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What's the best torque wrench for the money?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Punko, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. I'm looking to buy a torque wrench. I'd like something somewhat affordable (no more that $200 if possible)

    I hear Craftsman torque wrenches are junk. GrearWrench has a torque wrench, and I've been happy with their products.

    I just don't want the AutoZone/Harbor Freight "special", but I have trouble justifying a SnapOn/Matco wrench for now.

    Can y'all help me?
  2. snapper
    Joined: Jan 4, 2004
    Posts: 531

    from PNW

    Snap -on #tqfr25oe...40-250 ft lbs.. Is a good one, adjustable dial type and can be safely stored set....$200-250
  3. racer756
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,320


    Check on eBay & Craigslist for a good used one, a snap-op or mac or Matco, then have it re calibrated just to be sure.
  4. thisbugger
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 240


    Just remember that torque wrenches DO need calibration depending on use.
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  5. Rudebaker
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,582

    from Illinois

    In the under $200 price range we've had good luck with Proto torque wrenches at work. It's a manufacturing facility and we do a lot of assemblies for Deere, CNH and the military and have about 300 torque wrenches of all makes and sizes from 6 InLbs through 350 FtLbs. The Protos handle being used as hammers and pry bars with the best of them! :D Oh yeah, they hold their calibration pretty well also. ;)
  6. overkillphil
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 303


    I love my Proto tools! I've used them in the military, and the steel mill I worked in carried them, good stuff!
  7. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,113

    from Canton IL

    I have Snap On torque wrenches in 1/2 and 3/8 drive. My next one will be another Snap On 1/4" drive in inch lbs, the best for the money is to buy the best. I always crank mine back down all the way after each use.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
    Joined: Jun 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,594


    The snap on ones are worth every penny,and you can send em back and have them re calibrated for free if your unsure about em.depending on how good you know your local snap on guy,you could even do the same with the one you get of ebay or craigslist.
  9. crowerglide
    Joined: Aug 31, 2006
    Posts: 198

    from Tyler, TX

  10. RAY With
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,132

    RAY With

    Nothing has beat my snap on torque wrenches and I have 1/4 inch Lb to 1/2 size. About every 2 years I send then in for calibration test and never a charge and there very accurate.There an investment in precision .
  11. I still use an old beam torque wrench. I have a click type but \i just dont trust it. I have compared both against each other and they always read real close.
  12. I love my snap on tech2fr100 digital. it does ft lbs, inch lbs and Netwtons its clicks vibrates and tells you the exact measurment you stopped at. it does 5-100 ft lbs.
  13. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    look for armstrong, places like msc sell them really good tools, used one for about five years daily at work,until it finally went out of calibration. they are also made in the USA. they are made to be industrial tools. :)
  14. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    here's one of the catalog pages, click on a wrench for specs, they are a very solidly made tool, need to get this one recalibrated. I was supried i was using one in inch pounds,the 3/8 drive up to 250 inch pounds, really nice tool. and reasonably priced.
  15. Benzine440
    Joined: Aug 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,249


    I've got a 30 year old click type Craftsman that is still accurate.
  16. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,238


    My Craftsman from 15 years ago works as well as the Snap On and Mac Tools ones that are in our shop.
  17. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    problem is they aren't made as good now as they were 15 years ago, quality has gone to crap on most everything. now if you can find a good used one thats what i would look for.
  18. bigchuckstud
    Joined: Sep 29, 2007
    Posts: 87


    Snap on hands down you will have it forever and pass it down to your kids
  19. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    Have to jump on the Snappy bandwagon here. I really like my 3/8" drive Snap-On Torque wrench, and will be upgrading my 1/2" Craftsman sooner or later. I don't turn wrenches for a living anymore, so it's way down there on the list.

    Here's the deal with Craftsman, which I found out the hard way. The guys who are saying the new ones aren't made as well as the old ones are right.

    One, I had a 1/2" that was probably 10 - 15% out of spec after less than a year of infrequent use. Two, Craftsman torque wrenches aren't covered under that "guaranteed forever' bullshit Sears is always blowing smoke about (stop by the local Sears store and argue with them about it). Three, for some reason it costs more to have a Craftsman calibrated, and the places that do them won't stand behind that, either.
  20. Streetwerkz
    Joined: Oct 1, 2008
    Posts: 718


    I love my 1/2" digital snap-on
    I have a 3/8" craftsman thats about 15 years old that werkz well also
  21. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,966

    Shifty Shifterton

    You want cheap? Buy a beam type that's a couple decades old. Clickers have been around so long the original style are outcasts. I've got a craftsman beam that's as old as me and still dead nuts accurate. It's the only torque wrench I used for my first 10 years of working on cars.

    Want to avoid expense, be able to get the job done, and have a tool that's dead nuts reliable over time? Beam type wrench.
  22. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    I agree,The Rabid Whippet. Bending beam is foolproof, cost is a lot less, never needs calibrated (self calibrated actually, if it returns to zero from both directions it IS calibrated). Unless bent beyond yield point, the structure of the steel bar is forever inherent. If you don't believe it try it for 40 years and see for yourself.

    Of course the advantage of the click-over. is user doesn't have to eyeball the gauge on the bend beam.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  23. skullhat
    Joined: May 30, 2009
    Posts: 892


    i got 3 snap on digitals, and 3 snap on clickers. gotta say i love the digis easy to read scale, and instant conversions from inch-foot-newtons.
    my only complaint is that it seems the batteries have a set life span whether you are using the things or not.
    also , you gotta watch the digis, as when the batteries dump, they dont buzz when torque is reached. that can be a problem on smaller fasteners.
    if ya keep an eye on the battery indicator, they are hard to beat imo

  24. lostn51
    Joined: Jan 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,666


    I have both the old Craftsman beam type that is older than dirt (very reliable) and I have a Snap-On 1/2 drive ratchet click type, dont know the model number but it is one of the more expensive ones that goes to 200+lbs. Both have their advantages and to me and the Snap-On is my favorite because I can use it like a ratchet and do not have to take it off of the bolt everytime I want to take it a little further.

    My Daddy gave me my Craftsman when I was a kid learning to work on cars, and the Snap-On I picked up brand new in the cellophane at a pawn shop for $65.
  25. MIKE47
    Joined: Aug 19, 2005
    Posts: 987

    from new jersey

    Snap-on clickers are by far the best. I've owned MAC clickers and they aren't as "loud" and hard to feel the click sometimes. The Snap-on are loud and easy to use. They will recalibrate too. For free. Forever. Mine range in age from 10-40 years old. I also have a Snap-on dial type that is over 50 and still works with perfect accuracy. Craftsman tool quality is way down over the last 10 years. Old ones may be OK but this one of those tools that you should not skimp on.
    Of course it all depends on what you are gonna torgue. For wheels and chassis stuff an old beam will be fine. If it were my engine I'd want the most accurate thing I could buy. Not that a beam or dial isn't accurate but it has to be a good one. So there you have it. Buy a good one.
  26. bluebolt
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 305

    from Benton LA

    When I ran the Air Force B52 tool crib we used CDI torque wrenches. They were very reliable. We tried Snap-on and Proto but had lots of them that wouldn't calibrate to specs. We had new ones that wouldn't meet our specs which were pretty stringent. We calibrated torque wrenches every 180 days as I recall. Funny thing is CDI is a division of Snap-on. The 1/2" wrenches are in the just under $200 range.

    We also "cycled" the torque wrenches at least 3 times before use, had a bar with the different size adapters mounted to it right by the tool crib counter.
  27. gallagher
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 177

    from califorina

    i would have to say buy a snap on used at a swapmeet or pawn shop.then have it recalibrated
  28. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,738


    Another vote for Snap-On.

  29. Our cars were all assembled with beam scales and then the clicker type came. THESE ARE NOT TRADITIONAL!!!! LOL!!! They didn't ave the clicker type when I started doing automotive stuff and learned how to use the beam. For some reason my clicker just sits in its box. I dont have a problem looking at the gauge. It sort of reminds me of driving a stick shift vs driving an automatic car.
  30. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,238


    Very true. And I think mine is probably 20 years old now that I think about it, :(

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