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Tool Review: Mac Tools cordless 3/8-inch wrench

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Tool Review: Mac Tools cordless 3/8-inch wrench

NOTE: The review article for the Mac Tools BWP038 in the January/February 2014 issue, we inadvertently listed the wrong breakaway torque value. The BWP038 3/8-inch drive tool provides 150 ft.-lbs. of breakaway torque. The 1/2-inch-drive version offers 725 ft.-lbs. of breakaway torque. This revised article lists the correct specification.

The range of high-quality cordless electric power tools is quickly expanding. Torque and battery life is increasing, and the toughness and durability demanded by pro technicians is increasingly being met. To provide insight into a new offering, here we’ll review one of the latest Mac Tools cordless impact wrenches.

The Mac Tools BWP038-S2 kit includes the BWP038 a 3/8-inch-drive cordless impact wrench, a pair of MB120 12V Max rechargeable lithium ion batteries, an MCB101 battery charger and an MTB001 tool bag.

The wrench is extremely well-balanced and feels great in your hand. The handy forward/reverse button is easily operated with the fore-finger or thumb without the need to re-position the wrench in your hand. The body is made of glass-filled nylon for toughness and chemical resistance, and the grip’s coating is oh-so-comfy.

Since this impact wrench is just hands-down-pretty with its ergonomic design and eye-catching red/black/silver color scheme, I really had to force myself to abuse this little tough guy. With a whopping 150 ft.-lbs. of available grunt and its nifty compact size, it’s definitely a workhorse and ideal when you don’t wish to (or can’t) drag an air hose around. But it’s so darned curvy and cute, I felt that it would break my heart to intentionally scratch it or get it dirty. In the end, I sucked it up and put it through its paces, intentionally dropping it onto my shop’s concrete floor several times from heights of two to six feet. The thick-skinned little bugger just kept on tickin’ and never missed a beat. Naturally, if you whack any exposed battery pack around hard enough, you’re eventually going to break it, but during my on and off testing over a period of almost a week, she never argued with me and just kept on slammin’ (even though on two of the drops, the battery pack popped off, but after snapping it back on, she kept operating like new). For any cordless tool, that’s a good enough proof of durability to suit me. NOTE: After testing, I carefully wiped her clean and felt like I needed to apologize before slipping the wrench into its storage bag.

Impact wrench specifications:

Anvil size              3/8-inch

(square drive w/hog ring)

Breakaway torque          150 ft.-lbs.

Blow rate          1,900 bpm

Free speed       1,700 rpm

Weight  2.6 lbs.

Height   7.1 inches

Length  6.7 inches

Width    2.5 inches

Battery interchange

A very cool, considerate and user-friendly feature of this kit’s batteries (and for Mac’s entire line of new cordless electric tools) is a direct interchange for DeWalt batteries. Since Mac and DeWalt are business partners, design engineers decided to do what makes sense — to build all of Mac Tools’ cordless tools using the already-established DeWalt battery technology.

As a result, if a battery is damaged or worn out, there’s no need to special order a proprietary Mac battery. You can simply pop over to your nearest discount hardware store and grab a DeWalt battery.


The battery charger

The MCB101 battery charger is designed to charge Mac Tools and Dewalt 12V and 20V Max lithium ion battery packs. The charger also serves as a battery analyzer, designed to detect potential battery problems. Any problems are indicated by the red charging light flashing at a fast rate.

The charger features a hot/cold delay operation. If the charger detects a battery that is hot, it automatically starts a delay, suspending charging until the battery has cooled, at which time it automatically starts the charging process. The red light flashes long, then short while in the hot/cold delay mode. If the battery is faulty, the charger won’t attempt to charge and the red indicator will either refuse to light or it will display a warning for problem battery.

The tool bag (which was a surprise for me, as I didn’t know this would be included) is a very nice touch. The zippered heavy-duty nylon bag features twin carry handles, a reinforced flat bottom beefed up with a pair of footprint support rails, and a very roomy approximately 12 x 7.5 x 7.5-inches of storage space that will accommodate much more than the wrench, charger and batteries.

Unlike some tools that include cases or bags that will barely fit the tool alone, this bag is pleasingly huge (with enough room left over to easily stash your lunch). Side pockets are also featured at each end of the bag.

Manufacturer’s list price for the BWP038-S2 kit at the time of this writing is $299.99.   ●



MAC Tools

505 N. Cleveland Ave.

Westerville, OH 43082

800-MAC-TOOLS (622-8665)


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