Best Torque Wrench 2018 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

When you go out there to purchase a torque wrench, you will need to consider several factors before settling for the best one your cash can purchase. The process of selecting shouldn’t be a big hassle if you go through our easy to read and comprehensive guide as it will give you information that you will need to make the best possible decision.

Here, you are going to get the best torque wrench the market has to offer. At the end, you will be able to understand what you need to look for in a torque wrench and spot the best which is currently selling on the market at your user friendly cost. You will be able to know about things to consider in the tools before deciding on which one is the best. Each of the reviewed wrenches has its pros and cons to consider before making a purchase. 

Quick Comparison: The Top 11 Torque Wrench

Torque Wrench Reviews

Best Option For Bikes

Its shape and cost is affordable and user-friendly. The company has made sure that each tool is calibrated and assembled at the factory making it be of high quality and a trustworthy type. It is specifically designed for tightening only as it can only rotate clockwise.

The ATD-1 adjustable torque driver will be the best choice for bikes to select from among the many if you are looking for something to use for installing bike brake shifters and levers, especially those with carbon bars where if you over tighten, it can end up breaking or damaging the bar.

It uses standard ¼ inch hex driver bits, thus enabling you to avoid in the handle to store 3 extra bits. What is new about this particular driver? It comes with 3, 4 and 5mm bits and as a bonus, a T25 Torx driver.

Apart from riders of mountain bikes or those who just like having many tools or those who prefer T-handles, if you are a person who frequently swamps bars, controls, stems and other low torque items, then you should get one for yourself. It is also a nice tool if you do a lot of traveling as it is fairly compact, thus, easy to fit in your toolbox easily. If interested, you can purchase it online and compare costs with what is on the internet.

  • It is customizable from 5 inches to 20 inches at the end of the user’s request
  • Short arc breaks over action and thus good for personal use
  • It cannot be used for anti-clockwise

Best Option For Motorcycles

CDI is a company in the USA, California, the city of industry, and prides itself to be one of the best companys. Each tool made by this company comes with a custom molded storage case, and a certificate of calibration. The handles of CDI 1503MFRMH are slightly knurled for a non-slip and tough and I think it might be the best for motorcycles. 

It has a positive lock with spring loaded pull down lock ring, calibrated dual direction, dual scale. When it comes to setting it, you will find it easy, accurate and fast to set.

The laser marked scales are easy to read. Good socket retention has quick release buttons as well as easy socket removal and thus good for personal use. For accuracy, it is good for both clockwise and anticlockwise use. It meets or exceeds the ASME standards
With the metal handle, it offers the user a rugged, industrial strength, torque wretch that is able to withstand the extreme professional use, especially on Vespa types. It is an affordable metal handle driver. The design is compact enough.
The companys of the CDI 1503 have made it be a precision torque, with force and tension calibration systems, making it a pioneer in the development of digital torque measuring instruments. I find it to be of quality, a product of innovation and workmanship. Select the one to purchase from the various types on highest rated websites like Amazon or the Internet.

  • It can work on the lower range without an over torque
  • The cost is good and thus good value for cash
  • It is accurate in the upper range
  • It is high-quality type
  • The switcher is very sloppy at times
  • Etched numbers hard to read
  • Ratcheting system at times tops working for no apparent reason

Best Option For Scope Mounting

Wheeler 710909 Digital firearms torque wrench could be one of the best for scope mounting that is available . According to the company, the type is one of the tops recommended Wheeler digital firearms Accurizing torque wrench. It's reviews of some of the top sites like Reddit and Quora from customers who have used it to prove that it could be a quality product. You can utilize it for both for personal use if you are a gunsmith or in the field. It is designed in such a way that, it will give you perfect consistency for every screw that is on your rifle. Though small, it is a great tool for anyone who a rifle DIY (do it yourself).

What makes it easy to mount is the presence of the digital FAT wrench, making it also easy to replace action screws or whatever screws that you need a precise amount of force applied to it. Its accuracy is at +-2 inch pounds and it will allow you to apply a repeatable amount of torque.

Its design is ergonomic with the large LCD digital screen, enabling you to view easily at a range of between 15 to 100 inches and that could be the reason why some people purchase it. The low battery indicator, audible indicator tone, injection molded storage case and visual indicator are some of the things that might entice you to select it.

  • It has a low battery indicator
  • Has an audible indicator tone
  • Adjustable range from 15 inch pounds up to 100-inch pounds
  • Comes with soft touch buttons
  • Not pocket friendly as it is not affordable
  • Plastic case not durable
  • At times the wrench comes when it is faulty
  • Too many little buttons confusing

Best Option For Spark Plugs

Among the best choice for spark plugs on Amazon, the 3/8 drive, click stop torque wrench seems to be there. This could be due it not only lasting for a long time, but also due to it being great in making sure that the job is done well, fast and thus saving a lot of time. To achieve that, the company has made sure that it has a pawl mechanism and a heavy duty camera.

Being reversible makes it the versatile tool to purchase when you are working on an item that requires precision torque specifications. Due to its click stop design, the torque range is available starting from five to 80 foot lbs. It comes with a casing that weighs 2.65 lbs, has an accuracy that is within +-4 percent and a reversible length of 14 ¼ inches.

Need it for personal use? This torque wrench might be great for you to have as a tool around on weekends. When working on lug nuts and use as a daily driver. As a precautionary measure to take is to make sure that you return it to 0 sets once you are done with using it to enable the spring to last longer. It comes with both the scale of Newton meter and ft. lbs thus you have an option to select from. Given its capacity, you will be able to use it even at a low torque setting.

When using, it is advisable that you use a lot of force to set the wrench at a higher level. 

  • It is reversible
  • Accuracy not bad
  • It is affordable as compared to others with the same qualities
  • You have to use a lot of force when setting the wrench to a higher level
  • Problems when setting at a higher level it becomes difficult to twist the handle.

Best Option For Lug Nuts

The dial CDI 1003LDFNSS ½ inch drive torque wrench could be one of the best torque wrenches for lug nuts. The company’s design them specifically for industrial, automotive and nuclear markets in addition to military installations all over the world. The CDI 1003LDFNSS series is good for use on cars like the Jeep to change the car wheels and tires and can be utilized for personal use. It has a sturdy torsion beam which is specifically meant for accuracy and long life. It is a good torque wrench to purchase because its qualities makes it be affordable.

According to its reviews on Quora, The Forums, and Walmart, the type is among the best to choose from and is considered a large scale and has an accuracy that exceeds or meets the ASME specifications. Another good thing about this model is that it comes with a traceable certificate of calibration.

  • Its memory needle retains highest torque reading for easy reference
  • Has a strong outer body that gives it maximum durability
  • It comes with a certificate of calibration that can be traced to NIST
  • The easy to read dial clock is strong and shock resistant
  • High-quality needle detector
  • It is accurate in both right and left directions
  • Not good for large jobs
  • No ratchet at the end and it is quite bulky and thick
  • It is hard at times to spot the dial for new users

Best Torque Wrench Inch Pounds

Capri Tools 31200 20-150 point torque wrench is one of the best torque wrench inch pounds made in the USA. It has a three percent clockwise accuracy, making it surpass professional quality with every detail counting, making it be one of the best types in the industry. The companys have used technological advanced internal mechanism and premium components to make for an affordable yet powerful torque wrench that will excel in daily industrial and personal use for a very long time.

It has an ergonomic design due to the knurled handle nonslip grip. The Newton meter dual scale and engraved foot pound provide a clear and vivid reading of measurement. You can adjust it to any shapes between 20 to 150 inches or in Newton meters, 2.8 to 16.4. With every purchase, you will get an individualized certificate of calibration for one of the torque wrench.

  • It has a non-slip knurled handle which provides maximum grip
  • Bidirectional calibration
  • The body is made of steel thus durable thus best option to purchase
  • It can be used for both directions with a -+3 percent clockwise accuracy
  • Advance technology for daily long-term industrial use
  • Numbers are hard to see
  • Problem with the specification of the calibration certificate (re-calibration once a year)

Best Digital Torque Wrench

When shopping around for the best digital torque wrench, try out ACDelco ARM601-4. It seems to be good to use when you want to work on your car, and thus one of the indispensable tools to purchase while on a window shopping. A good torque wrench will prevent you from damaging fasteners, stripping bolts, safety when wrenching on parts such as wrenches and brakes.

ACDelco, the designer’s of this torque wrench are rated highly on reviews on The internet, especially on that of auto spares which range from spark plugs to the ignition wires to brake rotors that are of good value for the cash. Due to the history that they have, I presume that they have entered the market of the torque wrench to produce only the best digital torque wrench for consumers.

The ARM601-4 ½ is loaded with various features that could be the reason why the type is doing well in terms of reviews. Most of those who have bought it, whether for personal use or other uses, tend to like its range of 3-99 ft lbs that are thought to be ideal for most automotive work. There is a digital gauge sitting on the top handle that displays torque measurement and thus, you will be able to see all the readings. There is an LCD screen which does the conversion of units for you and you can select between N-m, Kg-cm, in-lbs, and ft-lb.

In real time, you will be able to view the torque using the peak torque read out.

  • It is easy to set up trace/peak modes
  • It is an audible torque, which sends a confirmation by means of buzzer
  • It has an anti-slip soft grip
  • Its size is just right at 17.30 inches
  • Auto shut off doesn’t work properly
  • The display is not worth the price
  • No batteries in the packaging

Best Electric Torque Wrench

If you are looking for an electric torque wrench, then DEWALt DCF899P1 MAX XR is said to be one of the best electric torque wrench available on the market for you to purchase. It comes packaged with the impact wrench, charge, carrier bag, and two 20V Lithium-Ion batteries for MAX XR5.0h.

It is equipped with a heavy-duty impact mechanism which boasts of a maximum torque at 700 ft-lbs with a maximum breakaway torque at 1200 ft-lbs. It has a bright LED which works with a 20-second delay in case of low light situations. You purchase it and you will have a 3-speed selector so that you can select the speed for a specific application that is a specific drive or torque control. It is ergonomic meaning, you will have a good grip when handling it.

  • Increased visibility provided by the LED light with 20 seconds delay
  • It comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Being compact makes it the right design especially when it comes to storage
  • Creates 2400 impacts per minute
  • Have 3 speeds control to select from
  • Has an LCD
  • Tough to control the LCD
  • Switch not up to standards

Best Option Under $50

According to the The internet reviews, the Tekton 24335, those it has its bad side, could be one of the best for under $50.

The company is one of the best type producers, producing a variety of other products which include but not limited to torque calibration equipment, torque wrench, and measuring equipment.

The Tekton 24335 capitalizes on the power of hearing and thus has made it a key function of this particular model. It works by you selecting a torque value and then starting to ratchet. Once the desired value is reached, it makes a click sound to alert you so that you will know that, your bolts are tight and safe. It comes equipped with a variety of features which blend together so that you are able to get maximum precision when you are tightening the bolt. Its size is just right to select.

The clicking feature could be what has made several customers to refer others to purchase this particular torque wrench. When it is on, it will definitely save you time because, after the nut is secure, you won’t continue turning your wrench on a bolt which already secure. Additionally, you will feel differently once the bolt is secure, thus, even if you are wearing ear protection, you will be able to tell easily when your work is done.

If you are short on cash, the Tekton 24335 could be your best option to purchase as it is sold at a affordable and you can utilize it both for home use and away from home. 

  • It has an auditory and tactile feature which will allow you to know when the job is done
  • It has a dual scale that is easy to use
  • It's ergonomic, providing a non-slip knurled handle for extra grip
  • Reversible drive ratchet head, which is strong as it is made from chrome vanadium steel
  • Sometimes it doesn’t click when torque reached
  • Out of calibration after short usage
  • Doesn’t work out of the box as you need to make a lot of adjustments for it to function

Best Option Under $100

Torque wrenches from Performance tool torque wrenches companys are among the best for under $100 as confirmed by the reviews on Amazon. This could be due to constant marketing and product research and the cost being just right for many people who are on low on cash to select from. It might also be due to the company putting much effort to deliver superior products for demanding users to purchase from.

The Tool M199 ½ inch is available in different drive variety, shapes, torque ranges, and graduations. They feature easy to use locking system that has easy to unlock and lock collars to avoid an accident from occurring while in use and during adjustment. The type packaging seems to be just right as it comes packaged with heavy duty cases and an insert of instructional manuals. They are good for personal use due to their class beam style that enables it to accurately and easily measure torque in a variety of applications. You will be able to easily grip it due to the textured black handle and thus enable you to get accurate readings and your job to be done the right way.

  • Patented torque adjusting unlock and lock collar
  • The steel torque mechanism is high grade yet affordable
  • The case is heavy duty
  • Some need modification before they are operated
  • Indicator slips when in use
  • Instruction not very clear
  • Handle breaks easily

Best Option Under $200

Precision instruments PREC3FR250F is the best choice for under $200 sold on Amazon and other online websites like eBay and Wal-Mart. The designers, the Precision, are well known throughout the USA thus making it be one of the types you can trust.

When you are adjusting the bolts you need to make sure that you are doing it right by getting the right range in order to avoid them coming off later on. Snappy due to too much tightness or too loose is not good at all. To enable you to do the job right and you are checking out for a torque wrench of a price under $200, which is affordable, you can choose the PREC3FR250F to do the job for you.

From the reviews, the Precision is an industry that creates inexpensive and high-quality torque wrenches available to purchase for home use and other uses. You will not need to calibrate it before storage and its speed is increased by just using a spring-loaded mechanism that is on the wrench. It is long, which means that you will get more leverage out of it, and this could be the reason why many people have reviewed it positively.

In the box, you will expect to get an easy to use yet very long wrench that incorporates the latest technology for maximum accuracy. You don’t need a lot of force to make it work, with just a little push, you will get the job done.

  • You don’t need a lot of force to make it work
  • Efficiency and speed are guaranteed
  • No need for calibration after use
  • Long for added leverage
  • Offers long-term service
  • Only works in clockwise direction
  • Instruction not very clear
  • No certificate to show its actual performance – has only calibration compliance certificate that states that it is accurate within 4 percent.

Types of Torque Wrenches

It is good to know that, there are six types of torque wrenches available in the market with each made for specific jobs and thus, no one torque wrench is a match for all the jobs at hand. You will need to know this basic information so that you buy, one according to your current needs. The six include:

1. Click Wrench

It is a more sophistication of the socket wrench as you may be able to preset the level of torque by use of a clutch. You will be able to see the clutch slipping once the target torque level is reached. This type of torque wrench has the capability of preventing overstretching and over-reaching which in most cases, can lead to breaking.

2. Plumber Wrench

When doing couplings on soil pipes, this is the torque to use. It has a T-shaped handle which is much similar to what the ratchet wrench has. To reach the target torque level, it is pre-calibrated to slip.

3. Deflecting Beam Wrench

Instead of a coil spring, a torque is applied to a deflecting beam. It provides high safety and accuracy, especially for the high level of torque pressure. When you reach the target level, you will know because it has an inbuilt audible click that will be produced.

4. Electronic Torque Wrench

If you are looking for a torque wrench that can be programmed, then these are the types to go for. It contains a rod which is attached to a strain gauge which automatically sends signals to a transducer which makes it possible to determine the force of torque per unit. There is a memory stick that is contained in a small chip that comes in the packaging whose purpose is to save settings for later viewing.

It is a torque wrench that comes with all the simplicity and normally considered as one of the basic. There is a handle that is different from the lever arm. The arm is elastic thus enabling it to be easily bent. It has a moving scale which you will be able to read after applying the torque. A needle pointer indicates the weight as it works more like a normal weighing scale.

6. Hydraulic Torque Wrench

Using this particular torque wrench will mean that, you will have to exert a torque to a fastener. You will need to apply pressure either to the nut or bolt head. It is a pre-calibrated torque that helps in tightening the nut or the bolt head.

Torque Wrench Designs

Torque wrenches are designed for different applications for both industrial and automotive use. Capacity and designs range from small, medium, and large depending on usage.

The small range model design for a torque wrench is ¼ inch or 3/8 inch. To be precise somewhere between 30 to 200 in. lbs or 4 – 22 Newton meters. It is the best design for day to day use because it has a low torque application and in most cases, you will find them in use for transmission services.

This are torque wrench of low ranges, which are normally referred to as the medium design, ranges between 20 or 30 ft lbs or in Newton meters, 17 or 34 Nm. These types have a high torque wrench of about 332 Nm which is approximately 250 ft. lbs. They come with a ½ square drive adaptor. If you are having reconditioning or engine rebuilding, then these are the torque wrench to use.

Even up the ladder are the largest capacity torque wrench designs that range up to 1320 Newton-meters which is roughly 1000 ft. lbs that come with a ¾ drive and useful when handling applications for industrial use such as heavy plant maintenance, truck and machinery and also for heavy automotive.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Torque Wrench

The below are the 4 important things to consider before deciding which type of torque wrench you are going to settle for:

1. Consider Materials

You will need to, first of all, consider the composition of the torque wrench in term of materials. For one to be considered a high-quality one, it doesn’t need to have a lot of plastics due to the fact that, plastic materials are not durable. Go for one that has a metal construction as it will last you for several years and also will be super in its performance thus good value for cash.

2. The Accuracy Rating

Get a torque wrench that will give you high accuracy level because it automatically means that, it will definitely be a high-quality product. You can either pick a slipper type or a digital torque wrench will show the results and even save them; the good thing is that the two are both error-free performing torque wrench. At times, you, the operator, can determine the accuracy of the torque wrench readings.

3. Consider The Grip

Bearing in mind that you will use your hands to operate the torque wrench, go for one that is ergonomic. It should be comfortable to hold and not easy to slip while working with it.

4. Available Head Designs

It is important to bear in mind the head types you are going to use it on before you decide which one to purchase. If possible, come with a kit with various heads. It is advisable you go for one that offers the most number of heads. Though you will find it costly in the short term, it is going to save you cash in the long run as you will avoid the agony of going back to the shop to purchase a new head in times of an emergency.

5. The Level Of The Precision Is Very Important

The torque wrench level of precision plays an important role and has to be looked into because the higher the precision, the better the spaces it will be able to provide. Utmost accuracy means utmost safety.

6. Consider The Ratchet

The style of the ratchet could create a big difference. Modern torque wrench come in both clockwise and anticlockwise systems which mean, they are bi-directional and thus, can be operated by both the right and the left-handed people.

7. Consider Cost and Warranty

Top of the market brands of torque wrenches come with a warranty and at a cost too. This is because they are high quality thus, the manufacturer doesn’t fear giving out a warranty. Non branded torque wrenches in most cases are made of poor quality materials while the branded ones are made of high-quality materials. So if you find a torque wrench without a warranty, you will need to question the quality. Pick out a torque wrench that is high quality because even though you are going to spend a lot of cash, it is worth because it will give you service for a long time.

Torque Wrench Q & A Section

1. What Are Torque Wrenches?

Torque wrenches are tools which are used to precisely apply a specific torque to a fastener, such as a bolt or a nut. In most cases, it comes in the form of a socket wrench that has internal mechanisms that are special.

2. Are Torque Wrenches Necessary?

The precision with which it does its job is what makes it a necessity. The way they work like using the opposite direction to loosen bolts and nuts ensures that proper torque is achieved when tightening a bolt or nut, not to loosen anything.

3. How Does A Torque Wrench Work?

How a torque wrench work depends on the type. There are those which you will need to twist the handle by use of certain pressure so when the nut is tightened using the torque, it will click when the desired torque level is reached.
There are the dial indicator ones which indicate the amount of twisting through which the wrench handle is going through.
We have those which use a spring-loaded lever on the handle and when the desired level is reached after twisting the handle, the spring lever breaks loose thereby creating a clicking sound. 

More information, read here

4. How To Set Torque Wrench Inch Pounds?

You will need to use an online calculator, but it is also good to know the calculation scale: 1-foot pound force is equivalent to 12-inch pounds force. With that in mind, you can simply use your calculator to know where to set the torque.

5. Do Torque Wrenches Need To Be Calibrated?

If you belong to the mechanical world, then you should make sure that your torque wrenches are calibrated by a professional at regular intervals. This will ensure that you have the best and most reliable tools in your toolkit to make use of in case of an emergency without any hesitation.

6. Is A Torque Wrench The Same As A Socket Wrench

No. A torque wrench is a special wrench which you will use to tighten your nuts and bolts to the same level. They are available in different types and designs and they come with a connector which connects to various sockets of different designs depending on your preferred design.
A socket wrench is one of the systems of wrenches that departs the wrench that engages the fastener from the wrench handle. If you use it correctly, you will be able to calculate the correct torque amount when you use the wrench to do the fastening. 

7. How To Use A Torque Wrench?

Conclusion

From the above, hope you can now pick the torque wrench that will meet your specific needs. Make sure you consider the various explanations I have given above to avoid some of the dishonest companys who are making bad quality products and selling them at a affordable cost that is not even worth your little coins. Go for a product that is quality and good value for your cash. Better to spend a little more but get something that is going to last you for some time.

Don’t forget to keep your focus high when you are using the products as you can be harmed due to lack of concentration. Remember you are dealing with a tool which is dangerous and causes an accident when not used properly. Your safety comes first before anything else. It is critical to correctly tension the lug nuts and bolts of automotive components and that is why you have to get the best out of the many in the market. Enjoy your wrenching with the right tool.

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