driver and is considered to be very durable if maintained properly.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • While this has extra power it’s also not a twin anvil drive so while there’s extra torque it impacts isn’t as great as the Aircat or the Bostitch and uses a 1/2” hose which actually seems to impede the power.

3. NitroCat 1200-K 1/2-Inch Kevlar Budget Air Impact Wrench

AIRCAT 1200-K 1/2-Inch Nitrocat Kevlar and Composite Twin Clutch Impact Wrench 1295 ft-lbs
  • Power and Performance: 900 ft-lbs of maximum torque; 1,295 ft-lbs loosening torque
  • Twin Clutch Mechanism: A hard-hitting 1/2-inch impact wrench that outperforms anything in its class
  • Tuned Exhaust System: Patented quiet-tuned exhaust system reduces the noise level to 86 dBA
  • Impact Wrench: With ergonomic handle for the user's ultimate comfort
  • AIRCAT Line: The most significant advances in the performance of pneumatic power tools

Things We Liked About This

  • The durable casing is made of kevlar so this can really take a beating. The 86 decibel quiet technology is comparable to that of the Aircat and uses similar technology.
  • The impact wrench with a twin-clutch mechanism adds extra power to its hitting capacity with a torque capacity of 1295ft. lb which is a step up from the dual hammer of the Aircat.
  • The 3/8 hose is comparable to the Bostitch and it also has a weight of 4.5lb which is quite easy to handle. Like the Aircat, the Nitrocat exhausts through the handle so you don’t have to worry about debris or back-pressure.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The flip lever is a little fiddly to operate when switching back and forth between forward and reverse.
  • There’s no case and it’s also got a rounded anvil which can damage sockets over time. In fact, the whole assembly seems to have issues with heavy use and longevity.

4. Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Gun For the Money

Sale
Ingersoll Rand 231C 1/2” Drive Air Impact Wrench – Lightweight, Max 600 ft-lbs Torque Output, Adjustable Power, Twin Hammer, Silver, 3.4 x 8.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Classic Choice: Lightweight And Easy To Maintain, This Impact Wrench Is A Reliable Choice For Auto Hobbyists And Professional Mechanics Alike; It Provides Dependability And Durability At Exceptional Value
  • Reliable Performance: The 231C Air Impact Wrench Delivers A Maximum Torque Of 600 Foot-Pounds, And Offers Enough Power To Install And Remove Stubborn Bolts, Lug Nuts, And Other Hardy Fasteners
  • Adjustable Power: Its Adjustable Power Regulator Lets You Easily Adjust Power Output Needed For Your Task At Hand; The Twin Hammer Mechanism Helps Ensure Efficient Performance With Impressive Rotational Speeds Of Up To 8,000 Rpm
  • Comfort + Control: At 7.3 Inches In Length And Weighing Only 5.8 Pounds, It's Compact, Ergonomic Design Minimizes Stress On Your Wrists And Hands; The Contoured Handle Makes It Easy To Carry And Control
  • Exclusive impact mechanism

Things We Liked About This

  • This is a long-running product that has been around for almost 25 years. It’s both powerful and versatile at only 7” and just over 5lb. The max 425 ft-lbs torque might not seem like much but it also has variable power and 8000 RPM which more than makes up for it.
  • The performance is seamless and reliable. This factor alone made us give Ingersoll the best pneumatic wrench award.
  • There’s an adjustable power regulator and an option for reverse while choosing the power output. It has a patented impact system that uses a twin hammer mechanism and unique construction that breaks down into 2 pieces.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The sleek handle looks great but can end up slick and hard to hold and there’s no noise reduction included so it’s quite loud in comparison.
  • The trigger is a little poor in quality and is the first thing to break but it’s repairable.

5. BOSTITCH BTMT72391 1/2-Inch wrench for the money

BOSTITCH BTMT72391 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
  • Twin hammer mechanism
  • Aluminum Body
  • Adjustable power regulator
  • Bottom Handle Exhaust
  • Touch control trigger

Things We Liked About This

  • This has power and performance and it’s durable with a 1/2” drive. This is a twin hammer drive that produces high torque housed in an aluminum frame that is light and durable. There’s also a switch to adjust power regulation over three settings so you’re less likely to damage your bolts. The rubberized handle makes it easy to handle even with grease or water on your hands.
  • The load is up to 500ft. lb of torque which isn’t huge but it’s also less than $100 so you’re looking at a cheaper product.
  • The bottom exhaust is easy to maneuver and you’ll need to keep the 3/8 hose rather than trying to use an adapter and another size as it throttles the wrench and impedes the power.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The reverse setting does not have multiple power options, and even the forward setting doesn’t give consistent power between the three modes.
  • Unlike electric wrenches, there are also no lights and no frills. It’s also questionable if the 500ft. lb boast is close to true as it struggles at only half that.

Ultimate Air Impact Wrench Buyers Guide

There are many factors involved in choosing the air impact wrench. The type of job which you are going to perform primarily determines the kind of wrench you need. Ideally, you must have a look at the below-mentioned features.

1. Torque:

An impact wrench is known by the amount of torque that it can generate. Higher the torque rating easier will be a job completed. This also improves the capability of the wrench. Higher torque gives you the ability to remove and install fasteners swiftly and without breaking a sweat. Consider a minimum of 700 ft. lbs of torque for your tool.

2. Weight:

It comes in similar weight configurations as that of cordless impact wrenches. There are a lot of models available around the 5lbs mark. Try to go for a model with a slightly lower weight and more significant power option. As it will be easy to work long hours with the lighter machine, also they can be controlled & handled easily.

3. Price:

It is the most deciding factor while purchasing any product, first identify your needs and how much you can afford. You can find some decent models in the range of 100-200$ which is a great deal for the money.

4. Air Compressor requirement:

Before selecting the compressor just have a look at the PSI and CFM rating of your wrench. Then get a compressor that has PSI and CFM ratings slightly higher. That will surely deliver the best performance.

5. Size:

The size of the wrenches is not a big deal over here but what you need to look at is the size of the air tank. It is not designed to be taken to different work locations but sees how you can move it around? Usually, we say for size “the smaller, the better.” Search for the dimensions of the tank such that it comfortably fits in your workspace.

6. Power regulator:

Various models come with a power regulator to adjust the torque requirement for a particular job. As these wrenches dish out high torque, a power regulator is a must to carry out the smaller tasks easily.

7. Reliability:

If your work depends on the wrench so much, try to look for a model widely used by people and with a maximum number of user reviews. Some products come with a limited warranty. You should look for the warranty period when you choose. This way it would be quite easy to get a quality product.

8. Drive size:

This depends on the type of job you perform, a bit famous drive among users is the 1/2″ size takes care of most of the jobs besides 1/3” is also a popular choice but it has a lesser torque rating.

9. Noise Suppression technology:

If you are going to work in a residential area then the noise from the impact wrench could disturb your neighbors for sure. So try to go for a model with Noise Suppression Technology to avoid complaints from others. Indeed it will cost a few extra bucks.

10. No-load speed:

No-load speed is the speed in terms of revolutions per minute at which it turns without load; the best air impact wrenches for automotive usage have a no-load speed in 8000 – 15000 rpm.

11. Ergonomics:

A compact impact wrench that fits better in your hand will give you a better work experience. As it will provide better balance and reduce strain and fatigue while working.

12. Warranty:

When you are about to purchase equipment that would use a lot, its warranty and maintenance become one of the most concerning points. Depending on the manufacturer to manufacturer the warranty varies. Try to avoid the model with a limited warranty period. But obviously added warranty comes at an increased cost, so look what you wish for.

So now you know exactly what features you need while selecting your new pneumatic impact wrench. This guide gives you a

complete idea of what to look for while making the purchase. Identify your job requirements and the feature that must be there to serve them.

Choosing the best one is one of the most challenging things. So carefully decide your budget. And select the only features that you need and don’t get carried away while looking at features that may be of hardly any use to you. Read the air impact wrench review of the most popular brands in the market before deciding what model you need.

Why you need a Good Air Impact Wrench

  • If you are a professional or you fix your machines, then you might have experienced the fact that working in tight spaces, with rusted or corroded parts or in tight spaces is extremely tough. They often will leave you with broken tools, busted or skinned knuckles, broken tools, and a hampering schedule as they consume much time for simple jobs.
  • None of this is your fault; even some of the most experienced professionals face such difficulties regularly. There is another set of problems which you often face these include difficulties in tightening loose bolts which are left as under tightened or over-torquing of some screws which snap their heads.
  • In both of the above cases, the job gets highly complicated and consumes more time than typical examples, thus decreasing your overall productivity.

What’s the solution to the above problems?

  • The Answer is a powerful Air Impact Wrench that can solve both issues. It can generate much larger torques that are impossible to just achieve by hand thus enabling you to tighten almost any kind of bolts easily.
  • Secondly, with its controlled torque, you can avoid over-torquing of bolts. Also, it can complete the work in a matter of minutes which would take hours by hand. So now you can understand how a heavy-duty air impact wrench comes to save the day.

Air Impact Wrench Working Mechanism – Does It Really Work?

  • Well if you look in the market then you can find air tools in different shapes, some of them are designed like a pistol others might seem like screwdrivers. Let me make something clear, whatever they may look like, they all work similarly and on precisely on the same principle.
  • Every impact wrench consists of a motor (rotating mass) that rotates by the pressurized air. This rotating mass exerts a force onto an anvil which is located at the end of the wrench. This creates a sudden intense torque and a twisting motion in small bursts of power which is used to rotate the output shaft.
  • The small hammer mechanisms that strike the anvil connected to the drive, which in turn transfer this force onto the socket tighten the bolt, or o break the bolt loose. During the operation, it’s held firmly and pressed against the bolt which provides sufficient friction for gripping the bolt.

Conclusion

If you’re price conscious but still want performance go for the IR 231C, it’s a longtime workhorse that produces what it says it does, unlike the Bostitch which is questionable. For high performance, the IR 2315 can’t be beaten because of the dual-clutch system, but it’s also costly.

The IR 2315 is also the most durable, though the 231C isn’t far behind. Overall, Ingersoll Rand is the all-around winner when it comes to picking the best pneumatic impact wrench for the money. Check out our Best Air Impact Wrench Comparison Chart for Quick selection.

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