If you need a torque wrench, your options are limitless. You’re likely to bombarded with options that include several different types, digital variants, and a never ending list of sizes.
In this guide, we’re going to go over the best torque wrenches that you can use on your car. In our opinion, the simple click-style mechanical wrenches are the best bang for your buck. If you were to search for a torque wrench on your own, you’d probably see a lot of hype for digital wrenches. After all, they provide an absolutely ridiculous amount of accuracy. However, a click-style wrench is accurate, and they last for what feels like forever. You simply can’t get the same level of durability from a digital wrench.
So, that’s what our list is going to focus on. We’re going to highlight the best torque wrenches on the market, discuss the pros and cons of each option, and then we’ll answer a few questions at the end. Buckle your seat belts, and let’s get down to business.
- Torque Wrench Reviews
- CDI 2503MFRPH Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench
- Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Split Beam Torque Wrench
- TEKTON 24340 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- EPAuto ST-010-1 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- Crescent CRTW12 1/2-Inch Drive Micrometer Torque Wrench
Torque Wrench Reviews
The following reviews will cover the best 1/2 inch torque wrenches on the market. In general, these are meant for engine work, and removing or attaching your car’s wheels. This is due to the added strength provided by having a thicker drive shaft. You’ll probably need a different size for general maintenance tasks.
However, these are the absolute best torque wrenches for their intended tasks, and we’ve personally vetted each wrench to provide you with a comprehensive guide. You can order all of these wrenches online, and you can enjoy the convenience of having them delivered via an online order.
Before you go out and buy one of these wrenches, you need to know about calibration. You should never store these wrenches at any torque setting besides zero. You should also refrain from ever lowering the torque below the zero mark. If you do, you’ll mess up the calibration, and your torque wrench will be inaccurate. Let’s get down to business. It’s time for some reviews.
CDI 2503MFRPH Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench
Don’t let the name full you. CDI isn’t some random company. They’re owned by SnapOn, and all of their tools are made to the same renowned quality standards that SnapOn products require. So, you know right off the bat that this is a high quality torque wrench. To further put your mind at ease, this wrench comes with a certificate that shows it has been properly calibrated.
This is a 1/2 inch micrometer torque wrench that can handle up to 250 pounds of torque. That makes it perfect for handling the most stubborn of bolts and nuts. All of the measurement markings are laser etched to the wrench. So, you can easily see what you have the wrench set to. The lock system is operated via a pull down ring, and it includes quick release buttons for easy use. To make the package even better, it comes with an extremely comfortable handle.
Overall, this torque wrench provides the same precision and quality as any SnapOn version. However, it’s a lot less expensive than the SnapOn alternative. If you want a really precise torque wrench that doesn’t lack quality, you can’t go wrong with this inexpensive option.
The only real flaw that we can find with this wrench is its warranty. There are a few retailers that try to claim that there is a lifetime warranty included with the wrench. However, CDI will only cover the tool for 1 year. That’s not an issue, though. CDI products have the same long lasting construction as SnapOn. So, you’re more likely to forget about any warranties they could offer before needing to use one.
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Split Beam Torque Wrench
If you really want to put your torque wrench through the ringer, this is the one for you. It’s built from the ground up to take the harshest beatings possible. Also, it’s one of the few options that you can simply throw in your tool box after use. You don’t have to return this one to a torque setting of zero.
This 1/2 inch wrench comes with an easy to use adjustment knob, flex head, a unique locking system to keep you from losing your settings between tasks, and a comfy grip. It’s truly one of the most powerful torque wrenches around. It’s popular with casual users, but it’s also one of the most popular wrenches in automotive shops. There’s no better guarantee that it can take abuse than seeing professional mechanics beating the tool into oblivion every day.
Overall, you really want this Precision Instruments torque wrench if you plan on abusing your tools. Its ability to be stored without returning to zero torque makes it consumer friendly, and there really isn’t a chance of you breaking it.
However, there is one flaw. The flex head is advertised as allowing it to reach difficult areas. In our experience, the flex head didn’t function very well. It was still difficult to reach areas that other wrenches would struggle with. That’s not too big of a deal because other wrenches have the same issues, but the advertising claims that this wrench won’t experience those issues. So, we’ll count it as a flaw.
TEKTON 24340 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
Tekton has really knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s made entirely from steel, it has a high contrast dial that is easily readable in poor lighting, and it’s pre-calibrated for more casual users to use out of the box.
This tool is extremely accurate out of the box. The company personally calibrates each torque wrench to +/- 4 percent accuracy. That helps casual users avoid the complex task of calibrating, and it saves professionals time.
The head on this unit is reversible. So, you shouldn’t have trouble adjusting to weird positions. As an added bonus, this wrench has been compared to SnapOn in terms of quality. Even better, it’s a lot cheaper than any SnapOn tool that you’ll find.
Overall, this is a great option for casual users. It has been noted that a lot of professionals find it a bit on the weaker side. It simply can’t handle non-stop use on a daily basis. However, it packs a hefty punch, and it can handle up to 250 pounds of pressure. So, it’ll be more than enough for casual consumers.
However, we’ve noticed that the quality control department at Tekton has slipped up on a few occasions. A lot of other customers have complained that they have received defective units. Luckily, Tekton takes care of their customers. If you get a defective unit, you can easily send it in for replacement. They don’t have a problem correcting any of their mistakes.
Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This is essentially the little brother to the previously mentioned Tekton model. The maximum torque is reduced to 150, but the size is a lot more manageable. This makes it a great choice for quick jobs and for working on smaller machinery.
It has a dual-range head, and it adjusts all of its torque in a clockwise direction. So, it’s fairly simple to use. The same steel construction as its big brother is present in this model. It also boasts the same high visibility torque readings as the previous model.
In addition to its other features, it also comes with a nifty carrying case. So, you don’t have to worry about this little guy getting lost.
Overall, this 1/2 inch torque wrench is aimed at people who need an easily pocketed wrench. It can handle light jobs with ease, but it has enough power to take on moderately difficult jobs. It also comes pre-calibrated like its big brother.
However, no tool is without its flaws. The same quality control issues that the 24335 is plagued by are present here. To solve that, all you have to do is check the tool out on arrival. If it’s defective, just send it back. Tekton doesn’t try to weasel out of exchanges. Also, there seems to be a problem with some units not clicking. If you’re in a noisy environment, you need to feel and hear the click of torque wrench to know you’ve reached the proper torque. This is a common defect that hasn’t been resolved yet, but Tekton will replace your unit without questions if you experience it. It’s still a great option for those who want high quality without the SnapOn price tag.
EPAuto ST-010-1 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This offering from EPAuto is a 1/2 inch click-style torque wrench that is perfect for your toolbox. It can handle up to 150 pounds of torque, it comes pre-calibrated to the same standards as Tekton, and it has a dual range torque scale.
It’s also a very durable tool. It’s made from chrome vanadium. Chrome vanadium steel combines the strength of high carbon steels with the corrosion resistance of a stainless steel variant. So, you get the best of both worlds. As long as you’re not using it in the rain, it shouldn’t rust for a very long time.
This EPAuto torque wrench can also lock its settings. That makes it a lot easier for you to take on multiple tasks without having to fuss with it. In terms of ease of use, this is a great option with a great price tag.
Overall, the EPAuto ST-010-1 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is a great option for users that want a reliable and feature packed tool without a hefty price tag. It’s not suitable for mechanics that will use it all day long, but it’s more than enough for enthusiasts.
Again, no wrench is without its own flaws. It can be hard to properly adjust the torque on this wrench. The reading interface isn’t as clear as other models, and it’s not as well designed. With practice, you can easily overcome this hurdle, though.
Crescent CRTW12 1/2-Inch Drive Micrometer Torque Wrench
At this point in the guide, we’ve reached the discount bin. That’s not a bad thing. The CRTW12 is a feature packed wrench with a focus on quality. This entry is provide users with an option that is accessible to everyone, but still handles every tasks that it’s meant to with ease.
This wrench can easily handle tight spaces. It’s outfitted with a 45 tooth ratchet head, and it’s narrow enough to squeeze into the tightest spots. That makes this a great 1/2 inch option for people that plan to work on engines.
The CRTW12 is also easily readable. The torque settings are aligned clockwise, and each mark is laser etched. The large markings are perfect for seeing the torque setting in poor lighting.
When you use this torque wrench, you are given an easily heard click when you finally reach your desired torque. That makes this a great tool for loud environments. You don’t have to worry that you’ll over tighten your bolt due to loud noises in the background.
The power of this wrench is on par with the strongest wrenches on this list. It can apply up to 250 pounds of torque. The CRTW12 manages to do this while keeping its price tag low.
Overall, this is the cheapest item on this list, and it provides some great features for the price. In fact, we’d go as far as to compare this tool to a Craftsman tool.
The only flaw that we can find with it is that it doesn’t have quick release buttons. Honestly, that’s not a big deal for its price tag. It already comes packed with a high quality lock, ergonomic handle, high power rating, and the ability to slip into small spaces. You really can’t blame Crescent for not adding quick release to that list. You’re not going to find a better wrench at this price.
We really strive to provide the most comprehensive guides possible. To do that, we’ve scoured the internet for the most common questions regarding torque wrenches, and we’ve answered them here.
The following sections are devoted to answering any questions that might be burning a whole in your head. Hopefully, this section will save you some time searching Google.
Should I Buy A 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ Torque Wrench?
This is completely dependent on what you plan to use the wrench for. A 1/4 inch torque wrench is great for less intense jobs, but it’ll fail under the pressure of loosening lug nuts and stubborn engine bolts.
A 3/8 inch wrench is a great middle ground between the three sizes, but it’s not going to perform very well with the more labor intensive jobs.
A 1/2 inch torque wrench is the best option for lug nuts and engine bolts. It’s very versatile, it’s powerful, and it won’t snap if you use it on a stubborn nut.
In general, you just need to determine what your project needs, and then you can go from there.
Do Torque Wrenches Need To Be Calibrated?
The wrenches on our list are all pre-calibrated, but other options may need to be calibrated out of the box. It’s also worth noting that all torque wrenches will eventually require some calibration. If you want to keep your tools accurate, you can simply re-calibrate them once a year. That should keep all of your torque wrenches as accurate as possible.
Should I Get A Digital Torque Wrench?
The simple answer to this is no. You may get some cool features with a digital wrench, but analog is way more useful. It’s also a lot cheaper. There may be a learning curve involved, but you can count on your analog torque wrenches lasting for years. We can’t say that about digital variants.