Best Torque Wrenches Reviewed and Rated
Torque wrenches are useful for tightening bolts and nuts on products from the biking and automotive industry. Their significance is informed by the fact that some nuts and bolts have specific torque requirements so as to achieve accuracy and precision. The market is flooded with several torque wrenches, all of which vary in calibration, precision, and efficiency. There are similarly significant differences in features and specs necessitating a careful consideration of several important factors before making a purchase. Below, we present the criteria we used in selecting out top ten picks.
Our Top 3 Picks
- TEKTON 24335
- Snap-On 2503MFRPH
- CDI 1002MFRPH
What is a torque wrench?
A torque wrench is a device for controlling the amount of force used to tighten or loosen a bolt or a nut. It comes with a gauge to indicate the level of force used in the process so as to prevent a situation where the bolt is either over-tightened or over-loosened. They are mostly used in the automotive, biking, and telecommunications industries. They come in different sizes and capacities with the typical torque ranging between 10 ft. lbs and 250 ft. lbs.
10 Best Torque Wrenches
1. TEKTON 24335
While a majority of cheap torque wrenches offer just a single scale, the more worthy ones, such as the 24335, make it possible to take measurements in two scales: the foot-pounds and Newton-meter. Range falls between 10 foot-pounds and 150 foot-pounds. The 24335 furthermore comes with a measurement scale that makes it relatively easy to monitor changes in foot-pounds. Considering that it is possible to use this torque wrench for a variety of purposes, it is imperative that it is as accurate as possible. The Tekton torque wrench is accurate to between +/- 4 percent, which is quite impressive considering it is a budget pick. It is possible to reverse the rotation making it efficient to work on left-hand threads.
It is constantly a recipient of high praise concerning performance. Its compact design and lightweight mean it is quite a portable tool. It is not too short so as to necessitate the use of extra strength. Its performance, however, takes a hit when you use it in an anti-clockwise rotation, as is the case with nearly all torque wrenches. The torque wrench gives you the ability to choose the torque settings you desire to which it responds with an audible "click" whenever you attain your preferred torque setting. It can drive and measure torque in both directions. You, therefore, have the liberty of moving either forwards or backward.
Easy to use
Great instructions that explain how to set the torque and use the wrench
Simple yet useful case
- Very Loud
2. Snap-On 2503MFRPH
As is the case with the first two torque wrenches, the CDI torque wrench uses quite basic materials. It has an all-chrome vanadium steel casing. The handle feature a hard plastic finish to increase your handling of the torque wrench thereby preventing the tool from slipping from the hands while working. The CDI torque wrench weighs approximately 4 pounds and measures 21-inches in length. The first time you lift the torque wrench, you get the feeling that it is virtually indestructible.
The Snap-on brand is synonymous with producing products that are both durable and superior in quality. While it is not as costly as other premium Snap-on products, its accuracy and durability are accredited by National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.). Its compact and lightweight design make the wrench ideal for accessing hard to reach spots. Setting up and using the tool is also a very straightforward procedure, taking just a few seconds of your time.
The construction of the wrench leaves very little room to complain. Nevertheless, for the sake of improving user productivity and experience, it would have been prudent had the handle length been extended to at least two feet as this would accord the additional user leverage in directing the tool to the desired spot. Another downside of this impressive tool is the blurriness of the numbers, even though that is not a deal breaker.
Sturdy construction therefore durable
Ergonomic build for comfort
Accurate clockwise and anti-clockwise measurements
Lack of plastic or rubber handle for firmer grip
3. CDI 1002MFRPH
It is worth noting that the wrench has a rating of 10 foot-pounds to 100 foot-pounds. The ample knurling of the grip provides the user with better handling in a way that prevents the tool from slipping from the hands. The bottom grip has a rugged rubber finish that increases friction between the handle and the hand, guaranteeing a tight grip. Consequently, you are sure that with proper use the torque wrench can in no way cause you any harm.
Also, this torque wrench is one of the most accurate ones out there, a fact that is supported by the fact that it has received the certification of National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.). This is an utmost assurance to the user that using and cleaning the torque wrench is relatively straightforward, and that its durability and accuracy are certified. The all-stainless steel construction of this torque wrench considerably adds to its durability.
With a weight of just a little over 2 pounds, the CDI torque wrench has a lightweight construction that makes it ample to operate and access hard-to-reach spots.
Like most torque wrenches, the CDI has only one downside. Its durability and effectiveness are overshadowed its high price tag.
Clockwise accuracy of within +/- 3 percent and +/- 4 percent for anti-clockwise
Ergonomic construction for tight grip
Superior accuracy, simplicity, and ease of use
- Difficulty reading laser marked scales
4. Precision Instruments C3FR250F
The Precision torque wrench has a weight of just 4 pounds and is 27-inches long, creating a perfect balance that gives you maximum leverage when operating the tool. The inclusion of a conversion chart on the handle makes it quite easy to convert foot-pounds to Newton-meters and vice-versa, eliminating the need for additional calculations. In spite of this, the Precision torque wrench lacks the calibration feature synonymous with nearly all of its competitors.
The Precision Instruments C3FR250F is maximized for light to heavy-duty projects and also happens to be very pocket-friendly. Setting it and using it does not require any experience with torque wrenches.
However, you note that it lacks anti-clockwise direction and therefore may not particularly suit the needs of left-handed individuals and professionals. Other than this relatively minor setback, the C3FR250F packs power, convenience, precision, and performance all into one. With all its features and specs, using the torque wrench properly will ensure it always delivers, irrespective of the working conditions.
Ergonomic design of handle
Very accurate at +/- 4 percent
Top-notch performance and finish
5. Gorilla Automotive TW605
Other than having an effective 1/2-inch drive, this torque wrench also features a click adjustable mechanism to promptly alert whenever you reach your pre-set torque settings. This feature greatly increases precision and accuracy, especially when performing delicate operations. Nevertheless, the Gorilla torque wrench has the capacity to reach between 20 foot-pounds and 150 foot-pounds. These specs perfectly complement its length of 18 ¼-inches and weight of just 4 pounds and overshadow the fact that calibration is only done in the torque wrench has just a single scale with foot-pound calibration.
Additionally, it comes with a selection of lug wrench adapters whose robust construction means they will effectively last for several decades. The adapters are constructed using hardened steel and are designed to have very thin walls making it possible to fit wheels that have narrow lug holes.
In spite of the superior finish and performance, there is still room for improvement. The wrench comes with a poorly written user manual that can is very confusing, especially to English speakers. Calibration is done on one scale only: foot-pounds. Given the popularity of Newton-meter, this omission is hugely inconveniencing as you will have to obtain a conversion chart from the Internet.
The delivery package contains the wrench itself, an extension bar measuring an ideal 5-inches, and an adapter with 1/2-inch by 3/8-inch measurements.
Superior and efficient performance
Ergonomic design that increases usability
Single scale calibration
Tightening competence reduces with load
6. Craftsman 9-31425
The 9-31425 has an accuracy of between +/- 4 percent, which, depending on your usage, will either eliminate or greatly reduce the possibility of either blowing gaskets or damaging delicate parts of the torque wrench. While the calibration is yet to be certified by any major organization such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T), customer reviews for instance, indicate that it is quite accurate. Should you prefer a calibrated tool, it is still possible to have it calibrated.
It offers a torque range of between 20 foot-pounds and 150 foot-pounds. The inclusion of a click adjustable mechanism eliminates the need to physically keep track of the torque level as you work, which will tremendously increase your precision and therefore productivity. The torque wrench produces a clearly distinct sound that is quite hard to miss. As a result, you will be using the Craftsman 9-31425 torque wrench to tighten loose bolts and nuts on whatever machine without breaking a sweat.
While it is ideal for light-duty operations, its performance does not suffer any significant setback when you subject to greater levels of torque. Since alloyed steel is the primary material from which the torque wrench is made, it also enjoys the longevity and greater strength of steel. As a result, despite its placement as the seven best torque wrench, the Craftsman 9-31425 torque wrench is a strong candidate for the most long-lasting torque wrench.
In an attempt to protect the torque wrench from the destructive consequences of rust, some parts of the torque wrench are made from plastics. A combination of steel and alloy is a fool proof way keeping away rust while significantly increasing the shelf-life of the Craftsman 9-31425 torque wrench.
Accurate to within +/- 4 percent
Adjustable click notification
Lock-on, lock-off functionality
Lack of a protective casing
Imperfect for very heavy-duty applications
7. Neiko 03713A
The Neiko provides between 10 and 80 foot-pounds of torque and a drive measuring 3/8-inches. The construction of the tool is quite simple to make it easy for you to effortless twist the handle. The laser markings on the sides of the Neiko are clearly visible to increase your precision when setting the torque. The torque wrench produces a distinctly audible notification sound alerting you whenever you reach your preferred torque level. As a result, apart from guaranteeing that there will be virtually no cases of over-tightening, the click notification mechanism increases accuracy while simultaneously reducing the possibility of damaging your nuts.
Upon receiving the Neiko torque wrench, you can delve into work literally the next second since it is already calibrated at within an accuracy of +/- 4 percent. Measuring a total of 14-inches in length, the torque wrench has reverse capability and Lock-on/lock-off feature which you can adjust in to suit your requirements. The torque wrench has a narrow neck design to allow better access to hidden spaces.
Keeping the Neiko torque wrench safe and secure is easy with the ABS case with adequate room to store the user manual. The case is solidly constructed and is not very big so as to cause any damage or jarring to the tool.
Precise pre-calibrated scale
Audible click notification
Easy to use
Solid ABS storage case
Poorly written user manual
Not ideal for repeated heavy-duty operations
8. Pittsburgh Pro 239
The Pittsburgh comes with a drive measuring 1/2-inch which is subsequently accurate to within +/- 4 percent. To make the tool even more versatile, it is relatively easy to reverse the drive even though as is the case with most torque wrenches, precision suffers a bit when the rotation is reversed. The Pittsburgh is also one of the lightest torque wrenches, weighing just 3.15 pounds to ensure it does not cause significant fatigue when being used.
It incorporates a heavy-duty cam and pawl instrument that greatly increases the reliability and functionality of this tool. The sturdy construction of the tool makes it capable of enduring all amounts of force. Furthermore, the perfect construction of the Pittsburgh Pro 239 ensures there is a perfect alignment between the laser markings on the sides of the tool and the corresponding calibrations.
Ideal for heavy-duty operations
An accuracy of within +/- 4 percent
A polycarbonate case for storage
Difficulty reading torque setting
Difficulty adjusting settings
9. Mountain 16250
Unlike more powerful model of torque wrenches, the settings of the Mountain 16250 comes in just a single range of between 25 foot-pound and 250 foot-pounds. The marking of the handle is done by the handle. In spite of it lacking the clarity of top-shelf torque wrenches in the market, the 16250 is quite easy to use. There is furthermore an easy availability of conversion charts should you find yourself in need of one. On a negative note, though, the case that comes with this torque wrench that has a reputation for being very fragile.
It is not only affordably priced, but it also offers some features that are conspicuously lacking even torque wrenches with top-notch performance. The extra-long handle, for instance, makes controlling and operating the torque wrench quite effortless and smooth. The sheer length of the torque wrench makes it possible to operate the tool with relatively short swing strokes.
It features a durable chrome finish that effectively makes it ideal for industrial applications and the ability to withstand even the harshest working conditions. Nevertheless, the model does not come with a quick-release button to allow one to conveniently change sockets. Consequently, changing sockets is likely to be a labour-intensive and time-consuming procedure.
There are similarly considerable issues with the durability of the Mountain 1625. While a section of previous and current owners of this torque wrench indicate that it is not as durable as the manufacturers claim, others, nearly half, have contradictory views. Priced at just $63, the Mountain torque wrench is one of the cheapest torque wrenches in the market. It offsets its length and heaviness by providing better performance when working with large machinery. While it is definitely not a top performer, it is quite ideal for heavy-duty operations.
Plastic and rubber handle for firmer grip
Ideal for industrial applications
Wide range of between 25 and 250 ft. lbs
Issues with durability
10. ACDelco ARM601-4
Fastening and loosening things on the ACDelco torque wrench is a relatively straightforward thing as it has the capability of turning in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. There are an LCD screen and several other buttons that allow you to choose the foot-pound or newton-meter setting according to your preference. Once done, the torque wrench gives an audible notification buzzing whenever you reach your pre-set target for torque.
Concerning performance, the ACDelco torque wrench beats quite a number of other similarly priced torque wrenches. The tool, for instance, has an impressive range starting from 4 foot-pounds to 99 foot-pounds. It is also quite an accurate torque wrench, with its tolerance ranging between +/- 2 percent for clockwise rotations and between +/- 3 percent for anti-clockwise rotations.
What the ACDelco lacks in range it more than makes up for in portability and accuracy. Since it has a short design, you are less likely to encounter any difficulties reaches tight spots. A quick check on Amazon.com reveals that the past and present owners have rated the ACDelco highly when it comes to quality and precision. Lastly, this torque wrench comes with a 12-month limited warranty from the date of purchase and a robust case. Since the case does not come with any batteries, you will need to purchase 4 AAA batteries separately.
It is worth noting, however, that precision suffers a bit at the lowest end of the scale.
Digital torque, mode, and measurement setting
Shows torque measurements on four scales: ft-lb, in-lb, Kg-cm, and N-m.
Easy to use
Both clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation
Difficulty with calibration
Unreliable ft-lb measurement
Criteria for Evaluation
The following criteria for evaluation were used to pick the options included in our list above. Also, these criteria is what you should have in mind when looking for a new torque wrench.
The performance of a torque wrench rests squarely on the range of torque it offers. Your evaluation should consider the upper and lower limits of the torque wrench. Of similar significance is the unit in which the measurement is displayed, whether it is in Newton-meters, foot-pounds, kilogram per centimeters, or inch-pounds. A flexible and compatible torque wrench should accommodate most of these units.
Wrench manufacturers ensure user-friendliness and comfortability by using superior components. Torque wrenches are made from durable materials such as metal and steel that are significantly more durable than those made entirely from plastic, for instance. Calibration is another factor to look out for, and whether its precision and durability have passed quality tests and received certification.
Ease of Use
Whenever possible, always endeavor to pick out the torque wrench loaded with additional beneficial features and accessories. Even though some torque wrenches do not come with a case, most of them come with carrying cases with adequate room to prevent the tool from getting jarred or damaged. Other features that have a significant bearing on the usability of a torque wrench are the size of the drive, length, and the extent to which it is accurate, among several other factors. These factors greatly determine how competitive or professional a torque wrench is when compared to other torque wrenches.
Q: Which torque wrench is most appropriate for me?
A: There a variety of factors to consider in deciding which torque wrench is suitable to your needs. The most common type of torque wrench is the click wrench. Because of its click notification mechanism, it will inform you when it reaches the torque level you pre-set. The initial click, which is quite audible on most torque wrenches, is an indication of optimum tightening. Take into consideration these factors before making a final decision.
Q: What do I do to extend the shelf-life of my torque wrench?
A: Taking proper care of your torque wrench can make it last a lifetime. First off, you will have to heed all the manufacturers’ instruction pertaining to use. Ensure the tool has proper calibration and that the values you set are within the scale, not higher and definitely not lower. Also, a torque wrench should be cleaned before storing it in its case. And obviously, never disassemble the tool with any intention of repairing or re-calibrating yourself.
In choosing the best torque wrenches, we took several factors into consideration, including performance, durability, affordability, and convenience. The Tekton 24335 torque wrench comes at the very top owing to its performance, reliability, precision, and affordability. It is very accurate when it comes to tightening nuts and bolts. It goes without saying, however, that safety should be your priority.