Tool Review: NAPA 1/2" drive air impact wrench

NAPA’s 1/2” Drive Air Impact Wrench, No. 6-1123, includes a twin hammer clutch mechanism and reverse bias motor design to maximize torque at a minimum weight. The tool is capable of up to 1,200 ft/lbs of break-away torque, and up to 480 ft/lbs working torque. This tool features a variable speed trigger for easy speed control, a bottom handle exhaust that directs air away from the user, a one-hand forward/reverse lever, a narrow nose cone design for access to tight spaces, an anti-vibration grip to reduce user fatigue and an optional, extended anvil.

The review

Maverick Mejia, a technician at Car Clinic, an auto repair facility in Mahopac, NY, gets a lot of the “dog work” while the lead technician does all of the highly technical tasks. What does that mean? A lot of tires, brakes, oil changes and the like. Needless to say, he uses a 1/2” impact wrench all day.

When handed a 1/2” impact to call his own, he was happy that he did not have to borrow the shop’s or his co-worker’s. Mejia was very impressed by how powerful, yet comfortable, the tool was.

“It’s more convenient because it’s smaller than many impact wrenches out there,” he observed. “It is not a heavy tool, and it really removes lug nuts quickly.” Being smaller than other tools, Mejia speculated about its long-term reliability. “I haven’t dropped it really hard yet, but it feels like a solid tool,” he said.

“It does have a two-year warranty," observed Mejia. "They wouldn’t (offer a warranty) if this tool couldn’t be both light yet reliable.”

Mejia’s favorite thing about the tool? It’s brute strength. While still wearing a pair of 8-mil gloves by mistake, "(the wrench) threw my hand off and ripped the glove,” he remembered. “It’s pretty strong. I’m not going to lie.”

A reason why Mejia comments on the sheer strength of the tool is that when adjusted to its top setting, it appears to really exhibit the 1,200 ft/lbs of breakaway torque. “You can adjust the torque on it between one, two and three, but for my use I keep it on three,” he said.

Mejia also noticed that the tool had a very quiet, "almost silent" operation.

He had one design improvement in mind. “I’m left-handed, so the forward and reverse switch gets in the way for me,” Mejia said. “It should be in the back. That would make it easier to use.

“I’d rate this tool 8 out of 10. It works exactly as advertised, which is really cool,” said Mejia.

Why not a 10 out of 10? “There’s left-handed mechanics like me living in a right-handed world. Even though this tool is designed to work for both, it would definitely work (more nicely) if you’re right-handed.”**

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**Editor’s Note: Regarding this reviewer’s comments about the forward/reverse lever, NAPA responded, "All NAPA Pro Power impact wrenches have an exclusive flip forward/reverse lever for left- or right-handed operation."