Last Updated on April 21, 2020 by Tim
Good adjustable torque wrenches are available for all budgets. While the latest in digital torque wrenches promise unprecedented accuracy, traditional click-type wrenches still dominate for good reason.
They simply tend to last longer and remain more accurate (generally speaking) over a digital model, making them a much better long-term investment.
Accuracy, durability, and affordability are the primary attributes to consider when looking to buy the best torque wrench for the money in your garage, shop, or for track use.
Every one of the wrenches below provides superior torque to standard wrenches and can get into tight spaces easily.
Tip: An alternate and faster method to tighten lug nuts to a specific torque setting is the impact wrench and torque stick combo which is commonly used in tire shops.
Our 6 Best Torque Wrenches
|Product||Length||Weight||Range (ft-lbs.)||Ratchet teeth|
|CDI 2503MFRPH||21.3"||3.2 lbs||30-250||30|
|Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F||19.0"||3.4 lbs||40-250||32|
|TEKTON 24340||25.0"||4.4 lbs||25-250||24|
|TEKTON 24335||18.4"||2.9 lbs||10-150||24|
|EPAuto ST-010-1||18.3"||3.8 lbs||10-150||24|
|Crescent CRTW12||22.8"||3.7 lbs||50-250||45|
Best Torque Wrench Reviews
The following six wrenches are all high quality and at varying price points depending on your budget. All models use a standard 1/2-inch drive which is by far the most common for any type of engine and wheel work.
So while you may use 3/8″ sockets for normal auto maintenance, you’ll need a thicker drive to be able to handle the high torque requirements these wrenches are used for.
Please note that these wrenches (as with all torque wrenches) should always be stored with the torque setting at zero to avoid losing calibration and that one should never loosen the wrench below zero.
#1 – CDI 2503MFRPH Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench
When looking for precision, 2503MFRPH is the best of the best. This 1/2-inch drive torque wrench has ranged from 30 to 250 foot-pounds to tackle all sorts of projects.
It has a dual scale that is calibrated for dual direction and has been laser-marked for easy reading. The positive lock features a spring-loaded pull-down lock ring.
An ergonomic comfort grip and quick release buttons round off the list.
Also, because CDI is a subsidiary of Snap-On, you can always expect the same quality Snap-On is known for but at a lower price.
Inside the molded case you’ll find a unique certificate of calibration which includes accuracy test results of that particular torque wrench.
Owners of this torque wrench report a high level of precision.
Those who have used a Snap-On torque wrench before note that there is no difference in quality between the 2503MFRPH and similar wrenches from CDI’s parent company SnapOn.
When it comes to torque wrench that delivers top-quality performance, consumers find it difficult to recommend an alternative.
There has been a lot of confusion about the warranty of this torque wrench. Many sellers boast a limited warranty for the usable lifespan of the wrench.
After reaching out to the manufacturer, Floor Jack Shop determined this wrench carries a one-year limited warranty.
#2 – Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Split Beam Torque Wrench
Designed especially for use in an abusive environment, this one-half inch split-beam click wrench can stand up to a lot of punishment.
It’s ready to use upon delivery and doesn’t need to be turned down before storage.
Setting torque on this wrench is quick and easy, thanks to the adjustment knob, and the torque setting locks to allow for multiple actions without adjusting each time.
The entire wrench has a nickel/chrome finish and ergonomic grip for less strain during extended use.
The high accuracy of the PREC3FR250F is one of the first things owners talk about. It can be found not only being used by DIYers but also for automotive repair shops where durability is put to the test.
Its easy adjustments and ability to be stored without zeroing out are also popular points among consumers.
One of the key features of this wrench is the flex head, which is meant to allow easier access to tight spaces.
Unfortunately, the angle is extremely limited and does a poor job when faced with some tasks.
#3 – TEKTON 24340 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This 1/2-inch drive torque wrench comes pre-calibrated to an accuracy of +/- 4 percent and is made completely of steel for optimum durability. The high-contrast, dual-range scale can be easily read, even in low light.
This wrench also features a reversible ratchet head and torque is measured in a clockwise direction. It can be adjusted for torque ranging from 25 to 250 foot-pounds.
Customers love the high quality and precision of this tool and often compare it to premium SnapOn models.
They note there’s a slight learning curve, especially if you haven’t used torque wrenches before. For a fairly cheap torque wrench, Tekton’s quality and precision are hard to beat.
While it tends to hold up well for home use, it has trouble standing up to constant use in a more commercial setting. There have also been some quality control issues with this torque wrench.
Be sure to check the wrench upon arrival for potential quality issues, such as loose screws or poor calibration and pay close attention to the handling and storage instructions.
In the event of such an issue, TEKTON’s customer service is quick to remedy the situation.
#4 – Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
TEKTON’s second entry on this list is a smaller sibling to the 24340. This little trooper is capable of torque ranging from 10 to 150 feet/pounds and may be purchased alone or with a four-piece adaptor set or breaker bar for a slightly higher cost.
It arrives at your home fully pre-calibrated to an accuracy of +/- 4 percent, and the included manual features a handy torque conversion chart.
The smaller size of this wrench makes it ideal for automotive and garden equipment use without compromising on quality. Once again, torque is only measured in the clockwise direction, and this wrench features the same high contrast, dual-range scale as the 24340.
The dual-range torque scale is high-contrast to make reading easier in low-light situations, while the reversible ratchet head can drive in both directions, measuring the torque in a clockwise direction.
As with most drive adjustable torque wrenches, the 24335 produces an audible click when the target torque is reached, and that click can also be felt, allowing less room for error in a noisy setting.
The durable all-steel construction and handy carrying case ensure this cheap torque wrench feels anything but cheap.
The overall quality of 24335 has impressed many consumers. In a few cases, they have had to contact TEKTON customer support, which they note quickly remedies any problems at no extra cost.
When properly exercised and stored, this wrench will remain accurate and reliable for many years.
A few users have encountered problems with this wrench not clicking when the desired torque is reached.
The reason for this issue isn’t known, and we suggest you test the wrench on a cheaper item upon delivery to ensure it clicks as it’s supposed to.
Also, some have found that higher torque numbers can be difficult to adjust to, requiring more strength as the number increases past 100.
#5 – EPAuto ST-010-1 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
Made of hardened treated chrome vanadium steel alloy, this wrench can stand up against corrosion and has excellent durability.
The knurled handle and non-slip grip make tightening even difficult bolts easy. Its high contrast, dual-range scale is pre-calibrated to +/- 4 percent accuracy and can be read easily.
Capable of torques ranging from 10 to 150 foot-pounds, the ST-010-1 is an excellent choice for personal toolkits.
Owners of this torque wrench have used it on everything from automotive maintenance to gun repair with equally impressive results.
They point to its high accuracy and ability to lock into settings, making it easy to work on multiple tasks without needing to readjust.
Some consumers have had difficulty with the torque settings on this wrench.
They have also noted that the wrench may or may not click properly, which appears to be a quality control issue.
Be sure to test the wrench upon arrival to get used to any inaccuracy.
#6 – Crescent CRTW12 1/2-Inch Drive Micrometer Torque Wrench
When looking for a good quality torque wrench and the CDI model at the top is a bit above your budget, the Crescent’s CRTW12 is a great alternative.
Ideal for automotive, industrial, and agricultural applications, this wrench features a reversible 45-tooth round ratcheting head for working in small spaces.
A slide back adjustment collar and large, laser-etched marks set in a clockwise direction make setting torque a fast and easy process.
Made from heat-treated vanadium steel alloy and featuring a non-slip handgrip, the CRTW12 provides both comfort and durability.
When your target torque of 50 to 250 foot/pounds is reached, the wrench provides an easily audible click, and the accuracy is rated within 4 percent in accordance with ASME standards.
The tools themselves come with a lifetime workmanship warranty, and in addition to the popular 1/2-inch drive CRTW12, Crescent also offers their 3/8-inch sister model, the CRTW38.
One of the things users most appreciate about this wrench is the care taken prior to shipping.
Like the CDI, each wrench is hand-tested and includes a certificate detailing how it was tested, along with the specific serial numbers and accuracy results.
Additionally, owners of the CRTW12 have found it to be of comparable quality to Craftsman and other big-brand wrenches, but at a lower price.
The locking mechanism has also proven a major improvement for people who are used to dial-based wrenches.
The single largest complaint about this wrench is the lack of a quick-release button, making it a little more difficult to change heads.
Also, it must be noted that the warranty covers only the wrench itself, and any accessories or carrying cases are not covered.
Keep this in mind if you are purchasing a full set.
Best Torque Wrench FAQs
Should I buy a 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2” torque wrench?
Different sizes perform different functions, and this greatly affects which size you’ll need.
1/4-inch drives are meant for minimum torque jobs and can’t handle tough jobs. 3/8 and 1/2-inch drives are both used for automotive repair, with the latter being the best size for lug nuts and most useful overall.
Adaptors can be purchased to adjust a torque wrench’s size by one step in a pinch. Larger sizes, such as 3/4-inch and 1 inch also exist, but these are reserved for heavy equipment and are essentially useless in most non-commercial settings.
Do torque wrenches need to be calibrated?
No matter the model, your torque wrench will need to be recalibrated at one point or another.
Generally, this should be part of an annual tool maintenance routine. However, you might need to recalibrate more often if the wrench is dropped or improperly stored.
In cases where the tool has barely been used and is stored properly, they need to recalibrate might be far less frequent.
Here’s a good video on how to recalibrate a torque wrench at home:
Should I get a digital torque wrench?
While digital torque wrenches have some advantages over traditional click-style torque wrenches in commercial settings, they aren’t all that great in a home or workshop setting.
The joy of an analog torque wrench is that you can not only hear the click but can actually feel when the proper torque is reached.
This can be a lifesaver when there are multiple audible distractions.
Analog wrenches also tend to be much cheaper than their digital cousins and tend to have the same amount of accuracy, making them the best torque wrench when buying on a budget.
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