The sheer versatility and practicality of torque wrenches are enough to recommend them to pretty much anyone who owns a vehicle or heavy machinery of any kind. Not only can you use these wrenches to operate any type of nuts but they can be adjusted to interact with virtually any type of moving parts provided they are small enough to fit the wrench.
If you haven’t already, you should consider investing in a torque wrench for the wide range of applications such a tool can accommodate, a tool that will make your life a whole lot easier whenever you need to work on any type of mechanical parts. Now, we should point out that not all torque wrenches are created equal, even though they mostly adhere to the same operational principles. So let us then take a look at the ten best torque wrenches the market has to offer so that we may better understand what they are all about.
Best Torque Wrenches – Reviews
10Stanley Proto Ratcheting Head Micrometer Torque Wrench
This high-quality tool is designed to measure in foot-pounds and to be reliably accurate within a 20-100 lbs frame. Fairly professional in its design, this wrench features a ratcheting head that allows micrometer increment measurements to be taken. It is also quite versatile in its adjustability, which is something you should expect from any professional tool. Then again, this might explain why this particular wrench is so popular to begin with.
9Gorilla Automotive TW605 Torque Wrench
Thanks to its sturdy construction, this reliable yet surprisingly affordable torque wrench by Gorilla Automotive can be used for a wide range of applications. Due to its click-style operation, it allows users to be a lot more accurate in their work. This is owed to an audible click that prompts the user to stop torquing the wrench whenever the desired tension has been achieved. On a related note, we should point out that it is rated within a 10-150 lbs range and that it comes with a fairly long extension attachment.
8Tooluxe Dual Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench
It is very important for a torque wrench to accommodate small and large tasks alike, which is exactly what makes this particular wrench stand out. Its impressive adjustability enables users to work on projects that require fewer yet firm touches. Then again, its impressive length surely recommends it for tougher jobs, which is also why it comes in 12″ and 17″ versions for you to choose from. it also needs to be said that it can deliver no less than 150 lbs of torque if needed.
7ACDelco Digital Torque Wrench with Buzzer and LED Flash
With this ingenious torque wrench, you get an accurate and maneuverable tool that you can rely on for a variety of tasks. As the name would suggest, it comes equipped with a buzzer and LED flash, features that further its maneuverability and ease of use. Operated in the same fashion as a standard click torque wrench, this tool can set the desired value and use the LCD display to get a better grasp of the task at hand in order to make the proper adjustments in a timely fashion.
6GearWrench Micrometer Torque Wrench
If you are looking for a torque wrench that operates in very small increments then look no further. GearWrench’s Micrometer Torque Wrench is designed to handle tasks between 30 to 250 lbs, which is very impressive considering its fine-tuning options. Speaking of which, this ingenious wrench is accurate in a +/- 3% accuracy range on a 20 to 100 percent full scale depending on the task it’s being used for. One can also notice just how maneuverable it is due to its clever design, a maneuverability that recommends it for a wide variety of tasks.
5CDI Torque Drive Memory Needle Dial Torque Wrench
This reliable torque wrench from CDI can be adjusted within very small increments, which recommends it for minuscule yet labor-intensive tasks. Interestingly enough, this wrench doesn’t use a click prompt like other wrenches but an inbuilt dial that operates on roughly the same principles. This makes it very reliable when tightening nuts or bolts of any kind, even more so when working on seemingly fragile parts. That said, we should point out that the wrench itself can feel a bit robust and rigid at first, a feeling that will go away once you get used to its intricate mechanisms.
4CDI Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench
When looking for a multi-purpose, universal torque wrench, one has to consider both the maneuverability of the tool and the ease of use. With this particular wrench, for instance, you get industrial-grade specs in a tool that can easily be used for DIY projects with just minor adjustments. This is because the wrench comes in a range of different designs, each with a guaranteed clockwise and counterclockwise accuracy. Add that to its reliable build quality and you begin to understand why it is so popular to begin with.
3EPAuto Drive Click Torque Wrench
Designed to operate a 1/2-inch mechanism, this drive click torque wrench can be relied on when working on any pressure-sensitive task. In principle, if functions the same way many click-style wrenches do, with the notion that it is accurate in a +/- 4% range. At the same time, it operates in a 0 to 150 lbs range and can be used clockwise and counterclockwise with roughly the same results. This makes it fairly versatile and able to accommodate a wide range of tasks.
2TEKTON 24340 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This ingenious torque wrench from Tekton is seen as one of the most accurate out there and it’s easy to see why. Due to its clever design, it can manage 40 to 250 lbs tasks in 5 lbs increments. It is also one of the most accurate wrenches in its range, one that stands out with its adjustability and reliability. It needs to be said, however, that it is a fairly long wrench as far as torque wrenches go, which makes it perfect for >100 lbs bolts. Furthermore, the wrench works reasonably well in a clockwise direction, a much-needed feature for any decent torque wrench.
1TEKTON 243455 Drive Click Torque Wrench
Many people consider the 243455 Drive Click Torque Wrench the absolute best in the industry and given its impressive reliability it kind of makes sense. It isn’t just a very affordable wrench given its complexity, but also one of the sturdiest out there. This wrench operates a click-style mechanism actioned by a turning handle. Due to its 18.5-inch length, it is also one of the longest such wrenches, a wrench that allows you to work on fairly big projects as a result. Not just that but it is also made almost entirely out of steel with no plastic parts to speak of, which is impressive considering that it only weighs 2.2 lbs.
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What To Look For In A Torque Wrench
There are plenty of reasons to own at least one torque wrench, especially if you can find out for a reasonable price. Given the sheer practicality and versatility of these tools, you really should consider one to be a long-term investment rather than a simple tool; which as a side note, are anything but simple given their ingenious design. Built to be operated with a reasonable precision within an ample operational range, these wrenches are perfect for tightening nuts and bolts without using any grease or other tools. If done properly, a nut tightened with a torque wrench should be rendered nearly impossible to move, even if the machine it is part of is subjected to vibration and outside pressure. Not just that but these wrenches can also enable you to measure the applied force at any given time, especially the high-end models.
Types Of Torque Wrenches
Speaking of models of torque wrenches, we should point out that even though they are all built to meet the same operational standards, some are definitely better than others. They tend to differ in build quality, featured mechanisms, and the design of the tool itself. You can expect most torque wrenches to employ click-type mechanisms, whereas others are can be beam operated or electronic. Needless to say, each particular wrench type comes with its own particularities.
- Click-type Torque Wrenches – These type of wrenches employ a ‘clicker’ mechanism that works by creating spring tension inside the wrench. In this mechanism, the tighter the spring is, the more torque it requires to make a clicking sound. When the turning dial is adjusted on the handle, it tightens the spring accordingly. This enables you to figure out when the appropriate amount of twisting force has been achieved.
- Beam Operated Torque Wrenches – Beam operated torque wrenches, like the name suggests, employ a beam to adjust the tightening force required to achieve the appropriate amount of torque. A good number of these wrenches employ a beam rather than a coil spring, meaning that they don’t really have any wearing parts. With these type of wrenches, you can achieve a +/- 2% accuracy throughout the tightening range of the wrench.
- Electronic Torque Wrenches – Also referred to as ‘digital torque wrenches’ these tools are designed for precise measurement and application of torque. Given their accurate standard of measurement and torque, they are often employed in industrial, automotive, and aerospace projects. It needs to be said that digital wrenches are on average a lot more accurate than traditional models, which may explain why some of them can be quite expensive.
Basic Operating Principles
In essence, a torque wrench uses a ratchet mechanism to keep the wrench on a fastener after it reaches its rotation limit. This enables the user to keep performing tightening rotations without removing the wrench from the bolt. Just by repeating the previous motion, you can keep on tightening the bolt you are currently working on, with little to no chance of the wrench ever slipping away from the task at hand. This way, you gain the capacity to work a lot faster and to perform tighter, more accurate tightening jobs.
- Consider the Size – The first thing you want to do when buying a torque wrench is to determine if it has the appropriate length. While there isn’t a universal standard for these type of wrenches, some are definitely longer than others. Depending on the amount of torque you want to put into the tightening motion, you might want a wrench handle to match. Then again, you also want a wrench that feels comfortable when used, thus the need to carefully consider how well it fits inside your hand.
- The Accuracy – The next thing you want to do is to figure out just how accurate the wrench is. Bear in mind that most of these wrenches come with an indicative accuracy standard and that they can operate well within those standards. That said, you should keep away from any wrenches with an inaccuracy standard greater than 5% as this is way above the 2-3% accepted inaccuracy that decent wrenches possess.
- Build Quality – The construction of the wrench is also something to be concerned about, especially if you’re looking at an electronic wrench with sensible components. For the most part, however, torque wrenches are built from sturdy metal parts with very little plastic usually around the handle area. If you can, try to look for a torque wrench with little to no plastic whatsoever, not just because of the comfortable nature of these wrenches but also because of their expected durability.
- Additional Heads – Interestingly enough, some torque wrenches come with additional heads that you can mount onto the body of the wrenches for added accuracy. In the case of a torque wrench kit, chances are that the package will also contain several heads that you can mount at will depending on the task at hand. These heads can definitely save you some money long-term by saving you the time and resources required to buy differently sized wrenches.
- Added Features & Accessories – Keep in mind that you some of these wrenches may also come as part of more complex kits which also contain gadgets and accessories of a wide variety. They can, for instance, benefit from LED readouts, beeping functions, or added levers for increasing manual input. Whatever the case, you should perhaps consider the quality of the wrench itself when determining whether you want a wrench or not and not the added features that may or may not mirror the quality of the wrench.