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 the ‘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.
However, 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 tasks.
Below, we’ll help you to get your ideal wrench.
Best Inch Pound Torque Wrench Reviews of 2020
In order to help you get the best value for your money, we have come up with several recommendations. Below we’re going to review them so that you can make the right choice.
1. TEKTON 24340 Click Torque Wrench – Editor’s Choice
Your search for a quality inch-pound wrench stops here. This one is a top-rated product that has all the qualities that one looks for in an inch lb wrench.
It also helps that this one comes from one of the most popular names in this industry; TEKTON. With the TEKTON 24340, you will get a great scale that is easy to read even when you are working in poor 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. And its features make it excel in simplicity. One of its features is that it arrives as already calibrated from the factory. This one also clicks audibly when you reach the set torque, which helps you to avoid overusing torque.
This is a mechanical design wrench. It is all-steel in construction and 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.
- The scale can be read even in poorly lit workspace
- High quality, all-steel construction.
- Scale is etched onto the torque wrench.
- Comes Already calibrated
- Good case for storage and transport.
- Works as advertised, no cons!
2. eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench – Best for the Money
When you place this inch pound wrench in your hand, you will know that it’s pure quality. 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 durable 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 inch-pound wrench so that even flip accidents don’t unlock 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 requirements.
- Is up to the American National Standard ASME B107.300-2010
- Calibrated and tested in the factory before shipping
- Highly accurate
- Releases 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 an accuracy rating of +/-4 percent, you just need to get it out of the case and use it. The reversible ratchet head is going to measure the torque in both 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. Every part of the design is geared towards the user convenience and it has been constructed in a way to last a long time. For example, the ratchet head is made of Chrome Vanadium steel, which is not only strong but is also lightweight. In addition, the satin finishing ensures there is 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 bike, and other tools. You will also find it easy to use in narrow spaces.
The scale comes in dual reading, that is, ft.-lbs and Nm. It is clearly etched on the wrench so it is simple 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
If you have a good inch-pound wrench with you, then you will feel supremely confident while fastening a lug nut or another tension part in your car. 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. That’s a huge plus for this wrench, as over-torquing is a problem that is too common, and shortens the lifespan of the part that you are fastening.
As a click inch lb 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 sudden movement will not throw the torque values off.
This TEKTON 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 wrench is applicable for a number of fastening jobs, thanks to its large torque range. It starts at a minimum of 10 inches/lbs and goes up 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 Wrench
The capri tools 31200 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.
This one is a dual-direction torque wrench meaning it can measure torque in both directions. The accuracy rating of the capri tools 31200 is +/-3 percent in the clockwise direction and +/-5 percent in the anticlockwise direction. Each part of the inch-pound wrench 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. Moreover, you will also feel the click in your hand, so there’s no chance of missing it.
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.
- Matte chrome finish makes it anti-slip.
- Reaches hard to access places easily.
- Couldn’t find any significant drawbacks.
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
Beam style inch-pound torque wrench 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.
Buying Guide for Inch Pound Torque Wrenches
Below we’ll provide you with a detailed buying guide on how to buy the perfect inch pound wrench for you. Read on to find out more.
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. A top-notch inch-pound wrench should give you accurate results for both directions.
Often, people mistake saving some bucks for the ‘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 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 come 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 the bolts and nuts you work with.
Usually, for most vehicles, you need the 3/8 torque wrench with the range of 15-75 ft. /pounds. Sometimes you will be needing the 1/2” torque wrench with 30-250 ft. /pounds range. You can always convert an inch-pound wrench to feet pound.
Depending on the versatility of the job, you might even want a wrench with additional attachments (socket extender and reducer). Also, features like knurled handle can come in handy to manoeuvre the wrench properly.
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.
FAQs for Inch-Pound Torque Wrenches
Q: What is a good inch-pound wrench?
A: One that is easy to use, and made with high-quality materials to last a long time. The most popular material is the 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 lb torque wrench?
A: You just need to listen to an audible click that will alert you when the set torque 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 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 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 is equal to 480 in.-lbs.
Q: How do you adjust inch lb torque wrench?
A: You will need a vice for this and a recommended weight. Mark the wrench in 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. 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 the string and center of the 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 the 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 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 one 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 wrenches 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.
Taking informed decisions while purchasing is of paramount importance. 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 lb 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 the right one for you.