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What is the best wheel alignment tool on the market in 2020? With the number of options to choose from deciding which is the right one for you can be difficult.
Wheel size is an important variable, as is the type of measurement you plan on taking, camber, caster or toe?
There’s also the important issue of accuracy, price point, and build quality. Is your head spinning yet? Well, to help you in your search we have carefully selected 5 top-rated alignment tools currently available.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For an in-depth review of each of our picks, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Top 5 Best Wheel Alignment Machines
TOP PICK: Zackman Scientific Wheel Alignment Turn Plates (Pair)
5 Ton Capacity Turn Plates Camber, Caster Steering
Our top choice wheel alignment machine for 2019 is the top quality Zackman Scientific wheel. In fact, let’s make that plural because this exceptional value package comes in a pair, making wheel alignment fast, accurate and reliable.
Whether you’re an auto shop owner or like to take care of these kinds of things yourself in the home garage, the Zackman plates hit the mark.
Easy to use, the turntables come pre-assembled enabling you to drive onto the plates and to start measuring alignment straight away.
The units have a 5-ton weight capacity and feature dual pin locks that help keep the plates stable as you move the wheels into place. Other specifications on the table include a 13.5” diameter base, with a side movement of 2” and a back and forth movement of 2.5”.
The Zackman Scientific turn plates also feature an easy to read scale that will provide you with all the information you need on the front end caster, camber, and steering alignment.
The full floating ball bearing mechanism allows for full wheel movement. The turntables can also adjust through 0-50 degrees for accurate readings.
2 Wheel Alignment Turn Plates
2 Transition Bridges
2 Thrust Blocks
Pros of the Zackman Scientific Wheel Alignment Turn Plates
Come in a pair for increased speed and accuracy while measuring alignment
Dual pin locks and sturdy plate design for optimum vehicle stability
Easy to read scale providing detailed alignment data
Versatile adjustment capability
Lack of detailed operational documentation
Overall the Zackman scientific turn plates offer sophisticated wheel alignment for both professionals and home users.
Simple to use, sturdy design and reliable measuring performance all in one (or make that two as it comes in a pair) package.
2. Tenhulzen Auto 3300 2-Wheel Alignment System All-in-one Tool (Camber/Caster/Toe Plates)
The Tenhulzen Auto 3300 2-Wheel Alignment System is another worthy addition to our top 5. This is an all in one system that is designed to measure camber, caster and toe alignment of the axle.
The unit benefits from a clever, patent-pending piece of design in the wheel stand-offs that enable you to measure the axle toe from the wheel rim itself. The end result is greater accuracy in the overall measurement.
Camber measurement is accurate to 0.1 degrees and if your workshop suffers from uneven surfaces, recalibration is extremely easy too.
As with our top pick from Zackman, caster measurement is carried out via inbuilt turn plate functionality. No need for add-on equipment, everything you need is there from the off.
The unit can be used on a wide range of cars and SUVs, however, the manufacturers do warn that in some cases where a truck is fitted with over-sized, after-market tires, the side walls can be too large for the unit to fit properly.
(A sidewall height of 7.5” or below is recommended for unimpeded use of the measurement tool.)
One other benefit to mention is that while Tenhulzen Auto may sound Japanese, the company is wholly owned and operated in the USA, and their service support team can be contacted 7 days a week.
One 2-wheel plate with the integrated camber gauge
One standard 2-wheel plate
High-Resolution Tape Measures
Tenhulzen Automotive Digital Readout
Degrees Conversion Chart
Video Instructions (written instructions also available for download)
Pros of the Tenhulzen Auto 3300 2-Wheel Alignment System
Easy to use tool that can measure Camber, Caster, and Toe
Patent Pending wheel stand-offs, measure from the wheel rim for greater accuracy.
All in one system with inbuilt turn plate for caster measuring
Camber Accurate to Within 0.1 degrees
Company based in the USA
A minority of customers have had issues with the height of the plates when in use with large wheels.
The Tenhulzen Auto 3300 2-Wheel Alignment System is another great unit that will suit both the professional and home user.
The all-in-one system is accurate and easy to use and shapes up to be a very convenient method of measuring vital alignments.
3. FIRSTINFO Portable Wheel Alignment Angle Sensing Tool with Digital Protractor
The FIRSTINFO Portable Wheel Alignment system is another tool where ease of operation is clearly in the DNA of the project.
Being portable this is a lightweight unit that is designed for one-man operation. Once again the measuring system is suitable for both professional and home-user use.
The gauge and wheel mount have to be operated on the flat ground, however, (unlike the units reviewed above that have in-built calibration features in order to combat uneven surfaces), which can be a hindrance depending on the nature of your workshop.
That being said, movement through 10 and 20” can be achieved for the mounting of the vehicle wheels on top of the clamping tool.
Wheel alignment is carried out with a digital protractor, a feature that offers increased accuracy while being nice and simple to understand and read.
The measurement data includes camber, caster, KPI and toe, making for a versatile system that will meet your needs.
USB Charger cable for digital level
Triangle metal plate + 1 bar
Bubble level plate
Angle alarm tester
Brake holder (2 bars + 1 handle)
Operation steps manual
Digital protractor user guide (English and Chinese edition)
Pros of the FIRSTINFO Portable Wheel Alignment Tool
Easy to read wheel alignment data with digital protractor.
Portable and lightweight
Gauge and wheel mount included
Has to be operated on flat ground
One of the most expensive units in our top 5
Overall the FIRSTINFO Portable Wheel Alignment system is a good tool. Portable, easy to use with plenty of accurate data this does its job well.
However, in light of the extra features available on other options reviewed in our round up, and the higher price point, it fails to get our highest recommendation.
What to look for when buying a wheel alignment machine?
Whether you are investing in new wheel alignment for your auto shop, or are looking for something suitable for home use, there’s a number of factors you should bear in mind before you make that final purchase.
In this short buyer’s guide, we will look into some of the most important ones.
Wheel size capacity
Wheel size capacity is a variable you will need to pay close attention to. Alignment tools vary in the size of the wheel and tire they are designed to fit onto in order to take the measurements.
If you are buying a machine for home use and you plan to use it on your RV for example, you will need to ensure that the tool you buy is compatible.
Even 4×4 vehicles with oversized tires may not work with a standard sized alignment machine.
If buying a machine for use in a professional setting, you may need to purchase something suitable for large vehicles and then a secondary unit for smaller ones.
Essentially, you must consider what types of vehicles you will be working on, and then check the specifications of the wheel alignment tool, to make sure it will fit.
Measuring capability and accuracy
Alignment tools also vary in the preciseness of the measurement they can take, as well as the types of measurement.
Clearly a versatile machine that can measure all three is desirable. However, not all units do this. Again, consider what measurements you will be needing to take regularly and ensure that the unit you choose can do so.
Pinpoint accuracy can come in the form of digital displays providing data down to several degrees of the decimal point.
You will also want a tool that can be configured for uneven terrain and will still provide accurate measurements.
Check the specifications of the wheel alignment machine you are interested in and use these as a way of comparison to competing models.
A wheel alignment tool needs to be robust. If used in a busy workshop daily, the machine will be battered and thrown around, driven over and clamped on and off wheels on a continuous basis.
If the build quality is not up to the job, it could begin to provide inaccurate results or may even stop working altogether.
As well as the body of the unit (including the turn plates), the components of the machine should also be sturdy and well made.
Check out customer reviews to see what people are saying about a particular unit after extended use.
If it doesn’t hold up, you will know that it is best avoided.
Ease of use
Professionals and home users alike should want a machine that is easy to install and operate.
For the pro user, time is money. The faster and more efficiently you can take measurements and fix any issue the better.
The same applies to the home user, however, when the machine is only used infrequently, the fact it is intuitive and easy to use will be a benefit.
No one wants to pull out instructions or watch an introductory video every time they decide to use the machine.
Having a budget in mind is always recommended, however, you also need to be realistic.
For example, large alignment tools suitable for over-sized vehicles will cost more. Generally speaking, the more accurate the readings and the more types of measurement you can take, the higher the price point.
Essentially you need to consider exactly what your needs are regarding the use of the alignment tool and then spend sufficient enough money to purchase a unit that can comfortably cover those requirements.