You must have used a torque wrench once in your life if you own a car or love small DIY tasks. It helps to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts by using the torque mechanism. Do you know there are several types of torque wrenches available in the market? They are different in terms of sizes and designs and commonly being used in the automobile industry.
What type of torque wrench is the best? The answer to this question isn’t very simple as it depends on the work nature and the amount of torque you require. Each type has the same basic capabilities as they work on the same mechanism. However, you can choose a certain type of torque wrench for a specific project to make things easier for you.
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Torque Wrench – How It Works?
Torque wrenches work on the simple mechanism of torque as they are designed to measure the amount of torque produced by the applied force. The amount of torque depends on the amount of force you apply on the handle of the torque wrench. Usually, torque wrenches two systems, i.e. deflection beam system or calibrated spring system.
You can set the required amount of torque by using the mechanism built into the system and get to know about the desired torque is reached with an audible click sound or by checking the scale. Torque is measured in two different units. In imperial, it’s measured in ft-lb while the Newton-meters unit is used in the metric system.
Benefits of Torque Wrenches
What kind of torque wrench to buy? Why do you need the best type of torque wrench? When you have the right size or style of the torque wrench, you can work more efficiently. It helps you to apply the required force and prevents the screw or nut from getting overtightened. An overtightened screw increases the risks of damage and affects the braking system and leads to premature brake wear. On contrary, a too loose screw or nut can fall off easily and trigger a fatal accident while driving.
Torque Wrench Sizes
Torque wrench sizes are various and one should consider it to get the best from the tool. You categorize all the types of tools into four categories, 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and one inch. Every type of torque wrench is designed to perform some specific tasks which we are going to describe one by one.
This is the largest size of the torque wrench available in the market. It’s used to open nuts and bolts of large trucks and large vehicles. 1-inch torque wrenches also have a little use in the construction field.
1/2 Inch Torque Wrench
This is the most commonly used type that is ideal for installing lug nuts and vehicle suspensions. They are easy to use and compatible with various types of vehicles.
3/8 Inch Torque Wrench
It’s another common torque wrench type. This small size torque wrench is used for tightening spark plugs and socket sets.
1/4 Inch Torque Wrench
The 1/4 inch torque wrench is the smallest size of the torque wrench. This type of torque wrench has several uses. For instance, it’s handy for small electronic devices and used in the repair and manufacturing of ACs and refrigerators. It’s also the best option for small vehicles, cars, and motorcycles.
Torque Wrenches – Types & Utility
When someone plans to buy a torque wrench, several questions come into the mind. What is the best type of torque wrench? What are torque wrench types? How many types of torque wrenches are there? We have decided to give answers to your question by describing all the types, their uses, and downsides. So, you can decide the best one for your project.
1. Click Torque Wrench
Click type torque wrench is the most popular type of torque wrenches available in the market. It uses a clutch mechanism and the most common form of clutch used in click torque wrench is a spring and a ball detent. The purpose of the spring is to detect the preset amount of force and release the ball detent. Once the required amount of torque is achieved, the torque wrench produces a click sound. That’s why it’s named as a click torque wrench.
This is one of the best types that offers outstanding precision. It allows the user to preset the value of the torque. You can hear the sound of the click and stop applying further force. Modern click torque wrenches are affordable and useful for different types of tasks. Another plus point of this torque wrench is its easy usage that doesn’t require any training.
Click type tools are best for all sorts of vehicles including cars, buses, motorcycles, and bicycles. You can also use them for small DIY projects and mechanical tasks. Easy to read scale, pre calibration, simple to use, and reversible switch are some additional features you get when you choose a torque wrench manufactured by a good brand.
Over-tightening is a common problem of the click torque wrench. It doesn’t lock the drive and keeps tightening the screw if you keep applying the force. You have to be very careful in the use of the torque wrench and should never miss the click sound.
2. Slipper Torque Wrench
The slip type is another type on our list. It consists of two parts, i.e. a cam and a ball. The roller exerts some force on the cam and locks it in the place when a sufficient amount of torque is achieved. If you try to apply more force, the cam slips off and never produces further torque. That’s why it’s named as a slipper torque wrench. The function and usage of the clipper torque wrench are quite simple and easy which means everyone can use it without any assistance.
Torque wrench sizes and types determine the accuracy of the work. If you choose a slipper torque wrench, then you don’t have to worry about tightening the screw. Once the desired torque is achieved, the torque wrench stops turning further even if the further force is applied. It means the chances of damage are the minimum and you don’t have to worry about the damage of the screw.
Basically, the teeth in the head detect the maximum amount of the torque or the desired amount of torque and stop the torque wrench instantly. It ensures the safety of the tool as well as the screw from getting damaged. The slip torque wrench is an affordable type that is within the budget limit of everyone.
This type of torque wrench is easy to use and affordable but there are also some downsides of this torque wrenches. For instance, it never allows you to monitor the torque. You get to know about the maximum torque value when it gets locked. Moreover, they have limited usage as they can’t handle a torque over 100 Nm and one has to opt for another type of torque wrench if he wants to achieve higher torque values. Due to the limited torque values, you can’t use them for big vehicles and can’t choose it for automotive industry usage.
3. Beam Torque Wrench
For buying the torque wrench, you must know the purpose of the torque wrench and its types first as only then you can make the best decision. If you are planning to buy a beam torque wrench, then you must know that it’s one of the common types which uses two beams to calculate and indicate the amount of torque that has been applied. The handle of the torque wrench flexes slightly if the amount of the torque gets higher than the desired amount of the torque. You can read the torque value from the scale that is similar to the weight scale.
If you check the different torque wrench sizes and type, you will learn that a beam torque wrench is one of the simplest and the easiest types. It gives accurate torque readings and available at affordable prices. If talking about the lifespan of the beam torque wrench, then they last for many years and offer an amazing durability level. You also don’t have to waste time on the maintenance of the tool.
There are a few downsides to this type. Unlike the modern torque wrenches, the use of the beam style is quite difficult. You find it difficult to read the scale accurately meanwhile applying the force on the handle. On the other hand, a click-type torque wrench is a better option in terms of accuracy. So, if you ask what type of torque wrench is most accurate? Click-type is the correct answer.
4. Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench
Among all the types, the deflecting beam torque wrench is quite unique due to its functionality. It’s an extended version of the beam type torque wrench and also known as a split beam torque wrench. Unlike the common clicker types, the deflecting beam torque wrench has fewer components that make it a durable and reliable tool. To ensure the durability of the tool, all the critical parts of the tool are welded together which makes it a good option for commercial usage.
It’s one of the best types you can buy. The torque wrench produces an audible sound when it reaches the desired amount of torque. So, you don’t have to check the scale over again to confirm if the set value of the torque has achieved. There are two beams present in the deflecting torque wrench, the first one is attached to the handle that allows you to apply force while the second one acts as an indicator and attached to the head of the torque wrench.
You can also set the desired torque value with the help of a set knob and lock lever. In this way, you can set torque value for your DIY projects. The torque wrench sizes of type of torque wrenches are also very convenient and easy to handle. You can hold them easily and work comfortably. Moreover, the chances of over-tightening the screw are very rare as you can hear an audible sound when the desired torque level is achieved.
This type of torque wrenches are a bit expensive and one has to spend extra money on it. However, if you compare the benefits of the torque wrench with price, it’s not a bad deal, I bet.
5. Hubless torque wrench
The next type on our list is a hubless torque wrench. It’s not a common type of torque wrench and not designed for the automotive field. This T-shape torque wrench is a plumber wrench and specifically designed for coupling with soil pipe. It comes in a precalibrated from so you don’t have to set the torque value manually. It also minimizes the chances of damage.
A hubless torque wrench is a type of an automatic torque wrench as the user doesn’t need to set the torque value. The torque wrench decides the optimal value of the torque and stops immediately once the accurate value is achieved. The chances of damage are very little and you can work safely with the help of a hubless torque wrench. They are reliable, durable, and last for many years.
The torque wrench uses are very limited. You can’t do multiple tasks with this type and have to invest money in different other types to make things easier for you. It never works for automotive projects while you cannot use it for DIY tasks too unless they are related to the coupling of the pipes. It requires a clutch and a ratchet to use it conveniently.
The electronic torque wrench is a type that is popular for its high accuracy. They come with LED digital screens where you can read the torque value clearly. If talking about the construction of the torque wrench, a strain gauge is attached to the torsion rod. When you apply on the torque wrench, the internal memory of the torque wrench stores the values and presents it on the LED screen. You are also allowed to print the value on the computer and use it as a record on the spreadsheet.
An electronic torque wrench is used in the automobile factories for quality assurance. Their measures are very accurate and reliable and they also help in the designing of the new vehicle. It is also a reliable and durable type of wrenches, especially for engineers and data scientists.
The only downside of this torque wrench is its expensive price. It’s designed for experts and professionals only so everyone can’t buy it. Moreover, the use of this torque wrench a bit complicated. Newbies need some time to understand the functioning and the proper usage of the torque wrench.
7. Mechatronic Torque Wrench
The mechanism of the mechatronic torque wrench is absolutely the same as the mechanism of the click torque wrench. It uses a clutch mechanism that includes a spring and a ball detent. The purpose of the spring is to detect the prest amount of force and release the ball detent. The user can hear the sound of a click once the required amount of torque is achieved. However, in the case of the mechatronic torque wrench, the torque wrench also stores the value electronically.
It’s a combination of electronic and digital types of tools. The torque wrench memories the values electronically which can be used in automobile companies. The information also helps to improve the quality of the vehicles and one can use this type of torque wrench for small vehicles as well. The price of a mechatronic torque wrench is not as high as the price of the digital torque wrench so one can buy it easily. Due to the high durability, they last for decades and never damage easily.
Mechatronic torque wrenches aren’t recommended to beginners and DIY lovers due to the complex assembly of the tool. It takes some time to understand the functionality of the torque wrench.
8. Hydraulic Torque Wrench
These are the special type of torque wrenches which are specifically designed for the avionic field. They use the properties of water displacement and its movements and exert torque to the fastener. It’s used to exert a lot of pressure and when a torque wrench is tightening or losing a bolt or a nut. Extreme pressure is required to get the best results if you want to use it for automobiles.
Though the uses of hydraulic torque wrench are very limited as it’s common usage is in the avionic and automobile fields but it can’t be replaced with any other type of torque wrench. It’s very powerful and capable of exerting an excessive amount of force within a few seconds. The accuracy of the hydraulic torque wrench is unquestionable and one can absolutely rely on the values achieved from it.
This is one of the best types you can buy. However, the uses of the torque wrenches are very limited. It’s designed for experts and professionals only as beginners can’t use it properly without learning the proper use of the torque wrench. It’s also not available very easily and comes with a hefty amount of price tag.
9. Programmable Electronic Torque Wrench
A programmable electronic torque wrench is similar to the electronic torque wrench in terms of mechanism. However, they can also measure the angle used in the tightening of the torque wrench. A gyroscope is used in the torque wrench that measures and keeps a record of the previously used angles. The torque wrench helps the researchers and manufacturers to study the behavior of the torque wrench at a certain angle.
This type of torque wrench is designed for the research purpose. The researchers determine the best angle fo the fastener. It helps the manufacturers to create the best type of torque wrench that gives the maximum benefit to the user. It’s used in the automotive industry and gives very accurate results.
It is one of the best kinds of torque wrenches but also has some downsides. The torque wrench is quite expensive and not recommended to everyone. It’s not designed for beginners as the working mechanism is a bit complex.
10. Torque Stick
The last type on our list is technically not a torque wrench rather it’s a combination of two types, cordless impact wrench, and a pneumatic torque wrench. The pneumatic type of torque wrench helps you to align the torque wrench quickly at the desired angle in the repair shops. With the help of the torque stick, you can complete a task faster, and with great accuracy.
It’s used in commercial settings where you need consistency and speed. The best type of torque wrench allows you to complete your work effectively and without overtightening the screw and nut.
The torque stick is designed for commercial usage only. Never try to use it for your small vehicles as it can damage your vehicle badly. Always be very careful when you use it the preset values of the torque stick as they are meant for commercial usage only.
All types of torque wrench are different in terms of sizes, accuracy, and durability. These factors also depend on the company which products you are choosing. Always consider the specification of the torque wrench and don’t forget to evaluate your need precisely. In will help you to buy the best tool wrench and will enjoy working with it.
Otherwise, you have to regret later on your decision and will also waste your hard-earned money. Which types of tools you have already used? Is there any other type of torque tools you know about? If yes, then do let us know in the comment section.