Screwdrivers are very versatile, but they’re not the most precise tools. You never really know how tight your fasteners are. For some applications, this isn’t an issue. But there are plenty of times when you need to tighten a fastener to an exact torque specification, which is when you’ll need a torque screwdriver.
These tools allow you to set a precise torque rating and then tighten all of your fasteners to that exact rating. This makes it quick and easy to keep installing fasteners at the same torque rating, but it’s also simple to make an adjustment for a different torque level so you can work on a variety of items like electronics, firearms, and more.
We have a never-ending list of projects that required a torque screwdriver to complete, so we knew we couldn’t settle on just any torque screwdriver. To ensure we got the best, we decided to put them all to the test. The following 10 reviews will share everything we learned along the way, saving you the time and hassle of testing all these tools yourself.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||NEIKO PRO 10573B Torque Screwdriver||
|Best Value||Wheeler 553556 Torque Screwdriver||
|CDI 151SM Micro Adjustable Torque Screwdriver||
|Capri Tools CP21075 Torque Screwdriver||
|Performance Tool M194 Micro Torque Screwdriver||
The 10 Best Torque Screwdrivers – Reviews 2021
1. NEIKO PRO 10573B Torque Screwdriver – Best Overall
With an adjustable torque range spanning from 10-50 inch-pounds (in-lb), the NEIKO PRO Torque Screwdriver is a very versatile tool. You can adjust the torque rating in 5 in-lb increments, setting the precise torque measurement you want the screwdriver to stop at to avoid stripping your fasteners.
This screwdriver is compatible with all ¼-inch sockets and bits. There are 20 bits included with a carrying case to keep it all organized. Unfortunately, the bits and sockets are a little loose on the tip, but that’s our only complaint regarding this tool.
Aside from the versatility, this tool also gives you great reach for getting into tight spaces with a 4½-inch shank. The torque levels are easy to adjust and, in our experience, they were very consistent as well, which helped this screwdriver to earn the top spot on our list.
2. Wheeler 553556 Torque Screwdriver – Best Value
The Wheeler 553556 Torque Screwdriver is one of the most affordable models we tested. In spite of this, it’s also got an extended torque range that spans from 10-65 in-lb, making this one of the best torque screwdrivers for the money.
But it’s more than just an affordably priced tool. It’s also a high-quality device that never let us down. There are 10 bits included with the screwdriver, as well as a hard-plastic case to keep it all organized. The screwdriver has a wide shank that’s comfortable and easy to grip, with a standard tip that will fit any ¼-inch hex bit. There’s even an adapter that will allow you to use ¼-inch sockets as well.
However, we still had a few complaints regarding this screwdriver. First, you have to remember to set the torque back to zero after use. Storing it under tension can ruin its accuracy. The shank is also short for our liking, limiting your reach in tight spaces. But you can easily remedy this with a socket extension, and for this low price, we think this is still the best value.
3. CDI 151SM Micro Adjustable Torque Screwdriver
After looking at the first two tools on this list, the CDI 151SM Micro Adjustable Torque Screwdriver seems like it’s priced astronomically high — especially when you consider the fact that it tops out at 40 inch-pounds. But there’s more to this tool than meets the eye.
First off, this screwdriver can be set as low as 5 in-lb. It’s adjustable in increments of ½ in-lb, allowing you to fine-tune the exact amount of torque you need. And it securely locks into each torque rating so you don’t have to worry about it changing while you work.
This is a premium tool with matching build quality. It’s made to last, a fact proven by the lifetime warranty it carries. We like the slim design that fits easily into tool bags and tool belts, making it a great choice for electricians or technicians. It’s definitely expensive, but you have to pay for professional quality.
4. Capri Tools CP21075 Torque Screwdriver
Adjustable in increments of1 in-lb, the CP21075 Torque Screwdriver from Capri Tools offers flexibility you won’t find in many other tools. It’s got a ¼-inch hex drive that’s compatible with all ¼-inch hex bits. Unfortunately, no adapter is included to make it work with ¼-inch sockets.
This screwdriver has a torque range from 10-50 in-lb with a self-locking ring that makes adjusting the torque very quick and easy. This tool has +/- 6% accuracy, which might not be sufficient when dealing with very small fasteners in a low torque range.
Overall, this is a great tool with a few minor flaws and one glaring drawback — the insane price. You can get perfectly usable torque screwdrivers for less than half of what this one costs. For us, there’s nothing here to justify that sort of price difference, which is why this screwdriver didn’t make it into our top three.
5. Performance Tool M194 Micro Torque Screwdriver
Most of the screwdrivers we tested for this list had a wide torque range, but the M194 Micro Torque Screwdriver from Performance Tool is a bit different. This screwdriver has a very limited range that only spans from 3-15 in-lb. For the tiny fasteners you’re likely to find in electronics, this is probably a great fit. But if you want to be able to work with most average fasteners, this tool doesn’t reach a high enough torque rating.
Despite its limited abilities, this is a pretty expensive tool, costing more than many of the other options we tested, even though there are no bits included! You can use any ¼-inch hex bit with this screwdriver and there is a ¼-inch socket adapter included that makes it compatible with all ¼-inch sockets as well.
Still, considering the limited usefulness and high price of this tool, we’re going to have to pass on it in favor of more capable and affordable options.
6. Wiha 28506 TorqueVario-S Torque Screwdriver
The Wiha TorqueVario-S Screwdriver looks like a very solid tool. It features a fully enclosed design that’s perfect for use in controlled production environments. Because of this, it’s a very expensive tool. In fact, you can purchase other torque screwdrivers that come with far more features for less than half the price of this one. And those include bits, which are conspicuously absent from the Wiha.
This tool has a torque range from 10-50 in-lb. It’s laser calibrated and the accuracy is guaranteed for 5,000 cycles. But that’s not enough to justify the price, especially when you take its biggest shortcoming into account. While most of the tools we tested featured easy torque adjustments, this one requires a separate tool to adjust the torque level! The tool is included, but it’s small, too easy to lose, and it’s a separate tool to think about and carry around. For us, this is too big of a drawback to ignore.
7. Wera Kraftform 7446 Torque Screwdriver
With a limited torque range of just 11-29 in-lb, the Wera Kraftform 7446 Torque Screwdriver didn’t impress us from the start. But several nice features started to win us over, such as the compact design that’s comfortable to hold and fits nicely into tight spots. The whole tool is protected by a lifetime warranty, showing that Wera believes in its products.
The problem is, this screwdriver is too expensive for what you get. It’s got a universal ¼-inch hex chuck but doesn’t include any bits. Plus, the shaft is extremely short, so even though the compact size fits into tight spaces, the limited reach can still hold you back. And this one doesn’t even include a socket adapter, so you won’t be able to attach an extension either.
8. Stark 17520 Adjustable Torque Screwdriver
The Stark Adjustable Torque Screwdriver is a tool of average quality. It’s reasonably priced and includes 20 bits with a hard-plastic case to keep everything organized. Like many similar tools, it has a torque range that spans from 10-50 in-lb, making it versatile enough for most situations.
That was the good stuff, but there’s plenty of bad. First, this is a big, bulky screwdriver. The shank is wide and heavy. It’s got a comfortable enough grip, but you’re certainly not fitting it into any tight spaces. If you need extra reach, you’re out of luck since it has a very short shaft.
But these are minor problems we can overlook. The big issue is the inconsistency of the torque rating. It seems to tighten each fastener to a different torque rating, even though the rating on the screwdriver hasn’t changed. We’re relying on our torque screwdriver for accuracy, and since this one isn’t accurate, we can’t recommend it.
9. Bosch Power Screwdriver
Generally speaking, we have great luck with Bosch tools, so we expected a similar situation with this power screwdriver. Unlike the other screwdrivers on this list, this one is electric. It’s powered by battery, providing you with cordless freedom and speeding up the process of installing or removing any fasteners. It even uses ¼-inch hex bits for a universal fit.
The problem is that this device isn’t very adjustable. There are only 5 torque settings, and they’re not as precise as we need. When the appropriate torque setting is reached, the screwdriver doesn’t even shut off, so it’s easy to strip the head of any fastener you’re tightening. We like the concept, and as a regular electric screwdriver, this is a great tool. But as a torque screwdriver, it’s just not up to par.
10. FIRSTINFO Ultra Precision Torque Limiting Screwdriver
The FIRSTINFO Ultra Precision Torque Limiting Screwdriver is a well-built tool, but it’s got very limited usefulness. While most of the tools we tested measured torque in inch-pounds, this screwdriver uses a much smaller scale — centinewton meters. Approximately 11.3 centinewton meters equals just 1 in-lb, so you can see how precise this tool is, considering that it’s adjustable in increments of ½ centinewton meters.
If you need to work with the tiniest fasteners in sensitive electronics, this is probably a great tool. For just about anything else, it’s practically useless. It’s also more expensive than most of the other torque screwdrivers we tested, though they’re many times more useful for our needs.
You’ve read about some of the most popular torque screwdrivers on the market, but that doesn’t mean that you know what you need. If you’re still unsure, then this short buyer’s guide is for you. In it, we’re going to take a closer look at the most important traits that you should be paying attention to. Determine what you need in each of these categories and it will make your decision much easier.
What to Look for in a Torque Screwdriver
One of the most obvious differences between these devices is the range of torque measurements that they can be set to. Of the tools that we tested, the average torque range is from 10-50 in-lb. We think this is a pretty good place to start as it will cover most of the situations you’re likely to find yourself in.
However, there are times when you need something with different capabilities. If you’re working with larger fasteners, you might need higher torque settings. For working with fine electronics, you might need lower settings instead.
We’ve seen torque screwdrivers that work in such low-torque ranges that they measure the force in centinewton meters instead of newton meters or in-lb. On the other hand, we’ve seen torque screwdrivers that went up to 65 in-lb.
To get a tool with the right torque range, first, determine what you plan to use it for. Then, figure out the torque rating of the fasteners on those types of devices and you’ll know exactly what torque measurements you need.
Increments of Adjustability
While the torque range determines how low and high you can set the torque of the screwdriver, the increments of adjustability determine how precisely you can set your torque ratings within that range.
For example, a torque screwdriver that’s adjustable in increments of 5 in-lb won’t let you get as precise with your settings as a tool that’s adjustable in ½ in-lb increments. For many applications, this level of precision is redundant. But for other cases, you’ll need this fine adjustability to work with tiny fasteners and ensure you won’t damage them.
Another factor to consider is how you adjust the torque on any particular model. Most of the tools we tested featured tool-free torque adjustments, making it easy and quick to set a new torque level on the go.
That said, other torque screwdrivers required a separate tool to change the torque rating. This means carrying around another tool that’s small and easy to lose. If you lose it, your expensive torque screwdriver is now pretty much useless. For us, torque adjustments need to be tool-free all the way.
Length of the Shaft
Technicians and electricians both commonly use torque screwdrivers in their daily work. Both of these jobs also require fitting the screwdriver into tight spaces. This is made much harder by a short shaft. Screwdrivers with long shafts make this very easy.
You can add a socket extension to most of these tools to get the extra reach you need. However, it’s not a perfect solution as these tend to be pretty wide compared to the thin shaft of a screwdriver. Still, it’s a trait that not everyone will need, so you only have to prioritize this if you think you’ll need it.
Most of these torque screwdrivers use standard ¼-inch hex bits like the ones you use in most drills and impact drivers. As such, most people purchasing a torque screwdriver probably already have some bits at hand. But it’s nice to have a new set of bits meant specifically for your torque screwdriver. Even more so when they come in a nice carrying case.
These are unnecessary, to be sure. But for our dime, the extra convenience and improved organization of a carrying case and some bits can make one torque screwdriver seem like a much better deal than a similar model that doesn’t include those extras.
After reading our reviews, you should have a pretty good idea of which torque screwdriver will best fulfill your needs. But in case you need a reminder of our favorites, we’re going to go over them once again.
The NEIKO PRO 10573B Torque Screwdriver Set was our favorite overall. It’s got a wide torque range from 10-50 in-lb that’s adjustable in 5 in-lb increments. There are 20 bits included with a carrying case and it’s compatible with all ¼-inch bits and sockets.
If you’re looking for the best value, we recommend the Wheeler 553556 Torque Screwdriver. It’s got an extended torque range from 10-65 in-lb and a wide shank that’s comfortable and easy to hold. Best of all, it’s priced affordably and includes 10 bits with a carrying case.
For a professional-quality tool at a premium price, we suggest the CDI Torque 401SM Micro Adjustable Torque Screwdriver. Its slim design fits easily in tool belts and it comes with a lifetime warranty. But its best feature is the incredible precision, allowing you to adjust the torque in increments of just ½ in-lb.
Related buyer’s guides:
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best Torque Screwdrivers – Reviews 2021
- 2.1 1. NEIKO PRO 10573B Torque Screwdriver – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Wheeler 553556 Torque Screwdriver – Best Value
- 2.3 3. CDI 151SM Micro Adjustable Torque Screwdriver
- 2.4 4. Capri Tools CP21075 Torque Screwdriver
- 2.5 5. Performance Tool M194 Micro Torque Screwdriver
- 2.6 6. Wiha 28506 TorqueVario-S Torque Screwdriver
- 2.7 7. Wera Kraftform 7446 Torque Screwdriver
- 2.8 8. Stark 17520 Adjustable Torque Screwdriver
- 2.9 9. Bosch Power Screwdriver
- 2.10 10. FIRSTINFO Ultra Precision Torque Limiting Screwdriver
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion