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A quality torque wrench will help you loosen or fasten critical automotive components without damaging them or leaving them loose enough to shear off.
But, how do you choose the best option wish so many available on today’s market?
Buying the wrong one can lead to frustration on your part as it can’t perform how you need it to, and you’ll be out money to replace it.
Our short guide and reviews gives you several quality suggestions for the best torque wrenches for any price point.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
Best Torque Wrenches with Reviews
Here's a list of some of the best torque wrenches we found on the market:
1. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2" Drive Split Beam
- Nickel and chrome finish adds durability while resisting wear.
- Do not have to "turn down" the tool after use for an added convenience.
- Longer design allows you to reach hard-to-get-at places.
- Flex ratchet drive type allows you to get a firm grip on the bolts and nuts at an angle.
- 1/2 inch drive size is suitable for bigger bolts and nuts.
- Ergonomic handle
- Flex head
- Ranges from 45 to 250 ft lbs of torque in 5 pound increments
- No calibration instructions included
- Torque indicator is flimsy
- Head flex is limited
The Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F is a great pick if you’re looking for a professional-grade torque wrench that is slightly longer to increase your reach. It comes packed with great features like a 1/2 inch drive size with a flex ratchet drive type that allows you to grip onto larger nuts and bolts at angles.
The torque setting will lock onto adjustable wrenches to allow for repetitive motions without straining your arms. The torque range starts at 45 foot pounds and goes up to 250 foot pounds of torque. However, has no audible click to tell you when you reach the correct torque. Instead, you have to look at the meter as you use it.
Any professional garage or certified mechanic will want to seriously consider adding the Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F to their lineup. The adjustment knob eliminates any tension, so setting the torque on your adjustable wrenches is quick and easy. You won’t have to set the wrench to zero after each use like you would with a micrometer type torque wrench, and this adds a convenience factor.
2. CDI 1002MFRMH Snap-on Torque Wrench - Best Value
- 1/2-Inch Drive
- Available in 10 styles ranging from 5 to 75 ft lbs up to 300 to 2,000 foot pounds.
- This wrench can be calibrated in both directions.
- Positive lock ensures you get a firm grip when you work.
- Laser marked single scale is easy to read and see.
- Comes in six drive sizes that allow you to safely loosen nuts and bolts of all sizes.
- Full metal design is durable
- Laser marked single scale won't fade
- Spring loaded pull down lock ring
- Tricky to line up torque settings
- Difficult to read laser etching in certain light
- Click is very quiet
The CDI 1002MFRMH drive click is a nice torque wrench if you want something that is a little more affordable without sacrificing quality or durability. It comes in six drive sizes ranging from 1/4 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch that allows you to tailor your purchase to the size bolts you want to loosen.
You’ll put in a desired torque setting for the bolt you want to loosen and you’ll use it like a ratchet wrench until it reaches the desired torque setting and you hear an audible click to tell you to stop tightening. However, the drive click on this wrench is very quiet, and it can be difficult to hear in loud settings.
If you’re someone who works on vehicles at your home, consider buying the CDI 1002MFRMH. Not only does it come from a high-quality brand, but it has many positive reviews about accuracy and offers excellent value for your money. If you have a few jobs lined up for the weekend, the dual-direction calibration ensures you’ll be able to get through your projects.
3. ACDelco ARM601-4 - Best Digital Torque Wrench
- 1/2 inch digital torque wrench suitable for bigger nuts and bolts.
- Buzzes and flashes when it reaches the desired torque range.
- Meets or exceeds ASME B107.14-2004, ISO 6789 standards.
- Has a range of 4 to 99 ft lbs of torque.
- Comes with a high accuracy range of ± 2% clockwise ± 3% counter clockwise of the indicated value.
- LCD displays kg-cm, Nm, in-lb, ft-lb measurements
- Multiple setting functions
- Rubber ergonomic handle
- Can pulse late
- Readout may be higher than the actual torque
- 99 foot pounds is light for the wrench's drive size
The ACDelco ARM601-4 is a solid pick if you want a straightforward digital torque wrench that falls into the mid-range value. The 1/2 inch drive size ensures it can work on bigger nuts and bolts, and there are multiple setting functions that make it easy to customize it to your needs.
This wrench has a torque range of 4 to 99 foot pounds, but this is on the lighter end for the 1/2 inch drive size. It can restrict some projects that require more torque, but it works well for those smaller nuts with great accuracy.
Any DIYer or amateur mechanic should consider adding the ACDelco ARM601-4 to you toolkit. Not only does it come with an LCD screen, but it flashes and sounds a buzzer alarm when you reach your chosen torque level to remove any guesswork. The high accuracy range exceeds or meets ASME B107.14-2004, ISO 6789 standards to give you peace of mind. Additionally, the full year warranty gives you peace of mind.
4. Craftsman 9-31425 Torque Wrench
- Has a 1/2 inch drive size suitable for bigger bolts and nuts.
- Twist ring has simple lock and unlock settings for a firm grip.
- Measurement scales are stamped into the housing for durability.
- Ergonomic handle has a rubber coating for added comfort and grip.
- Torque range of 20 to 150 foot pounds with a drive clicker.
- High accuracy reading
- Lightweight and durable
- Comes calibrated from the factory
- Accurate to +/- 4%
- Handle can move with pressure
- Torque setting lock can slip
- Does not torque in reverse
The Craftsman 9-31425 comes in as a great pick if you need a cost-effective torque wrench to complete your projects that will fit into any budget. It is a drive click torque wrench that allows you to put in your torque range and tighten it until you hear the audible click. This click will tell you when you reach your pre-set torque range, and you can stop tightening.
There is a plastic handle for your comfort, but the handle does tend to move too much when you use the wrench. When it moves, you have to restart the torque from whatever setting you had it on before. It also doesn’t come with a protective case, but you can make the wrench last with proper care.
If you’re someone who likes puttering around their garage or a DIYer, the Craftsman 9-31425 is one affordable torque wrench you want to add to your collection. It offers great value in terms of the price, and it has scales stamped into the housing that displays metric or inch torque settings.
5. TEKTON 24340 Click Torque Wrench
- 1/2 inch drive size suits working with larger bolts or nuts.
- Reversible ratchet head drives dual directions.
- All steel construction is very durable and resistant to corrosion.
- Has a torque range of 25 to 250 foot pounds.
- Drive click torque wrench removes the possibility of over and under tightening bolts.
- Firmly clicks when you adjust the torque settings
- Drives in both directions
- Easy to read scale
- Low range use isn't consistent
- Locking mechanism isn't strong enough
- Screws in ratchet head are flimsy
The TEKTON 24340 is a mid-range torque wrench if you want something to help you out on those smaller projects without breaking your budget. It has a 1/2 inch drive size that allows you to tackle large projects on your vehicles like suspension work and tightening your lug bolts.
The dual-range scale is very easy to read in all lighting conditions to ensure you get the best torque settings possible. You pre-set the torque range on the rotating handle, and it’ll click when you reach it. However, the measurement increments will wear off and become difficult to see over time.
The TEKTON 24340 is a good pick if you like to take on projects around your home, and you should consider it if you’re searching for a new tool to add to your collection. There is a reversible ratchet head that drives in both directions while measuring torque in the counterclockwise direction. If you have a few projects coming up, the all-steel construction with no plastic parts will ensure this wrench lasts through them all.
6. Capri Tools 31000 Torque Wrench
- Ranges from 10 to 80 foot pounds in .5 increments.
- Chrome Vanadium makes up the body for a durable design.
- Has a 3/8 inch drive size that is suitable for taking on automobile-related projects.
- Pulse-stop technology lets you feel and hear when you reach the desired torque setting.
- Has an accuracy threshold of +/- 4%.
- Thick rubber handle is comfortable
- Available in three sizes
- Certified in accordance with ASME and DIN standards
- Handle has play
- Torque drive click is very quiet
- Has a learning curve
The Capri Tools 31000 is a solid choice for anyone who needs a simple and straightforward torque wrench that’s slightly more affordable. You can choose from a 1/2, 1/4, or 3/8 inch drive size to work with small, medium, and large bolts. The pulse stop technology will produce an audible click when you reach your desired torque setting.
The high contrast scale on this torque wrench is highly visible in all light settings. However, there is wiggle room in the handle. If it moves while you work, you have to reset it to your desired torque setting and start again. If it slips multiple times, it can be frustrating.
Any part-time mechanic or DIYer should really consider adding the Capri Tools 31000 to their collection. Not only does this tool come backed by a well-known brand, but it has many positive reviews attached to it. If you have a smaller job or two lined up, the all Chrome Vanadium build with no plastic parts will ensure it’s up to the task.
Do you really need a torque wrench?
If you plan to do any in-depth work on your power train components or engine, you need a torque wrench. For example, accidentally over-tightening cylinder-head bolts can easily cause catastrophic coolant loss and expensive damage. If you tighten your exhaust manifold bolts too much, it can crack your manifold.
Torque Wrench Drive Size
Torque wrenches come in different sizes, and one of the easiest ways you can determine which size you need is to match the socket set to your torque wrench. The more torque you need in your projects, the more inch-pounds torque you’ll need your torque wrench to have. As the torque rating goes up, so will the size of your wrench. This measurement refers to the wrench’s drive size, and most common drive sizes include:
- 1/4 inch – Smaller nuts or bolts that require between 5o and 250 feet pounds of torque.
- 3/8 inch – Automobile-based projects that require between 15 and 75 feet pounds of torque.
- 1/2 inch – Bigger nuts and bolts that require between 30 and 250 feet pounds of torque.
- 3/4 inch – Largest size available, and best for projects requiring the maximum torque possible.
Types of Torque Wrenches
For broad categories, you can classify torque wrenches as electronic or mechanical. Mechanical torque wrenches include beam, click, and dial styles.
- Beam – The beam torque wrenches have a floating handle that will pivot when you turn the wrench. The handle applies pressure on the end of the wrench to give you your torque ratings. It’s simple, but it’s not very accurate.
- Click – Click torque wrenches come with a graduated dial that you twist to set your desired torque rating. It works like a ratchet wrench until it hits your pre-set torque rating and clicks. This click tells you to stop tightening it.
- Dial – Dial torque wrenches show you the amount of torque you apply as you use the wrench. Once the dial displays your desired torque, you can stop tightening.
- Electronic/Digital – Electronic/digital torque wrenches combine dial and click wrenches. They have a digital display to show you the torque levels, but they’ll create an audible beep or vibration when you reach your pre-set torque rating.
Torque wrenches have high accuracy ratings, and you need them to ensure you don’t accidentally damage the fasteners or components you work on. Manufacturers will say their torque wrenches are accurate to ± 4%. If the torque wrench moves clockwise and counterclockwise, it could have different accuracy ratings. Keeping your wrench properly calibrated will help keep the accuracy levels high.
The torque range is the wrench’s foot-pound rating. It measures how much force you would need to move one foot of matter one foot around a rotational axis. The higher the torque range on your wrench is, the larger and heavier the wrench will be.
Wrapping it up
Any torque wrench you choose should allow you to get into hard-to-reach places with ease. It should have a durable design that won’t scratch or corrode with use, and you should be able to get a firm grip with precision tension levels. If you don’t have to turn down the tool after each use, this can speed up your projects and keep them on track.
For these reasons, we chose the Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F as our pick for the best torque wrench on the market. It has a longer design that reaches almost anywhere, and an adjustment knob will get rid of spring tension. The nickel and chrome finish is a nice touch as well.