Best Torque Wrench for the Money | 5 Reviews and Buyers Guide

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A Torque Wrench is an essential tool for any mechanic. Unless you have some super strength that allows you to tighten nuts and bolts without the need for a device, then you are going to want something that will make your life easier!

torque wrench

A torque wrench is an indispensable instrument as the tightening of fasteners to their correct torque applies to everything. Over-torquing can damage the pin and components, while under-torquing can cause the parts to become undone. Not exactly ideal if you’re driving your car along the highway!

Torque wrenches come in two categories: mechanical and electronic, and they have four types: Beam, Dial, Click, and Electronic. They also have variance in performance parameters, e.g., accuracy, build quality, and reliability. 

Torque wrenches are designed to perform the same function. However, they are not built equally. There are a lot of factors to consider before buying a torque wrench, including its accuracy, your budget, and the torque range you need. So, with this in mind, we have compiled a comprehensive review of five of the best torque wrenches on the market, along with a buyer’s guide to help you to decide which one is best suited to you.


Here’s the lowdown on what we discuss in this best torque wrench review article:

  • First, we compare our top 5 picks side-by-side in an easy-to-read table
  • Next, we’ll highlight the main features and benefits of each model
  • Then, we’ll draw your attention to their drawback we think you should know about
  • And finally, we’ve written a detailed buying guide to give you a better insight into the product

Sound good?  Let’s get going!

 

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Torque Wrench Comparison Table:

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Further reading11 Types of Wrenches and Their Uses – A Useful Guide


5 Best Torque Wrenches for 2021 | Reviews

 

1. eTORK (EC3250) 1/2-Inch Drive”Click Style” Digital Torque Wrench (Best Overall)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Clockwise and counter-clockwise operation
  • 4 different measurements
  • Locking knob prevents accidental change
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Calibration certificate
Cons
  • Not compact

 

2. LEXIVON 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (Best Value)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Well made
  • Calibration certificate
  • Easy-to-read scale
Cons
  • Measure clockwise only

 

3. TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Excellent quality
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Accurate
Cons
  • Clockwise measure only

 

4. Summit Tools Bit-Head ¼ inch Digital Torque Wrench

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Clockwise and counter-clockwise operation
  • LCD screen
  • Buzzes when torque reached
  • Torque wrench and torque screwdriver
  • Shock-proof case
Cons
  • Batteries not included
  • Expensive

 

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

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Excellent torque range
  • Non-slip handle
  • Cheap
Cons
  • Can overtighten
  • Personal use only

Video: How to Use a Torque Wrench

 

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Best Torque Wrench 2021 – Buyers Guide

What is a Torque Wrench?

We can define a torque wrench as a tool used to tighten bolts and nuts to a set torque value. This tool allows nuts and bolts to be tightened to the proper tension, eliminating the chances of bolts getting over tightened or joints falling apart from under-tightening. 

When you use this tool, you will be applying the correct torque measure, which is essential for the safety and performance of equipment. Designed by Conrad Bahr, torque wrenches have been used since the early 20th century.

Why Use a Torque Wrench and Not a Regular Wrench?

Frankly, two of the main reasons you should buy a torque wrench instead of just a regular wrench are the longevity of parts and the safety of the equipment you intend to tighten. 

Since this tool allows you to select your desired torque when it comes to tightening bolts and nuts, then you can rest assured that your equipment will be safe for use. This is especially important when it comes to tightening nuts that hold the wheels or those that keep handlebars, or the braking system of a bike or car intact. 

When you use a regular wrench, you have to tighten by imagination- you guess the proper torque force to tighten to. The majority of the people end up over-tightening fasteners, which causes the bolt’s threads to get damaged. 

What Are the Different Types of Torque Wrenches?

Torque wrenches come in different types- here are the main types;

Beam Type

Beam torque wrenches are the most straightforward and oldest type of wrenches. They are not as accurate and reliable as other types of torque wrenches. With this type, a beam stretches against an indicator gauge as you torque. 

You get to see the amount of torque being applied in real-time on the visual indicator gauge. Beam torque wrenches are often the most affordable and thus make an excellent choice for people who usually do not use a torque wrench. It is important to note that they are also heavy. We recommend this type if the cost is the main factor you are considering.

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Dial-Type

These are widely considered the most accurate types of torque wrenches to use. They are more comprehensive than other types and thus harder to use in smaller spaces. Primarily, these torque wrenches are used in the automotive industry as well as the aerospace industry.

Click-Type

These torque wrenches are the preferred choice for those working in the automotive industry. Therefore for professional mechanics and those with busy garages, this is the tool to get. When you apply the correct amount of torque, they make a click sound. 

Therefore, you don’t have to keep your eyes on the gauge to know the proper torque has been applied. It is essential to mention that you should not apply additional torque once you hear the click sound as the wrench doesn’t prevent you from exerting extra torque. We can recommend this to people who often do automotive work.

Electronic-Type

Also known as digital torque wrenches, these tools work in the same way as click-type, with the only difference being that instead of making a clicking sound, they make a beeping noise.

These torque wrenches read out the correct torque once it is reached. Some also have excellent features such as max torque applied, memory, etc. Of course, these additional features come with added cost. These torque wrenches are ideal for people who don’t mind spending an additional amount on getting extra features.

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How to Buy the Right Torque Wrench – Features to Consider

Here are the factors to consider when searching for the best torque wrench;

Torque Range

One of the most crucial things to check when analyzing wrenches is the torque range. The torque range relates to the type of work you will be able to do with the wrench. If you want a versatile wrench, then a 1/2; inch click wrench will be the best option. A typical 1/2 inch will produce a range of 10-15 ft-lb. This will help you tighten small bolts such as those in spark plugs and larger bolts such as those in brake caliper brackets.

Accuracy

Another most important thing to consider before buying a torque wrench is how accurate a wrench is. You don’t want to tighten bolts on wheels incorrectly, as this can risk lives. Fortunately, most torque wrenches have their accuracy indicated in their description, which means it will be easy for you to know the most accurate models. As a rule of thumb, you should look for a wrench with a =/-2% accuracy rating if you intend to tighten fasteners that need precise torque. However, if the task at hand doesn’t require specific torques, you can choose a model with +/- 4% accuracy.

Dimensions and Weight

It would help if you considered the weight and dimensions of a torque wrench to avoid buying a tool that doesn’t suit your intended purposes. Torque wrenches come in different sizes. Some are wide and heavier and thus cannot be used in crowded places. You don’t want to buy a tool that cannot fit in a car engine, yet you work in the automotive industry.

Drive Size

There are four sizes of square head range, all of which correspond to different torque functions and capacities.

  • The ¼; inch drive. This is suitable for small bolts and nuts on bicycles, motorcycles, and garden equipment. They produce between 4ft-lb and 21 ft-lb of torque.
  • The ½ inch drive. This is suitable for automobiles, including light trucks, cars, and passenger vehicles. They produce between 15 and 75ft-lb of torque. It covers a wide range of functions thanks to its versatility.
  • The ¾ inch drive. This covers larger bolts and nuts like in engine mounts.
  • The 1 inch; inch drive. This is meant for special applications such as in tractor-trailers and large cargo aircraft.

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Durability

How durable a wrench is depends on the materials used. Durable torque wrenches are made from different types of steel to make them stronger and resist rusting. Avoid wrenches made using tempered plastic.


Conclusion

All of the Torque wrenches reviewed each has their qualities but varies in features and price. Our Best Overall eTORK digital wrench has good accuracy reading, good preset torque value, measures torque in both directions, and is suitable for working in tight spaces. It has a calibration certificate, and batteries are included, good customer service, and a Lifetime Personal Use Guarantee. It is well built with good reviews and is favorably priced.

The LEXIVON is our Best Value product. It has good features, a simple and easy-to-read dual-range scale, even in low light, a reversible ratchet head that drives in both directions, pre-calibrated and ready to use, solid construction. Comes with a calibration certificate, unique serial number, and 2-year warranty. It is in the lower price range, which makes it a good value for money.

Best of the Rest

The Summit digital torque wrench has only a ¼ inch drive but is compact in size, large LED and buzzer for visual and audio feedback, and functions as a torque screwdriver as well as a wrench. It has a calibration certificate but requires batteries which are NOT included and is a much higher price than the eTORK.

The Tekton and EPAuto both have good features and are a close contender for the LEXIVON. The Tekton is a good all-metal tool with a stated accuracy but doesn’t have a calibration certificate. Still, the price is in the low price bracket making it an excellent occasional tool.

The EPAuto is a reliable tool but drives in one direction only and has no calibration certificate. However, it is the cheapest reviewed and would be a good tool for occasional use.


Any Questions?

We hope you have found the information helpful and you find yourself with a better understanding of torque wrenches enabling you to decide which one is right for your needs before you buy.

If you have any questions, or if there’s anything we can help with,  please get in contact .


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Walter Snyder