Best Inch Pound Torque Wrench

When you’re new to working on cars, you can get away without having a torque wrench. But when it’s time to start taking your work seriously, it becomes a necessity for any home garage or workshop.

When you think of a torque wrench, it’s likely going to be one that uses foot-pounds (ft-lb) as its measurement. However, some tasks require lower torque values, necessitating an inch-pound (in-lb) torque wrench to accurately tighten bolts.

Even if you have a torque wrench with a range of 15-100 ft-lb and bolts that need to be tightened to 18ft-lb, it’s not a good idea to use that wrench. This is because torque wrenches are less precise at the lower end of their range, and it’s likely you will not tighten the bolt(s) to 18 ft-lb.

In fact, you might accidentally over-torque the bolt and end up with the nightmare of having to extract a broken bolt, ask me how I know! Extraction does not always work, either, leading to having to drill the broken piece out, re-tap the hole, etc.

This is why it is best to use the most precise tool for the job, and even if you own a torque wrench that goes to a low enough value, assume it won’t do so accurately and purchase an in-lb wrench for low torque needs.

In this post, we’ll show you what you need to know before buying a torque wrench, along with guidance on how to choose the type that is best for your needs.

Torque Wrench Features

There are a few features to consider when choosing the right inch-pound torque wrench. Ultimately you want a precise, durable tool that can hold up to the environment you plan to work in.

Note: If you need to figure out in-lb to ft-lb or vice versa, you can convert them easily:

  • In-lb to ft-lb: In-lb value divided by 12
  • Ft-lb to In-lb: ft-lb value multiplied by 12

Type

Different types of torque wrenches

There are three major types of torque wrenches: click, beam, and digital. Our list only includes click and beam type as they offer the best value and performance overall.

  • Click: A click type torque wrench emits an audible click sound when the desired torque setting is reached. You can often feel the click, too.
  • Beam: A beam type torque wrench uses a gauge that measures how much torque you are applying while you are applying it.
  • Digital: A digital inch pound torque wrench measures torque electronically and will display the torque value on a digital screen.

Durability

You should choose a torque wrench made of high-quality materials that are likely to last a long time (steel, for instance).

The handle to adjust torque should also be sturdy and not loose, allowing you to easily and accurately set values.

Torque Range

Torque wrench ranges

Wrenches are sold with different torque ranges. Think about your needs and choose one that suits them.

Remember, they are unlikely to be accurate at the lower end of their range, so if you need one that is accurate at 50 in-lb, it would be better to buy a wrench with a range of 20-200 in-lb instead of 50-200 in-lb.

Accuracy

Ideally, the torque wrench should have an accuracy of at least 4%, which is the amount of error possible at different values.

Torque wrenches often come with a certificate, called an ISO 6789, for their accuracy. However, this does not mean you should never re-calibrate the wrench over time to ensure optimal precision.

Drive Size

¼” and ½” drive sizes are the most common for in-lb torque wrenches, as they can be used on a wide variety of car parts and components.

Both are fine, just be sure to take note of which type you buy and the corresponding socket size you will need (or adapter if you plan to use ½” sockets on a ¼” drive wrench).

Best Inch Pound Torque Wrenches

With an understanding of what type of torque wrench that measures inch pounds you need, let’s go over the best in-lb wrenches on the market.

We’ve compiled the following list by choosing only the best products from the most reputable brands.

Tekton 24320

Manufacturer: Tekton
Weight: 1.3 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 20-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The Tekton 24320 is constructed completely out of steel for maximum durability. It has a reversible ratchet head with torque being applied in the clockwise direction.

The wrench itself is 10.9 inches long, making it a good size for most automotive applications. The handle is textured to make it easy to grip, and the torque markings are high contrast to make them very visible even in poor lighting.

Capri Tools 31007

Manufacturer: Capri Tools
Weight: 1.45 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 50-245 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The 31007 model from Capri Tools is actually my personal in-lb torque wrench. It is constructed of chrome vanadium with a knurled handle to make it easy to grip. Like the Tekton, it features high contrast markings.

This torque wrench comes with a traceable serial number for its certification, as well. It’s a lightweight, good-sized wrench that emits an audible click when desired torque is reached, but be sure to listen closely because the click is not very loud.

EPAuto

Manufacturer: EPAuto
Weight: 1.74 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 20-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

Another torque wrench made of chrome vanadium comes from EPAuto. This wrench also has a nice textured grip to make it easy to maintain control of while working, as well as high contrast markings.

This torque wrench has a range of 20-200 in-lb, as opposed to the very similar Capri Tools model above, which has a range of 50-245 in-lb. As these are both alike in terms of construction and specifications (other than the torque range), if choosing between these two, you should go with whichever one suits your torque needs best.

Capri Tools 31200

Manufacturer: Capri Tools
Weight: 1.3 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 30-150 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The second option from Capri Tools on our list is the 31200 model. It has a lower range than the 31007 at 30-150 in-lb. It is an all-steel, chrome finish torque wrench and comes with a traceable serial number.

The ratchet head can torque clockwise and counterclockwise, and the handle has a ring to lock in your torque settings.

eTork C1200

Manufacturer: eTork
Weight: 1.26 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 40-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 3%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The eTork C1200 is one of two of the most accurate torque wrenches on our list at 3%. While the wrench is able to torque both clockwise and counterclockwise, the accuracy guarantee only applies to the clockwise direction.

The wrench is unique in that it is composed of plastic and rather than having engraved torque markings like most other wrenches, features a small window that displays the torque value.

The handle is larger than most others as well, designed to make it easier to turn and soft to the touch for maximum comfort.

Neiko 03727A

Manufacturer: Neiko
Weight: 0.55 lb
Type: Beam
Torque range: 0-80 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The Neiko 03727A is the only beam-type torque wrench on our list. It can be used with either the left or right hand easily. However, unlike the other options, it does not feature a well-defined ergonomic handle.

This wrench has the ¼” drive head with a long thin beam and a torque listing that fans out to either side. This wrench is best used when torque needs are very low, with its range of 0-80 in-lb. If you need a torque wrench not only for low torque bolts on your car but also for things like bicycle maintenance, this would make an excellent choice.

Lexivon

Manufacturer: Lexivon
Weight: 1.81 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 20-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

Like the Capri Tools options, the torque wrench from Lexivon has a traceable serial number for its certification.

The Lexivon torque wrench features a rust-resistant black finish over its chrome vanadium construction. Unique to this wrench are yellow markings for the torque values, increasing their overall visibility.

The ratchet head is reversible, but the wrench only torques in the clockwise direction.

Tekton 24335

Manufacturer: Tekton
Weight: 2.94 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 10-150 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ½”
Buy on: Amazon

The second option from Tekton is the 24335 and it is also completely made of steel. It has a larger drive size at ½”, however.

The 24335 has high visibility markings and a dual-direction ratchet head. Note that the torque is only applied in the clockwise direction, though.

If trying to choose between the 24335 and 24320 from Tekton, the major differences are in range, with the 24320 going up to 200 and the 24335 only 150 in-lb, and drive size, the 24320 is ¼” and the 24335 is ½”.

Either is a good choice; it makes the most sense to choose the one with the torque range that is most applicable to your needs.

ARES 43011

Manufacturer: Ares
Weight: 1.1 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 40-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 3%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The Ares 43011 is an alloy steel torque wrench with high contrast torque markings and an anodized aluminum handle in a red finish. It is our other most accurate torque wrench with a 3% accuracy rating.

The wrench features a pull-down ring to lock in torque settings, as well as a quick-release mechanism.

As an aside, Ares also makes a point to acknowledge they support the ASPCA, so if you are a pet lover, this might be the brand you want to go with knowing they support that organization.

Neiko 03714A

Manufacturer: Ridgerock Tools
Weight: 1.6 lb
Type: Click
Torque range: 20-200 in-lb
Accuracy: +/- 4%
Drive size: ¼”
Buy on: Amazon

The second choice from Neiko is the 03714A, and it features a wider torque range of 20-200 in-lb as compared to the 0-80 in-lb range of the other Neiko wrench.

The 03714A is constructed from steel with laser-etched markings for easy visibility and a knurled handle to help you maintain grip during operation.

Our Top Picks

Torque wrench in mechanic's hand

Which wrench you choose is up to your needs and preferences; any of the options on our list are good, but you want to make sure they meet your particular needs. Our top three overall picks are as follows.

Best Legibility: Lexivon

The Lexivon torque wrench has a traceable serial number, a good range of 20-200 in-lb, and a unique black and yellow finish.

The rust-resistant coating is a plus, and the yellow torque values help make them easier to see than others, which are often engraved but not colored. Ease of reading is a major convenience not only in low light but also when trying to set the torque on bright sunny days.

Highest Torque Value: Capri Tools 31007

As I said previously, I use this wrench personally. It has the highest maximum torque at 245 in-lb, so it is a great choice for those who need higher values.

The wrench is well constructed and has a textured black handle for a secure grip. It does have an audible click that you can feel, although the click is not very loud, so be sure to pay attention when twisting the ratchet.

Most Accurate: eTork C1200

The eTork wrench is slightly more accurate than most other choices on our list at 3% and features an overall unique design.

The wrench is made of plastic but has a wider diameter, soft-touch handle in a green finish which reduces the effort needed to turn. It also has a different style of torque readings with a small window.

It leaves no doubt you are on the correct torque setting, which is sometimes a problem on the engraved torque wrenches because you have to ensure the knob is properly lined up to the etched markings.

Undoubtedly, torque wrenches make an excellent addition to your mechanics tool kit. Which one of these caught your attention the most? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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