RIDGID has upped their game (and torque) with the new GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact. This updated version has added power, a brushless motor, and other features that make it stand in the front of the pack when it comes to sub $200 cordless ½ in. impacts.
Ridgid is one of Home Depot’s house brands, which produces a multitude of tools from pipe wrenches to hand-held power tools all the way up to full-size tools such as planers and band saws. This Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review will focus on one of their new additions to their 18-volt cordless tool line.
Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review Overview
Most cordless tool lines include a ¼ inch impact driver, which is great for driving screws, nuts, and bolts of various sizes. These small and handy impact drivers are great for most jobs, but not all. This is where ½ inch impacts come in, easily having torque ratings from 200 ft/lbs. and up but still allow you the freedom of no air hose (and also no noisy air compressor).
These larger impact wrenches are more commonly used in the automotive industry, but also are needed on large projects like driving large lag bolts in a timber frame, or large concrete anchors, for example. That being said, there are still plenty of uses for this tool by the do-it-yourselfer, especially when needing to change tires or do a brake job. I have a couple of friends who keep an impact like this with some sockets in the toolbox of their truck, to speed up those inconvenient flat tire changes on the side of the road.
Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review Features
This new generation impact wrench has a small body, being not much larger than a 1/4 in. drive impact wrench.
The padded Hex Grip provides a comfortable and secure hold on the tool. It also insulates your hand from the vibrations well.
The 1/2 in. anvil has a hog ring for socket or extension retention.
There are three bright LEDs on the face of the body which illuminate when the trigger or grip switch is depressed.
There are 3 speeds and an Auto Mode. Auto Mode shuts the tool off once it starts impacting to prevent damage to fasteners.
The back of the body is well protected from drops and falls.
The battery contacts are well protected against damage when the battery is removed – like when it is bouncing around in a tool bag or work vehicle all day. Although this feature is not specific to this tool, but rather most of the Ridgid 18-volt line.
Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review Performance
This Ridgid GEN5X cordless ½ in. impact really performed well, having 450 ft/lbs. of torque is plenty of power for breaking most lug nuts loose on medium-duty trucks, down to passenger cars. That is also plenty of torque to drive the largest of bolts or fasteners that you can find at most any hardware store. That being said though, the trend in the power tool world, especially the cordless category, is to come up with more power. When compared to other brands offered at big box home improvement stores, the Ridgid GEN5X cordless ½ in. impact wrench came in second to last for max torque.
The LED lights, while plenty bright, can be easily blocked by a large socket and cast a shadow on your work area. Perhaps a single light on the battery mount that points upward (like on some drills) would remedy this issue?
The impact felt comfortable and well balanced in my hand with a socket attached. The padded grip insulated my hand well from the vibrations of breaking a tight lug nut loose. This will translate to less fatigue when using the tool for longer periods of time.
The speed selector switch is a nice luxury to have, and the Auto Mode is an option that I have not seen before. While in Auto Mode, the tool shuts off when it starts to impact. This is supposed to keep you from damaging fasteners from over tightening. My only concern here is that if you’re installing lug nuts, you want them tightened most of the way before you finally torque them. Another option may be to use torque extensions while the tool is in one of the other modes.
Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review Value
Ridgid is known for their excellent mix of quality and affordability with their cordless power tools. Their lifetime service agreement alone is a huge draw, and they are coming out with more and more tools in their 18-volt line to compete with the other manufacturers. This currently retails at Home Depot for $149 and is only individually available as a tool only. It comes included in a few of their multi-tool kits as well, but not itself with a battery and charger.
This price point makes it extremely affordable, especially when compared to other brands. Being available as a tool only makes it an easy choice to add to your current lineup of Ridgid 18-volt power tools. I do wish it was available as a kit with a battery and charger though.
Ridgid GEN5X Cordless ½ in. Impact Review Final Thought
Although not being nearly as powerful as some of the competition when comparing torque, this impact wrench packs a powerful punch when it comes to being economical. Because this is a tool only, it’s hard to say that you should buy a whole tool kit for this one tool; but if you’re already in the Ridgid 18-volt line or are considering which tool line you should invest in, this Ridgid GEN5X cordless ½ in. impact wrench may just fit your needs.