An impact wrench is an auto mechanic’s best friend. A 3/8-inch or ½-inch impact wrench will make quick work of lug nuts and bolts. If you’re looking for a tool with enough torque to handle lug nuts, you’ve come to the right place.
This page lists some of our favorite impact wrenches that are great for lug nuts. We’ve chosen models from brands that consistently deliver on quality, reliability and performance. Not all impact wrenches are created equal, so make sure you read through this guide to find a wrench that can get the job done.
Best Impact Wrench for Lug Nuts
1.Milwaukee 2767-22 1/2-Inch
Milwaukee has established a fantastic reputation for producing some of the best power tools out there. The 2767-22 definitely lives up to the family name. Traditionally, a pneumatic impact wrench would be the only thing that could bust through the more stubborn, rusted lug nuts.
This model promises 2X the removal speed than other models. This means that even the most unforgiving lug nut should be no match for this impact wrench. You’ll be able to keep working for a long time, thanks to the 2767-22’s dual-battery kit.
Comfort and durability are also well-considered here; the rubberized ergonomic design is very comfortable to use and should last a long time. Hard-to-reach spots are handled well by this Milwaukee impact wrench. The compact design makes it easy to squeeze into cramped corners and to carry the tool wherever you need it.
This machine has more than earned its place at the top of our list. It’s our top pick for removing lug nuts.
- The “lug nut removal mode” is great for lug nuts that are rusted or frozen
- Super-comfortable to use
- Nice and compact
- Far from the cheapest option out there
2. Metabo HPT WR18DBDL2 1/2- inch
This is slightly smaller, heavier tool that’s built with durability in mind. The IP56 rating on this impact wrench means it’s relatively well-protected from dust and water. The overall build-quality of the HPT WR18DBDL2 appears remarkably sturdy; we’d be surprised if it slowed down on you quickly.
If it ever did, the lifetime lithium ion tool warranty that comes with this model should put any durability worries to rest. The brushless motor design on this impact wrench allows it to deliver more power where it’s needed by reducing the amount of energy that’s wasted when working.
This kind of technology is worth looking out for when considering a new impact wrench. Brushless tools generally run for much longer on a single charge. This is another great wrench for lug nuts. The variable speed options on this model make it a versatile tool for a variety of applications.
A more stubborn lug nut might take a few more seconds to bust, but it should budge eventually. The LED light on this wrench makes it much easier to see what you’re doing. All in all, this is a fantastic option with a relatively affordable price point.
- Lifetime warranty
- Efficient brushless motor
- IP56 compliant
- It’s a touch on the heavy side
3. DEWALT DCF902F2 XTREME 3/8-Inch
This is another brushless option that’s up to 30% shorter than the competition. This is an efficient, portable tool that packs a punch. The 3/8-inch square drive on this impact wrench is more than enough for many applications including removing lug nuts. Double-check the torque specs for your lug nuts if they’re a bit more heavy-duty.
DEWALT has packed 3 working modes to this tool to help you get the job done. The “Precision Wrench Trade” setting is great for protecting the lug nut from over torqueing. This battery-powered impact wrench comes with two 12V lithium ion batteries that keep working for a remarkably long time.
Not one, but three LED lights come with this machine to blast through the darkness in low-visibility environments. This is a great impact wrench for those who value portability. The compact size and 4.5lbs weight make this one of those tools that’s a breeze to carry with you. The wrench kit even includes a handy carry case.
- Efficient brushless motor
- The “Precision Trade” setting works well
- Super portable
- Struggles with more stubborn lug nuts
4. KIMO 20V 1/2-” Impact Wrench
The impact wrench kit that comes with this tool represents fantastic value for money in our opinion. You get 3 extension bars, a carrying bag, a lithium-ion battery, 8 sockets, a charger and a cordless impact wrench. Considering the already budget-friendly price, this is a fantastic option for those looking to save some money.
KIMO benefits from decades of technology development for batteries and motors. This innovation is well-implemented and there are a number of features that make this a smart choice. The “premium-brake-stop features prevents unwanted damage when removing lug nuts.
KIMO boasts that the battery life on this model has been extended by up to 25% over previous generations. The 20V battery powers a brushless system that’s capable of up to 3000 RPM. This tool is versatile and will handle most lug nuts you throw at it.
The LED light on this model significantly boosts visibility when working. This is another fantastic option for those who ned a tool to remove lug nuts.
- Some great “smart” features and modes
- Value-packed wrench kit
- Impressive battery life
- Switching sockets can be a little fiddly
5. Ingersoll Rand 35MAX Air Impact Tool
This is a classic air impact wrench that can remove lug nuts like nobody’s business. An air impact wrench is the tool of choice for most car mechanics, as they’re built to stand up to harsh work environments that put them through constant heavy use.
This offering from Ingersoll Rand is built to last and offers considerably more power than some cordless impact wrenches. The 3-position power regulator on this air impact wrench makes it refreshingly easy to adjust your torque settings on the fly.
This tool comes with a max output of 450 ft lbs which makes it a phenomenal impact wrench for lug nuts. The ridiculously light design of this model makes it laughably easy to manoeuvre around your shop. It’s worth noting that this tool needs to be hooked up to a compatible air compressor, so it’s best suited for auto shop environments.
If you already have a compressor for your setup, this is a comparatively affordable option.
- Super lightweight
- Durable design that can handle plenty of abuse
- Impressive 450 ft lbs max torque
- Not a portable option; you need a compressor
6. BOSCH GDX18V-1800CB
This offering from BOSCH packs the versatility of two impact tools into one powerful package. The 1/4-inch and ½-inch socket options on this machine allow it to tackle a wide variety of tasks.
This is one of our favorite cordless impact wrenches when it comes to household tasks; the smaller socket allows it to function just as well as an impact driver for additional drilling applications. The 18V lithium ion battery powers a tough motor that can deliver up to 8000 inch-lbs of torque.
If you’re on the market for both impact wrenches and impact drivers, this is a 2-in-1 solution that’s definitely worth considering.
Confused about the difference between impact wrenches and drivers? Check out our Impact Drivers vs Impact Wrenches guide to learn more.
- Versatile 2-in-1 design
- Comes with motor protection tech that prevents overloading
- The retainer ring for holding sockets in place is a bit fiddly
7. Milwaukee M18
This list starts and ends with Milwaukee and this isn’t a coincidence; the Milwaukee brand makes great use of decades of industry experience to deliver some incredible performance. This model from their M18 line crams some intelligent features into a compact device.
The “Redlink Plus” technology on this tool is designed to deliver high performance without damaging the tool or the bolt you’re working on. Milwaukee describes the batteries on this machine as “Redlithium”. Weird branding aside, they last for a remarkably long time on a single charge and should retain their power for years to come.
Other features worth mentioning include the powerful LED light; convenient friction ring for quick-and-easy socket changes; and the 4-mode drive control system that makes this a seriously versatile option. This is one of the “smartest” cordless impact wrenches we’ve seen.
- Comes with a slew of intelligent features
- Great for stubborn nuts
- Durable build
- Milwaukee tools are great, but they’re not cheap either.
Our Beginner’s Guide
If you’re a newbie and unsure of what these tools are even for, check out our guide below that will introduce you to the fundamentals.
Impact Wrenches Their Main Uses
These high-torque machines are most commonly found in an auto mechanic’s toolkit, but they have a few other uses that are worth learning.
Quickly removing and refastening lug nuts on car tires is probably the most common application for an impact wrench. If you’re always tweaking your car or needing to replace tires, an impact wrench may fit in well with the rest of your gear.
If you want to be extra-prepared for breakdowns, keeping a cordless impact wrench in your trunk won’t hurt.
While the amount of torque they deliver can cause damage if you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s plenty of DIY tasks that are made simpler with a good impact wrench. Things like attaching metal shelving in a garage or securing a metal playframe to the floor of your yard would work if they’re suitably heavy-duty.
We advise using a less powerful electric wrench for home tasks. Use one that’s powerful enough to speed things up but not powerful enough to damage your projects. If your requirements are a little more everyday and you don’t need max-torque performance, we’d recommend considering an impact driver instead.
In most low-impact scenarios, a pneumatic tool will probably be too powerful.
Confused about the difference between drivers and wrenches?
A high-torque wrench is an auto mechanic’s best friend. Most mechanics use a pneumatic, air impact wrench for their consistent power and durability. Speed and reliability are at a premium in auto repair; the best impact wrenches will make this possible.
Construction & Manufacturing
Construction and demolition projects use both pneumatic and hydraulic impact wrenches to quickly remove or secure lug nuts from the structural elements of buildings. Workers on this kind of project need a tool that can remove nuts much faster than a manual wrench.
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
Read our answers to some common questions here.
Can I use an Impact Wrench for Lug Nuts?
Absolutely! In fact, removing lug nuts is one of their main uses. Impact wrenches are most commonly found in auto repair shops where mechanics use them on lug nuts every day. There are a few size options for impact wrenches and you’ll need to make sure you get the right size for your car.
What Size Impact Wrench do I Need for Lug Nuts?
The two main sizes to consider are 3/8 of an inch or ½ an inch. The ½-inch models are the most common and generally come with a bit more power and reliability. They also tend to cost a little more, so it’s worth weighing up your options.
You’ll notice that the majority of the tools on this list are cordless impact wrenches. We wanted to communicate that the power and technology of these machines has come a long way; they’re now more than capable of heavy-duty tasks.
For some applications, a pneumatic tool is the only thing that will do. For many people, however, portable options come with more than enough power to get the job done.