7 Best Belt Tension Gauge Tool Reviews & Buying Guide in 2021

best belt tension gauge

Tension belts are an indispensable part of a motor vehicle or any industrial machinery. And if you are someone who would prefer doing essential repair works of the vehicle on your own, you might wanna have a belt tension gauge in your collection.

Every car or motorbike owner dream of learning all the skills and having all the tools to do the minor to mid-level repairing of the vehicle.

Because it costs a fortune to get help from a dealership every time, and if it's for checking the drive belt tension only, the outrageous price is just not worth it.

With the best belt tension gauge in your garage, you can easily get the job done by yourself. Check our listed premium products and go through the buying guide and save yourself from unwanted costs.



Editor's Rating


ABN Universal Belt Tension Gauge

5 Out of 5

ARES 15033 - Belt Tension Gauge

5 Out of 5

OTC 4748 Belt Tension Gauge

5 Out of 5

Gates 91107 Belt Tension Tester

4.5 Out of 5

OTC Belt Tension Gauge- Universal

4 Out of 5

7 Best Belt Tension Gauge

Today's market gives you an overwhelming number of options, and it gets somewhat tricky to make a purchase.

Well, below, we present some of the highest quality belt tension gauges to let you choose from some of the bests.

1. ABN Universal Belt Tension Gauge

When it comes to measuring your drive belt tension, it's essential that your gauge reaches the tighter space and gives an accurate measurement. Here comes the Universal Belt Tension Gauge from ABN, a reliable brand in auto tools.

It features a 6.5 inches extended tension gauge that is sure to reach the most restricted places. And thanks to the L-shaped pad, it fits almost all standard belt sizes.

This makes the gauge highly compatible, and it works with all models of drive belts having a specification of 10 lbs.

So whether you need to replace a belt or adjust it after wheel service, this handy tool will do the job right. A breeze for motorbike owners, we would say.

It doesn't include any user manual or instruction. However, that doesn't translate that using the tool is troublesome.

You just have to fix it on the required belt, apply a force up to 10 lbs and read the displacement in the scale.

Also, the measuring scale is clearly marked so that you can read the precise tension level quickly and effortlessly. So, no more guessing if your belt is tensioned correctly or not!

Highlighted Features:

  • A versatile belt gauge that is compatible with most motor vehicle belts.
  • Come with an L-shaped pad that perfectly fits belts of all sizes.
  • Clear and concise measurement with the measuring scale.
  • 6.5 inches long body reaches tight spots.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty.

2. ARES 15033 - Belt Tension Gauge

What probably worries you the most about a tension gauge is whether it fits your car drive belt. With the universal ARES 15033 - Belt Tension Gauge, that shouldn't be your concern anymore.

The tool is designed to work with any ATV, vehicle, or motorcycle having a secondary drive belt with a specification of 10 lbs.

It features an L-shaped pad that keeps the belt in the right place when making some adjustments after a wheel service or belt replacement.

The clear markings on the measurement scale make sure you are never wrong or guess while reading the tension.

Remember, a loosely attached belt reduces its shelf life, and too tight is harmful to the vehicular parts. So, make no mistakes in reading with the ARES 15033's concise scale.

The tool is super easy to use as well. The handy tool gets the job done quickly and saves you time, effort, and worries while adjusting the tension.

Highlighted Features:

  • Universal design works with any secondary drive belts measured at 10 lbs.
  • Securely holds the belts in the correct position with the L-shaped pad.
  • Super easy to use.
  • Clear markings make the accurate tension measurement.
  • Versatile tool fits multiple purposes.

3. OTC 4748 Belt Tension Gauge

A tension gauge has not many features to impress you. It's the usability and functionality of the tool that makes it stands out. And if it's from a reliable brand, that's a plus point.

Like the previous ones on the list, it works on any drive, V, or other tension belts measured at 10 lbs. It sits securely on the belt thanks to the L-shaped cover.

So, whether replacing old belts with a new one or making any adjustment after a wheel service, set the tension right, applying 10 lbs of force, and reading the deflection.

Make sure you have the proper deflection specification manual not to guess anything. Because any kind of guessing would be harmful in the long run, either wearing the belt too soon or permanent damage to the shaft bearings.

The tool has a 10 lbs mark on it, so you might have to estimate the halfway if you apply any in-between forces.

The tool also comes at a bare minimum cost and has a one-year warranty. If you haven't used any tension gauges before, the easy-to-use tool might be quite right for you.

Highlighted Features:

  • Compatible with any secondary drive belts measured at 10 lbs.
  • Easy-to-use and suitable for beginners.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty.
  • Accurate and quick tension measurement.
  • Secure hold on the belt with an L-shaped pad.

4. Gates 91107 Belt Tension Tester

Having both your hands occupied while testing belt tension is not always convenient. You have to hold the straight edge, apply force with the plunger, and check the readings simultaneously.

With the Gates 91107, Belt Tension Tester, the use of both hands is almost completely eliminated. You just have to put the device's pivot point on the belt, push the band with one finger to slowly press it down, and then release it when you hear the click sound.

You can then remove the tool from the belt and have the tension reading. Be sure not to disturb the needle while taking it away. The straightforward handy tool makes accurate measurements of the tension of any drive or V belts.

The tool, however, cannot be used for timing belts but works well with intended ones. The effortless using mechanism makes it widely used by many professionals and car owners.

But make sure the product is compatible with your vehicle. And you might have to use it a couple of times to learn your way around the tool and have consistent readings.

The tool sits right with belts of width ⅞ inches and can measure tension from 30 lbs to 150 lbs.

Highlighted Features:

  • Easy to use tool.
  • Accurate tension measurement from 30-150 lbs.
  • Works on the drive or V belts.
  • Use of both hands is not required.
  • Practical design, lightweight and handy.

5. OTC Belt Tension Gauge- Universal

OTC is a very known brand name among car mechanics and heavy-vehicle owners. The Universal Belt Tension Gauge is no exception to the brand's reputation for high-quality, easy-to-use vehicle tools.

And we are delighted to include two of the quality products from OTC in our list, and this one, unlike the previous one, is designed for heavy-duty belt tensioning.

The scale accurately reads tension from 30 lbs to 180 lbs, making it suitable for motorcycles, cars, SUVs, and truck belts. You can also use it on car coach belts or any machinery's cog or toothed belts.

The tool not only increases the shelf life of the bearing belt but is very durable as well. It's composed of high-grade metals to provide you with consistent quality performance for a long time to come.

It also comes with a very convenient dual scale with distinct indicators like too low, new, used belts, and too high. That translates into easy reading and understanding of the measurements accurately.

However, the bulky form of the device is a concern for most practitioners or mechanics. It seems a bit large to reach many car engine belts, nevertheless using it daily around shops and dealerships, professionals claim that they get their hand-tuned for vehicles that can't be measured.

Its well-built design makes the products widely used by all consumers, from professionals to DIY car owners.

Highlighted Features:

  • A quality tool from a reliable brand.
  • Heavy-duty belt tension gauge.
  • Versatile use and works on SUV, truck, car, and motorcycle belts.
  • High-grade metal made and durable.
  • Easy to read dual scale.

6. Supercrazy Universal Engine Tension Belt Gauge

Reading the accurate tension from a gauge makes the straightforward task somewhat difficult to do. You run to a dealership for such a simple task and end up paying a fortune.

The car engine spaces are very tight, and the front view of the reading is not always convenient. The Supercrazy Universal Engine Tension Belt Gauge comes with a dual scale which enables you to read the tension from the tool's front and back.

The tool is designed to measure the timing belt tension. The knurled-up knob, rolling screw action, and clear markings ensure the most precise measurement.

It comes in a very compact shape with 100mm length and 80mm width only. And measuring the tension is as easy as positioning the tool on the belt's right place, applying the force, and reading the measurement.

 And you will be installing the timing belt faster as well, with guesswork eliminated from the equation.

And the tool is compatible with Mercedes, BMW, certain Porsche, Volkswagen engines, and others mentioned in the manual.

While this comes as a drawback for many users if you own one of the specified vehicles, you should get the tool right away.

Highlighted Features:

  • Dual scale to read from back and front.
  • Designed for timing belt tension measurement.
  • Easy and quick belt adjustment.
  • Precise measurement with rolling screw action and knurled knob.
  • Comes with a vehicle engines compatibility chart.

7. Car Belt Tension Tester

We will be ending our best tension gauge list with the Car Belt TensionTester, a digital gauge for tension determination in a wide range of instruments.

The digital gauge can measure from 0 to 750 Newton or 120 Pounds. And it indicates to state the belt's tension condition, high, low, or ok. If the load exceeds 150N, there is an overload alarm.

The tension gauge works on a 36 mm wide belt with a maximum thickness of 20 mm.

The easy-to-use and read feature makes it suitable for various industries like automobile plastic, paper, textile, cables, printing, and wire industries. The wide range of application objects includes wires, tapes, and others.

The tool runs on 1.5V batteries and features auto-on/off. With an accuracy of ±5%, it measures the tension reasonably well.

The package also comes with a carrier bag for safe storage and more extended functionality and an operational manual to help you understand the gears more easily.

Highlighted Features:

  • Digital gauge with an LCD screen.
  • High, low, and ok indication for clear understanding.
  • Measures force up to 750 N.
  • Overloading alarm above 750 N.
  • A case and operational manual for easy use and storage.

Comparison Table of Belt Tension Gauge Tool

Product Name


Measuring Scale


ABN Universal Belt Tension Gauge

10 lbs

Graduated scale (inches)

South Dakota, US

ARES 15033 - Belt Tension Gauge

10 lbs

Graduated scale (inches)


OTC 4748 Belt Tension Gauge

10 lbs

Not graduated. Single mark for 10 lbs


Gates 91107 Belt Tension Tester

30-150 lbs

Graduated (lb and kg)


OTC Belt Tension Gauge- Universal

30-180 lbs

Dual Scale (N and lbs)


Supercrazy Universal Engine Tension Belt Gauge


Dual graduated scale (Front and Back)


Car Belt Tension Tester

0-120 lbs

LCD screen with indicators


Belt Tension Gauge Tool Buying Guide

Belt Tension Gauge Buying Guide

It's always a delight to have the right set of tools when you need them. And measuring tension might not be the most challenging job, but not having the right tool can make it.

And having a tension gauge is a prerequisite for extending the shelf life of the drive belts. Below are some of the factors that you should look for before buying one.


Compatibility is the first thing you should check before purchasing one. Each gauge has a range of motor vehicles it is compatible with.

 The manufacturers often provide a list of car and motorcycle models on which the product will function.

So, whichever product you are getting, make sure it's compatible with the vehicle you own.

Ease of Use

A gauge's use is a bit straightforward with no confusion at all. However, setting it on the belt of an operational car engine belt is somewhat tricky as you don't get much space around a car engine.

So, you must select a gauge that is easy to use and reaches your car engine belt without much difficulty. Nowadays, most gauges are universal and work on various car models, but make sure you can get it around your vehicle.

Also, look for the specification chart for determining the tension level or state if the tool doesn't have an indicator.


The markings on the tool are one important parameter that needs to be checked before buying. Unclear marking results in inaccurate tension measurement, and it can cause damage to the belt or the vehicle's shaft bearing.

Clear markings also translate that the measurements are easy to read. Now some product comes with graduated scales while others don't.

You may find products with double scale and indication marks for low, high, and ok tensions. You may also find products that give an overloading alarm.

Some dual scales are for front and back view of the readings, while others come in different units. Also, the indication marks help to better understand the state of your drive belt.

Not all gauges have these features, and it also depends on your skill to read the measurements accurately. Nevertheless, it's always wise to have a tool with easy-to-read graduated scales.


A tension gauge is indeed a one-purpose tool, but you need to ensure that it works on various belts to get the most out of it.

Some of the products are designed to measure a vehicle's drive belt tension only, while others work on various belts and objects. And most standard gauges work with bets having specifications of 10 lbs.

These tools work well on motorcycles, cars, and SUV belts, but for heavy-duty use like truck belts that require measuring tension above 30 lbs, a high-end tool is needed.

Also, if you intend to determine timing belt tensions, remember not all gauges are designed for that.

So, to get a specific task done, get one that accomplishes the purpose, and for meeting various needs, get a versatile product.

Frquently Asked Questions

What is belt tension?

Belt tension is the stress or tightness with which a belt is pulled to fit around pulleys or bearings. It is determined by deflection.

How much the belt deflects by applying a specified force translates into belt tension. Deflection is measured in inches or mm.

How tight should be a belt tensioner?

In case you don't have a tension gauge and encounter a problem with your car serpentine belts, there's a way to determine it with your hand.

A working serpentine belt should be reasonably tight. And to determine the tightness, you need a ruler to compute the distance between two pulleys.

Next, hold the belt at its middle with your thumb and index finger, pull it front and push it back a few times.

If you see the blet provides a play of about half inches, the belt is tensioned correctly. Above or below means it's either loose or too tight.

What happens when belt tension is less?

For a car engine or other machinery to function properly, the belts should have appropriate tension. It's required for the well-being of the vehicle and also the belt.

 If the tension belt is loose, it undergoes a lot of friction, resulting in wearing out of the belt too soon.

Are serpentine belts and timing belts the same?

Most people get mixed up with serpentine and timing belts. And no, they are not the same. The serpentine belt runs along with all accessories and connects the engine with the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, A/C compressor, etc.

Sometimes multiple drive belts are used to connect different components with the engine. But nowadays, it's a single serpentine belt the keeps all the accessories functioning smoothly.

On the other hand, Timing belts are positioned inside an engine to connect the camshaft and crankshaft. This ensures the engine is running smoothly.

Apart from their different functions, they look different as well. The timing belt has teeth-like groves to fit the camshaft and crankshaft cogwheels. And serpentine belts come with V-shaped grooves.

Final Words

A belt tension gauge, though, has a single purpose only; without it, you have no way other than relying on your guesswork to measure the belt tension. And you do understand the stake when relying on guess only.

The best belt tension gauge comes in very handy, lasts very long, and most importantly, takes the guesswork out of the equation and gives accurate tension.

Getting one is a way of taking care of your vehicle, and also you save yourself from paying to the dealership every time.

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