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Team FIN tough test: ½-in. impact wrenches

A ½-in. impact wrench is a must-have in any farm shop. New compact impact wrenches that offer small size along with high torque make this tool more versatile than ever.

To test this new lineup, Farm Industry News asked three farmers and a tradesman to compare the power, design and features of these wrenches.

Power and performance

Testers determined the forward-tightening ability of the wrenches, measuring the foot-pounds with a torque wrench, and used them to reverse nuts torqued up to 250 ft.-lbs. They also removed rusty bolts and spun off nuts.

Despite its compact size, every wrench demonstrated excellent power and a high level of torque.

Comfort and design

The Ryobi was the largest tool in the group as well as the heaviest. The Bosch had the most comfortable design. The Hilti, DeWalt, and Milwaukee offered a lightweight design and comfortable grip.

Controls and features

The Hilti led the charge in added features. It offered three power settings and a style of anvil that allowed the operator to change sockets easily. The Ryobi and Bosch also had anvil detents that made socket changes effortless, although the Bosch’s design left the socket looser compared to the others. The Milwaukee and DeWalt impacts had locking-style anvils that keep sockets securely attached to the tool but are an inconvenience because they require the operator to use a pointed object, such as a small screwdriver, to press the detent when changing sockets.

The testers said that all five brands of compact impact wrenches are powerful and well designed and perform excellently. The things that set each apart were minor.

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