A torque wrench is an extremely important tightening tool that you definitely don’t want to skimp on – especially if you’re using it to tighten your car’s lug nuts or other nuts or bolts important to your vehicle’s operation.
Good torque wrenches are highly precise, allowing the user to accurately tighten a nut to their desired value. There are a few different types of torque wrenches, but the most common are beam or click torque wrenches. A beam torque wrench simply features a gauge that displays the current torque strength being enacted on the nut, whereas a click wrench allows the user to set a desired value and will ‘click’ once the nut has been tightened to that value. There are also electronic click-style torque wrenches that allow the user to set the desired torque value using a series of buttons and an LCD display and will emit a ‘beep’ when once the correct value is reached.
Another major difference between torque wrenches is the torque value they are rated at. Some torque wrenches can tighten a nut or bolt all the way up to 300 lbs or more, whereas others are only rated up to 150 lbs or 250 lbs, for example. There are also different sizes, such 3/4″ and 1/2″.
Today we’re going to go over the top 10 torque wrenches on sale today and explain the pros and cons of each. We’ve picked ones that are bestsellers or have high user ratings. This will hopefully help you narrow down your choices when shopping for a torque wrench and help you gain a better understanding of the differences between them.
Updated 09/09/2020 with updated information on our product recommendations.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: TEKTON 24355 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 2. EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 3. Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench
- 4. CDI Torque Wrench
- 5. ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench with Buzzer and LED Flash Notification
- 6. Precision Instruments 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench
- 7. Gorilla Automotive TW605 Torque Wrench
- 8. GearWrench Micrometer Torque Wrench
- 9. CDI Torque 3/8-Inch Drive Memory Needle Dial Torque Wrench
- 10. Stanley Proto Ratcheting Head Micrometer Torque Wrench
- What is a torque wrench?
- Why do you need a torque wrench?
1. Editor's Pick: TEKTON 24355 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The TEKTON 24355 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is an inexpensive torque wrench that is perfect for household or personal use.
This large wrench is a click-style torque wrench. The user twists the black grip of the wrench to set their desired torque value and will hear a “click” once the nut or bolt they are tightening is properly tightened. It is rated from 10 to 150 ft-lbs and ships pre-calibrated to +/- 4 percent accuracy. Tekton says the wrench is 18.5 inches in length, 1.8 inches in width and 1.2 inches in height. Made of steel and featuring no plastic parts, the wrench weighs a modest 2.2 lbs and comes with a lifetime quality guarantee.
Due to the size of the wrench and the limited range of motion of the head, some users may find it difficult to use in tight spaces or when tightening a bolt that requires minimal movement.
The company has several different offerings, so if you need a 1/4-, 3/4-, or 3/8-inch drive torque wrench, make sure to check out TEKTON’s other products.
2. EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is similar to many other click torque wrenches, but this one is extremely affordable.
If you don’t want to spend a lot on a torque wrench, this is a solid choice. The user twists the handle to set the desired torque value and will hear a click once the value has been reached. It features a strong steel construction and is accurate to within 4 percent. It’s rated from 25 to 250 ft-lbs and features both clockwise and counter clockwise operation.
At 18-1/4 inches in length, this torque wrench is large but not as significant as some other wrenches on this list.
3. Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench
The Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench includes both 3/8- and 1/2-inch anvils and is potentially the cheapest torque wrench on the market today.
If you’re feeling frugal, look no further than the Tooluxe torque wrench. This torque wrench has a built-in scale so the user can tell how tight they are torquing a nut or bolt, but the torque cannot be pre-set and therefore it does not click when the desired torque is reached.
A downside to this design is that the needle for the torque scale is exposed and could therefore become bent or damaged if the unit is mishandled. It’s also a very long tool and is not ideal for those working in tight spaces or those who do not have a lot of toolbox space.
What the Tooluxe wrench lacks in features it makes up for in price. It won’t be as durable over time as other wrenches on this list, but will work fine for smaller projects and home wrenchers operating on a tight budget.
4. CDI Torque Wrench
This high-quality, industrial-spec torque wrench is perfect for home wrenchers and professionals alike.
It’s available in a wide variety of sizes and torque ratings and is highly accurate in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions. The grip is used to set the desired torque value, which has easy-to-read numbers displayed in both metric and imperial values. It also comes with a certificate of calibration, as many other wrenches on this list do, so you know it will be accurate upon delivery.
CDI’s tools are manufactured by Snap-On Tools, giving this wrench a high quality feel that will stand the test of time. This makes it a win-win—you get Snap-On-like quality at the more affordable CDI price.
With a multitude of torque ratings and sizes, a high-quality construction, and an affordable price tag, it’s hard to go wrong with this CDI torque wrench.
5. ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench with Buzzer and LED Flash Notification
While not for everyone, the ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench is a good choice for those who want an accurate and easy-to-use electronic torque wrench.
Similar to a click torque wrench, the user sets the desired torque value using the buttons and LCD display and will hear a “beep” once the correct torque value has been reached.
Unlike other torque wrenches listed here, ACDelco’s electronic wrench can be used both clockwise and counter clockwise. It’s accurate to within 2 percent clockwise and within 3 percent counterclockwise and has a torque range of 9.9 to 99 ft-lbs. It’s not appropriate for industrial applications or for those who may use their torque wrench every day, but is a good option for the home wrencher.
ACDelco also offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty with the wrench, which protects against defects in materials and workmanship. The wrench is also well-priced for an electronic torque wrench.
6. Precision Instruments 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench
This recommendation from Precision Instruments features a dial that allows the user to set the desired torque value from 40 ft-lbs to 250 ft-lbs in increments of 5 ft-lbs. A small metal cover then locks the value in so the dial does not get accidentally adjusted when you’re wrenching away. The dial is said to be more accurate than other “twist handle” style wrenches.
When the desired torque value is reached, the wrench will emit a click that the user can easily hear and feel. Due to the wrench’s length, most users should find it ideal for torquing nuts and bolts above 100 ft-lbs. The wrench also features a nice-looking nickel finish, a flex head and comes with a protective plastic case. The design of this Precision Instruments wrench is also very similar to much more expensive wrenches from Snap-On. It is accurate to within 4 percent, Precision Instruments says.
Precision Instruments does not list a warranty on the wrench, but even so, it should prove to be durable over time.
7. Gorilla Automotive TW605 Torque Wrench
The Gorilla Automotive TW605 Torque Wrench has a sturdy construction and is offered at a reasonable price.
This click wrench has an easily detectable click action that clearly communicates when your pre-set torque rating has been reached. It’s rated at 10 to 150 ft-lbs and includes a 5-inch extension and a 3/8-inch drive adapter. Like many other torque wrenches, it comes with a durable plastic case to ensure it stays protected when you’re not using and remains accurate.
This wrench offers a good mix of value and quality. It only works in clockwise direction, however, and may be difficult to use in tight spaces. It comes with a full manufacturer’s warranty as well.
8. GearWrench Micrometer Torque Wrench
This 1/2-inch torque wrench from GearWrench is reasonably priced and can torque bolts from 30 to 250 ft-lbs.
GearWrench says it’s accurate to within 3 percent of the preset torque setting. The presets are not painted in a contrasting color, though, so they may be hard to read in low light settings.
With a high-quality construction and an approachable price, this click-style torque wrench is a good mid-level option. It’s manufactured in China and only works in a clockwise direction.
9. CDI Torque 3/8-Inch Drive Memory Needle Dial Torque Wrench
The CDI Needle Dial Torque Wrench is perhaps not as fool-proof as a click-style torque wrench, but has many advantages of its own.
The user will have to pay attention to the built-in dial when torquing a nut or bolt in order to know the current torque rating, rather than listening for a click. The wrench is highly accurate, however, and extremely robust due to the sturdy and thick steel construction. The torque range is high from 0 to 300 ft-lbs. The needle is also easy-to-read and clearly displays the torque value.
A downside to this style of torque wrench is that you may not always be able to see the dial if you are working within a tight space. The dial does have a “memory” function, however, so the needle will remain at the last value it was set to before you took it off of the bolt or nut.
CDI is owned by the reputable Snap-On Tools.
10. Stanley Proto Ratcheting Head Micrometer Torque Wrench
This 3/8-inch torque wrench from well-known tool purveyor Stanley is of a high-quality industrial construction is perfect for professional mechanics or handymen.
The click torque wrench, which measures in foot pounds, is highly accurate and is rated at 20 to 100 ft-lbs. It also comes with a certificate confirming it will be accurate within 3 percent of the preset torque rating.
The torque settings do not feature contrasting markings, however, which may make them hard to read in the dark.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, no-nonsense torque wrench that manufactures as advertised, you can’t go wrong this made in the U.S. wrench.
What is a torque wrench?
A torque wrench is similar to a socket wrench, except it provides some type of feedback when you’ve applied a specific amount of torque when tightening a nut or bolt. This helps ensure you’re not over tightening or under tightening, both of which could have disastrous results.
If you’ve gone through our picks for the best torque wrenches, you’ve likely noticed there are quite a few different styles out there. The main differences among the popular torque wrench styles are how you read them and how easily they are to adjust. Choose according to your needs, but generally you’ll find click torque wrenches or electronic torque wrenches at your local mechanic’s shop. Beam torque wrenches are typically more affordable, but aren’t as convenient as click- or electronic-type torque wrenches.
Why do you need a torque wrench?
You shouldn’t believe that just because you’ve got a socket and ratchet set in your garage, you’re all set when it comes to tightening the nuts and bolts on your car. There’s a good reason why many of the components on your vehicle have torque specs, especially if you’re working with the engine. For many parts, you can’t simply just turn the wrench until the bolt is tight, you need to ensure it’s tightened to factory specs. And even if you’re not working with the engine, a torque wrench is essential when it comes to properly tightening your wheel bolts or lug nuts.
If you’re working on your vehicle and disassembling a certain component, always refer to your owner’s manual or a mechanic’s guide to see if there are torque specs to follow when you’re reinstalling that component. This is important to ensure you’re not over tightening something, which could cause damage. The same goes for under tightening, which could result in a disaster—like the lug nuts coming off your wheel hub.
Proper torque is important for not just assembly, but safety and ultimately performance.
April 8, 2021: Added additional content about torque wrenches.
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