Best Torque Sticks to Properly Tighten Lug Nuts

EDITOR’S PICK
Astro 78810 10-Piece Torque Limiting Extension Set
Astro 78810 10-Piece Torque Limiting Extension Set
  • 10-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, & 150
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction
PREMIUM PICK
Genius Tools TO410EXT Dr. Torque Extension Bar Set
Genius Tools TO410EXT Dr. Torque Extension Bar Set
  • 10-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, & 150
  • Powder-coated finish
  • Highly visible torque rating
BUDGET PICK
Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set
Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set
  • 5-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 80,100,120, & 140
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional mechanic or a weekend DIYer; chances are, you use impact wrenches frequently. And rightly so—they are the most common tool used for automotive repair and maintenance. However, there is a problem with impact wrenches. Namely, they can be quite powerful, and it might be challenging to prevent either overtightening or undertightening lug nuts. If you screw them on too tight, you risk stripping them; if they aren’t tight enough, you might end up with a loose or improperly seated wheel while driving. Of course, to prevent that, you could use a torque wrench. However, torque wrenches take a lot of time and effort to operate; they are simply not suitable if you remove and reinstall 4 sets of wheels before lunchtime.

This is where torque sticks come in!

Torque sticks are small tools that you can attach to your impact wrench for tightening lug nuts to the desired torque specification. Each stick has a specific pre-set torque value and makes it a lot faster to tighten lug nuts when working in a shop. They are also a much more affordable alternative to full-fledged torque wrenches and might be a better choice for weekend DIYers who basically only need to torque wheels once in a while.

To help you choose the best torque stick set from the plethora of options available online, we have come up with a list of 5 of the best torque stick set out there. We made sure to include models suitable for beginners but also for DIYers and professional auto mechanics. No matter where you are in your auto mechanic learning curve, we got you covered!

Happy torquing!

5 Best Torque Sticks Reviews

1. ARES 70367 – Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set

ARES 70367 - Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set

Our opener is a torque limiting extension bar set from Ares. The Ares 70367 comprises five ½” drive torque sticks that you can hook up to your pneumatic or electric impact wrench. Each torque stick measures 8″ in length, pretty much a standard in the industry.

Each torque stick in the set is meticulously crafted from high-tensile chrome-molybdenum steel for optimum strength and durability. The torque sticks are then coated in manganese phosphate to impart rust and corrosion resistance properties.

Ares’ torque sticks are finished in resistant matte black paint. Moreover, each stick has a unique color-coded ring for easy and quick identification of the torque rating. The 70367 set includes five torque sticks rated at 65 ft-lbs, 80 ft-lbs, 100 ft-lbs, 120 ft-lbs, and 140 ft-lbs. Besides, all five sticks come neatly organized in a plastic storage case.

The Ares 70367 is the best option for DIYers looking to try out torque sticks. In this price range, you will struggle to find another entry-level model as good as this one. It’s worth mentioning though that I have rarely seen any mechanic going back to using bare sockets once they tried torque sticks. If you work 40 hours a week in a repair shop, you might be better with one of the models below.

Highlighted features

  • 5-piece torque stick set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 80,100,120, & 140
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction
  • Manganese Phosphate protective coating

Pros

  • Best entry-level torque stick set
  • Attractive matte black finish
  • Color-coded for easy identification
  • Spring-loaded detent ball design stops sockets from falling out
  • High value for money
  • Comes in a plastic storage case
  • Durable and robust construction with rust-resistant coating
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Torque markings could fade away over time

2. Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set

Capri Tools 30083 Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set

Those familiar with the world of automotive repair and diagnostic equipment would know the name Capri Tools quite well. It is a premium brand that develops high-quality power tools, wrenches, clamping tools, and more. The 30083 torque limiting extension bar set is another such example of premium craftsmanship and quality.

This torque sticks set comprises five ½” drive sticks, each measuring 8″ in length. Capri Tools has constructed the sticks from premium chrome-molybdenum steel and then heat-treated them to increase strength and durability even further. As a result, these torque sticks are extremely tough and can handle years of abuse without any issues.

Furthermore, each torque stick in the set has a premium feel to it, complemented by the immaculate black finish. Besides, the sticks are also color-coded for easy identification. And portability will never be an issue, thanks to a molded plastic carrying case with separate compartments for each stick.

It is important to note that since Capri Tools is a premium brand, its tools usually don’t come cheap. However, it’s not the case here, as the Capri Tools 30083 torque limiting extension bar set is quite affordable, making it an absolute steal. If I was in the market for a new torque stick set, this is one of the models I would highly consider.

Highlighted features

  • 5-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 80,100,120, & 140
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction

Pros

  • Rugged and durable construction
  • Heat-treated torque sticks for additional strength
  • Incredible value for money
  • Premium product at a budget price
  • Color-coded for quick identification
  • Comes with a molded storage case
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Limited torque range

3. ABN Torque Limiting Socket Extension Bar Tool Kit

ABN Torque Limiting Socket Extension Bar Tool Kit

If you are looking for a wider torque range, the ABN torque limiting extension bar tool kit is what you need. It is a 10-piece set, including sticks rated at 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, and 150 ft-lbs. Such a wide range will allow you to work on pretty much any passenger vehicle out there but also box trucks and commercial fleets.

All sticks in this set are constructed from chromium-molybdenum steel for optimum strength and durability. They are then coated in manganese phosphate that acts as a protective layer to prevent rust or corrosion. For easy identification, each stick has a unique-colored aluminum ring. And worth mentioning, since color-coded rings tend to fade after years of abuse, ABN also laser-etched each stick so they can be identified even if the rings were damaged.

ABN’s torque sticks set features a spring-loaded detent ball locking mechanism on the male end to prevent the attached socket from dropping when moving your impact wrench around. Even the lead-in section is chamfered to provide the socket with optimum grip.

The ABN model is a great entry-level option for those who need a wider torque range than 5-piece sets can offer. If you work on bigger vehicles than cars, SUVs and pickups, this might be the one for you!

Highlighted features

  • 10-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, & 150
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction
  • Manganese Phosphate protective coating

Pros

  • Wide torque range
  • Reasonably priced
  • Strong and reliable torque sticks
  • Comes in a neatly organized carrying case
  • Rust and corrosion protection layer
  • Color-coded aluminum rings for quick identification
  • Spring-loaded detent ball mechanism securely holds the socket

Cons

  • A 10-piece set might be a bit much for weekend DIYers

4. Astro 78810 10-Piece Torque Limiting Extension Set

Astro 78810 10-Piece Torque Limiting Extension Set

The Astro 78810 is another great option in the affordable 10-piece set category. The kit includes ten 8” long, ½” drive torque sticks with ratings ranging from 65 ft-lbs to 150 ft-lbs. Astro’s torque sticks are also constructed from high-grade chrome molybdenum steel to be as strong as possible. In fact, they are so strong that they do not need any extra protection layer as found in some other models. The steel body is then painted matte black to feel like the premium product it is.

Apart from the exceptionally strong construction, the Astro 78810 torque stick set also has many standard features found in other models. Things like color-coded aluminum rings, a spring-loaded detent ball mechanism, and a plastic carrying case are included. However, one parameter that stands out when compared to other models is accuracy. All torque sticks in the Astro 78810 are designed to be as accurate as possible and were proof tested against traditional torque wrenches.

Astro’s 78810 10-piece torque limiting extension set is perfect for professional mechanics looking for a high-quality yet affordable torque stick set for everyday heavy-duty use. It simply has everything you might want in a good torque stick set. A wide torque range, renowned manufacturer, robust construction, durability—what’s not to like?

Highlighted features

  • 10-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, & 150
  • Chrome Molybdenum steel construction

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Perfect for professional heavy-duty use
  • Highly accurate torque values
  • Attractive matte black finish
  • Reasonably priced
  • Will last for years

Cons

  • Quite bulky
  • Case quality could be better

5. Genius Tools TO410EXT Dr. Torque Extension Bar Set

Genius Tools TO410EXT Dr. Torque Extension Bar Set

The Genius Tools Dr. Torque extension bar set is la crème de la crème of torque sticks kits, thanks to the superior accuracy and equally superior premium quality and feels.

The best part about it is its appearance; all other torque sticks look almost the same, while Genius Tools opted to go in completely another direction with the TO410EXT. Instead of using small aluminum rings, Genius Tools’ torque sticks are each assigned a unique color corresponding to a torque rating, making identification even quicker—how genius!

As with the previous models, the TO410EXT also comes with a plastic blow-molded case to neatly organize all ten sticks. The case is also helpful for easy transportation and makes storage a whole lot simpler.

If you are in the market for something different and uniquely premium, this is definitely the “Genius” way to go (ok, ok, no more pun—I promise). But seriously though, if you need the best torque stick set out there, get this one—you won’t regret it!

Highlighted features

  • 10-piece torque sticks set
  • Stick dimensions: 8” length and ½” drive
  • Torque ratings in ft-lbs: 65, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, & 150
  • Powder-coated finish
  • Highly visible torque rating

Pros

  • Accurate up to 4%
  • Powder-coated to preserve the finish and prevent rust
  • Entire stick is color-coded for easy identification
  • Wide torque range
  • Premium torque sticks set
  • Stamped torque markings on each stick
  • Comes with a carrying case

Cons

  • On the expensive side
Auto mechanic using torque stick

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do torque sticks work?

Torque sticks are pretty straightforward. Once a certain pre-determined torque level is reached, the extension will start to flex, preventing from overtightening the lug nuts. Each stick has a specific torque rating, hence why they usually come in kits.

Of course, if you only work on your own car, you could also buy the torque stick you need individually. As a general rule, passenger cars’ wheels usually require to be torqued at about 90-100 lbs-ft, while 110-120 lbs-ft is usually enough for pickup trucks.

In all cases, make sure you look for your model’s specification in your car’s repair manual.

How accurate are torque sticks compared to conventional torque wrenches?

A trusted torque wrench is a must-have when it comes to automotive repairs. In some cases, like changing a head gasket or an engine overhaul, you simply can’t do without a reliable torque wrench. When tightening nuts of critical engine components, applying just the right amount of torque is of paramount importance. Now, we aren’t saying torque sticks are as accurate as torque wrenches, but they are accurate enough to be used for some less critical applications such as tightening wheel nuts.

Of course, you should never use torque sticks to torque engine head bolts or pretty much anything else than lug nuts.

Do I really need a torque stick?

If you are a professional mechanic and have to manually tighten hundreds of wheel nuts day in and day out, then yes, you need a torque stick. It will make your life easier by saving you significant time and effort. But even if you aren’t a certified technician, a torque stick can also be useful to make sure your wheels are always torqued to specs.

However, in all honesty, if you only remove your car’s wheels once every two months to check your brakes and change your tires, you could also simply use a conventional torque wrench. On the other hand, most weekend DIYers may not have a torque wrench at home. In that case, torque sticks are a much more affordable option

Verdict

If you’ve never used a torque stick before, you might still be on the fence about buying one. I gotta admit that you have to use one once to truly understand how much time and energy they can save when working on your car. Only then you shall realize that a torque stick is a tool you never knew you needed—and that you can’t live without now.

It’s important to mention that there is no clear winner here. But all things considered, we think the Astro 78810 torque limiting extension set will give you the most band for your bucks. Its broad torque range, exceptional accuracy, robust construction, and reasonable price make it a worthy contender. However, if you want nothing but the best, go for the Genius Tools TO410EXT. It’s incredibly resistant and the color sticks just make it a lot faster to find the one you need. Full disclosure: I might be a bit biased here as this is the set I got about 4-5 years ago and it still looks as good as day one. Trust me, you won’t regret spending a little more here.

Jean-Claude is an Editor at GarageSpot.com and webmaster of TheMechanicDoctor.com. He has been a certified auto mechanic for the last 15 years, working for various car dealers and specialized repair shops. He turned towards blogging about cars and EVs in the hope of helping and inspiring the next generation of automotive technicians. He also loves cats, Johnny Cash and Subarus.

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