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Best Torque Wrench 2018 Review and Comparisons

If you’re about to undertake a variety of jobs that might include unscrewing nuts and bolts that are tight, you will need to buy a torque wrench. A torque wrench can help you get a grip on that really tight bolt that just doesn’t seem to want to budge, making your life so much easier. There are many different types of torque wrench on the market today so it may be hard to choose the right one, so we have done a bit of research and reviewed what we think are the 5 best torque wrenches, so you are a little bit closer to finding the right one for you.

Products Reviews

The Precision Instruments PREC2FR100F Torque wrench comes with a nice stainless steel finish and is constructed from steel ensuring that the wrench is not affected by abuse or fluids. With a calibration compliance certificate and thought to be accurate within 4% of reading, this particular wrench is easy to set particularly as there is no spring tension.

Weighing just 2.4 pounds the wrench isn’t the heaviest on the market, making it so much easier to use than some slightly heavier models. Measuring 2 x 2 x 18 inches, the Precision Instruments wrench has a good reputation for being easy to use, and is sold for approximately $119. The length of the wrench allows users to have as much leverage as they need, and with the ability to offer 20-100 lbs, helping you to get a wide variety of jobs done quickly and efficiently.

The ACDelco ARM601-4 comes with an LCD display that shows the reader the measurements in ft-lb, kg-cm, in-lb, and Nm. Complete with an audible buzzer, this wrench will let you know when the torque value has been reached. Sold for approximately $117, the ACDelco wrench takes 3 AAA batteries and can range from 4-99ft-lbs, making it ideal for those ‘Lighter’ jobs that require the use of a torque wrench.

Weighing 4 pounds, and measuring 1.5 x 1.5 x 17 inches, this model also comes with mode setting, measurement setting, and torque setting. Thought to be ideal for car enthusiasts, and with a soft comfortable grip, this model comes with a red/black finish and a reputation for being reliable.

The TEKTON 24335 is priced at approximately $61, making it a relatively cheap model that comes with a breaker bar, allowing the user to work at almost any angle. When the torque value has been reached the TEKTON will emit a clicking sound, so you know you’re good to go. The ratchet head is reversible so that you can use it in both directions if you need to.

Pre-calibrated, and complete with a 24-inch breaker bar, this model has no plastic components, ensuring that it does not wear out or break. Complete with a red storage case, and an easy-to-read dual-range scale, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a torque wrench, this may be the ideal model for you.

The Craftsman 9-31425 comes with a twist ring that has lock and unlock settings, and is thought to be accurate to +/- 4%, which is the standard rate of accuracy for torque wrenches. Sold for $60, this is the cheapest model that we have seen so far, and with a reasonably good reputation, it’s the ideal wrench to have if you are just starting to do a bit of DIY.

Weighing just 1 pound, this torque wrench is incredibly light, making it ideal for those who struggle to use heavy tools. Measuring 13 x 3 x 3 inches, this model ranges from 20-150 ft. lbs, meaning it can do slightly more than some of the previous models we have looked at. With a reputation for being a good ‘Starter’ torque wrench, the Craftsman 9-31425 has visible torque settings and is ideal for occasional use.

The TEKTON 24340 comes with an all-steel construction which makes it more durable than similar models that come with plastic parts. Sold for approximately $52, and with a 25-250 ft-lb, this model is capable of helping users undertake a wide variety of work. With a dual range scale that is quite easy to read, and weighing 4.4 pounds, this model is the heaviest we have seen, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to use. Pre-calibrated, and with a reversible ratcheting head, the TEKTON 24340 emits a click so you know when you need to apply no more force.

Measuring 1 x 25 x 1.25 inches, this torque wrench is the longest wrench we have seen, enabling users to gain a lot of leverage when undertaking work. With a good reputation, and complete with a storage case, this model is ideal if you need to get a lot of jobs done, but you don’t want to pay very much more than $50 for a good torque wrench.

Buying guide

Size

Torque wrenches can come in many different sizes, and their size is usually dependent on the type of job that they allow you to do. The size of the torque wrench will correspond with the torque range, which means the bigger the wrench, the tougher the jobs it can do.

For example, a torque wrench with a 1/4” drive is ideal for smaller nuts and bolts and is typically ideal for work that ranges from 50 to 250 inch/pounds.

  • 3/8” drive = For work that ranges from 15 to 75 foot/pounds, making it ideal for use on most cars and smaller, lighter trucks.
  • ½” drive =  For work that ranges from 30 to 250 foot/pounds, making it ideal for use on engine mounts, suspension, and transmission mounts.
  • 3/4” drive =  3/4” drives are ideal for center lug wheels, and while most people will not need a torque that offers this much power unless they regularly work with vehicles. You are likely to find this type of torque wrench in professional garages as the jobs that are undertaken will require a larger amount of force.
  • If you’re not sure what size torque wrench you’ll need, please refer back to this section and think about the jobs you’re going to undertake.

Manual or electric/pneumatic

Both manual and electric torque wrenches are available, but you may be unsure as to the type of wrench you should buy. Electric tools typically offer you the chance to get your job done quickly, and with little fuss. Using a manual tool will mean that you will have to do the job yourself, and this can take time, but using a manual tool will also help you to get the job done properly. Electric wrenches can occasionally be a little too powerful for the job in question, and the need hooking up to a power source too, which can make them seem quite inconvenient. If you have never used a torque wrench before, you should think about using a manual one, to begin with so you can see how it works, and you don’t use more power than you really need to.

Material

Cheaper torque wrenches are often made with plastic, simply because they cost a little less to produce. If you would like to own a torque wrench, but you’re not going to be using it very often, you may wish to opt for a cheaper version. More expensive wrenches are typically made from an all-steel construction, making them a lot sturdier, and a lot less easier to break. If you are looking for a torque wrench that is happy to take a lot of abuse, opt for one that has been made from steel.

Please note that some popular torque wrenches may be copied, and their design might be used to manufacture cheaper similar-looking wrenches that may or may not be made from steel. If you’re not sure whether a cheaper model is made from steel, take a look at the packaging for more information. If the other model is significantly cheaper than a popular brand, chances are it won’t be as tough, and it may break after a while. If you are looking for a strong and sturdy wrench, try to spend a bit more money, as the more expensive models should be more reliable.

Questions

How to use a torque wrench?

When you’re about to use a torque wrench for the first time, you should understand that you will need to make a controlled and smooth motion until you hear a click, or a beep. Once you have heard the click or beep, you will know that the final value has been reached. If you jerk the wrench, you could end up with the incorrect value, meaning that the torque wrench may exert too much, or too little power.

Once you are ready to use your wrench, place it on the object that is being moved. For example, if you wish to tighten a nut, hold the bolt so it stays in place, allowing the nut to be removed. If you wish to tighten lug bolts, make sure you tighten the bolts, and don’t move the wheel.

Most torque wrenches are pretty accurate, and it’s thought that the majority are within an accuracy of 4% either way. However, some torque wrenches can be as much as 10% off either way, so you may want to make sure you have a variety of torque wrenches to hand so that most ranges of power are covered.

What can you use it for?

You can use a torque wrench for a variety of reasons, but they are most commonly used to loosen or tighten clutch pressure plates, lug bolts on vehicles, nuts and bolts, and cap bolts. This type of tool is typically used in the automotive industry, as mechanics tend to loosen a lot of lug bolts every day. There is also a need to use a torque wrench on bolts that need to be tightened to a very specific load. Certain loads are often required so that the bolts do not break, start to loosen, or stretch.

Torque wrenches can also be used with:

  • ball joint studs
  • engine cylinder head bolts
  • main bearing cap bolts
  • crankshaft pulley bolts
  • axle nuts
  • fasteners
  • flywheel bolts
  • intake manifold bolts
  • exhaust manifold bolts
  • camshaft timing gear bolts
  • connecting rod bolts

How big should you get?

Torque wrenches can come in many different sizes, and some can offer a wide range, and some offer a slightly smaller range. As we have already seen, the size of the torque wrench will correspond with the torque range, which means the bigger the wrench, the tougher the jobs it can do.

For example, a torque wrench with a 1/4” drive is ideal for smaller nuts and bolts and  is typically ideal for work that ranges from 50 to 250 inch/pounds.

  • 3/8” drive = For work that ranges from 15 to 75 foot/pounds, making it ideal for use on most cars and smaller, lighter trucks.
  • ½” drive =  For work that ranges from 30 to 250 foot/pounds, making it ideal for use on engine mounts, suspension, and transmission mounts.
  • 3/4” drive =  3/4” drives are ideal for center lug wheels, and while most people will not need a torque that offers this much power, unless they regularly work with vehicles. You are likely to find this type of torque wrench in professional garages as the jobs that are undertaken will require a larger amount of force.

Think about the type of work that you wish to undertake, and you should have more of an idea as to how big/ how much power your torque wrench should offer. If you’re unsure as to which torque wrench to use, take a look at torque wrenches of different sizes, and read the packaging as it will tell you what that particular model is suitable for.

Conclusion

By now you should have a much better idea about the kind of torque wrench you wish to buy. Think about what you need the wrench for, how often you’re going to use it, and of course, how much you are willing to pay for it. Use the above 5 torque wrenches as a guide so you are that little bit closer to finding the right torque wrench for you.

If you have any other questions or worries please contact us, or if you have any comments or improvements please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

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