As seen in:
Snap-on
Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive
TEKTON
1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound
Mountain
1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs
Brown Line Metalworks
Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case
ACDelco ARM601
4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Good

Fast and efficient. Hearty, durable materials. Comfortable plastic handle.

Compact and lightweight. Few durability concerns. Great customer support.

Sturdy. 25-inch length makes it easy to apply leverage.

This tool's unique, helpful digital features include visual and auditory cues.

Excellent accuracy rates. Measures in four different scales.

Bad

Occasional complaints about numeral clarity.

Rare complaints of breakage.

May be cumbersome in restricted spaces. Accuracy and durability are "hit and miss."

Calibration at the low end can sometimes be a bit off.

Fewer features than its digital competitor (Brown Line Metalworks).

Bottom Line

From a top-rated tool manufacturer, this pro-grade torque wrench is the best on the market.

A basic tool with several practical features. This affordable "all-rounder" is the best deal on the market.

A large, inexpensive wrench made for heavy-duty work. Occasional quality concerns.

Average in length and size, this wrench offers some unique digital benefits.

A versatile digital wrench known for its quality construction and precision.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
0
Products received from manufacturers
103
Models Considered
39
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
224
Consumers Consulted

Best Torque Wrenches

First, we'd like to clarify that this torque wrench review covers tools for the precise tightening of nuts and bolts – the kind of thing you'd use on a cylinder head, for example. Impact wrenches (often used for tightening or loosening stubborn nuts) fall under a different tool category and should not be confused with these.

When you're looking to buy a torque wrench, you want excellent durability as well as a high degree of accuracy. In a workshop environment, a torque wrench must be able to take the occasional knock and still perform properly. Many low-cost models don't stand up to this task, but that doesn't mean you can't still find a good torque wrench on a budget. Those that made the grade are:

Products we considered

Snap-on
Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive
TEKTON
1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound
Mountain
1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs
Brown Line Metalworks
Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case
ACDelco ARM601
4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)

Considerations

Construction & Size

A torque wrench's construction and finish quality impact the life of the tool. Size is also an important consideration, because some torque wrenches are quite big. A larger wrench might be fine if you're a truck mechanic, but it's not so great if you're working on a Japanese compact car.

Range & Features

Most torque wrenches offer a choice of measurement systems, including foot pounds and Newton meters. There's also the actual operating range to consider. With the advent of digital torque wrenches, there are some interesting additional functions to consider, as well.

Performance 

Manufacturer websites can give you plenty of technical information, but they don't always reveal what a torque wrench is like out there in the real world. In addition to our own results, we consider the feedback of product owners in this part of our ratings.

Price

How much a tool costs is always a consideration. In the final part of our torque wrench review, we combine dollars and cents with an overall view of each model to offer some important value comparisons.

Considerations

Construction & Size

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound

For ease of comparison, all tools in this torque wrench review have 1/2-inch drives. If you need an alternative – such as a 3/8-inch drive – most of these manufacturers do make an equivalent to those that we've rated. You could also buy an adapter/reducer to get the job done.

At 18 3/8 inches long and a little over two pounds, the TEKTON 24335 Torque Wrench is a relatively compact, lightweight tool. It might be a bit tight working under the hoods of some smaller vehicles, but you'd struggle to find a good torque wrench that's much shorter. (Buying an extender bar is always an option.) According to the manufacturer, the steel shaft has a "corrosion-resistant" finish (we're guessing it might be electro-plated nickel), and the head is made of durable chrome vanadium steel. There's a knurled grip on the handle for a secure hold, although some consumers prefer rubber or soft plastic.

Mountain 16250 1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs 

There's some initial confusion about the size of the Mountain 16250 Drive Torque Wrench, with several sites saying it's 10 inches long. In fact, it's 25 inches long and, at nearly six pounds, very heavy. The Mountain 16250's length makes it easy to apply leverage, but it might be awkward to use in restricted spaces. This is an imported tool and, as such, we found it difficult to find much technical information about it in our research (though that shouldn't necessarily be taken as a negative). We think it's probably chromium alloy construction, and like many cheap torque wrenches, the grip is knurled steel.

Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case

Chrome vanadium alloy is the material used for the Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench, though much of it is covered in rubber and plastic. We were initially concerned that the the softer surfaces might not stand up to garage or industrial environments. However, Brown Line Metalworks assures us that these modern materials are engineered for good grip and impact resistance. The manufacturer also says that the wrench can withstand exposure to common garage fluids that might otherwise be corrosive. At 22 inches, it's of average length and weighs a little under four-and-a-half pounds.

ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)

In terms of materials, the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2-Inch Digital Torque Wrench is similar to the Brown Line Metalworks wrench. Beneath the "skin," it is made of strong chrome vanadium alloy. The modern plastics and rubbers are durable and resistant to oils and other engineering fluids (though with both tools, care should always be taken). At four pounds, the AC Delco torque wrench is slightly lighter than the Brown Line Metalworks, and it's quite a bit shorter at 17 5/16 inches.

Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Mic

If there's a brand in this sector that's recognized for quality of construction, it's Snap-on. Snap-On tools are highly rated by professionals around the world. CDI is their industrial brand, and Snap-on's Micrometer Torque Wrench is built to the same high standard as the rest of the company's equipment. Like our first two models, it's quite basic in terms of materials (chrome vanadium steel with a hard plastic handle for better grip). It weighs a little over four pounds and is 21 inches long. A description of the component parts might not sound particularly impressive, but when you pick one up, it feels almost indestructible.

Snap-on tools are highly rated by professionals around the world. The CDI Micrometer Torque Wrench is built to the company's high standards.
Considerations

Range & Features

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound

Cheap torque wrenches often give only a single scale, but the TEKTON offers measurements in both foot pounds (ft-lb) and Newton meters (N-m). Range is from 10 to 150 ft-lb (equivalent to 13.6 to 203.5 N-m), and the easy-to-read scale is marked in increments of one ft-lb (1.36 N-m). Given the potential uses for this tool, accuracy is often very important. The TEKTON torque wrench offers an accuracy of +/- 4%, which is very competitive considering the low cost. When compared to digital torque wrenches, it is quite a basic tool, but the head is reversible for use on left-hand threads. This product comes with a decent case and a useful torque conversion chart.

Mountain 16250 1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs 

There's not much to say about the Mountain 16250 Drive Torque Wrench in this part of our ratings. It offers settings in a single range only, from 25 to 250 ft-lb. As with the TEKTON, the scale is marked by the handle. Though it doesn't perhaps have quite the same clarity, it's straightforward enough, and conversion charts are readily available if you need one. A case is supplied by the manufacturer, but unlike the wrench itself, it is a bit flimsy.

Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case

The digital aspect of the Brown Line Metalworks Torque Wrench provides some interesting features, but in the end, what's most important to owners is the range and how precise it is. In the case of this tool, you can go from 15 to 150 ft-lb with an impressive accuracy of +/- 3.5% (in 10th-pound increments). You can also measure in the common N-m and the less frequently used inch/pounds (in-lb). Unlike basic torque wrenches that are mostly set by an adjustable collar, you key in the details and read both target and actual torque via the LCD with this model. When you're getting close to peak torque, you not only get a visual signal with red, amber, and green lights, you also get a warning sound so you can back off and not over-tighten. In addition, the wrench features auto power-off (when left for two minutes) and a low-battery warning.

ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)

In many ways, the ACDelco digital torque wrench offers similar advantages to the Brown Line Metalworks model, but there are important differences. The range of the ACDelco starts at four ft-lb, runs up to 99 ft-lb, and has a remarkable accuracy of +/- 2% clockwise and +/- 3% anti-clockwise. Four scales are available: ft-lb, N-m, in-lb, and kg-cm (kilograms per centimeter) with respective increments of 0.1 ft-lb, 0.1 N-m, 1 in-lb, and 1 kg-cm. It doesn't have the selection of functions that the Brown Line Metalworks torque wrench offers, but peak and trace modes (sometimes called tracking modes) are easy to set.

Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Mic

As good as it is, it's fair to say that you don't buy a Snap-on or CDI torque wrench because it's overloaded with clever features! You get two scales (lb-ft and N-m), and you get a range from 30 to 250 ft-lb. with a spring-loaded lock-down ring so your setting won't accidentally slip. The Snap-on's accuracy is higher than that of most mechanical torque wrenches at +/- 3% clockwise and +/- 5% anti-clockwise. There's also a quick-release socket button that professionals in particular find useful.

The Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning machine makes use of rotating "DirtLifter PowerBrushes" that, when used with Bissell's cleaning formula, can eradicate even the toughest of pet stains.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Performance

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound

Although some of the TEKTON's popularity undoubtedly comes from it being quite a cheap torque wrench, it retains its reputation once the "honeymoon period" is over and is highly rated by owners and independent testers. It's light and short enough to use just about anywhere, but it's not so short as to require lots of muscle. It's not as accurate when working anti-clockwise as clockwise (no torque wrench is), but it's more than adequate. It should retain its accuracy as long as you remember to leave it at its lowest setting after use, though most of these tools do need re-calibrating eventually. A couple of owners have had problems with breakages, but TEKTON's support professionals receive plenty of praise for their assistance when customers need them.

Mountain 16250 1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs 

The Mountain 16250 Drive Torque Wrench has a large range for such a low-cost tool; only the Snap-On comes close to approximating it. While that might seem like an advantage at first glance, owner feedback suggests it can be something of a weakness. Most people's initial impression, like our own, is that this is a big, rugged model built for hard use. In heavy applications where a lot of torque is required, it performs perfectly well, but at lower settings – say 80 ft-lb and below – its accuracy can be hit and miss. Some people love it; others say it's way off. The same appears to be true of the Mountain's durability. Some owners have used theirs regularly with no problems; others say it's junk. To be fair, the latter group represents a very small percentage of buyer feedback!

Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case

Digital torque wrenches were initially seen as something of a gimmick. That's no longer true, and the Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench offers some definite advantages over its non-digital counterparts. If you're concentrating on the nut you're tightening, it's great to have an audible warning that you're near your target. Some would argue that you could just listen for the "click" on a traditional ratchet torque wrench, but people who do this often go a click or two too far. Indeed, it's not always easy to hear delicate sounds in a busy workshop! The other big advantage with digital torque wrenches is that you don't have to return them to their lowest setting after use. (This is a task that's often forgotten, causing ordinary torque wrenches to lose calibration.) As for what it's like in actual operation, the Brown Line Metalworks' instant conversion from ft-lb to N-m gets a lot of praise, as does its decent operating range. It receives very little criticism, though calibration at the lower end of the scale does seem a bit off. If the low torque settings don't register, we recommend turning the tool off and on again to fix this.

ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)

While the ACDelco digital torque wrench doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Brown Line Metalworks model, it shares many of its advantages. Because it's four inches shorter than the Brown Line Metalworks, it's also easier to work with in tight spaces. Owner feedback underlines this wrench's quality. Precision is admirable, though this is another digital torque wrench that has occasional problems at the lowest end of the scale. One or two owners reported display problems, but these seem to be isolated incidents. In general, it's a highly rated tool.

Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Mic

Among professionals, the Snap-on brand is known for its almost legendary quality and durability. Although CDI is technically not their premium range, this torque wrench still effectively has a lifetime warranty. Many owners will tell you it's just like a Snap-on tool, just not quite so expensive. It's highly regarded for its accuracy (it's the only one of our finalists that comes with a certificate of testing), and many have found that it exceeds the manufacturer's specification. It's lightweight for a large torque wrench, and it's quick to set and easy to use. A few would have liked the numbers to be a bit clearer, but that's about the only negative comment it gets.

The Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque is highly regarded for its accuracy, and it's the only one of our finalists that comes with a certificate of testing.
Considerations

Price

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-150-Foot/Pound

Priced at just $39, it's easy to view the TEKTON as just another cheap torque wrench. That would be a mistake, because it's actually a very good all-rounder. It's ideal for working on cars, light trucks, and any number of other moderate-duty tasks. It's straightforward, reliable, and well-made. As many owners say, the TEKTON Drive Click Torque Wrench is an ideal addition to the home mechanic's toolbox.

Mountain 16250 1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench - 25-250 ft/lbs

The Mountain is a rather basic torque wrench. At just $63, it's tough to find any competition that offers the same range for that kind of money. It is long and heavy, but if you're dealing with large machinery, both of those characteristics can work to your benefit. It may not be the best tool ever made, but for heavy-duty work, it offers great value.

Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench in Black Case

It's pretty obvious that the addition of a digital component to a torque wrench is going to add considerably to the price. In the case of the Brown Line Metalworks model, you'll need to find $105. Is it worth it? That depends on your requirements. If you need high precision and multiple measurement ranges, it could well be. If you want audible warnings and real and target torque, there are few competitors. The Brown Line Metalworks does suffer from calibration issues at the low end, but that's a common failing. If you could get by with an "ordinary" torque wrench, this product might seem too expensive. If you need a digital version, it's tough to beat.

ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench (4-99 ft-lbs)

Comparing the $113 ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench with the Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench is only natural. The ACDelco is noticeably shorter, which might be important, though both are similar in weight. In terms of digital functions, the ACDelco's feature set is not quite as extensive as its competitor. However, owners rate it highly in terms of build quality, and its accuracy is the highest we've tested. Indeed, both digital torque wrenches on our shortlist are good products. Customers who want a digital torque wrench have only to select the tool that best matches their particular needs.

Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Mic

Whether you call it a CDI torque wrench or a Snap-on tool, this torque wrench will cost you $167. When compared to the similar-looking TEKTON and Mountain models, that seems like a lot of money, so the question is, what are you paying the extra for? Is it just the name? While being a premium brand probably has an impact, you've got to look at the overall engineering. It's probably slight overkill for the average home mechanic, but all over the world, this is the tool professionals choose.

The low-priced TEKTON Torque Wrench is ideal for working on cars, light trucks, and any number of other moderate-duty tasks.

Best of the Best

There are no poor tools here, but the best torque wrench is the Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH.

It could be argued that both of the digital torque wrenches on our list offer similar performance – and a lot more features – for less money. While that's true, the key word is "similar," not the same. Few tools anywhere are engineered as well as this CDI torque wrench.

Given that it's 21 inches long, with plenty of leverage for high torque demands, it's surprisingly light at four pounds. The balance is terrific, and it's also nicely finished. You just know it's going to last for years. The scale is marked for both ft-lb and N-m, and while others may offer more types of measurement, these are the two most common. The Snap-on will go from 30 to 250 ft-lb with a manufacturer-claimed accuracy of +/- 3% clockwise and +/- 5% anti-clockwise. Interestingly, some independent tests rate it as even more accurate than that!

Once set, there's a sprung-loaded collar that ensures nothing slips. You simply grip the comfortable plastic handle and tighten unto you hear the click. This wrench is fast, efficient, and just what many professionals need in a busy working environment. At a cost of $167, the CDI torque wrench will be a bit steep for most home mechanics, but it's the perfect choice for tool enthusiasts and professionals because they know they can rely on it for consistently high performance.

Best of the Best
Check Price
Few tools anywhere are engineered as well as the Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 2503MFRPH wrench.

Best Bang for Your Buck

There's tough competition for this award, but in the end, the Best Bang for Your Buck title goes to the TEKTON 24335 torque wrench.

If you spend a lot of time working on big machinery, the Mountain torque wrench is difficult to beat in terms of economy, and if you're looking for a digital torque wrench, both the Brown Line Metalworks and the ACDelco would be good choices. So why does the TEKTON win this category? Because it delivers unbeatable quality for the price.

At just $39, you might dismiss it as just another cheap torque wrench (like so many other imports). Take a look at its specifications, though, and you'll think differently. It weighs just two pounds and is a little over 18 inches long, so it's light and compact with good leverage. It offers the two most important ranges –ft-lb and N-m –and delivers from 10 to 150 ft-lb with an accuracy of +/- 4%. That's impressive for such a low-cost tool. In fact, it's better than some tools that cost several times as much. What's more, we think the TEKTON torque wrench is put together well and nicely finished. Owners agree. Even when there have been problems (and there aren't many), TEKTON's customer support is rated as first class. Each of our finalists has its strengths, but when it comes to the Best Bang for Your Buck, nothing beats the TEKTON.

Best Bang for your Buck
Check Price
The compact, affordable TEKTON delivers unbeatable quality for the price.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jasmin
    Jasmin
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations