If you’re in the market for a new inch-pound torque wrench, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a wide variety of models that come at very different price points. Of course, you don’t want to get ripped off, but it’s not always easy to tell what makes for a good purchase, especially when shopping online.
The good news is that we’ve done the hard work for you, compiling a list of in-depth reviews of the best inch-pound torque wrenches, so that you can see for yourself what sets the good tools apart from the bad. As an added bonus, we’ve also compiled a buyer’s guide that’s packed full of great information about torque wrenches. After reading this, you should be confident that you can find the model of torque wrench that’s right for you.
|Capri Tools 31200|
|TEKTON 24320||2 lbs||4.7/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Neiko 03727A||1 lb||4.3/5|
|Nordstrand Pro 1/4-Inch pwt-tw05a||2 lbs||4.1/5|
The Capri Tools 31200 is our top pick for inch-pound torque wrenches. It’s one of the easiest models on our list to adjust, featuring a positive locking ring, which makes the job faster and easier. The torque scale itself is engraved, which means it won’t wear off like a painted model might, but it’s still easy to read and use.
Its range goes from 20 to 150 inch-pounds, giving a good mix of accuracy and range. Its scale is also engraved in Newton-meters, giving you the opportunity to work in metric without having to do conversions yourself. It is also designed to be accurate to within 3% clockwise and 5% counterclockwise, making it one of the most precise on the market.
The Capri Tools 31200 is one of the most durable on our list, maintaining their accuracy for 10,000 cycles at full torque in testing, which means that the average user will get many good years of service out of this tool. If you’re looking for a great torque wrench with little downside, you can’t go wrong with this model.
The TEKTON 24320 might be the most durable model on our list. Featuring an all-steel design, it’s going to stand up to general use and the accidental drop or two much better than other models. It also has a massive torque range, going from 20 to 200 inch-pounds, giving you the ability to work on sensitive and heavier projects alike. It’s designed to be accurate to within 4%, and ships pre-calibrated and ready to use.
What keeps this model out of first is the fact that it only measures torque in one direction, clockwise. This will be okay for most users, as most bolts tighten in the clockwise direction, meaning that this tool will be able to measure torque in most real-life cases. However, if you know that you’re going to have to tighten something counterclockwise to a specific torque, then you’re going to want a different model. The scale is also printed, which won’t last as long as engraved models.
The Neiko 03714A is our choice for best for the money. It combines a huge torque range, 20 to 200 inch-pounds, with excellent accuracy, as the tool is calibrated to within 4%. You get all of this at a price that is one of the absolute best on the market.
Like pricier models, it can measure torque in both directions. On these aspects alone, it’s a great deal for the money.
This model does have two potential downsides. The first is that the Newton-meter scale is inaccurate, which won’t matter to you if you only work in customary. Testing revealed that the durability isn’t as great as other models. Some of these will last you a long time, while others won’t have nearly as great a lifespan. For the price, though, you’re still getting a great deal.
The Neiko 03727A is the model that’s least like any other on our list. When looking at it for the first time, you might not know that it’s a torque wrench. Its radical design means it does some things well and does others poorly. For instance, it uses a visual scale instead of a clicker to let you know that you’ve reached the appropriate torque. Some people will prefer seeing the progress they’ve made, while others would just prefer to know when they’re done. It also works equally well in both directions which not all models do.
The downside to this model is that it has an odd shape that’s not great for working in tight spaces. It also hurts the durability of the device, which will not last you as long as others on the market. If you like the design and don’t need to get a lot of use out of it, it’s a good buy. Otherwise, you’re probably better served by another model.
The best thing about the Nordstrand Pro ¼-Inch pwt-tw05a is its price. It’s super-cheap, and that’s about all the good we have to say about it.
This model suffers from some of the biggest flaws found in other units, including the printed scale that’s pretty likely to wear away after repeated use. If you want a tool that will last you a long time, you should go with a model with an etched or engraved scale. It also suffers from inconsistent manufacturing. Some units will last you a long time, while others will break during the first use. You’re probably in for a headache with this tool.
It also doesn’t come calibrated, which is a huge pain in the butt if you’re not familiar with calibrating torque wrenches. If you’re looking for a frustration-free experience, do yourself a favor and check out other models.
Our reviews should have given you some idea of what you should be looking for when shopping for an inch-scale torque wrench. If you’re still looking for more information, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide, which is loaded full information designed to help you purchase with confidence.
One of the most important things you can pay attention to when shopping for an inch-scale torque wrench is accuracy. Did you know that most torque wrenches are at their most accurate between 30% and 80% of their total scale? If you know the torques to which you’re going to be tightening, then you will get the most accuracy if you find a torque wrench where your desired torque falls in that 30%-80% sweet zone.
You should also note whether the torque wrench measures torque in both directions. Some models only measure while working clockwise, while others do both, but are less accurate when working counterclockwise. The best models are equally accurate in both directions and give you the most flexibility for doing different kinds of projects.
Quality can take many different forms when it comes to the torque wrench market. The first and most obvious, indicator of quality is durability. More durable tools have the best designs, are made out of better materials, and assembled with care, meaning that they should last you a long, long time. Cheaper models can’t always make this guarantee.
You should also watch out for printed vs. engraved models. Models with a printed scale may eventually have their scale wear away, while the etched variety should last for the life of the tool.
You should also check if the model comes pre-calibrated. You’d think this would be a standard on all torque wrenches, but it is not. The pre-calibrated models are ready to use right out of the box and generally remain calibrated for most or all of their lives. Other models must be manually calibrated, which can be a difficult and time-consuming task if you’ve never done it before.
The Capri Tools 31200 was the best choice included in our reviews. It brings some of the best accuracy, along with a large torque range, durable construction, and adds that to a model that is overall very easy to use. The TEKTON 24320 has good durability, range, and accuracy, though it, unfortunately, has a printed scale. The Neiko 03714A is our choice for best for the money, though it does have some durability issues. The Neiko 03727A has an original design, which will work well for some people, and poorly for others, and ultimately knocks it down to fourth on our list. Finally, we have the Nordstrand Pro ¼-Inch pwt-tw05a, which is cheap, but doesn’t have much else going for it.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have taught you a lot about the world of torque wrenches. Armed with this information, you should be able to purchase a model that gives you a long life of service.