10 Best Torque Wrenches
Not every job is one that you can fill with a regular wrench. Sometimes you have to break out the big guns. For the heavy duty jobs, this means a torque wrench. There are quite literally hundreds of different makers of torque wrenches to choose from. In this article, we’ll give you our list of the 5 best torque wrenches.
TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
This takes the annoying guess work out of the equation. Total product dimensions are 18.5 x 1.9 x 1.4 inch. This gives the user a generous reach to work with. The wrench ships pre-calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy and ready to use. As a result, you won’t find yourself struggling to calculate the correct calibration. Just fire it up and get ready to use it on your next major job.
- A highly audible click lets you know when the preset value has been reached
- Unit comes pre-calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy
- Reversible ratchet head drives in both directions
- Model measures torque in a conveniently clockwise direction
- Model needs to be stored at the lowest setting of 10 ft.lb./13.6 Nm when not in use
- Can be a bit cumbersome to operate if the reader has not first mastered the handy included instructional manual
Neiko 00206A 1/2 Inch Drive Premium Breaker Bar
The grip has been contoured to give you a better grasp. The anvil head rotates a full 180 degrees in order to allow for increased versatility. The finish is mirrored chrome in order to give it extra resistance to corrosion and age-related wear. The break bar is made of Chrome-Vanadium steel that has been heat treated.
- Extra long handle is a full 24 inches in length
- Grip has been contoured to give the user extra leverage
- Heat treated break bar is made of specially reinforced steel
- Comes with a full warranty of quality direct from the manufacturer
- Extremely powerful unit that should be used only by experienced owners
- Warranty is limited to the original owner and is non-transferrable
TEKTON 3/8 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
Although this model is excellent for larger and more complex jobs, it does come with a few complexities of its own. It is definitely meant for more experienced users. This is due to the increased level of power that it can wield. Because of this, it is well recommended that inexperienced owners make use of the included instructions.
- Gives off a warning click when the preset value is reached
- Included dual range scale is rendered in high contrast
- Made completely of steel with no breakable plastic parts
- Pre-calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy for quick and easy use
- High level of power makes this a model for the more experienced user
- Reversible ratchet head drives in both directions and may take some getting used to, even by experienced users
EPAuto 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
The handle has been specially fashioned to provide a non-slip grip in even the stickiest situations.
The wrench has been treated with a special satin finish to resist corrosion and wear. It has been pre-calibrated to ± 4% in order to facilitate instant use upon arrival. A break-proof plastic storage case is included to house the wrench when you are finished with it. It is one of the most easily affordable models on this list.
- Guaranteed to arrive pre-calibrated to ± 4%
- High contrast & dual range Scale is easy to read in even the dimmest light
- Extra strength ratchet head is made of Chrome Vanadium steel alloy
- Includes a break-proof carrying case
- Specially designed to be used on vehicles of various kinds, not recommended for use in other contexts
- Limited warranty is not transferrable past the original owner
EPAuto 1/4-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench
It should be pointed out that this wrench is definitely meant for this purpose and no other.
It’s an excellent wrench for jobs that need precision. The present model is designed to give off a clearly recognizable click when the preset value is reached. The handle has been specially reinforced to provide for a non-slip grip. It also comes with an extremely durable carrying case to keep the wrench safe when not being used.
- Non-slip grip handle gives you extra confidence in intricate situations
- Specially reinforced carrying case keeps your wrench safe from falls
- Ratchet head is made of treated Chrome Vanadium steel alloy
- Highly audible click lets you know when the preset value has been reached
- Wrench is meant to be used on repairs for various types of vehicles rather than in other situations
- Comes with a limited warranty that is non-transferrable beyond the original owner
Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide
There are a number of highly important factors to keep in mind when choosing a torque wrench. First will be the precise type of job that you will be using the wrench in. Most of the torque wrenches on this list have been designed for use on various types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and RV’s.
Experience is Key When Choosing a Torque Wrench
It’s also important to choose a torque wrench that is right for your personal level of experience. Some of the wrenches on this list are great for beginners as well as the experienced users. Others are definitely meant for users with a higher level of experience in using this particular type of tool.
If you are not sure if you have the experience to use a particular torque wrench, it may be better to defer to the opinion of an expert. All of the wrenches on this list come with full instructions as well as a warranty from the maker. This may give you the latitude you need to experiment with the wrench until you have mastered its use.
Choose the Right Size of Torque Wrench for the Task
Another important factor to keep in mind at all times is that there is no “one size fits all” torque wrench. There are several different sizes, as well as types, of torque wrench. These different sizes are obviously meant to be used in different situations. It’s up to you to learn which size is right for the job you need it for.
Choose a Torque Wrench with an Audible Preset Click
If you aren’t sure where to find the exact preset on your torque wrench, don’t guess. This is not the kind of tool that is particularly forgiving of even the smallest error. A miscalculation, however slight, could result in a botched repair job. It could also lead to an injury for you or anyone working next to you.
Your best bet is to choose one of the models on this present list. We have gone out of our way to spotlight torque wrench models that come with an audible click. This click is designed to let you know exactly where the preset is. This feature will save you a great deal of time and effort when setting out on your next repair job.
Choose a Torque Wrench That is Made of the Best Materials
The final thing to keep in mind is that the torque wrench you choose needs to last. You don’t want to buy a wrench that you suspect will come apart during the next job. We have selected only those models that are made with high quality hardened and treated Chrome Vanadium steel alloy.
While not the most expensive tool you can buy, you still want one that will last for years. The torque wrenches on this list have been selected with longevity in mind.
How To Use A Torque Wrench
A torque wrench is used to tighten up nuts and bolts to specific torque settings. You don’t want to over-tighten the nut or bolt and destroy the threads or not enough that the nut or bolt just simply comes off in use.
Today we’re going to use one of the click types of torque wrenches. So we’re going to tighten up one of the wheel nuts. So the first thing you need to do is loosen off the tightener, and then you can adjust the setting. We need a set of 120 on the torque wrench.
However, the closest one we can see is 112, so we’ll keep turning the end until this zero lines up with the line. But at the mark of 112. There you have it. That’s 112, but we need 120. So what we’ll do is we’ll add eight to that. So we’ll turn that middle bit to eight and that’s 112 plus eight which is 120. And obviously, if you go down one, that’s 119 and so on. Then when you’re in the right setting, tighten up the end so there’ll be no movement. You can hear the click so you know you have the right torque setting.
After using the torque wrench, before we put it away, just undo the locking nut and twist the setting to the lowest setting. The reason why you want to do this as the whole mechanism runs on a spring, and we don’t want to put this on the pressure the whole time. And don’t go too far. Put a bit of tension on it just below the bottom and now you’re ready to put it away.
FAQ Torque Wrench
How do you read a torque wrench?
The torque wrench mechanism has pawls that start to jump when you operate with a greater force than you set. This means that when you jerk too hard, you will hear a rattling noise and the bolt will not move. In simple models of torque wrenches, the force is adjusted by turning the handle.
There are scales on it and the head. By turning the handle you “get” it to the place with the market value of the torque. Having thus established an approximate value, it is refined using the scale marked around the handle. By gently turning the handle, the value is set from 0 to 10 or 12.
For example, if the torque values are marked every 10, and you want to choose an intermediate torque, let’s assume 15 Nm, then you turn the handle until you reach the value of 10 and set the position on the handle to 0, then turn it to position “5”. After setting the right torque, you need to block the torque wrench with the knob at the end of the handle. After finishing work, the handle unscrews to the lowest position on the scale.
The torque range is different for different torque wrenches. The small ones allow, for example, the adjustment from 5 to 25 Nm, and the larger ones in the range from 30 to 300 Nm.
Do I really need a torque wrench?
Well, the lever on a torque wrench is often different from that on an Allen key. Which can be short or long. That feeling is an illusion that you hear from many fitters.
Then you realize that 5NM is not as much as you might think. Moreover, as already written, some studies prove that many trained fitters tighten the screws too tight. Most of the time, not much will happen to massive components. You also have to consider the type of screw.
For massive components, it should not be overestimated the whole thing too much, here it is often just about not plastically deforming (stretching) the screw. However, to stay in the elastic range. Here you can put it on by hand when you are out and about. Unless you are really totally ignorant of the matter. The thread in the aluminum probably also plays a role here.
With lightweight components (aluminum/carbon) or lightweight screws, this is of course something different. In the case of clamps, pinching and possible shearing also plays a role here. Tightening too hard creates a predetermined breaking point.
Should you double click a torque wrench?
A torque wrench is a hand-held tool in which a force is triggered by means of a preset torque. In this case, it is a screw connection. As soon as the torque has been reached, an unmistakable signal sounds, which is usually audible as a click or clack noise. It can now be assumed that the screw connection has the required tightening torque. A single click of the torque wrench is usually sufficient to show that everything is ok. Since “double” always holds better, the tightness of the respective screw connection can be checked again.
The control mechanics are therefore the “A” and “O”. Today the “torque wrench consortium” has a large number of different systems, including slipper, buckling, and cracking wrenches. The so-called buckling wrenches are less used today, because when the set torque is reached, they break or, as the name suggests, they break and thus prevent over-turning.
However, this is also avoided with the slippers, as they have a good control mechanism. When the preset limit value is reached, they slip through without additional power transmission to the screw and thus prevent over-tightening.
Why is my torque wrench not clicking?
There are several possibilities.
- It does not click because you do not turn it hard enough;
- it clicks and you don’t notice;
- it is broken;
- It is kind of a break-in behavior of the tool and the click is very gentle at first.
While using 2Nm and holding the hex bit by hand, you have to turn the whole head of the torque wrench. Above 4Nm it is quite difficult to pry the head to click without an actual bolt to lift it. You should try a whole bunch of torques on suitable bolts and find another popular torque wrench to compare with. Maybe look for whoever calibrated it if that is practical.
Another option is the reservation. If you are a new torque wrench user, be careful with torque. A torque wrench will tell/should tell you when you have reached the torque specification, but it will not stop you from tightening the screw further if you continue to force it. Over-tightening can damage the screw threads.
How tight should car wheel nuts be with a torque wrench?
If you have a torque wrench available, it is better to use it for regular retightening. This should usually be set to a value of approx. 110 Nm. However, as this value can vary from vehicle to vehicle, please ask your specialist workshop for the exact value or check the documents for your vehicle.
When the tightening is finished, it is better not to turn up the radio too loud, but listen to your car. If there is any rattling or knocking, pull over immediately, and tighten the wheel nuts.
Anyone who drives their car on the road every day should tighten their tires regularly. Automobile clubs recommend checking the fit of the nuts after 50 to 100 kilometers and readjusting them if necessary. The reason for this: it can happen that the wheel bolts loosen over time and the wheel is no longer as tight as it should. After all, car tires are exposed to heavy loads on the road. Prevent this and, if necessary, tighten the wheel nuts with a torque wrench.
Who can calibrate my torque wrench?
It is possible to calibrate torque wrench at home just by yourself and at local kit stores, car service stations. If you have a torque wrench, you must have it calibrated regularly and know how to set it to the correct torque before use.
A calibration is understood to mean the precise adjustment of the wrench in compliance with ISO standard 6789, “Manually operated torque wrenches”. This guarantees that the screw-driving tool releases correctly in all settings and thus works safely and effectively. For this reason, calibration at a car workshop is only possible using the appropriate measuring devices, as a self-calibration can deviate by more than ten percent.
The setting of the torque wrench on the other hand describes the selection of the required tightening torque for each screw and can be done easily by yourself. The setting of the torque wrench is described in detail in the instructions below, as the necessary fine calibration should definitely be left to a specialist.
What happens if you drop a torque wrench?
If you drop your torque wrench several times on a hard surface or damage it, you can break the right calibration. A bad torque wrench or the incorrect use of a good torque wrench can have dire consequences. Excessive torques overload the material due to incorrect measurements so that screws either tear immediately or wear out faster due to material fatigue.
The threads are often damaged and, in the worst case, the screw connection gives way while driving. However, even if the screw holds, too high a torque can ensure that you can no longer be taken. In such cases, the effort and costs involved usually increase rapidly. Too little torque due to the wrong performance of the wrench is also a serious source of danger. If, for example, the wheel bolts loosen because they have not been properly tightened, carelessness can quickly become life threatening.
How do you fix a broken torque wrench?
On the market, there are plenty of various torque wrenches. Depending on their type, you need different spare details to fix them. In case you still have a warranty from the day of purchase, you can use it to have the manufacturer fix your torque wrench. It is an effective method but may require a lot of time. As an alternative, local workshops and DIY stores provide repair services. You can check whether they will be able to fix your tool or not.
To fix a broken torque wrench at home you need to know the structure of it and its parts. While disassembling the tool it is better not to lose any of the details and use manuals or guides to deal with various kinds of issues.
Interesting Video: Harbor Freight Icon torque wrench review and accuracy test
All of the torque wrenches on this present list were chosen because they represent the absolute modern state of the art. They were subjected by us to a battery of tests in order to earn their position on this list. We can recommend each of them to the reader because they have proven themselves to be an excellent long term.