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Which cordless impact wrench?


V

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I'm about to buy my first cordless impact wrench. I already have a few 18V DeWalt power tools so it makes sense to stick with the same range for battery rotations. I have been looking at the DeWalt DCF894 (447Nm). Has anyone here got one already and would they recommend it.

 

A friend of mine has the bigger DCF899 (950Nm) and loves it. It seems a bit on the heavy side and is bulkier than the smaller DCF894. They are similarly priced at the moment so the smaller one looks ideal for adding to my onboard tools. I can use a 300Nm compressed air impact at home, but both of the electric impact wrenches are more powerful so I suspect that I will just use electric when I have one.

 

 

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I don’t know the dewalt range, I use the makita range and have their impact tools.

guess it depends upon what your planing to do with it ????

if it’s for the Jeep tools, I would find the highest torque you would need and use that as a starting point. 
however, a word of caution here, I would buy a proper torque wrench to set things correctly eg: wheel nuts, especially alloy wheels, otherwise you can cause damage if you over tighten them. Steel wheels not so much an issue, until you try to take then off. That way you don’t over stretch the bolt and break it. 
 

Photo

they are 24mm combination spanner’s and sockets for size ref.

E409B297-2D43-42A0-B543-CA7886E6CCA5.thumb.jpeg.2ec822eec5c6df2cbee1a322bf63aa83.jpeg

 

for work I have my impact driver up to 170Nm with 1/4” hex to 1/4”,3/8” and 1/2” socket drive. for quick fast nuts and bolts and body work it’s perfect. A 1/2” drive would be too powerful, even the 280Nm ones makita do. 
I also have a 3/4” impact wrench 1700Nm loosening and 1050 tightening. This is massively over the top for Jeep work, I use it on industrial Biomethane engines taking cylinder heads off etc at 650+Nm.

see photo of my work tools.

 

I would go with an impact driver, up to 170Nm range with a torque wrench up to 250Nm. Then you whizz the bolts on/off and torque up to correct setting. 
I have found the drivers/wrench’s are not actually accurate to torque wrenches at all, don’t believe the figures quoted, as in the real world they don’t match. 


if you have more uses that just Jeep tools, then that’s a different matter.

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I already have a 170Nm impact driver with 1/4" hex. I rarely use it on my Jeep as I prefer hand tools on small fasteners to avoid breaking the rusty ones. I have a selection of torque wrenches in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive and I use them for tightening practically everything.

 

I usually only use impacts for undoing fasteners. I use my air ratchets a lot when at home when I have convenient access, but I probably use hand tools more. I am a slow mechanic. I guess undoing wheel nuts is probably my main use for 1/2" impact now. The 170Nm I have is too wimpy for that. I tried it once just to see if it could manage them. If I can use an impact wrench with my coil spring compressor that would be handy too. Being light enough for one handed operation would be great.

 

This has only come about because I have a big domestic project at home and my batteries are over 7-years old now. My drill and impact driver have been used a lot in carpentry and construction but they are in great condition. Replacement batteries are so expensive that it is more cost effective to buy them with a new tool in a cased set. An impact wrench with two batteries would solve my immediate problem and give me the benefit of a new tool and a faster charger for only a slightly larger outlay.

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Ahhh, well that makes perfect sense getting the battery packs with them, due to old batteries and cost. 
the 170Nm (not 170Nm) will not take off my 120Nm wheel bolts 😉 I think you said a 1/2” drive 450Nm, sounds a good addition to your kit and projects. The larger 950Nm is a very large heavy unit, it makes your arm ache with a battery unit as well in a short time. 
I would go for that then, it will fit in with your torque wrenches, air gun and impact driver nicely.

 

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 I have  1/2",3/8th and 1/4drive in cordless and air in straight and 90degree drive in impact. 3/8" is the most useful size. For how I use them see below.

I have bought cordless since they first appeared in the 90s My first was a combi drill by Makita. It lasted until destruction and was in  regular use for 15yrs I still use one of their impact drivers 3/8 which I guess is 20 yrs old So I bought Makita The early ones were good, as were the batteries however the ones I started buying  in around 2005 + were much poorer quality They failed early and the batteries didn't last so I don't buy Makita any more. All De Walt that I have had have been good and my son uses  DeWalt daily professionally only, having tried others and given up.If you are using these tools daily I would stick with De Walt.

Having said that since retiring over 20 yrs ago my use has still  been fairly regular. I now feel that it is difficult to justify the cost of DW now so I have tried others. Cheaper makes are ok for seldom used. They tend to wear out , the batteries don't last as well and they are often more clumsy ,heavier too. 

I have been very pleased with Hitachi(Hikoki) over the last 20yrs. I have found these have lasted well, batteries too. Their  drill chucks are slightly weak. They last ok but do have a tendency to come undone sometimes in use. Their 3/8 drive impact driver has been excellent and its a lot more powerful than the old Makita one I mentioned earlier. You can buy cheaper batteries on the net and seem good too. My only concern is the recent change to 'Hikoki'. Is this another marketing excuse to raise prices and lower quality?   I hope not!

For me , durability, usability, cost effectiveness are key. Batteries are crucial. How long do they last in use and how long until you have to buy new one? What cost are they and are good alternatives available?

I think more heavy duty tools are better corded as are infrequent use tools. I was brought up on these. They are not that bad , are powerful and work even after being stored for a long time.. That brings me to air tools  They are really good . powerful, cheaper, low maintenance, easy to fix. Only downside is the airline hassle plus they are messier.

In summary I believe it all centres on what you want to achieve and where you will use it. I tend to use a lot of mine to reduce time. I undo with wrenches and spin the nut off with an impact. I spin up with an impact but tighten by hand, with a torque wrench when appropriate. I'm not in that much of a hurry and don't want to damage things! So, most of mine are smaller drives and convenient for tight spaces. My biggest 1/2" air deals with most tough things on Jeeps.

I hate built in obsolescence and will not buy 5 min rubbish ie  it usually packs up just after the warranty and no repairs. If I'm caught out its the last time ever.

 

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5 hours ago, digger said:

 I have  1/2",3/8th and 1/4drive in cordless and air in straight and 90degree drive in impact. 3/8" is the most useful size. For how I use them see below.

I have bought cordless since they first appeared in the 90s My first was a combi drill by Makita. It lasted until destruction and was in  regular use for 15yrs I still use one of their impact drivers 3/8 which I guess is 20 yrs old So I bought Makita The early ones were good, as were the batteries however the ones I started buying  in around 2005 + were much poorer quality They failed early and the batteries didn't last so I don't buy Makita any more. All De Walt that I have had have been good and my son uses  DeWalt daily professionally only, having tried others and given up.If you are using these tools daily I would stick with De Walt.

Having said that since retiring over 20 yrs ago my use has still  been fairly regular. I now feel that it is difficult to justify the cost of DW now so I have tried others. Cheaper makes are ok for seldom used. They tend to wear out , the batteries don't last as well and they are often more clumsy ,heavier too. 

I have been very pleased with Hitachi(Hikoki) over the last 20yrs. I have found these have lasted well, batteries too. Their  drill chucks are slightly weak. They last ok but do have a tendency to come undone sometimes in use. Their 3/8 drive impact driver has been excellent and its a lot more powerful than the old Makita one I mentioned earlier. You can buy cheaper batteries on the net and seem good too. My only concern is the recent change to 'Hikoki'. Is this another marketing excuse to raise prices and lower quality?   I hope not!

For me , durability, usability, cost effectiveness are key. Batteries are crucial. How long do they last in use and how long until you have to buy new one? What cost are they and are good alternatives available?

I think more heavy duty tools are better corded as are infrequent use tools. I was brought up on these. They are not that bad , are powerful and work even after being stored for a long time.. That brings me to air tools  They are really good . powerful, cheaper, low maintenance, easy to fix. Only downside is the airline hassle plus they are messier.

In summary I believe it all centres on what you want to achieve and where you will use it. I tend to use a lot of mine to reduce time. I undo with wrenches and spin the nut off with an impact. I spin up with an impact but tighten by hand, with a torque wrench when appropriate. I'm not in that much of a hurry and don't want to damage things! So, most of mine are smaller drives and convenient for tight spaces. My biggest 1/2" air deals with most tough things on Jeeps.

I hate built in obsolescence and will not buy 5 min rubbish ie  it usually packs up just after the warranty and no repairs. If I'm caught out its the last time ever.

 

I use my Makita as a professional mechanical engineer daily for years now with no issues. Actually most people in my trade don’t use dewalt, it’s either Milwaukee or Makita. It’s called personal choice, I am a mobile engineer so I don’t use air tools, I did use them occasionally for 17 years at sea, honestly they don’t impress me at all.

battery is easy and good to use, when you work with massive torques and need torque multiplier to get up to 1300Nm, after and before than it’s hydraulic nuts.

 

your are entitled to your opinion, I completely disagree with you views, as a professional engineer using these tools daily. Quite honestly all the big companies are all around the same quality and performance, slight differences, but not as you described.

 

I work in CHP renewable energy gas engines supplying the national grid, as an IEng MIMeche, professional status.

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It would be nice if the battery powered tool manufacturers could agree a universal standard so batteries could be interchanged between brands without requiring an adapter.

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Hi Caroline, I completely respect your views. There was no intention to knock them. The work you do sounds  amazing but completely different to the things I have done.

My professional work in mechanicing etc was  50 yrs ago. Since then all my experience  has been DIY engineering/mechanicing mainly in motor sport. I have also had a building industry  company where of course I  also used lots of tools . The thing is I have never required the sort of power you have described.  I have only recanted my actual experience with Makita.  Perhaps they went through a bad patch! Makita have had  a huge marketing push over the last decade in some geographic  areas more than others maybe. There are two main trade suppliers of tools in my area one is Makita and the other DW.  Most of the construction industry people i know use one or the other. No surprise there!  At the end of the day I am retired and like other non professional users I take into account the  cost relative to frequency of use . When one is running a business, which I did most of my life in one way or another, cost is very important but one looks at it in a totally different way as I'm sure you appreciate. Naturally ease of use and speed in their operation comes to the fore so I am not a bit surprised that you prefer cordless to air etc. 

There are members who would like to DIY but are put off by things like the cost of tools. I'm just trying to make the point that it is not always necessary to buy the best and that one can have a perfectly good result using lesser brands or types. I do believe that one is better off using a particular make where large numbers of batteries can be acquired which all fit all your own tools!

I'm sure that  the level of tool that you  use is way better than I could justify now. I do agree that underneath they are all probably similar for a given level. Some say ,identical with different marketing wrappers. Who knows. LOL

Happy Jeeping!

 

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21 minutes ago, V said:

It would be nice if the battery powered tool manufacturers could agree a universal standard so batteries could be interchanged between brands without requiring an adapter.

Yes I quite agree, universal batteries would make life a lot easier. 

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Lets wait and see what Apple end up doing to comply with the EU law requiring USB chargers. Recycling of Lithium batteries has to be a thing soon. It will require legislation to compel manufacturers to license technology regarding battery packs. It's a shame Philips didn't get there first with a lithium battery pack for tools. They did such a good job licensing Compact Cassette and Compact Disc for mass market adoption.

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Black_box_jeep

I use a Mac tools version of the dewalt impacts in 1/2” and 3/8” (was on a great deal as a new model coming out). It’s been used daily on classic car stuff and has been way better than the snap on versions it sort of replaced. (Although I still use a snap on 3/8” impact as it’s lighter and the dual action trigger is nicer to use on quick check service stuff.) The batteries charge quickly, and last so long in normal use that I sometimes forget where I’ve put the box with the charger and spares in. The torque for undoing large hubnuts and the like is incredible and on some jobs where other folk seem to rely on red loctite and a scaffold pole cheater bar rather than the big 3/4” torque wrench and a spec sheet, it makes quick work of getting things moving. The variable settings seem to be normal, extra and “come loose or shear off”! 
The 1/2” is heavy but well balanced although difficult to wield in tight spaces or at full stretch with the big battery attached. 

Edited by Black_box_jeep
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So during the last week I have been trying to make the most of the 1/4" drive 18V DeWalt impact driver to see what difference it makes in low torque applications. I have also made the effort to use my air tools when I have been near the compressor. It has really made me think a lot about how best I can use a small range of tools to my own advantage, particularly if I am carrying them on-board the Jeep.

 

I think I will take a chance on one of these 12v 3/8" cordless ratchets for £31. It's not an impact, but I think the shape will make it more convenient to use often. Being 12v I can easily rig up a charger in the Jeep. I can buy one genuine DeWalt 18V battery or two clone batteries for £50 which solves my immediate problem with old tool batteries.

 

So how useful would a cordless impact wrench be during a trail repair? I think it would save a lot of time for anything wheels off, but it's another large item to carry on board in a case, or another electrical item to stow somewhere trying not to get wet. I don't want to take a chance on a £200+ top brand tool getting wet under my back seat. I've had my cargo get wet many times on steep exits out of water. I also don't think I want to holster an impact wrench on my dog barrier where it will be on display. Perhaps a 240Vac impact wrench for wheel nuts would save me time at home. I could take a chance on one of these little known 'ToolTronix' for £34 or the less risky Draper 82994 for £67.

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I think that is a very sensible way to go, 2 of my work colleagues use Milwaukee 12v, 3/8 socket drivers and they are very good, small, easy to use and powerful. To set up a charger in the Jeep is a very practical. 

I think the 240V impact wrench at home is also a sensible approach, a solution that’s works for you and your gear is most important. 

I have for “wheels off”  or doing heavier work an extending 1/2” flexi breaker bar to take off and an torque wrench to refit, up to 240Nm I think ??? These are left in the Jeep and are waterproof 😂😂😂 no worries on electrical tools getting wet 😊

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18 hours ago, V said:

I think I will take a chance on one of these 12v 3/8" cordless ratchets for £31. It's not an impact, but I think the shape will make it more convenient to use often. Being 12v I can easily rig up a charger in the Jeep. I can buy one genuine DeWalt 18V battery or two clone batteries for £50 which solves my immediate problem with old tool batteries.

 

Did you buy one?  The link now shows a price of £46.  I know inflation is up, but that is silly 😂

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I bought a 1/2" drive impact wrench this week that is claimed to have 520Nm torque for undoing nuts. It is red in colour, at a distance looks like a Makita and it uses an 18v Makita LXT battery. It cost £20 including the delivery. It arrived bare in a cardboard box with no instructions. It really is cheaply made and nothing like Makita build quality, but at the price I would have to buy eight of them in order to pay more than one bare Makita DTW300. I tried it on my Jeep's wheel nuts and it removed them effortlessly in seconds.

 

If you are unsure about spending a couple of hundred or more on a top brand impact wrench as I was, a cheap tool like this might help you make up your mind. I suspect that I am going to use this impact wrench a great deal. If so, and it fails within a year I will either buy a Makita or a DeWalt to replace it.

 

The cheapo 3/8" 12v ratchet that I bought last year has also had a lot of use recently. It is difficult to say which of the two tools I would use more. But I have already got in the habit of reaching for the electric ratchet for undoing fasteners, less so for tightening, if at all. I definitely wouldn't buy a ratchet that uses a massive battery now that I enjoy using this one with small 12v lithium battery packs. I wouldn't have considered a Milwaukee 3/8" ratchet before, but I would now.

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I use the Milwaukee have the fuel 3/8 which is great for light work, engine stripping or confined spaces.   As a back up the 1/2" which has 1800Nm, the 1/2 makes everything look under powered both have more than earned their money.

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Makita has served me well, both impact driver and a drill. Batteries have lasted ages too with lots of charge/use cycles.

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On 20/01/2022 at 17:53, V said:

I bought a 1/2" drive impact wrench this week that is claimed to have 520Nm torque for undoing nuts. It is red in colour, at a distance looks like a Makita and it uses an 18v Makita LXT battery. It cost £20 including the delivery. It arrived bare in a cardboard box with no instructions. It really is cheaply made and nothing like Makita build quality, but at the price I would have to buy eight of them in order to pay more than one bare Makita DTW300. 

 

Hi @V, I wondered if two years on you had any further reflection on your cheap impact wrench purchase?

 

I am thinking an impact wrench with more torque than my impact driver may prove useful.  I've been starting to refurb the HP30 I bought in December but have to deal with some very stubborn bolts / nuts on the axle and hub bearings.  I've been soaking with penetrating oils with no luck, next step would be the blow torch.  But I've seen plenty of YouTube videos where a big old impact wrench gets some very rusty stuff free.  Beginning to fancy sometjing with @Black_box_jeep's "come loose or shear off" setting 😂, but not sure I can justify a couple of hundred pounds.

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I have a couple of 1/2” drive Ryobi impact wrenches. They are what they are so to speak ie: not a top brand, but they have well abused for a few years and still going strong never had an issue. 

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8 hours ago, UKTJ said:

Hi @V, I wondered if two years on you had any further reflection on your cheap impact wrench purchase?

It has been great. A couple of times I have had to resort to a breaker bar with scaffolding pipe but it generally does the job.

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I've been quite pleased with my ebay one too. The biggest issue for me is that it is very noisy ie it makes a loud high pitched 'screaming ' noise which is most unpleasant for me so I have to use ear defenders with it. 

I've just acquired another one which was a Christmas Present and is the same as 'Mud Dodgers' . Its a  'Conentool' which I've started my winter refit with !It seems gr8 so far and its very quiet!  I don't use any of mine(1/4,1/2,3/8 straights and 90s) ,except sometimes my big air tool one, for first loosening or final tightening. Mainly because its just how I've always done it. When air impact drivers first came out years ago everyone was concerned about causing damage !

I think it depends on the volume of work one does. If I was using it professionally I would buy  something like a  Milwaukee/Metabo/De walt/Makita but for my purposes its fine to use a cheaper one. Some of my best tools have been  Metabo and they are all very old now but still excellent! 

My  3/8th drive is an Hitachi  which is still going strong after over 15 years! Its probably my most used size of them all being light and small!

Another advantage of an EBAY one is I don't mind leaving it in the Jeep when I'm on a jaunt like Transcantabria!

An old friend who owns a tool shop says a lot of them have the same guts despite the brand on it!  It wouldn't surprise me at all!

Lastly , I agree with V re breaker bar etc. I feel money is better spent on good quality sockets, combination spanners etc these tools will always loosen whatever with a bar/pipe. Its cheap socketsetc  that wreck flats/ flutes/Allen keys etc Don't forget car boots either especially near industrial towns! 

Edited by digger
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Hi V, that 'Milwaukee' 3/8th is brill.  We have one in the race kit as well as some of their other excellent tools!

What is first class is their cordless heated Gilet/jacket . It even keeps an old git warm! 😀

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