Pneumatic wrenches, often referred to as air impact guns or rattle guns are indispensable for loosening stubborn fasteners such as automotive lug nuts or highly torqued or rusted bolts. Electric powered or cordless battery-operated impact wrenches are available and convenient, however don’t have near the powerful torque offered by the air powered guns.
If you have a suitable air compressor then there is no reason not to have an assortment of air powered tools, and a pneumatic impact wrench should be high on your list of essential air tools. Some of the ½ drive air guns featured here can operate on as little as 3.5 CFM @ 90 PSI, however we recommend an air compressor with at least a 6-gallon tank, otherwise you’ll need to wait for the compressor to refill after a short usage of the ½ impact wrench.
2 Year Warranty
Great Amazon Reviews!
Low CFM Requirements
Amazon Top Selling Air Impact Gun
Low CFM Usage
1/2 Air Impact Buying Guide
Best 1/2 Air Gun - Top 5
Ingersoll Rand 2235 Review
AIRCAT 1150 Impact Review
Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV Review
How Much CFM Does an Air Gun Need?
Oiling Pneumatic Tools
How Does an Impact Wrench Work?
The Bottom Line
We created an updated full review of the Ingersoll Rand 2235QTiMAX here. This is a quieter version of the popular 2235TiMAX impact gun.
Ingersoll Rand is a manufacturer of high quality air compressor systems and pneumatic tools that has been in business for over 100 years.
The Ingersoll Rand 2235 ½ Inch Drive Air Impact Wrench is a big favorite among professional auto mechanics. This gun offers tremendous maximum torque of 1350 foot pounds, all from a lightweight 4.6 pound tool.
The Ingersoll Rand 2235 series is available in three models:
All of these Ingersoll Rand ½ drive models are professional grade, heavy duty pneumatic air impact wrenches using twin-hammer mechanisms to provide maximum torque.
The Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX is a professional quality workhorse, with a great power to weight ratio. This air impact wrench is probably a little overkill for a weekend DIY mechanic, however if you can afford it, you won't likely regret your purchase.
The average CFM requirements for this tool is 6 CFM, however for continuous duty usage you'll need at least 20 CFM and a 20 gallon or larger air compressor.
Good quality air gun with 2 year warranty.
Price is higher, however so is maximum torque.
Standard Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX has highest torque of 1/2 impact guns reviewed
Excellent choice for professional mechanics. We rate it 4.5 stars.
IR 2235TiMAX ASIN - B00LV9Y1FE
AIRCAT 1150 Impact Wrench
The AIRCAT 1150 provides plenty of power per dollar spent. Its 1295 foot pounds of maximum torque is really impressive for an impact gun in this price range. The 1150 boasts a twin hammer design that produces 1400 blows per minute for maximum nut busting power.
We did an updated full review of the AIRCAT 1150 "Killer Torque" impact here.
AIRCAT claims this tool is quieter than similar competitive impact wrenches with it's 86 dB quiet technology. Given its powerful torque, this tool is reasonably light at just over 4.6 pounds and easy to handle and operate. AIRCAT's 2 year parts and labor warranty is comparable to air impact wrenches costing much more. All in all this is a very solid air gun for the money.
What we didn't like - Several reviewers complained that the AIRCAT 1150 is not quite as quiet as advertised. Others didn't like the feel of the trigger, this may be a user preference due to the fact that many reviewers liked the trigger's operation. A few complained that the wrench wasn't as hard hitting as stated which could be caused by an undersized air compressor, hose or quick-connect fittings.
The AIRCAT1150 Killer Torque Twin Hammer Impact Wrench is a mid-priced powerhouse. This gun is Amazon's Choice for "air impact wrench 1/2 inch" with hundreds of 4 & 5 star positive reviews from satisfied buyers.
Price is good for air gun with this much torque.
At 1295 ft-lb the AIRCAT 1150 is one of the highest torque 1/2 impact guns reviewed
Budget choice for professional mechanics. We rate it 4.5 stars.
AIRCAT 1150 ASIN - B007WQQ90A
Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV
Campbell Hausfeld has been in business since 1836, and today is one of the top brands for air compressors, air tools and a multitude of air powered devices.
The Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV is the lowest priced 1/2 inch air impact gun in this roundup, usually selling for less than $50. While this gun doesn't have the raw power of the top air guns, it is more than adequate for average jobs such as changing tires, and costs much less than the top of the line pneumatic impact wrenches reviewed here. Another plus is the low 3.4 average CFM required to operate this impact.
The TL140200AV uses a 3-speed power regulator to tailor its 550 ft/lbs of torque and 8000 RPM to your job. A balanced dual hammer design & 1200 blows per minute help to bust those stubborn nuts while reducing vibration to your hands. The gun's composite design is lightweight (4.4 lbs.) and durable and features a comfort rubber grip to reduce fatigue.
What we didn't like - There are quality and low torque concerns along with complaints about the finish scratching easily, however in a sub $50 air gun most of these flaws can be overlooked.
The Campbell Hausfeld TL140200AV Dual Hammer Air Impact Wrench is an excellent budget priced gun for the average user, however for everyday professional usage you'll likely be happier with one of the top two choices. This wrench is an Amazon' best seller with scores of 4 & 5 star positive user reviews.
Acceptable quality gun for the money.
Lowest priced air gun reviewed here.
550 ft-lb is acceptable for 1/2 impact guns in this price range
Good low budget choice for the average user. Our rating is 4.5 stars.
CH TL140200AV ASIN - B006JVIHQI
If you've ever watched a NASCAR race you have undoubtedly seen the professional pit crew change tires on race vehicles in mere seconds. The tool they use to accomplish this amazing feat is called an impact wrench.
An air impact wrench works using electric or air power to repeatedly cycle a rotating hammer clutch and anvil mechanism which engages a powerful rotating mass creating a high torque, rotating hammering motion that can easily remove stubborn "frozen" nuts or bolts. The tool typically is reversible to allow quick installation of fasteners.
1. Use short, large diameter air hoses and high-flow air couplings for maximum power.
2. Put both hands on the impact wrench for better results removing stubborn nuts.
3. Just snug wheel lug nuts with impact , then use torque wrench to tighten to specifications.
It depends, some low CFM requirement ½ air impact wrenches can operate sporadically on as little as 3 CFM, larger guns need around 6 CFM or more, however for continuous use you'll want a much more powerful compressor such as a 20 CFM unit with a large tank.
Higher PSI compressors and larger air storage tanks can compensate somewhat for marginal CFM output compressors to allow limited operation of air impact guns. If using multiple tools at the same time, you'll need to add up the CFM requirements of each tool and multiply by 1.5 to calculate the recommended air compressor size.
All air tools require periodic lubrication with oil to operate properly and live a long life. you can do this manually by squirting a 4 or 5 drops of high quality air tool oil into the tool's air inlet before operation. If you are operating the tool all day, you'll need to add more oil depending on the tool's usage. This routine can be automated by adding a lubricator (oilier) in your compressor line before the tool, however you'll need to monitor the oil level in the lubricator and adjust it for proper lubrication.
Getting in a routine of cleaning and lubricating your pneumatic tools before each use will dramatically increase the tool's life in addition to allowing smooth operation with less noise.
Impact guns are great if you are a mechanic or avid DIYer that works on machinery. There is really no substitute for the nut busting torque of a powerful air impact wrench. A few clicks and a fast spin and that stubborn lug nut is off. No more busting your knuckles with breaker bars and cheaters, a quick pull of the trigger and you're done.
Just make sure you have a large enough compressor with ample CFM to power your new gun and you'll be good to go.
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