Last Updated on August 21, 2020
Torque Wrenches are the tool you need when you come across a sensitive bolt that you can’t afford to overtighten. As we all know, overtightening can break the head off a bolt, or result in diminished functioning, which can be a massive pain to deal with.
If you’re looking for a 1/4-inch torque wrench for home use, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve assembled a list of reviews of the best 1/4-inch torque wrenches that explains the upsides and downsides to each model. Hopefully, these reviews will help you find a model that works well for you and comes at a price you’ll love.
|Top Pick||Capri Tools 31200 20-150||
|Best for the Money||EPAuto ST-013-1||
The Capri Tools 31200 20-150 is our top pick in 1/4-inch torque wrenches. It comes with a very wide torque range, from 20-150 inch pounds, which a massive range, and a fantastic deal for this price. It’s made from a matte chrome steel, which looks great and has the durability and the strength to deal with the upper torque range without missing a beat. It has two scales, so you can read off your torque in inch pounds or in Newton-meters, which makes it good for situations where you might be working with customary or metric systems.
It also meets NIST-laboratory standards, which means it’s a very precise tool across most of its range. Like most torque wrenches, it is most accurate from 30% to 80% of its range, so it still has a very large effective range, even after that is taken into account. One quibble with this model is that it has somewhat-unclear numbers. Other models have more legible numbers, so this one is a bit disappointing in that regard. But, overall, this is the torque wrench you should get if you want the best on the market.
The TEKTON TRQ21101 is a good choice for someone who wants to get a bidirectional wrench but doesn’t want to break the bank in the process. Yes, this torque wrench does work both counterclockwise and clockwise, which makes it useful for situations where one or the other direction is required. It features +/- 4% accuracy when turned clockwise and +/- 6% accuracy when turned the other direction. That’s the most accurate you can find on the market, but its acceptable for a bidirectional wrench.
It comes with a very large torque range, going from 10-150 inch-pounds, which means you have access to some of the more delicate processes on the low end of the spectrum that you can’t get on other wrenches with similarly large ranges. It also has a click that is more felt than heard, which means it’s suitable for noisy shops or garages where hearing a standard torque wrench would be impossible. The only real flaw is that the accuracy varies depending on direction, which is something you have to pay attention to. Overall, this is a great torque wrench, and if you don’t want to spring for the top model, it’s a good substitute.
The EPAuto is ST-013-1 the best 1/4-inch torque wrenches for the money. It’s made from a chrome vanadium steel alloy, which gives it a ton of strength a bit of scratch resistance, too. Beyond that, it’s a great-looking alloy, for those of you who want tools that work well and look good, too. It has a satin finish which helps keep it corrosion-free, and as long as you store it in dry conditions, it should go a very long time without any signs of rust.
It comes with a storage case, which is a good thing to have with a precision instrument like this. It also has a high-contrast scale which makes it easy to see the settings, so that you always get the one that you want. It does feel a little cheap, but given the price that you’re paying for it and how well it works, it’s hard to hold that too much against it. A clicking noise lets you know when you’ve finished, so it would be hard to mess a job up with this model. This is the tool for you if you want the best 1/4-inch torque wrench on the market.
Accuracy and quality are by far the two most important attributes in a torque wrench.
While torque wrenches can have a large scale, it’s an open secret that they’re only very accurate for part of that total distance. Most torque wrenches are at their most accurate when they’re between 30% and 80% of their maximum range. That means that if you’re looking to work with extra-low amount of torque, you’re going to need a torque wrench that starts as near to 0 as possible and has a small range, to preserve the wrench’s accuracy.
You should also note whether the torque wrench works in multiple directions. Some models have the same accuracy in both directions, while others differ by 2% or more, so you have to be more cautious in one direction than the other.
Quality is also very important. Durability, or how long a torque wrench lasts, results directly from the tool’s quality. The best torque wrenches have the best designs, are made from the best materials, and are well-assembled in the factory. With cheaper models, you don’t have the same guarantee.
You’ll want to look for torque wrenches with some kind of steel in its body. If you start seeing other metals creep in, it’s safe to start doubting the ultimate quality and durability of the tool. Note that steel alloys are generally okay.
You’ll also want to make sure that you get an easy-to-read model. Engraved models generally hold up better in the long run because their numbers can’t wear off, unlike a painted model. However, painted models tend to be better for people with weak eyesight, as the numbers pop out more against the body of the tool.
The Capri Tools 31200 20-150 is our top 1/4-inch torque wrench, due to its large range, excellent matte chrome steel construction, and its dual-scale. The TEKTON TRQ21101 earns a second place with its large torque range, dual-direction functioning, and highly-legible numbers. The EPAuto ST-013-1 is a great choice for value shoppers, as it’s chrome vanadium steel alloy will live up to all kinds of abuse, and its price makes it the best overall choice for the money.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find a torque wrench that will solve your problems. It’s not always easy to shop online, but we hope that we’ve made that process far easier.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!