Trying to decide on a cordless tool ecosystem, focus on impact wrench

[For reference, I’m in Canada so prices/availability quoted are in CAD/Canadian online retailers]
I tried to link every tool/price I referenced in this post but I’m stuck with a max of 2 links so I had to edit them out.

Hi, I’m looking at “committing” to a cordless tool brand. The driving force here is that I’d like to get a cordless impact wrench for working on my car/truck in the driveway. I have an older truck on which I’ve done some jobs such as ball joints, tie rods etc, and probably will need to do more along the lines of shocks down the line. I’m getting a little sick of swinging off breaker bars trying to loosen things up. I also do seasonal tire changes on several vehicles which wouldn’t be enough to spend big in and of itself, but definitely might push me over the edge.

Currently my only power tool is a Bosch 18V Compact Tough Drill Driver (DDS181-02). I honestly don’t use it all that much (maybe 3-4 times per year) and it hasn’t let me down (even when I gave up on the aforementioned breaker bar and drilled 8 holes in a nut until I could snap it in two).

Bosch’s Cordless Impact Wrench IWMH182 however seems pretty lacking compared to the competition - 133 ft-lb vs something like the Milwaukee 2861at 450 ft-lb or even the 2767 at 1000 ft-lb! (Overkill maybe?)

I’m also struggling to find it as a tool only. The kit rings in at $435. Granted that comes with 2x4.0Ah batteries. The Milwaukees however, I can find as bare tools for $280/$320 respectively.

Compare the Bosch at $435 vs coupling one of the Milwaukees with a kit, such as the 2799-CT (at $300) for $580/$620:
Bosch: I would have 4 batteries, less cost
Milwaukee: Only 2 batteries, better drill (hammer, brushless), impact driver, much better impact wrench, and potentially a wider range of cordless tools to add later should I see fit, bigger upfront cost (although I could maybe recoup some of that selling the drill I have now.

Now these are just two brands, I know there are more out there but I’m already starting to lose track of firefox tabs just with this amount of research. Are there any other brands worth looking into? Again, I think for me the impact wrench is priority tool wise right now. The other concern is that I want these tools to last as close to forever as possible. Milwaukee seem to be standing by their M18 standard to keep it as forward/backwards compatible as possible which I admire. I imagine in my lifetime I won’t actually use the tools enough to destroy them, but battery availability in 20 years is a complete crapshoot. Also, I expect some Spring/Father’s Day sales in the not too distant future which might influence my decisions.

Milwaukee definitely makes the best impact wrenches currently, they get near universal acclaim and can be found in pro settings all over the place. Dewalt is catching up and also makes very good ones. Makita one doesn’t hear much about on the impact wrench side, that in itself likely says most.

NPS18 is coming up, and Milwaukee is touting something about M18, so if you can hold off on making a decision, it might be worth seeing what that is and how it might affect the future of M18. On the other hand, there are some deals going on now, at least in the US, that will expire by then. There’s a 20% off fuel kit when you buy an accessory, so your $399USD impact wrench plus $10 sawzall blade (cheapest accessory on Acme’s list) would turn into like $328. I also got an Acme catalog that had some of the 5/1 and future promotions, and one was buying two bare tools and getting either a 2x5.0 or 1x9.0 battery and bag, don’t recall if it was a starter kit with charger too or not, but I can look. If there were another bare tool you wanted, might be worth waiting for that. Plus the Father’s Day sales as you mention are coming up. I don’t know if Canada gets the same promotions, or if ordering from here for shipping there works, so I apologize in advance if this isn’t super helpful.

As an overall line, if you are mostly looking at heavy homeowner use and core tools, any of the big names will be fine, obviously with Bosch, makita, dewalt, and Milwaukee being the “top” tier. I have M18/M12 as my main tools and couldn’t be happier. The cross comparability from M18 into M12 from the chargers is a huge bonus, I love my M12 tools. I know folks with DeWalt who are just as happy, and I do like dewalt tools as well, though they were/are missing some of the plumbing and electrical tools that Milwaukee has that I use. If you plan on using any of the higher power flexvolt stuff dewalt may be a better choice though (pending whatever Milwaukee announces at NPS…), I was already bought into Milwaukee when flexvolt came along, but I have the flexvolt miter and compressor and am extremely pleased with both. Makita was my main line before Milwaukee supplanted them, and it was again mostly the lack of specialty tools here in the US that made me switch. I really like makita’s ergonomics and their tools are built very well, I still have most of them sitting around for loaning out, and nobody ever has any complaints.

Hey Tim thanks for the reply. It seems like Milwaukee is the way to go. I’ll definitely hold off on making a full decision until I see what they announce next week. DeWalt’s Flexvolt tools are intriguing but they have some compatibility issues I hope Milwaukee would try to avoid. That being said, there may not be an elegant solution and it’s possible DeWalt’s hands were tied there.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, I haven’t quite decided) another potential big spend has popped up on my radar. Tool upgrades might have to be postponed a while, at the very least until a good sale! I was browsing some deal forums this afternoon and I missed out on Home Depot clearing the 2767 in February at under $200 CAD - under $100 in some stores! Although I think the 2861 would be more than enough for my needs, not to mention smaller & lighter making it more manoeuvrable for car/truck work.

I’d point you to the dewalt as IIRC their new Impact wrench is fantastic and it’s what I am about to buy myself.

However regardless of brand they all do about the same. What I will say is to consider the size of the unit.

Dewalt and Milwaukee both make a “compact” impact wrench with lesser torque ratings - and this is what I would probably point you towards. And I say this saying I’m probably getting one also.

Their big bad torque wrenches are more made with construction industry in mind. While space might be at a premium - running in a 10 inch lag bolt usually doesn’t require you to care about positioning of the tool

I find in some cases - the cordless torque wrenches sometimes don’t fit into places you want to use them on the car. The smaller impact wrench fits into places inside the wheel wells - making them more like their air driven counterparts.

The DCF894HB is one of the device I’m looking into. Now if you look up MAC TOOL or Ingersoll Rand and some others there are some made specific for automotive work. Or that’s how they are branded - and they will talk about chemical resistance and the like for the handles etc. 330 ft lbs is plenty for most car work. If you need more - well you are working in a place where you’ll have space for a bigger tool. Engine crank pulleys come to mind. There you might well need 500 plus. And I’m not talking about diesel engines.

I use my impact driver (1/4 drive hex) in and around my cars also. I’ve gotten brake cleaner and engine oil on it etc. It’s a Dewalt - and as long as you wipe them off after - it’s perfectly fine. Or rather has been so far.

I wouldn’t recommend the Milwaukee small impact wrench for the tasks you mention, and the large one is just too big, however the mid torque model is comparable (in size) to a 1/2” drive air gun and has enough muscle to do most things on my car except remove an axle nut. It’s the perfect compromise between size and power for auto work.

After seeing the NPS 18 lineup I think I’m going to go Team Red. Now I’m on the lookout for a sale on the 2861 Mid Torque. Maybe a Drill-Driver/Impact combo as well.

I saw in the P2 promotions a bundle deal including the MTIW. There’s also promo pricing and a bundle deal on the current generation fuel drill/driver, plus some extra battery type deals on brushed kits as well. I’d suggest taking a look at like Acme tools or similar rather than like Home Depot to see the full spread of deals.

Maybe Acme, HD and others (ToolUp, ToolsPlus, International Tool, CPO, Burns Tools) will have some deals for Father’s Day

Not much compelling right now - but you can look:

I’m in Canada so I’m keeping an eye on HD, BlackRock Tools, KMS and BCFasteners. Any US site would mean outrageous shipping/duties, although there’s an option of mailing it to a US address and picking it up. If I stayed in the states for 48 hours I could declare it coming pack and not get charged duties.

Sorry about that - I guess I did not realize where you lived and the issues that posed with buying from an USA retailer.

I had bought some Makita tools from a Canadian retailer - and don’t recall that price/shipping etc. to be very onerous. These were the guys:

I have done general construction, general handyman work and DIY stuff daily for many years. I can’t speak too much about the impact wrenches, but I will say I got away from the yellow brand quite a few years ago and went almost entirely to the Milwaukee M18 line and to a lesser extent the M12 with no regrets. I did have a problem with a clutch on an original Fuel M18 hammer drill, I called Milwaukee, spoke to customer service, printed a Fed X label, returned the drill and it was back to me in exactly a week, repaired and better than new.At this point in time I can’t imagine going with any other line.