by Joshua Thomas
A torque wrench is a tool used by mechanics to tighten nuts and bolts in vehicles to a specific torque value. In fact, many manufacturers of nuts and bolts calibrate them in such a way that they work optimally at a specific torque value.
Moreover, this special type of wrench makes an audible click as well as give you hand feedback when the torque value is reached, so it is impossible to overtighten a nut with a torque wrench.
Additionally, the torque wrench is very easy to use and requires less effort to operate, mostly due to its efficient gear system as well as a long handle that makes it easier to turn.
Best of all, most torque wrenches are factory pre-calibrated for accuracy and you can start using them right away.
If you are fresh on the market for the best torque wrench for automotive or general nut and bolt tightening, then we have reviewed a few popular wrenches and give you our impressions below!
1. Tekton 24335 (Best Overall)
2. CDI 2503MFRPH
3. EPAuto ST-012-1
4. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F
5. Tekton TRQ21101
6. Performance Tool M195
7. Neiko 03727A
One of the best things about the Tekton 24335 is its affordable price and excellent build construction. It is an easy to hold and easy to use a torque wrench that does not have a lot of complex features but simply gets the job done by allowing you to tighten a bolt at a specific torque value.
Furthermore, you can purchase this torque wrench in multiple sizes, either with a 4 PC adapter set or another model that comes with a breaker bar so that you can access distant bolts and nuts. In addition, the ratchet head is reversible and can quickly and easily be adjusted with the flick of a button.
A great aspect of this torque wrench is its steel build construction, which makes it very durable and long-lasting. This is a torque wrench that you will use for years to come without worry of breaking or damage.
All in all, taking its price into account as well as its excellent build construction, the Tekton 24335 is a good torque wrench for the money. However, this product is not intended for professional use as it is quite basic and cannot be used as a heavy-duty torque wrench.
Many mechanics swear by the 1/2 inch square drive. This is because this size is used in a wide range of nuts and bolts in vehicles. This model from CDI promises to deliver an industrial grade build construction from steel as well as deliver a high torque for heavy-duty applications.
Indeed, this model has a decent torque range of 30 - 250 lb/in, which makes it an excellent model where you require a lot of torque to tighten or loosen big nuts and bolts. One of the best things about this model is that it is not limited to a square drive of 1/2 inch, but you can purchase it in different sizes.
Moreover, the handle of this torque wrench is comfortable and anti-slip as it is coated with a soft plastic that is also ergonomic. Therefore, it is very easy to hold for an extended time, and you will not feel hand fatigue.
The scale on this mechanical torque wrench is dual scale and high contrast, allowing you to see clearly in low light conditions.
Moreover, the spring lock in the gear system allows you to easily lock the torque wrench in a particular direction. This makes it a fast and accurate torque wrench to use especially if you usually either do tightening or loosening and not both.
The only caveat we note with this product is its fairly expensive price and length, which is both an advantage and disadvantage. A downer for such a long handle means that it will have difficulty fitting a standard size torque wrench case as it will be simply too long.
Not everyone can afford an expensive torque wrench. This is where models like the EPAuto comes into action. Indeed, this inexpensive torque wrench does not sacrifice build construction or quality despite its low price.
On the contrary, this model is made in Taiwan and has a great attention to detail. Best of all, the scale on this torque wrench is very well etched and easy to see. When it comes to the handle itself, it is anti-slip and grooved so that you have a more comfortable and nonslip grip.
Moreover, you get a plastic carry case with this wrench, allowing you to easily store your wrench when not in use. When it comes to accuracy, this torque wrench is pre-calibrated to 4% which is an industry standard value for torque wrenches.
If you do not need a big 1/2" square drive and a 3/8" will do, then the EPAuto is the best 3/8 inch torque wrench in this review mostly because of its excellent price and superb build construction. The only problem is that this model lacks torque and not intended for heavy-duty application.
One of the main disadvantages of the torque wrench is the way manufacturers price them. Indeed, for such a relatively simple tool, you can sometimes find yourself paying several hundred dollars for a quality model.
Precision Instruments is one of the best torque wrench brands on the market and is here to solve exactly this problem here. Indeed, this is a high-quality torque wrench that strives to stay within a reasonable price range of under $200. This model has an extremely ergonomic handle made from a rubber material that is very comfortable to hold. You will not feel any fatigue wrenching with this model.
Additionally, it uses a standard 1/2 inch square drive, so it is compatible with all automotive nuts and bolts. Best of all, the nickel and chrome finish makes this torque wrench look absolutely stunning and premium.
All in all, if you want a high-quality torque wrench but have no more than $200 to spend then this model from Precision instruments comes highly recommended. Even if this model weighs 4.5 lbs and is a fair bit heavier when compared to other models that you will encounter in this torque wrench review.
If you need more of a pocket-size torque wrench, the Tekton TRQ21101 is an excellent model to consider. Indeed, this unit is very lightweight at only 0.8 lb. It is quite small and measures only 8.8 inches in length.
With such a low weight and a small size, you can easily carry it anywhere and it will comfortably fit your pocket as well. The square drive of this torque wrench is 1/4 inch so it is intended for more lightweight and casual applications on smaller nuts and bolts.
Moreover, for better ease-of-use, the handle is ergonomic and anti-slip. But what we like the most about this model is the clear scale that is etched on the torque wrench itself. It is very easy to adjust to the torque value and even lock it in position for future use.
Best of all, this model is quite accurate as it is factory pre-calibrated in both clockwise and anticlockwise rotations. Taking its price into account, this Tekton unit is possibly the best torque wrench for those who need a lightweight and portable unit with a 1/4 inch square drive.
However, being so lightweight means that you will be sacrificing toughness. Consequently, this torque wrenches not intended for heavy-duty applications but rather casual use.
The M195 from Performance Tool is a top-rated torque wrench that is built for accuracy above all. But one of the best things about this beam torque wrench is that you can purchase it in multiple sizes as well as different torque ranges depending on your need and purpose.
This model has a 1/4" square drive which is a small size but standard size for a wide range of nuts and bolts on the market. The maximum torque range of 18 lb/in is big enough for small nuts and bolts. In addition, the larger scale is very easy to get a reading from.
One of the best things about this model is its ball handle, which makes it even more accurate than a conventional torque wrench handle. Therefore, the M195 is one of the best torque wrenches for the money if you need to measure the torque value of anything with a 1/4" square drive.
The only caveat we note with this product is that the build construction could have been a little bit better because this torque wrench is fragile. So, we recommend it only for casual use and not professional or heavy-duty applications.
Neiko is a torque wrench manufacturer that is known for its ease of use and accurate torque wrenches. The Neiko 03727A is no different.
This model has a large scale that will allow you to quickly and easily find the torque value of any not involved. In addition, the ball handle distributes the handling force equally so that you get a very precise and accurate reading.
Most of all, this model is equipped with a universal scale that uses standard metrics so you do not need any conversion charts to read it. In addition, it comes factory pre-calibrated out of the box for ease-of-use. It does not matter whether you are right-handed or left-handed with the Neiko 03727A as it is an ambidextrous model.
Just be careful when operating this device because the beam of this torque wrench is its weakest asset. It can easily break if mishandled.
There are 4 dominant types of torque wrenches on the market. Understanding each type will allow you to choose the right type of torque wrench for your need and purpose.
The click torque wrench is probably the most popular type of torque wrench on the market. It is a simple and yet highly effective device.
All you have to do with this type of torque wrench is set the desired torque value on the torque scale on the wrench and then start turning the handle until you hear an audible click. This is when you know that the click torque wrench is ready for use.
One of the main advantages of the click torque wrench is that it is extremely easy-to-use, highly durable and provides you with an audible click so as you know at all times whether you are over tightening a nut or bolt. The main disadvantage is that the click torque wrench needs frequent calibration.
The electric or digital torque wrench is similar to the click torque wrench above but equipped with an LCD screen that will show you the torque value and instead of an audible click created by the gear system, it will have a tiny speaker that outputs sound.
The electric torque wrench is generally more expensive than other types of torque wrenches on the market. This type of torque wrench is mostly meant for casual users who need a sophisticated torque wrench without the need of advanced calibration.
For professionals who work in the workshop, the electric torque wrench is not as heavy duty as a click torque wrench and is therefore not the best type of torque wrench to work within a professional setting.
The beam torque wrench has a big mechanical scale that will show you the amount of torque present at the wrench tip with great accuracy. Additionally, the handle of the beam torque wrench generally has the shape of a ball so that it does not affect the accuracy of the reading.
Indeed, this type of torque wrench is all about accuracy and is intended for sensitive work.
As its name suggests, the dial torque wrench has a big dial that shows you the torque value at all times.
This type of torque wrench has a major advantage in the sense that it is very accurate and meant for accurate tightening of sensitive nuts and bolts. If you need to find the exact torque value of a nut or a bolt, the dial torque wrench is the tool you need for the job.
First and foremost, your purpose for the torque wrenches it the most important factor to consider. This is because there are many types of torque wrenches on the market, and some are ideally suited for a specific task than others.
For example, a torque wrench for automotive purposes will have an extension accessory bit that is long enough so as to allow you to remove spark plugs quickly and easily.
You will not find this ability in a conventional torque wrench designed for simply tightening or loosening nuts and bolts.
If you ask any handyman or mechanic, they will tell you that you always use one size more than others. Therefore, it is important that your torque wrench get has this particular square drive size.
Additionally, for more versatility and flexibility when using this tool, it is important that it comes in as many accessory bits as possible with different sizes to suit different nut and bolt sizes on the market.
The brand of the torque wrench plays an important role in the sense that a branded torque wrench is generally of better quality than a no-name torque wrench.
This is because manufacturers usually have a reputation to behold and they will not allow themselves to give you a bad quality torque wrench which is a generally bad publicity for them.
Moreover, a branded torque wrench is built from a high-grade material which means that your torque wrench will last longer and more durable and thus suitable for heavy-duty application in a busy workshop, for example.
The build quality of the torque wrench will dictate its durability and longevity. Most of the time, a professional torque wrench is made from a durable and tough material like steel and aluminum for durability and lightweight.
The handle of the torque wrench is the part of the device that you hold and gives you direct access to the tool. It is also responsible for transferring the torque from the gear system to the accessory bit.
Therefore, the handle must be comfortable and long enough so that you can use it in all comfort for an extended period of time without it causing you hand fatigue. In general, a handle of at least 12 inches is decent enough for heavy-duty usage.
The ratchet is the geared part of the torque wrench and is responsible for the audible click and tactile feedback you usually get when using a torque wrench. Most of the time, the ratchet consists of a number of gears with teeth.
The more teeth the ratchet gear system has, the smoother and less torque you will need to tighten or loosen a nut or bolt. However, more teeth also mean the greater movement of the handle whereas less the will turn the ratchet faster but will require more effort to do so.
In general, a standard torque wrench has at least 72-tooth or more. You will need to choose between comfort and performance in this instance.
In addition, ensure that the grip handle is coated with a soft rubber material that is both comfortable and also anti-slip. An anti-slip handle will promote performance and prevent hand fatigue over time as you will have a better grip over the torque wrench handle.
Simply put, accuracy in a torque wrench is simply the effectiveness of the gear system to transfer the torque to the accessory bit. In general, a + / - 4% clockwise accuracy and + / - 6% anticlockwise accuracy is an acceptable norm for a torque wrench.
Most torque wrenches allow you to adjust the amount of torque that you send to the accessory bit. You can do so by using the scale that will allow you to make quick adjustments to the torque value.
We recommend that you go with a torque wrench with the scale laser engraved on the torque wrench itself. In addition, it must be high contrast so as to offer better visibility in low-light situations.
For storing or carrying your torque wrench around, it is important that it comes with a storage case. This will also prevent you from easily losing your torque wrench in the middle of a workshop mess.
EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-80 ft.-lb. / 13.6-108.5 Nm) - Walmart Link
LEXIVON 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench 25-250 Ft-Lb/33.9-338.9 Nm (LX-184) - Walmart Link
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-150 ft.-lb.) | 24335 - Walmart Link
ACDelco ARM602-4 1/2" (14.8 to 147.6 ft-lbs.) Heavy Duty Digital Torque Adapter with - Walmart Link
GEARWRENCH 1/2inch Drive Electronic Torque Wrench, 30-340 Nm - 85077 - Walmart Link
Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench, - Walmart Link
ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" (14.8 to 147.5 ft-lbs.) Heavy Duty Digital Torque Wrench with - Walmart Link
TEKTON 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (20-200 in.-lb.) | 24320 - Walmart Link
Gorilla Automotive TW705 1/2 Inch Drive Torque Wrench - Walmart Link
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (25-250 ft.-lb.) | 24340 - Walmart Link
CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch Drive Metal Handle Click Type Wrench, Torque Range 10 to 100-Ft.lbs - Walmart Link
eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench (1/2-Inch Drive) (50-250 ft.-lbs, 70-340 N.m) - Walmart Link
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex - Walmart Link
AKM 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set Dual-Direction Adjustable High Precision - Walmart Link
EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-80 ft.-lb. / 13.6-108.5 Nm) - eBay Link
LEXIVON 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench 25-250 Ft-Lb/33.9-338.9 Nm (LX-184) - eBay Link
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-150 ft.-lb.) | 24335 - eBay Link
ACDelco ARM602-4 1/2" (14.8 to 147.6 ft-lbs.) Heavy Duty Digital Torque Adapter with - eBay Link
GEARWRENCH 1/2inch Drive Electronic Torque Wrench, 30-340 Nm - 85077 - eBay Link
Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench, - eBay Link
ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" (14.8 to 147.5 ft-lbs.) Heavy Duty Digital Torque Wrench with - eBay Link
TEKTON 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (20-200 in.-lb.) | 24320 - eBay Link
Gorilla Automotive TW705 1/2 Inch Drive Torque Wrench - eBay Link
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (25-250 ft.-lb.) | 24340 - eBay Link
CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch Drive Metal Handle Click Type Wrench, Torque Range 10 to 100-Ft.lbs - eBay Link
eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench (1/2-Inch Drive) (50-250 ft.-lbs, 70-340 N.m) - eBay Link
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex - eBay Link
AKM 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set Dual-Direction Adjustable High Precision - eBay Link
A torque wrench is a must-have tool if you own an automotive workshop. It is very easy to use and since it uses bit accessories, this wrench is also extremely flexible and versatile.
But one of the best things about the torque wrench is that it allows you to respect manufacturer torque recommendations on nuts and bolts.
It will also prevent you from over tightening your nuts and bolts in your vehicle, thus causing unnecessary damage. Additionally, you will also be more productive as tightening or loosening jobs with the torque wrench is fast and easy.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.