Air impact wrenches are a ubiquitous tool of the trade in the auto repair industry. If you've spent much time working on cars, it's likely that you already have one or more that you use daily. While air tools still have numerous advantages, electric alternatives are rapidly approaching (and even exceeding) them in power, durability, and convenience.
If you're considering adding an electric impact wrench to your arsenal, these three tips will help you select the one that's best for professional use.
1. Favor Cordless Over Corded Options
Corded power tools previously enjoyed a significant advantage over cordless tools in terms of power and cost. Much cheaper corded options often provided superior strength at a fraction of the cost without the hassle of dealing with batteries and charging. Unfortunately, corded tools also require access to outlets and long, often inconvenient cables.
Fortunately, corded tools have improved by leaps and bounds. Modern cordless options are often as powerful or more powerful than corded versions, and they're typically the choice for professionals in many industries. For automotive work, the freedom of a cordless electric impact wrench is unmatched, making it the clear choice for anyone who needs to use one in often extremely tight engine bays.
2. Consider Battery Ecosystems
An easy mistake to make when choosing an electric impact wrench is to focus too much on specifications. While the capabilities of your tool are paramount, you should also consider its broader ecosystem. Cordless tool manufacturers produce numerous tools that all use the same batteries, and purchasing an electric impact wrench means buying into one of these ecosystems.
Before making a final decision, consider other tools that may be useful in your professional life, such as cordless ratchets. If multiple impact wrenches fit your requirements, choosing based on their battery ecosystem can be an excellent way to break a tie. In addition to other tool options, don't forget to consider perks such as fast battery chargers or high-capacity battery options.
3. Don't Ignore Ergonomics
Most cordless impact wrenches share similar designs, but they aren't all created equally. If possible, try out tools in person before making your choice. Since cordless impact wrenches often have a heavy battery attached, good ergonomics are critical to avoid hand fatigue and injury. Trying before you buy can help you find a good match for your hands and work style.
While there may always be a place for air tools in your professional toolbox, don't ignore the value and portability of heavy-duty electric impact wrenches. By following these tips, you can find the perfect one to make your work easier, more comfortable, and more convenient. Look for something like a 1-inch electric impact.