What Is a Torque Wrench? – Introduction To Torque Wrenches
A torque wrench is a tool that allows users to accurately and appropriately tighten a fastener to the specified torque. At first, you may simply assume that it’s just like any other ordinary wrench but a closer look shows otherwise; it’s bigger in size, and you may conclude it’s used to loosen really hard bolts. But that’s not its purpose; you use a torque wrench to tighten a bolt to a specific level of tightness. This tool comes in handy for premium cars, SUVs, coupes, vans, motorcycles, and trucks. However, before you buy, you need to know how to use a torque wrench properly to avoid damaging it or stripping off a bolt.
Before you tighten your bolt, make sure that you know the specified ft-lbs. Also, make sure your bolt is aligned properly and not at an angle to avoid stripping the threads. After confirming these two things, tighten up the bolt using your hand, if applicable, before ratcheting it with your wrench. After reaching the specified ft-lbs, the torque wrench will make a clicking sound to let you know that the torque has been reached.
Things To Look For Before Purchasing
To ensure durability and value for your money, you need to buy a quality torque wrench. You don’t need to buy the most expensive or super cheap ones; price shouldn’t be your only consideration. Before we dive into the top rated torque wrenches, let’s fast look at some of the factors you need to consider when buying a torque wrench for your car.
Construction and Size– a torque wrench should be solid and have a fine finish to impact on the life of the tool. Size is also a crucial consideration because you don’t need a torque wrench that’s too big. However, a large wrench may be suitable if you’re dealing with trucks, but it might not be applicable for those with salon cars and motorcycles.
Performance- Manufacturers only disclose plenty of technical details of the torque wrench, but they don’t reveal how the tool is working in the real world. That’s why it’s important to check the reviews and ratings of the product before buying it. However, we’ve taken this factor into consideration when reviewing torque wrenches on this list.
Features- most torque wrenches offer measurement systems, including Newton meters and foot pounds. Also, with the advent of modern torque wrenches that are digitalized, you need to check other additional features. For instance, choose a torque wrench that has clear visibility; save yourself some headache and pick the one that is easy to set and read.
Grip- always look for a tool that ensures an easy grip. Remember that you’ll be working when your hands are slippery due to oils and other engine fluids, and a slippery torque wrench can be frustrating.
5 Best Torque Wrenches For The Money On The Current Market
#1 CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch Drive Metal Handle Click Type Torque Wrench Review
The CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch torque wrench boasts excellent durability and features outstanding craftsmanship. The dual scale can be calibrated in both directions being accurate at 4 percent CCW, 3 percent CW of the displayed value. Measurements are provided for both Newton-meter and foot-pound, each calibrated on both sides of the handle. This torque is both easy to read and set up as the scales are laser marked and come with quick release buttons to allow simple socket removal and socket retention. Its nice knurling ensures better grips thereby preventing any slippage.
CDI 1002MFRMH 3/8-Inch ratchet head has forward, reverse, and center lock setting. The click notification is precise and easy to hear. Manufacturers of CDI torque wrench has a stellar customer support desk to answer all your questions. It’s worth mentioning that the accuracy of this CDI torque wrench is certified by N.I.S.T. This certification gives users peace of mind that whatever they are buying is easy to use and clean, durable and extremely accurate.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a torque wrench to carry light to medium duty application jobs, then CDI torque wrench is a perfect choice. The only drawback to this durable and effective tool is its price tag which is quite higher than most torque wrenches on the market.
It has an outstanding rating of 4.7 stars and has been reviewed by close to 400 customers.
#2 Snap-On Industrial Brand CDI 1/2 Inch Torque Wrench Review
CDI is a respected brand in making torque wrenches having manufactured some of the top torque wrenches on the market. This time, they’ve pulled out another torque wrench that ensures your needs are met and exceeded. Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque incorporates easy to use technology both in its features and design. For starters, this torque wrench can be read in two directions while working. It has great accuracy averaging a tolerance of plus or minus 4 percent. Its ergonomic design makes it convenient and easy to use.
This CDI torque drive adjustable micrometer torque wrench is fitted with a dual scale that’s calibrated to make reading and setting it easier. The digitalized technology used to construct this torque wrench ensures that you get very accurate and precise readings. For instance, it has laser calibrated scales for easy reading. It also features a positive lock with a spring-loaded pull-down lock ring. The quick release buttons makes it very quick to set up. It also has ergonomic buttons and grip with good socket retention making it effective.
Among the outstanding features of Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque include;
– Laser marked, single scale
– A positive lock that has a pull-down lock ring that is spring loaded
– A two-directional calibrated dual scale
– Quick release buttons for easy and fast socket retention and set up
This CDI torque wrench is suitable for everyone; whether you are a seasoned professional or DIY person. It will be an inexpensive addition to your tool box.
One drawback of this torque wrench is that most people do not like its plastic handle as they find it very slippery and uncomfortable. However, with gloves, you increase its grip.
If you’re looking for a torque wrench that’s reliable when calibrating to the appropriate torque, then this wrench will be a suitable fit for you. Compared to other brands, Snap-on Industrial Brand CDI Torque is an inexpensive and high-quality tool which makes it one of the top rated torque wrenches.
#3 TEKTON 24335 1/2-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Review
Tekton is one of the respected brand manufacturing some of the top rated torque wrenches that has built its reputation. They make torque wrenches, measurement equipment, and calibration equipment. Among their top products at the moment is TEKTON 24335. This torque wrench is a budget friendly tool that comes with a wide range of blending features to ensure that you get the highest precision when tightening the bolts.
This Tekton model is very easy to read even in dim light and will also last for a very long time thanks to its solid construction. Its knurled handle ensures a firm grip. It has been made with durable iron that has a corrosive resistant finish.
In a nutshell, here are some of the outstanding features of TEKTON 24335;
This must-have torque wrench boast the following features;
– It has easy to read dual scale that’s visible even in low light thanks to the high contrast feature fitted in this tool
– It has an auditory and tactile feature that allows one to know when you reach torque value; it will produce a clicking sound when you reach the specified torque.
– Its solid construction has a corrosion-resistant finish that makes it durable.
– It has a knurled handle to provide extra grip.
If you are looking for an inexpensive and solid torque wrench that will offer long-term service, then TEKTON 24335 is the ideal choice for you. It’s for people who are looking for an accurate and long lasting tool for tightening bolts and nuts. It will be a suitable tool for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
One drawback of TEKTON 24335 is that it has quite a complicated procedure to set up; therefore, you’ll need to read its entire manual to understand how its set up and operated.
Overall, this tool from Tekton is one of the highest quality torque wrenches. It’s inexpensive and has a solid construction. It’s a great addition to your tool rack or toolbox at home.
#4 Precision Instruments Prec3fr250f Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench with Flex Head Review
One of the key factors to consider when buying a torque wrench is precision because when adjusting bolts, you’ll need to get the right ranges so that they don’t get too loose or too tight. If they get too loose, they might come off while making them too tight will damage their threads; therefore you have to know the right trench for each bolt. To achieve this, you need the right tool, and that’s Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F torque wrench.
Just like the name indicates, Precision Instruments is one of the respected brands in the torque wrenches industry having manufactured various torque wrenches that has been received well by consumers. At the top of its list is Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F. This tool is quite different from the rest as it has no calibration. Also, it has higher speeds thanks to the spring-loaded mechanism used on it. You can take advantage of its long nature to get more leverage out of this torque wrench.
It’s one of the longest torque wrenches but also one of the easiest to use. The wrench incorporates modernized technology to ensure top accuracy.
Some of its outstanding features include;
– It doesn’t require recalibration after use
– You can set locks when calibrating it to a specified torque
– Its added length adds leverage when wrenching and also increases reach.
– It has an adjustment knob that reduces spring tension which makes adjustment swift and easy
– The incorporation of an innovative torque mechanism guarantee efficiency and speed which means that you’ll only need a little effort to get everything going.
The Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F torque wrench is ideal for both home and professional use. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive wrench, then this model is your perfect too. It’s also very easy to set up and use. It’s ideal for both heavy and light use.
The only drawback to Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F torque wrench is that it only works in a clockwise direction, and hence not very suitable for left-handers.
Overall, if you’re looking for an easy to use and convenient torque wrench, then Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F torque wrench is a good fit for you. This tool has all that it takes to be the best torque wrench on the market at the moment.
The Tekton 24325 3/8- Inch torque wrench is an upgrade from Tekton 24325. It’s one of the best mid-range torque wrenches on the market in 2017. It not only does an excellent job of preventing over-tightening issues when assembling parts of machines.
The Tekton 24325 3/8-Inch torque wrench works on a click type basis meaning that you’ll get an audible click when it reaches the pre-set torque value. Any pressure tightening beyond this point could damage the bolts or lug nuts. This is an amazing safety feature.
Other outstanding features of the Tekton 24325 3/8-Inch torque wrench include;
Besides having 3/8-inch drive torque wrench, this device comes with a storage box, detailed instructional manual, as well as a torque conversion sheet to help you convert of meter/Newton to pound/inch or vice versa.
– The handle has knurled texture thereby giving it a strong grip for steady work
– It gives you an audible click to let you know the right time to stop.
– This wrench has a solid body with a full steel finish that has corrosion resistant touches; this makes it highly durable.
– It has dual range scales that are incredibly precise; they are also viewable even in dim light settings.
– Its head is made of chrome vanadium steel enabling it to work as a ratchet.
From passenger vehicles such as cars to lightweight trucks, the Tekton 24325 3/8-Inch torque wrench is a mechanic’s best tool not to mention how useful it can to be to a DIY enthusiast. It’s incredibly easy to use and helps to accurately tighten fasteners to get the engine in question in ship shape.
The only major drawback with The Tekton 24325 3/8-Inch torque wrench is that it can have a defect in lock nut; this means that if the handle and torque settings are not locked down, you can have performance issues. Therefore, you have to read its manual carefully to know how to set up this tool.
Overall, it is a quality torque wrench that is ideal for use in workshops, garages, and automotive repair centers.
THE FINAL THOUGHTS ON TORQUE WRENCHES
Investing in torque wrench is one of the most important purchase decision you can make when it comes to automotive tools. Our picks for the best torque wrenches in 2017 doesn’t require you to break the bank in order to acquire them. There’s no need to do further research as all the above torque wrenches have been tried, tested, and proven to be best in their work. Make the purchase today and add a new tool to your tool rack.