The Best Torque Wrench – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

​Whether you’re a professional tradesperson or a keen D.I.Y.-er, you will be aware that man is only as good as his tools. When it comes to assembling safe, long-lasting products, precision is key and getting the torque wrong can greatly affect the quality of your work.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Choice:

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

​This sturdy, precise torque wrench provides all the important functions of a great product, but its adapter, reducer and extension bar set it apart as a great all-around torque wrench solution.

It is likely for this reason that you are looking to purchase a torque wrench, but not sure where to start with the many different options, sizes, and settings available on the market. To help you make sense of which product is right for you, we’ve put together a simple guide to explain the numbers and simplify the facts.

Our Top 5 Torque Wrenches

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

​If you haven’t come across a torque wrench before, then the idea is fairly simple; a scale, usually found at the bottom of the wrench, allows you to preset the desired torque (rotational force) you would like to apply to a nut or a bolt. When the desired setting is reached by the wrench, it will alert you to stop turning, usually through a click sound and vibration.

Torque wrenches come in a range of different options, despite essentially all doing the same thing. The best torque wrench option for you will depend on several things, including the size of the drive socket you require and the amount of torque you need to apply.

The length of the torque wrench’s handle may be of consideration and whether or not you require the wrench to be used in both directions, for which your torque wrench will need a reversible ratchet.

A good quality torque wrench will come with guaranteed calibration parameters to avoid errors and the settings dial should be clear and easy to read. Some products on the market even offer an LCD screen to show the settings, which allows you to work in low light levels.

So if you’re searching for the best torque wrench, then look no further than our handy guide below, with our five best product picks for you.

1. Tacklife 3/8” Torque Wrench (10-80 ft.-lb./13.6-108.5Nm) Drive Click with Socket Extension Bar, Adapter, Reducer – HTW1A

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • INCLUDES REDUCER AND ADAPTER – Fits 3/8 inch, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch sockets
  • ALL STEEL CONSTRUCTION – Rust and corrosion retardant
  • 10-80 FT.-LB. TORQUE RANGE

The Tacklife 3/8” Torque Wrench comes top of our list thanks to its versatility and ability to work in a variety of situations. Coming with a standard 3/8 inch drive, this product also includes a 1/4 reducer and a 1/2 inch adapter, allowing it to function with fastenings of all three sizes.

This wrench has a torque range of 10-80 ft.lb. and, in line with ISO 16789 standards, it is calibrated to within +/- 4% accuracy. The product is scaled with a dual range of ft.-lb. and Nm, allowing you to work with both metrics and the high-contrast design makes the scale easy to read from a distance or in dim lighting.

The reversible ratchet allows the drive to function in both directions, and the wrench emits a click which can be both heard and felt when the preset value is reached, prompting you to stop applying force. It should be noted that the torque measurement only functions in the clockwise direction.

The all-steel construction of this torque wrench means that not only is it highly functional, but it is extremely durable and will serve you for many years to come.

Facts and Features:

  • 3/8 inch drive
  • 10-80 ft.-lb. torque range
  • Drive click socket extension bar
  • 1/4 inch drive reducer
  • 1/2 inch drive adapter
  • Meets ISO 6789 standards
  • Calibrated to +/- 4%
  • Reversible ratchet
  • Click signal when preset value is reached
  • High contrast dual-range scale
  • All-steel construction
  • Knurled handle for firm grip
  • Weight: 2.67 pounds
  • Length: 14.5 inches

2. EPAuto 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • HIGH CONTRAST DUAL SCALE – Easy to read settings
  • NON-SLIP GRIP – Knurled handle for a comfortable grip
  • 20-200 IN.-LB. TORQUE RANGE

The EPAuto 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is great value for money and a highly recommended product among some strong competition. The reversible ratchet head is made from hardened treated chrome vanadium steel alloy with a satin finish, making it durable and corrosion retardant.

The easy to read high contrast scale is measured in both in.-lb. and N/m and the click sound will alert you when the preset torque requirement is met in the clockwise direction. For precision guarantee, this product comes pre-calibrated to +/- 4%.

At 10 inches long and weighing just 1.76 pounds, this product is compact and smaller than some of our other options, but the knurled handle provides a non-slip grip that makes it easy to use and comfortable on the wrist.

Facts and Features:

  • Durable ratchet head
  • Storage case included
  • Knurled handle
  • High contrast dual range scale.
  • Pre-calibrated to +/- 4%
  • Corrosion retardant satin finish
  • Click alert when preset torque is met
  • Reversible ratchet head
  • Weight: 1.76 pounds
  • Length: 10 inches

3. Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Clock Torque Wrench

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • REVERSIBLE RATCHET HEAD – Drives in both directions
  • ALL STEEL CONSTRUCTION – No plastic parts that can break
  • 10-150 FT.-LB. TORQUE RANGE

A popular product in the torque wrench market is the Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Clock Torque Wrench, which provides a high-quality, durable product solution for 1/2 inch fastening.

This product has an all-steel construction, meaning that there are no plastic parts within the wrench that can break or become damaged. The product, therefore, is extremely durable and a suitable lifetime solution for a good torque wrench.

The dual-range scale is marked in high contrast colors for easy to read settings and the reversible ratchet head allows the wrench to drive in both directions and measure torque clockwise. The accuracy is guaranteed at a pre-calibrated level of +/- 4%.

This option is the largest on our list, at 18.5 inches long, yet not the heaviest, weighing 2.2 pounds.

Facts and Features:

  • Emits a click when a preset value is reached
  • High-contrast dual-range scale
  • Reversible ratchet head
  • Durable all-steel construction
  • Pre-calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Length: 18.5 inches

4. ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2Digital Torque Wrench

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • LCD SCREEN – Read measurements in any lighting
  • MULTIPLE SETTING FUNCTIONS – Includes Peak and Trace measurements
  • 4-99 FT.-LB. TORQUE RANGE

Unlike the other products in our top five, the ACDelco ARM601-4 has a digital screen and is battery powered to provide a range of additional settings and functions. The LCD screen displays measurements of preset torque range, as well as a Peak setting to show the maximum torque applied, and a Trace setting which displays the current torque applied, resetting to 0 when not in use.

Instead of the standard click notification that we see on the other manual products, this wrench has a buzzer and an LED flash notification to alert you when the torque preset level has been reached.

Perhaps the most accurate of all our product picks, the ACDelco ARM601-4 guarantees accuracy to +/- 2% and meets the ISO 6789 requirements, providing a certificate of calibration. With a torque range of 4-99 ft.-lb. this is not, however, the best option on our list for heavy duty fastenings.

Facts and Features:

  • Buzzer and LED flash alert
  • ISO 6789 standards
  • 4-99 ft.-lb. torque range
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • Multiple setting functions including Peak and Trace
  • Guaranteed accuracy to +/- 2%
  • Quick release reversible ratchet
  • Anti-slip soft grip
  • Runs on 3 AAA batteries
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Length: 17 inches

5. Pittsburgh Pro 239 Professional Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench

Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • HEAVY DUTY CAM AND PAWL MECHANISM – For precision tightening
  • REVERSIBLE RATCHET – Drives in both directions
  • 20-150 FT.-LB. TORQUE RANGE

The final product in our top five selection is the Pittsburgh Pro 239 Professional Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench. This product comes with a reversible ratchet to drive in both directions and measure torque in clockwise, however, the settings on this device are measured in only lb.-ft., unlike some other products which also offer an Nm scale.

Utilizing a heavy duty cam and pawl mechanism, this torque wrench has a good range of 20-150 ft.-lb. and is calibrated to within +/- 4% accuracy. The click-stop system alerts you that the preset torque level has been reached and that you can remove force to the fastening.

At $26.85, this product is reasonably priced but lacks some of the more advanced features of our other top products. For this reason, it is a suitable solution if you are looking for a basic and affordable torque wrench.

Facts and Features:

  • Cam and pawl mechanism
  • Torque range: 20-150 ft.-lb.
  • Reversible ratchet
  • Calibrated within +/- 4% accuracy
  • Click-stop system
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Length: 18 inches

How to Choose the Right Torque Wrench for Your Needs

Have reversible ratchets got you in a spin? Here’s our simple breakdown guide of the key features of any torque wrench product.

Fastening Size

One of the most fundamental considerations when purchasing a torque wrench is the size of the fastening that it needs to work with. Drive sizes usually come in 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch, however, adapters and reducers are available to make your wrench multi-functional.

Torque Measurement

To use a torque wrench accurately, you will need to know the required torque that you wish to apply to the fastening. This can usually be found on information supplied by the fastening manufacturer. The measurement of torque is likely to be supplied in either foot-pound (ft.-lb.) or in Newton meters (Nm). Most torque wrenches have a scale to measure both metrics.

Torque Range

Once you have established the amount of torque that is required, you will need to verify that this amount is within the range of your torque wrench. Each wrench has its own range, meaning that you may need multiple wrenches for particularly high or low torque levels.

Drive Direction

The head of the wrench, the ratchet, drives the torque force in one direction. If your torque wrench has a reversible ratchet, then this means that the wrench can drive in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. However, most torque wrenches can only measure preset torque levels in the clockwise direction.

Calibration

For the best accuracy, your wrench should be pre-calibrated and provide a certificate with a guarantee of accuracy range. The industry standard is +/- 4% accuracy, however, some products may improve upon this further.

Alert System

When the preset torque requirement has been met, a torque wrench will alert you to stop applying force. Manual wrenches usually do this by a loud click, which can be heard and felt in the handle of the wrench. More advanced torque wrenches may emit a noise or flash a light instead.

Weight

The weight of torque wrenches generally varies, however, the heavier the wrench then the more strain will be applied to your wrist. If you have weak wrists, you may prefer a lighter option.

Length

The length of the wrench will affect the ease at which you can work. If you want to tighten difficult to reach nuts and bolts, then a longer handle will be beneficial. However, if you’re working at close range, then a smaller handle will be easier to manage and reduce effort to turn the wrench.

Final Thoughts

Once you have a clear understanding of the above features and considerations, then choosing the right torque wrench for you should be a piece of cake. All of the above products come highly reviewed and recommended and for this reason, they have made it to our top five torque wrench list.

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