A high-quality, calibrated torque wrench is a vital tool for any home mechanic to have on hand for home car repairs. A torque wrench will improve the outcome of simple jobs like an oil change. But it becomes critical in many jobs where bolt torque needs to be measured accurately. Having the best torque wrench for your project will give you peace of mind when working on your vehicle and save you from unnecessary or expensive repairs from improperly tightened nuts and bolts.
Best Torque Wrenches For Every Home Mechanic
Every nut and bolt on your vehicle has a specific torque specification. And, if you over tighten them, you risk stripping the threads or causing damage to your vehicle. Once you know the torque specs (which you can usually find in your vehicle owner’s manual or direct from the manufacturer), you can use a torque wrench to properly tighten all nuts and bolts.
Types of Torque Wrenches
There are a few different types of torque wrenches, which operate in different ways. Specifically, one of the main differences is how the wrench indicates when you have reached the correct torque specifications. Some of the most common types are the classic clicker torque wrenches that indicate the target torque with a loud clicking noise and feeling. Digital torque wrenches indicate the target torque with beeps, vibrations, and flashing lights. They also have a digital display to set and read the torque.
Different sizes of torque wrench are also useful for various projects. 1/2-inch torque wrenches are useful for many projects, such as tightening lug nuts. 3/8-inch torque wrenches are useful when you need less force or more precise force. Spark plugs often use a 3/8-inch torque wrench. You will want to choose your torque wrench based on the range of torque needed for your particular project.
Best Overall Choice
1. ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench
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This digital torque wrench has an easy-to-read LCD screen where you can set your target torque using buttons. It also has multiple settings including a peak and trace mode. In peak mode, the wrench will display the highest measured torque reading. In trace mode, you get real-time torque readings on the display.
An anti-slip grip is easy to hold while making precise adjustments. This torque wrench has a range of 9.9 to 99 ft/lbs. However, the reading starts at 4 ft/lbs for even more precise measurements. When you reach your target torque, the digital display will light up and the wrench will vibrate and buzz. This ACDelco torque wrench is a precise tool for specific repair projects.
Best Premium Choice
2. Precision Instruments 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench
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Our premium pick of torque wrenches, the Precision Instruments Split Beam torque wrench is a high-quality tool. Because of its split beam design, you do not have to wind down the torque after every use. Additionally, the torque settings are easy to adjust using a dial and the wrench has a range of 50 to 250 ft/lbs. This is much simpler, especially with greasy hands, compared to the wind-up style of most clicker torque wrenches.
Thanks to the length of the 25.5-inch long wrench, you can reach difficult places with relative ease. And, the wrench has a rubber grip to help give you a secure hold. Users agree that this is a quality torque wrench for both professional and home use. It is reliable, accurate, and will last for years to come.
7. GEARWRENCH 3/8" Drive Electronic Torque Wrench
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The GEARWRENCH 3/8″ digital torque wrench is the next step up from the classic clicker design. This torque wrench will begin to buzz as you get close to your target torque. It will beep and vibrate once you reach it. It is easy to set your target torque using the buttons and a digital screen. Choose from Nm, ft-lb, In-lb, kg-m, and kg-cm modes.
The handle and housing are solvent and oil-resistant, so you’ll have a secure grip. This wrench has a 72 tooth ratchet and a 5-degree swing arc for ease of use and accuracy in tight spaces. It comes in a 1/2″ drive size as well. And, there is an option to choose a flex head with more premium settings.