Using the wrong tool or technique canlead to dangerous failures down the road. When dealing with critical assemblies, a quality torque wrench is indispensable. In this guide, you will discover its five most common types and how to accurately read them. From simple beam styles to sophisticated electronic models, each has its purpose. Learn how to select the right torque wrench for your application and use it correctly. With the proper knowledge, you can work efficiently while avoiding costly errors. Accurate torque application protects your work, equipment, and reputation.

What is a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific amount of torque (rotational force) to a fastener such as a nut or bolt. You use it when tightening critical components to prevent overtightening.

What is a torque wrench used for?

A torque wrench is a tool that is used to precisely impart rotating force, or torque, to a bolt or nut. This allows you to tighten the fastener to the proper tension without applying too much force.

To use a torque wrench, first determine the required torque specification for your application. Then, set the wrench to the proper torque setting before use. Apply torque in a slow, controlled motion until the wrench clicks or the torque reading on the display reaches the specification. Stop immediately to avoid over-tightening.

Torque wrenches require occasional calibration and maintenance to remain accurate. It is best practise to have them calibrated once per year or every 5,000 cycles, whichever comes first. When not in use, store torque wrenches in their original cases to prevent damage.

How to Read a Torque Wrench – A Complete Guide

Setting the Torque

To ensure accurate torque readings, set the torque wrench to the appropriate torque value for your fastener. Locate the adjustment collar at the base of the handle and turn clockwise to increase the torque setting or counter-clockwise to decrease it. Tighten the locking collar to lock in the setting before use. Always double check that the setting on the adjustment collar matches your required torque spec.

Tightening Bolts

Place the socket over the bolt head and attach the torque wrench to the socket. Hold the wrench at a 90-degree angle to the bolt to get an accurate reading. Apply firm and steady pressure in a clockwise direction. Continue turning the wrench until you hear an audible “click” which indicates you have reached the preset torque. Do not overtighten the bolt after hearing the click.

Checking Accuracy

To maintain precision, have your torque wrench calibrated annually by a certified technician. They will test the tool at multiple torque settings to ensure it is operating within an acceptable range of +/- 6% of the desired torque. Home calibration methods are not as accurate and could potentially damage the wrench. Follow the usage and care guidelines provided to keep it in good working condition.

With the proper technique and care, a torque wrench can provide many years of reliable and precise service. Be sure to store it in its original case and avoid dropping or overloading the tool. By understanding how to correctly set, read and maintain it, you can feel confident in achieving accurate torque specifications for any fastening job.

5 Types of Torque Wrenches Explained

There are six main types of torque wrenches:  click, beam, dial, electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic. Each has unique characteristics that suit different needs.

Click Wrenches

Click wrenches make an audible ‘click’ when the desired torque is reached, allowing you to stop applying force. They are inexpensive but require frequent calibration.

Beam Wrenches

Beam wrenches have an indicator needle that moves across a scale to show the torque as it’s applied. They are very accurate but can be difficult to read precisely.

Dial Wrenches

Dial wrenches have a gauge that indicates the torque level. They are easy to read but more expensive. Digital wrenches display the torque level numerically on an LCD screen. They are precise, programmable and data can be downloaded, but are the most expensive type.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Wrenches

Hydraulic and pneumatic wrenches use fluid pressure to generate high torque. Hydraulic wrenches generate more torque but pneumatic wrenches are more portable. These wrenches require an external power source and are mainly used in industrial settings.

Electronic Torque Wrenches

Electronic torque wrenches have digital displays that provide an exact torque reading. They tend to be more expensive, but provide the highest level of accuracy and precision.


You now have a solid understanding of the six primary torque wrench types and how to properly read them. With this knowledge, you can select the optimal torque wrench for your needs and use it safely and accurately. Regular calibration and proper usage will ensure it will last for years of reliable service. Share your new expertise with colleagues so you can work efficiently together, avoiding costly over or under-tightening. As you continue learning, remember that torque wrenches are precision instruments requiring care and caution. Mastering their nuances takes time but is well worth the effort for precise, quality work. We hope this guide has provided a strong foundation as you advance your abilities and produce your best work yet.

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