It takes most people a while to fully appreciate all the implications of torque. But once you know how important it is, you start to see how vital it is to get the best torque wrench for your needs. With the right torque wrench, you’ll be able to tighten important nuts and bolts and ensure the safe operation of your vehicle or another piece of equipment.
This tightening tool isn’t something that you want to skimp on! But it can be very hard to identify the right one to suit your budget and application from the massive selection offered online. To make your life a little more ‘tension-free, we’ve gone out and done all the hard work for you.
In this article, we’ve reviewed and rated the top 10 torque wrench options available to you, and we’ve also included a buying guide and FAQ section so you can find out everything you need to know about how to choose the right tool to complement your set.
- Types of Torque Wrenches
- Things to Consider When Buying a Torque Wrench
- Top 10 Best Torque Wrenches for Cars Reviews:
- 1. TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Click Torque Wrench
- 2. Wheeler Firearms AccurizingGunsmithing Torque Wrench
- 3. Milwaukee 2767-20 M18-Fuel Torque Wrench
- 4. Neiko 00206A Premium Torque Wrench
- 5. TEKTON 24340 ½ Inch-Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 6. EPAuto ½ inch Drive Torque Wrench
- 7. eTORK (C3250) ½ Inch-Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 8. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2″ Drive Torque Wrench
- 9. CDI 1002MFRPH 3/8 Inch-Drive Torque Wrench
- 10. Industrial Brand CDI 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch-Drive Torque Wrench
- How to Use a Torque Wrench Properly
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Best Torque Wrenches: Editor’s Top Picks
Types of Torque Wrenches
Torque wrenches fall into two broad categories: Mechanical and Electronic. Mechanical torque wrenches can be further broken down into three common subtypes, which are Beam, Dial, and Click.
- Beam Torque Wrench – This is the cheapest, and simplest, of all four types. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the one that is the least accurate and hardest to manage. This isn’t really worth looking at if you’re looking for a tool that will give a great performance.
- Dial Torque Wrench – This type of tool has a dial that displays how much torque is being applied. When the torque gets to the desired amount, you can then disengage the wrench. But, this requires you to maintain a constant visual on the torque wrench dial, which can prove to be a massive inconvenience.
- Click Torque Wrench – This one is the most commonly used type and has a graduated dial which allows you to set the torque wrench to your desired amount. The tool works in much the same way as a ratchet wrench up until the torque gets to the pre-set value, at which time it produces a ‘click’ sound. This is a signal for you to stop tightening.
- Electronic Torque Wrench – This one combines the benefits of both the dial and click type of wrench. It has a digital display that shows you the amount of torque being exerted and also has an audible sound that alerts you when the desired torque is reached.
An electronic torque wrench is (obviously) more expensive than its mechanical counterparts. This is a good choice for you if you want to record and analyze data like torque characteristics and so on. If not, you can choose a click-type wrench, and you’ll be good to go.
Things to Consider When Buying a Torque Wrench
This type of product comes in various sizes, types, and materials – all of which can make it hard to know which one to choose. Listed below are some of the factors you need to consider when deciding which torque wrench model is the best one for your needs:
You want a tool that is durable and long-lasting. If you choose a model on the cheaper end of the spectrum, it will likely have more plastic elements and less metal. This is how the manufacturers keep the price down, but it also means that the torque wrench won’t last as long.
If you must choose one with plastic elements, make sure they are kept to a minimum. If you can opt for a tool with most, or even all of its parts made from durable, long-lasting metal and you’ll get a lot more value for your money.
The point of buying a tool like this is to leverage the measurements it gives you during operation. That’s why it’s important to get a version that has decent accuracy. If you’re going to go with a torque wrench with poor accuracy, you may as well just go with a regular wrench for all the good you’ll get out of it. At least with a regular wrench, you’ll save some money!
The torque being used, and the setting for the torque to be reached is shown in different ways on various models. This is the main feature of a torque wrench, which means that it’s worth taking the time to choose one that is easy to use and read.
You can get the best digital torque wrench with an LCD screen, but it’s also important to note that there are some really good traditional models with analog dial-style readouts that are also easy to use. Which one you ultimately decide to go with comes down to personal preference.
This is something that a lot of people overlook, but when you’re trying to tighten nuts and bolts, with your fingers covered in the brake fluid or oil, you’re going to appreciate having a torque wrench with a rubberized handle, or maybe a metal handle that has deep ridges cut into it. Some modern tools even come with ergonomic handgrips which make it even easier to handle the tool.
Because these tools are calibrated devices, it’s important to store them properly. Make sure that you choose one with a nice hard plastic case that will prevent the wrench from being banged around among your other tools as this can throw off its calibration, lowering its accuracy. The good news is that most of the models do come in such cases, but it’s always worth double-checking before you make your purchase.
If you’re going to invest in a high-quality torque wrench, then it’s also a good idea to consider one that has ratcheting capabilities. It’s going to be a lot more useful than one that doesn’t. Most of the tools we reviewed have this feature, which makes them a lot easier – and quicker – to use.
This is something that some may not feel is important, but the better models on the market usually come with certificates that prove the accuracy and calibration of that particular model. They also come with instructions for when and how to calibrate the torque wrench again to keep it performing at its best.
Top 10 Best Torque Wrenches for Cars Reviews:
1. TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Click Torque Wrench
This wrench comes pre-calibrated to an accuracy of within 4% which allows you to eliminate guesswork and work with confidence. There’s a common tendency to over-tighten bolts and other fasteners, but with this tool, you’ll never have to worry about damaging threads and having to replace bolts because of over-tightening.
It lets you tighten all fasteners to the exact torque specifications of the vehicle or equipment manufacturer. This ensures that your parts are not only being properly and safely secured but also helps to avoid damage that can cause them to become loose or fail over time.
This torque wrench has a simple design that makes it easy to use. The ratcheting head allows you to drive fasteners in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. To measure torque, you simply need to set the torque value (in Newton-meters or foot-pounds) on the tool’s handle scale, and when the value is reached, you’ll hear and feel a clicking sound that alerts you to stop applying pressure.
We’ve put this wrench at the top of our list for a reason, and if you’re searching for the best torque wrench on the market, this is one you definitely need to check out.
- All-steel constructions mean no parts wear out or break
- Shipped pre-calibrated and ready for use
- Designed to give a dependable, consistent performance for years
- Audible click that can also be felt lets you know when to stop applying force
- A reversible ratchet operates and measures in both directions
2. Wheeler Firearms AccurizingGunsmithing Torque Wrench
This product is a hand-driven click/clutch system wrench that comes in handy when applying necessary torque to the majority of firearms or firearm accessory fasteners. It features an ergonomically designed handle that makes it easy to maintain a steady grip and has a standard 1/4-inch hex drive tip.
It can be used when applying torque ranging from 10in-lbs to 65in-lbs, in convenient 5in-lbs increments. Some of the most common uses of this type of torque wrench include installing scope rings, base screws, action screws, and trigger-guard screws, among other uses.
Used and cared for properly, this torque wrench will provide you with great performance and reliable service for a lifetime. It comes in a package that also includes 9 bits as well as a square drive adapter. This torque wrench is used in a manner similar to a screwdriver, and it’s not a ratcheting tool.
It’s undoubtedly the best torque wrench for gunsmithing. Just remember to always adjust the wrench to its lowest torque settings after use. Leaving it at a high setting for long periods of time can cause damage to its internal mechanism, resulting in loss of accuracy during torque adjustments.
- The A.T torque wrench has an accuracy of =/- 5%
- Very reliable inch-pound torque wrench with a range of 10-65in-lbs
- Easy to use, and apply repeatable accurate settings
- Made with durable construction, bits made from S2 hardened steel
- The package comes with 9 bits and a square drive adapter
3. Milwaukee 2767-20 M18-Fuel Torque Wrench
This device from Milwaukee brand eliminates any need for the use of a pneumatic tool when trying to deal with those stubborn, rusted bolts that seem to have a will of their own. It delivers an impressive 1,000ft-lbs when fastening bolts, and 1,400ft-lbs when removing them.
It has twice the speed of removing bolts that most other similar devices have which means that you’ll be able to get the job done a lot faster and get on with your other work. This is the industry’s most compact-sized cordless torque wrench which delivers high torque impact.
Measuring in at just 8.39 inches in length, it gives you more access to those tight spaces where it’s hard to maneuver with larger tools.
The 4-mode Drive Control has a bolt-removal mode that gives you more control over a variety of fasteners by slowing down to a steady 750rpm as soon as the fastener has been loosened. For anyone seeking ease, convenience, and comfort during prolonged use, this is a great tool to consider.
- Quick, tool-free socket changes thanks to the friction ring design
- Corrosion-free, premium rubber over-mold material
- Works 2x faster than competitors
- LED light illuminates the work area
- Unique features make it the best torque wrench for the money
4. Neiko 00206A Premium Torque Wrench
Thanks to this heavy-duty device, you can now say goodbye to all stubborn lug nuts in your life. This Neiko torque wrench is designed with an extra-long, 24-inch handle to give you that extra leverage at an anvil.
The handle has a contoured grip to ensure that you can use it easily. The anvil head offers increased versatility thanks to its ability to rotate 180 degrees. The break bar does all the work for you when it comes to loosening those rusted nuts with ease.
It’s made from heat-treated Cr-V (Chrome-Vanadium) steel for long-life durability. It also has a mirror-chrome finish which makes it resistant to corrosion. If you’re a professional or a serious DIYer, then this is a tool that will save you time and frustration when dealing with those impossibly tight fasteners.
- Extra-long handle for maximum torque
- High-quality steel construction for strength and durability
- 180-degree flexibility ensures the headworks at any angle
- Spring-load ball bearing securely holds sockets
- Ideal for breaking and loosening stubborn, rusted nuts and bolts
5. TEKTON 24340 ½ Inch-Drive Click Torque Wrench
This wrench is a robust piece of steel. It measures 25” long, 2” wide, and 1/2” thick. You won’t have any electronic issues using this wrench. The bottom handle comes with a micrometer to adjust torque settings to desired levels. You can go from 25ft-lbs to 250ft-lbs!
This tool is also incredibly easy to read while adjusting torque settings. The reversible ratchet drives and measures both directions and you’ll hear a clearly audible mechanical click when you reach your desired torque settings.
Before it lands in your hands, this wrench is pre-calibrated to +/- 4% and contains no plastic parts whatsoever. This means that if you’re looking for an accurate, durable tool that won’t wear out or break, and will perform great for years to come, then the Tekton 24340 model is one you should give serious consideration to. It’s very popular among users thanks to its durability and price.
- High contrast dual range scale that is easy to read in low light
- Durable construction from high-quality steel
- Reversible ratchet head measures and drives in both directions
- No plastic components that wear out or break
- Comes pre-calibrated and ready for use
6. EPAuto ½ inch Drive Torque Wrench
This offering from EPAuto is similar to a lot of other click wrenches, except that this one is priced significantly lower than most other models in the same category. If you have a small budget but want to get the best possible torque wrench for your money, this is one you should consider. It presents a solid choice thanks to a variety of features like its strong construction, and its impressive accuracy to within 4%.
When using this torque wrench, you twist the handle to set the desired torque value, and once it’s reached, you’ll hear a distinct click. The wrench has a range of 0 to 150lbs and features easy clockwise and counter-clockwise operation. It is 18 and ¼ inches long, which is quite large – though not as much as other torque wrenches on our list. This allows you added torque leverage when dealing with stubborn fasteners.
Although it’s relatively cheap and comes with convenient features for operation, this tool also comes with a couple of drawbacks. Since the heavy steel it’s made with isn’t of the same high quality as the other wrenches on this list, it means that this wrench is not suited for industrial or frequent use.
- Durable ratchet head that is made from hardened Chrome Vanadium (Cr-V) steel alloy
- Easy storage in a sturdy plastic case
- Knurled handle for non-slip grip and easy handling in greasy or oily conditions
- High-contrast, easy to read dual-range scale
- Attractive, corrosion-resistant satin finish
7. eTORK (C3250) ½ Inch-Drive Click Torque Wrench
eTORK designed and developed this wrench to be a strong contender for even the best torque wrenches on the market. The company has almost five decades of experience in creating this kind of technology, and its expertise is evident in the construction of this tool.
It has a 45 tooth ratchet head which makes it easier to operate both clockwise and counterclockwise, even in tight spaces. The hardened alloy steel casing offers strength and durability, while the slim, light design makes the tool easier to handle.
It has a ball-bearing mounted mechanism for release which allows greater sensitivity. This, in turn, gives consistent accuracy that surpasses the performance from competitive wrenches. With each wrench factory tested and certified prior to being shipped, you can be assured of the quality of the product that eventually lands in your hands.
This eTORK product boasts an ergonomic handle that has a large diameter and a soft grip. It requires much less turning force than other products in the same category, which makes it super comfortable to use.
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee for personal use
- Meets and exceeds the American National Standards
- Accurate to within 3%
- Wrench clicks and/or releases when desired torque strength is reached
- Conveniently operates and measures in both directions
8. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2″ Drive Torque Wrench
This is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment from established manufacturers who understand what professionals and serious do-it-yourselfers want from their tools. The torque wrench has a dial that lets you set the torque value you want from a range of 40lb-250lb, in increments of 5lb.
Once you’re done, a metal cover locks in the value so the dial doesn’t get adjusted accidentally while you’re busy wrenching. This dial is a lot more accurate than other wrenches of the same ‘twist handle’ type.
After the desired amount of torque has been reached, the wrench emits a click that you’ll easily hear and even feel. The length of the wrench makes it the best torque wrench for torquing nuts and bolts over 100lbs. It also has an attractive nickel finish and a flex head. The wrench has an accuracy of +/- 4% and comes in a nice, sturdy protective case that is made from durable plastic.
- An ergonomic grip makes it easier to handle the tool
- Convenient, nice looking nickel-chrome finish
- Accurate dial torque setting
- An audible click can also be ‘felt’
- Inexpensive when compared to others in the same category
9. CDI 1002MFRPH 3/8 Inch-Drive Torque Wrench
This premium torque wrench model from CDI has a torque range of 10 to 100-foot pounds. That is significantly less than many other options on this list. It comes with a calibrated dual direction and a positive lock that has a spring-loaded pull-down lock ring. It’s fast and accurate, and according to a lot of reviewers online, very easy to set.
It also has a laser-marked scale that makes it simple to read measurements. The wrench features a quick-release button which gives good socket retention and makes it easy to remove sockets. The handle comes with an ergonomic comfort grip that you will appreciate if you have to use your wrench in slippery conditions.
This torque wrench has a price tag that reflects its high-quality design, robust construction, and astonishingly high level of accuracy. If these are the qualities that you value from the tool, then this could be the ideal torque wrench for your needs.
- Dual scale, calibrated in both directions
- Fast, accurate, and very easy to set
- Torque strength ranges from 10 to 100ft-lbs
- Easy-to-read laser marked scale
- Positive lock, spring-loaded pull-down lock ring
10. Industrial Brand CDI 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch-Drive Torque Wrench
This torque wrench from a well-known brand has an impressive torque range of 30 to 250ft-lbs. Possibly the highest quality torque wrench with the most value for money, this model is for mechanics and DIY enthusiasts who want to get down to the serious business of torquing the right way.
Loved by the majority of reviewers online, this tool is made of steel mostly, and you can adjust its torque strength using a dual calibrated scale. It has laser-engraved markings which allow you to easily read its marked scale.
In the socket area, there’s a quick-release button that lets you swap out your socket sizes for different ones. Measuring 21” in length, 2.8” in width, and 2.4” in thickness, this all American-made torque wrench is one you need to consider if you’re searching for a cost-effective tool that gives a great performance.
- Dual calibrated scale for adjusting torque force
- Positive lock with pull-down lock ring
- Torque range of 30 to 250ft-lbs
- Laser-etched markings to easily read scale
- Fast, accurate, and super easy to set
How to Use a Torque Wrench Properly
Handling a torque wrench calls for a firm, steady hand. Always follow the steps in any sequence of tightening things like cylinder head bolts, wheel nuts, internal engine parts, transmission parts, and so on. This helps to ensure proper operation and prevent damage to your tool.
Use the tips listed below to help you get the most out of your torque wrench, and keep it working properly for a long time to come.
- To ensure an accurate reading when using the tool, hold it at the marked loading point and apply pressure from there. This torque wrench comes already calibrated for the pressure that will be exerted on it from your hands at that point, at that set angle.
- Your torque wrench has a set range of force that it can safely handle, and you should avoid going above 25% of the maximum torque as this will place a lot of strain on your tool’s inner working mechanisms, lessening its lifespan.
- When using your click torque wrench, build up pressure steadily and smoothly until you hear that click.
- Make sure that you always unwind the torque wrench when you’re finished using it to reset the inner mechanism which is essentially just a big spring. If you store it unwound, it releases the pressure on the spring, which helps to give it a longer lifespan.
- Last, but definitely not least, never use your torque wrench to undo bolts – only to tighten them. This is because if the bolt you’re trying to undo is too tight, you may accidentally apply more torque force than your wrench can handle safely.
Remember to store your torque wrench in its protective case when not in use, and get it calibrated at least once a year so it can stay within tolerances.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q-1: Why Do I Need To Use A Torque Wrench?
- A torque wrench will allow you to keep your parts performing at their best for longer. For instance, when using a regular wrench to tighten a bolt, you have to judge by eye, and most people simply overcompensate since they have no idea what the correct torque for tightening it is.
- Using too much force in this way leads to the threading on the bolt getting damaged over time, which means it will need replacing. If it’s an important bolt in your car, it could fail at the worst possible time – resulting in unsafe driving conditions.
Q-2: Can I Buy a One-Size-Fits-All Torque Wrench?
- As shown on our review list, there isn’t one tool that is the best torque wrench of all since they all come in vastly different materials, sizes, and force strengths. It simply depends on what your needs are. The best thing you can do is choose a wrench that will allow you to tackle the majority of your jobs easily.
- So, for instance, if you’ll be using your new torque wrench for working on your vehicle, tightening your lawnmower and other things around the house, then you’d be wise to choose a torque wrench that has a wide torque range.
Q-3: Which Type of Wrench is the Most Accurate?
- Cheap torque wrenches will lose their calibration very quickly. If you want an accurate torque wrench, then you’re better off choosing the dial type of wrench. This is generally considered by most users to be the most accurate, albeit not the easiest type to use. The final reading isn’t easily affected by the way you hold the wrench or the angle at which you position your hand. However, if you want ease and convenience, you’re better off going with the Click torque wrench.
Q-4: Can I Add Extensions to the Torque Wrench Handle?
- Adding any type of extension to your torque wrench handle is something you should never do. Some people add a pipe or some other extension for whatever reason, but doing that can cause serious damage to your tool. It can render it inaccurate, as well as pose a safety hazard. If you want to keep your torque wrench working properly for years to come, it’s important to use it the way it is meant to be used.
Q-5: Can I Use my Torque Wrench for Undoing?
- Using your torque wrench for undoing isn’t something that is recommended because it’s possible to accidentally exceed the maximum force that your tool can handle. Some people insist that as long as it’s operated with caution, a torque wrench can be used for undoing and that if the bolt isn’t free when the tool’s maximum torque is reached, then another tool should be used.
- This is something that you’d have to decide for yourself, but the risk is that you could cause damage and vastly lessen the lifespan of your tool. It’s a good idea to simply grab another tool when loosening bolts.
Whether you’re searching for the best bike torque wrench or craftsman torque wrench, you’ll find what you need on our list. A torque wrench is an extremely important and useful tool that has tons of applications in your daily life, and that’s why it’s important to take the time to find out as much as you can about them before making your purchase.
Now that you have a deeper insight into the arena of mechanical and electronic torque wrenches, it’s time to decide which one will best suit your needs. Use the buyer’s guide as a source to help you confidently choose which tool is the right one for you, and check out our review list to find the best torque wrench model for your requirements and budget.