Best Wheel Alignment Machine [TOP 5 FOR 2021]
What is the best wheel alignment tool on the market in 2021? 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
Turn Plates (Pair)
5 Ton Capacity
BEST FOR LARGE
Camber & Toe
Up to 38" Tires
Wheel Alignment Machines – The Reviews
We have selected the following wheel alignment machines in an effort to provide a cross-section of options that will appeal to different needs.
Each machine can be rated based on ease of use, measuring accuracy, and wheel size capacity.
Based on these criteria and more, the following are what we consider to be some of the highest quality wheel alignment tools on the market today.
1. TOP PICK: Zackman Scientific Wheel Alignment Turn Plates (Pair)
Our top choice wheel alignment machine for 2021 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.
- 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.
Our number one choice for 2021 for good reason.
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 the 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.
- 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.
A close contender for our top spot in 2021.
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.
- 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 roundup, and the higher price point, it fails to get our highest recommendation.
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4. Specialty Products Company 91000 FasTrax Camber/Caster Gauge for Wheels from 13″ to 18″
The Specialty Products Company 91000 FasTrax wheel alignment tool is another portable unit that is designed for fast and effective measuring.
Suitable for wheels that are 13 to 18” in size this can be used by most home mechanics looking to get on top of their vehicle alignment issues.
The FasTrax is able to measure both camber and caster and can provide an accurate reading via the display through the following ranges:
- Camber +/-4 degree
- Caster -4 degree to +12 degree
The system allows for hands-free alignment making a suitable tool for one-man-band operation.
Gauge and wheel mounts are included, of course, meaning no extraneous measuring or clamping tools are required to make the unit perform as it should.
Furthermore, the rugged design will help ensure that no matter the abuse this tool receives in the workshop, it will continue to provide accurate measurements for years to come.
- Easy to use, portable system
- Provides hands-free alignment operation
- Includes gauge and wheel mount
- Fits most wheels from 13 inches to 18 inch
- The stated 13-18″ range is debatable as some users have experienced problems with 18″ wheels.
The 91000 Fastrax Camber/Caster Gauge tool is another worthy addition to our top 5.
Fast, accurate readings all in an easy to use, portable device. The rugged design is also a plus point making this a great tool for both busy workshops and the home garage.
5. BEST FOR LARGE VEHICLES: QuickTrick Wheel Alignment – Wheels up to 38″ Tires
The QuickTrick FS should be considered the go-to alignment tool for anyone that owns a large 4×4, RV or any other vehicle fitted with over-sized tires.
Where the units reviewed above are designed for standard-sized vehicles, (and will struggle to fit around high tire walls), the QuickTrick will take such specifications in its stride.
In fact, wheels up to a whopping 38” can be comfortably measured using this alignment tool.
As we say, if your wheels are big and you want to measure camber, caster, and toe alignment, this is the unit to buy.
The manufacturers state that the QuickTrick is already in use by the 3rd largest fleet company in North America when it comes to maintenance on E350′s, Sprinters & OTR/Semis.
The system is also widely used by public transport operatives with the measurement of school buses etc.
This heavy adoption by such organizations means that QuickTrick is happy to provide bespoke advice on the system you should purchase.
They clearly state that when dealing with such wide-ranging wheel sizes, customers are advised to contact them for information on a tailored system that will be suitable for their specific needs.
If these requirements speak to you, this really is the unit to opt for.
- Designed specifically for large vehicles and wheel sizes
- Offers tailored advice on the unit most suitable for your needs
- Reputable company with wide adoption across public service providers in the USA
- The most expensive alignment tool in our top 5 by a long margin.
If you own a vehicle with large wheels, (or primarily deal with such vehicles in your professional workshop), this is the measuring tool to buy.
It has one of the largest wheel size capacities on the market in 2021, which makes it a stand out buy in that sense alone.
A highly recommended system for those that require the increased specification capabilities.
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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.
Caster, camber, and toe or the most common measurements (see below for an explanation of what each is).
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.
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Camber, Caster, and Toe Explained
As mentioned earlier, the three most important measurements you will want to take with your alignment tool is camber caster and toe.
Let’s take a look at each of those now.
Camber is the angle of the tire when viewed from the font. The camber can lean onto the inward or outward edge of the tire causing what is known as negative or positive camber.
If the base of the wheel is not flat on the ground you will experience uneven wear and decreased traction due to the camber of the wheel being misaligned.
The root cause of the issue can be a number of issues, the most common being worn bearings and/or ball joints, and other misaligned wheel-suspension parts.
A suitable caster angle is important in maintaining vehicle control in terms of balance, steering, stability, and cornering.
If this is misaligned, you will have problems.
The caster can be seen in terms of the angle of your steering axis in relation to the driver.
If you have a positive caster, the steering axis will tilt towards the driver (as seen from the side of the vehicle).
If the steering axis tilts away from the driver, the vehicle is experiencing a negative axis.
Toe alignment is the angle that your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above.
If the angle of the tires points inwards, the vehicle has a toe-in alignment. Conversely, where the tires angle outwards the vehicle has a toe-out alignment.
Each outcome needs to be adjusted so that tires point forward in parallel with the structure of the vehicle.