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What is the best Digital Torque Wrench in 2020?


We’re sure you will agree that a torque wrench is an asset to any garage. It comes in handy when you want to fasten nuts or bolts effortlessly.

There are several types of torque wrenches in the market, each designed for specific applications. Among them are digital torque wrenches -also known as electric torque wrenches-, a type of torque wrench already widely use by professionals which in a lot of industries. Over years, this specific model has become more and more popular for casual mechanics.

In this article, we help you to discover what digital wrenches are, what makes them different from the regular torque wrenches and most importantly, their applications and the best brands to consider.

Our recommendations – Best models to buy

We have picked 3 Digital Torque Wrench, each with a different price range in order to satisfy both beginners and experienced workers.

Best price to quality

Top pick
$210
ACDelco

ARM303 model.

Best price to quality ratio.

Industrial grade quality.

Good match for both experienced and occasional workers.

Low maintenance and good durability.

Buy now

This is the complete torque wrench for those looking for high precision ratcheting. It is a versatile tool available in several drive sizes including 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4 and 1″.

It also features ±1.5% accuracy CW & CCW +/- 2.5% with a peak/ track modes, and Calibration Mode. The angle measuring ability is also commendable, and so is the durability as well as its intuitiveness. This model works clockwise & counter-clockwise with an anti-slip grip grade and a 72 tooth ratchet head.

The LCD screen exposes the torque settings, battery level, measurement modes (N-m or Kg-cm, In-lb., Ft-lb, Angle Degree), making it quite easy to use. It also includes a buzzer & vibration system and LED lights for both audible and visual alerting.

This product is a very long lasting one, made of harden steel alloy with high density protective foam interior.

The cheapest

Top pick
$85
Garage Ready DTW

Standard model.

Great tool value for unfrequent users.

Extremely solid.

Specifically designed for comfort.

Buy now

As the name suggests, this one is for the automobile enthusiast – talk of body shops as well as car enthusiasts with home garages. It is also one of the cheapest -if not the cheapest- Digital Torque Wrench in the market with a professional grade quality.

As the name suggests, this one is for the automobile enthusiast – talk of body shops as well as car enthusiasts with home garages. It is also one of the cheapest -if not the cheapest- Digital Torque Wrench in the market with a professional grade quality.

It features an ergonomic design, complete with an LCD and light as well as buzzers. Other features include +/- 2% accuracy, and peak/trace modes, just to mention a few and 72 gear teeth for 5 Degrees per Ratchet click for range 4 to 22 ft-lbs. It has a reversible ratchet head to drive in both directions and measures torque in clockwise or counter clockwise use.

Like many torque in the market, measurements units work for Nm / ft-lb / in-lb / kg-cm. It also embarks a digital backlit LCD display system, as well as a buzzer and flashing LED to indicate Torque setting achievement.

The overall manufacturing is of decent quality, with a steel construction molded case has no torque springs to vibrate loose or wear out.

This torque wrench distinguishes itself when it comes to low torque applications like bikes and plastic fasteners or car maintenance.

Note that Etork & Summit Tools tend to stand in the same price range, but we believe that the Garage Ready Digital Torque Wrench are a bit more long lasting and more reliable, which is why we picked this model over the other brands.

The most advanced

Top pick
$310
Summit Tools

UltraPrecision Flex-Head.

Among the most accurate Digital Torque Wrench.

Industrial grade quality.

Lifetime guarantee.

Buy now

If you are not on a budget, this is the ultimate tool for the handymen, motor enthusiasts as well as industrial applications. We could have recommended an original Snap-on model, but we believe that Summit Tools has proven to be very strong with high end models and has now reached the same level of quality and usually come at a cheaper price.

The summit tools UltraPrecision Flex-Head model is a simple to use digital readout wrench that displays real time torque values in any of four torque units, ftlbs, in. lbs, Nm., Kg. cm. Simply set the desired torque value and apply force until the green LED illuminates. Great for light industrial, automotive, motorcycle, watercraft and aircraft applications. Multiple Functions: Flexible Rachet Head, Torque Measurement in Peak & Trace Modes, Measuring range: 12.5 – 250.7 ft-lbs Torque Range Accurate to ±1% Clockwise and ±2% Counter-Clockwise, 0.1 ft-lb Resolution

It features a sleek new design and a 15 degree flex ratcheting head. There is a push button socket release head and a large, easy to read digital display. It takes lithium ion batteries for a long life and features an ergonomically designed molded non slip rubber grip. This computer wrench remembers the last unit and torque setting selected and the audible tone sounds when set torque value is reached and if exceeded an alarm tone will sound. This is a standard model electronic torque wrench. The torque is 10 to 100 foot pounds.

Other alternatives

We have also tested and reviewed other -middle range- models of interests. Those won’t be detailed in this article, nevertheless, they are worth taking a look if you have not found what you’re looking for with the models listed previously.

$55
eTORK CS
$60
Ares 70051

Our guide to better know Digital Torque Wrench

What is a Digital Torque Wrench?

There’s no beating around the bush here; this is a regular torque wrench but this time, optimized for accuracy and which comes complete with a digital readout hence the name, ‘digital torque wrench. Now, for many garage owners and other DIY enthusiasts, the big question is: Do you really need a digital wrench, or you are covered with your regular torque wrench?

Well, here’s the deal; these wrenches are all about accuracy. If you are performing any engineering or ratcheting that requires accurate tightening of screws or maybe bolts. Regardless of the industry, bolts and nuts should be accurately fastened. Overtightening them or leaving them loosely attached may hurt the efficiency and even the structural integrity of the construction.

Now, when it comes to using these wrenches, the instructions are straightforward. Unlike your typical click-type wrench, these use a simple push-button interface to show users the torque readout and for adjustment. Torque wrenches offer unrivalled accuracy. If you want to tighten bolts, screws, and nuts according to the specifications, this is the only type of torque wrench that is ready for the task.

The accuracy of the torque wrenches also depends upon the ability and technique of using. Many of the people only focus on the calibration done by the factory, but it is also the technique that plays a vital role.

The tool is not always the limiting factor. You need to focus on adequately setting your torque wrench to avoid any human error. Turn the torque wrench slowly to prevent any extra load. Taking care of these little factors will automatically maximize the accuracy of your torque wrench.

Digital torque wrench parts
Digital Torque Wrench parts description

First, they offer easy usability courtesy of the digital readout plus target torque warning buzzers in the form of audible beeps or vibration. They also come with pre-set memories for the daily applications and can also sync with PCs.

Some advanced models come with LED lights, an audible beep or even vibrating handles. On the other hand, the memory function also comes in handy for those with repetitive tasks.

Is a Digital Torque Wrench same as a ratchet wrench?

There is a difference between the Torque Wrench and Ratchet. A socket set is required to use a torque wrench. Torque wrenches can be used on any bolt for tightening. Torque wrenches do not have a ratcheting mechanism; a ratchet is used to tighten the bolt.

The torque wrench is used to apply the final torque setting. Some of the Torque wrenches look like a larger version of the ratchet, but it is used to measure the amount of pressure used to tighten a bolt.

How Digital Torque Wrench work?

With the digital readout screen the user can program the torque limit. The strain gauge which is attached to the torsion rod can send signals to the transducer to decide the force of torque that is displayed on the screen.

The presence of LED lights will inform the user when the required torque is achieved with an audible signal. Some of the digital torque wrenches have an internal computer that can save the torque measurements on the record. It helps in auditing requirements.

All Torque Wrenches need re-calibration at least once in a year after every 5000 cycles. Mostly frequent calibration is suggested if the tool is used regularly.

The torque wrenches are usually stored in their protective cases; when they leave the factory, their one-year calibration begins with the first use.

Digital Torque Wrench user guide

Is it ok to use a Torque Wrench to loosen?

Since it is a wrench, it can be used for both fastening and loosening bolts or nuts. But unfortunately, it is not that simple.As the torque wrenches can be used for relaxing care must be taken as more torque is to be applied than the wrench’s maximum torque.

But then you will be turning a handy torque wrench into something less meaningful. Since you are loosening by applying the torque beyond its maximum capacity, it will affect its accuracy and make it almost useless for future uses.

Should you double click a Torque Wrench?

According to many users, the more you click on the torque wrench, the more accurate it can be in its function. This is wrong; you should know that one click is enough to ensure the correct application on the bolt. The additional click will increase the amount of torque applied, which will have significant implications on your project. You should use the torque wrench smoothly and steadily.

Can Torque Wrench loose bolts?

Torque Wrenches can be used to loosen bolts, but it is usually advised not to apply more torque than its maximum capacity, which is required as it will result in damaging the Torque Wrench.

How to select the best Digital Torque Wrench

Now that you know the essence of the electronic torque wrenches let’s discuss a few things regarding their purchase. If you are looking for the best torque wrench, here are the factors to consider.

The good news is that we’ve done a lot of the work for you, assembling a list of reviews of the best digital torque wrenches of 2019, making it easier for you see which are good and which you shouldn’t bother with. Hopefully, reading these reviews will help you find the digital torque wrench that’s right for you.

The best brands

There are so many brands in the market. If you want the best value for your money, stick with the household names! There are so many brands today, it can be really hard to know which one to pick. Here are the brands to consider:

  • Craftsman
  • GearWrench
  • Kobalt
  • AcDelco
  • CDI (owned by Snap-on)
  • Capri Tools
  • Garage Ready
  • ETork
  • Summit Tools
  • Snap-on

While they may be expensive, these trusted brands offer excellent accuracy, reliability, and durability. This is unlike other cheap digital wrenches that have inaccurate, and inconsistent readings, and don’t guarantee service after a few bouts of falls around the workplace.

Another reason you need to pick the renowned brands is because of the after-sales service. The top brands come with genuine warranties, as none of them wants to risk their reputation.

Note that a lot of people have recommended BikeMaster wrenches. The ToolsSeeker team tends to disagree, even though their might seem a good value to money, they tend to lack of accuracy and are not very durable tools.

Application

There are several applications of these wrenches; from your home garage to industrial plants. Buy a model that is specifically suited for your daily needs. In the market, you will find specific torque wrenches for different needs. Below are the most common types.

Torque range

While the regular torque wrench can be used beyond the recommended range, it’s not the same case with digital wrenches. Make sure the range offers by your preferred model suits your needs.

While, in theory, you could use the torque wrench beyond its recommended range, the digital screen will max out, and the tool will not give you any information about how much force you are using. You also stand at a greater chance of breaking it altogether.

It’s important to figure out what range you will need before buying so that you can get a model that will suit your needs. A word of caution: most torque wrenches are generally regarded as being at their most accurate from 20% to 100% of their range, meaning that while it may measure values lower than 20% of its max range, it likely loses a lot of accuracy. If you’re working with equipment that requires tightening to less than 20 foot-pounds, there’s no reason to buy a torque wrench that goes up to 100 foot-pounds or higher, because it will not be accurate in the range that you’re using the most. Likewise, you need to make sure you get a torque wrench that is up to the task and can go as high as you need it to.

Modes & digital features

When it comes to digital features, check out for target, peak, and trace modes. In the first mode, you set your desired torque, and notification alerts you when the limit is reached. Peak mode shows the highest torque level applied. More precisely, this is the mode that you want to use when you know the specific torque that a part must be tightened to. This is also the mode that alerts you via beeps, lights, or vibration that you’ve reached the correct torque. All digital torque wrenches come with this mode.

By comparison, trace mode is a live torque indicator. It shows whatever the torque is at a given moment. This is good for situations in which you need to provide a more constant torque for a period of time, but don’t necessarily want to max out at any point. This isn’t a feature that everyone will need, but if you do think you’ll need it, make sure that you purchase a model that has it because it doesn’t come standard on all digital torque wrenches.

There are newer and better systems for alerting you to when you’re closing in on your desired torque and for when you arrive. Bright LED lights, vibrating handles, and digital beeping are all easier to notice in a loud shop than a simple click.

In a nutshell

If you are dealing with high-precision ratcheting, digital wrenches are an invaluable addition to your toolbox if you have some ratcheting tasks. It eliminates the errors you’d otherwise encounter with your standard click wrench.

Now that you know which are the best electronic torque drives, and how to select one, find your perfect match from the full range of models available. And don’t just go for the cheap models; this is one area where the mantra of cheap is cheap, expensive plays out well.



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