Look no further. Dewalt offers the best value when it comes to choosing a cordless impact wrench for changing your car tires — or SUV.
What’s the Best Impact Wrench for Changing Tires?
That sinking feeling when you get a flat tire is something we all know. When did you last check the spare? Is the jack and the lug wrench still in the trunk? After the initial doubts, it’s time to get down and dirty. No one enjoys this. Traditional lug wrenches can be tough to use. For those who are not all that strong it can be impossible to loosen the lug nuts. Since cordless impact wrenches have come along, things have become easier. Since many motorists have never thought of using a cordless electric impact wrench for changing tires, this review should be a real eye opener.
Back in the day, power assisted impact wrenches were pneumatic. They required an air compressor and pipes. Not the type of thing you’ll have in the trunk of your car. So, impact wrenches, until recently, were the domain of professional auto shops and tire fitment centers. With cordless impact wrenches now being affordable, readily available, and totally portable, these tools are a great accessory to have in your vehicle at all times.
Now, I’m sure most folks who are new to these tools have a lot of questions. How much torque do you needs for changing tires? How do you even use an impact wrench? Fear not, my friends, this is more than simply a review of the best impact wrench for changing tires. You’ll also find all the information you need about buying and using impact wrenches. As well as some tips on changing tires using these handy tools.
Reviews | Best Impact Wrench for Changing tires
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There’s little point buying an impact wrench if it’s not going to get the job done. The last thing you need, when stranded on the side of the road, is an impact wrench with no battery power. You also want a tool that’s up to the task. Fortunately, the torque required for tightening wheel lugs isn’t too high. For most vehicles, a basic cordless torque wrench could be all you need. High performance cars, and vehicles with larger wheels, need more consideration. I’ll discuss these factors in the Impact Wrench Buying Guide. If you’re not sure what your requirements are, keep reading after the product review.
Let’s get the ball rolling, starting with the review of our choice for the best impact wrenches used for changing tires. Of course, they will also be fine for most applications where one would use an impact wrench.
This Impact Wrench was designed for the Automotive Industry
Ingersoll Rand W7150 K2 / 20V / Full Kit
780 ft-lbs of max torque / 1100 ft-lbs breakaway torque
Engineered for automotive mechanics making this one of the absolute best impact wrenches for changing your tires. You’ll never have to worry about rusted on bolts. 1100 ft./lbs. of ‘nut-busting’ torque, as they say. Extra power when you need it most.
- Finely tuned impact mechanism and motor deliver more torque, durability, and efficiency
- 780 ft-lb max torque and 1,000 ft-lb nut-busting torque
- A lightweight, balanced, high-torque impact wrench that weighs just 6.8-lb tool/battery combo
- All-metal drivetrain is robust, durable and optimized for maximum power and efficiency
- Steel-lined aluminum hammer case is designed to be strong and lightweight, while protecting interior components of this cordless impact wrench
- Impact- and chemical-resistant housing protects against repeated drops and exposure to shop fluids
- Patented soft-mount system reduces vibration for extended motor and switch life
- Ergonomically designed small-handle grip helps reduce operator fatigue during extended use of this cordless impact wrench
- Variable-speed switch with electronic brake provides maximum control of cordless impact wrench and increases safety-depress trigger, drive stops spinning
- Optimized for the vehicle repair industry, heavy trucks, tire lanes, fleet maintenance, body shops, general industrial use, MRO, rail, heavy machinery, oil and gas, shipbuilding, and construction
- High-power rare earth magnet (neodymium) motor offers a long life and high power
- 3-year warranty
Ingersoll Rand is a brand associated with heavy-duty pneumatic impact wrenches and large excavation equipment. So you can bet, when they set out to manufacture a portable cordless impact wrench, it’s going be a cut above the rest. I can say, without hesitation, that this is certainly the case with the Ingersoll Rand W7150 20V heavy-duty impact wrench. It’s one of the most powerful and one of the toughest you’ll find.
As one of the more expensive options, I guess the Ingersoll Rand 20V impact wrench won’t be everyone’s first choice. It provides way more torque than you’d need to loosen or tighten the average wheel lug. How much torque exactly? A whopping 1,100 Ft-LBS (1941 Nm) of breakaway or “nut-busting” torque with 780 Ft-LBS maximum torque (forward and reverse). Providing 2,300 Blows per Minute (BPM) at a free speed of 1,900 RPM. This places it near the top of the list, in terms of power.
The tool itself, is also an industrial-grade machine. This is evident in every component, from the all-metal drivetrain, to the steel-lined aluminum hammer case and impact, as well as chemical resistant, housing. The Ingersoll Rand W7150 is designed and built to hold up to the toughest conditions. Even with all the heavy-duty components, this is a lightweight and compact piece of machinery. Without the battery, the bare tool weighs 5.3-pounds. Depending on your choice of battery, the total weight (including battery) will be around 6.8-pounds.You have a number of options when buying this wrench. You can buy only the bare tool, with battery charger and batteries sold separately. Or you can choose better value deals, which would include the charger, as well 1 or 2 X 3AH batteries. For more frequent use, you may want the deal that includes a charger and 1 or 2 X 5AH batteries.
If you have a professional auto repair shop, the Ingersoll Rand W7150 is an obvious choice. For an industrial-grade tool, I think it is extremely great value for money. The price is more than reasonable for this type of quality and performance. If you’re driving a compact sedan around the city, this impact wrench is probably overkill. You can find much cheaper tools that will suffice. On the other hand, if you drive a large SUV or truck, having this wrench with you at all times, will provide great peace of mind. Even more so, if you’re an off-road 4X4 enthusiast. The warranty matches the heavy-duty intentions for this product – 3-year limited warranty on the tool and charger; 2-year high-capacity battery replacement (3AH and higher); 1-year tool, battery, and charger replacement. I think this is the best warranty/guarantee I’ve seen for a cordless tool.
Best Value Impact Wrench for removing lug nuts from tires.
DeWalt DCF899M1 : 20V Cordless
700 ft-lbs of max torque / 1200 ft-lbs breakaway torque — with LED Light
- Up to 700 ft-lbs of max torque and 1200 ft-lbs of max breakaway torque
- Compact design of 8-13/16 in. in length
- Multi-speed control for a variety of applications (0-400/1,200/1,900 rpm)
- 1/2 in. Anvil with detent pin (also available with hog ring)
- LED with 20-second delay for increased visibility
I doubt you’ll ever find a cordless tool review that doesn’t include something from the DeWalt 20V MAX range. This has a lot to do with the longstanding DeWalt reputation for outstanding quality and customer service. In addition to this, there are more than 180 options in the DeWalt 20V MAX lineup. Meaning that you can find absolutely any cordless tool, in countless variations, all using the same battery.
Whilst not exactly cheap, the DeWalt DCF899M1 20V impact wrench is competitively priced at the higher end of the market. Like all DeWalt tools, this is a well-made and expertly designed product. It’s slightly on the heavy side at 7-pounds. But I don’t see this as any real disadvantage. It’s easy enough to use with a superbly ergonomic design. I like the super-bright LED light. This will certainly come in handy if you’re changing a tire on the side of a dimly lit road at night.
Power specs are more than adequate for any size tire on any vehicle, 700 Ft-LBS maximum torque, with a pretty hefty nut-busting 1,200 Ft-LBS. Maximum free speed is 1,900 RPM and max 3,100 BPM. Naturally, this is a robust impact wrench with a solid gearbox inside a metal housing. It has, like all DeWalt tools, an amazing amount of impact resistance and will stand up well to some pretty rough treatment.
I’m always the first to recommend DeWalt to anyone, professionals, DIYers or, in this case, any vehicle owner. It will possibly last you a lifetime, almost definitely if you’re using it only to change tires. DeWalt service is tops and they have service centers across the length and breadth of the USA. Their warranty is excellent. This being a 3-year warranty, 90-day money back guarantee, and 1-yea free service plan.
Long-Lasting Cordless — Best Feature-set Impact Wrench for Tires
Makita XWT07T : 5Ah / 18V : Friction Ring
Torque : 780 ft.lbs. / 1250 ft.lbs — 8.1 lbs. : Best impact wrench for tires.
- BL Brushless Motor delivers 780 ft.lbs. of Max Torque and 1,250 ft.lbs. of Nut-Busting Torque
- 3-speed power selection switch (0-900/ 0-1,000/ 0-1,800 RPM & 0-1,800/ 0-2,000/ 0-2,200 IPM) provides precise fastening control for a wide range of applications
- 3/4″ anvil with friction ring and thru hole retention system for maximum productivity
- Efficient BL Brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50% longer run time per charge
- The BL Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
- The electronically-controlled BL Brushless Motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
- Compact and ergonomic design at only 9″ long
- Weighs only 8.1 lbs. with battery for reduced operator fatigue
- Rubberized soft grip handle provides increased comfort on the job
- Built-in dual L.E.D. lights with preglow and afterglow illuminates the work area
- Easy to operate forward/reverse switch
- Electric brake for maximum productivity
- Tool hook secures the tool when not in use
- Makita’s proprietary hammer and anvil impact mechanism are manufactured using the best raw materials with the highest quality steel and unique heat hardening process for maximum fastening and driving power
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B, features an integrated L.E.D. battery charge level indicator
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B provides up to 65% more run time per charge*
- 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 5.0Ah battery BL1850B reaches a full charge in 45 minutes or less
- Equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
- Rapid Optimum Charger communicates with the battery’s built-in chip throughout the charging process to optimize battery life by actively controlling current, voltage and temperature
- Rapid Optimum Charger has a built-in fan to cool the battery for faster, more efficient charging
- Makita technology delivers category-leading charge time, so the battery spends more time working and less time sitting on the charger
- Compatible with Makita 18V Lithium-Ion batteries with a Star symbol
- 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger
Makita is another outstanding brand, offering robust quality and great performance. These guys have been one of the leaders in battery-powered tools from the very beginning. To this end, the Makita XWT07T 18V LXT ¾” impact wrench is a top contender for the best in its class. Second only to the DeWalt 20V MAX range, the Makita 18V LXT tool lineup comprises a huge selection of tools using the same battery platform. Always an advantage when buying cordless tools.
This is, as to be expected, a robust tool. Makita power tools are renowned for near indestructibility and their Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) prevents dust and moisture from causing harm to the motor and gearbox. A versatile 3-speed selector switch, gives you perfect control for varying situations, up to a maximum 1,800 RPM. Torque is above average for a cordless impact wrench at 780 Ft-LBS tightening and loosening, and 1,250 Ft-LBS nut busting force. It has dual LEDs for perfect illumination when the ambient lighting is poor.
Even heavier than the DeWalt alternative, the Makita XWT07T weighs 8-pounds (including battery). To compensate for this, it has a really comfortable rubberized grip and is easy enough to use. You have several options, from buying the bare tool, to the wrench plus 5AH battery, and a very versatile kit which includes the wrench, battery charger and battery, 3 X extensions, as well as a strong carrying bag.
I like Makita tools for their tough nature and common sense design. The Makita XWT07T is an exceptional wrench for changing tires, as well as most shop and DIY applications. It’s a versatile tool with one of the best battery and charger setups, ensuring many years of hassle-free use. The Makita 3-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee is up there with the best of them.
Most Powerful Cordless Impact Wrench for Changing Tires!
Milwaukee 2993-22 Kit / ½” & ⅜” High Torque
- 1/2” impact wrench – 1,000ft-lbs fastening & 1,400ft-lbs nut busting torque
- 3/8” impact wrench – 600ft-lbs nut-busting torque
- Most compact high torque in the Industry – up to 0.7” shorter length than the competition
- Over 60% longer 3/8″ anvil life than cordless competitor
- Redlink Plus intelligence prevents damage to the tool and battery due to overloading or overheating
Were it not for the price, the Milwaukee 2767-22 would be my top choice of the wrenches in this review. It is the most powerful cordless impact wrench I know of. It is manufactured by one of the best brands in the power tool business. Milwaukee is, in the opinion of many, the top US tool manufacturer. Combine all these factors, and the high price tag starts to make sense.
If you’re looking for an impact wrench that will be of use for more than simply change tires, I can wholly recommend the Milwaukee M18 Fuel. This a real beast, yet superbly compact and lightweight. Delivering 1,400 Ft-LBS nut busting torque, and an equally impressive 1,000 Ft-LBS maximum torque for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts, no other cordless impact wrench comes close. It has a three-speed gearbox, delivering up to 2,100 BPM and 1,750 RPM.
Milwaukee 2993-22 Kit : 1/2″ & 3/8″ Impact Wrench
Milwaukee is known for robust, professional grade materials and engineering. Super tough metal components and REDLINK PLUS intelligent technology, preventing overheating or overloading, ensures reliable longevity. All packaged into a very reasonable weight of 5.9-pounds (without the battery).
User-friendly features like the friction ring for easy socket changes, and an LED light, make this an easy and pleasurable tool to use. It has a comfortable rubberized grip, made to withstand corrosion from most chemicals.
This is a wonderful impact wrench, with heaps of power. The industry leading 5-year warranty is proof that the guys at Milwaukee believe the M18 Fuel impact wrench to be the best there is. You’re always going to have to dig deeper into your pockets for the best, this wrench is certainly no exception. One thing’s for sure, this impact wrench can hold its own, alongside traditionally more powerful pneumatic machines, in an industrial setting.
Best Pneumatic and lightweight impact wrench for changing tires.
Ingersoll Rand 2135QXPA
780 ft./lbs. of torque with 1100 ft./lbs. of breakaway torque.
- Powered by Ingersoll Rand’s proprietary motor and twin-hammer impact design.
- Quiet Technology limits the noise level
- One-year warranty.
- Drive Size: 1/2″
- Max Torque: 780 ft.-lbs.
- Nut-Busting Torque: 1100 ft.-lbs.
- BPM: 1250
- Free Speed RPM: 11000
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Sound Level: 90.7 DBA
The Ingersoll Rand 2135QXPA is a departure from the others in this review. This is not a cordless electric impact wrench. It is a more traditional pneumatic tool, still the first choice for many professional shops and manufacturing facilities. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of air vs battery impact wrenches in the buying guide.
The first thing you’ll need to use this wrench is an air compressor capable of delivering 5 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). You’ll also need a minimum ³⁄₈” hose, with a ¼” fitting for the air inlet. It requires 90 Psi, the norm for a tool of this type. With the correct air pressure and volume, the Ingersoll Rand 2135QXPA will deliver 1,100 Ft-LBS torque (nut busting), 700 Ft-LBS forward torque, and 780 Ft-LBS reverse torque. It achieves 1,250 BPM and a maximum free speed of 11,000 RPM, much higher than any electric impact wrench can do.
One of the advantages of using an air wrench is the lighter weight. The Ingersoll Rand 2135QXPA weighs only 4-pounds and you obviously don’t need to worry about additional battery weight or bulk. This an extremely compact tool, even by pneumatic standards, measuring 2.7” in width, 7.2” height, and 7.5” length. There are three variants available, all with a ½” drive. These being:
- square, pin.
- square, hog-ring
- square, hog-ring, with 2” extension.
Ingersoll Rand has always been one of the leaders in pneumatic industrial and professional shop equipment. They’ve been doing it for more than a century and that certainly counts for something. For the average motorist, the Ingersoll Rand 2135QXPA is not really a viable option. If you have a shop with an air compressor, this is a powerful and extremely durable piece of equipment, at a very affordable price.
Impact Wrench Buying Guide
Still not sure how to set about finding the best impact wrench? Here’s where you’ll find the information you need, in our complete buyers guide for impact wrenches.
How much torque do you need?
The most important specification, when considering the best impact wrench for your needs, has to be torque. This is how much power you need for loosening and tightening nuts and bolts, or wheel lugs.
VIDEO : Removing Lug Nuts with Dewalt Impact Wrenches
To fully understand these specs, we need to differentiate between maximum torque and nut busting torque. Nut busting is a commonly used slang term for breaking torque. Maximum torque specifications refer to the amount of power that is provided whilst turning forward or reverse.
Immediately after you torque a bolt to the required setting, it will take exactly the same amount of torque to loosen it. However, over time, a nut or bolt can lock into position. Impact through use, as well rust and dirt, will make it much harder to loosen. To break this lock, an initial boost of torque will be required. This is what nut busting is all about. It’s the force required, not to turn the bolt, but to break it free from rust and other factors that cause it to lock tighter than it was when first torqued.
There can be no exact way of determining how much nut busting torque is required. This can be as much as twice the initial torque setting. When fastening a nut or bolt, it is essential to use the correct torque setting. In the case of fitting a tire, under tightening the wheel lugs is an obvious danger. The lugs can easily loosen through vibration and knocks on the road. This can lead to the tire coming off whilst driving. If you overtighten the lugs, you can damage the thread, the wheel hub, possibly even the brakes. It will, at very least, make it difficult to remove the lug next time you have to change that tire.
So, what are the correct torque settings for tires? It will depend on the size of the tire and, in some cases the tolerances of the vehicle. A car designed for high-speed, will usually require a higher torque for the wheel lugs. It would be a good idea to consult your owner’s manual for high performance cars to get the exact wheel lug torque requirement. The size of the lug is also an important factor. Below is a list of torque ranges for typical lug sizes. The lower end of the range is for smaller tire sizes and the higher end is for larger tires.
Wheel Lug Torquing Chart :
|Lug or Bolt Size||Typical Torque Range (Ft-LBS)|
|12 X 1.5MM||70 – 80|
|12 X 1.25MM||70 – 80|
|14 X 1.5MM||85 – 90|
|14 X 1.25MM||85 – 90|
|⁷⁄₁₆”||70 – 80|
|½”||75 – 85|
|⁹⁄₁₆”||135 – 145|
Pneumatic vs Cordless Impact Wrenches
Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe pneumatic (air) tools are the best. Because they don’t use an electric motor, pneumatic tools are lighter and more compact. They are also cheaper and generally outlast any electric tool by a long shot. There is very little to go wrong.
Using air to power an impact wrench gives you virtually limitless power options. At some point the size of an electric motor makes it impractical to produce more power. When using air, supplied by a compressor, you can keep supplying a greater volume of air to provide more power, provided the internal components of the impact wrench can handle the torque delivered. For heavy-duty high-power tools, pneumatic is often the only solution.
Though we can’t get away from the fact that you need an air compressor in order to use a pneumatic wrench. In some cases, this can be impossible, like changing a tire by the roadside. In the end, cordless impact wrenches are a more modern, practical solution. Not only, do you eliminate the need for an air compressor, but you don’t have an air hose trailing behind you everywhere you go. I’ve even seen factory production lines, traditionally the domain of pneumatic tools, now using cordless impact wrenches. If you don’t need the extra power of compressed air, battery-powered impact wrenches make things much easier.
Features to Look for in an Impact Wrench
If you know that the impact wrench you’ve chosen meets your torque requirements, there is very little, apart from price, that may affect your decision.
Top brands, like the ones we’ve reviewed, deliver outstanding quality and these cordless impact wrenches will last a long time, even in tough working conditions. All you need to consider is user comfort. Look at the weight of the tool and the battery, see if it its manageable. If you use the wrench regularly, for long periods of time, the handle, trigger position, and vibration levels can be of importance to reduce user fatigue.
I always prefer a wrench with an LED light. This can be a wonderful aid in poor lighting conditions. The wrench always casts a shadow where you’re working and the light at the front of the tool negates this.
Tips for Changing Tires :
- Always park the car on a firm level surface before changing the tire
- Engage the park brake
- Before lifting the car with a jack, loosen the lugs about 1-turn.
- Position the jack close to the tire that needs changing. Ensure that the jack is at an appropriate position, under the metal body of the vehicle. Most cars have marked position for the jack. You’ll notice a molded flat spot on the under side of the side skirt.
- Jack the car as high as is needed. Remember that an inflated tire requires more clearance than a flat one.
- Never lie under the car, or have your limbs under the car, when it is elevated on a jack. The car may fall and cause serious injury.
- Always align the wheel lugs using the minimum force. Use to fingers when first turning the lug. If you require more force than this, it means the thread is not correctly aligned and will cause it to strip. If you feel any resistance, whilst turning the lug gently, turn back and start again.
- Hand tighten the lugs whilst the wheel is still free and not in contact with the ground. Torque the lugs, only once the car has all four wheels firmly on the ground.
- Slowly release the jack, until it is free, and the car is supported by the tires.
- When tightening the lugs to the correct torque setting, always move from one lug to the other directly opposite it. With four lugs this is easy, you work in a cross pattern. With more than 4-lugs, move to the lug that is furthest from the one you’ve just tightened. Once all lugs have been torqued correctly, do a final check. Move from one lug to the next, ensuring that they are all correctly torqued before driving.
- Never over-tighten wheel lugs as this can cause serious damage, resulting in a costly repair job.
- You should not use any kind of lubricant when torquing nuts, bolts, or wheel lugs. Oil, or spray lubricants reduce friction and will result in over tightening.
How to Use an Impact Wrench to Change Tires
There isn’t too much to know about using an impact wrench. Though I suggest reading the manual to familiarize yourself with how the tool works. Get to know the clutch settings and how these work, as this is how you control the torque at which the wrench disengages. In other words, how much torque you apply to the lug.
Check that you have the right size socket in the car at all times. The size need to match your wheel lugs, as well as the drive size on the wrench – usually ½” or ³⁄₈”. When securing the socket to the wrench, make sure it fits firmly. There is usually a ball on the wrench drive that clicks into position when the socket is secured. Also make sure that you fit the socket correctly over the wheel lug before tightening or loosening.
Lithium ion batteries are great for long term storage and, therefore, perfect for keeping in the trunk for roadside emergencies. Though they do need to be charged periodically. Most lithium ion batteries are rated for up to a year with no battery charging required. To be safe, recharge your batteries every 3 – 6 months. The last thing you need is a flat battery in an emergency. Although you should be able to conduct numerous tire changes on a single charge, I’d recommend charging the battery after you’ve used the wrench. Rather safe than sorry.