What’s the best impact weapon for the money? It really depends on individual needs, purpose and preferences. Of course, an excellent gun must have adequate torque power, be quieter, practical and easy to use, and be worth the money. In addition, there are three types of impact guns: hydraulic, pneumatic and electric.
Hydraulic impact guns are the oldest types of impact guns and are the types that must be connected to a hydromechanical power source to operate. In terms of weight, they are at a greater disadvantage than their pneumatic and electric counterparts due to their liquid source. It does, however, provide more precise torque power with less repeatability. However, the most recent versions (called “Oil Impulse Impact Driver”) no longer require a host or connection to power outlets. They are now available in convenient, wireless, mobile and battery-powered variants. Among the liquid impulse motors on the market, the Makita XST01 is by far the winner in terms of ergonomics, handling and noise reduction. Weighing only 3.2 pounds with battery (must be purchased separately), it features triple-speed power selection, with a maximum of 3200 strokes per minute, 1400 pound-feet of torque and approximately 94 decibels of noise per charge.
Pneumatic impact guns (or air wrenches) are tools powered by air compression machines. They are relatively less expensive, but older versions have separate air compressors that are required are quite expensive. The power they provide is much greater than that of electric guns, but they are much more difficult to control, so they are less often used for small household repairs. They are relatively lighter than electric and hydraulic guns, so they are very durable and can be used for long periods of time. Because these tools use compressed air, they do not overheat. These guns can last for years or even decades. So if the user wants to use old school air guns for a repair shop or construction company, or simply as a long-term tool, this is a good choice.
The latest versions are now equipped with an integrated air compressor. So it can compete effortlessly with portable hydraulic and electric impact guns. In this category, the Aircat 1150 wins the award. It has a release torque of 1,300 ft-lbs, supported by a power of 1,400 strokes per minute. It’s lightweight, weighing just 4.63 pounds, and quiet at just 86 decibels.
Electric impact guns are the most flexible of the three shapes. Powered by electricity (through electrical outlets or batteries), they can produce a controllable amount of torque. They are also easy to use and easy to find on the market. They are now available in a lightweight version, and even wireless, so you can use them easily. This makes them perfect for repairs on the go and for use at home. However, you can’t expect the same power from this type of air or hydraulic impact gun as you can from pneumatic or hydraulic impact guns. If it is battery operated, the power will really depend on the strength of the cell. In this category, the DeWalt DCF899P1 gets 5 out of 5 stars with its weight of 7.2 pounds, maximum torque of 700 foot-pounds, breakout torque of 1200 foot-pounds, 3-speed selector and noise output of 110 decibels.
When comparing all these parameters, it will be difficult to say which one is the best in all areas. However, the Makita XST01 should be the choice if you’re looking for an instrument with good speed and torque power, less noise and a lighter load.