Why should you choose inch-pound torque wrenches over other instruments in this category? Because it offers higher accuracy than most standard foot-pound tools do. Inch-pound wrenches are mostly more comfortable to use.
There are a few types of inch-pound torque wrenches:
- Beam type – the most basic and affordable wrenches. The major drawback – such instruments are not very accurate. Nevertheless, these tools are appreciated by car mechanics to handle heavy-duty tasks;
- Dial type – such wrenches show the value of torque on a dial. You have to follow the dial until reaching the preset value;
- Click type – is the most used type of manual torque wrenches. The preset value of torque is reached with a loud click sound;
- Electronic/digital type – the most expensive and accurate tools that combine the features of click and dial systems. You will be able to check the torque value via a digital LED display. Such tools have an alert system to let you know when the torque level is reached;
The following review contains a description of the pros and cons of a few popular wrenches. The buyer guide will clarify the things you need to look for in inch-pound torque wrenches.
TEKTON 1/4 Inch Drive Click Wrench – the best for readability!
- Reversible ratchet head that works in both ways
- Very sturdy because it is made of steel alloy
- Simple to read
- Comes with the pre-calibration
- Small and narrow
- Measures the torque range only in the clockwise (CW) direction
- You won’t be able to recalibrate this wrench
- The case is not very sturdy
This 1/4 in. wrench can be good for any motorsports. Also, it may help with delicate repair jobs like 8mm bolts on water pumps. It comes with a nice plastic case.
Neiko 1/4″ Click Wrench – the best for durability!
- Can loosen and tighten the bolts on any vehicles
- Made of heat-treated chrome/steel/vanadium alloy
- Extreme durability
- Works both for CW and CCW directions
- Nice plastic case
- Won’t do for massive objects like solar panels
- The handle shakes
If you need an affordable and precise inch-pound torque wrench to tighten and loosen any bolts on motorcycles, cars and engines, consider testing this Neiko instrument.
Capri Tools Industrial Wrench – the best for accuracy!
- Engraved markings for better visual factor
- Technically precise calibration in both directions
- All parts are built with automatic CNC machinery
- Loud click sound
- NIST calibration certificate is included
- High tooth count
- The torque range is lower than average
- Comes with a single click
- At low settings it doesn’t even click
This Taiwanese instrument is very durable, accurate in both directions and easy to read. The affordable instrument belongs to the category of industrial-level torque wrenches.
EPAuto 1/4-Inch Wrench – the best for beginners!
- Durable materials and components
- Comes in a sturdy plastic case
- Its knurled handle is non-slip
- High-contrast scale for better readability
- Reliable and simple to use
- Good instructions
- One-year limited warranty
- Sometimes the click sound is easy to miss
Also, keep in mind that this tool offers the calibration in the metric system and feet-pounds, beside the inch-pound torque range.
Capri Tools Inch-Pound Wrench – the best for versatility!
- The pulse-stop technology
- Accuracy and pre-calibration
- Made of durable metals
- Has a nice matte finish
- Easy readability
- ASME and DIN certified
- Enhanced torque range
- Comes with a hard plastic case
- It is long and narrow
- It only has 24 teeth
- The dual can be hard to turn
This instrument belongs to the professional series by Capri Tools. You can safely use this tool to tighten the bolts of ATVs, cars and bicycles.
The Buyer’s Guide
When buying a wrench, many tend to find the most versatile device. Other people purchase a set of several narrow-profile products because they are more affordable. If you are not sure what tool you need, check the following things to look for in inch-pound wrenches:
- Torque range scales of various types. Torque wrenches may have an electronic display, a mechanical scale, etc.;
- The quality materials. A wrench is not just a sensor, it is a full-fledged tool. It does not have to be made of a heavy-duty alloy with the durability level of 50 HRC, but this parameter should remain within the range of 35-40 HRC;
- Price. Torque wrenches do not belong to the category of expensive instruments, so they all have a quite affordable price tag from $40 to $100;
- Extra features. For DIY repairs it is enough to use click wrenches with basic features. Digital instruments are more versatile and can offer a lot of preset modes along with an LCD display;
- The reliability of the device and decreased risk of accuracy errors. The better the accuracy is, the easier it is to use the device. An expensive tool may have a torque range up to 300 Nm, but in fact, the average maximum level is 200 Nm. It is enough for small repair jobs;
Speaking of accuracy, the torque range is selected based on the required force for a specific task. It is important to understand that most wrenches have the best accuracy range within 25-85% of their scale range. It’s not recommended to use the tool at the extreme values of the scale since the error risk is much higher when it comes to these instruments.
Tips for users
- Check the instrument before using it. If some elements do not rotate, there is no need to try to fix this by applying more force. First, you need to loosen the lock nut;
- Use the torque wrench only as intended. This tool with a measuring scale is useful when you should tighten the fasteners with a certain applied force. You should not loosen the bolts and nuts with this device;
- Try not to apply extra force when tightening. When you hear click or beep sounds or a light indicator starts flashing. If you keep pushing after the signal, the accuracy of the measuring device will be violated, and the risk of damaging the fastener or/and the device can increase drastically;
- If the tool has been lying idle for a long time, it should be tested on a small screw before the serious job. As soon as the grease is fully distributed throughout the instrument, you can use it at maximum capacity;
- The best place to store a wrench is a separate box or briefcase. Before placing the tool in a box, make sure that the instrument is set to the zero position. Even a slightly applied force on the scale may lead to a gradual breakdown or de-calibration of the measuring device;
Car or bike owners who like to keep their own hands dirty to repair gorgeous vehicles need a bunch of different torque wrenches. In particular, inch-pound torque wrenches can assist. I strongly recommend keeping a few different tools of this kind in your garage or toolbox because, you know, vehicles tend to break unexpectedly.
I have examined every aspect of torque wrenches on my quite specific site. I’ve noticed that despite a quite narrow specification there is a wide range of these instruments with various price points. I don’t want you to waste your money but sometimes you have to invest in a new tool. You ought to be very careful when buying one of such tools online. I hope my advice will help you make the right choice.
Main factors to consider when buying inch-pound torque wrenches:
- Accuracy – the most essential aspect to check when buying online. The most accurate wrenches fall in 30%-80% accuracy zone. Pay attention to the fact that some tools measure only when being used clockwise, they are less accurate when going counterclockwise.
- Quality – durability matters. A tool must be assembled with care, with a great design and made of awesome materials. Cheaper models don’t give such guarantees;
- Printed vs. engraved torque wrenches – printed tools tend to have their scale wearing away faster than engraved ones;
- Check the pre-calibration of a tool, because it is hard to calibrate them manually on your own;
According to my criteria, the following top was created.
My personal top 3 best inch-pound torque wrenches for cars and bikes:
- TEKTON – offers the accuracy of ± 4, with 24 tooth and 10-7/8 inches;
- Neiko has the same body length and the ball-detent drive head;
- Capri Tools has a lower accuracy range of torque – 20-150 inches and ratchet teeth of 64T;
How to take care of inch-pound wrenches?
When cleaning a torque wrench, do not use abrasive substances or aggressive chemical products. Try not to throw the instrument on the floor, do not knock on it and do not disassemble the tool. It’s important to protect the tool from moisture.
Check the accuracy range annually or after 10.000 measurements. The second-time calibration is a rather expensive procedure, and a small number of companies can do this. It is in your interest to keep the tool in the best condition to minimize the financial costs of its repair and calibration.
Useful Video: Tekton Inch Pound Torque Wrench Review
Now you know about some popular inch-pound torque wrenches. They should be accurate, simple to use and easy to read. Choose the instrument according to the features you need, despite the budget.