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There are several types of torque wrenches out there. Choosing the right one can be complicated if you don’t know just what tool you need to get the job done.
To help you make the right decision without a lot of hassle, we put together these torque wrench reviews to help you learn more about the four most common types of torque wrenches. We’ll cover the difference between torque wrenches and ratchet wrenches as well as the details about the main types of torque wrenches and what each should be used for.
The Difference Between a Ratchet Wrench and a Torque Wrench
If you’re new to wrenches and other tools, it’s difficult to understand the difference between a ratchet wrench and torque wrench. There are plenty of other types of wrenches, too, but these two are some of the most used, in part because they are so versatile and can be used in different applications.
That said, there’s a big difference between what a ratchet wrench and a torque wrench are used for. Here is what you need to know about each of these tools.
A ratchet wrench is a type of socket wrench, but it works differently than a standard socket wrench.With a regular socket wrench, you can only turn a bolt so far until you have to physically remove the wrench and re-position it. Once it’s repositioned, you can get back to work.
A ratchet wrench, on the other hand, has a ratchet mechanism that allows you to keep turning the wrench to loosen your bolt. You never have to take the wrench off and reposition it, which means you don’t have to stop working and the job gets done faster. This is the perfect tool for bolts that you need to remove quickly and without any trouble.
You have to understand torque before you can really get what this tool is for. Technically, torque is defined as the force created by turning or twisting. A torque wrench, which is also a type of socket wrench, has a torque scale. Sometimes, there is a physical scale painted on the wrench but modern options usually have a digital scale on an easy to read LCD screen.
As you turn the tool on a bolt, the scale shows you how much torque or force you’re using. More advanced torque wrenches can be set to a desired amount of torque and, when you reach it, it lets you know. This prevents over-tightening and comes in handy for bolts requiring a specific amount of force to be removed. They’re also great for bolts on cars or bicycles.
4 Types of Torque Wrenches
Now, let’s get to the different types of torque wrenches. Here are all the details about the four main types of torque wrenches and the types of jobs they’re suited for.
Beam Torque Wrench
A beam torque wrench is the most basic type torque wrench but it’s not the easiest to use.
With this tool, there’s a level that shows you how much torque force you’re using while turning the wrench. A needle on the level moves as you put pressure on the bolt.
This is the best torque wrench for calibrating other tools. Unfortunately, a beam torque wrench doesn’t measure high levels of force. They can be clunky and not easy to use.
Click Torque Wrench/Interchangeable Head Torque Wrench
A click torque wrench, also known as an interchangeable head torque wrench, is the most commonly used and the best torque wrench for mechanics and automotive work in tight spaces. They ensure that you use the specified amount of force needed to tighten bolts and help make sure you don’t over-tighten.
To use a click torque wrench, the first thing you should do is adjust the torque settings. Then, turn the wrench slowly to unfasten the bolt.
Once you reach the right amount of force, the click torque wrench will make a “click” sound. That means the bolt is tightened to your setting and you can remove the wrench. If you keep tightening the bolt, you can overtighten it which can break it or make it harder to remove later.
Hydraulic Torque Wrench
A hydraulic torque type wrench is run by pressurized oil instead of using electricity or manual power. These heavy-duty tools are made for industrial pipework and other similar areas because they can create a higher level of force than other types of torque wrenches.
With a hydraulic torque wrench, it’s pretty easy to set the torque force setting needed to prevent you from over-tightening any fasteners. This wrench locks when you reach the set torque and you won’t be able to move it any further.
This tool usually comes with both a power pack and hose and usually includes impact sockets as well.
Digital Torque Wrench
Digital torque wrenches are pretty self-explanatory. They use a digital screen to display the amount of force the wrench is using.
These wrenches are connected to an electric motor so setting the amount of force is easy. Once the programmed amount of force is reached, the wrench notifies you so you don’t over-tighten the bolt. These alerts about be an audible notification or even a vibration and vary from one digital torque wrench to the next.
This wrench measures torque with a strain gauge which sends information to a transducer. The transducer evaluates the force and then displays it on the screen.
Some of these wrenches come with a memory chip so it’s easy to upload the information to your computer if you want to analyze anything.
A digital torque wrench has amazing accuracy and is a good torque wrench for jobs that require a set amount of torque.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the different types of torque wrenches but they cover some of the most common jobs. We hope this guide helps you decide which torque wrench you should use in your line of work.