Our previous entry discussed what wheel torquing is and the importance of executing it the right way using the right tools. Now, it’s time to talk about the best torque wrenches available on the market right now to determine which one is best for your needs. If you’re running an automotive servicing business or plan to do any automotive repairs or maintenance, you absolutely need a torque wrench in your arsenal of tools. Whether it’s a beam-style, a clicker, or even digital, owning the right torque wrench for your specific needs is crucial.
This article will talk about everything you need to know when buying a torque wrench. We will also include a shortlist of the best torque wrenches available on the market right now.
What is a Torque Wrench?
First, let’s define what this tool is all about. A torque wrench is a tool that is used to tighten bolts and nuts. These tools are calibrated in both imperial and metric units of torque (lb-ft or Nm) for automotive applications or any other application where a specific amount of torque needs to be applied.
The design for torque wrenches has not changed much since its inception more than 100 years ago. Torque wrenches now come in different shapes, sizes, and types with different features.
However, the fundamental idea behind a torque wrench remains the same: to prevent bolts from being over-tightened or under-tightened by indicating when a specific amount of pressure has been applied.
Why is a Torque Wrench Important?
A torque wrench is essential because it allows you to tighten bolts and nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications. This is crucial for two reasons:
- To avoid damage to the bolt or nut that can occur when they are tightened beyond their recommended specs.
- Ensure that whatever you are bolting or nailing together is done with the right amount of pressure.
The torque wrench is handy for any automotive repair or maintenance job. However, it also has various applications across other industries such as aerospace, construction, manufacturing engineering fields, and more.
How to Choose the Right Torque Wrench?
When looking to buy a torque wrench, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration:
- The type of torque wrench
- The size of the torque wrench
- What range does the torque wrench cover?
- What is the accuracy of the torque wrench?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is it compact and lightweight enough for my application needs?
These are just some of the things you should keep in mind when choosing a torque wrench. The best way to ensure that you get what you want is by reading reviews and comparisons online.
What Size Torque Wrench Do You Need?
There are two types of torque wrenches:
- A micrometer-style or beam wrench is best suited for low torque applications (under 100 ft-lbs).
- A clicker style can handle higher torques up to 150 ft-lbs.
You need to decide on what size and type of torque wrench you need before purchasing.
Beam Style Vs. Clicker Vs. Digital
Currently, there are three types of torque wrenches on the market: beam style, clicker style, and digital. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages.
Beam Style Torque Wrench
The beam-style torque wrench is a basic design that has been around for more than 100 years. It consists of a long lever arm with a calibrated scale and a pivoting head at the end. To use it, you need to place the object you are tightening against a fixed jaw and then hold the handle with your other hand. The lever arm will move as you apply pressure, and the number on the scale will increase. You stop applying pressure and tighten the bolt or nut with a ratchet wrench when you reach the desired torque.
The beam-style torque wrenches are ideal for places with limited space, and they provide good accuracy at low prices. However, they can be challenging to use because it’s hard to tell when you’ve reached the desired torque without looking away from what you’re working on.
Clicker Style Torque Wrench
The clicker style has an adjustable tension spring mechanism inside them, which allows you to set a specific amount of force before it clicks or makes a sound when reached. This type of wrench is best suited for situations where precision and accuracy are essential, such as when working on engines or other delicate equipment. They are also very easy to use and have many applications. The only downside is that they can be more expensive than the beam-style wrenches.
Digital Torque Wrench
The digital torque wrench is the most recent design, and it works similarly to the clicker style. The main difference is that it uses electronics to measure torque instead of physical markings on the lever arm or an audible click when reached.
The digital wrench has many advantages, such as being very easy to use and having an extensive range of applications. However, they can be the most expensive type compared to other types, and you need electricity to use them.
The Best Torque Wrenches Available on the Market Right Now
Now that you know what to look for when buying a torque wrench, it’s time to take a look at some of the best ones available on the market right now.
Here are six of the best torque wrenches:
Tekton 24335 Drive Click Torque Wrench
The first thing that comes to mind about the Tekton 24335 Drive Click Torque Wrench is durability. This Torque wrench is made to last with heavy-duty construction to handle the most rugged applications. The Tekton Click Torque Wrench is also easy to use with a simple click mechanism and a reversible ratchet head. It also has a wide range of torque, covering 0-240 lb-ft
This wrench also boasts excellent accuracy with a +/- 4% margin of error. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Capri 3100 Torque Wrench
If you want the most value for your purchase, you can’t go wrong with the Capri 3100 Torque Wrench. With a 3/8-inch drive, you can bring this torque wrench anywhere you go, thanks to its absolute compatibility. It’s also great for accessing hard-to-reach places. The Capri has a torque range of 10 to 80 ft-lb while providing +/- 4% calibration accuracy.
Plus, it comes with a hard-shell case for easy storage and transport.
CDI Torque 250 ft.-lb. Professional Grade Torque Wrench
If you’re looking for a torque wrench that can handle the big bolts, then take a look at the CDI Torque 250 ft.-lb. Professional-grade torque wrench. With its impressive 250 ft-lb of torque, this is the perfect wrench to have on hand for those heavy-duty jobs. The CDI also comes with a calibration certificate so you can be sure that your bolts are tightened to the correct specs every time.
ACDelco ARM601-4 Digital Torque Wrench
Most torque wrenches rely on clicks to indicate if the desired torque has been reached. But not the ACDelco ARM601-4 Digital Torque Wrench. The manufacturers at ACDelco fitted this awesome torque wrench with a buzzer alarm, vibration, and flash notification to indicate if the desired torque has been reached. This is an excellent feature for those looking for an extra bit of assurance that they’re tightening bolts and nuts to the correct specs.
With a 10 to 100 ft-lb range, the ACDelco ARM601-4 has a +/-1.5% accuracy rating and a memory storage system that records the last 30 measurements taken with the wrench.
EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
If you’re on a budget and you need a handy torque wrench, the EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is a great option. It’s very affordable without sacrificing quality. With a 3/8 drive size, the EPAuto Drive Click Torque Wrench is meant for midsize sockets. However, it also comes with an extension.
Other features include adapters, allowing you to use 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch sockets as well. It also comes with a plastic storage case. The EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench is made from hardened vanadium steel alloy with a chrome finish to ensure it lasts a long time.
The EPAuto also provides excellent accuracy with a +/- 4% accuracy rating. It has a torque range from 0 to 80 ft-lb and comes with a one-year warranty.
DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench
The DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench is the most advanced torque wrench on this list. It uses patented technology to calculate and display real-time data during use, which means you can track the amount of torque being applied as you work. This feature is perfect for those who need absolute precision while tightening bolts or nuts.
Accuracy is the name of the game for DataMyte’s advanced digital torque wrench; With eight different wrench specifications, you can be sure to find the right tool for the job. The DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench also has an easy-to-read digital display and a user interface that allows you to change settings quickly and easily.
Plus, it comes with a rechargeable battery, so there are no cords or wires to worry about during use. This feature makes the DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench ideal for use in areas where power outlets are limited or not available at all. It also comes with a carrying case, which is helpful if you need to take your wrench on the go.
Click here to learn more about the DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench.
Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to torque wrenches. With such a wide variety of torque wrenches on the market, it’s easy to find the perfect one for your specific needs. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you see the wrench that feels just right in your hands. And remember, always read the reviews before making your final purchase!