The best torque wrench will ensure a bolt is properly tightened (not over-tightened or under-tightened). There are plenty of good torque wrenches out on the market now, but the best torque wrench to buy really depends on the job at hand. And with some many options for torque wrenches, finding the best one also depends on how much you want out of your torque wrench. Nowadays, torque wrenches come in several different types, from your standard torque wrench to digital torque wrenches to even torque wrenches with WiFi.
Table of Contents
- Do You Need a Torque Wrench?
- Benefits of a Good Torque Wrench
- All Types of Torque Wrenches
- Best Torque Wrench Brands
- Top 15 Best Torque Wrenches for 2020
- Best Slipper Type Torque Wrenches
- Best Click Type Torque Wrenches
- Best Beam Type Torque Wrenches
- Best Dial Type Torque Wrenches
- Best Split Beam Torque Wrenches
- Best Electronic Torque Wrenches
- Best T-Handle Torque Wrenches
- Best Deflecting Beam Type Torque Wrenches
- Difference Between an Inch Pound Torque Wrench and a Foot Pound Torque Wrench
- What Is Torque?
- Why Do Mechanics Care About Torque?
- How Does Leverage Change Torque?
- Torque vs. Horsepower
- Torque Wrench Calibration
Do You Need a Torque Wrench?
Opinion is sometimes split on the need for a torque wrench. Some swear that muscle memory alone is enough to ensure proper torque. Others say not using a torque wrench is a recipe for disaster. The real answer is that for jobs where a specific torque is recommended, you’re always better off using a torque wrench than not. In fact, you’ll save yourself a lot of future headaches. It could also save you a lot of money due to broken equipment and stave off a potential lawsuit.
What it comes down to in the end is that a good torque wrench isn’t that expensive and putting off purchasing one could end up costing you more money anyways. So, just bite the bullet and get a torque wrench instead of putting it off. In the end, you’ll be glad you did, and so will your customers.
Benefits of a Good Torque Wrench
The main benefits of using a torque wrench should be obvious. For one, the clamping force will be the desired for you want and the nut or bolt you are tightening will be at just the right torque to produce the right clamping force. What the means in layman’s terms is that the bolts you tighten will stay tight. This means less chance of injury, accidents, or a lawsuit.
Here are some of the other benefits of using a good torque wrench:
- Avoids busted bolts: Too much torque means a bolt is going to break. Bolts cannot withstand too much torque from being over-tightened.
- Same torque for all bolts: You can ensure that all the bolts holding whatever it is you’re rightening together hold it at exactly the same pressure at exactly the same time. If the torque is consistent throughout the object, it’ll have more integrity and be able to hold together with the most strength possible.
- Keeps the lawyers away: Let’s imagine a bridge with over-tightened bolts that all break under a heavy load. Imagine that catastrophic loss of lives and the amount of money wasted, and the lawsuit. Although your project may be of a smaller scale, it is no less important.
- Builds trust: Many people may drive off in a car or machine that you fixed only to find out later that something malfunctioned due to improper torque. Not only may you be hit with a lawsuit, but word travels fast and before you know it you lost a large percentage of your customers and/or new clients.
- It’s the right thing to do: Imagine you’re a customer and you hire someone for a project where they’re supposed to use torque wrenches and proper torque but they don’t. How would you feel? Of course you’d be pretty pissed off. Just follow the golden rule and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
All Types of Torque Wrenches
The torque wrench was invented in 1918 by a New York City Water Department worker named Conrad Bahr in order to prevent the over-tightening of bolts on water mains and steam pipes. Since then, torque wrench technology has dramatically improved and several different types of torque wrenches exist on the market.
Although this list is not exhaustive, here is a list of the most commonly used torque wrenches:
- Slipper Type: Slipper torque wrenches are designed in such a way to ensure a bolt is not over-tightened. The type of mechanism used for this is a roller ball, cam and spring.
- In a simplified design, the roller ball is pushed against the cam that is attached to the driving head. The pushing force is provided by the spring that is compressed and connected to the roller ball, and the force is proportional to the difference between the original length and the compressed length. Mathematically, this means that the larger the difference, the higher the pushing force, and the stronger the pushing force, the higher the torque that the cam can resist before it starts to rotate relative to the wrench.
- Split Beam Type: A split beam type wrench is a different form of a beam-type wrench, and it consists of two beams that are different in length in its enclosure and a dial that is used to set a torque value. During a leverage application, the longer beam deflects as the shorter beam stays stationary, and there is a trigger on the shorter beam that gives out a click sound when the set torque value is reached.
- Dial Type: Dial type torque wrenches are exactly the same as beam type torque wrenches. The only difference is that wrenches of this type have a dial to show the force applied as opposed to an indicator bar. This style is generally more expensive than those with an indicator bar.
- Deflecting Beam: Unlike a standard beam style torque wrench, a deflecting beam torque wrench (dual-signal torque wrench) applies force to a deflecting beam instead of a coil spring. This has the advantage of reducing the wear and tear on the wrench, as well as providing more accurate and consistent torque readings.
- Click Type: Click type torque wrenched use a calibrated clutch in order to specify the torque applied. When the set torque level is reached the clutch will slip to prevent from over-tightening. Several different forms of click type torque wrenches exist, with the most common form using a ball detent mechanism.
- No Hub Type: Mainly used by plumbers, this type of torque wrench is designed to tighten clamping bands on soil pipe couplings. It generally has a T-handle and is calibrated to slip at a set torque.
- Electronic: Electronic torque wrenches are those that show digital readouts of torque onto a small display screen. They can also store torque readings which can later be uploaded to a computer for assessment. There are even digital adapters which can be used with a standard torque wrenches to get the same advantage of an expensive electronic torque wrench.
- In a typical electronic torque wrench, there is a strain gauge and a torsion rod. This strain gauge comprises a length of fine metal wire that is mounted on a tiny, rectangular piece of thin plastic, and it is attached to the torsion rod. When a torque is applied, the torsion rod is twisted and the strain gauge on the torsion rod is stretched.
- This causes the metal wire on the strain gauge to experience a tensile stress, lengthening the length of the metal and decreasing its cross-sectional area. Because of this, the electrical resistance of the wire is also increased, resulting in a change in the voltage. In the form of an electrical signal, this voltage change is registered, converted into the unit of torque and displayed on the connected LCD display.
- Mechatronic: Similar to a click type torque wrench, a mechatronic torque wrench operates in the same manner except the readout is transferred wirelessly to a display (and stored be accessed for later assessment). Here you get the best of both worlds, having a mechanical and electronic device combined.
- Hydraulic: Hydraulic torque wrenches use a hydraulic pump to apply specific torque. There are two common types of hydraulic torque wrenches, low-profile and square-drive. Low-profile torque wrenches use cassettes and do not require sockets. Low-profile hydraulic torque wrenches are mainly used where space is concern as they can enter tight spaces. They’re also good in situations where no other torque tool fits. On the other hand, square-drive hydraulic torque wrenches do use sockets.
- Pneumatic: Two types of pneumatic torque wrenches exist, stall torque nutrunners and shut-off nutrunners. Stall torque nutrunners provide continuous rotation and torque varies by the air pressure set. Shut-off nut runners operate at a constant air pressure and also provide continuous rotation, however, they simply shut off once they reach the desired torque.
The amount of torque wrenches available today is incredible. It seems as if a new one is being invented every day for a different use. Although you don’t need a torque wrench for every single application, especially when products such as DTI washers exist, it’s good to have a few common sizes available for jobs that require a torque wrench.
And while the list of torque wrenches available is long, the list of the best torque wrenched is surprisingly small. There are only a few good brands for each style of torque wrench that are highly sought after. You could take a chance buying some of the lesser brands, but it’s not recommended, especially if you are looking to buy the best torque wrench.
Learn how to use a torque wrench properly here.
Best Torque Wrench Brands
When it comes to the best brands, for most tools, you’re going to get a lot more opinion than fact. O.K., we’ll admit that DeWalt usually does deserve its bad reputation in most cases, but they’re an exception rather than the rule. When it comes to the best torque wrenches, however, there really are some stand out brands. The rest of the torque wrench brands are just “okay.”
Two of the best brands of torque wrenches that stand out among the others are Precision Instruments and Snap-On Industrial (which makes CDI). These two companies have put the most research behind their torque wrenches. They also use state-of-the-art technology not only inside of their torque wrenches, but also to test their torque wrenches. While there are a few of the best torque wrenches that fall outside of these two brands, you know that the vast majority of torque wrenches on the market are the best torque wrenches out there if you see Precision Instruments or CDI stamped onto the side.
Top 15 Best Torque Wrenches for 2020
This best torque wrench list will not include every single type of torque wrench available on the market. That said, it will include the best torque wrenches in the most common categories. This includes the best click type torque wrenches, the best drive beam torque wrenches, the best dial torque wrenches, the best split beam torque wrenches, the best electronic torque wrenches and the best T-handle torque wrenches. We will cover the best pneumatic torque wrenches and hydraulic torque wrenches in a separate article.
Best Slipper Type Torque Wrenches
1. Gedore Solar TSN-Slipper Torque Wrench (3/8″, 5-25 Nm)
There are not many brands that offer slipper-type torque wrenches on the market, but we have found GEDORE to be a comparatively-reliable manufacturer that provides this particular type of torque wrenches. Having a good reputation and a large customer base, this long-existing company is based in Germany, with their manufacturing process also being carried out in other parts of the world, including South Africa, Turkey, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Just like many other good-quality torque wrenches, this slipper torque wrench is resistant to corrosion, boasting a lightweight and robust construction. It has a working accuracy of +/- 4% of the set torque value. With an anti-slip, textured rubber grip on its handle, you won’t have to worry about losing your grip when using this tool.
It weighs only 0.75 lbs and has a length of 10.6 inches. The torque settings range from 44.5 in-lbs to 221.27 in-lbs (5-25 Nm), and the adjustment of the torque value is done at their authorised factory and by a suitable torque tester. This means that this torque wrench arrives with a set torque setting, in the range of 44.5 in-lbs to 221.27 in-lbs, and if you want to change the torque value, you will need to get it done by a qualified or authorised technician.
The package comes with the torque wrench and a special key for adjusting the torque value. It is the best slipper torque wrench you will find on the market (especially considering the limited options available in slipper type torque wrenches on the market).
Best Click Type Torque Wrenches
1. CDI 3/8-Inch Drive Micro-Adjustable Torque Wrench (1502MRMH)
CDI is an ISO 9001 certified company that manufactures only professional-grade torque wrenches, which are made in the USA. The 1502MRMH by CDI is a shining example of their professional quality. Not only is this torque wrench built of rugged metal and industrial strength, it also provides top-of-the-line accuracy in its torque setting.
At approximately 10 inches in length, this torque wrench provides good leverage for a 3/8″ torque wrench. Its knurled handles makes the grip comfortable and your hand won’t slip off easily, even when greasy. It also weighs only 0.90 lbs. so it’s easily portable and easy to use even for extended periods.
Its micrometer adjustment offers a torque setting range of 20-150 in-lbs. (2.8 – 15.3 Nm) and it increments at an incredibly low 0.12 Nm (1.06 in-lbs.). Not only that, it’s a dual-scale so it’s also calibrated in both directions. It’s easy to set just by a quick turn. Then, it locks via a pull-down locking ring and is positive locking, to ensure accuracy. In fact, it’s accurate to +/- 4% clockwise and +/- 6% counterclockwise. It also features an N.I.S.T. calibration certificate so it’s ready to use right out of the box.
All in all, a high quality torque wrench and one of the best torque wrenches on the market (for click type) made by an extremely reputable manufacturer. It even comes with a handy carrying case.
This torque wrench meets/exceeds ASME B107.14-2004, ISO 6789 standards.
See more information on how to set this torque wrench here:
2. TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Type Torque Wrench (10-80 ft-lb.)
If you are looking for something that is less expensive and still offers similar functionalities, you should consider getting this click type torque wrench by TEKTON. TEKTON manufactures its tools in the United States, Taiwan and China and is known for being one of the companies that offer affordable hand tools of great quality.
Featuring a full-steel construction for better durability, this drive click torque wrench by TEKTON contains no plastic parts, and it comes pre-calibrated to an accuracy of +/- 4%. It has a knurled steel handle that allows better gripping and easy cleaning of its surface.
With its length being approximately 14.4 inches long, it weighs 1.84 lbs and has various torque settings, from a minimum torque value of 120 in-lbs to a maximum value of 960 in-lbs (13.6-108.5 Nm) at an interval of either 80.4 in-lbs or 81.6 in-lbs. On the tool, these are high-contrast, easy-to-read scales, and they are shown in two different units of measurement, the metric unit (Nm) and the imperial unit (ft-lbs).
Adjusting the torque setting is pretty easy. There is a screw on the bottom of the handle, and the handle itself is rotatable. Setting a torque value involves unlocking the screw and moving the handle to the torque value, both of those are done in a rotational motion.
This is a more affordable click-type torque wrench of considerably-good quality offered by a well-known company. Without having to fork out your hard-earned money, you will get yourself a torque wrench that is good enough for day-to-day use.
Handling larger bolts and nuts requires the use of a torque wrench that is longer in length and has a larger driving head and higher torque setting. This torque wrench by CDI features a half-an-inch driving head and a full-metal body with a chrome finish, and it is identical to the company’s 3/8 inch click-type torque wrench that we have recommended in terms of the design and build quality.
Similarly, it features a knurled metal handle and pull-down lock ring for easy torque adjustment. With a +/- 4% accuracy in the clockwise direction and an accuracy of +/- 6% in the counterclockwise direction, it offers a range from torque settings, from 300 in-lbs to 2500 in-lbs (33.9-282.46 Nm).
Shown in both metric units (Nm) and imperial units (ft-lbs), the scales are laser etched to ensure that they don’t fade over time and are accurate from 20% to 100% of the full scales. This means that the torque wrench will provide a more accurate result when it is used within the range of 500 in-lbs to 2500 in-lbs. It weighs 3.2 lbs, and it is 18 inches in length, which provides good leverage during the fastening of bolts or nuts that require very high torque values.
Like the 3/8 inch variant, it comes with an N.I.S.T certificate and a carrying case. If you are on the hunt for a 1/2 inch click-type torque wrench, you will not regret getting this. This is another durable and accurate click-type torque wrench of high quality by CDI Torque.
Best Beam Type Torque Wrenches
The Ares 70214 Torque Wrench is an affordable beam type torque wrench that’s accurate and extremely durable, especially for the price. Featuring both standard and metric markings, it’s easy to read, and it’s designed for both clockwise and counter-clockwise use.
So what makes a beam style torque wrench worth buying? Well, for starters, they’re extremely cheap. Another thing is that they have a wide range of torque readings. This one in particular provides a torque measurement of 0-800 in-lbs. (0-90 Nm). However, the best reason to go with a beam style torque wrench is that they don’t wear out, even after a lifetime of use they’ll still read true.
This torque wrench is accurate within +/- 4% but unlike other wrenches on this list, does not come with a certificate of calibration. The only other downside (and beam style torque wrenches in general) is that it increments in 25 in-lbs. (11 Nm) increments. Compare this to the click type torque wrench which increments at nearly 1 in-lb. and split beam at 5 in-lbs. So, if low increments is important to you, you might want to consider another type of torque wrench.
Overall, even considering the few downsides, it’s still the best torque wrench in the beam type category. It’s affordable, well-made, durable, and will, in fact, last a lifetime of use.
This torque wrench is also available in a 1/4-inch drive model.
The Tooluxe Torque Wrench is probably the cheapest beam-style torque wrench and has gathered a lot of good reviews from the users in terms of quality, functionality and affordability. The only downside is that this torque wrench is manufactured by a company in Taiwan, known as Tooluxe, that many have never heard of.
Constructed of steel alloy and with a beautiful chrome finish that resists corrosion, this particular beam-style torque wrench is cheap, simple and accurate enough for many jobs, and, because it is a beam deflection wrench, it will give you the most precise reading every single time.
To help provide sufficient torque during leverage applications, it has a length of 17 inches with a grooved, plastic grip that corresponds to the shape of our fingers. This handle design gives you a very secure and comfortable grip and reduces hand fatigue as a result of the prolonged usage of the torque wrench. It works and is calibrated in both directions, providing a range of torque settings, from 0 ft-lbs to 150 ft-lbs (0-20 kg-m). These scales are shown in two different units, metric and imperial units, and they are large and very easy to read on a high-contrast background.
Despite its long length, it only weighs around 1.3 lbs, and it is probably the lightest torque wrench in comparison with many others having the similar length. Last but not least, it comes with a 3/8-inch driving head as an attachment, which allows you to deal with 3/8-inch bolts and nuts without having to switch to a different torque wrench.
Although it is designed and manufactured by a company that is not so well known by many people, it is still a good, affordable beam-style torque wrench. This may probably be the best torque wrench to begin with if you have never owned a torque wrench before and it has the torque settings that you want.
Best Dial Type Torque Wrenches
1. Precision Instruments Dial Type Torque Wrench (PRED2F150HM)
Precision Instruments’ torque wrenches are always going to top the list when quality and accuracy are your top two priorities. As far as we are concerned, if a torque wrench is made of quality metal and built to be dead accurate, what’s the point of buying one?
This dial type torque wrench by Precision Instruments fits the bill entirely for quality and accuracy. In fact, it’s accurate within +/- 2% both clockwise and counter-clockwise, not too shabby. With a capacity of 30-150 lb-inches and 2.5 lb-inch increments, it handles a pretty good range of torque as well. This torque wrench also records your peak torque, so you don’t have to worry about trying to remember it.
This torque wrench is a fixed drive style torque wrench and measures 9-29/32 inches, with an effective length of 8 inches. Weighing only 1.13 lbs. it’s fairly light and easy to cart around with your other wrenches and tools. It also comes with a plastic case so you don’t have to worry about banging up the sharp-looking chrome/nickel finish.
So what’s the biggest selling point here and why would you want to shell out your money for this? Well, what it comes down to is accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.
First off, the dial type torque wrench is the most accurate of all torque wrenches. Number two, dial style torque wrenches are not affected on where you hold the torque wrench, which isn’t the case with other types of torque wrenches. These are two huge advantages.
And with Precision Instruments being the best in the industry in terms of quality (they use superior testing equipment for all their torque wrenches), you know you’re getting a super-accurate tool. In fact, their design is so accurate they patented it so no one else can use it.
Overall, this is a superior torque wrench and one you should feel comfortable buying and not looking back. Well done, Precision Instruments, well done.
This dial type torque wrench meets/exceeds the GGG-W-686C / ANSI B107.14M specifications.
See more information about the superior quality of Precision Instruments’ dial type torque wrenches.
With a doubt, the torque wrenches manufactured by Precision Instruments are considered to be among the best torque wrenches on the market. This CDI Torque Wrench is no different. Although it is slightly cheaper than the one by Precision Instrument, it has a similar level of build quality and this torque wrench is also made in the USA.
Designed and built for the military and the nuclear, automotive and industrial markets throughout the world, the torque wrench features a robust body construction, and its main body parts are made of steel. It feels extremely sturdy in your hands with a comfortable, rubble handle that is easy to hold.
Having an accuracy of +/- 3%, it offers a range of torque settings, from 0 in-lbs to 150 in-lbs (0-17 Nm), and these scales are very easy to read and indicated in both newton meters and inch pounds. The dial is surrounded and protected by a steel cover and consists of a memory needle. During a leverage application, the memory needle will always point to the maximum amount of torque value exerted, and it will remain in place even after you are done.
With a weight of only 1.95 lbs, it is 10 inches in length. It also comes with a hard plastic storage case that is foam lined to fit the tool. This prevents any damage to the tool when it is carried around in its case, giving you a peace of mind.
Altogether, if you are specifically looking for a dial-type torque wrench, this is a high-quality and cheaper variant. It looks and feels sturdy and is comparable to the one by Precision Instrument in terms of quality and functionality.
Best Split Beam Torque Wrenches
The Precision Instruments split beam click type 1/2″ torque wrench is made of solid steel and is extremely durable. It’s also one of the best torque wrenches that’s made in the USA. And, as the name of the company implies, it’s dead accurate and precise.
This torque wrench comes calibrated with an included calibration certificate. Precision Instruments uses state of the art machinery to before they ship out their torque wrenches. This particular torque wrench was tested and has an accuracy of within 0.1%, so you know it’s fully functional and ready to go.
It measures 22-1/8″ long and can be set to 40 to 250 ft-lbs. of torque, with 5 lb-ft. increments. It’s also easy to change the torque setting, just unlock the clip, turn the dial, and lock back the clip. What’s nice about this it that it doesn’t need to be turned down between uses or reset. All you have to do is use it and then put it away into its storage box.
During use, you’ll hear a distinct popping sound when the desired torque is reached. It’s around 80 decibels loud, which should provide enough sound for use under most conditions. To put this in perspective, that’s about the sound of a freight train from 100 feet away. However, if you’re in a noisy construction area or garage, you might have to listen a bit more closely to hear the pop.
This torque wrench feels comfortable in the hand and the handle, while long, isn’t too long that you won’t be able to get into tighter spaces. And at 3.39 lbs., it’s actually pretty light weight for an all-steel 22″ torque wrench.
According to the company, this is the sixth revision of the product and it has nearly been perfected. In fact, the design has even been simplified to ensure there is less probability of having any issues, which makes this torque wrench extremely durable and reliable.
Additional information on this torque wrench:
All in all, this is an affordable and high quality wrench. You get a lot of bang for your buck here and with its one-year warranty, if you do ever have any problems you have the peace of mind knowing that you’re covered for a year.
This torque wrench meets/exceeds GGG-W-686C / ANSI B107.14M standards.
- Overall Length: 22-1/8″
- Effective Length: 19″
- Width: 1-5/8″
- Head Height (without square): 3/4″
- Drive Size: 1/2″
- Drive Type: Flex ratchet
If you’re looking for a torque wrench with superior leverage, look no further than the C4D600F Torque Wrench by Precision Instruments. Coming in either 3/4″ or 1″ drive, this combo set comes with a breaker bar and is able to operate effectively up to 44-31/32″. Not only will this provide accurate torque, it’ll also loosen even the most stubborn bolts.
As is always the case with Precision Instruments, this breaker bar and torque wrench are both made out of high quality American steel. It breaks apart into three pieces and comes with a box that you’d imagine would be for a 250 ft-lb. wrench, yet this torque wrench is capable of up to 600 ft-lbs.
This torque wrench has a setting range of 200-600 ft-lbs. It also increments in 10 lb-ft. increments. It operates the same as the torque wrench above and doesn’t need to be set back before storing either.
The best features of this torque wrench are its portability and tightening/loosing power. An excellent wrench if you’re looking for a lot of torque in a small package.
This torque wrench meets/exceeds GGG-W-686C / ANSI B107.14M standards.
- Overall Length: 48-29/64″
- Effective Length: 44-31/32″
- Width: 2-3/8″
- Head Height (without square): 1-1/4″
- Weight: 11.76 lbs.
- Drive Size: 3/4″ (also available in 1″)
- Drive Type: Detachable ratchet
Best Electronic Torque Wrenches
When it comes to electronic torque wrenches, the prices get outrageous quickly and swing wildly. In fact, it’s sort of hard to determine what the exact price point of any particular wrench is in this category. CDI’s 6004TAA Torque Wrench offers a good balance when it comes to price and performance, especially when considering it’s made in the USA.
This torque wrench has everything you could want in a digital wrench. First of all, it has not just torque readings in ft-lbs., in-lbs, and Nm, but also features angle readings as well. So, not only will you be able to apply an accurate load to a nut, bolt, etc. but you’ll also be able to get the specific angle you desire as well.
Switching between angle and torque only requires a simple button push. What’s more is that ratcheting has no affect on the angle, so no need to worry about that. In fact, the same technology that’s use to get the angle on this wrench is the same technology that helicopter pilots rely on to keep level when flying.
The torque is super accurate with accuracy at 2% CW and 3% CCW, within 20-100% F.S. Within 10-19% F.S., you’re looking at 4% and 6% accuracy. The increments are in intervals of 0.1 ft-lbs. (0.1 in-lbs/ 0.1 Nm). The angle accuracy is +/- 3% and the readouts are displayed in 1 degree increments all the way up to 360 degrees.
As far as the actual torque goes, you have from 120-600 ft-lbs. And at 49 inches of length and weighing 14 lbs., you’ll have no problem applying the full amount of torque if necessary. Not to mention, there’s an ultra-comfortable handle that features non-slip technology, to keep your hands from slipping off even when they’re messy.
This electronic torque wrench comes with an N.I.S.T. certificate, traceable for 20-100% of full scale. It can safely operate in from temperatures of 40-110 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 90% humidity. It can safely be stored from 0-122 degree Fahrenheit.
CDI has outdone itself with this heavy duty electric torque wrench. Ample leverage and a robust digital output gives this a huge leg up on the competition, especially at its competitive price. If you need torque plus angle, you just found the best torque wrench for the job.
- Audible alert sounds for target torque
- Head of ratchet is sealed
- 3/4-inch drive
- Low battery indicator / auto idle shutoff (2 min.)
- Operates via 4-AA batteries (included)
The M12 Fuel is an innovative torque wrench by Milwaukee. It has probably caught the eyes of many tech-savvy automotive professionals, but it’s also a great tool for construction workers and other manual laborers. It is the first electronic torque wrench with a motor, and the company claims it offers up to an increase of up to 50% in the speed of bolt and nut installation. Milwaukee is especially famous for its line of high-quality power tools and also its continuous effort in providing trade-specific and innovative solutions.
Boasting the typical design of the enclosure of many Milwaukee’s power tools, this electronic, motorised torque wrench is designed to withstand demanding jobsite environments and equipped with many innovative features, with a textured handle that vibrates during torque application. It is compatible with the company’s M12 batteries & chargers and comes with the ONE-KEY technology, which allows the users to have their tools connected to tablets, computers or smartphones for better inventory and tool management. You can track the tool, change the setting and view most usage-related activities on your smartphone at ease.
It features four types of measurement modes, six pre-programmed languages and also four different notification modes. As the set torque setting is gradually reached, the torque wrench emits a beeping sound and a line of LEDs starts to illuminate, and these LEDs and beeping sound increase in intensity as you get closer to reaching the set torque. There is also a large-enough LCD screen showing the amount of torque being applied during a leverage application. With these notification modes, you will have little chance of over tightening bolts or nuts.
Like many other electronic torque wrenches, it has an accuracy of +/- 2% in the clockwise direction and a +/- 3% accuracy in the counterclockwise direction. It has a length of 23.3 inches and weighs 5.5 lbs, and you can set a variety of torque settings that range from 10 ft-lbs to 100 ft-lbs (13.56-135.58 Nm). These scales are accurate from 20% to 100% of the full scales. However, the only downside is that it does not have a torque angle setting.
If you are a technology enthusiast and have to deal with fastening a large number of bolts and nuts daily, this electronic, motorised torque wrench may be one of your options. Despite its drawback, it speeds up bolt and nut fastening processes and provides an outstanding accuracy.
Looking for a torque wrench that is both affordable and super-durable? Then this ACDelco Torque Wrench might just fit your needs. By spending just a few hundred bucks, you can get yourself a heavy-duty, digital torque wrench designed and built for use in almost all industries. ACDelco is a relatively-large company that specializes in the automotive industry, designing and manufacturing automotive parts and power tools.
Featuring a hardened steel-alloy construction, it has a full-metal case with its interior filled with protective foam of high density. It looks very similar to many high-quality, digital torque wrenches, and it has a circular body with a textured, rubber grip. This particular handle will offer you a non-slip surface and comfortable grip that reduces hand fatigue even during the application of a high amount of torque.
This inexpensive and decent, digital torque wrench has four different measurement modes and allows you to measure angles. With three different notification alerts, it consists of two separate LEDs, in green and red respectively, a vibration alarm and a buzzer. When the set torque is reached, the red LED will be turned on as the handle starts to vibrate and the buzzer stays on. During a leverage application, the buzzer and the flashing of the green LED will increase in intensity as you gradually reach the desired torque setting.
The design of the LCD screen is simple, and the screen is very easy to read. When the torque wrench is in use, the LCD screen will show you the amount of torque being applied, and you can have it display either a torque value or an angle by just a push of a button. Offering a range of torque settings, from 73.8 ft-lbs to 738 ft-lbs (100.06-1000.60 Nm), it has an accuracy of +/- 1.5% in the clockwise direction, and in the counterclockwise direction, the scale is accurate to +/- 2%. Additionally, these accuracy ratings apply from 20% to 100% of the maximum torque that can be set.
It has a total length of 48.6 inches, offering you good leverage. With this torque wrench, reaching the maximum amount of torque setting doesn’t require the exertion of a considerable amount of force. It weighs 10.58 lbs, which is slightly lower than that of Snap-on’s digital torque wrench that we have mentioned. It can last up to 110 hours before a new pair of AA alkaline batteries is needed.
Overall, this torque wrench, offered at half the price of the one by Snap-on, is probably one of the cheapest 3/4-inch digital torque wrenches that you can find on the market. if you don’t care about brands and just want to get things done correctly without having to spend a ton of money, you can consider adding this to your tool kit.
In many cases, having only one torque wrench is not enough to help you finish the job, and you may need several precise and reliable, torque wrenches of differing sizes. However, most electronic torque wrenches by a well-known brand come with a comparatively-high price tag. That’s not necessarily the case with this this 3/8 inch electronic Snap-on torque wrench. Although Snap-on now owns CDI Torque, some of the Snap-on tools are still available, and some people prefer them to CDI,
Having a robust, all-metal construction, this Snap-on’s electronic torque wrench features a unique design that offers a sleek, circular shape with a chrome finish and knurled, non-slip metal grip. Such particular handle design ensures that you will not easily lose your grip on the tool in the case where you are working in a greasy environment and applying a substantial amount of force on the tool to generate torque.
This impressive Snap-on‘s torque boasts various features – multiple measurement modes, dual LEDs that progressively light up as the set torque value is gradually reached, a cycle counter capability, a large LCD screen and numbers that become larger and bolder during leverage applications. Last but not least, just like the CDI torque, you can easily switch between torque and angle with just a push of a button.
Offering torque settings that range from 5-100 ft-lbs (6.78-135.58 Nm), it has an accuracy of 20-100% of full scale, a torque accuracy of +/- 2% in the clockwise direction, and in the counterclockwise direction, it ensures a +/- 3% accuracy. In terms of angle, you will be getting an accuracy of +/- 1%. This is pretty impressive in comparison with many other non-electronic torque wrenches.
With its length being 15.4 inches, it weighs only 1.6 lbs and uses 1 AA alkaline battery. Carrying this compact and handy tool around with you will definitely not be a hassle. To sweeten it up, it comes with a durable storage case.
This is a high-end electronic torque wrench by the company that also owns CDI Torque. It offers superior quality and premium features. Next to CDI, this is one of the best torque wrenches if you are looking for a quality 3/8 inch electronic torque wrench.
Best T-Handle Torque Wrenches
The Powerbuilt Torque Wrench features a very unique mechanism, and it is the only one of its kind amongst other T-handle torque wrenches. Unlike many T-handle torque wrenches that are meant for plumbing use, this particular one is designed and built for automotive, motorcycle and bicycle applications. Its distinctive mechanism makes it stand out from the rest of the same type. If you want a compact 1/4 inch torque wrench that features a T-handle design, this is definitely the right and only option.
It boasts a metal construction, with a T-shaped plastic handle that has a textured finish to provide an anti-slip surface. The size of the handle is large enough, offering a comfortable gripping surface. This T-handle design allows near-natural wrist rotation and reduces wrist fatigue.
The use of a typical click-type torque wrench to tighten a bolt or nut often involves working in a large working area. With this torque wrench, you can easily deal with bolts or nuts in a tough-to-access area. However, you will need to exert a larger amount of force to achieve a specified torque value when you use this particular torque wrench as opposed to a typical one.
It offers various torque settings, from 20 in-lbs to 100 in-lbs (2.26-11.30 Nm), and the process of setting a target torque value is very straightforward. To adjust the torque setting on the torque wrench, you basically just pull the handle to release the lock that prevents the handle from turning relative to the body, rotate the handle either in the clockwise direction to increase the torque target value or in the counterwise direction to decrease and push the handle back to its locked position. The scales on the torque wrench are very visible, with a red indicator that points to the set torque value.
The body and handle of the torque wrench are 8.5 inches and 6 inches in length respectively. It weighs only 1.5 lbs, and every torque wrench comes with an individual calibration data sheet that provides some details regarding its accuracy in numerous torque ranges. If you are worried about its accuracy, you can always get it checked by a qualified technician.
This is a light-duty torque wrench, and it is extremely light and portable. However, it is only useful in the case where you have to deal with fastening a 1/4-inch screw in a tight space that is required to meet a certain range of torque values that the torque wrench provides.
This simple, light-duty torque wrench by CDI Torque allows you to tighten small screws in different sizes, and it may be the only high-quality torque wrench that features the torque limiting mechanism that we find in most slipper-type torque wrenches.
Having a robust construction, it is very well made, and it feels sturdy despite its size. The big, rounded handle is made of plastic with a rough finish, and it also fits pretty well in our hands.
It features a torque limiting mechanism that we can hardly find in many T-handle torque wrenches. Similar to a slipper-type torque wrench, when the maximum torque setting is reached, the torque limiter is triggered, preventing any future application of torque by allowing the attached bit to rotate relative to the body.
Speaking of bits, it has a magnetic shaft that fits 4 millimeter bits, allowing for quick swaps between bits to accommodate bolts in different sizes. However, the torque setting is not adjustable, and this particular variant comes with a pre-calibrated torque setting of 5 Nm.
The body has a length of 7.5 inches, with the handle being 5 inches long. Like many torque wrenches by CDI Torque, it comes with a calibration certificate. Its accuracy will slowly start to decrease after a year of usage, but you can just have it sent in for recalibration.
This torque wrench is a must-have for DIY enthusiasts and mechanics that regularly deal with the assembly of lightweight components or frames. It is cheap and well built, with a torque limiter that prevents the over-tightening of small bolts and nuts that are relatively fragile.
Best Deflecting Beam Type Torque Wrenches
Choosing a deflecting beam-type torque wrench is pretty straightforward as there are not many companies offering this particular type of torque wrench. Powerbuilt claims to offer best in class equipment and hand tools that provide durability, quality and innovation to automotive enthusiasts and professionals, and their deflecting beam-type torque wrench has attracted only positive reviews. This hand-tool brand is owned and marketed by Alltrade Tools LLC that manufactures its products in China and Taiwan.
Built of solid metal, the Powerbuilt torque wrench is affordable and durable. And with its textured, metal handle it offers a nice anti-slip surface, great for working with greasy hands. And like a beam-type torque wrench, it contains a small number of internal mechanical parts which requires much less maintenance. It’s also accurate to +/- 2%. You can’t find this level of accuracy in many other mechanical torque wrenches.
It features a very unique design that cannot be seen in torque wrenches that fall under this category. Its main body that bends during leverage applications consists of the driving head, scales and handle and a sliding mechanical part used to set a torque limit, and its outer body that always stays stationary has a bend that is close to the scales on the main body. At the end of the bend, there is a spring-loaded pin and a button that causes the pin to protrude when it is pressed.
When you set a torque limit and apply a force on the handle, the main body will start to deflect. Once the torque limit is reached, the sliding mechanical part will touch the button and the spring-loaded pin will protrude, emitting a click sound. This click sound is audible even in a loud environment, so you won’t have to be afraid of over-tightening bolts or nuts.
It has a length of 22.5 inches and weighs 3.21 lbs, and you can choose from a variety of torque settings, from the lowest torque value of 20 ft-lbs to a maximum value of 220 ft-lbs (27-290 Nm). These torque settings are indicated in three different units, foot pounds, newton meters and kilogram meters.
This particular torque wrench by Powerbuilt offers a very unique, good-looking design that features simplicity. If you are looking for a less-maintenance torque wrench that is practicable and both looks and feels like a high-quality torque wrench, you can consider getting this.
Difference Between an Inch Pound Torque Wrench and a Foot Pound Torque Wrench
When you try to decide what torque wrench is best for you, you may be in a dilemma about whether you should get an inch-pound or foot-pound torque wrench. These two types of torque wrenches are very common, and neither is more common than the other.
In fact, it doesn’t really matter the type of torque wrench you are getting If you know how to convert foot-pounds to inch-pounds (1 ft-lb = 12 in-lbs) or the way around. However, if you will be dealing with small bolts and nuts, such as 1/4-inch screws, it is better to get a torque wrench that shows an inch-pound scale. Typically, 1/4-inch screws require the application of torque in the range of 60-80 in-lbs (5-6.67 ft-lbs), and most foot-pound torque wrenches start with a higher, minimum torque setting. In the case where you are required to handle screws in varying sizes, you may need both types of torque wrenches.
Another factor is that smaller screws require more accurate torque to avoid under-tightening and over-tightening, and an inch-pound torque wrench has a smaller increment, which offers a better precision.
Hence, the more torque, the more easily something turns. This makes sense for torque wrenches where the longer the handle you’re using, the easier it is to turn an object. It’s just common sense for those of us who use wrenches all the time, the more leverage you have the easier it is to loosen a nut or bolt. Likewise, the more force you put onto the handle, the greater the likelihood the bolt or nut loosens (or tightens).
What Is Torque?
In a nutshell, torque is a force that causes an object to rotate (turning/twisting force). Although it can be explained by the equation τ = r x F sin (θ), it is better understood by example. A common example given is that of opening a door. Torque increases in force by increasing the energy you use to push open the door and also how far you are away from the door’s hinge when you push on it. As anyone can attest who has tried to push a door open close to the hinge, it is much harder. This is because there is less torque.
Why Do Mechanics Care About Torque?
Torque is extremely important for several reasons. The most basic reasons, however, come down to the most common use of a torque wrench, tightening nuts and bolts. If you don’t tighten a nut or bolt enough (not enough torque), common sense will tell you that it’s going to come loose at some point in time. In fact, nuts and bolts can vibrate or rattle loose over time. This translates eventually into damaged equipment, or even safety issues concerning employees.
However, over-tightening (too much torque) is just as bad, if not worse. When too much torque is applied a bolt undergoes too much stress and can bust off. Since almost every piece of machinery has a specific torque for certain nuts and bolts, the only way to ensure a proper torque is to use a good torque wrench. Otherwise you can end up with damaged equipment, injured employees, and even sued.
How Does Leverage Change Torque?
The way to think about this is fairly simple. Let’s say you grabbed a wrench two feet away from where the bolt was and applied 10 lbs. of force to the handle. This is a simple calculation of 2 feet x 10 pounds, aka 20 ft-lbs. of force. If you grab that same wrench only one foot away from the bolt and applied the same amount of force, how much force would you generate?
Again, this is just a simple calculation. You are one foot away this time applying 10 lbs. of force so you’re only generating 1 ft. x 10lbs. of force, so 10 ft-lbs. What this means is that just by applying more leverage, aka moving your hand farther away from the bolt, you were able to apply twice the amount of torque even though you’re using the same amount of force (10 ft-lbs. vs 20 ft-lbs.).
Torque vs. Horsepower
Although this video was designed to explain horsepower vs. torque, it is a great video for learning about torque itself. It’s also explained in a way that is easy to understand.
Torque Wrench Calibration
It is a general recommendation to calibrate your torque wrenches one a year, depending on its use. If you use your torque wrench more often, you might need to estimate your use of the wrench, and calibrate it every 5,000 uses. While it is often best to go to a professional for torque wrench calibration, if you need to calibrate your torque wrench sooner here’s a handy guide that explains how to calibrate your torque wrench, courtesy of EquipmentWorld.com. Also, to confirm that your torque wrench is accurate, you can buy a quality torque tester. Generally, the best torque wrench will need to be calibrated less often than one that is of lower quality.
If you’re looking to apply more torque to nuts and bolts, consider looking into some of the best impact wrenches on the market.