(Updated November 1, 2017)
How Do I Choose the Best Torque Wrench?
In 2005, the US Grand Prix turned out to be among the most controversial in the history of Formula One. Why? Tires. Many of the drivers using a particular brand of tires had to retire from the race before reaching the finishing line. Sad, right? Well, the dynamics of an automobile are complicated, and that’s why you must always prepare for any event. Your car should have a kit complete with a jump starter
, a first aid box, and even a torque wrench in case you get a flat.
Torque wrenches are used to tighten or loosen bolts not only in cars, but also in your household. Over time, loose bolts may come out and cause problems that could have been avoided. Whether you’re connecting bolts or tightening nuts, you have to do it at a specified torque level. A torque wrench lets you do just that. The reason these wrenches have become popular is because unlike ordinary tightening tools, torque wrenches make a sound indicating that the right torque has been reached. Researchers have found that most DIY enthusiasts tend to over tighten things from the lawn mower to a simple fix underneath the car.
To get the best torque wrench, you have to understand the task you have at hand. The size of the drivers will determine the wrench that you get. Whether it’s 1/4’’ or ¾’’, you have to ensure that the size is right. The settings of the torque are also important, allowing for flexibility while operating. The accuracy of the torque wrench also plays a major role in your decision since you don’t want to make the bolts too tight or too loose. All in all, if you’re looking to upgrade your toolbox
, then adding a torque wrench is a must!
Investing in a quality torque wrench will save you tons of money. They’ll let you do most of the fixing without spending a fortune on a handyman. Better yet, torque wrenches are fairly priced; with $30 to about $180, you can acquire a quality wrench that’ll serve you well. The price of torque wrenches varies depending on the type you get. You’ll find that those meant for industrial use tend to be more expensive due to high calibrations geared towards more precision. You’ll definitely pay more for a digital torque wrench than you would for an analogue one.
When shopping around, you’ll come across cheap torque wrenches that we’d like to discourage you from getting. Such appliances may give you misleading calibrations, missing the purpose of having a torque wrench in the first place. Don’t jeopardize your work by going for one of these cheap wrenches.
There are many factors to consider before settling for a particular wrench. Here are some key features to keep in mind when shopping for a torque wrench:
- Torque -The level of torque you require greatly determines the type of wrench you are going to get. This is usually measured in pounds.
- Accuracy - A wrench’s accuracy is paramount for it to effectively carry out the task you want done. Always consider the percentage of accuracy given.
- Material - Most torque wrenches are made using steel, which is long lasting and can withstand even the toughest jobs.
- Weight -Consider the weight of the torque wrench, since one that’s too heavy will hamper its effectiveness in your hand.
- Type -There are various types of torque wrenches including: digital quality control wrenches, analogue, and even industrial torque .
Construction and Design
Torque wrenches come in many shapes and sizes depending on the task they’ve been designed for. To better understand the construction of a wrench, let’s look at the various types:
- Electronic Wrench - These are the digital ones that can be programmed to set a torque limit. The beauty of these is that they have an LCD display and a chip to store the readings taken. You can even transfer the readings to your PC for future use. These torque wrenches operate in real time and give you more control over the tightening process.
- Click Wrench - These click once a torque is reached and are usually among the cheapest and lightest in weight. However, you may overtighten since everything is up to you. This torque’s work cannot be measured or traced, so human error is always a possibility.
- Beam Wrench -This torque wrench has a basic design where the lever arm separates the head from the handle. The arm bends as you apply pressure, resulting in the tightening of the bolt. There’s usually a scale with a pointer to indicate the readings.
- Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench -This one has both visual and sound output and offers more accuracy when dealing with high torque. The fact that it makes an audible sound once your required torque is reached makes it an amazing device.
Performance and Ease of Use
Achieving the required torque using a wrench really depends on the set calibrations. Using a torque wrench is not complicated, especially the programmable ones since they do most of the work for you. When using the device, it’s important to always set the scale back to zero for greater accuracy. We advise you to carry out your task in two steps: first go for the half torque, and then the final torque.
Regarding maintenance, avoid using it on rusted parts and don’t lubricate your wrench without referring to the manufacturer. Avoid dropping the wrench since that can greatly interfere with its accuracy. In case you accidentally let it fall, you need to have it recalibrated professionally.
What is the Best Torque Wrench?
We looked at specialty tool and automotive brands to find well-made wrenches, and compared ease-of-use against price for each model. We then looked closely at customer satisfaction to determine which torque wrenches stood out the most. We've chosen a mix of manual and digital adjustable torque wrenches since both can be great options – depending on your budget and frequency of use.
Our Top Choice
The Craftsman MicroTork Torque Wrench is versatile and reliable, making it the ideal choice for a wide variety of projects. If you work on building and tune-ups more often, the Craftsman Digi-Click Torque Wrench
makes it even easier to adjust the torque.
Craftsman 20-150 ft. lbs. 1/2" Drive Micro-Tork Torque Wrench with Twist Ring & Lock
Craftsman Torque Wrench 9-31425
Craftsman is all about the pride of being a craftsman, and being a part of their community of makers. They work with their users to improve reliability and create the gear they need the most. Craftsman community members frequently share their latest projects for inspiration on new projects.
This rugged torque wrench is built with high tensile-strength, alloyed steel and a rugged plastic handle for long-lasting use. It's easy to adjust by simply twisting and locking the ring above the handle. The stamped-on scale shows exactly what torque settings you can choose from in both foot-pounds and Newton-meters.
The Tekton Torque Wrench is a reliable and inexpensive option for easy and precise fastening, featuring durable all-steel construction. Looking for something with more torque? Check out the Tekton ½" Drive Click Torque Wrench
with a torque range of 25 to 250 foot pounds.
Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench with Reversible Head & All-Steel Design – Available with Adaptors or Breaker Bar
Tekton Torque Wrench 24335 – Torque Wrench Only
Tekton specializes in hand tools, and they make it their mission to do the best possible job. They're passionate about perfecting the little details, and they back-up their passion by guaranteeing the quality of all their tools.
This simple and highly effective torque wrench is a great choice for casual and intermediate users. Its all-steel construction means this wrench can last an extremely long time when it's taken care of properly. The scale is made in high-contrast so you can easily read it, even in low light. The ratchet head can be reversed for torque in the other direction.
This drive click wrench is also available with a 4-piece adaptor set for different applications or with a breaker bar, which gives you more power for loosening tight bolts.
The CDI Micrometer Torque Wrench features industrial strength and a variety of size and torque options so you can get any job done with absolute precision. Looking for an expertly made torque wrench from CDI without the price tag? Check out the CDI Micro-Adjustable Torque Wrench
Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench – Available in 4 Sizes and 7 Torque Ranges
CDI Torque Wrench 1503MFRPH – ½" – 20-150 ft. lbs.
CDI is highly respected in the construction and DIY communities because of their industrial-quality torque tools. They focus solely on torque tools, testers and calibrators so they can offer the very best results. They're the main supplier for the GSA (General Service Administration of the U.S. Government), so you know they can produce exact results when it's most needed.
This CDI torque wrench offers serious leverage because of its long design. Its laser-marked scale is easy to read for use with the spring loaded licking ring. It's also calibrated for torque in both directions. This industrial-quality torque wrench is ideal for just about any application, since it's available in a wide variety of sizes and torque ranges. You can get it in ½", ¼", ¾" and 3/8" sizes as well as 7 torque ranges with a max of 600 foot pounds.
The ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench turns torque wrenching into an exact science with a clear and simple LCD display. For a more powerful version with the same technology, check out the ACDelco ½" Torque Wrench
ACDelco 3/8-inch Digital Torque Wrench with 2-37 ft. lb. Torque, LCD Display & Buzzer Alert
ACDelco Torque Wrench ARM601-3
ACDelco's power tools are made for professionals who are using their tools daily. Their products stand up to frequent, heavy-duty use and empower users with high tech features. They're always looking for new innovations that make a difference for professionals in the field.
This popular digital torque wrench makes it easy to adjust your torque, making it ideal for professionals or anyone who might need to switch between torque levels. When you're walking around the jobsite or working on a complex project, you don't want to squint down at a small scale – you want to quickly adjust the numbers on an LCD display. An audible buzzer kicks in when you've reached your desired torque.
The Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench has all the power and accuracy you need to tune up your firearms, including 10 popular gunsmithing bits. For a digital version that displays the exact torque as you adjust it, try out the Wheeler Digital Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench
Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench with 10 Bit Set, ¼" Socket & Molded Case
Wheeler Torque Wrench 553556 – Accurizing Torque Wrench
Wheeler Engineering specializes in heavy duty gunsmithing tools. They offer everything you need to keep firearms looking and working like new, including replacement parts, tools, bedding, refinishing supplies and more. They're owned by Battenfeld Technologies, a world leader in gunsmithing and cleaning.
This torque wrench isn't just for firearms, but it does have everything you need to fasten up your firearm bolts to the perfect tightness. The wrench comes with 10 bits that are often used on guns as well as a hard molded case for convenient storage. It's highly accurate and has an adjustment range of 10 to 65 inch pounds.
Get the Best Torque Wrench of 2018!
To get the best torque wrench, pay attention to torque range and size before you buy. The bolts on your car wheels, for example, require a different amount of torque compared to the bolts on your bike. ½" torque wrenches are the most versatile since they're compatible with car engines, tires, and other common items. Whatever you're fastening, these brands have a model to precisely fit your needs.
Our Top Choice
Craftsman Micro-Clicker ½" Torque Wrench
Tekton 1/2 in. Drive Click Torque Wrench
CDI Comfort Grip Micrometer Torque Wrench
ACDelco 3/8" Digital Torque Wrench
Wheeler FAT Wrench with 10 Bit Set