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Does it take $151 to make a good impact wrench, or are you just paying for that name brand?
Spoiler Alert! This is the one you really want
Today, we’re going to find out. We test a real Makita against a knockoff Makita impact wrench, and we will see once and for all if you’re paying for the brand or if the brand is worth the name.
We’ll measure each impact wrench’s maximum tightening and loosening torque in the first test. In the second test, we’ll see how quickly each impact wrench can remove lug nuts.
Then we’ll test the ability of both brands to handle a 10-foot fall and assess the tense moves of both brands. Finally, we’ll disassemble both tools and determine why one tool performs far better than the other.
At just under $30, I bought the knockoff brushless impact wrench from eBay. Let’s refer to the knockoff as Cousin Eddy to keep the impact wrenches from getting confused. Cousin Eddy was shipped directly from China and took about a month to arrive.
Its first impression is a better tool than I expected. For just 30 dollars, it’s supposed to deliver 520 Newton meters, about 384-foot pounds of torque. The Makita is only rated for 210 foot-pounds of maximum torque and 295 pounds of nut-busting torque at 151 dollars which is five times as expensive.
The Makita looks very much the same as Cousin Eddy, both Cousin Eddy and the Makita are made in China the Makita weighs 1133 grams. Cousin Eddy weighs just 1 gram less at 1132 grams.
Wow, that’s incredibly close. While the impact wrench housings look the same, the switch plate control pads look different.
Makita includes three forward and three reverse speeds. Cousin Eddy includes two forward and one reverse speed. The reverse rotation auto-stop feature is very pleasant on both impact wrenches.
More about that in a minute. The Makita has a rubber roller and pin that makes removing and installing the battery easier the Makita also has three rubber cushions to support the battery.
The Makita and Cousin Eddy have an led indicator for the battery level. The tool selection but the Makita’s indicator is quite a bit larger and easier to see the led light on the Makita is brighter and has a more prominent broadcast regarding the anvils. Cousin Eddy uses a friction ring.
The Makita uses a pen detent. There is quite a bit of trigger lag.
With Cousin Eddy, while the Makita seems to be nearly instantaneous, the trigger lag with Cousin Eddy is pretty noticeable, which you can see in slow motion, with the Makita completing around four and a half rotations before Cousin Eddy begins spinning even though the Makita seems to spin quite a bit faster.
It still came to a stop a little bit faster than Cousin Eddy while loosening it faster; the auto stop feature is very nice as long as the auto stop is quick enough to avoid altogether removing the nut from the time the trigger is squeezed until the time the anvil stops turning the Makita completed a total of eight rotations Cousin Eddy completed ten and a half rotation, two and a half extra rotations might not matter too often.
Still, in some instances, the extra two and a half rotations will completely decouple the nut from the bolt. Let’s check out the rpm of each brand’s next Cousin, Eddy, which is supposed to produce 3000 rpm when not under a load.
So let’s measure Cousin Eddy’s forward and reverse rpm in the soft impact mode first. The forward rpm is 1800 and very close to 2300 in reverse; the hard impact setting is also 2300 forward and 2300 reverse, which is 700 rpm short of the 3 000 listed on the specification sheet; the Makita has three forward and three reverse speeds in the low-impact forward mode.
The Makita was close to 1500 pm, and the reverse mode was just over 1500, so the Makita is around 100 rpm slower than its rating. The Makita is close to 2000 rpm forward and slightly faster than its rating at 2140 rpm in reverse.
The Makita was close to 2750 rpm in the forward high-impact mode setting. In reverse, it achieved just over 3000 rpm, faster than its rating.
Both Cousin Eddy and Makita have variable speed triggers. Cousin Eddy wouldn’t spend any slower than 470 rpm, the Makita did quite a bit better at only 45 rpm, so Makita offers quite a bit more control at lower speeds. I hooked up a power analyzer in line from the battery to the impact rent to measure the no-load energy usage of both impacts.
The battery is fully charged at 20.2 volts testing Cousin Eddy’s first 1.73 amps and around 34 watts for both forward and reverse with Cousin Eddy. With the Makita 2.61 amps and 52 watts in the forward mode, wow, that’s quite a bit more than Cousin Eddy. In reverse, the Makita peaked at 3.4 amps and around 65 watts.
Cousin Eddy is supposed to make more torque than the Makita, but it could look better. Up next, we’re going to find out. I built the following test rig to measure impact tools’ loosening and tightening torque.
It’s a simple setup with two 2010 hydraulic rams sandwiched between two thick pieces of steel. The tester will measure the clamp load.
I purchased suitable left-hand threaded bolts for testing tightening and loosening torque. I’ll use premium synthetic grease throughout the testing to ensure consistent, repeatable results; the test will last 15 seconds before testing Cousin Eddy.
I went ahead and used a torque wrench to measure the foot-pounds of torque required to achieve 100 psi in increments from 100 psi up to 2000, testing Cousin Eddy first in the low-impact tightening mode on the test rig; it takes 78 foot-pounds of torque to make 900 psi of clamping force let’s see how Cousin Eddy does on the high impact mode, according to specification Cousin Eddy is supposed to deliver 384 foot-pounds.
Wow, I expected a lot more 1050 psi is only 91 foot-pounds, far short of the 384 supposed to produce in low-impact mode; the Makita made 650 psi which is 57 foot-pounds.
The Makita made 1 150 psi and 100 foot-pounds in medium impact mode, so the Makita and medium impact setting outperformed Cousin Eddy in the high impact mode.
The Makita delivered around 178 foot-pound pounds at 2050 psi, slightly short of its 210-foot-pound rating. I installed the left-hand threaded bolt; we’re all set to begin testing the loosening torque Cousin Eddy did a little bit better this time at 113 foot-pounds at 1300 psi in the reverse mode.
The Makita did much better than Cousin Eddy at 159 foot-pounds at 1825 psi. The next test is a speed test between Cousins Eddy and Makita; all the bolts have been torqued to 100-foot pounds, the batteries are fully charged, and both impact wrenches are in the high impact mode; let’s begin with Cousin Eddy’s spent the first 49 seconds with Cousin Eddy. Makita next, 35 seconds with Makita.
Let’s compare a side-by-side contest using slow motion. Both nuts were torqued to 100 foot pounds. The more brutal impact of the Makita and the faster trigger response made a huge difference in breaking free of the nut and then rapidly removing it.
In the next test, we’ll compare the auto-stop feature of both impact wrenches.
All the nuts were torqued to 100-foot pounds beginning with Cousin Eddy for a $30 impact tool. The auto-stop feature is very nice and works well for about 34 seconds. Testing Makita next, with the Makita, the immediate trigger response is very noticeable after using Cousin Eddy.
Okay, about 25 seconds for Makita, let’s check out another side-by-side of both impacts wrenches three out of three times the Makita finishes the loosening and auto stop sequence before the nut begins to rotate with Cousin Eddy slowing it down a bit, the immediate trigger the response was a massive factor in the performance of both brands during the speed test.
The purpose of this next test is to demonstrate the ability of both impact wrenches to remove a nut from a bolt with gall threads or one that has been cross threaded. We’ll watch the green rope to count the total rotations in the 30-second test.
The speed, as well as the force of each impact wrench, will make a massive difference in how quickly it can rotate this engine with the engine brake applied in a spark plug in position creating resistance from compression testing Cousin Eddy’s first and Cousin Eddy is doing a good job overcoming the engine brake and engine compression, two and three-quarter rotations with Cousin Eddy.
The Makita is doing a great job overcoming the engine braking compression five and three-quarter rotations with Makita, so Makita delivered nearly twice as much work up. Next, let’s have an arm wrestling showdown between Cousins, Eddy,and Makita. Both batteries are fully charged.
To make this a fair test, I started Cousin Eddy first because Cousin Eddy has a little trigger lag. It looks like the Makita is stopping, and then overpowering Cousin Eddy is slowing it down.
Cousin Eddy picks up some speed and suddenly stops when the Makita kicks into action after several matches.
The temperature of the Makita was only about four degrees cooler than Cousin Eddy’s. I can be slightly clumsy and need tools that can withstand falling to the ground using two poles. One is a guide, and the other is attached to the tool.
Both tools should impact the ground-oriented very close to the same position. I am dropping from 10 feet off the ground onto the concrete.
Cousin Eddy made quite a bounce other than scratching up the casing, it hasn’t damaged this little piece of rubber that came off, but that’ll go back into position. Wow, the Makita also made quite an impact but less bounce than Cousin Eddy, just a few scratches to the Makita.
After the impact up next, we will drop this impact wrench on the front of this anvil and see if it damages the wrench between the weight of the battery and the weight of the pipe.
Unfortunately, the impact wrench casing is broken. I’ll admit Cousin Eddy may only work as fast as Makita, but it has some great dance moves for a 30-dollar tool, and the impact wrench looks fine. It is still working, but as you can see, this impact wrench has a broken handle.
Let’s check out the Makita. Wow, just like Cousin Eddy, the Makita took a hard blow to the anvil, and look at the handle flexing near the battery turns out the Makita has some dance moves. Which brand has a better dance move time for a dance?
There’s no trigger delay with the Cousin. Eddy on the dance floor Makita has some good moves, too, but He needs to loosen up a little I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible here. Still, I believe Cousin Eddy wins for the best, awe-inspiring dance moves.
Let’s disassemble the impact wrenches next to compare internal components and construction. You can see where the case handle broke. Cousin Eddy It has a brushless motor. Even though both tools look alike, the brushless motors’ build materials and electronics are very different.
Wow, the plastic case on the Makita is much more robust than Cousin Eddy, so it’s no surprise that Cousin Eddy snapped at the base. Cousin Eddy’s hammer weighs 253 grams; The Makita hammer weighs 297 grams. So the Makita hammer is quite a bit heavier.
The anvil on Cousin Eddy is showing a lot more wear than the Makita, you can see quite a bit of rounding on this edge compared to the original edge, and if you look at the Makita, there’s just a minimal amount of wear, the Makita makes more rpm and uses a much heavier hammer explaining why it performs much better than Cousin Eddy on everything except for dance moves, so are the 30 impact wrench or the cheap knockoff as good as the Makita not pretty obvious that.
Makita dominated the showdown, but a better question is the knockoff worth thirty dollars? It’s an excellent value for thirty dollars, and finding a brushless motor or tool for that price is challenging.
All my test ideas, including this one, come from readers, so if you have a test idea, I hope you’ll take the time to leave a comment. Thanks so much for reading this test. Please take care and see you next time.