Battery operated impact driver vs. pneumatic

MOguy

Explorer
I read about people wanting an onboard air systems capable of handling pneumatic tools and all the expense and hassle that goes along with it. I just wanted to through this out there as an option. I have had this Dewalt impact wrench for a few months and it continues to impress me. It does not spin as fast as my pneumatic one but it has all the power. It claims to have 400 ft lbs of torque. There are more and more battery operated tools that operate as well as pneumatic tools and the prices are coming down. Aside from having to build an air system to handle pneumatic tools other benefits are portability and no air hose to leak and get in the way. Without the battery this one is about $160.


 
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pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
I have a bunch of the DeWalt/Mac Tool 20V and really like them.

At our shop the mechanics use battery powered tools for the most part but we still rely on air powered for the really heavy duty stuff. Part of it is how quickly the electric ones will chew through the battery doing really heavy work.
 

MOguy

Explorer
I have a bunch of the DeWalt/Mac Tool 20V and really like them.

At our shop the mechanics use battery powered tools for the most part but we still rely on air powered for the really heavy duty stuff. Part of it is how quickly the electric ones will chew through the battery doing really heavy work.

If you really have a need for longer usage air would still be the way to go, but on the trail and for the shade tree mechanic a couple batteries and a charger works really well.
 

comptiger5000

Adventurer
IMO, if you're going to already have a source on hand for air, go with the air impact. $50 gets you one that'll do 500 ft. lb and if you turn the pressure up a bit past the recommended 90 psi, you can get a bit more out of it in a pinch. No dealing with dead batteries, etc.

Air requirements aren't huge for an impact used in short-ish bursts. A $100 pancake compressor will run one just fine (and airs up tires fast) if you've got a good enough power source to run it. I've got one of the 3.5 gal Porter Cable compressors for that use. They also make a 6 gal version of the same unit. Best part is, it runs fine off a 1500w inverter (and doesn't seem to care at all about running on modified sine).
 

MOguy

Explorer
IMO, if you're going to already have a source on hand for air, go with the air impact. $50 gets you one that'll do 500 ft. lb and if you turn the pressure up a bit past the recommended 90 psi, you can get a bit more out of it in a pinch. No dealing with dead batteries, etc.

Air requirements aren't huge for an impact used in short-ish bursts. A $100 pancake compressor will run one just fine (and airs up tires fast) if you've got a good enough power source to run it. I've got one of the 3.5 gal Porter Cable compressors for that use. They also make a 6 gal version of the same unit. Best part is, it runs fine off a 1500w inverter (and doesn't seem to care at all about running on modified sine).
I went that route in the past. For me it just took up too much space and didn't perform as well as the battery operated wrench I have now. For air I have the MV50 and it is good enough for air tires unless you are really in a hurry. Another issue is you are tethered to your vehicle with pneumatic tools. For me I found the battery operated take up little space, easy to handle and less to deal with.

When I look up that compressor it states it only buts out 2 CFM. I question whether or not that is enough to run a decent size impact wrench.
 
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proper4wd

Expedition Leader
There is a 12V charger available for the DeWalt 20V batteries - I have one semi-permanently installed in my truck.
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
it only buts out 2 CFM. I question whether or not that is enough to run a decent size impact wrench.
It's enough for short bursts with most pneumatics. I have OBA on my truck, but I generally use cordless impacts because they are just more convenient, as long as you have batteries. I have a couple of the older Dewalt 18V 1/2" impacts and they claim 300 lb/ft. I also have a smaller Dewalt 1/2" that claims something like 120 lb/ft, and it's got enough to change wheels on my GMCs that are supposed to be torqued to 140, finish with a manual wrench to be sure. Ryobi makes a 300 lb/ft 1/2" impact that is a very good value, and batteries are cheap when on sale (like right now at Home Depot, two 4ah L-ion for $89). Whatever you use, make sure you have a quick charger that will plug into the vehicle's cigarette lighter.

The big boy in cordless impacts is probably still the Milwaukee 18V at 450 lb/ft. Good unit, but pricey.
 

MOguy

Explorer
If you haven't tried some of these newer battery operated impact wrenches you will be impressed.
 

proper4wd

Expedition Leader
The only downside is that its very heavy, with a big battery pack and large impact socket it must be 7 or 8 pounds.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
As long as you come up with a way to charge batteries I don't see any reason to bother with air tools. One thing that sold me (and I don't have either in full disclosure) is that if you need to work on someone else's truck an air tool is pretty useless without a portable tank, so you end up with a CO2 tank usually.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
With todays offerings for cordless tools, I see no reason to even consider air.

That is, unless you already have a legit OBA setup. But keep in mind, you need a decent amount of CFM to run a legitimate impact.


Add in solar which is becoming so popular, and you never should be without a charged battery.
One charger, one impact, a couple of batteries, and you should be good to go.
 

MOguy

Explorer
With todays offerings for cordless tools, I see no reason to even consider air.

That is, unless you already have a legit OBA setup. But keep in mind, you need a decent amount of CFM to run a legitimate impact.


Add in solar which is becoming so popular, and you never should be without a charged battery.
One charger, one impact, a couple of batteries, and you should be good to go.
This is what some fail to understand. You aren't getting all the power if you don't have enough air. You can turn up the pressure and blow the air harder to help but that can damage the tool and it still won't work as it should. Electric motors are getting better and better, batteries not as much but for tools they work great.

And no leaky air hoses and noisy compressors.
 
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I run the old Ryobi 1/2" impact from Home Depot. The stuff is cheap, the batteries are cheap, and the extended warranty is cheap. They even have a 12v charger.
 
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