The automotive jobs that require fastening of nuts or bolts need to be perfect and precise. Any over-tightening or under-fastening may lead to damage of vehicle parts and can also endanger the safety of travelers. A normal tool can be taken to fastening task but you end up completing the job in a long time and might execute the task twice or thrice.
In 1918, Conrad Bahr invented a wrench that used torque to fasten nuts or bolts. A torque wrench would complete the job faster, saving a lot of time and the effort as needed in conventional tools. For tightening or removing of lug nuts, a torque wrench is best recommended since they would not only ensure the precision in the task of tightening lug nuts but also alert you in the case of over or under application of torque to prevent any damage or injury.
What is a torque wrench?
Manufacturers often define the torque needed to tighten or loosen the lug nuts of vehicles. The torque wrench has the ability to measure exactly the torque needed for a particular job and applied that much force as needed to perform the task in precisely and timely manner. Since the torque wrench needs minimum human efforts, the chances of errors are also least.
Types of torque wrench
- Clicker wrench. Most popular among automotive mechanics, the clicker wrench uses clutch mechanism while tightening lug nuts and the clutch alerts you by sounding a click sound and automatically starts slipping.
- Beam wrench. Beam type torque wrench consists of two rods and one rod comprise of an analog torque-meter. To tighten the nut, you have to rotate one rod and stop when the needle reaches the intended torque.
- Split wrench. It is one of the compact and durable wrenches of all types and most used in automobile industry. A small knob is provided on the wrench which needs only a gentle touch to adjust the torque settings. After using the split wrench, you do not need to reset the wrench to re-uses it. At one time, you can use it only in one direction.
- Dial wrench. Instead of a scale used in the split wrench, this wrench has large round dial to show the torque value. Little large in size, this one of the most accurate torque wrench and can be used in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
- Digital Wrench. It is the most expensive of all torque wrenches available in the market. Having said, the wrench not only displays the torque value, it also tells you the tightening angle electronically in an LED backlit display. Once the required levels are reached it will give you a buzzer and displays accurate torque reading in different units.
Applications of torque wrench
Torque wrenches are used for wide range of home and industrial applications.
- Automotive industry
- Defense sector
- Aeronautical industry
- Heavy engineering
- Fertilizer industry
- DIY jobs
Factors to consider before buying a Best torque wrench
To make sure you buy the best torque wrench that meets your requirements, there are many technical questions that need to be addressed. Here are some of the factors, vital to your final selection of torque wrench.
- Square drive size. The torque wrenches come with different square drive sizes suitable for various jobs needing different levels of torque. 1/4Inches size is used for small nuts of the bicycle, bikes or other gardening equipment. 3/8” torque wrenches are used for light duty for wheelers. 1/2” drive size wrenches are used for large equipment or SUVs and 1” torque wrenches are used for aeronautics and heavy vehicles like tractors and shipping industry.
- Precision. When you research for the suitable torque wrench for you, always look for precision tolerance. The tolerance level is marked as +/- x %. The value of x or tolerance should be as less as possible. The tolerance is the percentage deviation from accurate or precise torque reading.
- Torque Range. Depending upon the required application, you should choose the torque wrench with low or high torque range. The torque wrench comes with different torque slabs like 15 to 75 ft-lb, 50-250 ft-lb, 120 to 600 ft-lb or 200 to 1000 lb. Remember higher the maximum torque range, heavier is the job work, you can perform with a torque wrench.
- Calibration certification. Almost all the torque wrench brands are shipped with calibration certificates. These certificates are a testament to the quality and precision of torque wrenches.
- Tool case. This feature might not look quite impressive to many but actually, it is the vital accessory that comes with a torque The carry-case should be a robust one and at the same time should not be heavy in weight. A good quality tool case is necessary for the upkeep and durability of a torque wrench.
- Cost. The torques wrench with high precision and more torque range will come with high price tag. Again, it all depends on your work requirements whether you need an expensive one with high accuracy or an entry-level torque wrench.
Reviews of Best Torque Wrench in 2017
After deep market research and tool-room experts, we have compiled below top-most torque wrench reviews
TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This all steel durable torque wrench is made chrome vanadium steel which not only guarantees the long life but also protects it from corrosion. Renowned for selling quality machine tools since long, 24335 torque wrench is affordable and accurate tools designed for DIY persons and experienced mechanics. Tekton 24335 1/2-Inch drive click wrench is ideal for motorcycles, cars, heavy duty SUVs and trucks.
With Tekton torque wrench, there is no chance of over tightening of nuts, since the next gen mechanical system produces a click sound when the desired torque is reached. The torque value can be easily read from high contrast scale even in dim light. The range of Tekton torque wrench is only 2.2 pounds and with the non-slip handle, it is easy to carry and use without any fatigue.
The Tekton torque wrench comes with a torque range of 10 to 150 ft. pounds which let you work from light to heavy duty jobs. The wrench is calibrated with low tolerance of +/- 4 % only that gives you the confidence of working with high precision. The ratcheting head is reversible and fastening can be done in both directions though the torque can be measured only in clockwise direction.
The torque wrench from Tekton is pre-calibrated and comes with a tough carry case and a useful torque conversion sheet. Made in Taiwan, the Tekton torque wrench has got high ratings from its satisfied users and is highly recommended.
Gear Wrench 85071 1/2-Inch Drive Electronic Torque Wrench 25 – 250 ft. lb.
You do not have a service manual and want to remove a torqued nut, no hassles at all if you possess an 85071 electronic torque wrench in your tool kit. This torque wrench from Gear Wrench company is capable of calculating the exact torque needed to open the tightened nut. The value torque can be easily read from the digital display that can show the torque readings in ft. pound, Nm and inch-pound as the torque value can be converted in any unit with a touch of a button.
It is easy to pre-set the torque required for precise fastening work and a loud buzzer with visual red, yellow and green led will alert you to stop applying more force. The 30 inches long electronic wrench is easy to handle and is fully sealed against any dirt or water. It is common to fall the hand tools while carrying or working and the good thing about Gear Wrench 85071 electronic wrench is that it designed as a shock-resistant body. The grip is easy to hold with a firm and non-slippery handle.
The Gear Wrench 85071 is capable of delivering 300 to 3000 Inch-pound of torque which lets you work on wide range of household and industry specific applications. Gear wrench, a company which has already patented ratcheting wrench has once again proved that it is a leader in power tools by launching 85071 ½ Inch digital torque wrench. All the tools from Gear Wrench including 850871 come with lifetime warranty.
CDI 1002CF3 Drive Computorq 3 Electronic Torque Wrench, 3/8-Inch
Fairly priced, CDI 1002CF3 deserves to be on the top of the list of electronics type torque wrench owing to its elegant looks and multi-functionality. With 10 to 100 ft. pounds, CDI torque wrench works great in numerous fields viz. automotive, aeronautical, light and heavy industrial works. The torque wrench is powered with long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.
The CDI 1002CF3 torque wrench bears sharp electronics display which can display the torque value in four different units. Once the set torque value reaches, the green LED lights up and alerts you. You can release the 15-degree ratcheting head socket with just a push of the button. The handle is crafted nicely with a firm grip, non-slip molded rubber which let you work care-free and for a long time without any fatigue.
The CDI Computorq3 electronic torque wrench is pre-calibrated and displays accurate readings which are stored in the memory for future reference. This 3.8” drive size electronics wrench comes with a standard 1-yr warranty.
This pocket-friendly model from CDI is liked by both DIY enthusiasts and professional engineers. The CDI 1002CF3 has been able to score 4.5-star rating out of 5.0 due to its exceptional performance and negligible complaints since its launch. This feature rich, lightweight electronics torque wrench is highly recommended.
ACDelco ARM601-3 3/8-inch Digital Torque Wrench (2-37 ft-lbs)
ACDelco slowly but steadily has impressed the tool room world with its automotive and industrial tools and ARM601-3 3/8 Inch drive size is no exception. The Tool with a torque range of 2 to 39 ft-lbs is able to give you precise readings where other torque wrenches have failed to provide low torque readings. This 2.9 pounds’ robust torque wrench is powered by alkaline AAA batteries which are affordable and easily available everywhere.
This multi-function, multi-setting torque wrench comes with various user settings that include mode settings, measurement and torque settings to provide you much needed control over the tool and better output in the jobs. The ACDelco torque wrench operates in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions giving you more flexibility. The display is of LCD type and enables you to read the value in ft-lb, kg-centimeters, Newton-m and Inches-lb.
The total tool length is 12 Inches and is ergonomically designed for perfect and comfortable handling. The torque levels once reached is confirmed by an audible buzzer and prevents you over-fastening and hence and breakages or damages to machine or vehicle. This wrench is by far the best in the class of low-torque range wrenches. The ACDelco ARM601 digital torque wrench is reasonably priced without compromising on the features and quality of torque wrench.
Picking the right torque wrench might not be a cakewalk since many technical parameters are to be taken care before buying. Every factor mentioned above is important whether it is the drive size or torque range, you have to make sure the torque wrench you select is able to handle your workload easily and fits in your budget. I hope that by following above guidelines and torque wrench reviews you will be able to select the best torque wrench that will meet your requirements.