There was a time when people used to tighten lug nut and hope they applied the right amount of tightness. In other words, they depended on ‘feel’.
Problem is, the sense of right torque can be influenced due to external factors like grease, Loctite or carbon. As a result, the user can end up over-tightening the nut or otherwise, not tightening enough. Both are bad and risky.
Then came Torque Wrenches. With them in hand, you no longer need to rely on assumption. They tell you exactly how much force you need to apply to ensure a tight and secure fitting.
It’s important to choose the right wrench for the right job. Choose an inferior or wrong one, you’ll get inaccurate results. That’s why you need only the best inch pound torque wrench for your particular application.
2019 top 5 Best Inch Pound Torque Wrench Reviews
1. TEKTON 24340 Click Torque Wrench – Editor’s Choice
The search for the best inch-pound torque wrench stops here. TEKTON is one of the most popular name in this industry. It is easy to see why when you get to use their torque wrenches. With the TEKTON 24340, you will get a good scale that is easy to read even when you are working in poorly light conditions. With a length of 26 inches, that is long enough to keep your hands safe even when you are working in tight spaces.
The reversible ratchet head with 24 teeth offers the users a dual-direction drive. You can operate it in the clockwise and the anticlockwise direction. Accuracy rating does not differ all that much in the clockwise or anticlockwise direction. It has been rated at +/-3 percent in the clockwise direction and +/-5 percent in the anti-clockwise direction.
Simplicity is very important when you are using your torque wrench. There are some details to note here. One of them is that this torque wrench comes calibrated from the factory. It also clicks audibly when you reach the set torque.
This is a mechanical design wrench. It is all-steel in construction. It requires no maintenance at all, just wipe it clean after use and store it. As a manual wrench, it does not need batteries.
The torque range is indicated in ft.-lbs, but the user manual also comes with a conversion chart. The range is 25 to 250 ft.lbs.
- Good case for storage and transport.
- High quality, all-steel construction.
- Scale is etched onto the torque wrench.
- Comes ready to use right out of the box.
- Works as advertised, no cons!
2. eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench – Top Rated for the Quality
When a torque wrench comes with lifetime personal use guarantee, you know it is really good. The eTORK has an accuracy rating of +/-3 percent for clockwise operation and +/-4 percent in anti-clockwise operation. When you have attained the set torque value, the wrench can either release or click to alert you. You cannot over-tighten with this torque wrench, something that really preserves the life of your tension parts.
You can measure and apply torque in both directions. This is a step ahead of the competitors because most of them come with reversible ratchet heads. It means that they cannot apply torque in the anticlockwise direction. The ratchet head has 45 teeth and it is good for use in hard to access spaces.
The high quality build is quite reassuring. It is made of hardened alloy steel. This makes it not only durable, but light in weight as well. With the release mechanism mounted on ball bearing, you will get consistency and more sensitivity, which ensures that you do not over-torque. This accuracy is quite reassuring especially when fastening sensitive parts in your car or dirt bike. The lock mechanism is going to secure the wrench so that even flip accidents don’t dis lock it.
Everything in the design of this torque wrench has been carefully thought out. This includes the large handle, which is quite ergonomic in style. It is very comfortable even when you are using it in small spaces. You can choose the different drive and torque range according to your requirement. Different size and range are…
- 1/2 inch drive 30-150 ft/lbs
- 1/2 inch drive 50-250 ft/lbs
- 1/4 inch drive 40-200 ft/lbs
- 3/8 inch drive 20-100 ft/lbs
- 3/8 inch drive 50-250 ft/lbs
- Is up to the American National Standard ASME B107.300-2010.
- Calibrated and tested in the factory before shipping.
- Highly accurate.
- Release when torque value has been achieved.
- You can’t self-calibrate this torque wrench.
3. EPAuto Click Torque Wrench – Best Budget Pick
With the EPAuto ½-inch torque wrench factory pre-calibrated to accuracy rating of +/-4 percent, you just need to get it out of the case and use it. It is sold ready to use straight out of the box. The reversible ratchet head is going to measure the torque in both the clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
With a torque range of 25 to 250 ft.lbs, this is a pretty heavy-duty tool, good for tightening the suspension parts of your car or trailer. You will find the torque conversion chart with the user manual. Everything is well thought out and constructed to last a long time. For example, the ratchet head is made of Chrome Vanadium steel, which is not only strong but is also light in weight. In addition, the satin finishing ensures no corrosion at all.
With a length of 20.5 inches, this torque wrench is neither too long nor too short. It is just the right size for working on parts of your car, your dirt bike and other machines. You will also find it easy to use in squeezed places.
The scale comes in dual reading, that is, ft.-lbs and Nm. It is clearly etched on the wrench so it is easy to read all the time. You can increase the torque by intervals of 1 ft.-lb. Finally, there is a high quality storage and travel case for this wrench. When you are done using it, just wipe it down if you were using it in a greasy environment and store it.
- High quality steel construction.
- Good for your lug nuts as long as they are torque rated for 75 ft-lbs and above.
- Wide torque range for heavier and medium fastening jobs.
- Nice case for storage.
- No calibration certificate.
- Hard to self-calibrate.
4. TEKTON TRQ21101 Dual-Direction – Best 1/4 Inch Pound Torque Wrench
Nothing inspires confidence when fastening a lug nut or another tension part in your car or bike than a good torque wrench. The TEKTON TRQ21101 1/4 inch drive torque wrench is going to help you remove all the guesswork from the picture. It will help you to tighten parts to the recommended maximum torque. This torque wrench will ensure that you do not over-torque, a problem that is too common, which shortens the lifespan of the part that you are fastening.
As a click torque wrench, your TEKTON TRQ21101 clicks audibly once the set torque has been achieved. This click is hard to miss, so just stop once you hear it. It also locks in the torque settings so that flip accidents will not throw the torque values off.
This TEKTON torque wrench has been designed with a spring loaded adjustment collar. When you set your torque, this mechanism locks that torque setting into place and so when you tighten to the torque value, it clicks.
This is a dual direction torque wrench, thanks to the 72-teeth ratchet. It can operate both in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions. However, the accuracy rating changes slightly because in the clockwise direction it is +/-4% while the anti-clockwise is +/-6%.
This torque wrench is applicable for a number of fastening jobs, thanks to its large torque range. It starts at a minimum of 10 inches/lbs to 150 inches/lbs.
- It is calibrated from the factory.
- Easy to read the torque markings.
- Comes in a sturdy storage/travel case.
- Minimal maintenance needed.
- Does not have a calibration certificate that you can trace to N.I.S.T.
5. Capri Tools 31200 – Best Industrial Inch Pound Torque Wrench
This torque wrench comes in five options. First two is 1/2-inch drive with torque rang of 20-150 and 30-250 foot-pound. The third and fourth ones have 1/4-inch drive torque range of 20-150 and 50-250 foot-pound. The fifth option is 10-80 foot-pound 3/8-inch drive torque wrench. Except for the different torque ranges, they all share almost the same specs, and all of them have matte chrome finishing. Of course, the higher torque ones cost more money.
These are dual direction torque wrenches. The accuracy rating of the Capri Tools torque wrenches is +/-3 percent in the clockwise direction and +/-5 percent in the anticlockwise direction. Each part of these wrenches is made with automated CNC machines making them very precise. You can use them for a long time without losing their precision.
You will feel and hear the click once you attain the set torque. The wrench produces an audible click that you will hear above the din that usually accompanies any home or workshop projects. You will also feel the click in your hand.
The calibration certificate number for this torque wrench is 1505692032. All the other wrenches will have their certificate serial numbers. The calibration certificate can be traced to N.I.S.T so you can be confident that their precision has been tested and proven.
- Light in weight if you travel with it.
- Markings are clear and easy to read.
- Matter chrome finish makes it anti-slip.
- Reaches hard to access places easily.
- Works as advertised, no cons!
Types of Inch Pound Torque Wrenches
Pound Inch torque wrenches come with different variations. The all do almost the same job, it’s just their application method is different. However, a mechanic should be aware of the variations to understand which one is convenient for him.
1. Beam-Style Torque Wrenches
This is the cheapest of all variations, and suitable for heavier jobs. They come with an analog meter that gives you the reading of the force applied. While they are often considered undependable, they can actually do a good job if calibrated properly. They are also equipped for bulk parts and materials.
The only downside is, depending on which angle you’re watching from, your readings might vary. It’s called parallax. The solution is to check the meter head-on. But it can be tough depending on your job. If that happens, you should opt for wrenches that give the reading differently.
There is another variation of beam wrench which is known as ‘dial torque wrench’. They contain a dial that displays the amount of torque applied.
2. Click Type Torque Wrenches
Click torque wrenches have been popular to operators who use the wrench professionally and frequently. While they can be a little overwhelming for amateurs, you’ll actually like it while you get the hang of how it works.
You have to set a torque range depending on the job. Once the desired torque is reached, you’ll hear an audible ‘click’ sound. This is where it gets tricky. You should stop as soon as you hear the sound and resist any urge to give a final turn.
Professional mechanics still prefer click-wrenches over other types due to familiarity.
3. Digital Torque Wrench
They are the newest inclusions in the world of torque wrenches. They eliminate the downsides you usually get with torque and click wrenches. Best digital inch pound torque wrenches tend to be precise and accurate.
They have a digital meter which eliminates the problem of parallax. They also generate beep sound once you reach the desired torque, which makes them analogous to click wrenches. Most of them even come with multi-colored LED lights to make sure you don’t go overboard.
For obvious reasons, they are usually the most expensive wrenches out there. But they’re worth investing in and convenient for all types of users.
Best inch pound torque wrench – Things to consider for the quality
Accuracy is the most important thing when you use an inch scale torque wrench. Without it, the main purpose is beaten. However, the accuracy sometimes depends on the range of the wrench.
They tend to give accurate results if your desired torque falls between 30% and 80% of the total scale of the torque wrench. This is called the sweet zone.
There are some wrenches that measure torque in both directions. They’re good when giving clockwise reading, but underperforms when giving an anti-clockwise reading. The best inch pound torque wrenches should give you accurate results for both directions.
Often, people mistake saving some bucks for ‘value of money’. You can buy a cheap product and save some money alright, but you’ll be forced to buy the product again soon as it breaks, thus spending more money anyway.
Quality inch-pound torque wrenches come with best designs, made of top materials and calibrated properly. This means they last for a long time, giving you value for every penny you spent.
Cheaper plastic made handles tend to break when trusted with heavy jobs. Quality wrenches come with metal or steel body. The scale is another indicator. Some comes printed while some come engraved. A printed scale will wear off sooner or later, while engraved models are most likely to last as long as the product itself.
Manual calibration can be difficult and time consuming for a beginner. Also, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll get readings that are far from accurate. That’s why good brands pack their products pre-calibrated.
They are ready to use and you can get on the job instantly. Once calibrated, they should remain okay for the rest of their lives, unless they face bang or hand slippage that knocks them off-calibration.
Usually, products that come pre-calibrated also come with a calibration certificate. However, almost all good products come with a detailed instruction manual on how to calibrate the wrench to keep them in peak performing position.
So, what are the jobs you look forward to doing on a regular basis? Based on the answer, the features and specifications for your ideal torque wrench will differ.
Are you going to work with large materials i.e. trucks and Lorries? Or your application revolves around smaller jobs that require more precision? What’s your desired torque stress you’re looking to handle?
Depending on the uses, you might even need to use more than one wrenches. You might want to check if the wrench works well with the size of bolts and nuts you work with.
Usually, for most vehicles, you need the best 3/8 torque wrench with the range of 15-75 ft. /pounds. Sometimes you will be needing the best 1/2” torque wrench with 30-250 ft. /pounds range. You can always convert an inch-pound torque wrench to feet pound.
Depending on the versatility of the job, you might even want a wrench with additional attachments (socket extender and reducer).
Handle: The handle length and grip also decide the level of convenience. Some jobs are done easier with longer handles, while some need closer observation with shorter handles. And since you’ll be holding the wrench for a period of time, the grip should be comfortable.
Readability: If you can’t read the measurement clearly, you’ll do the job improperly and that’ll lead to disaster. The scale should come with big and easily perceivable numbers. If you’re using a digital wrench, the LCD monitor should be bright and easily readable.
Storage Case: It’s really awkward to carry around torque wrenches without any storage facility. Also, they’re hard objects. Any collision with car trunk will damage the trunk and also through the tools off-calibration. That’s why good models always come with hard cases to store them securely.
Important FAQs About Inch Pound Torque Wrenches
Q: What is a good inch-pound torque wrench?
A: One that is easy to use, and made with high quality materials to last a long time. The most popular material is Chrome Vanadium steel alloy. Check whether the torque values are etched/engraved on its body for durability in inch-pound, Nm or Ft-pound units.
Q: How do you read inch-pound torque wrench?
A: You just need to listen to an audible click that will alert you when the set torque value has been achieved for a mechanical torque wrench. A digital torque wrench will have a small LCD or LED display that shows torque values.
Q: How do you use inch-pound torque wrench?
A: The first thing is to know the manufacturer-recommended torque value for the part you are fastening. Tighten the bolts of the wrench on the threads with a socket, adjust the torque, take the handle and turn it clockwise until it clicks.
Q: Can I use an inch-pound torque wrench for foot-pound?
A: Yes, you can. However, you need to do a bit of math or use a conversion chart. You just need to multiply the foot number by 12 since we have 12 inches in one foot. For example, a 40 ft.-lbs torque value is equal to 480 in.-lbs.
Q: How do you adjust inch-pound torque wrench?
A: You will need a vice for this, and a recommended weight. Mark the wrench at the middle of the drive and then measure from the mark to the place where your hand holds the wrench.
Record your measurement and then clamp the head of the wrench in a vice. Move the handle to a horizontal position and then set your torque value. Hang your weight on the line that you marked the center and as you hear the clicking sound, lift the weight moving it to the square drive until the click stops. Mark the spot where the click has stopped.
Now, measure this distance between string and center of head and divide by the first distance to get a ratio of calibration. Multiply this ratio with the manufacturer recommended torque for the part that you will fasten. It is more or less like calibrating your torque wrench.
Q: How do you calibrate inch-pound torque wrench?
A: Measure the distance from central point to the head of the wrench and note it down somewhere. Clamp the head onto a vice and hang a 9 kg weight on the handle of the wrench with a rope. Now, move the rope until it measures 480 inches-pounds.
You can then measure the distance between the center of the head of the wrench to the string and divide this distance by the first distance so you can get your calibration ratio. You can now set your torque wrench to (calibration ratio multiplied by the torque recommended for the bolt that you will be fastening).
Q: What is the difference between inch-pounds vs foot-pounds torque wrench?
A: The inch-pound torque wrench will read the torque value in higher numbers, simply because there are 12 inches in a torque wrench, as the inch is the smaller unit here.
Another difference is that inch pound torques are used to measure and apply torque to small tension parts while ft-pound wrenches are used on wheel lugs, gasket heads and other bigger parts.
Q: Why is it important to tighten my fasteners accurately?
A: Bolts, lug nuts and other parts are tensioned accurately and therefore if fastened beyond their limit, they can snap, be damaged or slip. The importance of fastening parts accurately is to protect yourself from accidents and enhance the lifespan of the tension parts.
Q: How can I give my torque wrench the best care?
A: Just do the obvious, as you would with any other workshop tool. Torque wrenches are very precise, so you should never drop yours. Never use it for unfastening wheel lugs and when you are finished using it, return it to lowest torque value.
There’s no decision like informed decisions. When it comes to tools, it’s even more important. You have to work with measurements and ranges. Thus, there’s no way you can purchase an inappropriate tool and get away with that.
Inch-pound torque wrenches are more suited for complex, sophisticated jobs. They come with narrow and precise specifications because their application demands so. So, you need to know your requirements in advance.
The best inch pound torque wrench might not be the same for everyone, but they possess some common characteristics. The only difference is size and range. Otherwise, they tend to be accurate, durable and convenient to use. That’s why they’re admired by the users. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be able to find one for you.