Torque Wrenches: Beam vs. Clicker

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The U.S. military is not the same as a shade tree mechanic. Unfortunately, the cost of calibration for civilians often is more than the cost of a "non-professional" torque wrench. I also seem to have seen a review of torque wrench accuracy out of the box and was surprised at the variance, cost of unit notwithstanding. I guess if I buy Snap-On I'm safe, but that's out of my budget. I use a surplus dial wrench, an old Craftsman beam wrench (seems like if the "arrow" points to zero at the start, it's pretty accurate?), and a couple of budget clickers. I'm most concerned about the inch-pound wrenches for small fasteners as the typical 4-10% accuracy seems like a lot on a little bolt.

I would welcome recommendations from people who have wrenches that they have had regularly calibrated and found accurate over time. That's what I would find helpful. If your wrench has not broken and it has "worked well for me", that does not tell me very much beyond you like it and it has not broken.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance. ...and, I'm not trying to be snarky, just looking for good advice.
Holy cow I'm shocked at the price. I have a 3/8" 5-75 and a 1/2" 30-250. Remember they are not accurate below 20% of the highest range, so 75 means not accurate below 15, and I needed 18 ft. lbs. for spark plugs. Pretty sure the 3/8 was like $120 and the 1/2 was like $140...

They have a calibration certificate inside the case, haven't recalibrated. But the 1/2" has been used on wheel nuts for over 9 years and not broken. The 3/8" has less usage. They don't feel like toys, as the HFT ones do.


 
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Holy cow I'm shocked at the price. I have a 3/8" 5-75 and a 1/2" 30-250. Remember they are not accurate below 20% of the highest range, so 75 means not accurate below 15, and I needed 18 ft. lbs. for spark plugs. Pretty sure the 3/8 was like $120 and the 1/2 was like $140...

They have a calibration certificate inside the case, haven't recalibrated. But the 1/2" has been used on wheel nuts for over 9 years and not broken. The 3/8" has less usage. They don't feel like toys, as the HFT ones do.


IMO good wrenches actually have a range outside the scale on the tool.

The wrenches I have, both expensive and inexpensive, are accurate at the bottom and top of their scales.
 
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IMO good wrenches actually have a range outside the scale on the tool.

The wrenches I have, both expensive and inexpensive, are accurate at the bottom and top of their scales.
100% agree. I have a fairly cheap Craftsman 20-150 1/2" clicker, which I store at 20 and use it at 20 all the time. I have verified it to be correct with the luggage scale method, pulling 12" from the center of the anvil.

I've also never used a torque wrench on spark plugs, so even if there were a small amount of variance it wouldn't be enough to worry about.
 
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IMO good wrenches actually have a range outside the scale on the tool.

The wrenches I have, both expensive and inexpensive, are accurate at the bottom and top of their scales.
Could be, it has to do with calibration. Meaning if the wrench is 5-75, then the calibration will be 20%-100%. 0%-19.99% is not known, but it may very well be accurate. Here's my calibration cert. But also, again, if you're looking for 15 ft. lbs, then 5-75 is the correct wrench to get, as opposed to 20-100. Or, it doesn't really matter lol we can't boil the ocean, right?

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Could be, it has to do with calibration. Meaning if the wrench is 5-75, then the calibration will be 20%-100%. 0%-19.99% is not known, but it may very well be accurate. Here's my calibration cert. But also, again, if you're looking for 15 ft. lbs, then 5-75 is the correct wrench to get, as opposed to 20-100. Or, it doesn't really matter lol we can't boil the ocean, right?

View attachment 110953
FWIW, my Snap-On TechAngle atech2fr125b advertises 2% accuracy from 20-100% of full scale, but still advertises 4% accuracy between 4-19% of its range. This makes it pretty versatile since it means you have 4% accuracy from 5 ft-lbs to 24 ft-lbs and 2% from 25 ft-lbs to 125 ft-lbs.

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FWIW, my Snap-On TechAngle atech2fr125b advertises 2% accuracy from 20-100% of full scale, but still advertises 4% accuracy between 4-19% of its range. This makes it pretty versatile since it means you have 4% accuracy from 5 ft-lbs to 24 ft-lbs and 2% from 25 ft-lbs to 125 ft-lbs.

View attachment 110960
That's interesting because it would seem that many applications would not care, even though %-wise it's a big difference. One thing I've heard is it's harder to hear the click down low. I have 2 identical tire pressure gauges, physically, made by same mfg. One goes to 0.1, the other 0.5. I've since bought another that goes to 0.1. Believe it or not, if I set my tires to exactly the same tenth of a psi, hot at 38, when they cool down to 32, they are still within 0.2 of one another. Does any of this really matter, well, I would say probably human error is more of a factor getting this granular over the tool itself. Not sure if my torque wrench says double the tolerance from 0-20%, the calibration numbers are all under 2% but the rating is 4% already, double that of yours from 20-100%. Again in the real world probably makes no difference, but in theory, most accurate as low as 20% of th high of the range...
 
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Does any of this really matter, well, I would say probably human error is more of a factor getting this granular over the tool itself. Not sure if my torque wrench says double the tolerance from 0-20%, the calibration numbers are all under 2% but the rating is 4% already, double that of yours from 20-100%. Again in the real world probably makes no difference, but in theory, most accurate as low as 20% of th high of the range...
All academic, but my conversations years ago with CDI techs (and others) covered the variability/error opportunities using torque wrenches. All these vareables (human, fastener condition,etc.) add up to over +/- 25% torque value error possibility.

The issue I see is that low torque values below 15 ft. lbs. are usually smaller, more delicate fasteners, sometimes in aluminum threads. Does one want to take the risk that the torque wrench is accurate below the 20% of scale range? It's better not to assume and at least test it on a fastener in a vice. I had a work situation where someone used an untested torque wrench at 350 ft. lbs. on a commercial chipper and created a $3,000 repair bill!
 
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Here's what I know... I used to service and rebuild big gensets. When torquing mains and rods and such in a big engine, the top of the wrench is facing down, so you need an audible signal. Also, on machines in an enclosure, especially on trailers, when torquing a cylinder head, sometimes your head is on the outside and your hands and the wrench are on the inside. Again, clicker for the win.
I have a beam type wrench. Almost never use it. I also have some dial type wrenches. Usually use them for setting drag on pinion bearings or adjusting fuel injector rockers.
Inspection mirrors were in every tool box. Had to use them many times when torqueing things. On a submarine, easy maintenance was very wishful thinking in such confined quarters.
 
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That's interesting because it would seem that many applications would not care, even though %-wise it's a big difference. One thing I've heard is it's harder to hear the click down low.
Price be ****ed, but I really like the lights and beep of the TechAngle. It is probably the most overpriced, but most-used (and favorite) tool in my box.
 
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I've got a friend who spent a good part of a couple of terms in the service as a instrument calibrator. Mostly torque wrench verification and adjustment.
 
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pretty difficult for me to pull 350 ft/lb. I weigh 222lb am 70 y/o
8^ 0
The wrenches are 42 inches long and up. It's not unusual for Ag. equipment (6' brush hog) to require very high torque values. Our CAT dealer has VERY long torque wrenches and/or torque multipliers to achieve the necessary result. Big burly guy comes out and has it done in a few minutes.

70" long, 1,000 ft. lb. torque wrench: https://www.protorquetools.com/Will...MI_bHypOSt-QIVV__jBx2bcw0REAQYAiABEgKt5PD_BwE

John Deere Blade Hardware: 725ft. lb. ..............................................................................450 ft. lb.
brush hog torque.jpg
Brush hog torque 2.jpg
 
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ex-ack-a-lee.
Days R 7:30 ta noon/2pm now - a 31.5 hr wk (7X).
Jeez, guess they have the same conditions in I de ho as Tax a chussetts.
Glad the bills get paid, some extra comes in.
 
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