Best Torque Wrench

To determine the best torque wrench, we considered the following criteria — size, handle, readability, materials, storage, torque range, accuracy, and wrench style. Most DIY auto repairs will make the most use of a ⅜ and a ½ inch torque wrench. Likewise, look for sturdy materials like steel to ensure durability and longevity. Torque ranges can vary depending on your needs so always compare the foot-pound rating to your car’s user manual to ensure compatibility. Wrench styles can also vary but most people will do well with a click-style torque wrench. Also, consider how easily you can read the torque output and the calibration accuracy.

After reviewing all of the above, we nominated the Tekton ½ Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench as our top pick. With a ± four percent accuracy, all-steel construction and a popular square drive size, we think most DIY automotive enthusiasts will get the most use from this tool. You’ll also enjoy a 10 to 150 foot-pound torque range, and this tool comes with a case to help protect it between uses. Keep reading for more details on our top picks.

Top 7 Best Torque Wrench

 #1  TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: A ½ inch drive click torque wrench that’s calibrated to four percent accuracy and features all-steel construction for superior performance and durability.

Pros
  • Most Durable
  • All steel construction
  • 10 – 150 ft-lbs
Cons
  • May ship with cosmetic damage

Tekton is a fan favorite when it comes to automotive tools and for good reason. The brand is known for creating quality materials that you can use again and again. We selected their ½ inch drive click torque wrench as our Top Pick because it boasts an all-steel construction with no plastic in the composition. We like that it also features a comfort grip to help you maintain control.

While you’re using this torque wrench, you’ll like that it emits a very audible click so that you know you’ve reached the desired force. This wrench comes calibrated to +/- four percent and is designed to support 10 – 150 foot-pounds. And it features a high-contrast scale with a dual-range that is easy to read. It may not be as popular of a tool as the best corded drill, but torque wrenches like this are a must for specialized work.

 #2  TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: A ⅜ inch square drive click torque wrench from a dependable brand that features a solid all-steel construction to give you the durability you need for any auto repair job you need to complete.

Pros
  • Standard automotive repair size tool
  • All steel construction
  • 10 – 80 ft-lb
Cons
  • May ship with cosmetic damage

It’s no surprise that our Honorable Mention would also come from Tekton. If you already own their ½ inch drive click torque wrench and need to expand your collection, the ⅜ inch alternative is a smart place to start. While it offers a lower foot-pound rating than our Top Pick, you’ll still get a 10 to 80 foot-pound range. And just like the Top Pick, you can be confident that you have a quality wrench crafted from steel with a comfort grip to give you improved control.

Like our Top Pick, you also get a +/- four percent pre-calibrated accuracy and a reversible ratchet head that works in both directions while measuring torque in the clockwise direction. You’ll still get the audible click when you’ve reached your preset torque value and the high contrast scale with dual-range that’s easy to read. And you’ll like that this comes with a case to keep your tool clean and protected between projects. This is a tool that is just as handy as the best magnifying glass and it belongs in your tool kit. Check out the Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench as well for another durable option.

 #3  EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Award: Best Quality

WHY WE LIKE IT: A solid torque wrench that features additional accessories to improve the functionality and versatility of your tool and minimize the total number of tools you need to use to complete a project.

Pros
  • Carrying case & accessories Included
  • ½ inch square drive
  • 10 – 150 ft-lb
Cons
  • Overtightening is possible

There’s nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of a project because one tool isn’t enough to get the job done. The EPAuto ½ inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is our Best Quality selection because not only is it a solid torque wrench, but it comes with accessories to help make completing tasks easier. You’ll get a ½ inch drive five-inch extension bar and a ½ inch to ⅜ inch drive reducer.

This click drive torque wrench is rated for 10 to 150 foot-pounds, similar to the TEKTON 24335 mentioned earlier, and is made from chrome vanadium steel alloy to resist corrosion. The non-slip grip features a knurled handle to give you better control as you work. You’ll also like that the wrench is pre-calibrated to ± four percent. And this wrench also features a carrying case to keep your tool secure when not in use. You’ll end up using this tool even more than the best disc sander. Be sure to check out another great tool, the Industrial Brand CDI Torque 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench. The CDI Torque has a range of 30-250 ft lbs and has an easy to use dual scale that allows a calibrated dual direction for tasks like tightening bolts or lug nuts.

 #4  EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Award: Best Accessories

WHY WE LIKE IT: A chrome vanadium steel alloy torque wrench that features a non-slip grip making it ideal for use on car projects.

Pros
  • ⅜ inch square drive
  • Comfort grip handle
  • 10 – 80 ft-lb
Cons
  • Overtightening is possible

You’ll note that we often featured multiple torque wrench sizes from the same brand. This is because most people tend to be brand loyal when it comes to their tools. If they find a product that works for them, they will usually consider similar products from that same brand before they venture to a new brand. The EPAuto ⅜ inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is a great option for the DIY auto enthusiast. While it doesn’t come with accessories like our Best Quality option, it still features a commendable range of features that you’ll find useful.

This click drive torque wrench is rated for 10 to 80 foot-pounds and is made from chrome vanadium steel alloy to resist corrosion. The non-slip grip has a knurled handle for improved control as you work. And like the ½ inch torque wrench, this option is also pre-calibrated to ± four percent and comes with a carrying case. Torque wrenches are handy for tightening without over-tightening, because no one wants to have to use the best hacksaw to remove a bolt that broke from too much force.

 #5  eTORK Click-Style ½ Inch Torque Wrench

Award: Best Torque Range

WHY WE LIKE IT: A large 50 to 250 foot-pound range gives you the most versatility in terms of projects you can complete and force you can exert, helping to improve your workflow and the total number of projects you can complete.

Pros
  • Best for spark plugs
  • +/- 3% accuracy
  • ½ inch square drive
Cons
  • Torque adjustment is difficult

If you’re working on a project that requires more torque, you may get frustrated with many torque wrenches that tend to have a maximum foot-pound rating around 150. In that case, this eTork ½ inch Click Drive Torque Wrench might be the solution to your problems. One of the main reasons we included it in our roundup is that you have a large 50 to 250 foot-pound range.

But aside from that, we like that this wrench is made from steel alloy while still featuring a comfort grip. This model also features a dual metric and SAE scale in an easy to read visual format. And eTork’s torque wrenches feature the best calibration of any of the options in our roundup, ± three percent in a clockwise direction. You’ll also get a plastic case to keep your wrench protected between uses. Always use the best wrench for the job, after all you wouldn’t use the best wire strippers to tighten a bolt. Also, check out the LEXIVON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, which has a ft lb range of 10-150 ft lbs and an impressive all-steel construction with no plastic parts for great durability.

 #6  Tooluxe 03703L ⅜” and ½” Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: An affordable dual-ended torque wrench with a large scale and a commendable foot-pounds range that makes this a smart choice for the occasional auto repair or budding mechanic.

Pros
  • Best for bikes
  • 0 – 150 ft-lb
  • Comfort grip
Cons
  • Lacks calibration accuracy percentage
  • No protective case

If you’re just getting into automotive repairs or mechanic work, you might not be ready to splurge on the more expensive tools. And you might not be ready to buy multiple variations of a tool. In that case, the Tooluxe ⅜” and ½” Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench is a good starter option for you. Whereas all the other models in our roundup only offer one fixed size, this option gives you the freedom to switch between ⅜ and ½ inch — two common square drive sizes for automotive work.

This torque wrench is a beam style and includes a large and easy to read scale that is written in both metric and SAE. The actual tool is designed from steel alloy to resist corrosion and features a comfort grip to improve workflow. You’ll also have a foot-pound range of zero to 150. And the 17-inch long shaft will also help you effectively achieve your desired torque. These features are why we rated it as one of the best tools in the torque wrench market. Another great option for bikes is the Pro Bike Tool 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set. This set is safe, easy to use, and also has an +/- 4% accuracy clockwise and +/-6% counterclockwise.

 #7  eTORK Click-Style ⅜ InchTorque Wrench

Award: Best Torque Display

WHY WE LIKE IT: An easy to read torque display makes it possible to determine the amount of force needed, making it a “goof-proof” option for home car repairs.

Pros
  • Safest
  • 20 – 100 ft-lb
  • +/- 3% accuracy
Cons
  • Torque adjustment is difficult

Again we have another option from a brand that we highlighted earlier in our roundup. This time, eTork is offering a ⅜ inch click style torque wrench that features a 20 to 100 foot-pound range. If you liked our #5 selection from eTork but didn’t need as large a foot-pound range or needed a ⅜ inch square drive, then this option is for you.

You’ll note that aside from size, this torque wrench is nearly identical to the other eTork option. So, you’ll get a wrench made from a steel alloy with a comfort grip. The dual metric and SAE scale are one of the easiest to read as compared to some of the other models in our list. And you’ll note that the eTork torque wrenches offer the best calibration, at ± three percent in a clockwise direction. And as is common with this tool, you also receive a plastic case for your wrench. Also, check out the SULMILE AWG2-030 1/4″ Angle Electronic Torque Wrench. This digital torque wrench is easy to operate and has an easily readable digital display for your convenience. To complete your tool set, take a look at the best socket wrench too.

How We Decided

Torque wrenches are a critical tool, especially for automotive repairs and projects. To help narrow down your choices, we looked at the following features — size, handle, readability, materials, storage, torque range, accuracy, and wrench style.

We began by filtering for the wrench style. Except for our Best Budget (#6), all of the remaining torque wrenches in our guide are click style mechanical torque wrenches. For mechanical wrenches, these tend to be the most popular and reliable option. Our Best Budget is a dial style mechanical torque wrench. And while they are more affordable, these types tend to be the least accurate.

We then continued to look at sizes — specifically regarding the square drive. For automotive work, square drives usually include ¼, ½, ⅜, and ¾. You’ll find that the majority of our wrenches are either ½ inch or ⅜ of an inch. And in the case of our Best Budget, it’s a dual-ended model that includes both a ½ and ⅜ inch adapter on either end. However, our Best Quality recommendation (#3) comes with additional accessories to improve its functionality and enhance the versatility of the projects you can complete with it.

All of the wrenches in our recommendations are made from a steel or steel alloy, which gives them improved durability. And they all also feature a textured grip to help you maintain control as you work. Our Best Budget is the only option we listed that doesn’t come standard with a plastic case.

Torque range can vary, and you’ll note that we’ve listed the potential torque range (listed as foot-pounds) for each option we’ve listed. This also goes hand-in-hand with readability. You want a torque wrench with a display that’s easy to read. While all of the options in our list touted easy to read displays, we feel that the eTork models (#5 and #7) offer the best display.

And finally, we looked at accuracy. This is represented by the calibration percentage that’s listed on most torque wrenches. Except for the Best Budget option, all of the other wrenches gave a clear numerical value to their accuracy. A standard accuracy range is ± four percent. But if you want improved accuracy, we would recommend the eTork torque wrenches that offer ± three percent accuracy.

Torque Wrench Buying Guide

 

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Wrench Style
    Torque wrenches come in a range of styles with the two broadest categories being electronic or mechanical torque wrenches. Electronic torque wrenches feature a digital display that reads the precise amount of torque being used and emits a sound when you’ve reached your desired torque setting. Mechanical torque wrenches require that you manually set the torque, there are three common styles: beam, dial, and click types. While beam types are the cheapest option they tend to be the least reliable. The dial-type also requires constant monitoring to ensure you’ve reached the appropriate level of torque. The click type tends to be the most popular version because it is the most reliable option of the mechanical torque wrenches.
  2. Torque Range
    After confirming which style of wrench you want to buy, you need to consider the torque range. The torque range refers to how much force you can exert, and can vary from brand to brand. This is usually listed in foot-pounds. But since most people use a torque wrench to work on their cars, you should always consult your car’s manual to confirm that you’re using the appropriate torque on your fasteners.
  3. Materials
    As with any tool, materials matter. A torque wrench set made from inferior materials might be cheaper for the initial purchase. But if you have to keep replacing it, it’s not worth the money. Look for sets made from metal and keep the amount of plastic in the composition to a minimum.
  4. Storage
    When you buy a wrench set, the last thing you want to do is misplace the parts over time. Not only will this require you to buy replacement parts, but it’ll slow you down as you spend more time hunting down missing pieces than actually completing your project. When possible, look for torque wrench sets that come with a case to help keep your tools organized.
  5. Readability
    Regardless of whether you pick a mechanical or electrical torque wrench, you want to find a tool with a scale that’s easy for you to read. Electrical torque wrenches feature a digital display that by default is easier to read. But there are still plenty of mechanical torque wrenches with clear dials and displays to help you set and reach your desired torque level.
  6. Handle
    Since you’re using this tool to work on your car, there’s a good chance that your hands will be slippery with oils while you use a torque wrench. Look for options that feature either a rubberized grip or metal with ridges. This will help you maintain a firm grip and have more control as you work through your project.
  7. Size
    Assuming that you’re thinking of buying a torque wrench to work on your car, there are four standard sizes that you need to make sure are a part of your torque wrench set. Specifically look for a ¼ inch drive, ⅜ inch drive, ½ inch drive, and a ¾ inch drive.
  8. Accuracy
    Most torque wrenches will come with certification materials that clarify the level of accuracy you can expect to achieve. This means that if the display or dial reads a certain level of torque, you can be confident that you’re getting that level of force. While the best torque wrenches can guarantee accuracy to within 5% or better, these are usually the more expensive models. Likewise, to maintain that accuracy, you’ll need to care for your torque wrench and keep it properly calibrated.

Torque Wrench FAQs

Can I use a torque wrench to loosen bolts?

No, you can’t. Torque wrenches are only designed to tighten bolts. If you try to use these tools to loosen materials, there’s always a risk that you might damage your wrench trying to loosen a bolt that was fastened too tightly.

Are there any safety tips I should keep in mind as I use my torque wrench?

Every torque wrench is rated for the total amount of force it can safely withstand. To keep your wrench from breaking, try to avoid reaching the upper 25% of the maximum range. Using the maximum force can cause premature wear and tear on your torque wrench.

There are so many factors with a torque wrench, are there any that are the most important?

Yes, there are. You should prioritize the square drive and accuracy. By this we mean you need to think about which square drive sizes are most important for your projects and then think about the level of accuracy that you need. Torque wrench options come in a range of sizes. But narrowing down the sizes you need can save you from looking at incompatible models. Likewise, depending on your budget, you can find an accuracy level that works best for your needs.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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