December 22, 2011
Mastercraft 3.5-amp impact wrench. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Glen Konorowski
For a while now, I have been wondering about the effectiveness of the corded electric impact wrenches I have seen advertised. Since I already have an air compressor and air tools, I really didn’t see much use for them. But, the more I heard from other home “do-it-yourself” types about how handy they were, well, I thought it was time try one out.
With a little time and patience, I found one in the Canadian Tire flyer for about $35, compared to the regular price of well over $100. Digging into my can of Canadian Tire money, I had just about enough for the wrench. With this sale, Canadian Tire was throwing in five impact sockets as a bonus (not Mastercraft units so not guaranteed).
This 3.5-amp impact wrench is fairly light, at no more than about three pounds, and has an aluminum front section. The handle and body of the unit is high-impact plastic. A button/switch over the trigger with arrows indicates the direction of the wrench, whether it is undoing or tightening the bolt, simple enough. Overall I found the wrench to be of good build quality, as were the bonus sockets (all in popular imperial sizes for wheel nuts).
Reading over the instructions, I found that you are not supposed to run it at more than 20-second intervals at a time under load, which is not too uncommon for these units. I could live with that restriction, as I generally would be using it for wheel nuts and the odd other quick fix.
First, I decided to tighten some garage door bolts on my old garage that had loosened over the years. With a little hunting I found a small enough half-inch socket to do the job. I was just about to give up and use a 3/8-inch socket adapter when I found the right half-inch unit. Keep nut size in mind if you have smaller household bolts like those on swing sets or wooden jungle gyms that need tightening. The speed-sensitive trigger on the wrench allowed me to easily tighten the bolts without putting them on too tightly, which worked out well.