There are a variety of top rated torque wrenches, and you may find it challenging to pick one from the sea of brands. The usage of these wrenches vary, but primarily, they are used to modify the tightness of bolts and nuts. They have torque settings to adjust with measurements in feet or meters, but the function is the same in all wrenches.
You will need a torque wrench for car repair. For manual cars, the specific information on the torque setting to use is given.
The wrenches are universal, allowing them to be used on any car make or model. You might also need a torque wrench for bicycle tuning. By tweaking the appropriate gears, your bike will perform optimally.
For bicycles, you have to ensure you choose a wrench for bicycles as ordinary wrenches will not work.
Basically, wrenches are used on any device that requires screws and bolts tightening. While you can use a regular ratchet, the accuracy of tightness will be low for a ratchet.
Best Torque Wrenches of 2019
Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click-Torque Wrench – Best for Under $100
The Tekton 1/2-Inch Drive Click-Torque Wrench is fabricated for use on cars, trucks, garden and lawn equipment with a torque range of between 10 and 150 ft-lb. Its build lets you tighten screws and bolts with precise specifications to ensure that you secure parts without damage.
Calibrated for preciseness, the Tekton 1/2-Inch Drive Click-Torque Wrench allows you to meet the manufacturer’s torque specifications.
It sports a calibration accuracy of +/- 4 percent, preventing breakages, stress, and poor fastening. The wrench is simple and reliable. Inside its handle, the wrench clicks, alerting you when you have met the required torque.
Neiko 03713A 3/8-Inch – Best Adjustable Click Torque Wrench
If you have a device that requires precise wrench settings, the Neiko 03713A is designed to offer just that.
It features a +/- 4 percent calibration, allowing you to meet the torque specifications of the manufacturer. It accommodates torque measurements between 5 and 80 foot-pounds.
The Neiko wrench sports a 3/8-inch drive head, accommodating different sockets and offering versatility. Like other click torque wrenches, the Neiko 03713A has an audible click sound that alerts you once you have met the needed torque. On the wrench is a dual range pressure scale that is easy to read.
This tool is easy to use. Adjusting torque levels is as easy as aligning the patterned grip with the torque recommended for your car, truck, or equipment. On the grip is a 0-10 gradient that allows micrometer adjustments with a knob to lock in the tension.
Pittsburgh Pro 239 – Cheap Torque Wrench under $50
The Pittsburgh Pro 239 uses a heavy duty cam and a pawl mechanism. This is a reversible half inch drive wrench torque that uses a click stop mechanism.
When you attain the manufacturer’s recommended torque, the wrench will produce a loud click sound to alert you.
This wrench is made of high grade steel for consistent performance. It is recommended for heavy duty use.
Industrial Brand CDI 1/2-Inch Torque Wrench – Best Versatile Tool
The CDI 1/2-Inch is a long torque wrench designed for use on applications that need a heavy duty. It accommodates torque between 30 and 250 foot pounds. This makes it ideal for different car makes and models.
This wrench sports a dual scale that is easily visible even in low light conditions. The scale is laser marked.
This is enhanced by the calibrated dual direction, making it easy for you to get precise screw and bolts tightening.
CDI has a variety of other wrenches of different sizes and different torque ranges. The CDI 1/2-Inch Torque Wrench is recommended for those who need versatility.
Tekton 24325 3/8-Inch Drive Torque Wrench – Good Choice for Motorcycle
Like most Tekton wrenches, the 24325 3/8-Inch Drive Torque Wrench was engineered for use on cars and trucks, garden and lawn equipment and other devices that need screws and bolts tightening.
It accommodates between 120 and 960 inch-pounds. Its adjustability lets you meet precise torque requirements from manufacturers without damaging equipment and devices.
The Tekton 24325 wrench is offered with high contrast dual range scale that you can read even in low light. Its all-steel construction makes it dependable. It is recommended for diverse applications.
Go Outdoor 3/8-Inch Wrench – For Home Mechanic
The Go Outdoor 3/8-Inch Torque Wrench is a reversible wrench designed for use in different applications including garden and lawn equipment, motorcycles, cars and trucks. It uses a heavy duty cam-and-pawl mechanism.
The wrench was engineered for preciseness. It is a click torque wrench that produces a sound every time the required torque is achieved. It accommodates a torque range of between 5 and 80 foot-pounds.
The Go Outdoor wrench features a precise calibration of + or – 4 percent. This allows you to tighten and remove bolts and screws from different devices with high accuracy. The wrench is 14.25 inches long and weighs 2.65 pounds.
It is offered with carrying case, allowing you transport it with great ease. Its textured grip gives you control while its steel construction gives it lasting consistency.
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250 – Good Split Beam Torque Wrench
The Precision Instruments PREC3FR250 sports a stellar design that ups its performance. It was engineered for precision and ease of use.
It features an all-steel construction with a nickel/chrome finish. This makes it resistant to rust and corrosion to give you consistent performance. After use, the tool does not need to be turned down.
It is recommended for all applications.
EPAuto 1/4-Inch Drive Click-Stop Torque Wrench – Best for Bikes & Cycling
The EPAuto 1/4-Inch Torque Wrench is designed with a long lasting ratchet head, which keeps it functioning for many years to come. This tool features a Chrome Vanadium steel alloy and will fit perfect for your bike.
This protects it from elements while ensuring that it lasts for a long time. The tool comes in a sturdy plastic case that makes storage easy. Its knurled handle is comfortable and non-slip, giving you great control during use.
The wrench is recommended for all applications thanks to its versatility.
EPAuto 3/8-Inch-Drive Click Torque Wrench – Best for Cars and Trucks
The EPAuto 3/8-Inch features the same quality construction of all wrenches from EPAuto. First off, it has a long lasting ratchet head forged from hardened and treated Chrome Vanadium-Steel Alloy.
This allows the wrench to offer long-lasting and consistent performance. It is delivered in a durable plastic case, which allows you to store and travel with your tool with ease.
Its knurled handle feels comfortable on your hands and makes the tool non-slip.
The wrench is easy to set up thanks to its high contrast dual range scale. It is pre-calibrated with an accuracy of +/- 4 percent. This lets you get very accurate and precise torque settings. With a satin finish, this tool resists rust and corrosion and feels easy on the hands.
Pittsburgh Pro Set – Best Torque Wrench Set
The Pittsburgh Pro Set include three of the most used torque wrenches, making it a versatile set for all your applications.
The three wrenches included in the set feature the same quality of Pittsburgh Pro wrenches with all-steel construction for long-lasting use.
They use a heavy duty cam and pawl mechanism, making them ideal for applications that need precise torque. Each of the wrenches offers a reversible functionality for versatility.
You are offered a 1/2-inch drive wrench that accommodates between 20 and 150 foot-pounds of torque. This is a click type torque wrench with a calibration accuracy of +/- 4 percent. This wrench is 18 inches long.
The second wrench features a 3/8-inch drive and accommodates between 5 and 80 foot pounds. It is a reversible wrench 14.25 inches long. The third wrench has a 1/4-inch drive. It accommodates between 20 and 200 foot-pounds. It is 100 inches long.
Best Torque Wrench for the Money – Buyer’s Guide
Torque is the force of tightening. It refers to how much a given screw or bolt should be tightened. Critical components on cars and trucks have specified torque from the manufacturer. This keeps them safe from stress and breakages. When more than the needed torque is used, the component might get damaged, and when a little torque is applied, the bolt might back off when the application is in use.
Either way, incorrect torque can result in catastrophic component failure. Brakes and suspension components are especially critical and care should be taken when tightening fasteners. This is where a torque wrench comes in.
A torque wrench lets you preset the required torque for preciseness. It will be offered with a scale from which you can set the specific torque needed within a range.
Typically, a single wrench is enough as you can swap sockets to meet the needs of different applications. There are different types of torque wrenches on the market, but automotive wrenches are the most common.
This guide looks at the basics of these wrenches to help you make a good buying decision.
There are different industries that need wrenches. In industries, there are more than ten wrench sizes for diverse applications. However, for users at home in small automotive shops, there are four commonly used wrench sizes.
Each of the wrenches accommodates a different torque range indicated in foot-pounds for SAE fasteners. In metric fasteners, it is indicated in newton-meters. In smaller wrenches, inch-pounds may be used.
Basic sizes include:
- 1/4-Inch Drive – When you have small bolts and nuts, this is the ideal drive. It accommodates torque between 50 and 250 inch-pounds, an equivalent of 4 – 21 foot-pounds.
- 3/8-Inch Drive – This is a versatile size, accommodating most bolts and nuts on cars and trucks. It is useful on automotive work, requiring between 15 and 75 foot-pounds. It is an ideal wrench when you need to buy a single size. While it will not cover all your needs, it will allow you to tighten a high number of nuts and bolts.
- 1/2-Inch Drive – This torque wrench comes in handy for relatively large bolts. You can use it on engine mounts, suspension, and transmission mounts. It allows you to torque accurately irrespective of the car or truck you have. Most are in the range of 30 to 250 foot-pounds.
- 3/4-Inch Drive – This is the largest size. It comes in handy for center lug wheels and other special applications. In everyday applications, this wrench is not needed. Granted, you may not need it at home as you need a wrench that meets your needs.
In all the four wrench sizes, there is an overlap in the torque ranges. You might, therefore, think of buying a single size for all your torqueing needs.
However, note that while the torque demands increase, so does the size of the fasteners. This means that, while a 3/8-inch drive can accommodate the same torque as a 1/2-inch wrench, one wrench may not maneuver small spaces with ease.Most cars and trucks have low torque requirements and as such, you will find a smaller wrench easier to work with than having a very big wrench. Again, torque wrenches offer better precision in the middle of the range. It is, therefore, advisable for you to choose the range carefully.
Types of Torque Wrenches
There are different types of wrenches to choose from including:
Click-Type torque wrenches are the most common and the easiest to use for automotive work. Most garages and mechanic shops use this type of wrench. The wrench allows you to preset the needed torque.
When you hit the preset torque, the wrench produces a clicking sound, alerting you to stop applying more force. However, the wrench does not lock to prevent you from applying extra force. You should not apply extra force after the click to avoid damaging automotive parts.
Electric torque wrenches are digital alternatives to click-type wrenches. They run on a battery, producing a beeping sound once the preset torque is attained and showing the torque on a digital display. However, the mode of operation is the same between these and click-type wrenches.
In advanced electronic wrenches, features such as memory and release buttons are fitted. These added features come at a cost. They are relatively pricey. They allow you more precision, especially when dealing with delicate components and equipment.
If you do not mind using a few bucks to get the added features, they are a suitable option.
Beam Torque Wrenches have been used for a long time. They are simple and straightforward especially for those who do not know how to use torque wrenches before. However, they are relatively less accurate and less reliable.
With these wrenches, a beam will flex as you apply force, showing you the torque being applied in real time. Ergo, your eyes have to be fixed on the visual indicator gauge.
If you need a cost-effective wrench, this is your best bet. They are recommended for those who do not need a wrench often. Some of them are heavy and less comfortable to use.
Shopping Guide: Factors to Consider
You need to buy a torque wrench that meets your needs. These tools are simple with minimal features to consider. Once your needs are met, consider value for money. Some factors to consider are:
Warranty – Some units are offered with a lifetime warranty. This shows the confidence of the manufacturer on the wrench. At all costs, avoid wrenches offered with a warranty of less than a year.
Preciseness – The torque accuracy will vary between different wrenches. A good torque wrench should offer a calibration accuracy better than 5 percent. This will be indicated in its calibration certification. The wrench should also be easy to calibrate as per the maintenance requirements set by the manufacturer. This allows them to maintain the factory accuracy.
Torque wrenches are pre-calibrated. However, there are instances where the calibration may be affected especially when you drop the wrench. Ergo frequent calibrations are necessary. Storage can also affect the preciseness of a torque wrench. Therefore, store the wrench as the manufacturer recommends.
Construction – Most wrenches are forged from stainless steel and finished with chrome or satin. Others, the cheaper options, have lots of plastic parts and are less durable. Consider the weight and the length of the wrench for convenient torqueing. Each aspect of the wrench should make it easy to use by enhancing its ergonomics.
Ratcheting – This refers to the mode of operation. Some wrenches are bi-directional and others are uni-directional, allowing you to torque clockwise or anti-clockwise. Most click-type wrenches are bi-directional while beam torque wrenches are uni-directional.
Scale – Some tools have a dual scale and some single scales. This only affects the units used. The most important aspect of the scale is its visibility. A digital display is easy to read, but that comes at a relatively high cost.
Grip – The tool you choose should offer you a steady grip without being harsh on your hands. This is especially true for mechanics who are always working with oily hands. Some tools are offered with rubber grips and others with plastic grips. However, most come with knurled grips.
Extra features such as quick release buttons should also be considered when shopping for a wrench. These features, however, come at a higher price.
Best torque wrenches are a must-have for mechanic shops and garages. You might also need one for use at home, especially if you love DIY projects. It is critical to ensure that different components in your car are torqued right for optimal functioning. From the different brands and types of torque wrenches, you can choose any, but make sure it meets your needs.
These wrenches are fabricated rugged for long-lasting and consistent performance. In most cases, you will need a tool that offers you versatility and accuracy. The price and beauty of a wrench should come after your needs have been met. Note that, even after you have bought a wrench, you will still need different sockets to match different bolt sizes.