4 Torque Wrench Buying Tips

January 27, 2012

A torque wrench is a must-have tool for any serious home mechanic. A torque wrench will allow you to tighten nuts and bolts in your vehicle to the appropriate foot-pounds setting, without fear of stripping out the bolt or perhaps damaging your car engine. Before you rush out and buy the cheapest or most expensive torque wrench you can find, here are some tips on what you should look for when purchasing one.

1. Buy an Accurate Torque Wrench

One of the most important things you should look for in a torque wrench is accuracy in the amount of foot-pounds pressure applied. Always look for a torque wrench that is rated less than ±5% accurate in its foot-pounds settings. Better torque wrenches now have a tolerance of ±2% inaccuracy, and are relatively inexpensive.

2. Choose Quality over Bells and Whistles

Always choose quality over fancy gadgets like an LED readout. Although LED or digital torque wrenches are nice, it's more practical to buy a sturdy, well-made torque wrench that costs less money and is just as accurate.

3. Consider Frequency of Use

Consider how often you'll be using the wrench. For example, if you'll only be using the torque wrench for occasional repairs in your home garage, you don't necessarily need to spend $300 on a Mac or Snap On professional torque wrench. Choose a Husky or Craftsman heavy-duty wrench instead, for around $80, and save yourself a lot of money.

4. Buy American

Regardless of the torque wrench you purchase, only purchase torque wrenches made in America. Although there are couple of European companies that make good tools, always be leery of cheap imports or imported torque wrenches with strange and hard to pronounce names. Most American torque wrenches are made to the highest quality standards, and usually come with good warranties. The best American-made torque wrenches even come with lifetime warranties.