Top 10 Best Torque Wrench

All modern equipment –be it a car you drive, the motorcycle, the lawnmower, industrial equipment, even a bicycle– are engineered for performance, efficiency, and economy. The most precise way to hold it together is with bolts and nuts. Each bolt is designed to hold its share of the load and to keep it in precise alignment. It means that you cannot go on guessing how much to tighten the bolt or nut without risking sheering off a bolt, stripping its thread, or under-tightening a nut at which point it will become loose even just during normal operation.

In the things like wheel nuts and axle nuts (where nut clamping power responsible on properly loading a bearing), under-tightening or over-tightening will cause you very expensive repairs in the future.

Never mind that a brake caliper bolts responsible for your safe stopping on the road. Proper tightening, clamping, torquing is not open for interpretations anymore. It is exact science, and you need to pay attention too. Lucky for you, you stumbled upon my website.

Recommendations Line-Up

BrandRangePriceRating
Precision Instruments PREC4D600F Split Beam200-600 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.6 / 5)
CDI 1002CF3 Drive Computorq 3 Electronic10-100 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.2 / 5)
CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive30-250 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.5 / 5)
GearWrench 85066 1/2-Inch Drive25-250 Ft.Lbs$$ (4.6 / 5)
CDI Torque 3002LDIN 3/8-Inch Drive0-300 In.lbs$$$ (4.8 / 5)
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F 1/2 Inch Drive40-250 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.8 / 5)
CDI 2503MFRMH 1/2 Inch Drive30-250 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.6 / 5)
ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Inch Digital4-99 Ft.Lbs$$$ (4.2 / 5)
Tohnichi Adjustable Torque Wrench QL50N10~50NM$$$ (4.7 / 5)
Capri Tools 31200 20-150 1/4 Inch Pound Drive20-150 In.Lbs$$ (4.8 / 5)

Precision Instruments PREC4D600F Split Beam

Precision-Instruments-PREC4D600F-Split-Beam-Detachable-Head

This is by far the BEST and MOST RECOMMENDED! Anyone who has a shop that serves trucks should have this on their working area. This rugged wrench works well in the wheels of big, Grade 8 tracks and trailers at 600 Ft.Lbs max torque because it is very easy to adjust. No need to unscrew the adjustment back to 200Ft.Lbs when done. This wrench can be used to set torque levels in either CW or CCW directions by rotating the handle relative to the socket head to one of two pre-defined positions.

PROS

  • Made in the USA
  • Detachable head, easy for storing away
  • Displaces real torque values in 4 different units
  • Well build torque wrench, ergonomically designed non slip molded rubber grip
  • 15 degree, flexible ratcheting head
  • Lifelong battery
  • Works in both directions CW ± 3%; CCW ± 3% in 20% to 100% range

CONS

  • Needs a lot of room in your tool box to fit it

CDI 1002CF3 Drive Computorq 3 Electronic

CDI-1002CF3-Drive-Computorq-3-Electronic

Believe me, other mechanics and gear heads will be envious if they found out you have this. The CDI Computorq 3 offers a body design that guarantees maximum durability and performance. It’s an easy-to-use digital readout wrench that displays real time torque values in any of four torque units. Undoubtedly great for light industrial, automotive, motorcycle, watercraft, and aircraft applications. It likewise features a sleek new design and a 15 degree flex ratcheting head. There is a push button socket release head and a large, easy to read digital display. It takes lithium ion batteries for a long life and features an ergonomically designed molded non slip rubber grip.

What’s more cool is that this computer wrench remembers the last unit and torque setting selected. An audible tone sounds when set torque value is reached or alarms when value is exceeded. This is a standard model electronic torque wrench. The torque is 10 to 100 foot pounds. Simply set the desired torque value and apply force until the green LED illuminates.

PROS

  • Good design with quality rubber around for easy handling
  • One of the best and very accurate torque angle ratchet in the market
  • Battery end cap cannot be damaged or pulled off
  • LED are very bright and easy to read
  • Tool can be used to loosen and tighten fasteners
  • Lifelong battery
  • 4 different calculation for torquing items

CONS

  • No vibration when set torque is reached (Tool cannot be used by feel alone)
  • Beep is not loud enough to hear in a mildly noisy shop
  • Beep tone frequency does not increase as you get closer to desired torque
    • Not the most durable for heavy shop application2020

CDI Torque 2503MFRPH

CDI-Torque-2503MFRPH-1-2-Inch-Drive-Adjustable-Micrometer

This CDI torque wrench is made by Snap-on – still a gold standard in tools. Small differences in quality and performance virtually undetectable. Excellent value for someone wanting a high quality torque wrench. Definitely recommend it to the shop owners who does a lot of nuts and bolts repairing. It’s reliable and durable. Its accuracy one of the best on the market and almost excessive for individual use. Ergonomically, it feels like a solid, professional tool, thus, you will want to use it often.

PROS

  • Very accurate: less than +/- 1% across the working range
  • Can use it for torque specs that closer to 10-100 Ft.Lbs
  • Fast, accurate and easy to set
  • Easy to read laser marked single scale
  • Calibrated for Dual directions

CONS

  • It is relatively inexpensive compared to other brands
  • The case is decent, but it does not have very good protection for sensitive equipment

GearWrench 85066

GearWrench-85054-1-2-Inch-Drive-Micrometer

This US manufactured GearWrench 85066 1/2-Inch Drive is easy to set to desired torque. The long handle makes it easy to apply up to 160 lb/ft torque with one hand. The best feature of this torque wrench is its superb click-stop action. Cheaper torque wrenches will not have nearly as clear of a clicking sound and abrupt stop of torque applied when the desired value is reached.

Adjusting torque is easy — just pull back the adjustment ring, turn to unlock, then turn the handle till the desired setting is reached. It has a better mechanism than most of the available tools at this price. Calibration results are likewise included on a piece of paper wrapped around the handle with a rubber band. On the low and midrange, it’s within 1 Ft.Lb, though at the high end it’s off by 3.5 Ft.Lbs, well within +/- 3%.

PROS

  • Accurate: less than +/- 3% across the working range
  • One finger operated reversible lever
  • Sealed teardrop head for access, strength and keeps contaminants out
  • Micrometer twist lock ring for secure locking mechanism

CONS

  • Not everyone likes the rubber grip on the handle
  • Some people find the scale hard to readt does not have very good protection for sensitive equipment

CDI Torque 3002LDIN

CDI-Torque-3002LDIN-3-8-Inch-Drive-Memory-Needle-Dual-Scale

When you have this CDI Torque3002LDIN you really mean business. The CDI Classic series dial style torque wrenches offer a body design that guarantees maximum durability and performance. Accuracy of both series of +/- 3% meets or exceeds ASME B107.14 1994, ISO 6789 bi-directionally from 20% to 100% of scale. It is supplied with N.I.S.T. traceable certificate of calibration. This is important especially for ISO certified manufacturing facilities. This wrench requires very smooth and controlled rotation. This way, you will get very consistent torquing.

When using this wrench always keep in mind that it is In.Lbs. If you use it and need to use different metrics, use our recommended converter calculator.

PROS

  • Can use it for torque specs that closer to 0 to 300 In.Lbs
  • You can feel like it is well built
  • Nice, expensive looking indicator dial
  • Works in both directions CW ± 3%; CCW ± 3% in 20% to 100% range

CONS

  • It does not give you indication when you reach your desirable torque, you need to see the dial
  • It is a bit bulky to reach in some tight spaces

Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F

Precision-Instruments-PREC3FR250F-1-2inch-Drive-Split-Beam

Just like the name suggests, Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive is a high quality and relatively inexpensive. The torque wrench from Precision Instruments is a prime example of this. Where other wrenches must be calibrated, this one does not have to. The speed of wrenching is increased through the spring-loaded mechanism on the wrench. It is fairly long (22-1/8 inches). This means you can get more leverage out of this tool, which is one attractive feature according to several torque wrench reviews.

Setting the tool requires only fingertip force since the adjustment mechanism is not under load. There is no need to “work in” a C series torque wrench before starting using it.

BONUS: It is not necessary to adjust to the lowest torque setting after use. Split-Beam Click Wrenches overcome many of the problems associated with micrometer-style clock wrenches, especially in real life shop conditions. The wrench has few components as all critical parts welded together during manufacturing.

PROS

  • No need to wind it all the way to zero before storage like a micrometer type wrench
  • Can use it for torque specs that closer to 40-250Ft.Lbs
  • Fast, accurate and easy to set
  • Very clear, nicely pronounced click
  • Flex head allowing you to torque in the tighter spaces
  • Nice torque wrench for the fraction of price of similar Snap-On
  • Longer handle gives you good leverage for those over 200 Ft.Lbs

CONS

  • Works only in Clockwise direction
  • Not as accurate as a micrometer type as increments in setting 5 Ft.Lbs
  • In the lower range, the handle maybe too long

CDI 2503MFRMH

CDI-2503MFRMH-1-2inchDrive-Micrometer-Adjustable

This wrench is virtually the same as CDI Torque 2503MFRPH, only it has metal handle. Still, this CDI torque wrench is made by Snap-on – the biggest name in mechanics tools. Between CDI and Snap-on there are virtually undetectable small differences in quality and performance. This torque wrench is an excellent value for someone wanting a high quality torque wrench. It’s reliable and durable. Its accuracy is one of the best on the market and almost excessive for individual use. You can trust its accuracy.

Ergonomically, it fills like a solid, professional tool, hence you will want to use it often. If other people use it, make sure to train them well so torquing done consistently and tool is not abused. Definitely recommended to the shop owners where it will be regularly used.

PROS

  • Positive lock with spring loaded pull down lock ring
  • Dual scale, calibrated dual direction
  • Can use it for specs that closer to 30 to 250 Ft.Lbs
  • Accuracy: +/- 3% CW, +/- 4% CCW of indicated value, CW, from 20% to 100% of full scale

CONS

  • As with any micrometer type, click torque wrenches you need to dialed to the lowest setting when storing
  • You can’t store the wrench at its lowest setting like you’re suppose to
  • The case interior dimensions are a tad short, so you may end up screwing the handle in to about 60 ft-lbs before it actually fits in the case

ACDelco ARM601-4

ACDelco-ARM601-4-1-2inch-Digital

If you’re looking for the most versatile torque wrench to work on your car, The ACDelco ARM601-4 Digital Torque Wrench is the most versatile. It will do most of torqueing you need from oil pan, to brake caliper, to lug nuts. It’s designed to provide precise torque with 4 different mode settings. This tool has a built-in audible buzzer and LCD display to show your measurement (ft.-lb., Nm, in-lb., kg-cm) settings.

This tool is powered by three AAA batteries, making it very lightweight and durable. Ranging from 4-99 ft.-lbs., this digital torque wrench will show “Err” on the display if the torque exceeds 110% of the maximum torque. A high-frequent buzzer will likewise warn you not to pull further. After that the “Err” will be shown for a second every time when you power on this wrench. You will have to take it to the service center to address “Err”.

PROS

  • Can use it for torque specs that closer to 10 to 99Ft.Lbs
  • 4 measurement scales: Ft-lb, Nm, In-lb, Kg-cm
  • Audible buzzer when torque is reached
  • It has memory to record torquing , or forensic disassembling torque measurements
  • 3 settings: Torque, Measurement, Mode
  • Torque wrench feels like it is well built, digital operation is a breeze
  • LCD display to easily show measurements
  • Works in both directions CW ± 2%; CCW ± 3% in 20% to 100% range

CONS

  • It needs batteries, make sure to take them out if string for the longer time
  • Although it goes down to 4 Ft.Lbs, the buzzer will not work under 10 Ft.Lbs
  • Very difficult to hit exactly 5.0Nm
  • Auto shutoff sometimes doesn’t work20

Tohnichi Adjustable Torque Wrench QL50N

Tohnichi-Adjustable-Torque-Wrench-QL50N

Tohnichi Adjustable Torque Wrench is purely metric tool. It is best to use when torque specified in Newton-meters. This way you don’t have any ambiguity, and assembler after good night out would not mix up the Nm with ft.lbs.

However though, the values are not approximate so they require precision. This torque wrench complemented well by his 40-200Nm brother: Tohnichi Adjustable Torque Wrench QL200N4.

Both these torque wrenches are for Clock Wise torqueing only. One of the best things about these wrenches, nice pronounced solid click.​

PROS

  • Accurate: less than +/- 3% across the working range
  • Fast, accurate, easy to set
  • The ratchet head has 24 teeth with a 15 degree operating range, allowing for use in space-limited working conditions
  • 3/8 in square drive ratcheting head for CW tightening
  • Certification according to ISO 6789 Type II Class A

CONS

  • This is metric only
  • The small convex window makes decimals hard to read

Capri Tools 31200 20-150

Capri-Tools-31200-20-150-Inch-Pound-1-4inch-Drive

Capri Tools 31200 inch pound torque wrench has ¼” drive. Although this wrench is an industrial-level torque wrench, it has a solid tool for easy and certain adjustments. Drive selection is straightforward, and a ball-bearing bit holder button (instead of a friction bearing) is a nice feature. It’s high tooth count, which is handy when working in tight spaces, might find it handy to most auto mechanics. It’s designed for regular, daily use and long-term durability (Approved for up to 10,000 clicks at max torque without re-calibration.) It is also reversible (can tighten both clockwise and counter-clockwise.)

For best fit application use it for 40 – 135 in.lbs range. Don’t use it right at 150 in.lbs; the risk of overtightening something is great with the small tool.

PROS

  • Accurate: less than +/- 3% CW, and +/-5% CCW
  • All metal construction
  • Well designed and suitable for industrial applications where ISO standards call for NIST traceability
  • Socket release button is great, and needed for small size torque wrenches
  • Micrometer positive lock ring for secure locking mechanism

CONS

  • Some people like tools to be shiny, not satin finish
  • Again, some people find the scale hard to read

Important Torque Formula & Equation Tables

Using a torque wrench will be useless until you know the torque units and values you need to torque the nuts and bolts to. Here are the tables to take the guess work out of most commonly used fasteners. When it comes to intricately engineered and precisely designed parts, or components, you need to consult the repair manuals and assembly instructions.

For example, many engine manufacturers use single use bolts that are designed to Torqued-To-Yield (TTY). In that case, you torque with this wrench, then you turn the bolt X degrees more. Those are designed to utilize the clamping force of the bolt when it is overstretched. There are tools for that as well, and it will be covered on our Advanced Torque Wrenches guide.

metric-bolt-torque-table
recommended-torque

Proper Handling and Care

You need to select the right torque wrench for the application. There are few things one needs to pay attention to, and it is very important to use the tool properly and handle it with care.

 

  • Choose a torque wrench that has your specified torque value from 20% to 90% of torque wrench full scale. This will ensure the most precise torqueing in your application.
  • Don’t throw or drop a torque wrench. Impact of the tool on a hard surface can throw off its calibration. If the calibration is off, you will not get specified torque value that you need to achieve.
  • Use a torque wrench only at the end of the final assembly. Unless you doing forensic disassembly, don’t use it as the primary mean of removing nuts or bolts. When you use torque wrench for removing nuts or bolts, make sure it is rated for CCW, and torque value spec is 40% to 60% of the torque wrench full scale. Use appropriate tools for initial fastening as that could damage it and cause it to need recalibrating sooner.
  • Use appropriate tools for initial fastening. The use of torque wrench in initial step could damage it and cause it to need re-calibrating sooner.
  • Apply torque wrench in a controlled, smooth, and methodical manner. Fast or jerky movements can result to inconsistent and inaccurate torquing. It can also damage it.
  • When storing a click-type torque wrench, set it to the manufacturer recommended setting. If the setting is not specified, set it to the lowest value on the scale.
  • Most torque wrenches are length specific so always grasp the wrench in the center of the handle. If two hands are needed, place one hand on top of the other. Sometimes, when the socket extension is used, support the torque wrench at the pivot point.
  • Recalibrate a torque wrench when a certain amount of time or number of cycles have been reached as specified by the manufacturer, or sooner if it have been mishandled or dropped.
  • Never use cheater bars or handle extensions unless they are allowed by the manufacturer.
  • Store your snap on torque wrench in a clean and dry protected area (preferably in the manufacturers case) and keep calibration certificate where you can access it for your reference.