Digital Torque Wrench Recommendations

nwoods

Expedition Leader
I'm rebuilding the heads of a Jeep 4.7L and need a decent torque wrench. I've had some minor experience with click-type torque wrenches, and find the experience highly variable and questionable. I had the good fortune to use a $600 SnapOn digital torque wrench once and loved it, but I have a $100-150 budget.

I'm seeking your advice and opinions on the following digital torque wrenches, or perhaps something else you might prefer.

The Craftsman digital is priced all over the spectrum, from $174 in the local Sears, to $80 or so on Amazon. The utility is good, but the ratings are terrible.
https://www.craftsman.com/products/craftsman-1-2-in-dr-digi-click-torque-wrench-25-250-ft-lbs


Gearwrench #85077 - Top of my budget. Sparse reviews
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AY0JG0U/ref=pe_1843280_274409950_em_1p_0_ti


Brownline Metal Works BLD0212 - priced nicely at $98. American made, good reviews, thought a bit cumbersome in size
https://smile.amazon.com/Brown-Line...44571&sr=1-1&keywords=brownline+torque+wrench


AC Delco ARM303 - quite a bit above my price range, but seems nice
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GOUNZ10/ref=pe_2517470_274603440_em_1p_3_ti



Any others I should consider? Any warnings or pitfalls with this listed above?
 
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kmcintyre

Observer
I have the Brownline. It's ok. The functions are kind of strange and how they set/reset, beep, don't beep, etc., etc. I had the screws that hold the battery in place pull out of their sleeves. I had to send it back in and I had to pay for shipping :-( and they fixed it (probably just glued it back in).
 

Rallyroo

Expedition Leader
I'm in need of a new torque wrench too. I have an old Craftsman analog clicker type and the twist knob lock doesn't always work. I end up twisting the lock multiple times until I find the spot that will lock it. And reading the analog setting is very imprecise; seems like it has a lot of slop in it.
 

OCD Overland

Explorer
No, but Snap On rebrands those same wrenches and charges $400 for them. In your price range, those are the best torque wrenches you can buy.
 

nwoods

Expedition Leader
It’s all good. Turns out this wknd Harbor Frieght had a parking lot sale. Picked up a sweet 1/2” 20-250 ft lbs analog torque wrench for $9.95. It’s the clicker type, so I’m sure the accuracy will be comparable :)
 

Wirebrush

Observer
I read a test someone did on torque wrench accuracy and, believe it or not, the Harbor Freight digital that attaches between a ratchet or breaker bar and a socket was found to be very accurate. Far more accurate than the Snap-on analog type in fact.
 

jgaz

Adventurer
It’s all good. Turns out this wknd Harbor Frieght had a parking lot sale. Picked up a sweet 1/2” 20-250 ft lbs analog torque wrench for $9.95. It’s the clicker type, so I’m sure the accuracy will be comparable :)
A few thoughts on the Harbor Freight wrench.

I worked as a mechanic at an automotive proving grounds for many years. We were required to torque almost everything to a spec. We had certified, calibrated torque wrench checkers that we were required to use to verify accuracy of our personal or the company’s wrenchs at regular intervals and/or before certain jobs.

For use in rougher environments such as track testing tires the company bought Harbor Freight torque wrenchs and considered them somewhat disposable. They were acutally very accurate out of the box and lasted very well except.....

The wrenches I have experience with would not tolerate being left set to the higher end of the torque scale. I’ve seen those wrenchs left set ( not returned to zero) over a long weekend and had the accuracy degrade by over 30%.

I’ve seen this happen on several occasions and it always had a determental effect on the accuracy. IMO just return the adjustment to zero like the directions say and you’ll be fine.
 

DaveInDenver

Luddite
And reading the analog setting is very imprecise; seems like it has a lot of slop in it.
I have all old clicker type torque wrenches and to me the ease of setting would be the main advantage of a digital one (aging eyes suck). However, there's no reason an analog one must be more or less accurate or precise than a digital and vice versa a digital tool isn't automatically better. You still have to calibrate and check them.

When designing interfaces if you want to convey that you're doing something critical just show the user more digits after the decimal point but that doesn't mean anything without a baseline to judge against. We tend to think something digital must be accurate but in fact it may just be precisely wrong.

I don't know exactly how a digital torque wrench works but one thing that worries me is how they measure the angular deflection. It's still a physical thing and you're adding a layer for potential error, which is reading this position or strain or whatever, digitizing and displaying it. It could be very good or not and just adding a source of error.

jgaz said:
The wrenches I have experience with would not tolerate being left set to the higher end of the torque scale. I've seen those wrenchs left set ( not returned to zero) over a long weekend and had the accuracy degrade by over 30%.
This will ruin a $500 tool just as quick as a $20 one. You need to always unload a clicker after you're done and certainly never leave it stored under tension. You're compressing a spring that will take a set if you leave it long enough. Eventually anything with a spring like that will stop being useful since the spring fatigues with cycles anyway.
 
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DaveInDenver

Luddite
I don't have to reset my old beam-type torque wrenches.
Indeed. The only thing wrong with beam types is they rely completely on being able to see them straight on (and those aging eyes). I still have mine but about the only time I actually use them is when I'm curious if my clickers are roughly right. Convenience is hard to overcome.
 

Superduty

Adventurer
I have an older craftsman torq wrench. It isn't that fancy with a digital readout. But, you can set a specific number. I believe it is called a digitork. It is 1/2" drive. I am in So Cal as well, you are welcome to borrow it for your project. Send me a PM if you are interested.
 

OCD Overland

Explorer
Gotta love a thread that begins with asking for an equivalent to a $600 digital Snap On, and ends with 'Thanks all, but I got a sweet $9.95 deal in the parking lot of a Harbor Freight'.
 
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