Choose the Best 3/8 Torque Wrench
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated 3/8 Torque Wrenches
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If you are into motorcycle repair, you won’t manage to skip the tool called a torque wrench. This is a must-have instrument when you need to tighten the bolts and nuts in a quick and accurate way.
Only top-notch wrenches can deliver exceptional accuracy pre-calibrated at the factories. There are a few various types of top-notch torque wrenches. But most experts choose the click or beam wrench instruments. The following guide mostly offers the click type wrenches with the head size of 3/8 in.
You just need to pick the tool that can tighten a bolt up to a certain amount of pounds – check the comparison table where this range is specified for each reviewed model. Also, keep in mind that some torque wrenches in this list come with adapters for different drive sizes – such as
3/4 and 1/2 inches.
After the review of top 5 best 3/8 torque wrenches do not skip the buying guide with useful tips about choosing the best tool in this category.
TEKTON 3/8 Wrench – the best for durability!
Like all mechanical tools of the beam design, this wrench emits the distinct click sound when you reach the preset value.
- Made of durable steel – exceptional quality
- Pre-calibration to +/- 4% accuracy
- Visible markings you may read even at night
- Simple to use
- Dual-scale range – measure in foot-pounds or Newton-meters
- Values the torque level just in the clockwise direction
- You need to adjust the scale by hand
Another good thing is that this torque wrench comes in a sturdy plastic case of red color. Carefully read the manual before using the instrument for the first time.
EPAuto 3/8-Inch Wrench – the best for cars and motorcycles!
- It has a durable ratchet head
- Satin finish
- Protected from corrosion
- Emits the click sound when the preset torque value is reached
- Markings are easy to read
- A bit bulky
- Doesn’t come with a calibration certificate
- Only 90-day warranty
- Not good for replacing the spark plugs
It is a durable and multi-functional torque wrench. You may use it to tighten the bolts and screws in cars and motorcycles. Just double-check the calibration before using it.
TACKLIFE 3/8″ Wrench Set – the best for versatility!
The tool has a dual-range measurement scale for different devices.
- Precise calibration, according to the international DIN-ISO-6789 standard
- High quality of materials and construction – all the parts are made of steel
- Loud and distinct click sound
- Reversible 24-tooth ratchet head
- Good to work in narrow spaces
- Confident use even for novices
- Extremely easy use
- Comes with a calibration report
- Works with spark plugs
- A bit bulky
- Doesn’t with most lawnmowers
- Do not use for lug nuts
This set offers many upgraded accessories and a storage case to keep all the adapters arranged. Make sure to read the manual before the first use.
Neiko 3/8″ T Handle Wrench – the best for design!
Also, this instrument offers a longer reach than most similar wrenches. The case also comes with 2 adaptors for this instrument – 1/4 and 1/2-inch removable heads.
- Quicker than the ratchet-based tools
- Made of durable alloy of chromium/vanadium/steel
- Capable of tightening even the toughest nuts, fasteners and bolts
- Can be used for reaching narrow spaces
- Has 2 adaptors for different sockets, hex drives and swivels
- Portable and lightweight
- A bit bulky
- Limited warranty
- Sometimes the product comes without adapters
You can use both hands when working with this tool because of the comfortable T-shaped handle. Any car repair job can be done quickly because of better control over the wrench.
Precision Instruments Wrench – the best for speed!
Speed and durability come along because the user of this wrench doesn’t need to turn it down after each use. Such flexibility is achieved thanks to the innovative torque mechanism.
- Convenient and easy to use
- Quick performance
- All-steel build
- Long reach
- Precise and pre-calibrated to 4% accuracy (proved by the certification card)
- Chrome and nickel finish
- Only one-year warranty
- Spots on the chrome finish can appear
- The adjustment knob may come loosen
When working with this tool, you don’t need to reset it each time after use. This wrench is made in the United States. This precise and fast-acting instrument can resolve many issues associated with micrometer-style click tools in harsh environments.
The Precision Instruments tool should not be used to loosen any bolts. Also, it won’t do for left-hand threaded fasteners.
The Buyer’s Guide
If you need the tool for the frequent use and versatile fasteners, it is worth choosing several instruments with different ranges. It is essential to know what tightening torque range will be relevant for your car repair jobs.
A range of up to 20 to 150 Nm is enough for small jobs. If you use a torque wrench more frequently – the range should be about 100-700 Nm. If you apply the force of 80 Nm, the tool should have the range from 20 to 150 Nm.
The square head drive size
The size of the square head drive is also crucial. It is measured in inches. There are 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, 1-inch, etc. Check the size of the fasteners you need to tighten. Only then you should choose the corresponding square head drive size.
On the terms of accuracy, you should avoid any basic beam instruments because they are least accurate. Then click torque wrenches come and only then the most accurate digital instrument. Most U.S. tools follow the generally accepted measurement standards when the applied force is defined in Newton meters and inches-pounds (foot-pounds). The pre-calibration can be a good sign for people who seek the tool to use out of the box.
The leading manufacturers make sure that the ergonomic design of their tools is performed at the highest level. But there are the wrenches that are too long or too short and that’s why they may cover the fastener while you are tightening it. Avoid such tools at any cost. Also, stay away from the tools with too small markings on the handle. If you use torque wrenches at night, make sure to invest in a digital instrument with an LCD screen for better visibility. Or, at least choose a click wrench with large engraved markings.
The direction of torque measurement
It’s worthwhile to understand beforehand in which direction the wrench can measure the torque. Most instruments are adapted for right-handed people and therefore have a corresponding clockwise direction. But some people are used to working with the left hand only and that is when you need to choose a bi-directional tool that can rotate in both directions.
Typically, at least one interchangeable pivot head comes with a wrench. Interchangeable heads produced by the same manufacturer are more preferable than interchangeable heads purchased in different places and made by different brands. But if you initially bought a cheap wrench, you should not rely on its high quality, including the head.
A storage case
A convenient, relatively lightweight and capacious storage case can help to keep the torque wrench and its attachments organized and safe from moisture. If the manufacturer sells the tools in a special case, offering space for additional components, this is a great benefit.
3/8 Torque Wrenches FAQ
Who makes the best quality torque wrench?
A torque wrench is an incredibly valuable locking tool that you can not forget – particularly if you’re using it to twist your car’s lug nuts or other essential nuts and bolts.
Torque wrenches with good precision enable the consumer to precisely fix a nut to the required value. Torque wrenches come in a number of shapes and sizes, but the most popular are beam or click devices. A beam torque wrench actually has a gauge that indicates the current torque intensity being added to the nut, while a click wrench enables the consumer to set a target value and only clicks as the nut is tightened to that value.
There are also digital click-style tools that use a series of buttons and an LCD monitor to enable the consumer to set the required torque value and emit a distinct “click” sound when the correct value is achieved.
A few brands produce pre-calibrated and precise torque wrenches. Their tools are recognized all over the world thanks to their high quality. These brands can be trusted no matter what tools you want to buy:
- Precision Instruments;
- Capri Tools;
How much torque can a 3/8 drive take?
The proof torque for a 3/8-inch drive 6 or 12 pt 3/4 inch (19mm) plug, for example, is 2200 lb/in (inch-pounds), which is more than 183 foot-pounds. Most manufacturers claim that a standard 3/8 torque wrench may take up only to 100 foot-pounds.
Are Tekton torque wrenches any good?
Finding a top-notch, budget-friendly wrench for auto usage can be difficult. For those looking to extend or improve their automotive tool collection without investing too much on a single tool, Tekton offers a good choice.
The essential features of Tekton torque wrenches:
- Knurled handle. When dealing with solid and elastomeric materials, you must be very vigilant to inspect the substance and see how it can withstand the applied force. If your grip is slick when using a torque wrench, you can unintentionally drag the handle and add more power. This may result in the substance being totally broken and cracked;
- Durable steel. While Tekton’s best wrenches are often used for delicate work, you never realize when you’ll need to use them for hard work. When dealing with it on a plastic sheet, you may require the less torque than when using it on a metal or steel floor;
- Ratchet head. The ratchet is the most crucial component of any wrench. This is the part of the wrench that allows measurements to be taken. The ratchet head helps the consumer to fine-tune the specifications and carefully screw every kind of fastener;
What is the best size torque wrench to buy?
What you can do with your wrench is mostly determined by its size. While there is some feature variation between the two sizes on occasion, and drive size is usually reserved for special activities.
The most used sizes for torque wrenches:
- 1/4-inch. This is the minimum drive size available. These are commonly needed for small aluminum gas motors. As a result, this is an excellent option for bikes, mopeds, and other similar vehicles. Small electrical equipment used in certain HVAC applications can benefit from a 1/4-inch drive. These can be used for valve covers and other tiny vehicle fasteners as well;
- 3/8-inch. For big car repairs, this is the minimum drive size you’ll possibly need. It’s typically used for engine maintenance, such as tightening spark plugs. While this is the most popular drive size for socket packs, it is just the second most common for wrenches;
- 1/2-inch. This is the standard drive size when talking of wrenches. It’s fine for lug nut assembly and operating on car suspension. If you don’t have a wrench, you’re just applying a lug wrench or a tire iron to loosen the lug nuts from your car;
- 3/4 to 1-inch. If you’re dealing with a semi- or a construction truck, you’re unlikely to require anything this big. For particularly strong truck lug nuts, 1-inch drives are frequently combined with breaker bars;
Is Tekton better than Craftsman?
Both brands produce top-notch 3/8-inch torque wrenches. What is the best? It is difficult to define the leader because both manufacturers can offer unique features.
But, at first, let’s focus on the common features of Craftsman and Tekton tools. These are mid-range tools with many functions. They offer all the important sizes. Also, they are made of high-quality materials like stainless steel. Despite the U.S. headquarters both manufacturers produce and calibrate their wrenches in Taiwan.
What differs is the warranty term. Most Tekton wrenches have a lifetime warranty while Craftsman tools can’t offer such a service. Though, Craftsman offers the same-day replacement if you break their tool (especially if you have the Lowe’s office in your neighborhood). Also, Craftsman tools are longer in the U.S. market than Tekton and that is why many middle-aged people trust this brand more. On the other hand, many users believe that Tekton offers better drivers and sockets compared to standard Craftsman products.
Some experts claim that the good days of Craftsman are long gone because Tekton offers better designs to fit contemporary machines and vehicles.
Top 5 reasons why Tekton can be better than Craftsman for you:
- Combination wrenches and sets;
- Durable and lightweight cases;
- Chrome and vanadium sockets;
- Foolproof 6-point design;
- 15-degree angled open end;
Top 5 reasons why Craftsman can be better than Tekton for you:
- Versatile and huge sets;
- Attractive prices;
- Classic and reliable design for vintage vehicles;
- Non-slip handle with easy-to-read markings;
- Quick replacement;
Where can you calibrate a torque wrench?
With certain businesses, a third-party testing lab is the only way to get a wrench tuned. The problem is that not every organization complies with all ISO torque tool standards. To make matters much more complicated, certain calibration labs are restricted in the kinds of torque equipment they may use and the amount of torque they can measure. It’s likely that they won’t have the tools to measure very large values.
Contracting with testing laboratories that are unable to calibrate both forms of wrenches and instruments can make the calibration plans more complicated. You can need to plan for different torque instruments to be sent to different locations with various lead times and turnaround times. Having various calibration schedules for torque tools will quickly contribute to oversights, leaving you without precise wrenches when they’re required.
A torque calibration lab capable of handling any kind of torque instrument, including torque multipliers with capacities of up to 35K pound-feet and torque transducers with capacities of up to 20K pound-feet, is the best place to have a torque wrench tuned.
While full-service torque tuning and repairs are uncommon, certain torque tool manufacturers do not only sell torque tools but also follow ISO 6789:2003 specifications and are ISO 9001 certified and ISO 17025 approved.
Are Snap-on torque wrenches guaranteed for life?
Yes, all genuine Snap-on torque wrenches really have a lifetime warranty. It is a great feature if you seek a durable and affordable instrument that you plan to use occasionally.
Snap-on can fix or upgrade the goods that fail to offer adequate service due to faulty workmanship or materials or offer a refund by repaying or reimbursing customer with a sum equivalent to the selling price of those products, at its discretion, within the relevant warranty period.
Their torque wrenches, on the other hand, do not come with a replacement warranty unless they are brand new and have a manufacturing flaw. They’ll try to give it to a calibration facility, however, you’ll have to pay for this operation.
Useful Video: Tekton 3/8 Drive Torque Wrench Accuracy Review
What factors did I consider during my tests:
- Accuracy – do not but cheap and inaccurate wrenches. Opt for a certified tool that is accurate from 30% to 80%. Also, the range must be good enough for small jobs;
- Quality – another thing to look for is a tool with a solid body made of steel alloy. They will serve much longer;
I also like to add that markings also matter. If you have poor eyesight like me you will need a tool with printed markings that are more visible. Engraved markings last longer, on the other hand.
I sincerely believe that my top 3 will be the best picks for people who need a durable torque wrench with multiple measurements, peak and trace modes. I recommend investing money in a good tool if you repair cars, bikes, and bicycles on a daily occasion. That should be chromium and vanadium steel alloy, with a highly-accurate range. I also give tips on where to buy such top-notch tools at a low price.
My top 3 of the best 3/8 torque wrenches in the U.S. market:
- TEKTON 24330 – I really like this tool for being very accurate, with the range of 13.6-108.5 Nm;
- EPAuto offers a 24-tooth gear for the length of 14-1/2″;
- TACKLIFE has a very good torque range – 13.6-108.5 Nm;
Do you still have the problems of choosing 3/8 in. wrenches? Then check this review of some best instruments and make a choice. The most important factor to consider – accuracy. Nevertheless, also, select the wrench made of durable materials and long-lasting warranty.