10 Best Torque Wrenches | March 2017

We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Got your nuts too tight? Or too loose? One of these torque wrenches will take care of it in no time. They're designed to provide the optimal setting for automotive and other industrial applications. Skip to the best torque wrench on Amazon.
10 Best Torque Wrenches | March 2017

Overall Rank: 2
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 6
Best Inexpensive
This Venzo Torque Wrench Set has everything you need to properly calibrate your carbon bicycle. It comes with 7 different Allen keys of various sizes and a handle that is designed to tilt when the torque setting has been reached.
Designed with versatility in mind, the Tekton 24335 makes an audible clicking noise when you've reached your desired measurement. Its high-contrast, dual range scale is also easy to read in low levels of light.
The ACDelco Digital has a convenient LCD display that shows a variety of different measurements to ensure accuracy. Its peak and trace modes also allow you to tighten an object to a specific torque value.
The Aircat 1150 Killer torque wrench delivers a motor that is 15 percent larger than its competition, while also being one of the quietest of its caliber, at only 86 decibels during operation. But it's also rather bulky.
  • 2-year parts and labor warranty
  • finely tuned exhaust system
  • the trigger is finicky
Brand AirCat
Model 1150
Weight 5.1 pounds
The Performance Tool M195 offers both clockwise and counterclockwise measurements. Its rounded handles also allow for steady control, accuracy, and improved localization of force. However, the black plastic ball on its end is flimsy.
  • wrench is corrosion-resistant
  • decent choice for gunsmithing
  • resetting it is a bit of a pain
Brand Performance Tool
Model M195
Weight 8.8 ounces
The CDI 2503MFRMH has an impressive range of 30 to 250 ft-lbs of torque, and features quick-release buttons for dependable socket retention and removal. It also includes a certificate of calibration. It's rather expensive, though.
  • rugged and sturdy construction
  • convenient pull-down lock ring
  • the numbers and lines are hard to read
Brand CDI Torque Products
Model 2503MFRMH
Weight 4.7 pounds
The Precision Instruments Torque Wrench is durable and known for its rapid movement without the need for constant resets. But its degree of accuracy suffers due to the measurements only showing in graduated increments of 5-ft pounds.
  • slim and sleek design
  • all-steel construction
  • only works in a clockwise direction
Brand Precision Instruments
Model PIC3FR250F
Weight 4.8 pounds
The Dewalt DCF889M2 comes in this incredibly stylish yellow/black color combination, and offers a variable speed trigger with an electric brake for improved user control. Its XR Li-Ion batteries also include a convenient fuel gauge.
  • it is easy to use
  • has an led light for working in the dark
  • has an all-metal transmission
Model DCF889M2
Weight 12 pounds
Ideal for automotive, nuclear, and industrial applications, the CDI 1502LDIN torque wrench has a compact frame and an easy-to-read, shock-resistant dial with a metal guard for providing the highest level of accuracy and protection.
  • torsion beam design
  • laser-marked single scale
  • built-in memory needle
Brand CDI
Model 1502LDIN
Weight 2.1 pounds
Built for ultimate performance, the Ingersoll Rand W7150-K1 offers 700-foot pounds of maximum reverse torque and up to 1,100-foot pounds of nut-busting torque for handling almost any tough job a professional technician could have.
  • completely cordless operation
  • soft, over-molded grip reduces vibration
  • li-ion battery and case are included
Brand Ingersoll-Rand
Model W7150K1
Weight 13.4 pounds

Choosing The Right Tool For The Job

To those of obtaining little experience with the use of hand and power tools, it might seem a bit baffling to consider the vast range of available drill bits, the many sizes of screw and nail, or the varied shape of hammer at the disposal of the professional or DIY enthusiast. But every tool exists for a reason, where some can be used across a range of applications, such as the common flathead screwdriver or the hacksaw. Other tools are so specialized as to properly serve in only one capacity.

While a tool with such a specific applications might seem silly to the uninitiated, it can actually mean the difference between a job done properly or one poorly executed. And choosing the right tool for the job certainly means much greater efficiency, especially in the hands of a trained and experienced professional.

If you were a plumber plying his trade in the year 1918, your life was about to become much easier. That's because 1918 was the year the world saw the first torque wrench after it was invented by Conrad Bahr, an employee of the New York City Water Department. Mr. Bahr developed the early torque wrench so that he and his associates could more easily and reliably secure the bolts on the water and steam pipes they serviced while updating and repairing the complex systems beneath the city streets.

The tools developed to meet that specific need would ultimately find meaningful applications well beyond the maintenance of New York City's subterranean infrastructure. Today, torque wrenches are used in industries ranging from the automotive to the aerospace to dentistry and well beyond.

Generally speaking, a torque wrench is used to make it easy to apply, torque, also known as rotational force, to a nut or a bolt. A torque wrench allows not only for easy application of this rotational force, but also for its precise application, helping to prevent the over tightening of a nut. This is of critical importance when working with sensitive machinery such as a car's engine, computer hardware, or any other mechanisms with moving and/or fragile components.

Manually Powered Torque Wrenches

While a manually powered torque wrench might not be able to deliver as much force as an electrically or pneumatically powered option, what it lacks in raw power it more than makes up for in terms of precision and control. Whether you choose a highly sensitive hand powered torque wrench with an adjustable range of foot pound settings (many hand torque wrenches can be set for anywhere between 30 to well over 200 foot pounds) or if you simply trust the deftness of your own wrist to stop turning when needed and choose a simpler, more affordable option, these tools can be a great asset to workers in various industries.

A hand powered torque wrench can also be useful for everyday use, making it easier to change a tire, build certain pieces of prefabricated furniture, or to loosen or tighten any of the many nuts and bolts found around the house. From the plumbing of the toilet to the shelves in the garage, you will find hardware almost everywhere you look that can be serviced by a compact torque wrench.

The only major shortfall of a hand operated torque wrench is its lack of speed, which can indeed be an issue when you have multiple nuts or bolts to service. For the professional working on an assembly line or servicing a large machine, there's no substitute for a good powered torque wrench.

The price range for manual torque wrenches is vast, so make sure to carefully consider you needs before you spend $150 on a top-of-the line manual option when a $25 torque wrench would have sufficed.

Electric Torque Wrenches

When you have lots of nuts and bolts to tighten, save your wrist and turn instead to a powered torque wrench. A pneumatic torque wrench can deliver loads of power, but these units also require a compressor; thus the popularity of the electric torque wrench both with professionals and amateur hobbyists alike.

A good battery powered torque wrench can deliver up to 1,100 foot pounds of twisting action, which is more than enough muscle for use in the automotive industry, for use in construction, or for any number of other commercial grade applications. Often, however, an electric torque wrench is at its most useful not when tightening a nut or bolt but rather when loosening and removing a piece of hardware.

Especially when it comes to older nuts or bolts that have been rusted in place or for that finicky lug nut stubbornly refusing to budge when you need to change a tire, an electric torque wrench can provide the reverse power needed to get the nut or bolt to back out.

If you want a decent battery powered torque wrench, you will need to be ready to spend several hundreds of dollars. But you will also be ready for almost any project that involves nuts and bolts. And if you suffer from arthritis or have hands or wrists weakened by age, injury, or infirmity, a power tool is a great way to save yourself from the discomfort caused by constant twisting motions.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information