The air-powered impact wrench has been a staple for professional mechanics for decades now and that’s for three main reasons. First of all, the hammer-like impact action of these puppies tends to free up the most stubborn, rusty bolts with ease and with a reduced likelihood of rounding the bastards off.

Second, they can generate massive amounts of torque (far beyond what it takes to remove a wheel nut) making them ideal for the more hardcore stuff like subframe mounts and suspension arms. And, perhaps most importantly, most mechanics have already have a bloomin’ great compressor to run them off!

Now obviously, we know that having an industrial-sized air-compressor stashed away isn’t always practical in the home market. If you’ve got a grand or so for one of those, chances are you’ve already got more tools than most F1 teams anyway. For the rest of us though, that leaves a limited amount of options. Nowadays there are cordless impact wrenches of course, and very good some of ‘em are too, particularly the expensive ones. And therein lies the problem, they’re quite the investment for the occasional or weekend modder.

So, what if you’re looking for a high-torque item for home or track day pit garage use, but you’re on a strict budget? Well, this item could very well be the answer…

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
I guess surprising is the word of the day here. I mean, it’s not as if you expect a massive amount on the power tool front for this sort of money, is it? What you’re getting here though is a full-on 400 watt, corded power wrench that’s somewhere in the middle of a pro-style air impact wrench and an expensive (for a similar spec) cordless item.

What’s immediately obvious is that they’ve designed the Silverstorm to be absolutely solid, and it goes without saying that’s pretty crucial if you’re going to spend any time with it kicking around the garage. It’s reasonably heavy too, at around 2.5kg it’s definitely a substantial lump of kit. The cast metal front end gives you plenty of confidence in its build quality too, in this case weighty is very much a good thing.

With an all-important variable speed trigger, soft touch vibration-busting handle and plenty of power cord (something than many tools of this type fall short on), there’s loads to shout about here. Most of all though, it’s the sheer grunt it puts out that impresses the most.

SILVERLINE SILVERSTORM ELECTRIC WRENCH REVIEW

OUR VERDICT
Don’t let the price fool you here, this is one of the most hardcore pieces of kit we’ve tested in years. Performance wise 350NM of torque is what’s known in engineering circles as ‘a lot’, and plenty for tackling just about any of the bigger automotive tasks you’ll come across. It’s interesting they’ve included 4 impact sockets in all the common wheel nut sizes too, because that likely means they see it for use with wheels as the main selling point (well duh – Jules).

I guess, if it doesn’t take wheels off with absolutely no effort at all, there’s something seriously wrong with whoever tightened them up in the first place. After all, wheels should be torqued at no more than about 130Nm. Just exercise a little caution when banging them back on with this though, make sure you use that variable-speed trigger, and always utilize a torque wrench for the final nip-up.

Obviously, there’s no denying that it’s not as portable as a cordless wrench but that’s somehow missing the point. It’s worth remembering you’ll have a great deal of trouble finding one of those rated near 350NM for five times the price of this one. Most of these will cost you 3-400-quid, and even more if you’re looking at a big brand item.

To be fair, for what you save, you can probably have the longest extension lead on the planet too. Then again, if you’re clever about it, and you grab yourself a cheap power inverter use it anywhere. A fantastic bit of kit for anyone on a budget. In a nutshell: Seriously powerful and serious value, everything you could ever need.

Price £46

For more info see Silverline Tools