For impact gun and torque wrench users, one tool is a must: torque sticks.
Torque sticks help you to do your tightening work properly and save you time as well. In addition, they protect your equipment from over-tightening.
But, with a plethora of options on the market, build quality, and measurement tolerances can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
In this article, we’ll introduce you with top quality options to help you choose the best torque sticks set for you. We have reviewed the products in terms of performance, quality, price, easy of uses and longevity.
Before the full reviews have a look at our selected top torque sticks .
Best Torque Sticks Reviews – 2023
Here are the recommendations that we have found after long research. After you’ve gone through the reviews, you’ll be well informed to make the right pick for you.
1. Capri Tools 30083 Extension Bar Set – Editor’s ChoiceFor use with your impact wrench, you need accurate and maintenance-free torque sticks. And you will exactly get that from this 5-piece set of Capri Tools torque limiting extension bars.
These are ½-inch extension bars with a torque range of between 65 ft-lbs to 140ft-lbs. They are color-coded for easy identification, with a color for each torque limit. In addition, the Molybdenum Chrome material can take a lot of abuse, and as a result these sticks can last years.
This Capri tools torque stick are ½-inch drive torque sticks and 8 inches long. They are the perfect investment for you if you want to apply the right amount of torque to your wheel nuts. To use any piece in the set, just know the recommended torque setting for your nuts. It will set it to the recommended torque without exceeding it even a little.
To get the best out of these torque sticks, follow the manufacturer’s advice. It also does not hurt to find out how to use a torque stick if this is your first time. Below we have covered that part.
The sizes come in torque sizes of 65ft-lbs, 80ft-lbs, 100ft-lbs, 120ft-lbs and 140ft-lbs. That should be enough for just about any fastening job that you have to do at home on your vehicle’s wheels, or in an automotive workshop. Both professional and home mechanics will find this set a very useful tool to have around you.
- Affordable price
- Sold with a nice, high quality carry case
- Color coded for each torque spec
- Totally maintenance free – just use and store them well
- Can be used with battery powered or manual impact wrenches
- No cons at all.
2. Astro 78810 Torque Sticks Set – Top Quality for the MoneyWhen you want to torque your wheel nuts to the just the right torque, you will need a good extension set like this one. Not only are these very functional, but they are also durable and with good care, they can serve you for a really long time.
- Easy maintenance, just wipe the grease before storage.
- No calibration needed in their entire lifetime.
- Easy to identify thanks to the color coding.
- Removes risk of damage to bolts and nuts caused by impact wrenches.
- Sold with their carry case.
- Carry case feels a bit weak at the hinges.
3. Neiko 02450A Torque Limiting Extension Bar – Runner-UpYour search for heavy-duty torque limiting socket stops here with the Neiko 02450A. Same as the other torque limiting extensions bars we have reviewed here, these ones are color-coded for easier identification. When you are using an impact wrench, you have to limit the torque that you apply to fasteners and wheel lugs. Left to their own brute force, impact wrenches can over-thread and damage your lugs. That is why you need a torque limiting extension bar.
- Nice carry-case for storage and portability.
- Good investment for hobbyist as well as professional mechanics.
- Helps fasten your lug nuts to the right torque.
- The matte finishing is of high quality.
- Newbies may not know how to use these – you should never fasten one lug nut completely as it might go off-balance.
4. Performance Tool W32903 – Best Budget PickWe buy torque limiting extension bars to limit the torque that we apply to bolts, wheel lugs and other tension parts that need fastening. Performance Tool W32903 is a set of 5 torque limit extension bars that help protect your wheel lugs and other tension parts from damage that would otherwise be caused by the sheer force of an impact wrench.
- Quite accurate when they fit on lugs.
- Heavy-duty build and feels quite solid in the hands.
- Nice case for storage and traveling.
- Good for small fastening jobs like car or small truck lugs.
- The plastic lining on the walls of the socket make the walls too thick they may not fit on your lugs.
5. Neiko 02453A Torque Sticks – Best SAE and Metric Extension BarThis 8-piece set comes with not only the extension bars but deep impact sockets as well. It contains four of each of these items. You will notice the thin wall construction of the sockets. It allows them to fit well on your wheel lugs. These bars also help you to fasten things in hard-to-access spaces.
- Nice travel case
- Good enough for regular lug tightening jobs
- Does not over-torque
- Made to last a long time with minimal care
- Walls of the sockets are thin but not thin enough for a few fastening tasks
6. ABN Color-Coded Torque Sticks Set – Best in AccuracyThis is a 10-piece torque bar set covering a torque range of between 65ft-lbs and 150ft.lbs. At 8 inches long and with the thin walls, these extension bars help you access bolts that are in hard-to-reach places. However, that aside, even for the regular fastening of wheel lugs, this is the set of extension sockets that you want to use to prolong their lifespan.
- Good for any automotive workshop.
- Helps you fasten bolts in hard to access areas.
- Firm and lockable grip – no sockets slipping through.
- Nice finishing on the bars.
- No maintenance needed.
- No cons, everything works as advertised.
How to Pick the Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set
What’s the difference between a hasty buyer and an informed buyer? The informed buyer makes smart choices. He takes her time to sort out the requirements, knows which factors to evaluate, weigh between prices and features carefully.
We’re here to help you. Below we discussed the necessary factors you need to keep in mind when buying impact torque sticks.
Whether you are a regular user or working on a special case, make sure the set you choose got you covered. Usually, people go for a torque stick set rather than purchasing sticks separately. The reason is torque stick sets are cheaper and you’ll get everything under one package.
Usually, torque stick sets cover between the ranges of 65- 150-foot pounds. You’ll get 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 and 140 foot-pounds in between.
Most of the sticks that come with sets are ½ inch drive with a length of 8 inches. You usually won’t need to calibrate them or need special maintenance.
Torque sticks are literally built to take beatings and absorb shock. The prime objective of these sticks is to deform when the torque has passed a certain point, but won’t break. This demands a special build quality.
Usually, these sticks are made of steel that can be twisted, yet strong enough. Renowned manufacturers use chromium-molybdenum (CR-MO) steel for this purpose. To add further protection and prevent rust, they use manganese phosphate and powder coatings. This gives the sticks a smooth finish.
You don’t know which size of impact gun you may need in the future. Likewise, you may need to work on different projects that demand a wide range of fastener.
Usually, the sticks that come with the set are made to fit a particular sized fastener. If you’re a user with abovementioned reality, we recommend you to buy a set with universal fittings. They should work with any impact gun you use.
This is one of the important factors. The clear color-coded system is the reason why torque sticks are a faster solution. You can just pick the right one and get done with the work.
Look for torque sticks that are laser engraved with the torque setting values. Also, they need to be clearly identifiable different color-coded aluminum rings. These two factors will eliminate the guesswork and help you pick the stick you need easily. We would suggest avoiding poorly written or sticker type identification for torque values.
Well, torque sticks are meant to come with pre-calibration. Otherwise, why would you even opt for a torque wrench then, right? However, before purchasing any brand, it’s always good to ask and look around for that particular torque stick reviews.
Check if they are trusted by the users, and known for giving accurate results. While most of the products give quite accurate results, some products might fall short. Therefore, you need to be cautious.
Since you’ll probably be managing several torque sticks, it’s important to keep them secure and organized. How would it feel if you don’t find them when you need them? Also, keeping them here and there will damage the performance, and accidental bangs might knock them off calibration.
That’s why to look for a set that comes with a storage case. Usually, they come with a hard plastic carrying case, which contains grooves to keep the sticks organized and secure. Also, a storage box makes carrying these sticks around easy and stress-free.
Price shouldn’t be a factor for torque sticks users, because almost all the good brands come within a similar price range. This is a competitive market, and that allows the users to get quality products within an affordable price.
Still, with tens of tools to purchase for automobile and garage shops, making smart decisions become important. You cannot just throw money frantically if you have to buy other stuff. In this case, be smart and look for products that are top quality but within the lower spectrum of price.
There is a difference between cheap and value for the money. If you know your requirements, just purchase the set that meets your needs, don’t overdo it. Larger sets will come with a higher price tag, but lower average price. Your job is to strike a balance between these two.
How to use Torque Sticks Properly?
Here’s the step-by-step guide on using torqe sticks properly.
Step 1: First, you’ve to get the lug nuts off.
Step 2: Then, you need to put them back in the same place. In order to tighten the lug nuts, you’ll need to make the impact wrench and torque sticks work in tandem.
Step 3: Now, you’ll see that there are different colors of torque sticks. These colors indicate different levels of torque which you will see written on the torque sticks. Keep in mind that, the higher the torque amount, the thicker the torque stick will be.
Step 4: Choose a torque stick according to your needs.
Step 5: Next, connect the torque stick to the impact wrench and put it in the forward position. Then tighten the lug nuts.
Torque Limiting Extension Bar FAQs
Q: How do torque sticks work?
A: A torque stick is also called a torque limiting extension bar. It acts as an extension of an impact wrench but really how do torque sticks work is that it flexes and absorbs the shock that would have gone to your lug. It flexes to apply torque and as soon as it gets to its torque limit, it stops.
Q: What is the difference between low torque and high torque sticks?
A: The difference is in the thickness. The thicker a torque stick is the higher the amount of torque that it will apply to the fastener. Thinner torque sticks are for fasteners with low torque rating and vice versa.
Q: What is the right procedure to follow to use impact torque sticks?
A: Start by using your hand to tighten the fasteners. You can then use the right torque limiting extension bar on your impact gun/wrench to make the lugs tighter. When the wheel pulls up fastened all tight, give the fasteners another go, just a little bit until the fastener cannot move. Finally, you may use a torque wrench to find out whether every lug has attained its maximum torque.
Q: What is the most important thing I should know about using torque sticks?
A: The most vital thing is to make sure that you do not let the torque stick get to the final/maximum torque. It is recommended that you use a torque stick that is about 75% of the total torque required and then use a torque wrench to get to the maximum torque.
So, here we are at the end of this guide. With different buying factors to remember and assess, the purchasing job might be overwhelming for you. After all, the market is filled with shiny objects that are all talk, but no action.
That’s why we did our own research and came up with a list of best torque sticks. No, not all of them are the same. They differ in features, qualities, and specifications.
But one thing is common, they are all good products and praised by the users. We sincerely hope this list works for you and you become one of the contented users. Let us know your experience of using torque sticks. Take care.