Tools Reviews

R87028B 18V SubCompact 1/2″ Rigid Impact Wrench

Ridgid continues to expand its line of SubCompact tools, adding a 1/2-inch impact wrench to the mix. As part of this line, the Ridgid 18V SubCompact 1/2″ Impact Wrench (R87028B) brings a key tool for auto mechanics. Our in-house pros were ecstatic when they heard about this new addition.


  • Smaller head sizes get into tighter spaces
  • 3 speeds plus automatic tightening mode
  • Lighter and more compact than Octane’s 1/2″ impact wrench
  • Good value for money compared to other sub-compact impact wrenches
  • Multiple combo kits available

If you can overcome the bottom-heavy design of the Ridgid R87028B 1/2-inch SubCompact Impact Wrench, you have a versatile, lightweight tool that produces up to 225 ft-lbs of breakaway torque.

18V 1/2″ SubCompact Rigid Impact Wrench

Many brands, including Ridgid, don’t blast their 12v tools to cover every possible need or function. That leaves a lot of gaps when you want lighter tools but still need to handle different types of jobs. Often you end up with two platforms – 12v and 18v. With the new Ridgid SubCompact range of tools you can lighten the load and still be able to use your existing 18v battery collection.

We’ve seen this now with the Makita Sub-Compact tools and also the DeWalt Atomic tools. Users seem to “get it” and the concept of lighter, lower power tools that emphasize space and weight savings seems to be catching on.

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Big floor, big floor…

You can’t really look at the Ridgid SubCompact 1/2″ Impact Wrench without immediately thinking that it’s modeled after J-Lo. Just look:

Ridgid R87028B 18V Sub-Compact 1-2

But the head size – the money end of the tool – seems made for getting into tight spaces. While you can still get smaller tools like the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Stubby, Ridgid does a good job — and it’s only $139. The Milwaukee M12 FUEL Stubby costs around $179. The more powerful M18 FUEL Compact impact wrench is $199 for the bare tool.

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Ok, what about the torque? Ridgid specifies this model as well as the 3/8 inch wrench with 225 ft-lbs breakaway torque. At the attachment end, the maximum is 200 ft-lbs.

This should give you enough torque to change tires. A medium-torque model gets the job done faster—you’re just paying a little more for that productivity boost.

This tool seems perfect for switching between different auto shop jobs that require a smaller profile tool head. We think this is where the Ridgid R87028B shines. Having already tested the Ridgid 3/8″ SubCompact model, we can speak of the effectiveness of this tool as a general purpose impact wrench. The two tools are identical except for the friction ring size.

SubCompact Impact Wrench

If you don’t handle cars or trucks much, the Ridgid 1/2″ SubCompact Impact Wrench is also great for main screws, lags, or anything else that requires high torque and speed. While impact wrenches do many of these jobs well, an impact wrench avoids snapping 3/8-inch socket adapters.

Read also article about  Rigid 18V Digital Inflator R87044

2800 rpm offers plenty of speed to move bolts and screws with a decent clip. We also love the four driving modes available on this tool. In addition to the three different speed modes, the Ridgid R87028B impact wrench has an automatic tightening mode. This causes the tool to run at high speed and stop after the first hit. That way you can back off the nut or bolt and then grab a torque wrench to get the exact amount of tightening you need. All four modes sit on the back of the tool and carry the battery.

Ridgid R87028B Impact Wrench Ergonomics

At just 4.31 inches long and weighing just 3.5 pounds as a bare tool, the Ridgid R87028B is a very ergonomic tool. You can get a lighter tool, but the $139 price point is always a compelling reason why this may interest many users.

Ridgid uses the same driver handle that you get with their other tools. We like that the larger diameter favors medium to large hands. We continue to love the feel of the Hex Grip overmold.

Additional Functions

  • All-metal gears
  • Belt hook
  • LED light
  • Compatible with all Ridgid 18V Lithium Ion batteries


  • Model: Ridgid R87028B
  • Brushless motor
  • 3 speeds plus automatic tightening mode
  • Speed ​​(no load): 2,800 rpm
  • Torque (Max): 225 ft-lbs.
  • Length: 4.31 inches.
  • 45% lighter and 40% more compact than the R86011 Octane 1/2″ brushless impact wrench
  • 1/2 inch friction ring
  • LED light
  • Lifetime service contract (with registration within 90 days of purchase)
  • Price: $139 (bare tool)


The Ridgid 18V 1/2″ SubCompact Impact Wrench costs $139 as a bare tool. We powered it with 3.0Ah octane batteries, but you can also take one of the new 2Ah battery packs for an even more compact footprint.

Read also article about  Milwaukee M18 Fuel 3/4" High Torque Impact Wrench
View Prices on Amazon

The Final Result

We got over the bottom-heavy looks of the Ridgid 18V 1/2″ SubCompact Impact Wrench pretty quickly. The benefit you get from such a tool makes it very versatile and easy to recommend. Add the low cost of entry and it only gets better. SubCompact keeps you on the prevailing Ridgid 18V battery platform, offering compact ergonomics with just enough power. You can spend more on other brands, but the case for Ridgid seems pretty compelling.

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