Not everyone is a problem solver – some people prefer to take on repairing and fixing broken things upon themselves, while some prefer to outsource it to the “pro.” However, if you have adequate knowledge about a particular machine or a gadget and have the right tools, then it is always advisable to fix or repair your machines yourself.
For instance, you went on a drive all alone to freshen up your mind and suddenly, you’ve got a flat tire. The normal reaction of anyone would be to call a towing truck to get the car towed. However, the smarter move would be to keep a spare tire in your car along with a jack and a torque wrench that will help you to fix the issue.
Well, most of us have a fair idea about keeping a spare tire and jack, but what is a torque wrench. For many car enthusiasts, it’s a magical wand, which will fix almost all your bolt, nut, screw, or study-related problems.
What is a torque wrench?
To better understand what the tool is all about, let’s understand the two words associated with it, torque and wrench separately. Torque is the pressure or strength that rotates the object about an axis and a wrench is a tool that helps you to grip and provides force (torque), which eventually helps in fastening or loosening any nut, bolt, stud, or screw to rotate.
Now you must have gotten an idea that torque and wrench are two different concepts, but a torque wrench is a tool that utilizes both concepts to help you fix a lot of things not just your cars.
When you are dealing with certain mechanical devices, especially automobiles, you need to know the right amount of force a threaded fastener needs to make the attached component work perfectly without hindrance. If you let it loose too much, then the components won’t work or may leave their place. On the contrary, if you tighten the fastener too much, it would hinder the operations of the systems or devices.
Torque wrench simply put is a must-have for your toolbox. If you haven’t had it until today, read this guide and get answers to all the questions popping in your mind that how buying a new torque wrench would benefit you.
Moreover, we will also provide a list of torque wrenches that are one of the best choices available in the market, according to our survey. However, before we get onto that, let’s shed some light on more important pointers which include, but are not limited to, how does torque wrench work, what are the types, and what you need to know before buying a torque wrench, etc.
How does a torque wrench work?
A torque wrench works on a basic scientific phenomenon that we have learned in schools. If you have studied about three classes of the lever in school, then a torque wrench is an example of a class one lever. A class one lever has the fulcrum in the middle of the load motion and effort motion. It is the basic configuration of the lever.
When you put the effort from one direction, the science of class one lever moves the load to the opposite direction. Similarly, when you put effort on the torque wrench’s effort side, which is the handle, it moves the load, which is the threaded fastener, in the other direction. This movement helps in loosening or tightening the fastener.
Before these modern torque wrenches were designed, one had to take off the wrench each time after the completion of one rotation and then put the wrench again on the fastener to carry forward the process. One had to redo the same process until the fastener was tight or loose enough. However, the new torque wrenches work on ratchet mechanism, which means, you can continue tightening or loosening the fastener without taking off the wrench repeatedly.
The ratchet mechanism means that the new torque wrenches have gears in their heads, which allow the handle or effort side to rotate back to the original position while maintaining the action (tightening or losing) without taking off the wrench from the fastener.
This mechanism allows one to work faster while saving time and effort. If you prefer working and maintaining your car on your own, then a torque wrench is a must-have addition. However, before you rush to any online or physical stores to get yourself a torque wrench, know which type of torque wrench would suit your needs is the question you would need an answer to.
Below we will discuss two major types of torque wrenches that will help you figure out which one to buy. However, even after figuring out the type, if you are about to buy it for the first time, then you would want some additional tips on considerations that you must take to buy the perfect and most suitable torque wrench. Once we are done with the types, we will give additional tips as well.
Two types of torque wrenches
There are three types of torque wrenches including: click torque wrench, digital torque wrench, and beam torque wrench.
You must be wondering if there are three types, why have we highlighted only two of them. The reason being, beam torque wrenches are not suitable. These are the older version and very difficult to operate. Moreover, you also won’t get the accuracy that you would want to make sure when using it for automobiles or similar machines or devices. Apart from that, you won’t be able to carry it everywhere unlike the other two types, because it is very heavy, and when you would be using it, you will have to put more effort to adjust the fastener, which the other two types can do more easily and in lesser time.
Without wasting much time, let’s see the two most common and modern types of torque wrenches.
Click Torque Wrench
Click torque wrench is the easiest wrench to handle. It is user-friendly and lasts longer as well. Moreover, it offers good value for money, which makes it a perfect purchase for those who are a little low on budget, yet want a reliable tool.
All you have to do is to set the required force. Next, put the wrench on top of the threaded fastener and rotate it until you hear a ‘click’ sound. The ‘click’ sound represents that you have tightened the bolt to the set torque. This ensures the safety of the machine or device as well as makes sure that the fastener is tightened accordingly. It is very important when you are working on automobiles.
However, you will have to calibrate it occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t get rusty. Other than that, this type of torque wrench is a perfect companion to keep for any emergency, for example, a sudden need to change tire, as mentioned above.
Digital Torque Wrench
As the name suggests, a digital torque wrench comes with an LCD screen, which shows you the readings for when you lose or tighten the fastener at the set torque. Although it is similar to the click torque wrench, its digital feature sets it apart. With the screen, you can keep a record of the amount of force that is being applied and can set the torque accordingly. This makes it perfect for fragile objects.
However, it is more expensive than the click torque wrench. Other than this, if you want a versatile torque wrench and can spend some bucks, then we recommend you to go for this type of torque wrench.
We have given a detailed overview of the different types of torque wrenches. Now let’s consider things that you shouldn’t ignore when buying a torque wrench.
Things you shouldn’t ignore when buying torque wrench
Before you invest in a torque wrench, you must check the accuracy of the tool. If accuracy is poor, a normal wrench would be better than wasting your money on an inaccurate torque wrench. Moreover, an accurate model will always come with a certificate of authenticity, proving its reliability. Other than these two key points to consider, you must also look at what material is the torque made of, does the tool contains a ratchet mechanism, how readable the scale of the torque is, and is it easy to handle and user friendly.
Other than all of that, you must also get a hard plastic case to keep your torque wrench saved from corrosion. A hard case would ensure that your wrench is not banging around your huge toolbox, which can lead to inaccurate readings.
By now you must have decided which type of torque wrench to buy, now let’s find out which are the best torque wrenches available in the market currently.
Top 10 torque wrenches to buy today
TEKTON 24340 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque
TEKTON 24340 is a battery-less all-steel tool that ensures steady performance and reliable service for a long time. You can easily achieve accurate results with this torque when tightening fasteners according to the manufacturer’s instructions. With its +/-4% adjustment accuracy, there is no risk of over-tightening the fasteners, and you will always get the exact results.
You can easily preset the value using a sturdy and straightforward mechanism that alerts you with “a click” that indicates when to stop.
The scale is a high-contrast and dual-range, making it easy to read the markings even when the light is inadequate.
Craftsman 9-31425 20-150
Backed by Craftsman’s name, this is one of the highest quality tools that you can find. A reliable combo of alloyed steel and sturdy plastic produces the proper tension needed for the torque.
It is designed to bear consistent pressure and remain comfortable even after years of use. With easy-to-read specifications, it also features the options for locking and unlocking with a twist ring. Calibrated to +/- 4%, it makes it even more dependable and risk-free. It has some fantastic features like a micro-clicker with a 20- 150 ft. ponds range and dual-range scale that can be read easily.
Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque
Snap-On and CDI are the names you can trust for quality wrenches. This micrometer torque with a 1/2-inch drive is easily adjustable and has a calibrated dual-scale that enables clockwise and anticlockwise readings.
It’s been designed to give you accurate readings. The laser-calibrated scales make the readings easy. One of its main features is a lock-ring that supports a spring-loaded lock with a quick-release button making it easier to setup.
With its ergonomic hold, this wrench is suitable for all skill levels – from amateurs to experienced professionals. It is available in a range of 30–250-foot lbs.
ACDelco ARM601-3 3/8-inch Digital Torque Wrench
For those who are more tech-friendly, ACDelco digital torque wrench is an ideal tool with an LCD screen that enables the users to select the desired setting – from Newton-Meter or ft/lb. The LCD screen also indicates the pressure level of the crank. The measuring range for this torque is 2-37 ft-lb (3-50 Nm).
It also features a resolution of 1 kg-cm, 0.1 N-m, 1 in-lb, 0.1 ft-lb. It can be operated at 0-50C Operating Temperature, and its storage temperature is -10-60C. Its electronic handle requires proper care. It also has an auto shut-off system that turns off after being idle for 60 seconds.
Precision Instruments C3FR250F Torque Wrench
Made in the USA, Precision Instruments torque wrench can handle 40 ft-lbs to 250 ft-lbs. You don’t need to turn down the tool that increases its convenience. It is a more practical and time-saving tool due to its spring-loaded mechanism. Its 22-1/8” length gives you more control and accuracy. This tool is equally proficient for home appliances and professional use.
This wrench not only gives you the extra torque, but it also does not require to be recalibrated as well. It is pocket-friendly as well as ensures speed and efficiency. It also features an adjustment knob, which eases up the process of making any adjustments.
EPAuto ¼ Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
Perfect for occasional use and light on the pocket, EPAuto ¼ Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is an inexpensive tool that will meet your needs. Its hardened steel alloy ratchet head makes it a long-lasting and sturdy tool. Its accuracy is calibrated to 4%, and its force ranges from 20 to 200 ft.-lbs.
It’s model ST-013-01 is an excellent tool that is easy to store as a durable plastic storage case comes with it. It has a simple and easy reading range scale, and weighs 1.75 Pounds. This torque wrench comes with a knurled handle that gives a sturdy, non-slip grip.
Industrial Brand CDI 2503MFRPH 1/2 Inch
This is another durable torque wrench from CDI, a subsidiary of Californian tool manufacturers Snap-On. This tool is incredibly budget-friendly. It also indicates that you get an exceptionally high-quality torque wrench at very reasonable prices. Featuring a speed-efficient spring-loaded lock and an easy-to-read scale, this 1/2 Inch tool is extremely simple and easy.
This torque wrench is a perfect tool for protracted jobs that require torques forces of varying levels that can only be handled by a sturdy and solid tool. Weighing at 4.3 pounds, the solid construction of Model 2503MFRPH guarantees its longevity, durability, and reliability.
Neiko Drive Adjustable Click Torque Wrench
For those looking for recommendations for a torque wrench for emergencies or rare usage, Neiko’s Drive Adjustable Click Torque Wrench is the perfect solution. This particular model is user-friendly and is cost-effective as well. Even if you use it only once, it is worth keeping.
With 4% accuracy and a spring-loaded pull-down lock, it is effortless and simple to use. The torque adjustments on this tool are pretty simple and easy to understand. It is very easy to lock and unlock the tool with just two twists. Excellent for an emergency wheel change or similar needs.
Park Tool TW 5.2 Ratcheting Click Type Torque Wrench
When you need to handle delicate machines and more fragile machinery or nuts and bolts, you require finesse rather than sturdiness. Park TW.52 model is the torque wrench that fits the bill—measured at Newton Measure scale in inch-pounds. This scale helps in determining the accuracy of the torque setting. It allows you to vary the increments of even 0.4nm.
This allows the torque to handle delicate nuts and bolts, especially for machines like a motorbike, especially more customized bikes like the ones used for road racing. With 9 inches and 1-pound weight, it is perfect for intricate jobs.
ACDelco ARM601-4 1.2 Inch Digital Torque Wrench
Digital models of torque wrenches are chosen for their simplicity and calibration of accuracy. Another model by ACDelco is ARM601-4 1.2 Inch Digital Torque Wrench, which meets both criteria. It has simple functions, making it user-friendly. Simply enter the torque force you need and connect it with the bolt to do the job.
Its accuracy is of standard 4%, but you have the option to choose from a variety of scales in the LCD. These scales show measurements in:
- Foot Pounds
- Newton Measurements
- Inch Pounds
- Kilogram Centimeters
This adjustable display and 4 to 99 ft-lbs torque range meets your functionality and budget.
Are you convinced yet?
We sure hope that you have now made up your mind about which torque wrench to buy and how to use it. This detailed account of torque wrenches will surely make you a subject matter expert. If you find this article helpful, then do share it in your circle.
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