Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Tim R.

In the world of mechanical and automotive work, precision is paramount. Whether you’re assembling a car engine, working on a plumbing project, or tightening the bolts on a critical piece of machinery, achieving the correct level of torque is essential. To accomplish this, you need a reliable tool that can measure and apply torque accurately.

Enter the torque wrench, a vital instrument in the arsenal of any handyman, mechanic, or engineer.

A torque wrench is a specialized tool designed to apply torque to fasteners like nuts and bolts with precision. It comes in various types, each tailored to specific applications and preferences. In this in-depth guide, we will explore nine different types of torque wrenches, highlighting their unique features, advantages, and ideal use cases. Whether you’re a professional or a DIY enthusiast, understanding these torque wrench variants will empower you to make informed choices for your projects.

Click Torque Wrench

The click torque wrench is perhaps the most widely recognized and used type among all torque wrenches. Its popularity stems from its simplicity and accuracy. Click torque wrenches employ a clutch mechanism that is meticulously calibrated to measure torque in foot-pound increments. This mechanism typically includes a spring and a ball detent. As you apply force to the fastener, the spring gauges the torque, and when the preset torque level is reached, it releases, causing the ball detent to click audibly.

One of the key advantages of the click torque wrench is its precision. It provides a tactile and auditory clue (the distinctive click) when the desired torque is achieved, reducing the risk of over-tightening. Mechanics often prefer this type for its reliability and ease of use.


Beam Torque Wrench


In the world of torque wrenches, the beam torque wrench stands as the fundamental, no-frills variant. It relies on the simplest of principles—two beams—to calculate and display the applied torque. One beam is fixed, while the other can move freely at one end. As torque is applied, the free-moving beam flexes, and its movement is displayed on a printed scale attached to the wrench.

Beam torque wrenches are valued for their straightforwardness and durability. They lack intricate internal components, making them less prone to calibration issues. However, they do not offer the same level of precision and convenience as some other types.


Slipper Torque Wrench

The slipper torque wrench employs a unique method of torque measurement involving a ball and a cam. When you apply force to the fastener, a roller exerts pressure on the cam. Once the applied force reaches the desired torque level, the cam slips, preventing any further torque from being applied.

Slipper torque wrenches are known for their simplicity and reliability. They are often favored in situations where over-tightening poses a significant risk, such as in critical aerospace applications.


Deflecting Beam Torque Wrench


Similar in principle to the beam torque wrench, the deflecting beam torque wrench replaces the spring with a deflecting beam to detect torque. This design offers several advantages, including reduced calibration frequency and enhanced durability. Like its beam counterpart, it relies on the relative displacement of its components to indicate the applied torque.

Deflecting beam torque wrenches are renowned for their robustness and long-term accuracy. They are often preferred in professional settings where reliability and precision are crucial.


Hubless Torque Wrench


As the name suggests, hubless torque wrenches are not intended for use on vehicles. Instead, they find their niche in plumbing applications, specifically for tightening pipe couplings. These torque wrenches often resemble a T-handle wrench and come preset for specific torque values to prevent damage to couplings during installation.

Hubless torque wrenches are specialized tools tailored to a specific trade, and they are not adjustable for different torque levels. Plumbers rely on them for leak-free connections.

Electronic Torque Wrench

Stepping into the digital age, electronic torque wrenches offer advanced features and precise torque measurement. These wrenches utilize a strain gauge attached to a torsion rod to determine torque accurately. The torque readings are displayed on a digital screen, providing real-time feedback to the user.

One standout feature of electronic torque wrenches is their ability to store measurement data in an internal memory device. This data can be printed or viewed on a computer, making them valuable tools for quality assurance in industries like automotive manufacturing.


Mechatronic Torque Wrench

Mechatronic torque wrenches share similarities with click torque wrenches in terms of torque measurement principles. However, they elevate the user experience by storing torque data electronically. When the preset torque is reached, mechatronic wrenches provide both an auditory cue (a click) and electronic data storage for future reference.

These wrenches are favored by professionals who require precise torque measurement while maintaining a record of their work. They offer the best of both worlds—mechanical feedback and electronic documentation.


Hydraulic Torque Wrench


When it comes to heavy-duty applications that demand extreme accuracy, hydraulic torque wrenches come into play. These specialized tools utilize the principles of water displacement and movement to measure torque. They find their primary application in avionics and heavy machinery, where precision and reliability are paramount.

Hydraulic torque wrenches are designed to handle substantial torque values with exceptional accuracy, making them essential tools in industries where safety and performance are critical.


Programmable Electronic Torque Wrench

Programmable electronic torque wrenches are a sophisticated evolution of their electronic counterparts. While they share the same strain gauge technology, they introduce the ability to measure the angle of rotation in addition to torque. This innovation is achieved using a gyroscope, allowing these wrenches to recognize and account for previously adjusted fasteners.

Manufacturers often utilize programmable electronic torque wrenches for documenting the torque and angle control processes in precision machinery assembly. They offer a comprehensive approach to ensuring optimal performance and safety.


Now that you know the different types of torque wrenches, check out our recommended torque wrenches here! I have tried and tested each one of them and can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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