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How to Pick Out the Best Beam Torque Wrench

Beam Torque Wrench
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A good torque wrench is essential for working on any kind of vehicle. It’s vitally important to apply just the right amount of torque as dictated by the manufacturer’s torque settings for each component. Too much force may damage or altogether ruin the fastener or the mating parts. Not enough torque on the other hand presents the risk of the bolt backing out or sheering off from a loaded bolt joint. That could create a dangerous situation for you while on the road depending on how essential the item you’re working on is.

One thing to take into account is the accuracy tolerance for the displayed torque output of the wrench. A lower percentage of accuracy tolerance is better. Some wrenches may have a tolerance of +/- 4%, +/- 2% or maybe even +/- 1%. This indicates how close your reading is to the actual torque output. You may notice that the wrench bends when applying a lot of pressure. That’s perfectly normal. It’s part of what drives the needle to give a reading.

Also called an Endam torque wrench, the beam style torque wrench was invented in the 1940s and is still widely used today. Although beam torque wrenches are significantly cheaper than the other types, they are durable and effective. Their simple design allows for a much lower price than the other types. A click-type torque wrench, split beam torque wrench, and electronic torque wrench each are considered to be slightly more accurate, but considering how much more they cost, it may not be worth it to you to have a tad more accuracy for twice the price and up. Any good beam style wrench ought to do just fine in any situation you may need it, as long as it’s the right size.

For automotive purposes, there are four sizes to choose from. The wrench’s size corresponds to its torque range. The range is measured in inch-pounds or foot-pounds for SAE fasteners and newton-meters for metric. Inch pounds can obviously be measured in feet as well. From smallest to largest, the four sizes are 1/4” (50-250 inch-pounds), 3/8” (15-75 foot-pounds), 1/2” (30-250 foot-pounds), and 3/4” (250 foot-pounds+). Ranges for inch/foot-pounds are based on recommended use. The most applicable size for working on vehicles is 3/8”. You probably won’t need a 3/4” if you’re just working on cars.

Some wrenches cover a broader range. Although that may seem to be the obvious best choice, you also have to consider that the broader the range of the wrench, the larger the size, which may cause a problem when trying to squeeze into tight spaces. Also, torque wrenches tend to be more accurate in the middle of their torque range, so you ought to take that into consideration when choosing your size.

Below are the best beam style torque wrenches on the market in terms of value for money and overall quality. Have a pick from this list and you’re sure to get yourself a long lasting, quality tool.

GearWrench 2955D

GearWrench 2955D Beam Torque Wrench
GearWrench is a well-respected brand that has garnered a lot of highly positive reviews for its beam torque wrenches. This 1/4″ drive wrench ranges from 0 to 60 inch-pounds with +/-4% accuracy clockwise and counterclockwise. It has a ball type handle that helps a lot with grip. It’s currently going for around $70. GearWrench also makes a great 3/8” 0-600 inch-pound model, the 2956D.

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Performance Tool M195 0-60 in/lb & 0-7 Newton-meter Beam Style Torque Wrench

Performance Tool M195 0-60 in/lb& 0-7 Newton-meter Beam Style Torque Wrench
At just over $25, the Performance Tool M195 is one of the best sellers online. It has excellent reviews and comes at an affordable price. It ranges from 0-60 inch-pounds clockwise or counterclockwise. Performance Tool also makes a 1/2″ model, the W3001C.

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Park Tool TW-1 Torque Wrench (1/4- Inch Drive, 0-60 inch Lbs)

Park Tool TW-1 Torque Wrench
This two-in-one wrench is 1/4″ but includes an adapter for 3/8″. It also has two scales from 0-60 inch-pounds and 0-7 Nm. It comes highly recommended and is among the top sellers online. The price is online is a little over $35.

Neiko 03727A 1/4-Inch Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench | 0-80 in/lb 9 Nm

Neiko 03727A 1/4-Inch Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench | 0-80 in/lb 9 Nm
The Neiko 03727A has five star ratings at various online marketplaces. Its range is 0-80 inch-pounds, which are conveniently in one inch increments, and has an accuracy of less than +/- 4%. It also has metric readings and can be used in both directions. It’s currently going for below $25.

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Powerbuilt 644044 1/2-Inch Drive Needle Torque Wrench

Powerbuilt 644044 1/2-Inch Drive Needle Torque Wrench
Here’s another quality tool from Powerbuilt. It has a pivot ball style handle that channels force for increased accuracy. It has a wide range of 0-140 foot-pounds. Powerbuilt is an American company that makes quality tools for a low price that come with a lifetime warranty. This one is very cheap at just over $12.

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CRAFTSMAN 9-32999 3/8-in.

CRAFTSMAN 9-32999 3/8-in. Dr. Beam Style Torque Wrench
This craftsman beam torque wrench is a good all-arounder at 3/8” and costs around $35. Craftsman needs no introduction. You know you’re getting a quality tool with a great warranty if you go with Craftsman.

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Tooluxe® 03703L 3/8-inch and ½-inch

Tooluxe® 03703L 3/8-inch and ½-inch Beam Style Torque Wrench
Here’s another affordable two-in-one. The Tooluxe 03703L costs less than $20 and has a broad range of 0-150 foot-pounds. That is enough to cover the vast majority of automobile jobs. For the price, that’s an excellent deal.

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