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 wrenches for accuracy and comfort, our top picks standing high above the rest. This guide will also describe the different types of torque wrenches and their respective uses.

#1 Editor’s Choice Torque Wrench: CDI Click Type Wrench

CDI Click Type Wrench

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The CDI click 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 like this wrench because it’s accurate and simple to use. The CDI wrench provided the most accurate tightening of any torque wrench that we tested.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $145
  • Range: 10.0 to 100.0 pound-feet (lb-ft)
  • Wrench type: Click
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

Our Experience

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

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.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Accuracy5 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Durability5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

With more than 900 ratings, the CDI click wrench has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. A total of 93 percent of reviews rate this torque wrench 4 or more stars.

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 Best Digital Torque Wrench: ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench

ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench

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The ACDelco digital torque wrench is a high-quality 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.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $110
  • Range: 14.8 to 147.5 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Digital
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

Our Experience

Being a digital 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 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.

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Accuracy4.5 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Durability4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

There are over 700 ratings for the ACDelco digital torque wrench on Amazon. The average rating is 4.5 stars, with 88 percent of reviewers rating this wrench 4 or more stars.

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.

#3 Best Split Beam Wrench: Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench

Precision Instruments Split Beam Wrench

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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.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: ~$170
  • Range: 40.0 to 250.0 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Split beam
  • Fixed or flexible head: Flexible head

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.

Overall Rating3.8 out of 5
Accuracy3 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Durability4.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Over 1,200 Amazon customers have rated this wrench, and it holds an average score of 4.8 stars. A total of 96 percent of reviewers give this highly regarded torque wrench 4 or more stars.

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.

#4 Budget Pick: Tekton Click Wrench

Tekton Click Wrench

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If you’re looking for a 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.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: ~$45
  • Range: 10.0 to 150.0 lb-ft
  • Wrench type: Click
  • Fixed or flexible head: Fixed head

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.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Accuracy4.5 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Durability4.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

This torque wrench has by far the most Amazon ratings of any that we here recommend – over 25,000. With so many reviews, the average 4.7 score is impressive. A total of 94 percent of reviewers give the Tekton click wrench 4 or more stars.

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.

Buyers Guide: Best Torque Wrenches

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 a desired tightness, typically measured in lb-ft (pounds of torque per lever foot). This means the best torque wrench is an accurate torque wrench.

Types Of Torque Wrenches

Most torque wrenches employ one of the following designs:

  • Click 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 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 types of torque wrenches.
  • Split beam 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).
  • Digital wrenches are often the most accurate style of torque wrench. These typically have an LED screen that lets you set and display torque rating. As they are digital, this type of torque wrench requires batteries.

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

Range

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.

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 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.

Head Type

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.

Our Review Standards

The torque wrenches in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching the web for top products, looking at factors like shipping eligibility, customer ratings, superlatives, and prices.

Our product testing team ordered the wrenches that best met these standards. A team member tested each torque wrench, taking note of accuracy, ease of use, and quality of construction (durability). Each torque wrench was given a rating out of 5 stars based on these criteria.

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 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 contributed to our ease of use rating.

Durability

Our durability score is based on our experience with each torque wrench as well as the collective consensus of verified Amazon reviews. Torque wrenches built to last and featuring solid construction scored best in this category.

Torque Wrench Testing Process

Torque Wrench Testing Process

We tested each of our recommended torque wrenches by tightening the lug nuts on a 2017 Ford Fusion. We set each torque wrench to a specific rating and compared this measurement to the readout given by the ACDelco ARM-602, a digital torque adapter guaranteed by an ISO 6789 certificate of calibration.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Data accurate at time of publication.