It truly doesn't matter if you're a professional mechanic or just a devoted car enthusiast; the rules are the same; it's crucial to own the best tools possible. One of these tools is a torque wrench, and if you don't own one, it will undoubtedly leave you short-handed at some point. But choosing and buying the best torque wrench can sound a bit intimidating if you're new to this and don't know what to look for.
To help you on this quest, we've created this list of what we think are the best torque wrenches available on the market right now. In case you still don’t know what you should take into consideration, we've compiled a rather comprehensive buyer's guide that you can find later in the article. So, without further ado, let's dive into the list and find you the best torque wrench for your needs.
Our Top Pick
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Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F
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The Best for Smaller Projects
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Tekton is one of the most popular manufacturers when it comes to tools and wrenches, and it has a high user rating of their products. Their 24335 model is a testament to this, and it also offers a lot of useful features for a fairly reasonable price. The thoughtful design, affordability, and good quality have made this wrench the most attractive model for people working outside of industrial setups.
We’re not at all surprised that the 24335 is among the most popular and bestselling torque wrenches on the market right now. It earned first place on our list because it offers fantastic value for the money spent. This model features a ½" drive size, which puts it into the category of the most common sizes of torque wrenches.
This drive size provides you with a torque setting that ranges from 10ft-lb to 150ft-lb, which is quite enough for the majority of users. Other than that, the 24335 is a clicker-type wrench, and the click sound that it provides is loud enough for even the noisier garages. It's built out of steel so you can rely on this tool for a very long time, and you'll only have to worry about an occasional recalibration.
The 24335 comes already calibrated with an accuracy of around ±4%, making it one of the most accurate tools available. Also, another fantastic thing about this model is that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
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Capri Tools 31000
Unlike the previous product on our list, the 31000 from Capri Tools is a torque wrench with a 3/8” drive size. The main differences between these two sizes are the torque range and the overall compatibility with various tasks. First of all, this model falls into the category of compact wrenches, and it's great for tight places and smaller fasteners.
Other than being compact and very easy to use, the 31000 also comes with several great features. Some of those features are precision-made parts, durable construction, and intelligent design. Other than that, this model also comes already calibrated with a NIST calibration certificate and a ±4% margin for error, making it very accurate.
The only so-called downside of this model is its narrow torque range that spans from 10ft-lb to 80ft-lb. With a small range such as this one, the 31000 isn't suitable for more significant projects, but it's certainly ideal for small-sized bolts.
This doesn't have to be a bad thing; all engineers generally put heavy-duty fasteners in places where they're easily accessible. Small-sized bolts are usually in areas that are relatively hard to reach. Because the bigger wrenches can't access these areas, the 31000 will have a significant role in your garage.
We recommend that you buy this tool to be your second torque wrench; you should be more familiar with these tools before getting this one.
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F
The PREC3FR250F is a split-beam click-type torque wrench brought to us by Precision Instruments, a well-known manufacturer when it comes to precision tools. Featuring a ½" drive, this model is produced out of solid steel, and it's designed to be extremely durable. Some of the best torque wrenches are made in the USA, and this model is one of them, and it's a true testament to the manufacturer's name.
This model comes already calibrated, and it also includes a calibration certificate so you can use it right out of the box. The engineers at Precision Instruments use sophisticated machinery to test out their wrenches before they ship them out. This particular model was tested and proven to have accuracy with a ±4% margin for error, making it one of the most accurate wrenches available.
When it comes to the torque range, the setting on this model spans from 40ft-lb to 250ft-lb, with 5ft-lb increments on the dial. Other than easy readability, the torque is effortless to set thanks to the easily accessible dial; you just need to unlock the little hinge, turn the dial until the desired setting, and lock it back up. Another great thing about this model is that because it's a split-beam type, you don't have to reset the setting before every use or storing.
Once the PREC3FR250F reaches the desired torque setting, it will produce a click that's measured at 80 decibels. This is loud enough to hear in almost any garage.
If you're looking for a torque wrench that has an appealing design, sturdy construction, and fantastic precision, then this product might be perfect for you. This highly affordable model from EPAuto is a click-type wrench with a ½" drive and a fantastic torque range. The ST-010-1's measuring range goes from 1ft-lb to 150ft-lb, which is more than enough for almost any task you plan on doing.
Unlike the majority of other models, this one has two measuring scales for torque setting engraved on its handle. One scale shows you the torque range in ft-lb while the other one shows you the same thing but in Nm. This way, you don't have to waste precious time on converting measurements like with other models that feature only one scale.
As we said in the beginning, this model has a pretty sturdy construction, and we meant it. Its body is constructed out of corrosion-resistant steel, and the ratchet head is made of chrome-vanadium steel alloy. We already know the ST-010-1 will last for a long time, but the manufacturer claims you'll be able to work with it for a few decades easily.
It's quite easy to use and very accurate, so you can set the desired torque amount and rest assured this model will do its job. It comes pre-calibrated and pre-assembled, so you'll be able to work with it as soon as you unpack it. Like with any other wrench, regular recalibration is vital if you want your tool to stay accurate and serve you for a long time.
We’ve already talked about Tekton on our list, so you already know their precision tools are among the best and very popular for that reason. Their 24350 model is another testament to this, and we can guarantee that you won't be disappointed if you buy it. If you plan on getting this model, there are quite a few features you should look forward to, and all that at a fairly reasonable price.
The 24350 comes with a ¾" drive size and an extensive torque range that spans from 50ft-lb to 300ft-lb. This means that this model isn't suitable for small tasks, but it will tackle more significant projects with no hassle whatsoever. Much like the previous product, this one also has two measuring scales, which will save you a lot of time on converting; other than that, the scales feature a high-contrast design, which makes them easily readable even in garages with dimmer lights.
This model comes pre-calibrated with a fantastic accuracy level of ±4%, which, as we said before, is pretty high-grade. When you're working with this tool, you can tighten your bolts without worrying about over or under-tightening, or even damaging your fasteners. Other than that, once the desired torque setting has been reached, the 24350 produces a click sound that can be heard and also felt.
Even though this model features a reversible ratchet that lets you work in both directions, it can only measure force in the clockwise direction.
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The HTW1A is a click-type torque wrench manufactured by Tacklife, a trendy brand that makes a wide variety of different products. Tacklife mostly makes power tools, but it also manufactures precision tools that are quite popular among both professional users and car enthusiasts alike. This model is one of their best products, and it's equipped with quite a few features that every mechanic can benefit from.
This model comes with a 3/8" drive size, and it has a pretty good torque range that spans from 10ft-lb to 80ft-lb. It might not sound like much, but it's more than enough for almost any work you plan on doing around your engine. The HTW1A is designed to be very durable; it's constructed out of steel, which results in a highly durable yet quite lightweight wrench.
One of the best things about this model is that it comes with several different accessories. Some of these accessories include an extension for the 3/8” drive, as well as two adapters, one for the ¼” and one for the ½” drive. This makes the HTW1A a very versatile wrench that you can use for a wide range of tasks around your garage.
Other great things about the HTW1A are that it features a ratchet head and a highly visible dual scales to make it even easier to use. The only downside is that it measures force only in the clockwise direction, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
Even though click-type torque wrenches are the most used by almost any mechanic, nothing can beat an electric model when it comes to precision. One of these highly accurate electronic tools is the 85079 from Gearwrench, and it’s regarded as one of their best models. Other than that, this model also comes with a wide variety of features that can only make your work and life more comfortable.
The 85079 has a ½" drive and a fantastic torque setting that ranges from 25ft-lb to 250ft-lb; also, you’re able to set the desired value in increments as small as 0.1ft-lb. Because this is an electric model, the tension value can be displayed in five different measurements, which include ft-lb, Nm, in-lb, Kg-cm, and Kg-m. To further increase the overall versatility, the 85079 has three measuring modes that include angle, peak torque, and peak angle.
We've said that this model comes with quite a few features and let us introduce you to some of the most notable ones. Other than showing torque in five measurements, it can also save the last form of measure you used so you don't have to change it every time. Also, the 85079 can memorize ten settings that you use the most so you can save time by not adjusting the smallest increments before every use.
Once the desired force value has been reached, the 85079 produces a sound to notify you, but it also vibrates, and an LED lights up. Also, another great thing is the flex head, which allows you to reach some of the tighter spaces.
The 2503MFRPH from CDI might feature a simplistic design, but don't let that fool you, this model is very user-friendly and highly accurate. Other than that, it has a lot of more useful features that any mechanic can benefit from. Even though it is a bit expensive for a click-type precision tool, we still think that it’s worth the extra money.
The 2503MFRPH sports a pretty standard ½" drive and a fantastic torque range that spans from 30ft-lb to 250ft-lb. It features a dual scale that's been laser-engraved onto the handle, which makes it highly visible and very easy to operate. Another thing that makes this model very versatile is the capability of measuring force in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
Unlike the majority of other models, this one has a spring-loaded lock that you need to pull down to change the desired value. This lock ring is very user-friendly and easy to use while being sturdy enough to hold the desired value during your work. The handle is equipped with ball bearings on the inside, so when you're setting up your tool, the twisting will be as smooth as possible.
The 2503MFRPH has an ergonomically designed grip that won't cause any strain on your hand while you're using the tool. It's designed in such a way to make it usable even with oily hands as if your hands were completely clean.
eTORK is one of the best manufacturers of precision tools in the world. They have been making all kinds of tools for over 40 years, and all their products are well-known among car enthusiasts and professional mechanics alike. Much like the previous product, this model also features a simplistic design, but we can guarantee that it offers so much more than just looks.
The C3250 is a ½" drive click-type torque wrench, and it features a torque range that goes from 50ft-lb to 250ft-lb. Setting up this model is quite easy, thanks to the dual scales that are laser engraved onto the tool, making it very easy to read. Unlike other products where you have to unscrew the bottom part to set the desired value, this model has a knob that has to be pulled down.
This model comes already calibrated with an accuracy of ±3%, which is an awe-inspiring level of accuracy. Other than that, the C3250 can operate and measure force in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, making it highly versatile and very useful. It might be a bit expensive when compared to other click-type models, but it's not much, and the overall accuracy and versatility are undoubtedly worth it.
It's designed in such a way to offer sturdiness while still being quite lightweight and easy to wield around. This is possible because this model is constructed out of hardened alloy steel, which is very strong but not too heavy.
Neiko is a manufacturer of torque wrenches that is well-known for its highly accurate tools and overall ease of use. Their 03727A model is a true testament to this, and it's one of their most popular products available right now. As expected, because this is a beam-type wrench, the price tag is low, making this product the most affordable one on our list.
The 03727A is equipped with a large scale that allows you to easily see at what torque value your bolt is at any given time. The scale features a torque range that goes from 0in-lb to 80in-lb and from 0Nm to 9Nm. This might not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that this model is most suitable for smaller projects such as working on your bike.
This model comes pre-calibrated so you can use it as soon as you unpack it. It doesn’t matter if you’re left-handed or right-handed because the tool is designed to be ambidextrous. Also, the force is equally distributed through the tool’s body thanks to the ball handle, which further increases the overall accuracy.
As we said, this model is quite inexpensive when compared to its competition, but it’s still one of the best beam-type wrenches on the market. Also, the 03727A is very lightweight, coming in at only 0.55lb, and it's only 12.2" long. So, if you're looking for a small wrench to work on your bike, this could be the perfect tool for you.
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If you're a mechanic or just a devoted car enthusiast, you probably know how important it is to own a good torque wrench. But as we said earlier, finding and buying a perfect wrench for your needs might be a bit difficult if you don't know what to look for. That's why we created this somewhat comprehensive buyer's guide to help you learn the basics of these wrenches.
In this guide, you'll come across what are torque wrenches, what different types exist, which are the best for you, and other essential features you should consider. We'll show you that buying a perfect torque wrench isn't as hard as it sounds, you just need to figure out what you need it for. Also, later in the guide, we've included a step-by-step instruction on how to properly use these tools to make them last as long as possible.
First things first, what are torque wrenches and how do they work – Torque wrenches are precision tools that prevent over-tightening and under-tightening of your bolts. Engineers put a lot of effort into designing bolts, and one of the most critical things is how tight they should be fastened. If they're under-tightened, the vibration of the vehicle could cause them to get loose and fall off; on the other hand, if they're over-tightened, the thread can get damaged, and the bolt can become unusable.
They work by measuring the applied tension/force/load on a threaded bolt and are used to tighten bolts with a specific amount of twisting force. To explain this as simple as possible and without getting too technical, each type of these tools has its way of calculating the applied force. Some use springs that are put under tension, others use dials and scales, and some are more advanced and use electronic displays, but more on that later.
Types of torque wrenches
There are many different types of wrenches, and we will discuss more about them below. As we said before, each type works in their own way, meaning you need to know what you're going to use them for. You can't go much wrong when buying a torque wrench, but of course, some wrenches are more suitable for some tasks than others.
Click type – This type is the most preferred choice when it comes to automotive work, and it's suitable for both small garages and professionals alike. These wrenches use a calibrated clutch to calculate the specific amount of applied tension. Once the preset torque value has been reached, the clutch slips to prevent over-tightening.Since these wrenches don't feature a dial or anything you need to keep your eye on constantly, they're perfect if you're working under your vehicle. Also, because the clutch slips at the desired torque, you don't have to apply more force since the tool won't let you over-tighten the bolt anyway. Without sounding too biased, this is our favorite type, and we recommend it for almost any automotive work.
Electronic torque wrenches – These are better known as digital wrenches, and they work in the same way as the click-type wrenches, but they emit a beeping noise instead of clicking. Other than the beeping, once the electronic wrenches reach the correct tension, they also provide a reading on their digital display. As is the case with the majority of digital tools, some models might feature on-board memory and readings such as max torque applied; but like anything else, more features mean a higher price.Digital wrenches don't have a significant advantage over click-type models, except the fact that some can upload their readings to a computer for further assessment. You can even find digital adapters that you can use with standard torque wrenches and get the same features but for less money.
Beam type – The third most common type is the oldest form of torque wrenches; these are the simplest wrenches, but they're also probably the least reliable and least accurate. These models have a visual indicator gauge against which a beam is flexed as you're tightening your bolts. As the beam flexes, it shows you how much torque you're applying at that moment.These models are usually the most affordable ones on the market, and they're best for people that don't plan on using them that often. Even though they're quite cheap, these models are known to be on the heavier side more often than not. Also, because you have to keep an eye on the gauge constantly during work, they can only be accurate as much as your hand-eye coordination.
Split-beam type – This type is a different version of beam-type wrenches, and it features two beams of varying lengths that are located on the inside of the wrench. Closer to the handle, there is a dial and a knob that allows you to set the desired torque value. As you tighten your bolts, the shorter beam remains stationary while the longer one deflects; also, a trigger is placed on the shorter beam, and once you reach the set value, it gives out a distinctive click sound.
Dial type – These torque wrenches work the same as the beam-type models. The main difference between them is that instead of using an indicator bar to show the applied force, these models use a dial. They're more expensive when compared to models that have an indicator bar, but they're also a bit more accurate.
Mechatronic type – These models are the most similar to click- type torque wrenches. They operate on the same principle, except the reading is wirelessly transferred to a display for later assessment. This type provides you with the best of both worlds, an electronic and mechanical device combined.
Hydraulic type – As the name suggests, these tools use a hydraulic pump for applying specific torque to the bolt. These models are divided into two common types: square-drive and low-profile.
Low-profile wrenches are mostly used when there’s not much space to maneuver because they use cassettes and don’t require sockets.Square-drive hydraulic wrenches, however, do require sockets, making them unusable in tighter spaces. Also, we need to mention that hydraulic wrenches are most suitable for more significant and more industrial-type projects.
These are only some of the available types of torque wrenches that you can choose from. It seems like new types and models are being designed and manufactured every day. The ones we discussed above are the most common and the most suitable ones for almost any automotive work you plan on doing.
Other features you should consider
Because there are a lot of models available on the market, there are numerous factors you should take into consideration when buying your tools. To keep this as short as possible, we'll discuss some of the most critical factors that you need to look out for.
Accuracy – The main reason for buying these tools is the precision they offer during operation. So, it's essential to buy a model that features a decent level of accuracy. If a model provides a low level of accuracy, it's better to buy a regular wrench since this one won't benefit you a lot.
Materials – The majority of cheaper models are usually built with more plastic elements than metal ones. This ensures a lower price tag, but as we all know, plastic doesn't last as long as metal. So, if you want your tool to last and serve you longer, make sure to choose a model that has as much metal in the build as possible.
Ratcheting – Wrenches with a ratchet ability are far more useful than the ones that don’t include this feature. The most useful ones are those that feature a bi-directional ratchet because they’re suitable for both left-hand and right-hand threads. Also, they’re great for tight spaces because you don’t have to take the socket off of the bolt to readjust it.
Storage – This is an essential factor because these are calibrated tools, and any harder bang or hit on them could knock them out of calibration. The majority of them come with a case made of hard plastic, which is quite good as it keeps them protected and safe. If you want your tool to last longer and a hard case isn't included with them, we recommend that you buy one separately.
Scale readability – Every model has a different method of showing the torque setting and the applied force. So, it's crucial that this part of the tool can be used and read with ease. Of course, models with digital displays are the easiest to read and use, but they're also among the most expensive ones.
How to properly use and maintain your wrench
Because these are calibrated precision tools, it's imperative to use, store, and maintain them properly so they can last as long as possible.
The first thing you need to do, of course, is to set the torque value required for the bolts you're working on. Once you do that, it's time to start fastening. It's best to fasten the bolts with a regular wrench to a certain degree before using a torque wrench to tighten them to the desired torque; however, torque wrenches should never be used for loosening already fastened bolts.
When tightening your bolts, you should always apply steady and even pressure until the desired setting is reached. Once this occurs, you can stop applying pressure, but you're free to use a few more gentle pushes to make sure the reached torque is correct.
After using the tool, it's highly recommended you return the wrench in its neutral position, to relieve tension before storing. Leaving the tool on a high torque setting can cause wear and tear on the wrench components.
As for the maintenance, it's recommended to calibrate your tool as per the manufacturer's instructions. The usual recommendation is to calibrate it roughly after every 3000 usages if the tool is used regularly. If the tool isn't being used that often and mostly stays stored in its case, you should calibrate it roughly after every six months.
Now that you know what we think are the best torque wrenches on the market, you're ready to choose one for yourself. We hope that our list has helped you in your search for the perfect tool or that you at least learned what to look for. To be honest, you can't mess up too much when buying these tools; if you buy a wrong one, it can still be useful in the future.