In a sea of mediocre products, it is hard to identify the best torque wrench. That’s what inspired us to create this guide to finding a torque wrench that suits your needs.
Before we get started let’s briefly talk about what these reviews and buyer’s guide offer you, the reader. For a start we will take you through our top picks of torque wrenches for this year. For those in a hurry, so you know, the choice at the top of the list is our number one pick. After we list all the best products, along with their pros and cons, we will then move onto the buyer’s guide. Our buyer’s guide section details everything you need to know when you’re shopping.
Best Torque Wrench – Our Top Picks for 2021
Below we have created a list that is designed to aid you in the process of narrowing down the best product for you. After reading this list, and going through each of the reviews you should be ready to buy. If you’re still a little unsure and would like more knowledge about torque wrenches then read the buyer’s guide also.
GEARWRENCH Drive Electronic Torque Wrench 85077
Clicker style wrenches are the most common-place type of torque wrench used these days, but even still nothing is better than a good digital torque wrench when it comes to being precise and accurate. GearWrench have done extremely well compared to their competitors with this 1/2 inch drive digital torque wrench, that’s why it’s our number one pick.
The torque on this model is easily able to be set from 25 to 250 ft-lbs (foot pounds), you can adjust it in as little as 0.1 ft-lb increments for extremely accurate and precise results. Speaking of accuracy, this is by far one of the most accurate torque wrenches on the market today. It has +/- 2% torque accuracy clockwise and +/- 3% torque accuracy for counter clockwise.
This torque wrench is almost 25 in. long, so it’s long enough to produce ample leverage in all situations, even for those bigger scale jobs. On this model GearWrench have included a 72 tooth ratcheting mechanism with a 5 degree swing arc which means this model is perfect for working in confined spaces also.
To use this torque wrench you just have to turn it on and set the unit of measurement – usually to foot pounds. Then you just use arrow keys to navigate and the “set” button to set your desired level of torque. When you’re operating the wrench if you reach your set torque measurement the handle buzzer will sound, along with a red light going off. You can also set an alert such that it will let you know when you’re approaching close to the limit. As an example if you set it at 20% and your target is 100 ft-lbs you will get an alert when you’re at 80. As far as the display goes it is very easy to read, especially in comparison to the small numbers you find on the clicker style of torque wrenches. The drawback here is that it does require power (2 x AA batteries), but they last well, and it’s certainly a lot better than using an old-school clicker style wrench.
Overall our opinion is that this is the best digital torque wrench on the market. And also the best torque wrench overall on this list. The only reason we can see as to why you would want a less precise mechanical click-style torque wrench over this is because this one requires batteries to work.
Industrial Brand CDI 2503MFRPH 1/2 Inch Torque Wrench
CDI is known to produce high quality torque wrenches, and this product is no exception as this is a stellar option and comes in at number 2 on our list. The 2503MFRPH has a range of 30 to 250 ft-lbs as it is an industrial wrench. It is just longer than 2 ft so can produce plenty of leverage. It has an accuracy of +/- 3%, so it’s quite accurate although not as accurate as our number 1 pick on this list.
This wrench is easy to use and operate. The laser marked scale is very clear and easy to read, also the thumb operated socket releasing mechanism is great for quickly switching the sockets you’re using. Using this wrench you can set the torque in either direction with controls that are incredibly simple to use. Not only is this wrench a breeze to use, but it’s also one of the toughest out there. It is built to an industrial standard so it’s tough and can stand up to a beating.
Aside from the price being a bit steep there really isn’t much bad to say about this torque wrench at all. However in order to make this review balanced and honest we will try to list the things about this tool which make it less desirable. For starters some consumers think that the handle length would be better off being slightly longer so that it can produce more leverage when you need that extra bit of oomph. Overall this is a great option and lands at number 2 for its great quality and high accuracy features.
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2 inch Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench
This torque wrench is another very good option at a decent price. It has some interesting features that will be sure to turn some heads towards you in the workshop. This is a 1/2 inch drive split beam design, and it has a flex head, and a chrome and nickel finish. It is 22.1 inches so it’s perfect for all sizes of jobs.
You can easily adjust the knob, as it isn’t under load which means it can be moved with ease. The settings can also be locked in place for repeating the same tasks with the same settings. Unlike some other models that are a bit lacking in terms of features, with this model you can simply leave the settings after use. This is an accurate tool, and an excellent choice for both newbies and experienced folks.
Consumers claim that its plus or minus 4% stated accuracy is actually more accurate than other models which claim plus or minus 3% accuracy. This torque wrench is in fact durable enough to easily suit commercial use, yet it isn’t too difficult to use or adjust. Consumers have stated that this torque wrench goes very well for lug nuts, even compared to more expensive options.
Some owners of this torque wrench have stated that they would prefer if the thumb screw for operating the torque setting had more resistance so that it doesn’t spin as much as it does. Also another possible downside, it only goes in a clockwise direction. Overall this is yet another good option, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, as it comes in at spot number 3.
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench 24340
The 24340 has to be the best budget torque wrench, without a doubt. It offers an impressive 25-250 foot pounds of torque, it has a high quality construction so it will be durable, and it is pretty affordable. It is no surprise then that it’s one of the most famous torque wrenches for DIY use. It has a length of 26 inches, so it’s one of the longest options on this list and is long enough to provide a whole lot of leverage.
The calibration being plus or minus 4% isn’t particularly impressive compared to some of the more expensive options, it’s more than enough accuracy for you average job. The scale is high contrast, and very easy to read. The construction of this torque wrench is all steel, so it’s very durable as there aren’t any plastic parts to break. A common complaint with these cheaper torque wrenches is that the locking mechanism does not always work, so keep an eye on that, but most likely it won’t be an issue with this model.
Another con that some consumers have noted is that the ratchet only has 24 teeth so it may be subpar in confined spaces where a shorter swing arc is required. Overall this torque wrench from Tekton provides great value for money and doesn’t compromise on important features. So it is a great pick for professional or amateur usage.
The eTork click style C3250 is able to go 50 to 250 ft-lbs both directions, with plus or minus 3% level of accuracy, which is about as accurate as they come. The head of the C3250 has 45 teeth in total, and the housing is composed of hardened steel, it also includes a soft ergonomic gripping handle for comfort.
It has a ball bearing release mechanism which gives this product more sensitivity than most other click style torque wrenches. The knob also ensure that you don’t alter the settings by accident. Consumers have noted that factory calibration tends to be perfect right out of the box and the product feels perfectly adequate for commercial use, or home DIY use.
Unlike the locking mechanism of most click style wrenches, the lock works perfectly every time regardless how often you change the settings of it. The measurements and information is laser etched onto the wrench making it easy to read. This is one of the shorter 1/2 inch torque wrenches at 20.5 inches, so it doesn’t have quite the same amount of leverage as some of the alternatives on this list. The plus side of shorter length is that it is more able to fit into confined spaces, for example when tightening lug nuts on cars. One downside is that the locking mechanism is different to what most people are used to, so it takes a bit of getting used to.
Overall, for the price, this is a great option and a good torque wrench. If your budget allows for it going for a digital torque wrench is highly advantageous though.
Capri Tools 31103 1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench
This torque wrench from Capri Tools is another good option. It’s made in Taiwan, which is known for producing high quality tools. It has an ergonomic design, with an impact resistant grip for extra comfort. The torque dial is very smooth and has a spring loaded pull down ring. This product has a range of 30 ft-lbs to 250 ft-lbs, which is pretty good compared to most other options out there.
This torque wrench is accurate to a tolerance of plus or minus 4%, a cert. of calibration is included with it. Because this torque wrench has a quick release button, changing between different sockets is very easy. The setting is readable on the etched ft-lbs and Newton dual scale. This torque wrench is 22 inches long, so it is plenty long enough and provides ample amount of leverage compared to some of the other options out there. Despite the relatively long length of this tool, it’s still quite light-weight.
Consumers tend to report that even after many years of use you still get the same precision as the day of purchasing this tool. It does not seem to lose any accuracy over time at all. Compared to some other models this is great, as the norm is to slowly degrade in performance over time. As far as cons go, some consumers have noted that the scale isn’t as easy to read as they would like it to be. But overall this is a very good option at a good price.
Mountain 16250 1/2 Inch Torque Wrench
The mountain 16250 is a very well priced torque wrench, and it’s not lacking in features despite how cheap it is. In fact it has some features that the other picks on this list are without, such as an extra lengthy handle. The handle is 25 inches long, so it can provide massive amounts of leverage.
This tool is heavy duty, it has a chrome finish that will stand up to the test of time. Though, the carrying case this comes with isn’t for anything more than transport as it is pretty light weight. As with any tool there are some minor downside that we will now go over. This model does not have a quick release for quickly changing sockets, where as the other options on this list do have this feature. It’s a nice feature to have that saves a lot of time, so not having it could be a deal breaker for some.
Also, some consumers have noted that the numbers on this tool are difficult to read. Though this complaint is fairly rare as most don’t mind reading the number under sufficiently well lit conditions. Overall this is a decent option at a fairly good price.
EPAuto 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
Another good option, this EPAuto torque wrench offers a range of 25 – 250 ft-lbs. It has a very durable hardened steel head, for maximum longevity. It also has a pretty comfortable non-slip grip which consumers have noted provides a high level of ergonomics in your hand. This tool is calibrated to plus or minus 4 percent accuracy, so not the most accurate on this list, but certainly respectable.
This torque wrench has a satin finish which is designed to be rust and corrosion resistant. This torque wrench also has a 24 tooth ratchet, so it’s not too suited for particularly confined situations but the ratcheting mechanism is certainly smooth enough. This tool is pretty cheaply priced, and as the saying goes you get what you pay for. But as far as cheap torque wrenches go this is one of the better ones.
Some consumers have complained that the click is not noticeable enough between 25 ft-lb and 250, though this is a fairly minor complaint, and not one you will hear often. Overall this is a good torque wrench, and provides great bang for the buck. It is perhaps the best priced torque wrench on this list, and although some of the cons mentioned above may be a deal breaker for some, it’s certainly worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.
The torque wrench is an incredibly useful tool for any work that involves fasteners. The principle of tightening a fastener to its correct torque is crucial in many applications. However because there are multiple different types of torque wrenches it can be tricky to know which is right for you. Each style has pros and cons, furthermore each different model has a variety of things that need to be considered. For example, you need to think about accuracy, precision, build quality and durability just to name a few. So in essence getting a good torque wrench isn’t as simple as randomly picking one off the shelf unfortunately.
To help you through this difficult decision of which torque wrench to buy we will go over everything you need to know. From the different types of torque wrenches to why you might want a certain style of torque wrench. Let’s start by looking at why you might want one in the first place.
The different types of torque wrenches
roughly speaking, there are two main types of torque wrenches. The mechanical torque wrench, and the electronic or digital torque wrench. Mechanical style torque wrenches have 3 sub-types, the beam style, the dial style and the clicking type. Below we will go over a high level overview of what each of these is, and which one you might want.
Beam Style Torque Wrench
The beam type torque wrench is by far the simplest and cheapest design. Unfortunately it’s also far from accurate, and difficult to use. All in all, it is not recommended to use one of these over the other options. That is, unless you have a specific reason to do so.
Dial Type Torque Wrench
These models have a dial which shows the current amount of torque, when the torque gets to the set amount you can stop the wrench. These are a good option, but they require constant vigilance as you can easily go over the set torque if you don’t keep a close watch of it.
Click Type Torque Wrench
These are the most common type of mechanical torque wrench. They have a dial which lets you set the torque to the amount that you want it to be. Then you can basically just use the wrench like normal, when the torque is at the desired value you will hear a click indicating that you have reached the setting value and should stop tightening it.
Digital Torque Wrench
The digital torque wrench is the best and most expensive option. However, due to advancements in technology and manufacturing processes they have become relatively cheap also. These have a digital readout which shows how much torque is being exerted. When you reach the set limit of torque they will let out a beep to let you know. Sometimes they vibrate, or have a light that flashes as well. As you can see these are surely the most effective type.
Factors to Consider when choosing a Torque Wrench
If you are still unsure, we basically recommend the click style torque wrench if you’re after a mechanical one. But ideally (and if you have the budget for one) a digital torque wrench is best. The main factor to consider when buying a torque wrench is the torque range, you should go for one with a wide torque range. This is so that you can have most of the fasteners covered that you might encounter during work.
Second to torque range in terms of importance is the accuracy. the accuracy is usually shown as plus or minus some percentage. For example, the EPAuto torque wrench has an accuracy of plus or minus 4 percent. It’s also worth remembering that counter clockwise and clockwise accuracy are generally measured separately (although they’re often the same figure). Some cheap torque wrenches tend to become less accurate over time. In these cases you will need to re calibrate it. Ideally, if you buy a good torque wrench you won’t need to re calibrate it often at all.
You should also think about the size and weight. The size should be such that you can still use it in relatively confined spaces, but also long enough that it provides ample leverage. The weight should be reasonably light, but it’s often a trade off between build quality and weight.
FAQs – Finding the Best Torque Wrench for the Money
Q: How often do you need to calibrate/re-calibrate a torque wrench
The general consensus about this issue is that you should re-calibrate your torque wrench after using it approximately 5000+ times. However, whether or not you should get your torque wrench re-calibrated depends on how much accuracy you need. If you are fine with having a bit more margin for error, then you could go a lot more than 5000. In some situations you could use the torque wrench for years before calibration becomes necessary. If you hire someone with specialized skills to calibrate the torque wrench for you it can be costly, so that is also something to consider.
Q: Can a torque wrench be used to loosen bolts?
You certainly can use a torque wrench to loosen bolts, however you should remain aware not to apply too much torque while doing this. Thankfully torque wrenches often have a dial or digital readout to display this information so that you won’t have to worry about over-doing it.
Q: Which style of torque wrench has the highest accuracy?
Click-type torque wrenches generally are the most accurate. Although, it does vary from brand to brand, and model to model.
Q: What is the best brand of torque wrench?
There is no easy answer to this question, and a popular brand doesn’t guarantee good quality. So the best way to shop is to check out plenty of customer reviews from experts in the field. You may find hidden gems from unknown brands which are great quality. However we believe Tekton consistently delivers great quality hand tools.
Final Thoughts on choosing the Best Torque Wrench for your Garage
After reading through our reviews and buyer’s guide by now you should have a solid idea of which torque wrench is perfect for you. Mechanical torque wrenches are cheaper, but if you have the budget for it we recommend opting for a digital torque wrench due to the increased accuracy they have. Like with any hand tools, you get what you pay for. In conclusion the GearWrench digital torque wrench is our number one pick for its high quality feature roundup, it is also priced pretty well for such a high quality tool.