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

May 3, 2013
Lightweight impact wrench boasts power and access to tight spaces.

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 work. 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 the tool is, while also being comfortable to use.

"It's more convenient because it's smaller than lot of the impact wrenches out there," he observed. "It is not a heavy tool, and it really removes lug nuts very 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, so I think that they wouldn't give that out if this tool couldn't be both light yet reliable."

Mejia's favorite thing about the tool? It's brute strength. "I grabbed the gun in reverse with these heavy duty gloves on by mistake and it 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 that is advertised. "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 is "not that loud, almost silent."

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 ten out of ten? "There are 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 even nicer if you're right-handed." 

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