When getting just the right amount of tension for your bolts is a priority, (which is the case in the maintenance of machinery, automotive and other mechanical tasks) you’ll want to have the best digital torque wrench that can work perfectly well irrespective of how demanding the job is and at the same time give you the highest degree of accuracy.
So, here’s the thing…
Unlike in the past where the torque measurements was not a priority and all you had to do is to ensure you tighten the bolts as much as possible provided all the parts held together; it is a completely different story today. With parts on most mechanical products being more delicate in nature, manufacturers are being more specific on the size which makes it a priority for you to get the best torque wrench that you can afford.
It is, however, not as easy as it may sound to get the best torque wrench especially the digital ones. There are quite a lot of brands out there and it’s difficult to tell which one is really the best and this is where we come in.
Let’s have a look at 5 of the best electrical torque wrenches and also shed some light on the key thing’s you’ll want to consider before you choose one, shall we?
Here’s how we arrived at our top 5 list
It takes more than just paying attention to the price or going for the best brand in the market while choosing a suitable torque wrench.
First of all, we did our research on the best torque wrenches one could get regarding the price and the performance. Having put together our list of all the best wrenches we could get, we went ahead and reached out to the manufacturers from who we were able to know of the exact specifications of the different wrenches. We did take some wrenches off our list after this
Next, we did put the wrenches via a series of tests to ensure they met our standard test for quality. This did take some wrenches off our list and to end up with the top 5 that we’ll be talking about in a short while, we did take into account the reviews by critics to know of any downsides we might have missed out on.
This way, we had complete confidence that you’ll only be choosing from the top 5 all-around torque wrenches of 2018.
Before we take a look at the detailed reviews of the top 5 torque wrenches we have for you in 2018, it would be worthwhile for you to have a look at the comparison chart below. Take a look at the side by side comparison of the best of the best you can get your hands on- they’re just a click away.
|image||Best digital torque wrench||Alert type||rating||Product link|
|GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench||Vibration, buzzer, sound & LED||Check price|
|ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2″ Digital Torque Wrench||LED alarm & buzzer||Check price|
|Craftsman 3/8-in. Dr. Digi-click Torque Wrench||Digital-click||Check price|
Top 5 digital torque wrench review
If you’re all about getting the biggest bang for your buck, I’d really recommend that you take your time and have a look at the wrenches below. We’ve made the review friendlier for you by classifying the wrenches into 3 categories- the high-end, the mid-range and the budget digital torque wrenches. No better way to get a kick for your buck.
The high-end digital torque wrenches
Where price is not a limiting factor and you’re willing to do just about whatever it takes to have the best torque wrench, then you should put your money on this one.
#1 ACDelco Tools ARM303-4A Electronic Digital Torque Wrench
Starting off our Digital torque wrench reviews is the ACDelco ARM303. It’s got an outstanding level of accuracy, the best alerts and amazingly versatile. Below is every reason you should choose this.
An LCD backlight display
Being the unique feature on every digital torque wrench, it is expected that the display, especially at this price range be at it’s best and I’ve got to say, the ARM303 does not disappoint at all.
With the display being an LCD with a backlight, you can be able to see the reached torque limit, the battery life as well as the measurement mode. This deems the torque wrench eligible for use in low light just as it is for use in proper lighting conditions.
Features multiple measurement modes
For the sake of versatility, you’ll be getting more than just one mode of measurement on this digital torque wrench.
It can be able to measure in N-m or alternatively, you can switch to the kg-cm, in-lb or the ft-lb torque measurement units. This way, it’s suitable for use with most manufacturer’s specifications.
Comes with 3 different alert notifications
Now here’s a whole new level of torque measurements. Boasting to have 3 different alert notifications, using this wrench will be amazingly easy.
There’s the vibrating handle which can be felt, the buzzer which can be heard and then there is the flashing LED display that you can always count on if you’ll be using this torque wrench in low light conditions. Whether you’re under torque or past it, all these three will come in handy where appropriate.
Includes counterclockwise and clockwise measurements
For ease of use and in order to allow you to get to any difficult to reach spots, this digital torque wrench allows for both clockwise and counterclockwise torque applications. This also does deem it eligible for use for both the right-handed and the left-handed people.
What we liked
- Features a 30 data set of memory capacity
- Allows for both clockwise and counterclockwise motion
- Has got 3 different alert notifications for easy usage
What we didn’t like
- The instructions are a little unclear and it may take some time to get used to this.
The best electronic torque wrench: mid-range category
Want something that’s got an outstanding performance but not necessarily a torque wrench that’s going to break the bank, these torque wrenches will definitely be giving you the best value for your money. Top of the line performance and affordable.
#2 GearWrench 85077 1/2″ Drive Electronic Torque Wrench
GearWrench is one of the best brands in the making of torque wrenches in the market. Well, is there more to it than just a fancy brand name? Let’s find out.
Features 5 torque measurement units
To allow it to fit multiple applications, the GearWrench 85077 is capable of handling 5 different torque measurement units and these include Nm, Ft-Lb, in-lb, Kgf-cm, and Kgf-m. I’m pretty sure that whatever you’ll be working on this digital torque wrench will be a perfect tool to get the job done.
Provides utmost versatility
With the clockwise and counterclockwise capability when adjusting the torque using the GearWrench 85077, it sure will be reliable in getting to the tough spots.
At the same time, besides just allowing for multi-directional torque adjustment, it does observe complete accuracy as well. for the clockwise direction, you get as much as +/-2% whereas, for the counter-clockwise direction, it is +/-3% for the accuracy.
Multiple torque alert system
In addition to being accurate in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, the alert system is not left out. there is a vibrating handle, a buzzer sound, as well as a solid, LED light. All of these are triggered when you attain the set torque limit hence preventing over tightening of bolts.
The minimum torque it can handle is 30 Nm whereas the maximum possible value is 340Nm hence you can use it on anything ranging from machinery to your road bike.
What we liked
- 3 different torque alert settings
- Measures the torque in both the clockwise and the counterclockwise direction
- It allows for 5 different units for torque measurement
What we didn’t like
- The auto power off feature is a little too quick
#3 ACDelco ARM601-4 1/2″ Digital Torque Wrench
If you’re all about working with the best brand, then here’s yet another digital torque wrench from ACDelco- the ACDelco ARM601-4. Besides just going easy on you on the price, it’s got a lot more features to look forward to. Let’s take a closer look…
Clockwise and counter-clockwise motion
Versatility should always be a priority when choosing a digital torque wrench, right? well, one of the best ways via which this is achieved is via giving the user the convenience of applying the torque in both a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction.
That’s not all…
Not only does it allow for multi-directional torque measurements but it is, at the same time going to give you a fair amount of accuracy on every bolt you tighten.
For the clockwise measurement, you get to have an accuracy of +/-2% while for the counterclockwise direction, it’s going to give you a +/-3% accuracy of the indicated value in either case. Both of these hold from 20% to 1005 of the full scale.
Multiple torque setting functions
To add on to the versatility, this digital torque wrench allows you to measure the torque using 4 different measurements. You, therefore, can always change the scale based on the manufacturer’s specification. This saves you the hassle of getting another torque wrench or converting the measurement values.
It’s going to handle kg-cm, N-m, in-lb. ft-lb with utmost accuracy and in multi-directions- quite amazing, right?
Features an anti-slip grip & easy to use
To add icing to the cake and make this digital torque wrench a full package and possibly one of the best electronic torque wrenches you can get your hands on, there is an anti-slip grip. This makes it easy, comfortable and safe to use for as long as you want.
There is also a quick release which saves on time hence giving you the best level of efficiency. As for the alert notifications, there is a buzzer and LED flash that’s triggered when the set torque limit is achieved.
What we liked
- Multi-directional and accurate torque measurement
- Includes an anti-slip grip
- Comes with a quick release button for efficient and quick usage
What we didn’t like
- The auto shut off is after 60 minutes which is a little too quick
#4 ACDelco ARM601-3 3/8″ Digital Torque Wrench
In addition to bearing one of the most reputed brand names, the ACDelco ARM601-3 will be giving you an outstanding level of accuracy, easy usage and much more. Let’s have a closer look…
Quick and light adjustments
Featuring a slip-resistant handle that’s resistant to chemicals, the ACDelco ARM601-3 will allow for minimal tuns and with less effort. The base material on the handle is overlaid with a comfortable and slip-resistant grip.
Setting the torque value is also easy and this can be displayed on the torque window for utmost convenience.
Features a quick release and reversible ratchet
Added onto the design is a quick release switch for speed and ease of use. In addition to this, there is also a reversible ratchet which deems it eligible for use clockwise and counterclockwise. This makes it easy to set up the peak and trace modes.
The accuracy for the clockwise and counterclockwise measurements are +/-2% and +/-3% respectively and more so, it complies to the ASME B107.14-2004, ISO 6789 standards and each of the ACDelco ARM601-3 digital torque wrenches match the N.I.S.T certificate of calibration.
What we liked
- Features an easy to read LED display
- Cines with a quick release for speed and ease of use
- There’s a reversible ratchet for utmost flexibility
What we didn’t like
- The display is not backlit which may be difficult to see.
Budget-torque wrenches- affordability & performance
If you’re looking for something that’s entry-level and at the same time one that goes easy on you on the price, then this budget-friendly torque wrench ought to do you some justice. The build quality is top of the line, the performance outstanding and goes easy on your pockets- quite outstanding, right?
#5 Craftsman 3/8-in. Dr. Digi-click Torque Wrench
Finishing up on our digital torque wrench reviews is one from Craftsman which, in addition to its good looks does have a lot more to offer. Here’s every reason you should consider giving a look at it.
Features an LED backlit screen
The display is the dominant feature on a digital torque wrench and in the case of this one, you’ll be getting an easy to read digital LED display that’s going to hold up quite well when being used even in poorly lit conditions.
So as to save on battery power, there’s an auto turn off feature that’s triggered after 5 minutes of inactivity.
Comes with a comfortable handle
To guarantee easy usage in all situations, there’s an ergonomic handle which gives you a secure yet comfortable performance and holds. In addition to giving you the surest grip, its also designed to reduce on fatigue which allows for long hours of use.
Digital click notification
To let you know when the torque level is attained, there’s a click which is easy to hear and feel which makes it eligible for use for small engine repairs, motorcycles, bike brakes and much more.
Multiple unit torque measurements
By allowing multiple unit measurements such as Nm, foot/pounds and inch/pounds, you get to have complete versatility. You can also convert to either of these measurements just with the click of a button
What we liked
- Features a click alert for when the torque limit is reached
- Includes a backlit and easy to read LED
- Its got a comfortable and sure-grip handle that cuts down on fatigue
What we didn’t like
- It’s not suitable for hard tightening; it may easily break
Best electronic torque wrench- the ultimate buying guide
It wouldn’t really be a complete review without a buying guide, would it? Well, to have the utmost confidence when selecting a digital torque wrench, here are some of the major things you should pay attention to- no better way to get the biggest bang for your buck.
The alert features
Whereas the micrometer torque wrenches come with the click feature which allows you to hear and feel the click, we at least expect something similar and of course more from a digital torque wrench.
Most of the digital torque wrenches cost way more than the micrometer torque wrenches hence it really would not be fair if the alert features were handicapped, right?
The digital LED alerts
The reason as to why most people get the digital torque wrenches is because they can be able to use these in poor lighting conditions as well as somewhat noisy environments. The LED display in most cases, in order to et you now that the needed torque measurement has been reached flashes a few times. This way, you will not put too much stress on your bolts which could result in damaging your equipment.
A vibrating handle
This can be compared to the click only that it is not as subtle as the click- trust me, you’ll know the difference if you use the two-.
The vibrating handle works in such a way that as you approach the set torque limit, the vibration gradually increases and once you hit the set limit, the torque vibrates as well. this could be handy in noisy environments when hearing a click from a micrometer torque wrench is difficult or also when seeing the LED alert is a problem.
The buzzer notification
I’d consider the buzzer notification a must have for the best digital torque wrench and the reason for this is due to the conventional nature of the click type torque wrenches and the familiarity to knowing the torque limit is attained by hearing the click.
If you are moving from the click-type torque wrench to the digital torque wrench, this is something I’d recommend you pay attention to.
With the buzzer notification, as compared to the click, you can hardly miss on this when you reach the set torque limit and if it is backed up by the other alert settings, there’s no way you could miss out on the alert once you hit the set torque.
The torque directions
Yet another thing that is worth looking into when choosing a digital torque wrench is the ease of usage of the torque wrench. The rule of thumb when choosing any torque wrench basically is the easier it is to use, the better a torque wrench it is.
Most torque wrenches allow you to only apply the torque in the clockwise direction. This, however, makes it somehow difficult to use it both right handed and left handed.
In addition to the difficulty of using the torque wrench with your dominant hand, something else that you are limited to if you can only be able to apply the torque in a single direction is when you are needed to use it in hard to reach places such as under your saddle.
Though most manufacturers tend to overlook the importance of applying the torque in both directions, it is something worth taking into account while shopping for the best digital torque wrench.
A comfortable handle
Now, as you look for a torque that gives you the convenience of applying the torque in both the clockwise and counter-clockwise direction, it would probably be a good idea if you also go ahead and select one that’s got a really comfortable handle.
If say you’re just from greasing your bike parts or oiling them and your hands are all slippery but at the same time you’d like to tighten some bolts and be done with everything before you clean up, you’ll want the handle to give you the best level of grip, right?
An ergonomic handle
The first thing you should consider looking into is how the handle is shaped. Such a handle should comfortably be able to fit in your hand perfectly well once you tighten your grip around it. This saves you from any unnecessary fatigue and the odds of it slipping away are quite slim.
Speaking of slipping away, let’s have a look at what you should get on your torque wrench handle to prevent this from happening, shall we?
A non-slip rubber grip
The best handle for slip resistance would be one that’s made or rubber. Naturally, rubber is not only soft but it also does allow for friction when clenched down on.
If you can’t get a rubber handle, I’d recommend that you consider choosing one that’s made of plastic. In some cases, you might get a torque wrench with a metallic handle and in all 3 cases, it would be a wise choice to have one that’s got ridges on it.
NOTE: from my experience with torque wrenches, it is a good idea to go for a wrench with a torque wrench with the least amount of plastic or rubber since doing otherwise might compromise on the overall strength of the torque wrench.
The number of torque measurements
Yet another thing worth looking into is the units of measurement that the torque wrench allows for. The rule of thumb as far as the best torque wrench is concerned is that it should allow for more than just one unit of measurement.
Manufacturers have different specifications for torque units and it would be somewhat cumbersome to use an alternative limit as you’d have to do a lot of conversions which are not always guaranteed to be correct. Also, some equipment has torque measurements on specific values so you can choose one also depending on your area of expertise
The most common units are inch pounds, kilograms per centimeter and even kilograms per meter. For the sake of versatility, it would be wise to choose a torque wrench that has got at least two of these.
The general rule of thumb in choosing torque wrenches is the bigger their size, the higher the torque levels they can attain.
For finer torque adjustments, you’ll want to go for something that’s small in size and for coarse adjustments, going for something that’s larger is a good idea.
Not, taking these two scenarios into account, I’d advise that you get more than just one digital torque wrench unless you are really specific about how you are going to use the torque wrench.
The accuracy level
Being the most important feature to look into when selecting a torque wrench, the level of accuracy varies from one manufacturer to the other.
Whereas getting the highest level of accuracy should be a priority, getting a wrench with a high accuracy level, yet again would mean that you get to spend a little bit more on the same. So, that being said, here’s the way to go:
The recommended threshold for accuracy is +/-4%. If you’re using the torque wrench for finer adjustments, it would be a good idea for you to have a higher level of accuracy hence the 4% would increase to 3% or 2%.
Clockwise vs counter-clockwise accuracy
Still, on the accuracy, it is important that you consider the fact that some torque wrenches do have both the clockwise and the counterclockwise torque adjustment capabilities. Regarding this, I’d recommend that you go for an accuracy level that is at least +/- 2% for the clockwise torque application and +/-3% for the counterclockwise torque application.
At the end of the day, you’ll want something that’s got a high level of accuracy depending on how you’ll be using the wrench. It is therefore always important to pay attention to the what you’re using the torque wrench on demands regarding the accuracy.
With a digital torque wrench, it might seem that visibility is not a problem at all but this is not always the case. As much as the wrench may have an LED display that’s easily visible in the dark, some of these are not as visible out in the sunlight.
To ensure it is easily visible at any time of the day, always go for a high contrast scale as this would work perfectly well even when used out in the sun.
Extra features to take into account
Wrapping up our buying guide on the best torque wrench, I’d like to shed some light on some extra features you should consider taking a look at for added convenience while using your digital torque wrench.
A storage case
Though this is more of a priority for the click type wrenches, it is worth having for a digital torque wrench. The last thing you want is spending a lot of cash on a digital torque wrench only to have it deteriorate in quality from bouncing against other tools in your toolbox.
After all, with a storage case, it would also be easier to carry your torque wrench around and definitely harder to lose it.
Most digital torque wrenches normally have the data storage feature and from my own point of view, it’s a good idea to get one that allows for the storage of some values. The rule of thumb is the higher the number of storage values it can accommodate, the better of the torque wrench is.
Automatic shut-down feature
All digital torque wrenches use either a rechargeable battery or just the usual batteries and it would be a good idea if you optimize their usage. The best way manufacturers make this possible is via the auto shut-down feature which, in the best torque wrenches is triggered after about 2 minutes hence conserving the battery power.
A charge indicator
Besides the low battery indicator, always look out for the charge capacity indicator since this lets you know when it’s nearly time to swap the battery.
You got the blueprint for the best digital torque wrench and it should be much easier for you to go ahead and shop for one yourself.
Well, as much as you may be having 5 of the best digital torque wrenches in 2018 and a buying guide to give you a head start in choosing one, it lies upon you to ascertain for their longevity by observing the best maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition.
Yet another thing I’d like to emphasize on is that you take into account your priorities and upon doing so, have a clear picture of what you’ll be using the wrench for and thereafter go ahead and make your purchase. All in all, getting the best wrench narrows down to performance, longevity, and affordability which we’ve all covered- all the best in getting the best digital torque wrench.