An Informative Guide to Choosing the Best Torque Wrench

Jun, 2017
Best Torque Wrench

Torque wrenches allow its user to measure torque required to fasten the nuts and bolts without over tightening them. This is the reason why you need the best torque wrench, making it an excellent addition to your tool box. If you don’t know what to buy, read this guide in order to come up with an informed decision. We’ll also be providing you the top five picks for the best ones, as well as their pros and cons.

What is a Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench is a tool that permits its user to appropriately and accurately tighten a fastener to a specific torque. Some of you might think that it’s just a regular wrench but a closer look will tell you otherwise. Torque wrenches are bigger in size and you will realize that it can also be used to loosen hard bolts. However, it’s not what they are used for. Torque wrenches do the opposite; they tighten bolts to a particular level of tightness.

Simply put, torque refers to the tightening force. Using it too much may cause damage to the fastener and mating parts. Using it too little only gives the bolt an opportunity to shear off when the joint is not loaded. This may potentially result in dangerous and catastrophic failure. It is considered as a crucial safety item that you use to apply the correct amount of torque when necessary.

A torque wrench will let you tighten a fastener accurately to a torque level you specify. Normally, you only use one and you swap out sockets that match the bolt size. They also come in different types but the most abundant types are used in the automotive industry. Big jobs will require you the best torque wrench while smaller ones will be adequate for light jobs. It can be used on various vehicles such as cars, SUVs, vans, among others.

Top Five Picks for the Best Torque Wrench

In this section, we are going to discuss the top five picks for the best torque wrench available right now. We will provide you their key features, pros, and cons that can help come up with a better decision.

1. Neiko 03713A 3/8" Drive Adjustable Click Torque Wrench

Neiko 03713A 3/8" Drive Adjustable Click Torque Wrench, Chrome Vanadium Steel | 10-80 Foot-Pound

The Neiko is an adjustable torque wrench that will give you precise and accurate torque levels. It is already pre-calibrated with +/- 4 percent accuracy and it will precisely measure torque between 5-80 foot-pound/6.8-108.5 Nm. It features a dual range pressure scale, which you can measure via foot-pound or Nm. To add, it offers audible click functionality and a one of a kind low torque setting.

The Neiko Torque Wrench is very simple and easy to use. Levels can be adjusted by aligning the rotating diamond-patterned grip to the target torque level in the shaft. The ten-level gradient in the grip permits micrometer adjustments and a knob will lock the tension in. Another great feature of the Neiko is the 3/8-inch drive head that is compatible with all 3/8-inch sockets. You will hear a click once you reach the preset level.

Material is made of steel that makes sure the device can endure the test of time and the toughest jobs. A chrome finish and a storage case will keep rust and corrosion away, making sure your torque wrench will last.


Pros:

  • Features reversible motion, lock and unlock adjustment
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Features precise calibration
  • Comes with a storage case

Cons:

  • May become defective after a few uses
  • The click sound may not be consistent

2. Gorilla Automotive Torque Wrench

Gorilla Automotive TW605 Torque Wrench

The Gorilla may be a lesser-known brand but makes up for the performance you’re looking for in a torque wrench. The manufacturer offers a wide range of lug wrench adaptors that enable aftermarket lug nuts use. They are made of chrome vanadium steel and feature a thin design that will surely fit the lugholes. The Gorilla torque wrench also comes with a storage case made of high impact plastic for rust resistance.

Another great feature of the Gorilla torque wrench is that it is adjustable, forward and reverse. You may use the dial torque selector you can find on the base of the handle to adjust torque levels. This wrench features a 5-inch extension bar that you can use for small sockets. It weight only 4 pounds and can be transported easily. Lastly, it is not as expensive as the other models given its quality and performance.


Pros:

  • Durable and long lasting
  • Comes with a storage case
  • Adjustable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • May become defective after a few uses
  • Difficult to operate for some

3. Precision Instruments Silver 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench

Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2" Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex Head

The Precision Instruments brand is a well-known manufacturer of torque products. It has a nickel/chrome finish that makes sure you will be able to grip it perfectly with your hand. It does not need to be turned down after every use that makes it convenient. You will also be able to lock the torque setting on the adjustable wrenches for repetitive applications.

Another great feature of this torque wrench is the adjustable knob that removes spring tension. This would mean that the torque setting is quick and easy. It is also very easy to operate, as you only need fingertip force to adjust torque levels. To add, it features a split beam click that endures many of the troubles associated with micrometer-style wrenches.


Pros:

  • Can endure abusive environments
  • Convenient and easy to operate
  • Will be able to lock each setting
  • 27 inch long

Cons:

  • A little heavier than other models
  • Low price is an indication of lower quality

4. CDI 3/8-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench

CDI 1002MFRPH 3/8-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench Torque Range 10 to 100-Foot

The CDI wrench features dual scale and calibrated dual direction, front and reverse. It has a lock that comes with a spring-loaded pull down lock ring. Using this torque wrench will give you quick and accurate results. To add, it is also very easy to set and has an easy to interpret laser-marked scale. It features quick release buttons that allow socket retention, as well as removal.

A great feature of the CDI torque wrench is the 3/8-inch drive adjustable micrometer handle. It offers torque range from 10 to 100 foot-pounds. This may be considered as a clone of the Snap on CDI but it is meant for non-industrial jobs. It is lightweight compared to other brands, as it is only 2.2 pound heavy. If you are looking for torque wrenches for medium application jobs, this might be perfect for you.


Pros:

  • Features an ergonomic soft grip
  • Easy to operate
  • Offers quick release buttons for convenience
  • Adjustable

Cons:

  • Not suitable for heavy industrial applications
  • Numbers may be hard to interpret even in good light

5. Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-150 ft.-lb./13.6-203.5 Nm)

Tekton is another well-known manufacturer of car accessories and the torque wrench they offer is one of best. This torque wrench won’t make you guess torque levels as it provides accurate results. It correctly tightens fasteners while properly securing it from damages. This adjustable torque wrench is also very simple and easy to use. It has a reversible head that drives fasteners in both directions.

To use this, you have to set the target value on the scale and you may begin tightening the fastener. Once the preset value is reached, it will produce a clicking sound that will alert you to stop exerting force. It is also designed to last long while providing consistent performance. It does not require batteries and material does not have wearable parts. In addition, this wrench is shipped already pre-calibrated and ready to use.

Lastly, the package comes with a ½ inch drive torque wrench, an instructions manual with conversion chart, and a case.


Pros:

  • Adjustable
  • Long lasting and durable
  • Easy to use
  • Material is all steel

Cons:

  • Might break easily if over tightened
  • May give inaccurate readings

Types of Torque Wrenches

There are six types of torque wrenches that you should be aware of. Not all are suitable for the job you’re going to apply it to so you have to review these carefully. This can also help in order to have a better decision in choosing the best torque wrench.

  • Electronic Torque Wrench: These are programmable torque levels can be set. A strain gauge that is attached to a rod will send a signal to a transducer. This would mean that the force of torque per unit could be determined. They come with a small chip containing a memory stick that saves settings, which you can view for later use.
  • Click Wrench: This can be considered a clone of the socket wrench but is more sophisticated. You may be able to preset the level of torque using a clutch. Once it reaches the target torque level, the clutch will slip to indicate the level. They have the capability of preventing over-reaching and over-stretching that leads to breaking.
  • Beam Wrench: This is a most simple and basic type of torque wrenches. It features a handle that is separate from the lever arm. The wrench can be bent slightly due to the elasticity of the lever arm. Once you apply torque, a moving scale will be able to give you a reading. It functions like a weighing scale that has a needle pointer that indicates the weight.
  • Plumber Wrench: This is specifically designed for couplings on soil pipes. It features a T-shaped handle that is similar to a ratchet wrench. One thing to note is that it is pre-calibrated to slip until the target torque level is reached.
  • Hydraulic Torque Wrench: This is designed to exert torque to a fastener. To use this, pressure is applied either to a bolt head or a nut. It also features a pre-calibrated torque that assists in tightening the bolt head or nut.
  • Deflecting Beam Wrench: This type applies torque to a deflecting beam instead of a coil spring. It provides high accuracy and safety especially if dealing with higher levels of torque pressure. It also comes with an audible click that lets you know that you already reached the target level.

Essential Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Torque Wrench

Before we conclude, let’s discuss first what you need to look for in a torque wrench. This is the most important section as it will help you narrow down choices in choosing the best torque wrench.

TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-150 ft.-lb./13.6-203.5 Nm)

Via: Amazon.com

  • Size and Construction: The best torque wrench must have a solid and fine finish. Size can also be a critical consideration because you don’t need the big ones. However, for heavy applications, a larger wrench may be suitable.
  • Performance: Product specifications might not fully reveal how the device is working in real life. This might happen even though the brand discloses a number of technical details. One effective way to address this is to read user reviews and ratings before actually buying the torque wrench.
  • Features: A number of torque wrenches offer foot-pounds or Newton meters units of measurements. To add, most of them are now digitalized. You should choose a torque wrench that offer clear visibility. What’s the use if you cant read and interpret the readings easily?
  • Grip: Always look for the torque wrench that will be able to provide you an easy grip. This may come in handy especially if you hands are slippery because of oils and engine fluids. With this, a slippery torque wrench can become a very frustrating inconvenience.

Conclusion

Now that you have all the information you need, it’s now up to you to choose the best torque wrench. Decision-making may be tricky but with this guide, it should be an easier task. You just have to review each product’s features, pros, and cons to come up with a better decision. To add, check if the price makes great value for your money if you relate it to a specific model.

Are you also looking for other products to use on your vehicle? Click here to check some of the products that are available in the market right now.