Kobalt 1/2-Inch Medium-Torque Impact Wrench: A Fresh Look at an Improved Powerhouse
The latest iteration of Kobalt’s 24V cordless tool lineup has arrived, and it brings with it enhanced performance, added features, a more compact design, and faster charging. Among these new tools is the Kobalt KIW 124B-03 1/2-Inch Medium Torque Impact Wrench. Let’s explore its features and upgrades to determine if it’s the perfect fit for your needs.
Performance of the Kobalt 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench
Kobalt’s brushless motors promise an impressive 500 foot-pounds of tightening force and 650 foot-pounds of nut-breaking torque. The no-load RPM ranges from 950 (low) to 1500 (medium) and 2200 (high), corresponding to impact rates of 1100 (low), 2000 (medium), and 2800 (high). Compared to its predecessor, this model boasts a 300 RPM increase and 400 additional shocks per minute.
Control at Your Fingertips
One notable improvement on this impact wrench is the addition of a 3-speed drive, replacing the previous single-speed motor found in the KIW 1524A-03 model. Kobalt has also simplified the speed and torque controls, featuring a small control panel with two buttons on the bottom of the handle. This makes it effortless to switch between standard and assisted modes.
Special Modes for Automotive Applications
The Kobalt 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench offers two special modes specifically designed for the automotive industry – “Auto Slow” and “Hand Tight.” When set to reverse, the Automatic Deceleration mode activates, gradually slowing down the rotation as soon as it detects a loose fastener. This prevents bolts or nuts from falling or being thrown out of the socket. On the other hand, when set to forward, the Hand Tight mode halts rotation upon impact, preventing overtightening and potential damage to the threads.
Torque Test: Putting the Kobalt Impact Wrench to the Test
To evaluate the torque capabilities of the Kobalt KIW 124B-03, we conducted tests using our Intertia Torque Impact Tool Torque Testers. Here are our results:
- Torque 1: 223.5 ft-lbs.
- Torque 2: 248 ft-lbs.
- Torque 3: 418.2 ft-lbs.
We noticed a significant jump in torque between settings 2 and 3. To ensure accuracy, we retested with fresh batteries, yielding the following results:
- Torque 1: 223 ft-lbs.
- Torque 2: 258.6 ft-lbs.
- Torque 3: 437.8 ft-lbs.
Please note that our testing method consists of three 5-second bursts with a 3-second pause between each burst. Longer loads can reach higher torque levels. The torque shown in our picture above exceeds 450 ft-lbs.
Why the Discrepancy in Torque Specification?
It’s important to address the variance between the torque specification and our meter measurements. Hydraulic gauges typically read around 65%-85% of the highest torque reading due to the nature of their mechanism. Kobalt’s torque numbers tend to be on the higher side, which is not surprising considering their impact wrenches historically weigh more than competitors in the same class.
Comparing the Kobalt 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench to the competition, Ridgid’s 18V brushless mid-torque wrench boasts the same torque specification on paper but measured a maximum of 252 foot-pounds during the same test. The Kobalt outperformed it in Mode 2 and was nearly 185 foot-pounds stronger in Mode 3, showcasing its impressive capabilities.
Ergonomics: Lightweight and Agile
Kobalt has successfully reduced the weight and size of the impact wrench. They have trimmed approximately 3 inches from the tool body, making it more suitable for mid-torque applications. This new model is also 1.5 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
The compact design contributes to better access in tight spaces and less strain when working overhead. The tool feels well-balanced and comfortable to hold. The heavily textured rubber overmolded grips and protective bumpers on the head provide added convenience and protection during use.
Additional Features for Added Versatility
The Kobalt 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench comes with some handy additional features, including an LED light for better visibility in dimly lit areas and a double-sided belt clip for easy portability and storage.
Affordable Pricing and Warranty
Currently available at Lowe’s, the Kobalt 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench kit with a 24V Max 4.0Ah battery is priced at $229. While the bare tool option is not yet available, this pricing aligns with what we would expect for a Prosumer model. Considering its exceptional performance, this tool offers excellent value for money.
With the kit, you receive a 5-year tool warranty, a 3-year battery warranty, and a soft carrying case for added convenience.
The Bottom Line: A Powerful and Versatile Impact Wrench
The Kobalt 24V 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench proves its worth in a wide range of medium-torque applications. Its compact size, feature-packed design, and impressive performance make it an excellent value for both serious DIYers and professionals. While it may be slightly larger and heavier than some competitors, the significant price savings more than compensate for these minor drawbacks.
For more information on the Inertia Torque L-1000, click here.
Kobalt Cordless 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench Specifications
- Model: Kobalt KIW 124B-03
- Power: Kobalt 24V Max battery
- Maximum Torque: 650 ft-lbs. (nut breakout), 500 ft-lbs. (tightened)
- No-load speed: 0-950/1500/2200 RPM
- Impact rate: 0-1,100/2,000/2,800 IPM
- Weight: 4.25 lbs (bare), 6 lbs (with 4.0Ah 24V MAX battery)
- Warranty: 5 years (tool), 3 years (battery)
- Price: $229 (kit)