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Best Torque Wrenches

We recommend the best torque wrenches for tightening lug nuts.
Written and Tested By:
Will Moore
Written and Tested By: Will Moore Senior Writer – Motor1 Review Team

Will has written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, logging hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339).

Last Updated 12/10/2023

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best torque wrench in 2024 is the CDI Click Type Wrench. This torque wrench is accurate, easy to use, and can be precisely adjusted.
  • We tested multiple types of torque wrenches in this review, including digital torque wrenches. If you know you want a digital torque wrench, ACDelco manufactures the best digital torque wrench with high accuracy and useful display modes.
  • Torque wrenches are an incredibly helpful tool, but they’re not exactly cheap. While we found high-quality torque wrenches for as little as $40, the average price for one of the best torque wrenches was easily over $100.
Best
Torque Wrench
CDI Click Type Wrench

A highly accurate torque wrench ideal for automotive use.

Best Budget
Torque Wrench
Tekton Click Wrench

An inexpensive, yet accurate click torque wrench.

Check Price
Best Digital
Torque Wrench
ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench

An electronic wrench that’s easy to use with useful features.

Check Price
Best Split Beam
Torque Wrench
Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench

A split-beam wrench that is solidly built with a flexible head.

Check Price

If you perform any type of maintenance on your vehicle, a torque wrench is a crucial tool. Many of the nuts and bolts that hold a car together must be fastened at a specific tightness, and the best torque wrenches help ensure that you don’t over- or under-tighten any of them.

We tested several  of the best torque wrenches for accuracy, comfort, and ease of use. This guide describes the different types of torque wrenches and their respective uses. We’ll also recommend several torque wrench options.


What’s The Best Torque Wrench?

The best torque wrench is the CDI Click Type Wrench because of the accuracy, solid construction, and reliability it showed during our in-person testing. We also recommend the Tekton Click Wrench, the ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench, and the Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench.

4 Best Torque Wrenches thumbnail.

Top Rated Torque Wrenches

Each torque wrench in this review was thoroughly tested and evaluated based on several categories, including accuracy, ease of use, and durability. You can find more specifics regarding our rating system here.

The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars. Each torque wrench’s ratings, including their overall ratings and awards from our team, are highlighted below:

Brand/ModelOverall RatingAwardCost
CDI Click Type Wrench4.8Best Torque Wrench$155
Tekton Click Wrench4.5Best Budget Torque Wrench$40
ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench4.2Best Digital Torque Wrench$110
Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench3.8Best 1/2 Torque Wrench$195

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

For those interested in learning more, we’ve provided a detailed review of each of the best torque wrenches in the sections below:

1. CDI Click Type Wrench: Best Torque Wrench

  • Cost: $155
  • Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 based on around 1,000 reviews
  • Range: 10.0 to 100.0 pound-feet (lb-ft)
  • Wrench type: Click
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

CDI Torque Wrench Review

CDI Click Type Wrench

The CDI Click Type Wrench is a dual-scale wrench calibrated for both directions. It features a positive lock with a spring-loaded pull-down ring for quick and easy calibration. We named this the Best Torque Wrench on the market in 2024 because it’s accurate and simple to use. The CDI wrench provided the most accurate tightening of any torque wrench that we tested.

Here’s how the CDI Click Type Wrench performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Accuracy5.0
Ease of Use4.5
Durability5.0
Overall Rating4.8

Below are the pros and cons of the CDI Click Type Wrench:

Pros Highly accurate Easy to use Precise torque setting
Cons Expensive Less accurate at lowest torque settings

CDI Click Type Wrench: Our Experience

While there aren’t any instructions included with this wrench, the operation is obvious to anyone who’s used a click-style torque wrench before. The indicators on the handle are used to adjust torque settings.

Adjusting this wrench is simple, and it has markings in 5.0-lb-ft increments. The push-button socket allows for the easy attachment and removal of drives.

When tightening this wrench, the readout on our monitor matched exactly the torque we set before tightening our lug nuts. Giving an exact match, this was the most accurate torque wrench that we tested.

CDI Torque Wrench: What Customers Are Saying

Many purchased this wrench for automotive applications and the majority of customer reviews praise the CDI wrench for its size and accuracy.

A few have said that this wrench fails to click at lower settings (below 30.0 lb-ft). At least one customer with this problem said they requested a replacement and the new wrench worked as expected.

2. Tekton Click Wrench: Best Budget Torque Wrench

  • Cost: $40
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over 22,000 reviews
  • Range: 10.0 to 150.0 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Click
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

Tekton Torque Wrench Review

Tekton Click Wrench

If you’re looking for a ½-inch torque wrench that doesn’t break the bank, consider the Tekton Click Wrench. The reversible ratchet head can drive in both a counterclockwise and clockwise direction. The all-steel construction guarantees long-lasting durability against drops and other mishaps.

Here’s how the Tekton Torque Wrench performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Accuracy4.5
Ease of Use4.5
Durability4.5
Overall Rating4.5

Below are the pros and cons of the Tekton Click Wrench: 

Pros Low cost Accurate Durable construction
Cons Doesn’t click at lower settings

Tekton ½ Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench: Our Experience

The Tekton click wrench is a simple tool that’s a breeze to set up. The handle is comfortable, and the tool produces a satisfying and audible click when the desired amount of torque is reached.

In our accuracy test, the Tekton was only off by a single lb-ft, making it accurate within one percent.

Tekton Torque Wrench: What Customers Are Saying

Many reviewers claim to have tested the accuracy of this wrench and found it to be indeed within four percent. However, some have noted it is less accurate at measuring lower amounts of torque (below 10.0 lb-ft). Most are impressed with the quality offered by this heavy-duty wrench considering the relatively low cost.

3. ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench: Best Digital Torque Wrench

  • Cost: $110
  • Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 1,100 reviews
  • Range: 14.8 to 147.5 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Digital
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench Review

ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench

The ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench is a high-quality digital torque wrench that is accurate and versatile. In addition to calibrating torque in lb-ft, this wrench has peak/track modes as well as angle measuring. All ACDelco wrenches are calibrated by ISO 6789 standards and come with a certificate of calibration. This wrench also includes a one-year warranty and features an LCD screen that’s readable in low-light situations.

Here’s how the ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Accuracy4.5
Ease of Use4.0
Durability4.0
Overall Rating4.2

Below are the pros and cons of the ACDelco Digitial Torque Wrench: 

Pros Beginner-friendly Accurate Several display modes
Cons Can’t set torque alert below 10.0 lb-ft Requires four AAA batteries

ACDelco Heavy Duty Digital Torque Wrench: Our Experience

Being a digital torque wrench, the ACDelco requires a little more setup than a click-style torque wrench, which is ready to go out of the box. Confusingly, there are two battery compartments, the primary compartment requiring four AAA batteries.

Sockets are attached and detached with a push-button back. The plastic handle is designed for comfort, but our tester found this less comfortable than a rubber or metal grip. However, this handle does offer excellent leverage.As a digital torque wrench, torque can be set more precisely, in 0.1-lb-ft increments. A buzzer sounds when the desired torque value is reached. When testing for accuracy, this ACDelco wrench was only 0.2 lb-ft off.

ACDelco ½ Digital Torque Wrench: What Customers Are Saying

Consumers appreciate this wrench’s features and feel that it is both accurate and easy to use. For the cost (at around $100), many feel this is the best deal you’ll find on a torque wrench (as cheaper wrenches tend to be less accurate). This wrench is easy to use, even for those who aren’t automotive experts.

A few people have complained the torque alert can’t be set lower than 4.0 lb-ft. You can use this wrench to tighten a bolt to a low torque (by watching the digital display), but you can’t set the alarm to beep at anything less than 10.0 lb-ft.

4. Precision Instruments Torque Wrench: Best 1/2 Torque Wrench

  • Cost: $195
  • Amazon review score: 4.8 out of 5.0 based on over 1,300 reviews
  • Range: 40.0 to 250.0 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Split beam
  • Fixed or flexible head: Flexible head

Precision Instruments Torque Wrench Review

Precision Instruments Torque Wrench

This Precision Instruments torque wrench features a split-beam design and can measure up to 250.0 lb-ft of torque. It has a flexible head design for getting into tight spaces and claims to provide torque measurement accurate to within four percent. We think it’s a good torque wrench to consider if you know you need a ½-inch torque wrench.

Here’s how the Precision Instruments Torque Wrench performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Accuracy3.0
Ease of Use4.0
Durability4.5
Overall Rating3.8

Below are the pros and cons of the Precision Instruments Split Beam Torque Wrench: 

Pros Durable construction Flexible head Highly rated
Cons Flex head could angle further

Precision Instruments Split Beam Torque Wrench: Our Experience

We like the design of this split-beam wrench. It is easy to use and calibrate, and the instructions are simple to follow. For its size, this was the most comfortable torque wrench to use, featuring an ergonomic rubber grip and sturdy build.

As for accuracy, this wrench did not perform within the stated four percent margin of error. We found it to be off by about 10 percent during our tests. However, it may be that our particular wrench was improperly calibrated or needed recalibration, as many customer reviews claim this wrench does read the correct torque.

Precision Instruments ½ Torque Wrench: What Customers Are Saying

Consumers appreciate the wide torque range as well as the simplicity of the beam-style wrench. Because it is a beam wrench, it does not need to be dialed down between uses (with a click wrench, you need to set the torque as low as possible when not in use).

Several report that this wrench is very accurate, hitting the target torque within the promised four percent margin of error. It’s possible we were shipped an older wrench that needed recalibration. The other feature commonly praised is durability. This well-built wrench can be dropped and manhandled without suffering catastrophic failure.

Some wish that the flex head could be further angled, suggesting it doesn’t bend far enough for the tightest spaces.


Torque Wrench Buying Guide

It’s important that you fasten your automotive nuts and bolts to a specific tightness depending on the component. A torque wrench can tell you when you’ve reached the desired tightness, typically measured in lb-ft (pounds of torque per lever foot). This means the best torque wrench is an accurate torque wrench.

How Is Torque Measured?

Foot pounds (ft-lb) and pound-feet (lb-ft) are two different units of measurement. A pound-foot is used to measure torque. It describes the torque generated by applying one pound of pressure on a one-foot lever.

What Unit Is Work Measured In?

A foot-pound is a measurement of work, describing the amount of energy used to move a one-pound object one foot in distance.

Torque Wrench Types

Most torque wrenches employ one of the following designs:

  • Digital torque wrenches are often the most accurate style of torque wrench. These typically have an LED screen that lets you set and display torque ratings. As they are digital, this type of torque wrench requires batteries.
  • Click torque wrenches are the most common style of torque wrench. Desired torque is set by twisting the handle until an indicator aligns with the needed torque. When tightening a bolt, the wrench will produce a clicking sound when the set torque is reached.
  • Beam torque wrenches are the simplest style of torque wrench. These have a pointer beam that displays torque attached to the wrench head. Beam wrenches are generally the cheapest and least accurate type of torque wrenches.
  • Split beam torque wrenches are often more accurate than standard beam wrenches. A split-beam wrench allows you to set the desired torque rating and stops tightening when this setting is reached (preventing overtightening).

In addition to wrench type, you’ll want to consider range, drive size, and head type when purchasing a torque wrench.

Torque Wrench Accuracy

The range of a torque wrench refers to the torque force it is able to apply. Torque wrenches can have ranges up to 300.0 lb-ft and higher. Some fasteners require different levels of torque, so it’s important to determine how much torque you’ll need to apply before selecting the appropriate torque wrench.

Most automotive applications require a torque wrench that can apply at least 100.0 lb-ft of torque, so we don’t recommend a torque wrench that falls below this range for your garage.

Torque Wrench Accuracy Range

Most torque wrenches are accurate to within two percent. No range is specifically more accurate than another, but digital torque wrenches tend to be the most accurate style, while beam torque wrenches tend to be the least accurate. Some torque wrenches become less accurate when measuring lower ranges (below 10.0 lb-ft).

Torque Wrench Drive Size

Drive size refers to the size of bits that can be used with a torque wrench. 3/8- and 1/2-inch drives are the most common specs for auto applications. Torque wrenches can have up to 1.0-inch and larger drives, but these are only useful for big vehicles like heavy equipment.

Most Common Torque Wrench Size

One of the most common socket sizes is 3/8 inches. These are used on a variety of engine parts like spark plugs, and across automobiles from sedans to small trucks. 

Torque Wrench Heads

The head of a torque wrench can be fixed or flexible. Fixed head torque wrenches are solid beams. Flexible head torque wrenches can pivot up and down. A flexible head can be useful for fastening bolts in tight places where there may not be enough room to operate a fixed head torque wrench.

How To Use A Torque Wrench

Torque wrenches are precision calibration tools. If used improperly, you will get poor results. A torque wrench isn’t difficult to operate correctly, but there are some things you should know and mistakes to avoid.

  1. Set Torque

Start by setting your wrench to the desired torque level. To determine the proper torque, consult maintenance manuals for your specific vehicle or check online message boards. Most tire lug nuts require 100.0 lb-ft of torque.

With a digital torque wrench, torque is set using a digital keypad. Click torque wrenches are adjusted by twisting the handle. Consult your owner’s manual for details specific to your torque wrench.

  1. Attach Socket

Find the appropriately sized socket for your nut and attach it to your torque wrench.

  1. Attach Bolt

When you first attach a bolt and begin to tighten it, do not use your torque wrench. Instead, use a standard wrench or tire iron. Do most of the tightening with a standard socket wrench, until the nut is firmly fastened but not fully tightened. Similarly, you should not use a torque wrench to loosen bolts.

  1. Torque Bolt

When you use a torque wrench, you should complete the tightening in one fluid motion. Do not ratchet the torque wrench back and forth or you may get an inaccurate reading. Once the set torque has been reached you will hear a click or a beep, depending on the style of torque wrench you are using.

If you want to check the torque on a nut, you’ll need to loosen it again and retighten it with your torque wrench.

  1. Storage And Maintenance

When you aren’t using your torque wrench, it is important to store it somewhere safe. If you drop your torque wrench many times or from an especially high height, this can throw off the calibration. The best torque wrenches often come with a hard shell storage case.

When storing a click torque wrench, you’ll also want to set the torque to its lowest rating, so that there is only slight pressure on the internal spring. This will help your torque wrench stay calibrated for longer.

All torque wrenches will lose calibration eventually. Have your torque wrench recalibrated at least once per year. This can cost anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on where you have your wrench calibrated and if you need to pay for shipping.


Best Torque Wrench For Cars: Bottom Line

Above all, you want a torque wrench that is accurate. Digital torque wrenches are precise but costly. Click wrenches are often cheaper and just as accurate as digital wrenches (though it is harder to determine a precise measurement in less than 1.0 lb-ft increments).

Overall, we think the CDI Click Type Wrench is a good addition to most DIYers’ tool kits, though the price is high and others may be more inclined towards the value of the Tekton.

  1. Best Torque Wrench: CDI Click Type Wrench
  2. Best Budget Torque Wrench: Tekton Click Wrench
  3. Best Digital Torque Wrench: ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench
  4. Best Split Beam Torque Wrench: Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench

Torque Wrenches: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about torque wrenches: 

What brand of torque wrench is best?

Based on our testing, CDI produces some of the most accurate torque wrenches. We also recommend ACDelco, Precision Instruments, and Tekton electronic torque wrenches.

What is the strongest torque wrench?

The strongest torque wrenches can produce up to 600.0 lb-ft of torque and beyond – though typical torque wrenches don’t go higher than 300.0 lb-ft, and most home or auto applications do not require more torque than this.

Are digital torque wrenches more accurate?

Digital torque wrenches are generally the most accurate type of torque wrench. However, accuracy can vary from brand to brand, and you can find click torque wrenches accurate to within one percent.

Is it OK to loosen bolts with a torque wrench?

Torque wrenches can loosen bolts, but this is not recommended. Torque wrenches are sensitively calibrated, and designed specifically for tightening bolts. It’s best to use a standard socket wrench to loosen your bolts.

Do I need a torque wrench?

Torque wrenches are valuable when working on equipment that needs to be calibrated to specific tolerances or a preset torque. Automotive components are great examples of this since overtightening bolts can lead to sub-par performance.

What type of torque wrench do mechanics use?

Torque wrench sets used by mechanics vary depending on the work. They may use a beam-style torque wrench for one task and a click-type torque wrench for another.

It is also common for mechanics to have adjustable torque wrench sets that can be used either by hand or with power tools. Most high-quality sets are made out of chrome vanadium steel instead of plastic parts.

Which is the easiest torque wrench to use?

In general, a click torque wrench like the CDI Click Type Wrench is the easiest to use because of its simple operation. That said, the operation of most torque wrenches is fairly simple. A larger, longer torque wrench will require less force to operate.


Torque Wrench Reviews: How We Tested

Torque Wrench Testing Process

We tested torque wrenches by tightening the lug nuts on a 2017 Ford Fusion. We set each torque wrench to a specific torque rating and checked the accuracy using the ACDelco ARM-602, a digital torque adapter guaranteed by an ISO 6789 certificate of calibration.

In addition to accuracy, we evaluated each torque wrench for overall ease of use and durability.

Accuracy

Accuracy is vital for a quality torque wrench. The best torque wrenches can be accurate to 1.0 lb-ft of torque. We gave the highest accuracy scores to those torque wrenches that most closely matched the readout of our ACDelco torque adapter.

Ease of Use

Our ease of use score is based on several factors. How simple is it to set the desired torque and in what increments? Handle comfort and features like a flexible head also contribute to a higher ease of use rating.

Durability

Our durability score is based on our experience with each torque wrench. Torque wrenches built to last scored best in this category. Because we were not able to test these torque wrenches for several years, we also considered brand reputation and customer reviews when determining our durability rating.

How We Score Products

Every torque wrench we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. Here’s what those star ratings mean in concrete terms:

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a torque wrench is among the best in a category. It is perfectly accurate, allows for setting torque precisely, or can be expected to last for several decades.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means a torque wrench performs better than average in a category. It is accurate to within a couple lb-ft, may have convenient design features, and can be expected to last over a decade.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is average or typical for a torque wrench, based on our testing experience. It is accurate to within 5 lb-ft, is simple to use while lacking frills, or features adequate but not especially durable parts.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the torque wrench performs below expectations in a category. It is not accurate, comfortable, or may only last a few years.
  • 1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the torque performs well below expectations in a category. It may not work at all, or easily break.

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*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.