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If you are any bit familiar with working on vehicles, then you know how valuable having an impact wrench can be. The hammering action produced in short bursts serves to loosen some of the most stubborn bolts. Unlike a breaker bar, where you steadily increase the force until the fastener gives, an impact wrench steadily hammers away. This in turn, lessens the risk of snapping a fastener that a breaker bar might.

               One of the main drawbacks with Impact wrenches is the size of the wrench itself. When working on vehicles of any sort, clearance is always an issue. When space comes at such a premium, it can be hit or miss on whether an impact wrench will not only fit into the space you need to perform the work but also at the correct orientation.
               Measuring at only 3 and 1/2 inched from the levers on the back of the wrench to the anvil, the Astro Pneumatic 1828 Onyx Nano 3/8 Impact Wrench promises to fit in some spaces other impact wrenches wouldn’t even think about.
               While this impact wrench is available in 3/8 and 1/2 inch sizes, both are rated at 450ft/lbs. Because they offer the same torque rating, I decided to go with the 3/8″ version as I already have a 1/2″ impact and 3/8″ sockets tend to offer a little more clearance than 1/2″ sockets.

               The wrench came packaged well and the threads for the quick-connect fitting were protected with a plastic insert. Don’t be fooled by the knurled edges on the thread protector, it simply pops out using a screwdriver.
               The exhaust port is discreetly located at the bottom of the handle, right next to the quick-connect fitting to direct the exiting air away from you.
                A friction ring at the end of the anvil, the impact wrench firmly holds the sockets in place.
               A lever on the back of the wrench allows you to select three speed/torque settings for both forward and reverse.
               While I wouldn’t call this tool quiet, it is not obnoxious either. The wrench gives off a normal pneumatic impact wrench growl at what I would call a pleasant volume.

                 After putting this impact wrench through a couple of passes of initial use, I am extremely pleased with it’s performance. Not only does it fit into places that my 1/2″ impact wouldn’t even dream of going, it hasn’t so much as broken a sweat at any of the tasks I have used it for so far.  While this torque wrench may struggle with an old rusty crankshaft bolt, it quickly zips off lug nuts and other commonly removed fasteners with ease.

Impact Wrench 3 Position Switch
Astro Pnuematic 1828 Onyx

               Whether you are a professional, shadetree, or simply an occasional mechanic, there is no doubt that owning an impact wrench will serve you well at some point. If you are only in the market for one impact wrench, I would definitely recommend this one. Well built and price competitive, this wrench should be able to fit well into your budget and your engine compartment!

Rating - 5/5