If you've ever been wandering the isles in Harbor Freight and checking out the impact wrenches on offer, then you might have noticed a brand called Earthquake XT. This brand isn't as thoroughly established as companies like Ryobi, DeWalt, or Snap-On, but many home mechanics have taken notice of its exceptionally low price tags. Earthquake XT tools are cheap, and they've started to grow a reputation for having a price-to-performance value that is hard to match, especially since Harbor Freight offers some of its infamous deals and discounts.
Very little information is available online about the manufacturer itself, but it seems to have a close relationship with Habor Freight, similar to Ryobi's relationship with Home Depot. Harbor Freight and Amazon are the only retailers selling Earthquake XT tools. It's also clear that the brick-and-mortar stores are putting Earthquake's tools impact wrenches front and center in their lineup.
Those looking to buy their first impact wrench or replace an old one might be interested in checking out what Earthquake XT offers, especially if they're also trying to save a little cash. There are currently only 19 products available from Earthquake at Harbor Freight, but it's still worth knowing which of them are best so you can feel confident in whichever one you decide to pick up. Here are five of the best Earthquake XT impact wrenches.
5. ½-inch Composite Ultra Torque Air Impact Wrench, Twin Hammer
First up is the Earthquake XT ½-inch Composite Ultra Torque Air Impact Wrench, Twin Hammer, which currently MSRPs at $159.99. This pneumatic wrench is one of the newer models available at Harbor Freight and boasts the ability to apply an impressive 1,500-pound-foot of breakaway torque pressure. It's also quite small. According to Harbor Freight, it has a "compact 6-1/2 inch long design, making it shorter and 25% more powerful," also stating that "the lightweight, durable, and balanced construction reduces wrist strain and fatigue."
It has a few other features on top of its compact size, and the base performs well. It has a floating air motor and a twin hammer impact mechanism. This is supposed to deliver more torque while keeping the tool easy to hold by reducing vibration. It also has a power adjustment wheel, a forward and reverse lever, and a two-stage trigger.
11 out of 15 reviews for this wrench have been five stars, giving it an average score of 4.5, with most citing its power as their favorite feature. One buyer wrote: "Awesome tool, was easy to use and set up with hose connections. Had great torque power. And small enough for the work area I was needing it."
4. ½-inch Stubby Air Impact Wrench, Jumbo Hammer
Next, we have the Earthquake XT ½-inch Stubby Air Impact Wrench, Jumbo Hammer. It originally had an MSRP of $99.99, but Harbor Freight recently lowered the price to $89.99. This wrench only has 700-pound-foot of breakaway torque, which might give you some pause, but this loss of power is a necessary trade-off for the shorter drive shaft. Just as the name Stubby implies, this impact wrench is only 4 inches long and weighs just 3.2 pounds, making it ideal for working in tight spaces where other wrenches might not be able to fit.
It also has Earthquake XT's Jumbo impact hammer mechanism, a one-handed forward and reverse lever, a three-speed dial, and a through-handle silencing exhaust that is designed to direct debris away from you while you use it.
This impact wrench has received 969 reviews on Harbor Freight's website to date, 726 of which have been five stars and 146 of which have been four stars, for an average of 4.6. "Its small size and solid power made easy work of suspension bolts under my Mustang," wrote contributor Vince S. "In order to get this kind of power from an electric tool, it would have to be considerably larger and unlikely to fit in tight spots." There are a few other reviews criticizing the lack of immediate torque, but most seemed impressed with the power it does manage to exert while maintaining such a small size.
3. ½-inch Composite Air Impact Wrench, Twin Hammer
Want to be able to choose the color of your impact wrench? The Earthquake XT ½" Composite Air Impact Wrench Twin Hammer comes in six color options: red, blue, gray, green, orange, or yellow. It isn't just pretty to look at, though. This impact wrench delivers a respectable 1,200-pound-foot of breakaway torque and has the same twin hammer impact mechanism as the Ultra-Torque while selling for $30 less at $129.99.
This wrench also has a one-handed push button to switch between forward and reverse and has a three-speed dial on the rear. It also has a rugged overmold to help keep the tool clean and reduce vibration and the same silencing exhaust the Stubby uses to direct debris away.
It has an average score of 4.6, with 484 of its 642 reviews giving it a perfect five stars. Many users complimented the amount of power the wrench offered for the price, though some stated that it was a little slow compared to other impact wrenches. "I worked in a business that restored vintage automobiles from all over the world," said user Bub on Harbor Freight's review page. "While they had Milwaukee, Ingersol-Rand, and other premium brand tools, this is what they used on jobs that needed extra power. It worked so well that I bought one for myself. I'm totally pleased."
2. 20V Cordless ¾-inch Xtreme Torque Impact Wrench
The second highest-rated Earthquake XT impact wrench sold by Harbor Freight is the only battery-powered. The 20V Cordless ¾-inch Xtreme Torque Impact Wrench MSRPs at $289.99. That's definitely on the pricy side compared to the pneumatic options, but it comes as part of a kit that also includes a 4.0 Ah lithium-ion battery, a charger, and a carrying case. Just because it's battery-powered doesn't mean that it's weak, either. Harbor Freight's product overview states that this wrench can implement up to 1,400-pound-foot of breakaway torque, has a max speed of 1,700 RPM, and impacts up to 2,200 BPM. So, you get all the power dealing with an air hose tethering you to a compressor.
On top of that, it has an all-metal drivetrain and hammer mechanism, a variable speed trigger with an electronic brake, and a built-in LED light to help you see the bolts tucked away in those dark nooks and crannies. This unit also comes with a rubber over-mold to help reduce discomfort from vibration.
Like the last two wrenches on this list, the Cordless also has an average review score of 4.6. It's received 409 reviews, 326 of which have been five stars. Users seem very impressed with the tool's power, but a few stated that a bigger battery might have made it even better.
1. ½-inch Super Compact Air Impact Wrench, Twin Hammer
The highest-rated tool made by Earthquake XT is another new addition: the ½-inch Super Compact Air Impact Wrench, Twin Hammer. This impact wrench was recently price dropped from $119.99 to $99.99. It has a design similar to the Composite Twin Hammer wrench but is 20% smaller and still delivers 1,000-pound-foot breakaway torque. It has a one-handed forward and reverse lever with two forward speeds, through handle exhaust, and internal baffling designed to help reduce noise.
This is the only tool Earthquake XT makes that broke a 4.7 on Harbor Freight's rating scale, with 56 of its 66 reviews being five stars. "This little impact gun is a beast!" said user Scot. "Does much better than my electric bulky one. Great for getting into tight spaces and does not disappoint. Highly recommend!" Other users stated that while it certainly isn't the most powerful impact wrench on the market, it is surprisingly powerful for the price. Many have also commended its lightweight and compact size for getting into tight spaces and using it for long projects without fatigue. It's not hard to see why it's rated so highly.