Choose the Best Beam Torque Wrench
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Beam Torque Wrenches
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Are you searching for simple but effective, functional but affordable torque wrenches to do small DIY car/motorcycle/bike repairs? Then make sure to check the following guide that covers the pros and cons of a few popular instruments in this category.
Advantages of beam torque wrenches:
- Simple and reliable to use – recommended for novice car mechanics;
- The proved classic design to measure the torque range manually;
- Better than other wrenches when it comes to measuring the torque from 0 to maximum range level;
- Such tools offer better portability;
- Despite the criticism of accuracy, these tools mostly offer accuracy as high as 2%;
Beam wrenches can be recommended to novices for the jobs when the accuracy of the torque range is not that important. To make your shopping of beam torque wrenches easier, check the comparison table and buyer’s guide.
ARES 70213-1/4-inch Beam Wrench – the best for readability!
The deflection beam is also above average and makes this instrument amazing for many years.
This instrument offers markings in two measurement scales that are popular in Europe, USA and Japan – inch-pounds, Newton-meters. If you are searching for a reliable and durable wrench with engraved markings on a budget, this instrument may become handy.
Neiko 03727A 1/4-Inch Beam Wrench – the best for versatility!
The handle offers 2 measurement systems as well – for standard (inch-pound) and metric readings.
It is more precise and easy to use than most click torque wrenches. This Neiko tool is versatile and recommended for maintenance and repair of boats, cars, motorcycles, bikes.
Tooluxe 03703L 3/8″ Beam Wrench – the best for design!
For better control and grip, the wrench is equipped with the grooved handle.
It comes with two adapters – for 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive sizes. These anvils are easy to attach and remove. Like the previous instruments, this tool can be calibrated and used in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
This durable and precise instrument can become an irreplaceable piece of your toolbox because of its wide torque range and easy readability.
Performance Tool M195 Beam Wrench – the best for accuracy!
However, this wrench is recognized for exceptional accuracy. The build construction is average. So it is not the top-rated wrench but definitely one of the best for its price.
Intended only for casual use this wrench is still very accurate and simple to use. You won’t feel any hand fatigue when using this handy tool. The manufacturer recommends using this 1/4-inch instrument for fastening small bolts on lawnmowers, guns, cars, light trucks, bicycles and motorcycles.
GEARWRENCH 2957D Beam Wrench – the best for the size!
Though, the instrument is a bit bulky for carrying in your back pocket. The measurement scales are available in ft./lbs. and N/m. There is a handy pointer to make your measurements more accurate.
It is another great instrument for home repairs of vehicles. Unlike previous tools, it may be used for heavy-duty jobs. This tool will also look nice in your toolbox thanks to the nice satin finish.
The Buyer’s Guide
A beam torque wrench is the simplest type of these instruments. Meaning that the price is quite affordable as well. It can also be called a torque wrench of the torsion type, as it consists of two levers. The first one is used to apply torque to the tightened connection and serves as a tool’s handle. A second lever at the other end is attached to the tool’s head and it is free at the other end, serving as a beam or pointer that indicates the applied force on a scale at a particular point in time.
Design and construction
A beam torque wrench is the easiest to use. It has two levers. The first lever is used to apply force to the fastener and serves as a handle. The second lever at one end is attached to the head and it is loose at the other end, serving as a pointer that shows the applied force on the measurement scale in real time.
Any beam wrench is equipped with a pointer indicator connected with the square head, and an elastic handle with a two-sided scale. When a user tightens the nut, the scale deviates to the fixed indicator by an angle that is proportional to the applied force. It can be used to measure the torque range.
Typically, the measurement scale indicates a small margin of error. That is why each wrench is calibrated to a certain accuracy percentage. This tool type does not have the mechanism for limiting the torque transmitted to the nut. The difference in the indicators can be 10% of the actual torque. The highest torque range does not exceed 280 Newton-meters.
Car mechanics and the staff of auto repair shops can’t fasten the blots without torque wrenches. This particular type is recommended only for small repair jobs where accuracy is not an essential factor. For professional and more accurate use, other wrenches are picked – e.g. take a digital instrument to achieve greater accuracy.
Other tips for buyers:
- These tools are mostly available in different sizes: from a small one that has a 1/4-inch drive size of the square head to larger instrument with a square 3/4-inch head;
- The beam wrench range should be in between the extreme and minimum values of the applied force – always check the measurement scale with increments;
- If it is necessary to tighten the threaded connection with a greater torque range than the tool offers, you can purchase a special adapter or more powerful wrench;
How to use a beam torque wrench?
- If the tool does not turn, you should not apply more force than necessary. First, check if the nut is loose;
- Keep in mind that the tool is a measuring device used to tighten the bolts with a specific force range. Do not use it a standard screwdriver;
- Stop tightening the bolt after hearing or seeing the click/alert/signal. Otherwise, the tool may give you wrong measurements;
- The best place to store a beam wrench will be a toolbox or a clean drawer;
- Set up the instrument to the zero position (the minimum value of the torque range);
- To prevent the problems with calibration and accuracy, it is recommended to clean the instrument from any garage liquids. Do not use abrasive cleaners and aggressive chemicals to remove the dirt from it. Do not knock on it and prevent it from falling down (especially into water). Also, it is not advised to take it apart;
- It is recommended to re-calibrate a beam torque wrench after every 10 000 uses;
Pros and cons of beam torque wrenches
Like any tool, such wrenches have pros and cons that I’d like to share, according to my humble experience.
- Low price. Beam torque wrenches have the lowest price among all of them
- Allows you to work “clockwise” and “counterclockwise”
- It has a simple construction
- The highest error percentage among all models
- It is not adjustable over time, the tool wears out and loses the accuracy
- No ratchet mechanism allows avoiding rearranging the tool when tightening the fasteners
- During operation, the applied force must be controlled by the indicator (beam). For me it is not convenient, especially in hard-to-reach places
What to look for when buying a beam torque wrench?
Many U.S. manufacturers offer to use the device for the torque wrench – a multiplier. The mechanism of work is based on the operation of the gearbox – amplifier (the gear system). It’s attached to the torque wrench and increases the applied force on the bolt several times (according to the manual).
Judging from my experience, I’d like to recommend a few awesome beam torque wrenches:
- ARES 70213 with high visibility marks and 0-9 Nm;
- Neiko 03727A has an accuracy rate of 4% (more or less);
- Tooluxe 03703L provides a 17-inch long shaft with an included adapter;
When buying a torque wrench, you need to know exactly what kind of work you need it for, since the manufacturers produce the tools with different ranges. Their size can be different: small with a range of ¼ inches and huge with a torque range of ¾ inches.
Did you like my review? Do you want to share your experience with torque wrenches? Please leave your feedback.
Beam Torque Wrenches FAQ
What is a beam-style torque wrench?
This torque wrench helps you to tighten bolts to a strict tightness standard set by manufacturers or automakers. If you need precise torque directions for a task, the beam torque wrench with a pivoting handle is ideal.
3 types of beam-style torque wrenches:
1) Standard/regular beam instruments
A standard beam wrench relies solely on the flex of the wrench to determine the amount of torque applied to the nut. This wrench has a long beam that connects to the wrench’s head. A scale near the handle shows the amount of torque you’re applying. When you add weight to the wrench, the beam bends dramatically, shifting the point at which it overlaps the scale. When this occurs, the new position on the scale can now read the current sum of torque you are using.
This type of design is usually low-cost and does not necessitate regular calibration or repair. It is not the best choice for a novice since they do not realize how much force is needed to tighten a fastener. It is, however, an excellent choice for a seasoned DIYer or specialist who does not wish to use the more familiar click-style torque wrench.
2) Deflecting beam tools
A deflecting beam wrench works on the same concept as a normal beam tool, but instead of the major beam bending to signify the energy, the deflecting beam shifts to calculate the power. This deflecting beam connects to the back of the tool’s head by running behind the main beam. A scale at the other end of the instrument, near the handle, displays the current force being applied.
For certain devices, this scale can be set to restrict the maximum torque that the wrench can apply. The main advantage of the deflecting beam torque wrench over the normal beam wrench is that it is more robust, enabling you to use it over longer periods of time without needing to repair the tool.
3) Split beam instruments
Another beam type is the split beam torque wrench. This form is almost similar to the deflecting beam style in appearance and functionality. It operates on the basis of two beams, with the exception that the second beam on this instrument is only partly fixed to the wrench’s head. The second beam runs parallel to the first and serves mainly to give a reading to the torque dial, which is mounted on the handle.
You can normally set the torque limit with this wrench style, so you don’t have to think about overtightening. It can also have a ‘click’ sound to signal that you have achieved the target torque stage, similar to the click-style torque wrench. This design, however, is not normal on all split beam wrenches.
- Reliable, simple and effective design for measuring the torque accurately;
- May measure the torque force in both directions;
- Can be picked for measuring torque from 0 to maximum torque;
- The accuracy of these tools is very high – up to 2%;
- It has to be watched to provide accuracy;
- Needs regular maintenance;
Are beam torque wrenches precise?
Bending-beam wrenches are naturally more precise than click torque wrenches which, until the beam becomes severely corroded, can stay accurate indefinitely or before the beam snaps. A 150 ft-lb wrench has a typical specification of +/- 2 percent of full scale, so the mistake could be 4 ft-lb at any torque.
Are split beam wrenches precise? Split beam torque wrenches, like deflector beams, do not need to be reset to their lowest setting. They are often simpler to maintain because they have fewer moving pieces. The better split beam wrenches have an accuracy level of about 2%, opposed to 4% for a clicker.
The general issue with beam-style wrenches is that precise readings necessitate careful usage. The handle must be balanced, and the needle must not be grounded, otherwise, the readings would be useless. They always outperform clickers in almost any application, and leaving the handle wrapped up would not harm them.
Which torque wrench is the most precise? After extensive testing, most car mechanics agree that the Tekton 24335 1/2 inch drive press wrench is the strongest on the market. It is a dependable wrench for tightening lug nuts on most car brands/models, with a torque scale of 10-150 ft-lb.
Who makes the best quality torque beam wrench?
There are a few things to consider when choosing a reliable beam torque wrench:
- Brand. A successful brand’s tool would be long-lasting and have precise results, while a lousy brand’s instrument can fall or become degraded quickly. Also, the best products need regular torque wrench calibration;
- Price. Torque wrenches are accessible at various price points. Others deliver additional options at a higher price, whereas some could be less expensive due to fewer features. Don’t sacrifice features for a lower price. Investing in a high-quality, feature-rich wrench would be worthwhile;
- Quality. Applying a premium torque wrench will prevent inefficiencies and save resources since it will not be easily destroyed. If you use a low-quality torque wrench, the project’s quality can suffer as well. The wrench can be quickly broken which will value more in the end;
- Materials. Wrenches’ toughness is determined by the materials they are made of. Invest in wrenches constructed of solid metallic materials so they can last longer. Plastic versions can be avoided since they are prone to breaking. You should make an educated decision after you’ve determined what job the wrench would play. Keep the above considerations in mind when you shop for the torque wrench that is ideally tailored to your needs;
Are digital torque wrenches better than beam-style instruments?
Beam tools are simple and inexpensive, but they lack some sort of indication or sensor to warn you when the target torque level has been hit. Alternatively, the wrench has a simple visual symbol and a flexing metal beam. When you turn the instrument, the beam bends, causing the sensor to move. Since it is performed by eye, having the most accurate calculation is more complex than for click-type and computer wrenches.
Electronic wrenches, also known as digital wrenches, apply a digital readout instead of a click-type system to warn you when the required level of torque is achieved. In several respects, this torque wrench blends the strongest features of both click-type and beam-style wrenches: in one package, you get a digital readout in live mode as well as an instant warning. However, advanced capabilities also bring a higher price tag.
In terms of precision, digital wrenches are generally excellent. Both digital wrenches use strain gauge technology, which is intrinsically reliable. The issue with digital tools is that they are slower and you have to pay close attention to them before operating them. They do not need to be re-calibrated as often as beam-type or click-type wrenches.
How long can beam torque wrenches last?
It is the oldest type of this instrument. Famous Craftsman beam wrenches, for example, are excellent; they can last for decades or in the very least. You don’t have to re-calibrate beam-style torque wrenches so they don’t lose their calibration. Depending on how much it’s used, you may need to adjust the pointer back to 0 now and again.
Beam devices have a longer lifespan and are more precise and stable. The disadvantage of beam types is that they are more difficult to apply in different locations.
Interesting Video: Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench Review & Comparison
As you can see, beam torque wrenches can easily fit any toolbox and serve for many years in your DIY car repair jobs. On the one hand, they are quite versatile, accurate and affordable. On the other hand, they are less stable than digital wrenches and won’t be able to deal with large bolts and nuts.