10 Best 3/8 Torque Wrenches 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide
The ⅜-inch torque wrench is one of the most useful tools in the shop and around your home. It will help make sure your bolts are tight but not stripped, and its common torque range will cover more jobs than the ¼ and ½-inch wrenches. However, there are many different brands to choose from, and despite it being a relatively simple tool, there can be significant differences between brands.
We’ve chosen 10 different brands of ⅜-inch torque wrenches to review for you so you can see what some of the differences between them are. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each and tell you a little about our experience using them.
Join us while we discuss weight, torque range, constructions, ease of use, accessories, and more to help you make an informed choice.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench||
|Best Value||EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench||
|Premium Choice||ACDelco 3/8” Digital Torque Wrench||
|TACKLIFE 3/8” Drive Click Torque Wrench||
|LEXIVON 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench||
The 10 Best 3/8 Torque Wrenches – Reviews 2020
1. TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – Best Overall
The TEKTON 24330 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is our pick for the best overall ⅜-inch torque wrench. It features a high contrast dual-range scale that measures torque and foot-pounds (ft/lbs.) and newton meters (nm). The all-steel construction is very durable, and this tool features no plastic parts that will wear out over time.
It measures torque in the clockwise direction, but the tool is reversible, and you can use it as an ordinary ratchet. Pre-calibrated for accuracy, an experienced professional can recalibrate if something were to knock it off. You can set the torque from 10 to 80 ft/lbs. in 1-pound increments, and when you reach the preset torque, the wrench makes a loud click that you can hear and feel. It also comes with a case you can use to protect the tool during long time storage.
We had an amazing experience with the TEKTON 24330, and the only thing we could complain about was that it took a few tries before the tool loosened up enough to allow the full range of adjustments.
2. EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – Best Value
The EPAuto ST-012-1 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is our pick as the best ⅜-inch torque wrench for the money. It features a high contrast dual-range scales that list torque in foot-pounds and Newton-meters. The hardened chrome vanadium steel alloy looks nice, is durable, and is resistant to corrosion. It features several accessories, including a ⅜ to ¼-inch adapter, and a ⅜ to ½-inch adapter. The ⅜-inch drive also has an extension bar for getting the hard to reach bolts, and a loud click sound lets you know when you reach your torque value. You can adjust the torque from 10 to 80 ft/lbs., and it comes with a handy storage bag.
The main downside of the EPAuto ST-012-1 is that it’s difficult to adjust. You need to loosen and tighten a wing nut, and even then, getting the foot-pounds you want can be a challenge.
3. ACDelco 3/8” Digital Torque Wrench – Premium Choice
The ACDelco ARM601-3 3/8” Digital Torque Wrench is our premium choice ⅜-inch torque wrench, and it offers the users some nice features. The torque is adjustable from 3.7 to 37 ft/lbs., and all adjustments are easy to read on the digital display. It can present readings in multiple formats, including kilogram-centimeters, Newton-meters, foot-pounds, and inch-pounds, and a flashing LED and alarm alert you that you have reached the desired torque. It can also measure torque in clockwise or counterclockwise directions.
The downside to the ACDelco ARM601-3 is that it required batteries, and they don’t keep their charge very long. The screen is not backlit and can be difficult to read in some low light situations, and it’s cumbersome to set the torque.
4. TACKLIFE 3/8” Drive Click Torque Wrench
The TACKLIFE HTW1A 3/8” Drive Click Torque Wrench comes with a calibration certificate that guarantees the accuracy of the tool. It measures torque in a clockwise direction but features a reversible ratchet head for removing bolts. All steel construction is durable and resists corrosion, and the laser-engraved scale is accurate and easy to read. You can adjust the maximum torque from 10 to 80 ft/lbs., and a click sound will let you know you’ve reached the desired torque. Several accessories come with it, including an extension bar for the ⅜-inch drive and ½ and ¼-inch adapters.
We enjoyed using the TACKLIFE HTW1A, but we experienced a few problems when we did. The laser-engraved scale is easy to read from certain angles but appear to vanish from others. On our tools, the numbers wore off after a few uses, and it became very hard to adjust. The warning clicks that alerts you that you have reached the desired torque are very quiet, and the tool allows you to continue tightening, which can damage the bolt if you are not careful.
5. LEXIVON 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The LEXIVON LX-182 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is an attractive torque wrench that is black with highlighted yellow print for easy reading. It shows both foot-pounds and Newton-metric measurements, and it’s pre-calibrated for accuracy and comes with a unique calibration certificate. The all-steel construction is durable and resists corrosion. It has a reversible ratchet head, and it’s adjustable from 10 to 80 ft/lbs.
Our biggest problem with the LEXIVON LX-182 was that we couldn’t hear the click. They are very faint, and when we tested it in a quiet environment, we could hear them, but in a typical worksite it will be difficult to hear when you have reached torque. We also found that after a dozen or so bolts the ratchet began to slip on occasion, and it would occur more often as we used it. In some cases, it was hard to get the bolts tight. Another problem we had was that the numbers wear off and become difficult to read.
6. eTORK C2250 Click-Style Torque Wrench
The eTORK C2250 Click-Style Torque Wrench features a 45-tooth ratchet head for smoother and more precise ratcheting action. It clicks and releases when you reach your desired torque, so you don’t overtighten. It comes with a certification of calibration so you can be sure of the accuracy, and the accuracy is guaranteed to 3% when many popular brands are only accurate to 4%. This model also has the advantage of being able to measure torque in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. It has a dual-range scale that lists the foot-pounds as well as the Newton-meters, and the soft grip ergonomic handle is easy to grip.
What we didn’t like about the eTORK C2250 is that it’s quite bulky and difficult to get into smaller areas. Many other brands taper toward the ratchet end, but this does not. Also, the dual-range scale is inside the glass window, and it moves somewhat, making it difficult to read and trust. We had a few problems with slipping, and it doesn’t seem very durable.
7. GEARWRENCH 3/8” Drive Torque Wrench
The GEARWRENCH 850623/8” Drive Torque Wrench is a lightweight wrench (1.6 lbs.) that features a thin profile for getting into confined spaces. The knurled handle is easy to grip and features a center marking. You can adjust it to check the torque from 20 to 100 ft/lbs., which is a little higher than most of the tools on this list, and it will check the torque in both directions. The scale is printed on the wrench and reads in foot-pounds and Newton-meters.
While we were using the GEARWRENCH 85062, it continuously slipped at the higher range, so we didn’t get much use of the extra 20 foot-pounds of torque this tool provides. We liked the thin profile, but the low tooth count (30) of the ratchet head means you need to swing the handle further, so you lose the ability to work in tight spaces. It’s also not consistent in the lower range and has a hard time measuring torque below 20 ft/lbs. The dua scale is also hard to read from several angles.
8. Capri Tools 3/8-inch Drive Torque Wrench
The Capri Tools 31101 3/8-inch Drive Torque Wrench features a diamond sure-grip handle for made of impact-resistant materials for comfortable handling and easy adjustment. It comes pre-calibrated to within 4% accuracy and includes the calibration certificate. You can adjust it in 1.5-ft/lb. increments from 10-80 ft/lbs. And it includes a durable impact-resistant case.
The Capri Tools 31101 is a good wrench, but it doesn’t click when you reach torque. It makes a squeak like lug nuts that take some time to get used to. It also has a 24-tooth ratchet head, which requires a lot of room to swing the handle, so this tool may not be the best choice for tight areas. We used two of these tools, and both broke the neck where the socket connects to the tool after only a few uses.
9. Craftsman 3/8” Drive Microtork Torque Wrench
The Craftsman 9-31423 3/8” Drive Microtork Torque Wrench is a great torque wrench for small jobs around the home. At only one pound, it’s easily one of the lightest torque wrenches on this list, and its dual scale is stamped into the housing and is easy to read.
Unfortunately, we had a few problems with the Craftsman 9-31423 and felt it wasn’t very useful for any serious work. It only measures torque in one direction from 25 to 250 in/lbs., which is a fraction over 2 to 20 ft/lbs., and we didn’t feel it was very accurate in that range. There is no certificate stating the tool accuracy, and you can only hear the click at your chosen torque in the quietest conditions. It continues tightening after you reach the value, so it’s easy to strip or break the bolt.
10. BULLTOOLS 3/8-inch Drive Dual-Direction Click Torque Wrench
The BULLTOOLS 3/8-inch Drive Dual-Direction Click Torque Wrench is the final ⅜-inch torque wrench on our list to review for you, but it has quite a few features that may interest you. It’s adjustable from 10-100 ft/lbs., which is more than many of the other models on this list, and it’s 90-tooth ratchet head allows you to work in tight spaces where there isn’t much room to swing the handle. It makes a loud click when you reach the desired torque, and it will work in both directions. This tool also provides you with the most accessories and comes with a ½ and ¼-inch conversion heads, a ⅜-inch extension, and four sockets, so you can get to work immediately. It also comes with a convenient storage case.
We loved all the accessories that came with the BULLTOOLS and were excited about trying it out. At first, we found it to be quite accurate if a little heavy (3.94 pounds), and the 90 tooth ratchet head allowed us to work it tight areas, but after a few bolts at the higher range, the tool just fell apart in our hands. In the first model, the handle broke, and in the second, we could no longer adjust the torque. In both cases, the damage happened well below the 100-ft/lb. limit.
Let’s look at some of the most important things to look at when choosing a ⅜-inch torque wrench.
Quick Look at Measurements
All the ⅜-inch torque wrenches on our list measure torque in one of four ways, foot-pounds, inch-pounds, and Newton-meter, and Newton-centimeter. A foot-pound is a measure of how much energy is required to move one pound one foot, and the other measurements work the same way.
- Pounds = Imperial
- Meter = Metric
In the U.S., we use the Imperial measurements, but in our experience, there are plenty of times we are glad to have the metric units printed on the tool as well. We recommend getting a ⅜-inch torque wrench that has both Imperial and Metric units marked.
The first thing you are likely to look at when choosing a ⅜-inch torque wrench is the torque range. You want to make sure you have enough torque to complete the job. Most ⅜-inch torque wrenches measure torque between 10 and 100-ft/lbs. Of course, this means the wrench will allow you to tighten a bolt with its ratchet head until it takes 100 pounds of pressure (or whatever you set it to) to tighten it further before notifying you. A few units may go outside this range, particularly on the lower end, and most models in our review only go to a limit of 80 ft/lbs. We found that many ⅜-inch torque wrenches are inaccurate between 80 to 100 ft/lbs. and only put a few on our list.
Use ⅜-inch torque wrenches for most bolts between ¼ and ½-inch or 5 and 12 mm.
The accuracy of the measuring device is the next most important thing to consider. You have probably noticed that many of the tools on our list claim to be accurate between 3% and 4%. If you have a torque wrench set for 100 ft/lbs. and its accuracy is within 4%, it will tighten the bolt to a torque somewhere between 96 and 104 ft/lbs. A torque wrench with a 3% accuracy will tighten the same bolt to a torque of 97 and 103 ft/lbs. Many brands that claim to be accurate within a certain percentage will often include a certificate of testing that states how the performed.
We recommend purchasing a ⅜-inch torque wrench that measures torque to within 4%. While many brands use 3% as a marketing angle, and they are more accurate, the difference is minimal, especially at the medium range of the tool where much of the work takes place.
While ratcheting bolts is not the wrench’s main job, a ratcheting head with more teeth allows you to work in smaller areas. Fewer teeth require you to swing the handle further before you can tighten the bolt more, requiring more room.
We recommend a ratchet head with at least 35 teeth to be useful in most situations. Most of the torque wrenches on our list have enough teeth, but we mention those that don’t as well as the few that provide a high number of teeth for tight work areas.
The last big thing you need to worry about when choosing a ⅜-inch torque wrench is how it will alert you when you reach the desired torque. Most tools will alert you with a clicking sound. However, the volume of this clicking sound can vary dramatically between brands, so if you have difficulty hearing well, you might want to listen to the alert before you make a purchase. Some tools alert you with a squeaking sound and the new digital torque wrenches provide flashing light and loud alarms.
It’s also important to inquire if the tool releases torque when the set value or if it will continue tightening.
Torque Measurement Direction
Most bolts tighten in the clockwise direction, hence the saying “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey,” so most torque wrenches only measure torque in the clockwise direction. However, there are a few cases where the bolts tighten the other way and require a torque wrench that measures torque in a counterclockwise direction, but most people won’t need to worry about it. We pointed out which of the tools on our list that can measure torque in a counterclockwise direction.
When choosing a ⅜-inch torque wrench, we recommend our top choice. The TEKTON 24330 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is accurate, fits in small areas, and has an easy to read dual gauge. The EPAuto ST-012-1 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is almost as good and will save you a few dollars. It also comes with a few accessories that will help you get started right away.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over these reviews and have found some useful information in our buyer’s guide. If we have helped you choose your next tool, please share this guide to the best ⅜-inch torque wrenches on Facebook and Twitter.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best 3/8 Torque Wrenches – Reviews 2020
- 1. TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – Best Overall
- 2. EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – Best Value
- 3. ACDelco 3/8” Digital Torque Wrench – Premium Choice
- 4. TACKLIFE 3/8” Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 5. LEXIVON 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
- 6. eTORK C2250 Click-Style Torque Wrench
- 7. GEARWRENCH 3/8” Drive Torque Wrench
- 8. Capri Tools 3/8-inch Drive Torque Wrench
- 9. Craftsman 3/8” Drive Microtork Torque Wrench
- 10. BULLTOOLS 3/8-inch Drive Dual-Direction Click Torque Wrench
- Buyer’s Guide