If you’re in the market for a 3/8-inch torque wrench, you’ve probably realized that there’s a ton of models competing for your attention. They come at a variety of price points and have many different features. You don’t want to get ripped off, but it can be hard to tell which models are good value, and which are worth avoiding, especially when shopping online.
We understand this problem, and we’ve done the hard work for you. We created this list of reviews of the best 3/8-inch torque wrenches so that you can learn what separates a great model from one that’ll end up in the trash can before you buy. Included in this piece is a buyer’s guide that will give you some good general knowledge about torque wrenches so that you can know everything you need to know before you buy.
|ACDelco ARM601-3 Digital Torque Wrench||1 lb||4.75/5|
(Best for the Money)
The GearWrench 85062 is our top pick among 3/8-inch wrenches. It comes with a very large torque range, going from 10 foot-pounds at the low end to 100 foot-pounds at the high end. This gives you the power to work through heavy-duty problems, but also the finesse at the low end to work with more sensitive components. This torque wrench also features markings for both foot pounds and Newton meters, which makes it great for situations where you’ll be working different jobs that alternate between Metric and Customary.
The markings are engraved, which means they won’t wear off as easily as printed markings would. The knurled grip also makes it easy to hold this torque wrench, even when wearing gloves and makes it hard for your hands to slip off it when you’re working. The only complaint about this model is that it doesn’t have gears with the finest teeth, which produces some slip near the high and low ends of its range. However, that’s a rare problem, and this will be the overall best torque wrench for most people.
The ACDelco ARM601-3 Digital Torque Wrench is a great choice for people who always want or need to see the torque levels during use. Traditional torque wrenches use a click and slipping of the gears to let you know you’ve arrived, but with a digital torque wrench, you can see that you’re approaching the correct torque and slow down beforehand, preventing over-torquing accidents. It comes with peak and trace modes, which show you the maximum or current torque, respectively, and it can show that torque in Newton meters, kilogram centimeters, inch pounds, or foot-pounds.
It also has an excellent low end, ranging from 2 to 37 foot-pounds, which gives access to lower torques that most wrenches blow past without clicking. It also comes pre-calibrated from the factory and certified by N.I.S.T. standards, so you know it’ll be good to go right out of the box. The LCD screen lacks a backlight, so you can’t see the screen in the dark, which makes it less useful than a standard, clicking torque wrench in the same situation. However, if you’re looking for an affordable, reliable digital torque wrench, this is the model for you.
The EPAuto ST-012-1 is our choice for best for the money. The price alone is low enough that many people might buy it for that aspect alone, but it has far more upside than the price tag alone indicates. It’s made from a chrome vanadium steel alloy, making it one of the most durable torque wrenches on the market, and comes with a satin finish which does an excellent job of resisting corrosion. It also comes with a knurled handle that makes it easy to hold, even when wearing gloves. It’s a very precise tool, as it guarantees that it will be accurate to within +/- 4% on every use.
It comes with a dual scale, which means you can use it interchangeably for jobs that use Newton-meters or foot-pounds. There’s also a case included in this purchase, which raises the value quite a bit. One potential downside with this model is that it comes with a printed scale, which isn’t as good as an engraved scale. However, if you’re looking for a torque wrench that can get most jobs done and comes at an unbeatable price, this is the torque wrench for you.
The two extremely important factors you should consider before you buy are the torque wrench’s accuracy and quality.
If a torque wrench isn’t accurate, it’s not worth much. A lot of people buy torque wrenches and then get frustrated when it doesn’t work the way they want it to. Sometime to keep in mind is that most torque wrenches are certified to be most accurate from 30% to 80% of their total range.
That means that if you’re working in areas that are near the edges of the torque wrench’s maximum or minimum ranges, you’ll have less accurate results. Make sure you factor in some cushion for the range you need accuracy in before you buy.
Likewise, a torque wrench that falls apart after just a few uses isn’t worth much either. You’ll want to get one that has a body made from steel or a steel alloy, as these generally have the longest lives. However, the material isn’t the only thing that affects quality.
The markings for torque can either be printed or engraved. Printed markings are generally better for people with poor eyesight, as they’re far more visible. On the other hand, engraved markings last much longer than printed markings, which have a habit of wearing off. If you’re looking for a torque wrench with longevity, you’ll be better off with engraved markings.
The GearWrench 85062 is our top 3/8-inch torque wrench, due to its large torque range, engraved markings, and knurled grip. The ACDelco ARM601-3 Digital Torque Wrench is the best choice for people looking for a digital torque wrench and comes with four different torque measurements, peak and trace modes, and a very-low minimum measurable torque. The EPAuto ST-012-1 is our choice for best for the money, as it’s made from chrome vanadium steel alloy, is highly-accurate, includes a case, and you can get it for a very low price.
We hope that our reviews and our buyer’s guide have helped you figure out what to look for when you shop for torque wrenches. Armed with this information, you should be able to find the wrench that meets your needs and your budget.