Torque Wrenches- Massive price spectrum, what do I actually need?

Silver dude

Xplorer
The few kobalt tools I have picked up. Were made by denmar tool which makes Snap Ons Blue point line. The 3/8 kobalt impact sockets I picked up are made by Williams tool which makes Snap Ons sockets as well. So I'd say that to be correct

Ben
 

4xdog

Explorer
The few kobalt tools I have picked up. Were made by denmar tool which makes Snap Ons Blue point line. The 3/8 kobalt impact sockets I picked up are made by Williams tool which makes Snap Ons sockets as well. So I'd say that to be correct

Ben
Danaher used to have the Apex Tool Group joint venture with Cooper Industries, but spun that off to Bain Capital in October 2012. Apex makes tools for a lot of folks, including Armstrong as one of their own brands and they're one of the bigger private label producers for Craftsman. Much of the Snap-on's Blue Point tool line (and other Snap-on branded products, too, for that matter) are made by others and bought in, so although I don't know any details about Apex/Snap-on , it's certainly not impossible

Snap-on owns the Williams brand, not vice versa. They make their own sockets.

I'm perfectly OK with tools being made by lots of folks whose name isn't on the part. There's nothing so far to even remotely convince me that Kobalt is off-spec Snap-on. That just makes no sense to me.

The Garage Journal Forum is a terrific tool-related group. I'd recommend for anyone interested to browse there for all kinds of details about who-makes-what.
 
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stioc

Expedition Leader
I have two, one Craftsman (not a cheesy beam style) and one Harbor Freight that cost a fraction of the Craftsman one and I bought it for track use (when I raced cars) in case I lost it etc. Since then I much prefer using the HF one no matter what, it doesn't dig into my hands when tightening things. I've been using it for almost 10years and it's still as accurate as it was when I got it (I check it with the Craftsman one every now and then using a socket between the two). Unless you're building engines and need it to be 99.999% precise save your money and buy one from HF. In case you're wondering I have rebuilt the top-end of a motor with it too.

EDIT: BTW I do use it properly (i.e. stop right where it clicks and dont keep pushing on it like you see people at the tire shops) and I always store it without any spring tension nor do I drop it or use it as a hammer - it's a precision tool and needs to be used as such.
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
The few kobalt tools I have picked up. Were made by denmar tool which makes Snap Ons Blue point line. The 3/8 kobalt impact sockets I picked up are made by Williams tool which makes Snap Ons sockets as well. So I'd say that to be correct
I'm not familiar with Denmar (can't readily find anything about them on the net), but CDI Torque Products makes the Snap-on torque products and is now owned by Snap-on.
I had a Williams 1/2" drive 5/8" deep socket split removing the second head bolt I used it on. I've never had a Snap-on do that. I seriously doubt Williams makes Snap-on sockets.
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
I have two, one Craftsman (not a cheesy beam style)
I wouldn't call beam style cheesy, just a different type for different uses. And they require watching the wrench, which a lot of people don't want to do, or can't in the location they are.

Unless you're building engines and need it to be 99.999%....
Not gonna happen. Even Snap-on are only guaranteed + or - 4%.
BTW I do use it properly (i.e. stop right where it clicks and dont keep pushing on it like you see people at the tire shops)
It's not a matter of keeping on pushing it, when it clicks it breaks over and adds a bit more torque. It's very difficult to avoid that, even when you try.

One thing not mentioned is that in some cases a beam type or dial type are the only ones that you can use. For instance, when you're setting pre-load. Diff pinions, Land Rover swivel pin bearings, etc. Though some call for just using a hanging scale.
 

nwoods

Expedition Leader
This has been a very educational thread discussion! I definitely did not have a good understanding of the distinctions between types or the many other factors needing consideration.

I don't intend to rebuild a motor with it. That is way above my skill level. My thinking is that I'll more likely need a torque wrench for suspension and steering components, wheel hubs, maybe drive shafts to replace U-joints, and so forth. I think a 50-250 would cover the spectrum, and it sounds like a 1/2" drive is the more universal or flexible size for my usage. Tom, thanks very much for your knowledgable participation in this thread. I'm always learning from you. Cheers.
 

java

Expedition Leader
Danaher used to have the Apex Tool Group joint venture with Cooper Industries, but spun that off to Bain Capital in October 2012. Apex makes tools for a lot of folks, including Armstrong as one of their own brands and they're one of the bigger private label producers for Craftsman. Much of the Snap-on's Blue Point tool line (and other Snap-on branded products, too, for that matter) are made by others and bought in, so although I don't know any details about Apex/Snap-on , it's certainly not impossible

Snap-on owns the Williams brand, not vice versa. They make their own sockets.

I'm perfectly OK with tools being made by lots of folks whose name isn't on the part. There's nothing so far to even remotely convince me that Kobalt is off-spec Snap-on. That just makes no sense to me.

The Garage Journal Forum is a terrific tool-related group. I'd recommend for anyone interested to browse there for all kinds of details about who-makes-what.
You may be perfectly correct. I was told that they were snap on seconds, with a bit of searching it seemed like that was the case.

Did some more searching after your post and found this from a who makes what tools webpage:

From: "Peronto, Daniel J."
To: "John T. Blair"
Subject: Hand tools
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 13:44:50 -0500
I just wanted to add my 2 cents. Well a nickle really, considering that I work for Snap-on and we over charge for everything :)

I was reading on your site about 'who makes what tools' http://www.team.net/www/morgan/tech/whotools.html. One part explians that the various manufactures use 'the exact same forgings' for all the various brands they sell. This is NOT true for Snap-on tools. Our retail brand Kobalt sold through Lowe's stores, shares very little if any traits with our traditional Snap-on line. They are made in the same plants, but most of the manufacturing tooling is different. They are made by the same UNION skilled machinists useing the same tried and true processes. The designs for these tools are completly different. They use different material and are heat treated differently.

I hope this clears things up slightly
Dan Peronto
Tool Designer
Snap-on Tools
Kenosha Mfg Plant



So it seems they are made by snap on to Kobalts specs. Same plant same workers just different materials and treatments. Sorry if i made an uneducated post, it was my understanding. I have still had pretty good luck with them although i hate going to lowes.
 

stioc

Expedition Leader
I wouldn't call beam style cheesy, just a different type for different uses. And they require watching the wrench, which a lot of people don't want to do, or can't in the location they are.

Not gonna happen. Even Snap-on are only guaranteed + or - 4%.
It's not a matter of keeping on pushing it, when it clicks it breaks over and adds a bit more torque. It's very difficult to avoid that, even when you try.

One thing not mentioned is that in some cases a beam type or dial type are the only ones that you can use. For instance, when you're setting pre-load. Diff pinions, Land Rover swivel pin bearings, etc. Though some call for just using a hanging scale.
Agreed on most of the above except the clicking part. The click means it's reached the desired torque setting, in other words STOP, yet I commonly see people hear the click and still continue to tighten another quarter turn which as a result exceeds the torque setting by a good 15-30lbs-ft. The whole purpose of using a torque wrench is to avoid over or under tightening. In the case of a lug nut for a wheel it may not matter much that you went from 90ft-lbs to 110ft-lbs but on a head bolt you just warped an aluminum head.

Like you said unless you're setting diff pre-loads or have special circumstances requiring them the general purpose torque wrench should be a clicker type these days which is much more user friendly right out of the box. I used to have a beam style wrench only because at that time the clicker wrenches were 10x as much. Now adays you can pick up a general purpose clicker wrench for about $20 from HF (yes I know it's made in China but what isn't these days? the sooner we accept it the sooner we can move on).

I was going to let Nathan have my Craftsman (turns out it's a KD-tools) wrench since I never use it anymore so last night I tried it but the handle free-spun and came apart...:oops: I emailed KD-tools this morning, they said I could pay to get it repaired- it's going to the landfill.
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Check the Sears website. Last time I looked the warranty said all Craftsman hand tools are lifetime warranty (no exceptions for torque wrenches). I printed it and took it in with me a couple years ago and got a new torque wrench.

I wasn't talking about people who turn for another quarter turn or whatever, you can do that with any torque wrench. I was talking about the way click type work. You're turning the wrench, at the dialed in torque it gives and suddenly moves a little faster until it reaches the internal stop, which is then very easy to put pressure against and so and a bit of additional fastener turning. How much depends on the target torque, the specific wrench, how you're standing, the user's strength and other factors.
That said, I've been using them for 35+ years and my OCDness only caught up with me last year.
 

Wyowanderer

Explorer
If you're not up to calibrating it yourself, get cozy with your local engine remanufacturing facility, Stewart & Stevenson, or Caterpillar. All three will have someone on site who can do it, often for free if you'll spend the time to get to know the person who does it.
I have an antique Snap On 0-50 dial type (just like Tom's but smaller) and after having it calibrated by Snap On in 1988, I've taken it to the local guy ever since.
BTW- the dial type need calibrating less, because of their design. Unless you overstress them, anyway.
 

txfactor76

Observer
Honestly, I have used a lot. Snap-On, Craftsman, MAC...etc. All Chinese made.
What Snap-On and Craftsman wrenches are you buying that are made in China?


But to the OP, just check Craigslist. Nothing wrong with a Craftsman, but spring for a used Snap-On, SK, Proto, or Mac if you can. If you want something that can handle most torque values you might need, get a 1/2in drive 50-250. You'll be able to do anything from head bolts to big truck wheel nuts.
 

montecarlo31

New member
I think mine came from snap on but it attaches to a 1/2" drive and has a little LCD display that shows the torque and beeps once it has been reached. I like it as it's compact and easy to move around and your not stuck with one wrench. I did / do have it calibrated annually, all torque wrenches should be checked upon purchased and annually there after. You would be shocked at the number that are produced out of spec.
 

D110

Observer
Does anyone have any experience with the Eastwood Digital Torque wrenches? I was thinking of picking one up, but was wondering how you get it re-calibrated if it ever goes out? They seem like a great deal for the price.
 

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