If you work in the automotive industry, you work on cars yourself, or if you do any job that requires you to get a super tight and super accurate attachment of nuts and bolts, a torque wrench is a tool that you are absolutely going to want to have. The torque wrench is specifically designed to apply a specific amount of torque to a nut, bolt or other types of fasteners, ensuring that you get a super tight attachment.
While a torque wrench is definitely a handy tool to have, finding the best one for your specific needs can be a bit challenging. There are several types of torque wrenches on the market, and many different options available. So, how do you know which is the best torque wrench for your specific needs? – By reading this buyer’s guide, of course! We have put this guide together to help you on your quest for finding the best torque wrench. In this guide, you will find out everything you need to know about torque wrenches, including the different types that are available, the features that they can offer, the factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a torque wrench, the features they can offer, and the best brands available. After reading this guide, you will know everything you need to know about this tool so that you can choose the best one for your needs.
Types of Torque Wrenches
In order to choose the best torque wrench for you needs, the first thing you need to do is understand that there are different types available. Each type of torque wrench is designed to increase the torque when attaching a fastener; however, how they differ is in the manner in which they provide that torque.
There are six main types of torque wrenches, which include:
- The electronic torque wrench
- The click torque wrench
- The beam torque wrench
- The plumber torque wrench
- The hydraulic torque wrench
- The deflecting beam torque wrench
Below, you will find a detailed description of each of these six types of torque wrenches, including how they work and what applications they are best used for.
The Electronic Torque Wrench
As the name suggests, this type of torque wrench is programmable, which means that you can set its limits that the level of torque is determined. There is a strain gauge, which is attached to a torsion rod. This sends a signal to a transducer, which determines the force of torque per unit. This force is then displayed on an LED display. The electronic torque wrench comes with a memory stick, which you can use to save readings. Readings can also be accessed on your computer, which allows you to easily apply your readings to documents, such as spreadsheets.
The Click Torque Wrench
The click torque wrench is based on the socket wrench, but it is a little bit more advanced. You can preset the level of torque with a clutch mechanism, and once you reach the torque level you want, the clutch starts to slip, which indicates the required level. This type of torque wrench offers a highly precise design. It prevents the mechanism from overreaching and over stretching to the point that would cause breaking.
The Beam Torque Wrench
This is the most basic type of torque wrench. The head and handle are separated by a lever arm, and the lever arm offers a certain level of elasticity. This allows wrench to bend ever so slightly at the level of pressure. The indicator stays parallel to the arm when the torque is not in use, or when there isn’t any pressure applied. Once the torque is applied, a scale moves to provide you with a reading; very similar to a weighing scale with a needle pointer that shows the weight of the object.
The Plumber’s Torque Wrench
This type of torque wrench is specifically designed for use with couplings on soil pipes. It has a handle that is shaped like a T, similar to a ratchet wrench. However, this wrench is pre-calibrated so that it will slip when a sufficient level of torque strength has been reached.
The Hydraulic Torque Wrench
This type of torque wrench is specifically designed to exert torque to a fastener. It applies pressure to a the head of a nut or a bold, and the pre calibrated torque than assists with tightening the nut or bold heat. The hydraulic torque wrench delivers a lot of pressure and power, making it ideal to use with automobiles.
The Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench
This type of torque wrench delivers torque via a deflecting beam instead of through a coil spring method. The deflecting beam torque wrench delivers high accuracy and improved safety, which is ideal when higher levels of torque pressure are required. It also makes a sound when being used, which allows you to hear when the required level of torque has been reached.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Torque Wrench
There are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when you are shopping for a torque wrench in order to ensure that you are choosing the best option for your needs. Some of the most important factors that you are going to want to consider include the size of the torque wrench, the accuracy and the material that it is made of, among other things. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to find the best torque wrench for your specific needs. To learn more about these and other factors that we consider to be the most important when shopping for a torque wrench, keep on reading.
The Size of the Torque Wrench
One of the most important factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when shopping for a torque wrench is its size. The size of the wrench will dictate what you can do with it. There are for basic sizes available, and each of these sizes roughly correspond to the torque range, which is usually describe in food to pounds for SAE fasteners and newton meters for metric fasteners.
- ¼” drive – This size is used for extremely small nuts and bolts. It can be used for a range of jobs.
- 3/8” drive – This size can also be used for a variety of jobs.
- ½” drive – used for larger nuts and bolts, such as suspensions, engine mounts and transmission mounts
- ¾” drive – This is the largest of all torque wrench sizes. It is designed to be used for special applications, such as applying center lug wheels.
The Accuracy of the Torque Wrench
After the size of the wrench, the accuracy the wrench offers is the next most important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration. These wrenches do vary in accuracy, and the best options have an accuracy of more than 5 percent. Additionally, the best torque wrenches will come with a certificate of calibration, which will state the date and the accuracy of the calibration. With that said, all torque wrenches, even the best, should be recalibrated on occasion, as per the maintenance schedule set forth by the manufacturer to ensure the most precise accuracy.
The Material the Torque Wrench is Constructed Of
Torque wrenches can be constructed of all metal, or they can have a combination of metal and plastic. Less expensive wrenches will have a metal and plastic construction, which should work fine for many applications; however, plastic obviously isn’t as strong as metal, which means that wrenches that contain this material may not be as durable. If you want the most durable torque wrench, choose one that is constructed of all metal.
The Ratcheting of the Torque Wrench
Ratcheting is a major convenience, especially when the wrench is bi-directional – it can be turned in a clockwise or counter clockwise fashion – which is used for fasteners that have both left hand and right hand threads. The majority of click type and electronic torque wrenches will offer ratcheting, while beam type wrenches will not.
The Visibility of the Scale
Another important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing a torque wrench is the visibility of the scale. The more visible the scale is, the easier it will be for you to get a readout, so keep this in mind when you are shopping.
The Grip of the Torque Wrench
The best torque wrenches are easy to grip, which will obviously make the tool easier to use. Look for a torque wrench that has a special gripping coating, as this will allow you to get the best grip possible.
The Work You Will Be Doing
What type of work will you be using the torque wrench for? Will you be using it for automotive work? For plumbing? The type of work that you will be doing is an important factor to consider, as it will help you determine which type of torque wrench will work the best for you.
The Weight of the Torque Wrench
You are also going to want to consider the weight of the torque wrench. The lighter it is, the easier it will be to maneuver, which is particularly important if you are going to be using the tool for long periods of time.
The Price of the Torque Wrench
The cost of the wrench is another important factor to consider. These wrenches vary in price, and you want to make sure that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with. Generally speaking, larger torque wrenches and those that offer the most features are going to be the most expensive. Keep this in mind when you are shopping so that you can stay on budget.
The Features Torque Wrenches Can Offer
There are a number of features that torque wrenches can offer. These features are intended to make the tool easier to use, as well as improve its accuracy. As mentioned above, the more features a torque wrench offers, the more expensive it is going to be. With that said, it is important to understand the different features and their intended purpose so that you can determine whether you want or need them, and if the added cost will be worth your while.
Here is a look at some of the top features that torque wrenches can offer.
360 Degree Swivel Fittings
With a 360 degree swivel fitting, it will be easier to rotate the torque wrench a full 360 degrees. This will allow for a more secure fitting of your fasteners, which is extremely important.
This feature is reserved for electronic torque wrenches. It makes getting your read outs a lot more convenient, and it allows you to easily store your readings, too.
Automatic Power Shut Off
A torque wrench that offers an automatic power shut off will obviously automatically turn the wrench off as soon as you reach your required torque. This helps you save battery power, which can help you save money.
The best torque wrenches come with a warranty. A warranty will protect your investment. Should anything happen to the tool during the span of the warranty, you will be able to have it repaired or replaced, or you may even be able to have your money reimbursed.
The Best Torque Wrench Brands
There are several manufacturers that make torque wrenches. Here is a look at our picks for the best of the best brands that will offer you the most accuracy and will be the easiest to use.
This company produces various types of torque wrenches. They are easy to use, durable, and offer several features. They are also extremely accurate.
Another top name in torque wrenches is TEKTON. This company uses high quality materials and expert construction to provide durable tools that provide extreme accuracy and will last you a long time.
Another highly trusted name in the torque wrench industry is AC Delco. This company produces high quality tools that are built to last and offer pinpoint precision.