Torque wrenches are an often-overlooked tool that can be incredibly useful for tightening nuts and bolts, which can be one of the most frustrating, time-consuming and sometimes even painful experiences of any construction project, regardless of whether it’s a small piece of furniture or an entire garden shed.
With a good torque wrench, you’ll be able to loosen and tighten bolts on the fly to assemble and reassemble large items and furniture pieces in much less time – however, there are still different brands and designs that offer their own specific design quirks and features.
Below is a list of ten different torque wrenches that are worthy of a spot in your toolbox, as well as the reasons that they’re more than just an average tool.
Related: Tool Sets in Review.
View the Best Torque Wrench, Below.
- TEKTON 24335 1/2″ Drive Click Torque Wrench
- CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable
- Neiko 03727A Drive Beam Style Torque
- GearWrench Automotive 85077 Torque Wrench
- Pro Bike Tool 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set
- Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Torque Wrench
- eTORK C3250 1/2-Inch Drive Click Style Wrench
- EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- Craftsman 9-13919 1/2″ Wrench
- TEKTON 24320 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque
1. TEKTON 24335 1/2″ Drive Click Torque Wrench
This slick and professional-looking torque wrench uses a high-contrast scale that’s incredibly easy to read, and clicks when it reaches a specified pre-set torque value, completely removing the need to try and guess how tight or loose each nut is. The design is completely devoid of plastic parts in favor of steel replacements, increasing the wrench's durability and making it much harder to wear the tool out after long-term repeated use, and offers an excellent level of strength compared to mixed-material wrenches. Thanks to its reversible head, it can drive in bolts and fasteners from both sides, with or without a torque measuring scale.
This torque wrench is durable, reliable and well-calibrated, making it an excellent choice for anybody who needs a long-lasting tool that can adjust nuts and bolts in mere seconds.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable
This dual-scale torque wrench is designed for speed and accuracy, putting precision above almost anything else. The design has its own easy-to-use spring-loaded locking mechanism that helps you keep track of the measurements you’ve taken, and its comfortable ergonomic handle makes it easier to keep your grip on the tool at awkward or difficult angles, making it useful for trickier projects or last-minute tightness checks. A laser-marked scale on its handle lets you quickly and clearly see the current torque level in a wide range, and the high accuracy of the design means that any mistakes will be minimal at best.
High precision and a low margin of error make this torque wrench an excellent tool for fasteners that need to be as secure and tight as possible.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Neiko 03727A Drive Beam Style Torque
This versatile torque wrench can be used on a variety of different objects and items, including vehicles of almost any size. Its design allows it to be used in either hand in both the clockwise and anticlockwise directions, eliminating one of the most common problems with handheld tools in general, and the scale at the bottom provides both standard readings and metric readings for added convenience. In terms of accuracy, the wrench has been built to achieve a +/-4% accuracy range at most, with many measurements being much closer to their actual value than you might first assume.
This simple, easy-to-use torque wrench is designed to handle common jobs really well and doesn't rely on design gimmicks to stay useful.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. GearWrench Automotive 85077 Torque Wrench
This partially-digital wrench uses a built-in alter system to tell you when you’re getting close to a pre-set torque target, making it extremely easy to avoid under-or-over-torquing a fixer or bolt by accident. This is bolstered by a vibrating handle and bright LED light, which warn you of how close you’re getting to the designated torque without actually impacting your ability to tighten or loosen the bolt. Its ratchet mechanism has a total of seventy-two teeth, giving it more individual “sections” without affecting its performance, and a five-degree art for tightening fasteners in smaller spaces, both indoors and out.
This wrench is simple, effective and very good at warning you of your current torque level, making it extremely useful for situations where you need to be as accurate as possible.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Pro Bike Tool 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set
This pre-calibrated torque wrench offers high precision and easy adjustment, making the process of measuring and altering the torque of individual fasteners extremely simple and convenient in almost any situation. It comes with a range of different hex styles for dealing with different bolt types, meaning that you aren’t just restricted to a single kind of fastener, and the excellent calibration means that you’ll almost always be within a tiny percentage of your intended target torque. The spring-loaded clicking mechanism makes a loud sound when you reach the desired torque setting, so there’s less chance that you’ll over-guess or under-guess the perfect spot.
This torque wrench works well for adjusting a range of different fasteners in short succession, especially ones of different sizes and at different levels of tightness.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Torque Wrench
This nicked and chrome-finished torque wrench is a surprisingly convenient tool when it comes to adjusting certain nuts and bolts properly in a short span of time, using a locking mechanism that keeps the same settings between different fasteners without slipping or resetting. This means that you can quickly jump between them and fasten them up, using the ergonomic grip to support your hand and ensure that you don’t accidentally let go. Thanks to its built-in adjustment knob, there’s no spring tensions, so you won’t be fighting against your own tools while you’re trying to make sure that specific fasteners are safe and secure.
This wrench is strong and effective, using it’s locking mechanism to speed up situations where you need to tighten multiple fasteners to the same torque.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. eTORK C3250 1/2-Inch Drive Click Style Wrench
This eTORK torque wrench is designed to work in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, letting you adjust fasteners from a range of different angles without needing to put yourself in awkward or uncomfortable spots, especially if it’s part of a large, hard-to-move object. The +/-3% accuracy margin ensures that you’ll get very close to your intended target even if you’re not exactly on it, and the design allows it to provide measurements regardless of which way you’re turning it, which is something that very few models can actually provide properly. Hardened alloy steel ensures that the entire tool won’t wear down easily with frequent use.
The convenient and easy-to-use design of this torque wrench makes it incredibly useful for general-purpose tightening and loosening jobs.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The convenient, compact design of this torque wrench makes it easy to store away in a variety of different places, with its carrying case being both protective and equally compact. Despite its size, the dual-range scale is easy to read thanks to their dual-contrast design, and the entire tool has a corrosion-resistant satin finish that can keep it safe from natural damage in a range of poor weather and storage conditions. As with many wrench designs, it keeps the handy “click” sounds that tell you when you’ve reached your pre-set torque level, increasing your accuracy without impacting the design or functionality of the tool itself.
This wrench is small, versatile and can help you adjust fasteners without weighing down your toolbox or getting in the way of your other equipment.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Craftsman 9-13919 1/2″ Wrench
This digital torque wrench replaces the manual clicking with a digital warning that can tell you when you're nearing the target torque strength, with its backlit screen using an LED setup that makes it easy to check the measurements in near-complete darkness. Thanks to its simple yet sleek design, you'll be able to hold a tight grip on the wrench when you're trying to tighten any particular touch fasteners. The built-in buttons that adjust various settings are easy to use but are out of the way so that you don't accidentally change something while you're tightening a nut.
The digital features on this torque wrench don’t impact its simplicity at all, making it a solid choice for most general tightening work.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. TEKTON 24320 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque
This click-based torque wrench uses the ever-helpful clicking system to tell you when you've reached your chosen pre-set torque value, making it harder to over-or-under-torque an individual fastener. The all-steel design ensures that it can take a lot of wear and tear before showing any signs of even the most minor damage, and the reversible ratchet head means that you can use the torque wrench in both directions while still taking accurate, clear readings.
The entire design has been put together for long-term performance, with many of the different components being made as simple and as durable as possible to prevent them from breaking easily.
Although it appears basic, this wrench is very stable, durable, and easy to use, offering a gimmick-free way to quickly and easily tighten up some fasteners.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide
Torque wrenches are more complicated than many of the small tools you’ll have in your toolbox, so choosing the right one is important to getting an excellent level of accuracy, reliability, and durability when you’re trying to adjust fasteners properly.
Some torque wrenches come with LED screens and built-in warning systems, which can be incredibly useful in specific situations, but not everybody will find themselves using these features consistently. There’s a high chance that certain features will simply never get used, and this can often translate to a waste of money or a lack of different or more useful features that was replaced by the existing one.
While most of these will be minor things, they can also alter the base design of the tool itself – adjustment knobs are a great example since many of them remove adjustment systems on other parts of the design, which can make them more awkward to use in certain circumstances.
On the other hand, some features can be more useful with no real downsides – an LED-backlit screen provides extra visibility without any problems aside from battery consumption, so many people will see it as a direct upgrade, especially if they work in low-light areas often.
Like with many tools, durability is a key part of both your experience while using a torque wrench and the kinds of situations it will work best in. Many torque wrenches are made out of stainless steel, with the only main non-steel parts being the handle, but others use a mixture of materials that don’t degrade at the same rate. Some designs might even use protective paint or a top layer, adding more durability without really changing the way the tool looks.
Not all materials are equally good, though – metal handles can be slippery, especially if they get wet or you have sweaty hands, and plastic components can break easily under pressure. Choosing the right materials is incredibly important for anybody, even the most experienced professionals.
Accuracy is one of the most important metrics for torque wrenches since it dictates how likely you are to hit the target torque in any given situation. Greater accuracy leads to better torque levels and less chance of something breaking or falling apart, whereas lower ones leave a much larger margin of error that can’t always be easily corrected.
Warning features can help with this sometimes, but many wrenches will have their accuracy calibration value listed somewhere. You can re-calibrate one yourself, but it takes time, and won’t always be 100% reliable with certain designs or models.
What is a Torque Wrench used For?
Torque wrenches are mainly used to help tighten and loosen fasteners, which are most often seen in the form of nuts and bolts. They serve a similar purpose to regular wrenches in terms of functionality, rotating the fastener to a tighter or looser level, but they still differ in some key ways. For example, many use electric or mechanical systems to “mark” a particular torque level, then alert you via sound, vibrations or lights when you’re close to it.
In many cases, a torque wrench will have a scale that measures the exact amount of torque on each fastener, with the most common measurements being foot-pounds (ft.lb) or newton meters (n.m), which can often be converted between, using charts or built-in dual-unit scales. They’re also usually calibrated to a certain degree of accuracy, so certain wrenches will be able to hit more accurate torque values than others purely based on their design.
How do I use a Torque Wrench?
Torque wrenches are surprisingly easy to use, but certain designs won’t seem very intuitive to first-time users.
Most torque wrenches need to be placed on top of the fastener you’ve already gotten snug into a specific hole or mount – which you’ll often have done with a larger wrench, or possibly even just your bare hands. Make sure you’ve got a solid grip on the handle of the torque wrench and place the end onto the fastener straight-on. From there, simply move it clockwise (or counter-clockwise, depending on the design and situation) until you reach the intended or pre-decided torque level.
Depending on the specific design and type of your wrench, the procedure can vary slightly – some will require you to use guesswork, while others will buzz, click or light up to tell you that you’re near/close to the chosen torque level. Some will display the current torque level alongside your chosen value, whereas others might not.
Some specific models might require you to use a manual adjustment knob, rather than setting one separately. In this case, make sure you’ve set the knob to your chosen torque before using it, and then reset it once you don’t need it anymore to ensure that none of the internal parts are kept under high pressure or stress.
How do I Calibrate a Torque Wrench?
Calibrating a torque wrench takes some effort, but it can be worth it in the long run, especially if you need more accuracy than the original product gave you straight out of the box.
To start the calibration process, measure the length of the tool from the handle to the square drive (the point that you’d use to actually adjust the fastener). Make sure you mark that point with a sticky label or removable pen since it’s an important part of the calibration process.
With measurements taken, put the wrench square-drive-first into a vice and secure it, so that it won’t move on its own. Be sure that you don’t make it too tight since this can damage the tool – however, you need the rest of the wrench to be able to move slightly, so try and limit the vice-held section to the square drive (and nothing else) if possible.
To calculate the right calibration settings, multiply the distance you measures earlier by 20 pounds, and then hang a 20-pound weight (or equivalent object) from the handle with some thin rope, making sure that it doesn’t touch the ground. Move this weight around and listen out for clicking sounds – once they stop, mark the spot.
Measure the distance between this spot and the square drive and multiply it by 20 pounds, then use the formula “Torque setting x (1st measured distance / 2nd measures distance)” to calculate the applied torque.
Always reset your torque wrench dials or adjustment knobs back to zero once you’re done using them. This stops them from damaging themselves or getting stuck, especially if they’re spring-based and use a lock system that you could forget to disengage.
Did you know?
Many professionals suggest tightening nuts in sequence, especially on car wheels or other, similar items – this doesn’t always make much of a difference, but it can sometimes help you ensure that you’re not tightening anything at an awkward angle that could damage the surface underneath.