Choosing the best torque wrench is no easy feat. With literally a plethora of choices available online, how can an average user select the right torque wrench for the job?
In order to select a torque wrench, you will first need to determine the type of application. Are you working on a bike, motorcycle, or car? How about your budget? Torque wrenches can come in a wide array of sizes and capacities.
What is a Torque Wrench?
A torque wrench is a handy tool that allows you to control the amount of force or torque that is applied when tightening or loosening bolts. The invention of the torque wrench can be attributed to Conrad Bahr in 1918. Bahr was working for the New York City Water Department when he was able to come up with a tool that can prevent overtightening the bolts on the steam pipes and water mains.
Torque wrenches are no different from torque screwdrivers. Although the former is more popularly used in garages and repair shops, the latter is utilized in the same way as a torque wrench when tightening or loosening screws. Torque screwdrivers are utilized in the production, disassembly, maintenance, or repair of intricate electronic devices, motherboards, and computers.
Best Torque Wrench Brands
Different brands will boast different designs, features, and capabilities. Here are a few of the torque wrench brands that you can find in the market today:
- Precision Instruments
- Pittsburgh Pro
It is common for a well-known brand to be more expensive than the lesser-known variety. In our opinion, the brand is not the most important aspect in choosing the torque wrench.
Whether you are in the market for a mechanical or electronic torque wrench, our list of the best torque wrenches will make it easier for you to choose the right tool for any specific job.
We segregated our list so you can choose the perfect mechanical or digital torque wrench for any type of job.
Best Mechanical Torque Wrench
|Tekton 24335 ½-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench||Good accuracy and low price|
|Precision Instruments ½” Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench||Easy to use with good quality|
|Pittsburgh Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench||Great value|
|Tooluxe 03703L 3/8” and ½” Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench||Good versatility|
|Performance Tool M195 Beam Style Torque Wrench||Superior Performance|
|J&R Quality Tools ¼-Inch Adjustable Torque Wrench||Durable performance|
|Venzo Bicycle Bike Torque Wrench Allen Key Tool Socket Set Kit||Excellent for bicycles|
|Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench||Best for guns and hobbyists|
Tekton 24335 ½-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The Tekton 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is one of our perennial favorites. This torque wrench is simple and easy to use and is constructed for heavy-duty use. The torque rating is from 10 to 150 pound-feet and is great for light, medium, or heavy-duty applications.
It comes equipped with a reversible ratchet head that can drive in both directions. Yes, this torque wrench can both loosen and tighten nuts. However, it can only measure torque in a clockwise direction. This is not bad considering the price tag.
The reversible feature makes the Tekton Click Torque Wrench the best ½” mechanical torque wrench that money can buy. It also happens to be the best budget torque wrench that delivers good build quality and accurate torque readings.
The Tekton ½-Inch Drive Torque Wrench will emit an audible clicking sound that can be both heard and felt when the preset torque value is reached. It also comes with a high-contrast dual range scale that makes it easy to read the torque value even when working in dim or poorly lit conditions.
This torque wrench is also tops in terms of durability and finish. It features an all-steel construction with no plastic parts that will wear or break over repeated use. The Tekton ½-Inch Drive Torque Wrench is shipped pre-calibrated for your convenience is accurate within +/- 4%.
Want to maintain the accuracy of your Tekton ½-Inch Drive Torque Wrench? Make sure to store the tool at the lowest possible setting of 10 ft-lb. or 13.6Nm and keep inside the included storage case.
- Great low price
- Accurate within +/- 4%
- The scale is easy to read
Minor issues with quality
Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver ½” Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench w/ Flex Head
The Precision Instruments ½” Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench is not the cheapest torque wrench in this list. It is on the higher end of the price but it offers blazing accuracy and a bevy of features for the price.
This torque wrench is equipped with a ½” drive split beam and is great when you’re working on cars, light trucks, and motorcycles. It has a premium nickel and chrome finish and comes with an ergonomic handle that offers a tight and secure grip.
It is one of the best torque wrench for motorcycles and automobiles if you don’t mind the hefty price tag.
It also comes with a handy adjustment knob that allows you to adjust and set the torque using a single finger. The adjustment knob is also utilized to eliminate the spring tension when adjusting the desired torque value. This toll does not require to be relaxed or wound-down after each job and provides a stellar accuracy of within 4% of the desired torque setting. Best of all, you can lock the torque setting so you can perform repeated applications without the need to readjust or reconfigure the tool such as when tightening the head bolts in your car’s engine.
The Precision Instruments ½” Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench is engineered to handle 40 to 250 pound-feet of torque. If there’s something we don’t like about this tool is it can only measure torque in a clockwise direction. That prevents it from being named as the best ½” drive torque wrench.
- Superb quality and finish
- Handy adjustment knob
- Does not require to be wound-down after each use
- Great accuracy
- It’s a bit expensive compared to other mechanical torque wrenches
- Non-reversible and can only measure torque in a clockwise direction
Pittsburgh Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench (Set of 3)
The Pittsburgh Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench is sold as a set of three torque wrenches that comes in ¼”, 3/8”, and ½” sizes. You get three torque wrenches for a very pleasant price! That’s terrific value in our book.
The ¼” drive is rated at 20 to 200 pound-feet. The 3/8” drive can handle 5 to 80 pound-feet while the ½” drive is good for 20 to 150 pound-feet. What’s funny is the lowest setting in the dial of the ½” drive. The ½” drive is good for 20 to 150 ft-lb. but the dial only shows 10 to 150 ft-lb.
We contacted Pittsburgh Pro about this minor issue and they told us the 10-lb mark is the lowest setting on the dial and is the resting spot for the spring. The trick is to adjust the settings to the highest possible torque value and reset back to the lowest setting before setting the desired torque reading.
But the saving grace is the reversible cam and pawl mechanism that is accurate to within +/-4%. You can use this torque wrench to loosen or tighten nuts but you can only measure torque in the clockwise position.
The Pittsburgh Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench is great for users who can’t decide between a ½” and ¼” drive. Why not get both and get a third 3/8” drive for almost the same amount of money? When it comes to value, it is hard to argue with this three-piece set. Oh, and they also come with a lifetime warranty!
Looking for the best all-in-one set of torque wrenches that includes a ¼” and 3/8” drive? You simply can’t go wrong with the Pittsburgh Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench.
- Lifetime warranty
- Get 3 torque wenches for a low price
- Superb quality
- Each torque wrench is equipped with its own case
- Torque readings are tricky to read
Tooluxe 03703L 3/8” and ½” Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench
What we really love about the Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench is the versatility. It comes with an adapter so you can use 3/8-inch or ½-inch anvils.
This torque wrench also comes with a 17” long shaft to provide additional leverage for those tough and heavy-duty jobs. The durable and ergonomic grooved handle makes it easy to apply the desired levels of torque.
With those features alone, it is easy to discern why the Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench is the best 3/8” and ½” mechanical torque wrench for the money! If not for the bulky size of this kit, it would have made it to the top of our list.
The Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench is constructed using an innovative steel alloy to deliver maximum strength and durability. The large scale is calibrated to display torque readings in both directions and is rated from 0 to 150 foot-pounds or 0 to 20 meter-kilograms of torque. We also like the fact the scale is large enough for easy reading even when working in dark conditions.
However, we have a couple of gripes with this tool. The top ½” end is useless if you only want to read the gauge. We also found the 17” handle to be a bit too long and hard to manipulate in tighter spots around the engine bay. The included adapter is also good but installing it will also make the torque wrench unusable in tight locations.
But who are we to complain about the very low price tag?
If all you need is a simple and basic beam style torque wrench that is best for head bolts, lug nuts, or car wheels, you can’t go wrong with the Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench.
- Fantastic price
- 17” handle provides better leverage
- Good build quality
- Includes adapter for 3/8” and ½” heads
- Too big and too bulky for tight spots
Performance Tool M195 Beam Style Torque Wrench
The Performance Tool M195 is available in ¼” and ½” sizes. The ¼” variety is rated at 0 to 60 inch-pounds while the ½” is good for 0 to 150 foot-pounds. It also comes in a click-type model and is available in ¼”, 3/8”, and ½” drives.
However, the deflection beam design of the Performance Tool Beam Style Torque Wrench makes it superior compared to ordinary click-type torque wrenches.
Beam-style torque wrenches are resistant to wear and fatigue to deliver a more accurate torque reading even during repeated applications. This tool also provides accurate measurements in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
The Performance Tool Beam Style Torque Wrench is equipped with a high-contrast dual range scale that is easy to see even under poor lighting conditions. It also comes with a ball-type handle that localizes the force to ensure better accuracy. The Performance Tool M195 ¼” Beam Torque Wrench starts at around $23 while the ½” beam model starts at less than $20. The shiny chrome finish of this tool not only looks good, but it helps to protect the metal parts from rust and corrosion.
This is the best ¼” mechanical torque wrench for light to medium hobs.
- Excellent quality and finish
- Easy to read scale
- Great price
- Inaccurate torque readings in the ¼” beam model
J&R Quality Tools ¼-Inch Adjustable Torque Wrench
What we like about the J&R Quality Tools ¼-Inch Adjustable Torque Wrench is the build quality and the price. This torque wrench will start at a very low price and is precision crafted from high-quality heat-treated chrome vanadium steel to deliver maximum durability and excellent corrosion resistance.
This ¼” torque wrench is also reversible and comes with forward and reverse lock settings. The minimum torque range is 20 inch-pounds and the maximum range is at 200 inch-pounds.
Confused about the torque values? So were we. The problem with the J&R ¼” Adjustable Torque Wrench are the graduations in the torque scale.
The major graduations on the shaft are in 15 in-lbs. increments. The minor graduations are in 1 in-lb. increments. If you start at 20 in-lbs. and turn the handle to 10 in-lbs. the torque reading will now be 35 in-lbs. If you want the most accurate readings, you will need to convert the scale by 2/3, which is tricky if you don’t have a calculator with you.
One thing we also noticed is the ‘click’ sound. The clicking is noticeably more audible when the torque wrench is set to higher torque values. If you use the tool at the lowest 20 in-lbs. setting, the click is barely audible. However, you can still feel the handle reaching the desired torque value during that point.
Despite the minor gripes with the graduation of the scale, we still find the J&R Quality Tools 1/4-Inch Adjustable Torque Wrench to be one of the best reversible click type torque wrenches you can buy. Considering the fact it starts at low price tag, this is a nice torque wrench to have in your tool box.
This is the best ¼” mechanical torque wrench for light to medium hobs.
- Chrome vanadium steel construction
- Great low price
- Inaccurate scale graduations will affect accuracy
Venzo Bicycle Bike Torque Wrench Allen Key Tool Socket Set Kit – Best bike torque wrench
Don’t you love it when you find specialized tools? The Venzo Bicycle Torque Wrench Allen Key Tool Set Kit may come with a heftier price tag, but it is a complete kit that is specifically intended to be used in the assembly, disassembly, and repair of bicycles. This is the best bike torque wrench in the market today.
Yes, this torque wrench is designed for the hardcore cyclist that requires a dependable torque wrench and Allen key socket kit.
The kit comes with 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm Allen keys along with a 5mm longer Allen key for T20, T25, and T30 torques. This kit is also ideal for carbon fiber bicycles that demand an accurate torque wrench when loosening or tightening nuts. It also comes with a ¼” square drive to accommodate sockets.
The Venzo Bicycle Torque Wrench is equipped with a click-type design. You can set the desired torque by turning the rubberized handle clockwise or counterclockwise. The torque range is 2 to 24 newton-meters and the tool is accurate within +/- 4%.
What we like about this torque wrench is the easy to read gauge. The torque values are also easy to set even with greasy or dirty hands. Our only caveat is the calibration of the torque wrench. This is particularly important if you are planning to use this torque wrench on a carbon fiber bicycle frame. While the Venzo Bicycle Torque Wrench is pre-calibrated to a tolerance of +/- 4%, it is best to have the tool calibrated first before tightening the nuts in your carbon fiber bicycle.
But for steel or aluminum bike frames, you can’t go wrong with the Venzo ¼” Torque Wrench. It even comes with a compact carrying case so you can easily keep the tools in your bag or knapsack.
- Nice low price
- Comes with complete Allen key set
- Legible torque gauge
- Simple to use
- Might require further calibration
Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench – Best Torque Wrench for Firearms
The Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench is our top choice for gunsmiths and hobbyists. This is the best torque wrench for gunsmithing and is specifically intended to be used in the repair and maintenance of firearms.
What makes the Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench endearing is the user-friendly nature. It is designed to be used like a simple screwdriver so there’s no learning curve to operate the tool. The F.A.T. or Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench comes with ten of the most popular gunsmith bits including a ¼” socket, T15 Torx bit, T20 Torx bit, and various Allen bits.
This tool has a torque range adjustment of 10 inch/pounds to 65 inch/pounds. This is more than enough for adjusting or disassembling guard screws, torque rings, base screws, and windage screws with repeated accuracy. If you need a torque wrench for your firearms collection, it doesn’t get any better than the Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench.
It is also calibrated to deliver accuracy. In fact, it is rated to be accurate within +/- 2 in-lbs. up to a maximum torque setting of 40 in-lbs. The accuracy is within +/- 5% for torque settings over 40 in-lbs. This torque wrench is not only the best for firearms since it can also be used to apply torque to any type of screw or fastener. It is basically an all-around tool.
- Best torque wrench for guns and firearms
- Great accuracy
- Easy to use
- Fantastic low price
- Low torque settings
Best Electronic Torque Wrench
|GearWrench ½” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench||User-friendly digital torque wrench|
|ACDelco1/2” Digital Torque Wrench||Great features and affordable price|
|CDI 1002CF3 Drive Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench||Solid quality|
|Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench||Heavy-duty features and superb accuracy|
|ACDelco Tools ARM303-4A ½” Electronic Digital Torque Wrench||Superb accuracy and versatility|
GearWrench 85077 ½” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench
The GearWrench ½” Drive Electronic Torque Wrench leads our list of the best electronic torque wrenches. This tool is rated to handle 30 to 340 Nm of torque for superior versatility. Whether big or small, this torque wrench can do it all!
The best thing about this digital torque wrench are the user-friendly features. The tool will emit multiple audible alerts when the desired torque is reached. The handle will also vibrate and the LED light will stay solid to further prevent overtightening.
We had a couple of minor problems using the GearWrench ½-Inch Drive Electronic Torque Wrench. We randomly got an FFF alert on the LCD display upon first usage. We would switch the tool ON and OFF multiple times in order to get rid of the alerts. We contacted GearWrench about this problem and it turns out our unit needs to be recalibrated.
We sent it back for calibration. Five days later our GearWrench ½-Inch Drive Electronic Torque Wrench was back in tiptop shape. We particularly like how this digital torque wrench can manage up to 340 Nm of torque, which makes it ideal for heavier or more demanding jobs.
Despite minor issues with pre-calibration, we’re still convinced the GearWrench Electronic Torque Wrench is one of the best 1/2” digital torque wrench we have tested so far.
This torque wrench is not cheap. It starts at around $160 but is still one of the best digital torque wrenches that money can buy. If you are planning to order this torque wrench, just make sure to contact the supplier and tell them to give you a pre-calibrated unit to avoid any problems.
- User-friendly features
- Multiple alerts to prevent overtightening
- Slight problems with calibration
ACDelco ARM601-4 ½” Digital Torque Wrench
We particularly like the ACDelco ARM601-4 ½” Digital Torque Wrench even though it has a lower torque rating of 4 to 99 pound-feet.
On the other hand, this digital torque wrench is ideal for smaller or more sensitive jobs such as working on carbon-fiber bicycles.
We also love the sterling build quality and the user-friendly features for such a low price.
Yes, you read that right. The ACDelco ½-Inch Digital Torque Wrench will start at less than $110. This also happens to be one of the most accurate electronic torque wrenches that we tested so far. This tool meets or exceeds ASME B107.14-2004 and ISO 6789 standards for accuracy. In fact, each tool comes with a matching certificate of calibration to ensure accurate torque readings. It has an accuracy range of +/- 2% clockwise from 20% to 100% of full scale.
Like all the best digital torque wrenches, this tool is equipped with an LCD display. It offers multiple settings for torque adjustment, measurement, and modes. The LED lights will flash and the buzzer will alarm when the desired torque is reached. We even love the sound of the alarm! This digital torque wrench is also accompanied by a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Even though we frowned over the lackluster LCD display, The ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench is the best ½” electronic torque wrench that delivers great accuracy and excellent value for money.
If you are searching for the best digital torque wrench that is friendly on the pocket, look no further than the ACDelco ARM601-4 ½” Digital Torque Wrench.
- Great low price
- Superb accuracy
- User-friendly features
- Weak LCD display
CDI 1002CF3 Drive Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench
Next on our list of the best digital torque wrench is the CDI Drive 3/8-Inch Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench. This tool is also available in ½” and ¼” drives but we love the fantastic value of this 3/8” drive model.
With its prices, the CDI 3/8-Inch Electronic Torque Wrench is far from being the cheapest electronic torque wrench in this list. But the price more than makes up for the great features of this superb tool.
The CDI Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench is proudly made in the USA. The 3/8-Inch drive model is rated to handle 10 to 100 foot-pounds of torque.
In fact, this tool can display torque values in real time in any of the four known torque units. It is also equipped with a 15 degree flex ratcheting head and an ergonomic non-slip rubber grip.
This tool is easy to use and feels sturdy to the hand. It has a heavy-duty feel to it despite the low torque rating.
It is great for automobiles, motorcycles, aircrafts, marine applications, and even for light industrial use.
The large LCD digital readout makes it easy to set the desired torque value. The tool will emit an audible tone and a green LED light when the torque is reached. However, there is no vibrating handle unlike other digital torque wrenches. In our opinion, we can do without the vibrating handle since this also means longer battery life.
The CDI Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench is the best 3/8-Inch digital torque wrench for the money.
- Ergonomic handle
- Solid build quality
- Displays real time torque values in any of the four torque units
- Not ideal for heavy-duty jobs
Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench
Also included in our list of the best digital torque wrench is the Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench.
This tool is equipped with a ½” ratcheting drive with a torque range of 15 to 150 foot-pounds.
This makes it the best ½” digital torque wrench for cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs, and even on electric vehicles!
This torque wrench also comes with a 32-tooth gear while providing an 11.5-degree arc to effectively handle higher torque loads.
The Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench is equipped with a double gear sensing system. This will ensure the repeated accuracy of the torque wrench. It has an accuracy range of +/-3.5% on both clockwise and counterclockwise directions. It comes with a comfortable and soft touch non-slip grip to deliver terrific ergonomics and control.
This digital torque wrench also comes with a large LCD backlit display that shows real time torque values for every tightening and loosening action. It is constructed using premium Chrome Vanadium to deliver superior strength and rigidity. The switches make it easy to choose specific torque values. The unit also comes with an auto shut off feature that turns OFF when the unit is in standby for more than 2 minutes.
We like the easy-to-use nature and comfortable grip of the Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench. This tool will emit a series of blinking LEDs and an audible buzzer to alert you if the target torque is about to be reached. Upon reaching the desired torque value, the tool will emit a red LED light and buzzer to prevent the dangers of overtightening.
We find the Brown Line Metalworks Digital Torque Wrench to be the best ½” digital torque wrench that can handle heavy-duty jobs.
- Comfortable easy-grip handle
- Audio and visual alerts
- Good accuracy
- Does not have to be turned down after each use
- Affordable price
- Minor calibration issues
ACDelco Tools ARM303-4A ½” Electronic Digital Torque Wrench
The ACDelco Tools ½-Inch Electronic Digital Torque Wrench is one of the most versatile torque wrenches that money can buy.
But there’s a caveat: It has a pretty high price..
Some people might think this is too much money to pay for a torque wrench, but this tool doesn’t scrimp on features and capabilities despite the prohibitive price tag.
The ACDelco Tools Electronic Digital Torque Wrench can operate at a maximum angle of 720 degrees. It can monitor the torque values in both clockwise and counterclockwise direction. You are also paying for maximum accuracy since this torque wrench is calibrated to within +/- 1.5%.
This torque wrench also comes with visual, audio, and vibrating alerts. It is easy to choose the desired torque settings in Nm, kg-cm, in-lb., or ft-lb. The tool is also powered by a pair of AA removable batteries.
Even though it is the most expensive digital torque wrench in this list, The ACDelco Electronic Digital Torque Wrench is one of the best and most accurate digital torque wrenches you can buy today.
We had a lot of fun testing this tool. It is both accurate and easy to use. However, we found out this tool is not exactly the toughest in the realm of digital torque wrenches. We accidentally dropped the tool in the garage and it immediately started to rest itself after every single tightening action. It also takes a little while to boot up from the OFF position.
- 720-degree angle torque wrench
- Audio, visual, and vibrating alerts
- Powered by 2 AA removable batteries
- Minor gripes with build quality
- It’s a bit expensive
The Basic Types of Torque Wrenches
There are 2 basic types of torque wrenches you can buy, and these are:
1. Mechanical torque wrench
This is the most basic type of torque wrench. It also comes in a variety of designs such as:
- Click wrenches
This is the most widely used torque wrench in any type of industry. If you’re going to work with your car, motorcycle, bicycle, or SUV, click wrenches are the perfect tool for the job.
When the pre-selected torque is reached, you will hear an audible ‘click’. You will also feel the impulse of the tool in conjunction with the clicking sound.
This torque wrench may be easy to use, but it is NOT recommended for novice users. You will need to stop applying pressure once you hear the clicking sound. Most click wrenches will break by 3 degrees after the pre-set torque is breached and will immediately become positive, which is the main cause of overtightening. Keep this is mind the next time you are working with a click-type torque wrench.
Click type-torque wrenches can come in a beam or deflecting beam design. The beam type is the most basic and most popular type of torque wrench and consists of two beams. The first beam acts as the lever and handle of the tool and is used to apply torque. The second beam is attached to one end of the wrench and is bolted free from the first beam. The second beam serves as the indicator beam when applying the desired torque.
The deflecting beam was patented to Warren and Brown Company of Australia in 1948. It utilizes the principle of applying torque to a deflecting beam to prolong the accuracy of the torque wrench even after repeated use. If you are using a deflecting beam torque wrench, you will hear an audible ‘click’ along with a visible indicator similar to a simple beam torque wrench.
- Break-over wrenches
This is also a popular type of torque wrench that utilizes a different way to tell you if the pre-set torque value is reached. The torque wrench will ‘break’ near the pivot point of head and will usually deflect around 20 degrees or 90 degrees upon torque delivery. Once the tool breaks, it is time to stop applying torque. The main issue with break-over wrenches is the need to manually reset the tool after each application of torque. Failure to reset the tool will result in inaccurate readings. However, newer type of break-over wrenches are now equipped with automatic resetting.
- Cam-over wrenches
This is one of the best rated torque wrench when it comes to accuracy and efficiency. This type of torque wrench is equipped with a ball and lobe design. The tool is designed to slip free when the proper torque is reached. There is no danger of overtightening or over-torque since the tool is designed not to exceed the preset torque value even if you repeatedly try to apply force.
2. Electronic torque wrench
This is the more expensive variety of torque wrench. The torque is measured using a strain gauge attached to the torsion rod. The electronic signals are converted to the required unit of torque and are presented on the digital display.
Electronic torque wrenches are typically used for light to medium jobs. Industrial-grade electronic and programmable torque wrenches can record each individual torque measurement.
This is great for large-scale manufacturing and assembly plants that requires large amounts of data to be measured specifically for each application. On some applications, electronic torque wrenches can even send data wirelessly to a remote unit.
3. Other Types of Torque Wrench
- Mechatronic torque wrench
This is the hybrid between the mechanical and electronic torque wrench. It functions similar to a click-type torque wrench but the torque is measured via a digital reading. The data is fed wirelessly to a remote controller. But unlike a click-type torque wrench that ‘clicks’ when the desired torque value is reached, mechatronic torque wrenches will emit an audible ‘beep’ or similar beeping sound.
- Hydraulic torque wrench
When it comes to precision jobs that demand the highest possible accuracy, it is hard to beat the hydraulic torque wrench. This is the best torque wrench for specialized applications such as manufacturing heavy machinery or in the assembly and repair of aircraft, spacecraft, and general aviation.
For average users with a small budget, nothing beats the value of a simple mechanical torque wrench, whether you choose a click-type or beam-type torque wrench. They don’t require batteries to function properly or won’t need to be recharged when the battery runs flat.
Digital torque wrenches are equipped with a bevy of buttons that might prove confusing to the average user. The digital or electronic torque wrench is also more expensive and can reach many hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Things to consider when buying a torque wrench
The best features to watch out for when buying a torque wrench are the quality of the construction, the rated accuracy of the tool, and ease of use.
Choose quality over price
We’re not saying that cheap torque wrenches have poor quality, but the cheapest ones tend to only last for a short time. However, even the most expensive torque wrench can succumb to failure when not treated or stored properly. Mechanical click-type torque wrenches will need to be wound down to prolong the accuracy of the tool, while digital torque wrenches can be turned OFF without further relaxing the tool.
When buying a torque wrench, you should consider the quality before looking at the price. Higher-priced torque wrenches tend to be more durable, more accurate, and are packed with awesome features.
Consider the accuracy of the tool
If accuracy is of utmost importance, you should go for a split-beam or beam type mechanical torque wrench. If money is no object, getting a digital torque wrench is the best choice.
Easy to use
Different brands will come up with different sizes and specs depending on the application. Choose a torque wrench with a high torque capacity and a longer handle if you are planning to tackle a heavy job. Go for a smaller and lighter torque wrench if you’ll be doing minor work under the hood of your vehicle. Choosing the best tool for any type of job will make the task easier to accomplish.
Here are some other things you need to consider when buying a torque wrench:
- Determine the size of the drive sockets. Torque wrenches come in ¼”, ½”, ¾”, and 3/8” drives.
- Torque capacity. For big and heavy-duty jobs, you will need a torque wrench with a higher torque capacity. Small torque wrenches will have a torque range of around 30 to 200 ft. lbs. with either a 3/8” or ¼” drive. Medium torque wrenches can range from 20 to 250 ft. lbs. and are generally equipped with a ½” square drive.
- Precision. Your torque wrench should have less than +/- 3% torque tolerance at +/- 10% of the specified torque.
There are torque wrenches that feels good to the hand but the scales are fairly difficult to read, while some can be adjusted easily but fail miserably in terms of ergonomics or accuracy.
You should also check the price. Don’t settle for the cheapest option if you are concerned about quality. Remember that click-type torque wrenches are more affordable than any other variety of torque wrench. Professional users should settle for nothing less than an electronic or digital torque wrench for unmatched accuracy.
Which is better? Mechanical or digital torque wrench?
It will all depend on your budget and preference. If you’re a bit clumsy around the shop then a digital torque wrench might not be the best choice considering the higher price tag. We’re not saying that mechanical torque wrenches are more durable (all torque wrenches should be stored and handled with care). But if you’re working on a tight budget, you should go for the mechanical torque wrench.
In terms of accuracy, it is easier to enter the torque setting in a digital torque wrench. But the accuracy of a torque wrench (both mechanical and digital) will depend on the calibration of the tool. Make sure the torque wrench is certified to be pre-calibrated before buying.
Does a torque wrench require maintenance?
Yes. Click-type torque wrenches will need to be periodically wound down or rested after succeeding applications. After that, it is best to wipe the torque wrench clean before storage. Torque wrenches are sold with their own hard cases for a reason. Keep the torque range inside the case when not in use.
Digital torque wrenches are a different story. Maintenance will basically mean replacing or charging the batteries when the tool is low in power. Most digital torque wrenches don’t require to be wound down after repetitive applications. It is also advisable to store the digital torque wrench in the included case when not in use.
All torque wrenches should be checked periodically for wear or tear. You should monitor the number of cycles or hours of operation to establish the proper maintenance interval of the tool. Torque wrenches will need servicing after around 100,000 cycles or when visible signs of dry grease and loose components are evident. Check the owner’s manual of your torque wrench to reveal all the specific details about calibration and maintenance.
Remember that a torque wrench is a high-precision tool that demands an expert hand, a caring eye, and careful attention to detail. Failure to calibrate or service a torque wrench will lead to product failure, inaccurate torque readings, or severe damage.
When it comes to the best mechanical torque wrench, our money goes to the Tekton 24335 ½-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench. For some strange reason, we still prefer the tactile feel of an old-school mechanical torque wrench, even if we’re fully aware that beam type torque wrenches offer more accuracy over click-type torque wrenches. But for the price, it is hard to argue with the performance and quality of the Tekton ½-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench.
But for the best electronic digital torque wrench, it’s a toss-up between the ACDelco ARM601-4 ½” Digital Torque Wrench and the Brown Line Metalworks BLD0212BM Digital Torque Wrench. Both of these wonderful digital torque wrenches offer great features, good accuracy, a comfortable grip, and an affordable price.
Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com