Table of Contents
- View The Best Torque Wrench Below
- 1. Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench and Tipton Best Gun Vise
- 2. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex Head
- 3. Neiko 03727A
- 4. eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench
- 5. TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click
- 6. CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch
- 7. EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click
- 8. TACKLIFE 1/4″ Drive Click
- 9. Tooluxe 03703L 3/8″ and ½”
- 10. LEXIVON 1/4-Inch Drive LX-181
- Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide
- What is a Torque Wrench?
- The Importance of Torque Wrenches
- Different Types of Torque Wrenches
- The First Torque Wrenches
- How to Use a Torque Wrench
- Should I Buy a Torque Screwdriver?
- Keeping Torque Wrenches Calibrated
- What to Think About When Buying a Torque Wrench
- Different Square Drive Sizes
- Torque Range
When it comes to tightening bolts accurately, only the best torque wrenches will do. These tools, used predominantly in the automotive and construction industries, allow you to tighten any nut or bolt to exactly the right amount – not too tight, and not too loose.
We have compiled a list of ten of the best torque wrenches available on Amazon, and hope that this list will be beneficial to you when choosing what wrench to purchase.
View The Best Torque Wrench Below
1. Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench and Tipton Best Gun Vise
We have selected this as the best torque wrench on our list. It is an accurate torque wrench, for use on small fasteners such as scope rings and screws. With an accuracy of +/- 5%, it is unique in its size and method of use.
While the torque range is very low, as you would expect for something of this size, (10 in/lbs to 65 in/lbs, which is about 0.8 ft/lbs to 5.4 ft/lbs), it is a very useful tool, and comes with 10 S2 steel bits: a hex to square adaptor and various attachments, along with a 1/4-inch socket and a storage case.
The wrench is designed to be used like a screwdriver, rather than a ratcheting device. It contains a click/clutch system which is very useful to ensure that you only put the required amount of torque onto the fasteners.
+ 1/4-inch drive, to be used like a screwdriver rather than a ratchet
+ tightens to +/- 5%
+ ergonomic handle
+ includes a storage case
+ click/clutch system
Why We Like It – Overall, we liked this piece of kit for its versatility and ease of use. While you won’t be using it to attach and wheels, for the smaller, more menial tasks, it is the best torque wrench you can find.
2. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex Head
This is definitely the luxury choice on this list. This ½-inch drive wrench has a nice nickel/chrome finish, with a practical grip built-in. No plastic parts are used to ensure the wrench is long-lasting. It is a long torque wrench so that it can reach places and provide a large amount of leverage when in use. On this particular model, there is no need to slacken off the torque wrench after use, because it is a beam torque wrench.
The adjustment knob makes it so the spring is not under tension, meaning that it is simple to set the torque. Because the adjustment mechanism is not under any load, it also means that setting the torque requires only a minimal amount of force from your fingers.
+ split-beam click torque wrench
+ long reach
+ 1/2-inch square drive
+ no need to slacken off the wrench
+ 25.5-inches long
Why We Liked It – The grip is nice and the split-beam type has been tried and trusted. The 1/2-inch square drive will be most useful for anything around the wheels and suspension of your car. Finally, this is a longer torque wrench than the others on this list, meaning you can apply more force with less effort. It is the best torque wrench we could find for the bigger jobs.
3. Neiko 03727A
This 1/4-inch wrench comes with both standard and metric readings, so you will not have to convert numbers every time you use. Measuring for 0-80 in/lbs (0-6.7 ft/lbs) gives a good torque range of lower figure torques that might need to be used, and a +/- 4% accuracy is very good.
+ conversion charts
+ ball-end handle, for an easy grip
+ 1/4-inch drive ratcheting system design
+ +/- 4% accuracy
Why We Liked It – Small and versatile, this is a good torque wrench for the little things. We particularly liked the high contrast scale in both standard and metric measurements, and the ball handle, making it easy to grip.
4. eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench
The eTORK click style torque wrench has a 1/2-inch drive and is made of a hardened steel alloy. There is a dual scale for clarity and each wrench is individually tested before being shipped, coming with a plastic storage case and a calibration certificate.
eTORK claims a calibration accuracy of +/- 3% which is the highest on this list and will tighten between 50 and 250 ft/lbs. The locking knob on the product is secure and is adjusted by pulling it down before turning the handle.
+ 1/2-inch square drive
+ accuracy of +/- 3% between 50 and 250 ft/lbs
+ dual scale
+ each wrench is individually tested
+ comes with calibration certificate
+ click type wrench
Why We Liked It – If accuracy is something you’re after, then this claims to be the highest of all the click products we have selected, so perhaps this wrench could be for you. Amazon customers have rated it very highly, with a score of 4.8/5.
5. TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click
TEKTON is a well-trusted brand. Perfect for use on smaller-sized wheels of a car, this 1/2-inch click wrench measures 18.5-inches long and comes with a high contrast dual-range scale. It is made entirely of steel and is calibrated before being sent out to you, to a tolerance of +/- 4% for its torque range of 10-150 ft/lbs.
The product will be sent out to you with a plastic storage case and an operator’s manual. Being a ratchet system, it can be used both clockwise and anticlockwise, although it only measures torque in the clockwise direction.
+ click wrench
+ easy to read scale
+ pre-calibrated to +/- 4%
+ includes a case and operating manual
+ 1/2-inch drive
Why We Liked It – This wrench is back to basics. A simple design for jobs that just need to be done, no questions asked.
6. CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch
CDI has produced a nice 3/8-inch click torque wrench, which we have included in this list. A 3/8-inch drive generally offers a more accurate torque range between what other drive sizes would offer. This particular model will measure between 10 ft/lbs and 100 ft/lbs.
It comes with a dual scale and is calibrated to work in both directions. A lock can be used to set the torque, operated by a spring-loaded pull-down lock ring. There are a non-slip handle and a quick-release button for removing the socket from the drive after you are done.
CDI is a member of the Snap-On family, which is arguably the most famous automotive tools producer in the world. Like all of their products, this torque wrench is covered by Snap-On Industrial Brands, which assures you that the product is “free from defects in workmanship and materials for the usable life of the product”.
+ 3/8-inch drive
+ click wrench
+ spring-loaded lock
+ quality warranty
Why We Liked It – We have trusted Snap-On for a long time to produce the best goods. CDI has here a simple yet effective torque wrench for all your medium tasks.
7. EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click
This EPAuto 3/8-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench has a head that is made from a standard chrome vanadium alloy, which is trusted as a sturdy material and used for making the majority of good quality tools. The handle is non-slip and easy to hold, and a high-contrast, dual-range scale comes with the product. It comes with a plastic storage case and has a satin finish to help prevent corrosion.
+ 3/8-inch drive
+ click wrench
+ chrome vanadium alloy
+ non-slip handle
+ plastic storage case included
Why We Liked It – This is another good 3/8-inch drive option for you to choose from. Made with quality and designed to last, you can be sure this click wrench will do what it does best for its durable life.
8. TACKLIFE 1/4″ Drive Click
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TACKLIFE has produced this all-steel 1/4-inch square drive click torque wrench, which comes with a 2.95-inch extension bar and a 3/8-inch adapter. The ratchet is reversible, although torque is only measured in the clockwise direction.
A laser-engraved dual-range scale, which shows Foot Pounds and Newton Metres, improves accuracy and eliminates the need for any conversion factors and math to do in your head. It has passed the international standard calibration test and can be said to be accurate to within +/- 4% for the 20 in/lbs to 200 in/lbs (1.7 ft/lbs to 16.7 ft/lbs) torque range that it boasts.
+ 1/4-inch drive
+ includes extension and 3/8-inch adapter
+ good torque range for a ¼-inch wrench
+ laser engraved dual-scale which is easy to read
+ +/- 4% accuracy
Why We Liked It – This ratchet has a good torque range for a 1/4-inch drive and comes with a couple of extras that just might come in handy when you’re using it.
9. Tooluxe 03703L 3/8″ and ½”
This beam style torque wrench, which is made of a steel alloy and covered in a mirror-chrome finish to help ward away corrosion, has a scale on the handle which shows you exactly how much torque you are applying. It is a 1/2-inch drive and comes with a 3/8-inch anvil so it can be used for both square drive sizes.
The scale is calibrated in both directions from 0 to 150 ft/lbs and, unlike click type torque wrenches, beam-style wrenches do not come out of calibration, and will be accurate as long as they are not damaged. This shaft is 17-inches long and has a grooved handle so it can be gripped easily.
+ both 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch drives, preventing the need for multiple tools
+ secure grip
+ beam-type so does not come out of calibration
Why We Liked It – Beam-type torque wrenches are always useful because of how they are always calibrated. Although they will not alert you when you reach a set torque, the display can always be trusted to be accurate.
For that reason, we feel it is potentially a very useful choice if you do not want to have to bother with the regular maintenance of your wrench. With a slightly lower torque range than other 1/2-inch drive wrenches on this list, you will find it useful for the less heavy jobs or find a good use for the 3/8-inch anvil.
10. LEXIVON 1/4-Inch Drive LX-181
The final item on this list in the LEXIVON 1/4-inch drive torque wrench. With 20-200 in/lbs (1.7 – 16.7ft/lbs), it has a good torque range and comes precalibrated to +/- 4%. The ratchet is reversible and torque is measured in both directions. Finally, and you’ll have to excuse us for being slightly less technical but it is definitely worth a mention… we love the color scheme.
The yellow on black makes for great reading and, if looks matter to you, we definitely how they designed this one. Good job. If you were to purchase this product, it would come with the calibration certificate and individual serial number.
+ 1/4-inch square drive
+ calibrated to +/- 4%
+ 1.7-16.7 ft/lbs of torque
+ the yellow on black looks great and also makes the scale easy to read
+ comes with calibration certificate
Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide
What is a Torque Wrench?
“Torque” is the name of a rotational force. Usually measured in Foot Pounds (ft/lb) or Newton Metres (Nm), this is how much you would tighten a fastener (such as a nut, bolt or screw). These fasteners are usually used as a force to clamp two or more things together.
It is important to measure this amount to avoid over or under-tightening anything. Overtightening will result in threads being damaged and in some cases, bolts can even be completely sheared, due to applying too much force. Under-tightening could lead to the two materials not being properly attached.
When using a calibrated torque wrench, the risk of overtightening and under-tightening is greatly diminished. It is important that the torque wrench is calibrated, to ensure that it is tightening everything to the level that the scale says it is tightening to.
The Importance of Torque Wrenches
It is very important to use torque wrenches when working on a range of tasks in the worlds of vehicles and construction. For example, imagine if you put a wheel back on a car, but only tightened the wheel nuts to finger tight. This leaves a high probability of the nuts working their way off while the car is being driven, leading to, at best, the tracking and suspension being thrown out, causing damage to both the car and the tires, and, at worse, the wheel falling off.
Other examples of things that must be tightened exactly could be when using a gasket. The gasket must be tight enough to be held together but loose enough to move. You can see how it would be difficult to just guess how much force you should be applying.
Different Types of Torque Wrenches
The most common type of torque wrench is a “click” type. The torque amount that you want would be set by a torque indicator, which is usually set by using a laser-engraved scale. You then attach a socket to the wrench and begin tightening the bolt that you need to work on. When you reach the torque that you have set, the wrench makes an audible clicking sound.
Once this happens, you should stop tightening – the required level of tightness has been reached. Just because the wrench has clicked doesn’t mean that it has stopped applying force to the bolt, and therefore you should not continue to tighten any more.
There are a few other main types of torque wrenches. These include beam-types, digital torque wrench, and torque sticks.
• Beam-types: this is essentially the original torque wrench. There are two parts to this style of wrench – the wrench itself and a pointer beam. When the wrench is twisted, the beam remains stationary. This means that torque can be measured on the scale. These types of wrenches do not stop you or alert you when you reach a certain tightness – they simply show you on the dial. Some argue that they are the best torque wrenches for accuracy because they never have to be calibrated.
• Digital Torque Wrench: these can be set to a certain torque using a digital display, which also sometimes shows the exact amount of force being applied. Digital torque wrenches work in many different ways, but they are arguably the easiest to read and human-error-free of all the options available.
• Torque sticks (aka torque limiters): these are small bars that are placed in between the wrench and a socket. Each bar is made differently so that it has an individual torque level, and when the required amount has been reached will bounce the socket away from what you are tightening, preventing it from going any further. Good quality torque sticks from trusted suppliers can be as accurate as a calibrated torque wrench – however, to be sure, it is always best to double-check the torque levels using a wrench you trust.
• Click types: as mentioned earlier.
The First Torque Wrenches
The first patent for a torque wrench dates back to the 1930s when beam torque wrenches came onto the scene. As the designs have been developed through the years since then, the main principle has remained the same: if you know the qualities of the material being used to tighten your fastener, you can measure how much it deflects when force is applied, and from that how tight it is becoming.
How to Use a Torque Wrench
Torque wrenches are not too complicated to use. On a click torque wrench, the torque setting must be selected, using the scale or dial, the socket attached, and the torqueing begin. Depending on the type of torque wrench you have, the wrench will probably either click or beep at the point where you have reached that set, desired torque. At this point, you should stop applying force. All of this will be explained in the manual which comes with the torque wrench.
On a beam torque wrench, the torque setting is not applied. The wrench simply measures how much force you are applying, and you stop when you reach your required amount.
Unless specified, do not lubricate the nuts/bolts you are tightening. It is also sometimes useful to tighten your fasteners halfway, and then all the way. This is particularly the case when you are attaching gaskets, as you need it to be an even covering of the surfaces it is between, without cracking or deforming in any way.
Sometimes you may need an extension. Different sizes of extensions can be used when you need a torque wrench. These will vary in length, usually from 1 inch to 6 inches. Although these are very useful when working in awkward spaces, the use of an extension makes the torque wrench slightly less accurate, because some of the force is being absorbed by the extension itself twisting. Therefore, the torque setting will be a higher amount than what is being applied to the nut/bolt.
Some torque wrenches have a clutch system that prevents you from tightening something any higher than what you have set it to.
Should I Buy a Torque Screwdriver?
Potentially. It depends on what you need it for. For small jobs, it is possible to use a torque screwdriver which will be potentially more accurate than a ratchet and can reach down into certain spaces where a traditional torque wrench will struggle. However, they are difficult to put any real power through due to the lack of leverage. If you are tightening anything tighter than a few ft/lbs, you’re going to need a wrench instead.
Keeping Torque Wrenches Calibrated
When click-type torque wrenches are not being used, most must be slackened off to their lowest possible torque setting. Failure to do this results in the torque wrench falling out of calibration, meaning that it will not give accurate results. Unless you check this, there is no way to tell.
There are several ways you can check and calibrate your wrench, with many different methods available. A quick Google search will show you this. We would recommend, however, reading the manual that comes with the wrench, because this should tell you what the manufacturer recommends in this regard, and it is always best to follow their advice.
To look after your torque wrench, you should take extra care with it. They are precision instruments and dropping it can make it lose calibration. Most companies recommend this calibration should be done about every 5000 uses or 1 year.
The regulations for the accuracy of torque wrenches can be found in the international standard DIN-ISO-6789, which refers to accuracy as “maximum permissible deviation”.
What to Think About When Buying a Torque Wrench
When buying a torque wrench, you should think about what you need it for, and that’s all it really comes down to. The best torque wrench for you will probably be different to someone else. Price is always a difficult one with tools – a very low price may appear good, but you might end up having something that doesn’t work and needs to be replaced after one use – however, you also may end up paying extortionate amounts for something which also doesn’t work.
Different Square Drive Sizes
So what do you need it for? These precision instruments come with 3 main sizes of square drive available, which will cover pretty much every task you might need to do on your car at home. These are 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch.
You would need a 1/2-inch drive for bigger jobs such as when reattaching wheels or suspension parts. These are well known and can be put to good use for a range of different tasks. You would use a torque wrench with a 3/8-inch drive would come in more useful for middle-weighted tasks such as changing the spark plugs and gaskets, and a 1/4-inch drive is more likely to be used on very small screws or the occasional gasket.
Your torque wrench must also obviously be accurate. If not, then you may as well just use a normal wrench, and your money will have been wasted.
All torque wrenches should be accurate to at least +/- 6%, with the best ones accurate to 3 or 4%. You can see that even with today’s technology, this is not the most precise reading possible, but it is currently just about the best we can come up with. When purchasing a torque wrench, it should come with a certificate of calibration – always check this.
Another factor to consider is how easy the measure is to read. It may seem obvious, but some measures are much easier to see than others. For example, a digital display shows exactly what amount of torque you are on, whereas other scales and dials can be somewhat difficult to see.
Another factor to consider would be the range of the torque wrench. In general, as touched upon above, the smaller the square drive, the lower the torque range it can reach. Some torque wrenches will have a wider torque range than others – this is always worth bearing in mind when you buy one, because the larger the torque range, the more potentially use you might get from it in the future. However, it’s worth noting that to compromise on accuracy for torque range is not a good idea.
The bottom line is: always make sure that your torque wrench can do the job you need it for well. That will be the best product for you.
That pretty much sums up what you need to know when purchasing a torque wrench. We hope this buyer’s guide has been useful to you. Happy torqueing.