Choose the Best Digital Torque Wrench
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Digital Torque Wrenches
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To get the right level of torque when repairing bicycles, cars or motorcycles, you need to invest in a torque wrench. It is better to use a digital type of this instrument. Such tools are more accurate and easier to use than most manual wrenches. You can use these instruments even at night because bright LED displays can show easy-to-read markings.
Also, only such tools offer alert systems with beeping sounds to tell you when you reached the torque level.
The most important features to check when picking top-notch digital torque wrenches:
- Comfy handle grip – to tighten the nuts and bolts of your car/bike/motorcycle the hand should not slip. To prevent hands from blisters, consider picking the tools with comfortable handle grips;
- The measurement unit – torque wrenches are measured on the metric, imperial or both systems;
- The suitable type of batteries – all digital wrenches should be portable. That is why they work off the batteries. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before buying spare batteries;
If you have doubts about digital torque wrenches, check the following reviews with pros and cons. Also, make sure to compare 5 digital tools in this category. The buying guide will help to select the best instruments to measure and apply torque.
Table of Contents
ACDelco Tools ARM60 Wrench – the best for calibration!
The wrench comes with three AAA Lithium-ion batteries.
Instead of manual click-drive torque wrenches, this gadget has a buzzer alarm to warn you when the preset value is reached.
This digital torque wrench has many preset functions – Mode settings, Peak & Trace, Measurement and Torque. You may lay the tool on any flat surface and finish the auto angle calibration – this is called the Angle Measuring Function. This multi-purpose instrument can become an irreplaceable wrench for car mechanics.
GEARWRENCH 85077 Electronic Wrench – the best for design!
This 1/2-inch instrument is supplied in a molded case. You will be able to tighten fasteners in poorly lit and narrow spaces.
ACDelco ARM601-3 Digital Wrench – the best for portability!
In addition to this advanced technology, the digital torque wrench comes with many preset options – Mode Settings, Peak and Trace, Measurement and Torque.
This instrument offers a professional approach. It can be used any time when you need to tighten the screws and bolts of cars, motorcycles and bikes.
BLACKMAX BTLDTW Electronic Wrench – the best for display!
Its average battery life is 96 hours.
This BlackMax electronic torque wrench is recommended for professional technicians and car mechanics. This tool has the system preventing the over-tightening of the bolts and screws.
Brown Line Metalworks Digital Wrench – the best for functions!
You may easily switch between different measurement systems – feet/pounds, inch/pounds, and nanometer. This instrument is very durable and rust-resistant because the body is made from chromium/vanadium alloy.
The Buyer’s Guide
Being the owner of TorqueWrenchGuide for a few years already, I’m aware there is a bunch of professional and semi-professional digital torque wrenches in the U.S. market. To prevent you from buying the wrong tool. It is not always clear what instruments are awesome, and what is real junk. I’ve tried to compile the great review being as unbiased as possible. My results are based on multiple tests of the best torque wrenches with digital options.
The buyer’s guide for the readers of TorgueWrenchGuide:
- Torque range – most tools are quite accurate, from 20% to 100%, the digital screen will max out the range;
- Digital features – do not apply the old click system, it is not worth spending money. There are new and better tools, so opt for them: bright LED lights, digital alarms, vibrating handles;
- Peak vs. trace – peak models define the highest range of torque. While a trace reflects a torque moment the particular moment;
The torque wrenches with digital features that I personally tested and used:
- ACDelco ARM601-4 includes LED alarm, with a smart accuracy range;
- GEARWRENCH 85077 contains a long handle, the accuracy is a bit false;
- CPS BLACKMAX – has an impressive jaw opening, with LED alerts;
My advice also expands for more U.S. brands – Brown Line Metalworks and ACDelco.
Digital wrenches typically do not differ in size. The most popular square head sizes are still
1/4”, 3/8” or 1/2”, depending on the needs. Most wrenches come with socket adapters so you may invest in the all-in-one instrument for different jobs.
The one thing you should remember: For larger screws and bolts, you may want to pick the large instrument because such tools provide a higher torque level.
Since wrenches of this type have to go through a high level of tension all the time, it is essential to invest in the instrument with an exceptional quality of the build. Buying cheap gadgets can result in inaccurate reading and even tool damage.
On the contrary, expensive wrenches are made of top-notch materials like different metal alloys – in most cases, they are made of steel, vanadium or aluminum. Check the reviews to find out what materials were used for making a particular instrument.
Only digital torque wrenches have an LCD screen. This is definitely one of the best things in such tools. If you have poor eyesight or have to work in poorly lit rooms then it can be hard to read the markings on manual instruments. But thanks to the LCD screen with flashing and backlit options you won’t have to deal with these issues anymore.
You may want to check the display of a wrench before buying because its size should be not small. The font size also should be as large as possible. Most experts recommend buying the wrenches with a digital display above the handle to let a backlit indicator flash in dark areas.
Almost all digital wrenches have a number of useful extra features. Consider choosing the gadget with such options:
- Target torque – thanks to this feature, you may set the desired torque range;
- The alert system – it can be profound. Most alerts systems have a vibrating handle and beeping sounds. LED lighting is flashing;
- Trace mode – a real-time indicator of the current applied torque;
- Peak mode – the maximum torque level is achieved;
The last but not least important feature to look for when you purchase such torque wrenches. Most digital gadgets can’t boast a very accurate rating under 20% of their torque capacity. If you need an instrument for small jobs, consider setting the pressure over 20 foot-pounds to get a correct reading on an LCD screen.
Otherwise, such wrenches tend to be the most accurate tools in this category. You may want to look for the instruments calibrated to 3%-accuracy level or higher. Also, keep in mind that most tools can turn both in clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
Digital Torque Wrenches FAQ
Why are digital torque wrenches good?
Most notably, they’re far more reliable than click-type or beam torque wrenches, so digital is the way to go if you want the most precise tool.
According to this post, digital wrenches are unquestionably precise devices. Their more fragile construction, on the other side, necessitates extra caution while treating. They, too, need batteries to function.
Pre-calibrated digital wrenches are available. Some instruments let you program different torque levels so you can go from one daily job to another with a single button press.
Besides accuracy and calibration, digital wrenches offer such advantages in the long run:
- No airline or power cord is required;
- Can offer electronic features unlike pneumatic tools;
- Multiple digital features as LED beeping and lighting, peak/trace modes, a vibrating handle;
- Flex heads;
In addition to the above listed digital torque wrenches, consider these tools if you seek reliability:
- eTork EC3250 digital wrench with the “click-style” design;
- Gearwrench ½-inch wrench with a flex head;
- ACDelco ARM601-3 wrench with a 3/8-inch size;
- Summit Tool UltraPrecision is recognized for accuracy;
What type of torque wrench is most accurate?
Dial-type wrenches are widely regarded as one of the most precise torque wrenches available. The dial-style wrench is the only instrument the final reading of which is unaffected by the handhold location.
If precision is important to you, digital wrenches can be the best option. They are highly accurate and can assist you in working with the highest precision.
Few tips on how to look after your most precise tool:
- Dumping the wrench from a height is not a good idea. The wrench would lose its calibration if you do so;
- Never add more force than a fastener can handle. The wrench can pop out of its original form if you exert too much force;
- Never use a wrench to strike something;
- Try recalibrating it once a year for optimal results;
- To stop corrosion, store a tool in a dry place. It’s best to have it in a carrying bag.
- Hold it on the lowest setting when saving it after use. It will allow you to hold your wrench calibrated for a longer period of time;
- Consider having the tool serviced after the required number of cycles;
- It should be cleaned with a cloth on a daily basis, and toxins should be avoided;
What happens if you don’t use a digital torque wrench?
Torque wrenches can seem to be an unnecessary pleasure, but they have a very precise and critical purpose. They are adaptable instruments that can be used in a variety of situations. Changing rims is the most popular and widespread use for a torque wrench. You may use torque wrenches to tighten lug nuts without scratching the bottom.
This is particularly true for light metals like aluminum, which are quickly scratched and dented. Torque wrenches are often useful for adjusting bolt pulleys, bearings, and sealing the connecting surface between a gasket and a crush plate, among other things.
Torque specifications exist on virtually every nut and bolt on your engine, despite the fact that they are often ignored. If you’re attaching a bolt, it has a fixed pressure at which it can be twisted, regardless of the job or repair. Not meeting torque specs isn’t a major deal in certain parts of the vehicle; nevertheless, torque specs are critical for some projects.
Here is why you should invest in digital wrenches:
- These instruments provide a balanced rotation of a component related to its axis. Think of wheels, flywheels and a drive shaft;
- These are required to tighten a center-locking nut in rotating components. For example, wheel bearing, pulleys, fans;
- They prevent the damage of a mating surface between components and the mounting surface;
Examples of issues you may have without a torque wrench:
- Since all lug nuts were not adjusted to the same specs, a tire that is not aligned would be minutely angled, creating an in and out wiggle that will unnecessarily wear the tire as well as the tie rods, ball joints, and brakes;
- Overtightening a core nut on a spinning component of your vehicle may cause drag, prematurely wearing materials, and producing unnecessary friction, which can result in heat disruption, warping, and resistance;
- If one pulley has more resistance than the other pulley, the belt or chain may wear out earlier than anticipated. If the seal is not finished level while sealing, the seal will stay at first, but it will be short-lived;
Torque wrenches, in a nutshell, make consistent tightening in an application to extend its existence and improve its performance.
Do all torque wrenches click?
Torque wrenches have a spring-loaded lever that can be adjusted. When using the wrench, you rotate the wrench handle to set the required torque reading. The torque control mechanism of the wrench will be “activated” when the appropriate torque is hit, and the operator will hear a simple click sound. If you hear this “press” without first moving the wrench, the application has already been overtightened.
This “click” sound is not produced by all wrenches. Other warning mechanisms, such as a digital reading or a loud beep or sound, are included on most digital wrenches.
However, in small spaces where reading a scale or signal isn’t practical, such as in automotive applications, certain digital torque wrenches may be challenging to use. You should use a click wrench in these cases so it can be adjusted to a precise torque degree.
What is a good cheap digital torque wrench?
Digital wrenches are the most expensive tools in this category. You should invest at least $100 to buy a durable digital wrench that may serve for many years. However, there are a few cheap options with good user feedback. For example, consider buying the budget-friendly ACDelco ARM601-3 3/8-inch (up to 37 foot-pounds) instrument with a buzzer and LED indicator. It should be made according to ISO 6789 standards with a calibration certificate.
Can you rent a digital torque wrench?
Since premium digital instruments are quite expensive and most users do not apply them daily, it is reasonable to think about rent options instead of buying. For example, the AutoZone service offers to loan a digital wrench with an option to buy it if required.
Video Tutorial: GearWrench Electronic Torque Wrench 3/8″ Video Review
Still don’t know what wrench to choose? You may check the detailed review of these 5 top-notch instruments. Test before using and carefully pick the extra features when investing money in a digital torque wrench. Sometimes overpaying is not worthy at all. But if you do heavy-duty jobs often, you won’t manage without a multi-purpose wrench with an LCD screen and a great accuracy level.