Choosing Your First Battery Impact Wrench for Automotive Work

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  1. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo Administrator Staff Member

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    Video Review of the Ridgid 18-Volt GEN5X Cordless Brushless 1/2 in. Impact Wrench (looks pretty good)

    https://www.amazon.com/Ridgid-R86011B-Cordless-Brushless-Impact/dp/B077YJCT3W



    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.

    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.

    Overall
    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.
     
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    • snakeoil24

      snakeoil24 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      I read another test report identifying the Milwaulkee as far better. The case does not flex for one thing.
       
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      • Officer Higgins

        Officer Higgins Well-Known Member

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        Bought Milwaukee expensive... But i haven't seen a fastener it wont remove. In fact i got in a hurry last year removing lugnuts and didn't have the socket properly seated over the lugnut. It rounded the lugnut off. Also used it with a o2 sensor socket and it split it. I have a frozen mainline drain clean out at my moms that is cast iron. I was thinking about using it there but may crack that, on setting two its a beast, and no cord or hose to fight with.
         
      • BeeKool

        BeeKool Well-Known Member

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        I have a 1/2" and 3/4" Milwaukee fuel impacts.
        They are great. The 3/4" is powerful enough to work on tractor lugs.
        Whether doing mobile repairs or basic shop work. They really beat dragging a clumsy air hose arou d for pnuematic tools.
        You must be careful though, you run the risk of overtightening. So I still finish basic car lugs with a torque wrench.
         
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        • Officer Higgins

          Officer Higgins Well-Known Member

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          Yeah man those fuel ones are great, i really thought it was hype on reviews, but it really is a monster. Think it said 1000ftlbs breakaway torque.
           
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          • Ironbuilt

            Ironbuilt FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            The 2 that I have.
            276322XC502.png Milwaukee-angle-drill-M18BRAIW-0[1].jpg
             
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            • PlagueOfBadgers

              PlagueOfBadgers Well-Known Member

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              At work, we just switched out from Snap-On to the Milwaukee. Two out of the four guys I gave new guns too have come to me saying they like the Milwaukee better. I have not tried them myself but they're telling me the ft lbs of torque is better than the Snap-On guns we had. I told them to use them for a while then come back to me, they're still new.
              The guns are about 5 months old now and get used outside all day all the time no matter what Mother Nature is doing. I will give it some time and then see how they're holding up.

              I still only own impact guns that are air, one day I will spend the money but for now my air tools still work. If I'm on the road, my trusty old 4 way does fine.
               
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              • PlagueOfBadgers

                PlagueOfBadgers Well-Known Member

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              • Officer Higgins

                Officer Higgins Well-Known Member

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              • toolmanmike

                toolmanmike Moderator Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                Nope, just a right angle impact.
                 
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                • toolmanmike

                  toolmanmike Moderator Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                  I sold Dewalt for years on my tool truck. Also a good tool. They didn't get into the horsepower wars with the other manufacturers. You build a tool with "More Power" and the failure rate goes up. Same as the air tools. "My new Snap On impact is the strongest one in the shop." (but it''s in for repair 3 times in the first year) LOL
                   
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                  • Ironbuilt

                    Ironbuilt FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    I have had the M18 1/2' gun for a little over a year and it is still perfect. Ratchet I have only had for 4 months, and is still like brand new. I also don't use them everyday. So far, so good.

                    The side head is just a cordless ratchet. I haven't used it all that much, but what I have done with it, I love it. It sure beats cranking on a hand ratchet or dragging my portable compressor all over the farm to use air tools.
                    I have been a "Tool Nut" since I was a teenager and buy any and every tool that sparks my interest. I still have my original Craftsman tool set that I bought when I was 16 years old. Not to mention the thousands of Snap On, Mac and Matco tools that I have purchased since then.
                     
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                    • 1967coronet440

                      1967coronet440 Well-Known Member

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                      Cordless 3/8” and 1/2” impact both are IR.

                      When I took the wife’s car in for tires and the mechanic insisted the lugs were seized cuz their best gun(a snap on impact) wouldn’t take them off I pull d the 1/2” out of the back and zipped them off for him. All the techs gathered round to have a look at the IR LOL
                       
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                      • toolmanmike

                        toolmanmike Moderator Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                        I sold a dozen or so of those myself. Nice impacts. A combine tech tested it on combine drive wheels. It took them off.
                         
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                        • Yatzee

                          Yatzee Well-Known Member

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                          Don't piss around with fancy, smanchy designer crap that's advertised to the hilt for unknowing people. Get a tool that is regarded as one of the best and be done with it. Don't believe me? Check out the reviews on this monster 18V LXT® Lithium‑Ion Brushless Cordless 3‑Speed 1/2" Impact Wrench by Makita. You'll love the reviewer and the stuff he's working on.

                           
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                          • Joeychgo

                            Joeychgo Administrator Staff Member

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                            It's also 50% more expensive.

                            https://www.amazon.com/Makita-XWT08Z-Lithium-Ion-Brushless-Cordless/dp/B01CA04RH4
                             
                          • kiwigtx

                            kiwigtx International Mod Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                            I'm with you @Yatzee ...all my battery tools are Makita....and currently have around 18 of them. Brushless version is the way to go. :thumbsup:
                             
                          • kiwigtx

                            kiwigtx International Mod Staff Member FBBO Gold Member

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                            Without wanting to sound condescending....there is no compromise for quality when it comes to tools. ....IMHO.. :thumbsup:

                            I think that Milwaukee make great tools, but they are the expensive ones in the lands down under. :)
                            The latest and coolest feature with Milwaukee tools is the Bluetooth Ownership feature - if it ever gets stolen....your tool is locked out so that it is useless to anyone else.
                             
                          • Joeychgo

                            Joeychgo Administrator Staff Member

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                            Understandably -- but some people cant afford the better priced tools and/or dont use a specific tool enough to justify buying better quality. Case in point. I once bought a junk brand recip saw -- I bought the cheapie because I didnt expect to use it much... 15 years later-- it still works just fine and cost me like $40 - Not bad for 15 years.
                             
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                            • Ironbuilt

                              Ironbuilt FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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