10 Types of Torque Wrenches And Their Difference

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A torque wrench is an absolutely essential when it comes to repairing or assembling anything. A handyman’s best friend, a torque wrench will ensure that you have the right amount of pressure when needed. They all serve one purpose: to tighten bolts to certain specifications. Sometimes, the higher the torque requirement is, the tighter (and more expensive) it gets. This is due to what types of torque wrenches need to be.

As always, knowing the different types of torque wrenches will make you a more knowledgeable buyer. It can be hard finding out what type of torque wrench is right for you, especially if you are not sure what distinguishes one from another.

Furthermore, not every type of torque wrench can perform all types of tasks; therefore, knowing what type of torque wrench you need beforehand will save you some time and money down the road. Or if you’re an enthusiast and are looking to brush up and expand your garage tool collection, you can just use this as a good excuse to buy another torque wrench.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide To Different Types Of Wrenches

Here’s a list of different types and some overview and info on each:

10 Different Types of Torque Wrenches

The following is a list of different types of torque wrenches and their uses.

1. Click Torque Wrench

EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10~150 ft./lb., 13.6 ~ 203.5 N/m

The first type of torque wrenches is a click type, which gives a ‘clicking’ sound when the required pressure has been reached by the bolt being tightened. The main advantage of this type is that it’s easy to determine whether or not the desired torque has been reached.

It is also quite fairly accurate and stops applying pressure when the required torque has been achieved by the bolt moving a bit past after the ‘click’ and no rotation happening to the nut or bolt itself. You set the torque via a knob on the bottom of the handle and set it to your desired torque.

However, its main disadvantage is that it is not suitable for highly repetitive jobs. This is due to the fact that they are not very good at maintaining their calibration after multiple use instances of use. Thus, the torque applied to the bolt can be slightly different each time after much use of the tool. This can be avoided in some cases by setting it back to 0 when you are finished using it while will still require re-calibration after some time. 

Used for: These types of wrenches are mainly used for hard-to-reach nuts and bolts.

2. Beam Torque Wrench

Another type of torque wrench is the beam type. Unlike its click-type counterpart, this type doesn’t make any noise when the desired pressure has been achieved. On the other hand, the good thing about this wrench is that it’s very accurate and precise since it relies on a simple lever and indicator system to determine the required pressure on the bolt being tightened.

This type is great because it’s been known to have no ‘creep’ at all, meaning that when the desired force was reached, it will stay there until you release the force on the being applied on the handle. A disadvantage is that they also can be rather large in size for smaller application areas.

Used for: This is ideal for automobiles since you can rely on it to deliver on a precise tightness requirement.

3. Split Beam Torque Wrench

Olsa Tools Split Beam Torque Wrench, 1/2 inch Drive, -+4% Accuracy (50-250 ft-lb Torque Range) | Flat Flex Head Ratchet | Professionally Certified, Calibrated and Accurate | Professional Grade

It consists of a large lever and a smaller indicator rod, which is mounted perpendicularly on the same lever. As such, the split beam wrench does not need to be pulled down for calibration before each use like its other beam counterparts does.

It’s also very similar to the other types in that it has no ‘creep’ when applying pressure. You set your desired torque level on its bar usually found a bit lower past its midway section and give it a couple of twists to your desired amount. 

The only disadvantage so far is that this type does not have much range when it comes to lower/higher torque settings for the desired bolt being tightened. However, it’s still very precise in terms of accuracy.

Used for: This one is ideal for medium-sized applications where you need great accuracy at higher pressure levels to avoid over-tightening at any cost.

4. Slip Torque Wrench

This wrench is the go-to for most versatile jobs since it can handle both low and high pressure applied to the bolt. This is because this type of wrench has the ability to slip when any dangerous amount of force is reaching its end limit.

It also doesn’t rely very much on calibration before each use like its counterparts does which makes it very convenient for most general everyday use. You set your desired torque level below its bar usually found at the tail end and give it a couple of twists to your desired amount.

The only disadvantage so far is that some models have been known not to be as accurate as their counterparts are, but you can still trust them with heavy-duty work.

Used for: This one is ideal for general applications where you don’t need super-precise measurements at higher levels of torque.

5. Hydraulic Torque Wrench

Usually bought from an industrial supplier, this wrench is used for heavy-duty applications. The main advantage of this type over its counterparts is that it can apply a very high load to the bolt with a simple press of a button, thus making your job ten times faster and easier. This is mainly because it uses hydraulic pressure as a source to generate a higher amount of torque compared to regular wrenches out there. 

On the other hand, its disadvantage is that they are very bulky in size and also they usually don’t come cheap at all since most suppliers will charge you based on the maximum capacity of the wrench’s capability as well as how much pressure it can withstand. It also requires lubrication to keep it in tip-top shape so you will need to clean and maintain it properly.

Used for: This one is ideal for heavy-duty applications where you need to apply a lot of force with accuracy as well.

Also Read: How to Organize Tool Chest

6. Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench

Often called a dual-signal wrench, this type has been around for a long time and is probably the best when it comes to accuracy combined with durability. The key feature of this wrench is that it can accurately measure how much torque was applied to the bolt being tightened down while also giving signals, either audible or visual on whether it has reached the desired pressure level or whether you need to stop applying force.

Used for: Torque readings that remain accurate over a longer life.

7. No-Hub Torque Wrench

A plumber’s or pipe-fitters dream, this one has a large bar with a spherical end to make it fit tightly inside the wrench’s socket. As such, you don’t need to keep tightening and loosening it like how you would normally do for other types out there.

You set your desired torque level and give it a couple of turns which should be enough to let you tighten all those thread joints without having to go back and check whether they’re really tight or not every once in a while as its almost impossible for these wrenches to ‘slip’ or misread your intended pressure levels.

Used for: Tightening anything that fits into the round socket (thread joints, valves etc.)

8. Electronic Torque Wrench

ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2” (14.8 to 147.5 ft-lbs.) Heavy Duty Digital Torque Wrench with Buzzer and LED Flash Notification – ISO 6789 Standards with Certificate of Calibration

As you may imagine from its name, this wrench is the most sophisticated of all ones listed since it needs electronic components such as a microchip to give you accurate readings of your intended torque levels. This is the ‘smart’ wrench because you can program it to give you an audio or visual signal when your desired pressure level has been reached. 

Used for: Higher-end and more precise applications and ideal for any HVAC, industrial, automotive, and aerospace scenarios.

9. Programmable Electronic Torque Wrench

It usually features a backward-facing LED screen where it shows you your desired torque levels and the actual amount that’s being applied at any given moment in time. What makes it unique compared to its counterparts is that it can store up to three different programs for you to use, thus allowing you to switch between them depending on the task at hand. Often gyroscope integrated, this wrench also features a rotational alarm that tells you if your torque is being at an angle from where it should be.

Used for: Precise applications where accuracy levels are very important. Also good for different torque measurements.

10. Mechatronic Torque Wrench

A combination of both the electronic torque wrench and click-style torque wrench, this type comes with some neat features that you don’t see in any others out there. It usually works on a battery system which is what makes it unique but aside from that its main advantage is that it has an application area where it can be used for many different tasks since it also has 2 outputs wherein one serves as a signal to provide you with your desired pressure reading while the other lets you connect to another device so they can work simultaneously.

This means having all the benefits of electronic wrenches without sacrificing power or speed because they can still handle tough tasks just like any other wrench.

Used for: HVAC, automotive, mechanical applications, and general maintenance work where you need a versatile wrench with no compromise in precision.

Things To Be Mindful When Buying Torque Wrenches 

Source: Tool ocean

The following tips and tricks will help you choose the best torque wrench:

Material

It’s critical to get a torque wrench that is constructed of long-lasting materials and will endure even the most demanding work.

Warranty

A warranty should be included with all equipment, especially if they’re bound to be used frequently.

Storage

It’s important to store your torque wrench in a place where it won’t get damaged by corrosion or any other environmental factors.

Also Read: How to Keep Tools from Rusting in Garage

Torque wrench calibration

All torque wrenches must be calibrated to make sure they’re delivering accurate results.

Grip

A grip that is too loose or tight can make it difficult to operate the torque wrench, so be sure to get one that suits your preferences.

Conclusion 

Many types of torque wrenches exist, but the best type of torque wrench is one that meets your needs and preferences perfectly, now that you know the different types to choose from. Make sure you get a high-quality torque wrench that will be suitable for your intended purpose, then use it properly to avoid accidents or injury.

When your torque wrenches are not being used, store them in places where humidity won’t reach them and keep them away from corrosive elements.

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