Choosing A Good Digital Torque Wrench

By Kate Hendricks | Tools

Jun 04
digital torque wrench

When torque is important, you need a wrench that can both stand up to the pressures of the job and provide a great degree of accuracy.  That is exactly what you will get with a digital torque wrench.  In the following article we have reviewed several of the most popular and best selling digital torque wrenches currently on the market, including the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing/owning each product.

We have also included a Digital Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide, in which we will cover all the things you need to know when purchasing one of these items, as well as all the facts you will need to consider.

Best Digital Torque Wrench on the Market (2018)

Last update on 2018-06-22 at 00:03 / Affiliate disclaimer / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API

Digital Torque Wrench Reviews

1. ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench

Made by a company that specializes in a wide range of technically advanced tools, the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench is the tool of choice when precision is a must.  Boasting a torque range of 4 to 99 foot pounds, it is the perfect wrench for a huge variety of projects, from bicycle wheels to large engine parts.

When working with the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench, users can set the desired torque.  And as the bolt is turned, the wrench’s digital technology, represented by a flashing LED light and a buzzer alarm, will let you know when the desired torque has been reached.  The easy to read LCD display panel on the wrench can reflect torque in a variety of measurements, including kg-cm, N-m, in-lb, and ft-lb.  The wrench also features multiple setting functions, including torque measurement and Peak and Trace.  The quick release function of the torque wrench makes for a time-saving job, and the reversible ratchet function makes it the perfect tool when accuracy and efficiency is a must.

In terms of accuracy, the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench is guaranteed to be within (plus or minus) 2 percent of the desired torque when used clockwise, and 3 percent of the desired torque when used counter clockwise.  The wrench meets or exceeds all regulatory standards for a wrench of this type, and features a limited one-year manufacturer’s warranty against any defects in the tool or its workmanship.

Pros

  • Anti-Slip Grip.  The soft anti-slip grip on the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench ensures steady handling of the tool throughout the project.
  • Works in both directions.  This digital torque wrench operates in both the clockwise and counter clockwise direction.
  • 3 Standard Settings.  The ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench has three standard settings: torque setting, measurement setting, and mode setting.

Cons

  • No Backlit Display.  With the ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench, the LED readout panel does not have back lighting.
  • High-end.  The ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2 Digital Torque Wrench is not very budget-friendly.

2. GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench

The GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench is the ideal tool for projects in which you need to track torque measurements.  Thanks to its intuitive, patented technology, the wrench provides multiple alerts when the pre-set target torque has been achieved to prevent the over-torque of bolts that can lead to stripping and a wide range of other problems.  Once the torque has been reached, the handle of the wench will vibrate, an electronic buzzer will sound, and the LED light the wrench is equipped with will flash a solid color.  The “Target Torque” technology gives users a warning when the proper torque setting is nearing, reducing the chance of a bolt being tightened too strong.

Unlike some of the other wrenches in this class, there is never a need to unwind the GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench after use in order to maintain the proper calibration.  Just turn it off and the calibration will be preserved.  The wrench boasts a 72-tooth ratchet mechanism with a 5 degree swing arc, and it guarantees torque accuracy to a degree of +/- 2 percent when used clockwise, and +/- 3 percent when used in a counter clockwise direction.

There are five torque measurement units available on the GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench for working in Nm, Ft-lb, In-lb, Kgf-m and Kgf-cm; and the increments of measure include 0.1 Nm, 0.1 Ft-lb, 1 In-lb, 0.01 Kgf-m and 1 Kgf-cm.  Best of all, the wrench has been tested to guarantee that it meets or exceeds all ASME specifications

Pros

  • Multiple Alerts.  The GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench provides users with multiple alerts when the desired torque has been reached.
  • Storage Case.  The handy storage case that comes with this digital torque wrench is a great way to keep it protected.
  • Easy to Set Up and Use.  With clear instructions, the GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench is very easy to set up and use.

Cons

  • Batteries are not included.  Purchasers of the GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench will need to buy the batteries separately.
  • Only 99 pounds of torque.  Some of the wrenches in this class have up to 250 pounds in torque capability.

3. Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench

Craftsman tools are known throughout the world for their strength, reliability, durability and excellence, and the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench is certainly no exception.  When torque is important, whether working on small household engines or large diesels, this wrench helps provide all the strength and accuracy you need to get the job done right.

Boasting a ½ inch drive, the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench makes certain that every turn of the wrench counts.  Going in ½ inch increments, the wrench can provide torque from 25-250 pounds.  It can also convert torque into a variety of measurements, from ft. lb. to in. lb. to Nm at the single touch of a button.  The backlit screen is easy to read in low light conditions, allowing you to easily see when the desired torque is being approached and when it has been reached.  Its sleek ergonomic handle delivers a sturdy no-slip grip, and the easy-to-use buttons and settings can be adjusted on the fly as you work.

Pros

  • Measures torque up to 250 pounds. Unlike some digital torque wrenches in this class, which only measure torque up to 99 pounds, the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench can measure torque up to a whopping 250 pounds.
  • Ergonomic Handle.  The ergonomic handle on this torque wrench ensures a steady and strong grip with reduced chance of slipping.
  • Great Warranty.  Like all of the tools made by this trusted company, the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench has a warranty that outpaces those of other similar products.

Cons

  • Only LED alert. Unlike some of the other wrenches we have reviewed here that have multiple alerts when the torque has been reached, users of the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench will have to rely on its LED screen.
  • Fewer Measurement Options.  According to some reviewers, the Craftsman ½” Drive Digi-Click Torque Wrench has fewer measurement options than some of the other similar wrenches.

Digital Torque Wrench Buyer’s Guide

When purchasing a digital torque wrench, there are many factors you should consider – factors that go beyond price.  To help you make the most informed buying decision, below we have listed and explained some of these crucial factors.

Number of Torque Measurements

Torque is a measurement that is usually measured in one of two ways:  the imperial scale of foot pounds, expressed as ft. lbs.; or the metric scale of Newton meters, expressed as Nm.  Most digital torque wrench manufacturers will include at least these two measurements in their wrenches.  However, sometimes torque can also be measured in inch pounds (in. lbs.) or kilograms per centimeter (kg. cm.), even kilograms per meters (kg. m.).  For a truly diverse torque wrench, we recommend you buy one that includes all or at least most of these potential measurements.

Torque Accuracy

A good rule of thumb for picking out an accurate digital torque wrench is to choose one that guarantees at least +/- 2 percent accuracy when used clockwise, and +/- 3 percent accuracy when used counter clockwise.

Torque Directions

For the most versatile product, try to select a digital torque wrench that can be used both clockwise and counter clockwise

Multiple Alerts

The majority of digital torque wrenches have an LED display of some kind that tells you when the desired torque level has been reached.  However, some also include multiple alerts, such as a “buzzer” noise and a vibrating handle when the torque limit is being approached and when it has been reached.  These are by far much more useful than those with just an LED screen.

Comfortable Handle

Using a torque wrench, especially when the amount of torque required is very high, can be extremely hard on your hands.  Therefore, try and look for a torque wrench with a soft, ergonomic handle that will not slip when in use.

Other Features and Extras

Other features and extras to look for when purchasing a digital torque wrench include batteries (sometimes they are not included); a storage case for easily storing and transporting your new torque wrench; an automatic shut down function that will turn the LED display off when the wrench is not being used; a charge indicator that allows you to see how much life is left on the battery; and more.

By examining all of these important factors and features, you should have no problem selecting the perfect torque wrench for all your projects.