What’s the difference between one torque wrench and another? Are they all the same? Prices vary so dramatically but so does the design of it. So what’s the better choice? Well it really does depend on what you need it for and who you are – a professional, amateur or professional amateur. Then you have to consider what brand do you go with and can you get away with something from Supercheap or do you need to go with Snap-On.
On top of that, it also comes to what type of torque wrench you want – beam/deflection, digital, click, slipper, or dial indicator. As a former professional grease monkey technician guy, I had a combination of click for 1/2” and dual signal deflecting beam for my 3/8”. The big boy was for my standard use for wheel nuts, underbody bolts on cars including subframes and loosening head bolts and other big bolts. The 3/8 drive deflecting beam was used for more finer work that didn’t need high torque but consistent reliable readings. Anything that needed exact readings I was lucky enough to have access to a digital torque wrench. If I hadn’t, I would invest in a larger and smaller dual signal deflecting beam torque wrench.
Warren & Brown make a fantastic torque wrench that is clean in design, simple in use and accurate in function. It is also rather nicely weighted and feels great in your hand. The knurled chrome feels great in the hand. Very tactile and almost looking for a reason to use it. That ‘click’ is a bit satisfying. Hey! Don’t judge until you try it. If ASMR was a thing back in 2008 then yes, this would be that… As always it’s more personal preference than anything and on top of that, it’s also how you were taught and who taught you. New school technician loves the digital torque wrenches and why not just sign up to $50/week for the rest of your life to afford one? Old school guys love the deflection beam as it’s reliable, accurate and easy to use.
What should you buy if you are doing work at home? Simply the best you can afford. But don’t go cheap. Cheap isn’t guaranteed to be accurate, so you should get it calibrated, but that costs as much as a torque wrench and sometimes even more. So I’ve been recommending apprentices to start with the Warren & Brown deflection series. They aren’t cheap but they aren’t expensive either. Plus they did have a gold edition which I personally wish I needed it so I could buy it. I didn’t need it and couldn’t justify it but check it out.
My standard torque wrench is what the majority of techs and amateur techs use. So long as you don’t go too cheap. Accuracy is important. It’s something said over and over but it really is. I like the one I have as it’s weighted well and has been calibrated easily with nearly no adjustments required. It’s about 8 years over due for another calibration, but I don’t use it for its precision these days. Plus my elbow/shoulder click is pretty accurate these days… ‘click’..