We all know how it feels when you are torquing a bolt and you hear it snap off or when you can feel it threaded over. Every time in these moments, you wish that you would have used a torque wrench to tighten it instead.
I’m sure that you can relate to at least one time this happened to you if you like to repair cars yourself. I have been working as a mechanic for over 10 years and I do still do these stupid things. I do absolutely have to learn me to use a torque wrench more than I do! However, buying a torque wrench could be pretty difficult to know which one to choose.
There are hundreds of different models out there with a lot of different types to choose from. I decided to test a few of these out and rank them in a top 8 list to simplify the purchase for you.
We have gathered a list of the best torque wrenches 2020 that are available in the market for mechanics, DIY and even hobbyists. So let’s take a look at each one of them which will help you decide which one to buy for yourself:
Best Torque Wrenches 2020
|Product||Min Torque(NM)||Max Torque(NM)||Size||Price|
|Brown Line BLD0212BM||20||200||1/2"|
|CDI Computorq 3||15||135||3/8"|
|Craftsman ½” Drive||30||340||1/2"|
1. GearWrench 85077 – Best Value
The GearWrench is at the top 1 placement on this list. That’s because it is one digital torque wrench for you which will get you accurate measurements in your mini projects. It’s got a couple of indicators to tell you that the torque you set to tighten the bolt at has been reached. Because this one doesn’t have safety slipping off when the max set torque has been reached, that’s where the indicators become important.
Often people do the error of overtightening bolts which easily ruins the thread of the bolt and the hole it’s being tightened on, after which the bolt loses its strength. GearWrench’s 85077 features a half inch electric drive. For the indicators, it has LEDs which become stable, rather than blinking, so it’s better to look at the user manual for your torque wrench, as some wrenches indicate as the opposite.
The GearWrench 85077 also offers to save your calibration and you don’t need to unwind the wrench manually. Overall, it’s a strong and sturdy digital wrench made with a good grip. Looking it this wrench’s features, it has an arc swing of 5 degrees for high usability in tight spaces and guarantees utmost accuracy during the torquing. It can display measurement units in feet, LB, kg, cm etc. The max torque limit is 250 ft lbs.
What we found a bit disappointing is that it does not measure the angle. This could be a good function to have in a lot of moments when you are torquing heads etc with the angle. However, there are better torque wrenches out there, but we put it as number 1 because the price is low and you get a lot of functions and accuracy for the money!
2. ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2″ – Price-Worth
The ACDelco has the aim in mind to manufacture and provide the best quality tools to the consumers in the market. And the company really does that. That’s how it has managed to get a good name in the market. ACDelco is known to manufacture many vehicle-related products such as tools and equipment to be used with cars. Today, ACDelco is here with it’s 4 and a half inch digital torque wrench for you in store. This time we will review the ARM601 torque wrench which is one accurate piece of a tool which can handle a torque of 99 ft. pounds max. That makes it suitable to be used with lots of different things and different applications such as on motorcycles, bicycle and other heavy mechanical units.
Coming to the usage of this tool, it’s not so difficult. You have different settings to choose from. Measuring the current torque of a bolt, setting the bolt when tightening and mode placement. The tool can give you a selection of different measurement units as you desire. If you prefer the units in KG or LB, you can simply set the wrench to display these units when torquing.
This tool also includes an LED which starts blinking when you tighten a bolt to the max torque you have selected. It even has a buzzer which beeps as the LED starts to blink so that you have two indicators when to stop torquing, preventing you from damaging the bolt and its thread. The length of 4 ½” makes it a convenient tool to use. Coming to its accuracy, it has a correction percentage of 2 in the case of rotating the wrench clockwise and a correction of 3, being rotated anti-clockwise. That makes it a solid and an accurate one to work with. You will no longer over tighten bolts and never accidentally damage the threads with the ARM601.
What we found a bit disappointing is that the torque wrench didn’t come with batteries as advertised and the fact that the minimum torque is 10 ft-lbs and not 4 ft lbs as advertised.
3. Craftsman ½” Drive Torque Wrench – Low Budget
The company’s name backs up its products. The company Craftsman is known best for its high quality, strong built and sturdy products. It does not matter at all for Craftsman what type of a job it is. Whether big or small, it works to provide accuracy with its tools in every situation. This makes it a reliable brand to own the tools of. The Craftman’s half-inch Digi-click wrench is built to deliver exactly as per the company’s claims. It features a half-inch torque force, making count every rotation the wrench makes. In terms of the strength, this tool manages a max of 250-pound torquing ability which shows it’s a wrench which can be used professionally and with major jobs.
If you are looking for a cheap torque wrench, this could be your choice. This works well with easier tasks, but if you are going to torque tougher bolts and use it a lot, I do actually recommend to get a better one. This is a budget variant and should be taken in mind when you are purchasing your torque wrench.
The Craftsman can display a variety of different measurement units as per your choice or convenience and all that can be done using just one button. In terms of design, it’s made to be ergonomic and features rubber gripping so it does not slip off of your hand during its use. As a whole, the tool is nicely constructed with a good design with good grip and high accuracy. It’s a tool to have if you plan to use it professionally.
4. CDI Computorq 3 3/8″- Professional
This is the electric torque wrench you should have if you are using the torque wrench in extreme situations like workshops etc. The price is pretty high, but you will get a torque wrench that will have the highest precision and long life-time. In this review, we are reviewing the 3/8″ torque wrench, but you can choose between 1/2″, 3/4″ and 3/8″ depending on in what situations you are going to use it.
Ideal for both home usage and professional usage, the CDI Computorq 3 features a 15-diploma flex ratcheting head in addition to the capacity to show values in any of four distinct units. The lithium-ion batteries assist to extend its working life. The 3/8″ that we reviewed had a torque range between 10-100 ft-lbs, which is enough for the most situations. But if you want a torque wrench that can tighten bigger bolts, you can choose the 1/2″ variant, which can torque 25-250 ft lbs, which will most likely be enough for any work on your car.
A torque wrench for workshops and people that want a high accurancy torque wrench and are ready to spend some bucks more for it.
5. Topeak D-Torq 3/8″ – Good for Bicycles
The Topeak D-Torq wrench is made up of high quality hardened steel compounds. It can be rotated in both directions and is equipped with a flexible head to an extent to give you high usability of the tool.
Since it’s a small tool, it’s mostly used in applications with minor torque requirements such as bicycles and other small jobs. It contains a buzzer to inform you of the max torque reached. You can choose between two different and it’s either the bits (D-Torq) or 3/8″ square drive. D-Torq range is 1-20Nm, and the D-Torq DX range is 8-80Nm. the D-Torq Torque wrench is 7.5″ long and the D-Torq DX is 13.1″ long.
As it’s such a light-tool, it’s recommended to not buy this if you are looking for a torque wrench for heavier tasks on your car. This torque wrench is made to repair bicycles and other light vehicles.
6. Checkline DTW-625F 3/4″- Trucks/Heavy Wrench
The Checkline’s DTW-625F is aimed to be used in car applications, in mechanical businesses and even by many DIY people with small projects. It is adjustable to display measurements in kilos, meters and other basic units as per your requirements. The torque wrench is really high quality and is a really heavy duty. You do not have to care that the torque max limit would be reached. This torque wrench has a maximum torque of 625 ft lbs or 850 nm, which is actually incredible.
The Checkline DTW-625F may be adjusted to show real-time and height torque values in foot-pounds, inch-kilos, or newton-meters, depending for your needs.
Not much is said about Brown Line as it’s not as well-known as the other brands out there. But after we used it, we can say that it was actually above our expectations. It may be a small tool but nonetheless built strong and rigid, made of a strong alloy material.
The feeling itself when you are grabbing the torque wrench is a positive feeling. It feels the really high quality and the handle is comfortable with a non-slip grip. The torque wrench uses a large backlit display and the weight of the torque wrench is very light only 4.5 pounds.
Rest assured about its accuracy and durability. What we found a bit disappointing was that you have to reset it after you use it. It’s also not possible to repeat the torquing a several times as you have to set it after each time. It may be a good wrench for hobbyist and DIY people that are looking for a less expensive torque wrench.
8. ACDelco ARM303 1/2″ – Long-Shaft
Another one of ACDelco’s wrenches, the ARM303 has a backlit LCD so that you can read it properly without having to squint it can be rotated in clockwise and anti-clockwise making it convenient to use in tight situations and mostly in cars where there isn’t a lot of working space.
It shows battery status and other basic options to select from. It has a built-in buzzer and a vibrator which works as you get to the max torque you set to let you know.
The only bad thing we found about this product is the long startup time. It takes over a minuter to get this thing started, which may not suit well for workshops that have to do jobs as fast as possible and may not suit if you are a stressed person. Overall, it’s a good torque with the most functions that you need.
What Are A Torque Wrench?
Torque wrenches are one of those main tools which are required to tighten bolts of various strengths to the torque which is critical in many applications such as in cars, mechanical contraptions and the likes. Torque wrenches are one of the most important tools in the field of engineering. And not just engineering, but it is used by plumbers, engineers, industrial site workers and more. The thing about wrenches is that it’s to tighten bolts. These wrenches come in various different sizes and shapes so that it suits the situation or area of use. For example, a wrench may need to be straight without any bends, known as the simple wrench, to work on a car. As there isn’t enough room in a car, other wrenches which may be larger in size wouldn’t fit inside and there may not be enough space to operate the wrench. In case of industrial use, wrenches need to be larger to suit larger bolts. Also, it’s wise to use accurate wrench sizes when working so that one doesn’t damage the bolt heads.
In addition to these, there come torque wrenches. These serve a more specific purpose. In certain situations and usage, the bolts need to be tightened to a certain specific amount for them to do their job properly. If these bolts are tightened too much, the chances are that the place or area where they are being used may get damaged, or the thread of the bolts may get damaged. To prevent this, torque wrenches are used.
So this is where torque wrenches come into use. They can be set to a specific torque setting and upon tightening it, once the torque pressure on the bolt is achieved, further tightening will have the wrench slips on the bolt preventing it from getting tightened even more.
In Earlier times, torque wrenches were simple. But with the advancements in tools, even torque wrenches saw digitalization. Torque wrenches too became digital and started coming with a screen and setting to easily view the current torque on the LCD and set the desired torque as well. This helped a lot of people from making errors while working as, accidentally tightening bolts too or leaving them a bit loose which would also be not good in specific situations. So in this article, we will be talking particularly about digital torque wrenches.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Torque Wrench
We have gathered 7 points for you to consider before you go out to get a digital torque wrench for yourself. Knowing this will help you choose a quality product that you won’t be disappointed in.
1. The Grip
The grip is just as important as the other aspects. It is very important that one is able to properly hold and grip the wrench as firmly as possible. Also, comfort is important as, during working with wrenches, the wrenches shouldn’t cause discomfort to the hands. A good wrench has an ergonomic design and has a rubber grip on the holding part.
2. Max and min torque
This is probably one of the most important steps when you are purchasing the torque wrench. What are you going to use it for? Smaller torque wrenches may have a low max torque of under 100 ft lbs, which may not be enough in a lot of situations. If you are purchasing a heavy-duty torque wrench that can torque over 250 nm, it may not be possible to torque lesser than ~20 ft lbs. So you have to consider what you are going to use it for and choose a torque wrench suitable for your projects.
3. The accuracy of the wrench
Accuracy is one of the main aspects of a torque wrench as the main purpose of it is to use it to tighten bolts to a specific torque pressure so that the bolts don’t get damaged. If a bolt is done too tightly, the chances are high of ruining the thread of the bolts which cannot be fixed. That will render the bolts useless.
4. Different head designs for the wrench
Different head designs are for different situations and area of use. Although, wrenches come in use in most conditions so it’s wise to get various head designs when you are getting to buy one so that you have the right head design in a particular situation and you don’t have to again head out to get the right one for the job.
5. Materials used to make the wrench
Materials determine the quality of a wrench. If low-quality materials are used, the wrench will not survive for much longer. And since the main use of wrenches is in heavy-duty applications, wrenches need to be made up of strong and forged steel so that the strength remains intact for mostly the lifetime of the tool itself.
6. The Ratchet on the wrench
The plain wrenches are absolutely manual without any moving parts inside. They need to be guided to unscrew and screw the bolts likewise, requiring the user to use both motions, clockwise and anti-clockwise. But torque wrenches have the feature of being operated in both directions without manually needing to take the wrench off of the bolt and setting it on it again. This allows the user to have more usability of the wrench and makes the job easier.
7. Wrench’s quality in terms of cost
Well-known brands offer a warranty on their wrenches because they are confident that their product is of high quality and wouldn’t fail so quickly. In fact, wrenches are made to last forever since they are made with heavy materials like steel and aluminium. So it’s better to get a wrench from a well-known brand which will assure you that the tool is backed up so you know that your money doesn’t go to waste. Not just that but also, high quality ensures high accuracy and overall good use of the wrench. With that, you’ll have a tool you’ll be using for most of your jobs.
Why do I need one?
It is extremely important to tighten specific bolts to specific torques because if a bolt is tightened too tight or not as tight as its torque requirement, it could either damage the surface on which it’s being applied or come loose if not done properly. Take the example of its application in vehicles. A car’s oil sump tank located under the front of the car has 8 to 10 bolts depending on the car. These bolts are tightened to a specific torque setting. Why is that important? It’s important because there’s a rubber seal in between the engine and the oil sump’s edges which seals it from oil leaking out.
Let’s say if one tightened the bolts on the oil sump too tight not as per the torque requirement, then there’s a change the excessive force by the bolts could bend the edge and even tear the seal which would have the oil leak. In the case, if one tightens the bolt, not excessively but a little loose than the torque setting needed, there’s a change the bolts coming loose because of constant vibration when the car moves. In that case, also, the oil will leak as at some point, one or more bolts may come off altogether as a result of vibration.
Calibration in the torque wrenches
If you belong to the mechanical field, then you definitely know how important it is to properly calibrate the wrench to get the results you need. In such situations, calibration becomes a common thing. If you do work in a technical field, you probably know how to calibrate but if you aren’t, then the manual provided by wrenches should tell you all about how to calibrate your tool. In some situations you cannot do it yourself without special tools, then you have to send it back to the manufacturer and let them calibrate the torque wrench.
To conclude, torque wrenches can really be important in terms of accuracy and area of use. In the mechanical field, accuracy is one of the most critical aspects. It’s a simple case with anything. Taking the example of something other than torque wrenches, if you are tightening the screws on your laptop, if you over tighten them, you will break the screw base. Leaving it loose will eventually cause the screw to fall off and end up with your laptop housing hanging open. But that’s on a small scale.
Wrench applications such as on cars and other heavy machinery become important as we discussed earlier. The heavy a component is, vibration will tend to shake off the nuts and bolts on it. Tightening them to the correct torque is what ensures that the bolts don’t budge and keep the structure intact and also bear the vibrations.
Hopefully, with this help of our list, you will not have a hard time selecting the one torque wrench that suits your application and budget.