5 Best 3/8 Air Impact Wrenches
5 Best 3/8 Air Impact Wrenches
5 (100%) 2 vote[s]


Most recommended
Ingersoll Rand 15QMAX 3/8-Inch Drive
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • Item Weight 2.4 pounds
  • 4.6 x 2.4 x 7.1 inches

A good choice too
2115TiMAX 3/8-Inch Impactool
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • Item Weight 1.12 Kilograms
  • 6.1 x 2.2 x 6.73 inches

A good choice too
Compact Composite Impact Wrench
  • AIRCAT 1076-XL 3/8
  • One Size
  • Item Weight 2.5 pounds

Impact Wrench Square Drive
  • Brand DEWALT
  • Item Weight 0.5 Pounds
  • Fixed Square

Professional Air Impact Wrench
  • Brand Central Pneumatic
  • Material Steel
  • 300 Foot Pounds


Choose the Best 3/8 Air Impact Wrenche

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated 3/8 Air Impact Wrenches

7 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

100% of users selected Ingersoll Rand 15QMAX 3/8-Inch Drive, 0% selected 2115TiMAX 3/8-Inch Impactool, 0% selected Compact Composite Impact Wrench, 0% selected Impact Wrench Square Drive and 0% selected Professional Air Impact Wrench. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

A 3/8 air impact wrench is a tool that uses compressed air to produce torque on nuts and bolts. They are used in many different industries because they can tighten or loosen fasteners with high efficiency, even when there’s an obstruction. It may be hard to find the best one if you don’t know how these tools work, which common problems people have with them, and what features make it worth your time and money.When it comes to 3/8 air impact wrenches, there are many options. With so many choices, how can you be sure that you’re getting the right one for your needs? To help you out with this decision-making process, a few experts put together this guide on the best 3/8 air impact wrench models and what they have to offer. You will also receive some tips on how to pick the right model for your particular situation.

Ingersoll Rand 15QMAX 3/8-Inch Drive Ultra-Compact Air Impact Wrench – the Editor’s choice!

The Ingersoll Rand 15QMAX is a 3/8-inch drive accessory tool that often finds jobs in close spaces where power tools just can’t go and yet it delivers 380 ft-lbs.

It’s 2.4 lbs, making the tool the lightest on the market. It has superior access thanks to its compact design developed by Ingersoll Rand engineers and even if you have an impending task up, under, over or around any corners; this compact design will give you the reach and power you need. With its super lightweight and 400 ft-lb torque (in its purest setting), it will be your most reliable partner for a more extensive period.

Pros
  • Lightweight;
  • Great reach;
  • Sturdy build;
  • 2-year warranty;
  • Quiet;
Cons
  • Not enough torque for 105 foot-pound lugs;
  • Low power;

This compact tool is lightweight, strong, quiet, and easy on your wallet. Whether you’re under a car looking to bust out the engine or over your kitchen sink removing a stubborn bolt, this 15QMAX 3/8-inch drive impact wrench brings the power of a full-sized tool right where you need it.


Ingersoll Rand 2115TiMAX 3/8-Inch Impactool – the best for heavy-duty use!

The Ingersoll Rand 2115TiMAX 3/8-inch Impactool gives you the power you need to get any job done, from light duty tasks all the way up to heavy-duty assembly and disassembly applications.

It has precision engineering for low-to-high torque designed for faster work speeds with less fatigue, and its feather touch trigger provides greater control while contending with tough spaces.

Weighing less than two and a half pounds, this tool will make disassembling and assembling pieces that easy. It’s small size also alleviates tight spaces from any possible difficulty in reaching certain areas due to its lightweight, compact design.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty plastic;
  • Compact size;
  • Good for industrial repairs;
  • A feather-touch trigger;
  • Titanium hammer case;
  • Powerful motor;
  • 2-year warranty;
Cons
  • Inconsistent;
  • The trigger gets out and may get stuck;

The 2115TiMAX is great for projects that require a little muscle. This mighty impact wrench tool delivers up to 300 foot-pounds of torque in reverse position and it’s perfect for powering through big jobs that have stalled out your progress.


AIRCAT 1076-XL 3/8″ Compact Composite Impact Wrench – the best torque rating!

The AirCat 1076-XL is a unique, lightweight impact wrench that delivers 550 ft-lbs of maximum torque with 750 ft/lbs of loosening torque. Constructed from a composite housing and metal components for serious durability, this tool features lower weighting to make it comfortable during use without sacrificing power.

Weighing in at only 2.5 pounds, the compact design of this wrench also boasts an ergonomic grip with patented Silencing Technology that significantly reduces noise levels to 85 dBA while maintaining intense power and performance but minimizing deafening sound spikes.

The AIRCAT 1076-XL is the perfect tool for any projects that are tough to tackle. It’s lightweight material keeps it as the most durable and reliable impact wrench on the market (over 30000 uses).

Pros
  • The torque range is 550 foot-pounds;
  • Made with metal and composite;
  • Powder-coated;
  • Low weight;
  • Quiet;
  • Reliable jumbo hammer mechanism;
  • Patented grip technology;
Cons
  • The socket retainer issues;
  • Won’t cope with rusted bolts;

The patented composite design makes it a great long lasting item, while its ergonomic grip gives you unmatched comfort. With powerful features, this impact wrench will reduce your speed by 50%!


DEWALT 3/8-Inch Impact Wrench – the best for adjustable power control!

Push a few stubborn bolts and fasteners loose in seconds with the DEWALT 3/8″ impact wrench. This gun has 300 ft-lbs of breakaway torque for serious power, a twin hammer mechanism that sends out 11000 RPMs to deliver high power and an adjustable power regulator so you can set your ideal burst force.

The regulator gives you the maximum control over tightening force and speed while giving us maximum flexibility in any project types. Plus, this reliable tool has high power for fastening jobs.

Pros
  • Fixed square head;
  • Lightweight;
  • Good for stubborn bolts;
  • Adjustable power control;
  • 11000 RPM;
Cons
  • Too noisy;
  • Not durable;

The DEWALT 3/8-inch Impact Wrench is a must-have for any mechanic. This particular product and its twin hammer mechanism delivers 300 ft-lbs of breakaway torque, speed control, and durable composite/rubber construction ready to tackle the toughest jobs.


Earthquake 3/8-Inch Professional Air Impact Wrench – the best for precision!

The Earthquake 3/8-Inch Professional Air Impact Wrench is the most powerful wrench in its class. With a variable speed reversible, this small frame tool delivers more torque to the anvil and up to 300 foot-pounds of stunting force!

This quality tool has been precision machined to master mechanical standards with less vibration and lighter than competition. It also comes equipped with a handle that vents exhaust away from the user so you can work with no worries of getting dirty or feeling fatigued.

Pros
  • The box end head;
  • Pneumatic operation mode;
  • Variable speed;
  • Reversible mode;
  • Less vibration;
  • Small frame for tighter spots;
Cons
  • Won’t cope with 120 PSI+;
  • It is hard to switch the direction manually;

The 3/8-Inch Professional Air Impact Wrench from Earthquake has enough power to take on any job and is precise – even in the tightest spots.


The Buyer’s Guide

Important Features:

1) Power sources of impact wrenches:

  • Electric impact wrenches are the most commonly used. These types of tools use an electric motor to generate torque and power, which is transferred through a mechanical coupling in order to drive fasteners into place (source). This type of tool may require more maintenance with its electric cord and battery life, but they’re often cheaper than air powered impacts;
  • Air powered impacts offer much higher performance because there’s no need for electricity or batteries. However, they typically cost significantly more due to their high price tag as well as their limited availability. Therefore, it really depends on your preferences. Another upside that many people like about these types of tools is how lightweight they are! If you have any sort of physical limitations or just don’t like the weight of heavier models, then air powered impacts are a good choice;
  • Pneumatic tools use compressed gas to generate power and torque needed for fastening applications. This type of tool is often used in industrial settings where electricity can be scarce; however, they also have their drawbacks such as being more expensive than electric corded types as well as not having any power if the compressor stops working. Luckily, many newer units offer some form of an auxiliary port that will allow you to plug into something else besides your compressor so this isn’t much of a problem anymore;

2) Impacting torque

Impacting torque is a measure of the force applied to an object at its point. The impacting blow, or thrust, should be as tight and short it can be with one hand on the handle and your finger on the trigger. With any product that has a variable impacting speed control you want to use low-speed for tightening bolts because it gives more power than high impact speeds that are better used for loosening fasteners.  The impacting force should be adjusted to the bolt size and tightened in a circular pattern.

Excellent impact wrenches will have an adjustable air supply, but you need to set it at 90 PSI for maximum torque output. If they don’t come with this feature, then it’s up to you decide what pressure setting is best for your needs. Once again, if there is no variable control on the device then high-pressure (90 PSI) settings are good for loosening bolts while low-pressure settings are better suited for tightening them properly. The most important thing about using any air wrench or impact wrench is that the user has complete control of how much power is applied by having some sort of variable controlling mechanism on their tool.

With a manual-style (pneumatic) device, make sure you’re wearing safety glasses and gloves so in case anything does happen you are protected.

3) Shape and Size

The best air impact wrenches are designed to be easy to use with a slim-line shape and an alignment eye. You should also make sure that the handle is angled in order for you to have more control when using it. If you want one of the most lightweight options, then try looking at something around 15 pounds and go no heavier than 20 pounds if possible. The weight will vary from product to product but either way, this is what makes these tools so convenient because they’re lighter on your arm as well as easier on your back while working overhead or crawling under vehicles.

How to Use an Air Impact Wrench?

An air impact wrench is a tool that uses compressed air to drive bolts and nuts. The power output of an impact wrench is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) or horsepower, but not both. A typical household use would be tightening lug nuts on the wheels of your car. Modern day wrenches operate without a clutch that allows for continuous operation at one speed. However, this can cause wear on the fastener if it’s not loosened periodically during use. 

Generally speaking, there are 2 schools of thought when using an air impact wrench. The “forward and back” method is the first way to use your power tool. With this technique, you want to move the driver forward and backward quickly in order to loosen a nut or bolt without stripping it out from its threads – think of it as tapping on a nail with a hammer.

The forward and back technique is best for working on sensitive nuts or bolts that might be brittle, while the rotating method provides better torque to remove stubborn fasteners that are corroded in place. 

The other school of thought is called “rotating”. With this technique you want to rotate your wrist (or pivot) so that it feels like you’re turning the wheel on a car while holding onto the handlebars. This will allow for more torque than just going forwards and backwards because now not only are both hands pushing but they’re also pulling at full arm extension.

When using any type of power tool such as an air impact wrench safety should always be taken into consideration first. Below are some tips: 

  • Wear eye protection because tiny metal particles may fly off from tightened parts due to friction;
  • Keep bystanders and pets a safe distance away from the working area;
  • Use clamps to secure any loose clothing such as long sleeves, neckties or scarves;
  • Turn off all power sources; this includes electric tools, air compressors and generators. Be sure that the cord is not in contact with anything conductive before turning it on again;
  • Wear gloves when dealing with hot objects or sharp materials like metal shards;

FAQ

What is the highest torque air impact wrench?

The highest torque you can reach is about 2000 ft-lbs (2743 N/m) per unit of time, when the battery voltage is 12V and rechargeable batteries are used.

Who makes the best 3/8 air impact wrenches?

The best air impact wrenches are made by brands like Ingersoll, Makita, DeWalt, Earthquake, etc. There are many good brands to consider, but most would agree that either Ingersoll-Rand or Milwaukee make some of the best high quality tools on the market today. Both companies have a wide range of models and price points available from small to large sizes as well as cordless for those who need more versatility.

Are air impact wrenches better?

Air impact wrenches come in a wide variety of sizes. Some are just for tires, while others do the work of a hammer and nail as well. The most common size is ¾ inch (19mm) – which can be used on any job that requires high torque such as removing lug nuts or repairing car panels.

The benefit to air impact wrenches over other types of tools is their ability to apply higher levels of force with less effort- making them more efficient than hammers or screwdrivers when it comes to loosening bolts, pipes, screws and other fasteners that need some extra power behind them. They also have the advantage over pneumatic ratchets because they don’t require compressed air like those models do.

A good air impact wrench can save you time and money. This is because it’s more efficient, which means that the job will take less hands-on effort on your part to complete successfully. With a lower risk of injury associated with high torque jobs, this tool also offers some protection for those who are doing them too often or incorrectly.

The downside? They’re not cheap! Check the prices before making a final decision about what type of wrench you should buy – they range from very affordable options to ones that cost several hundred dollars (or even more in some cases). There are benefits to both types so be sure to do your research first.

How much torque do you need in an air impact wrench?

Air impact wrenches come in a variety of torque ratings. Torque is the amount of force that will turn an object, such as nuts and bolts. The higher the torque rating on your air impact wrench, the more force it can exert to loosen or tighten objects. For example, a high-torque air impact wrench may be good for heavy jobs like loosening/tightening rusted lug nuts on a tractor-trailer tire but not necessarily suited for working with small screws or appliances around your house due to its limited control (the power it has behind each strike). 

However, if you need something more lightweight to work with delicate parts then a lower torque would suit better because there’s less chance of overdoing things. 

The best torque rating for you will depend on the type of work you do and what your preferences are. It is common to find an air impact wrench that ranges anywhere from 100 ft-lb (130 N/m) up to a whopping 300 ft-lb (400 N/m). Remember, as with most tools, more power doesn’t always mean better quality. 

If this is your first time purchasing an air impact then we recommend going somewhere in the middle – around 200 ft-lbs or 250 ft-lbs would be perfect because it has enough power but also isn’t too strong which will help reduce any wear and tear on thin pieces of metal like sheet metal when working with body panels.

What’s the difference between impact drivers and impact wrenches?

Impact wrenches are power tools that use an electric motor to rotate a shaft in order to apply torque. The head of the wrench holds sockets for different size attachments or other types of bits, such as hex keys and screwdrivers. Impact drivers are designed like impact wrenches but have no rotating handle on the topside. Instead, they use a pistol grip style with large spikes tapped into the front end that is turned by hand (similar to how you might turn a manual drill). This type has much less force than standard air impact wrenches, but can still be used effectively when high speeds aren’t necessary.

The purpose of both these tools is pretty similar: remove bolts or screws from tight spots where traditional ratchets, wrenches and screwdrivers won’t fit. 

The difference is in how they are operated: impact drivers require less strength to work effectively than impact wrenches but offer lower torque (i.e., turning power).

Impact wrench pros: 

  • They have a lot of force behind them that makes the removal of bolts or screws much easier on stubborn surfaces; 
  • There will be no slipping due to lack of grip like with ratchets or pliers-style tools; 

On the downside, this can make it more difficult when tightening up nuts because you’ll need time to recover from each strike before making contact again. Since it’s designed as an open-air wrench, most models come equipped with a sturdy swivel  that can be used to fit into confined areas.

Impact driver pros: 

  • They are lighter, so they won’t cause muscle fatigue as quickly when trying to remove bolts or screws; 
  • Electricity for the tool is not required like with an electric impact wrench that means it can be used in remote locations without access to a power outlet;

On the downside, this type of driver offers less torque and strength than other models due to its lack of rotating head from top-down (which could make loosening nuts more difficult).

Can you remove bolts in good condition using air impact wrenches?

You can remove bolts in good condition using air impact wrenches but it will take much more time and effort than if the bolt was rusted or corroded. The reason for this is that a wrench with pneumatic power makes use of kinetic energy to loosen things up, so you need some mass for movement. If there’s no rust or corrosion on the nut/bolt, then all you’ll be doing is turning out perfectly intact hardware.

Occasionally gaskets must also be removed prior to removing nuts & bolts. Gaskets are designed specifically as seals between two metal surfaces (usually an engine block and head), while regular hoses seal connections between different fluids like oil and coolant. They’re not made to handle the torque and heat of a wrench. If you’re removing the gasket first, then it’s safe to use an air impact wrench without worrying about damaging anything.

If the bolt is rusted or corroded, then you should use penetrating oil before using an air impact wrench. The reason for this is that it will help break down any rust while also helping to lubricate anything else nearby (like other bolts and screws). 

Your torque range can be set anywhere from 110% all the way up to 200%. This number refers to how much force you’re applying with your hand in order to generate a certain amount of power. Setting it too low may require more time, but setting it too high could cause over tightening which leads to stripped threads. You only need enough pressure/force so that when turning out nuts, they come loose until finally removing them completely. If you’re struggling with a bolt, then it’s best to just set your torque range at 110%.

When using an impact wrench on bolts that are close together try rotating the tool as you use it. This will allow for more clearance between the socket and nut/bolt head so that there isn’t any interference while also making sure you don’t have to keep repositioning yourself. 

The distance from where you will be holding the handle of your air impact wrench and its power source (your compressor) should not exceed 25 feet. Anything over this limit may lead to damage or poor performance! You’ll know if something is wrong because when pressure builds up in one area, it releases somewhere else.

Measure the length of your wrench and then measure from where you will be holding it to where your compressor is located so that there’s a safe distance between them! 

When working with hard materials like aluminum, steel or cast iron, use an impact wrench with at least 180 ft-lb torque (or more). If possible, also try to work in a well-ventilated area while wearing safety goggles for protection as these types of metals can produce very fine particles when being worked on.

Can you use an impact wrench as an impact driver?

Yes, some impact wrenches can also be used as an air impact driver. This is especially useful if you have a project that requires both types of use and do not want to switch between tools every few minutes. 

You will need to make sure your wrench has the capability for this type of usage before purchasing it. Otherwise, just purchase what you need at the time or plan ahead of time which tool needs are coming up so you know which kind to buy.

What are PSI and CFM?

Pressure, or PSI (pounds per square inch), and airflow, or CFM (cubic feet per minute) are two measurements that you’ll often see as specifications for air tools. Understanding what they mean will help figure out which tool is best for the job at hand:

  • Pressure measurement in pounds-per-square-inch tells you how much force can be applied to a surface over an area of one square inch. In other words, it’s measured by multiplying weight with force against each unit of area – in this case, sq/in. This measurement is important because when too little pressure is used on delicate surfaces like plasterboard walls or drywall board joints may become damaged from insufficient application of pressure;
  • Airflow is a measurement of the volume of air, in cubic feet per minute (CFM) that can be moved by an exhaust system or fan over time. This measurement is important because when too little CFM is used on delicate surfaces like plasterboard walls or drywall board joints may become damaged from insufficient application of force;

Pressure and CFM both have their place depending on the job at hand. For example, if you’re working with materials that require less than 100 PSI to make them pliable for easy bending, then your best choice may be impact wrenches with lower PSI ratings but higher CFMs so they don’t damage as easily due to high pressures being applied-on average, these wrenches have lower PSIs but higher CFMs.

If you’re working on materials that require more than 100 PSI to make them pliable for easy bending, then your best choice may be impact wrenches with high PSI ratings and low CFM so the work is done quickly-on average, these wrenches have higher PSIs and lower CFMs.

What is the difference between torque, IPM, and RPM?

Torque is the measure of turning force that a wrench can exert on bolts, nuts, and screws. IPM stands for Impact Per Minute which measures how quickly an air impact wrench’s head moves up or down in one minute. RPM stands for Revolutions per Minute that measures how many times the tool has been spun around its central axis in one minute.

What type of air compressor is needed?

An air compressor is needed to use an impact wrench. It can be powered by electricity, gasoline or diesel fuel.

The most common type of air compressors are electric-powered units that plug into a standard outlet and need to be fully charged before using them for the first time out on jobsites. If you work in different locations often then it’s best if you purchase a gas-powered unit because they offer higher power than their corded counterparts so there’s less waiting around while compressed air levels build up again after each use. 

Diesel models tend to have lower output than either type but since they are able to run continuously without stopping with one fill-up at the pump, these variants are popular among construction crews who operate from remote sites.

The most important thing for you to remember is that the best air compressor and impact wrench combo has an output of at least 400-430 PSI. This will ensure your wrenches don’t slip off bolts or nuts because they’re not compressed firmly enough. Anything less than this amount and you risk ruining your fasteners’ threads, bending their heads into a cone shape from over-tightening them, or worse still stripping out the whole bolt which leads to costly repairs down the line. 

Useful Video: Top 5 Best Air Impact Wrenches Review in 2021

Final thoughts 

Which 3/8 air impact wrench is the right one for you? It really depends on what your needs are. The tips and reviews in this guide should give you a better idea of which model will work best with your situation, but don’t forget that we’re always here to help. 


I’m a Matthew Johnson, and I’m a motor mechanic. I like my profession and every day I use many tools, but a torque wrench is most useful of them. I’m going to write about my experience of using different torque wrenches and share with you.

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