Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big torque spanner test 2021. Here we present all the torque spanners we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best torque spanner for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a torque spanner.




Summary

  • Torque spanners are mainly used in the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, microelectronics and implantation medicine.
  • In principle, a distinction is made between electronic, mechanical, indicating and triggering torque spanners.
  • The size, weight, drive and torque are important comparison criteria that you should consider when buying a torque spanner.

The Best Torque Spanner: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a torque spanner

Where is a torque spanner used?

A torque spanner is a tool for tightening screws or nuts with a certain force. This requires a precisely defined tightening torque. A tightening torque is a precisely defined force with which the bolt or nut is to be tightened.

Torque spanners are essential in car workshops. (Image source: pixel2013 / Pixabay.com)

This can be adjusted on the torque spanner so that the force applied does not exceed that actually required. This way you can make sure that screws and nuts are neither too tight nor too loose. Torque spanners are available in various sizes and designs for a wide range of applications.

The individual torque spanners are used in the following areas:

  • Automotive industry
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Microelectronics
  • Implant medicine

Torque spanners are mainly used for repair and maintenance work on motor and passenger vehicles such as cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Screws and nuts on e.g. tyres need the necessary connecting force. This is produced by the correct torque when screwing on.

This is very important. For your vehicle to be roadworthy, tyres have to be tight enough not to come loose while driving. At the same time, they must also fulfil their basic function - rolling - perfectly. Motorbikes in particular are subject to enormous forces.

Did you know that the torque spanner needs a lot of care, otherwise it can quickly become unusable?

A torque spanner has many wearing parts and if you neglect to take care of them, you quickly run the risk of rust or wear.

Constant vibration can cause screw connections to loosen again if the force is too low. On the other hand, screws, nuts and tyres can be damaged if they are clamped too tightly. This creates unnecessary expenses and costs you nerves.

With the right maintenance, a little love of mechanics and the right torque spanner, you can enjoy your rides worry-free!

What is the benefit of a torque spanner?

Torque spanners are nothing more than spanners that exert a certain force on the bolt or nut to prevent over-tightening. You can adjust this force.

It is given in nm (Newton metres). You can reach up to 1500 nm by using the lever, which is e.g. 1.5 m longer. That is real power! This long lever is the greatest benefit of torque spanners.

With the open-end spanner, not only can screws be tightened cleanly and effectively, but they can also be loosened. The built-in ratchet head allows screws to be removed quickly and effectively without much force.

For mounting indicators or mirrors, you can use standard tools. When working on wheels, engines or gearboxes, a torque spanner is indispensable. These are delicate jobs.

Feeling the right torque with your wrist is a precarious matter.

A malpractice in mechanic circles, so to speak. Save time, nerves and manpower. Be smart and use the right torque multiplier.

For whom is a torque spanner suitable?

Almost every torque spanner is equipped with a ratchet mechanism. This means that the tool can be used like a ratchet from the socket spanner box.

You can change the direction of rotation on all models. If you want to tighten a screw with a left-hand thread, you should make sure that you can push the square socket through. Only then can you tighten the screw with the tool.

Differences in quality can be seen in the materials used for the torque spanner. Cheaper models are made of chrome-molybdenum steel, while higher-quality models use chrome-vanadium steel. This material is much more stable.

You can also tell the quality by the finish of the handle. You can recognise simple, inexpensive models by the round steel handle, high-quality ones by the ergonomically shaped plastic handle. This again shows the higher quality.

What does a torque spanner cost?

The choice of the right torque spanner depends on your field of application. How often do you use it for which vehicle/device? There is no general answer to this question. The purchase should be worthwhile for you.

For repairs where a high degree of accuracy is a priority, you should use high-quality tools. Even when changing tyres, you should use a good torque spanner to avoid consequential damage.

You can buy torque spanners for as little as €20, or you can spend several hundred euros. Think carefully about what you need and take a look at the comparison tables.

A display torque spanner, for example, is an inexpensive, easy-to-use alternative to the other tool variants that still gives you very accurate results.

Type Price
Electronic torque spanner from 100 €
Indicating torque spanner from 70 €
Mechanical torque spanner from 60 €
Releasing torque spanner from 40 €

As with all tools, there are also suitable accessories for torque spanners. Often, set offers, e.g. with a set of sockets, have a higher price. If you already have enough of these in your possession, it is sufficient to just buy a storage box for your ratchet.

What alternatives are there to torque spanners?

Practically none for the applications mentioned. Buying cheap 0-8-15 tools makes little sense. Apart from that, screws and nuts that are too tight or too loose pose a safety risk.

Decision: What types of torque spanner are there and which is the right one for you?

There are so many types and manufacturers of torque spanners on the market that it is easy to lose track of them all. So that you don't get blinded by bargain offers and end up with an impractical tool, we are happy to help you.

In the following section, you will find information on the different types of torque spanners:

  • Electronic torque wrench
  • Indicating torque wrench
  • Mechanical torque wrench
  • Releasing torque wrench

The handling of each of these types is slightly different, which brings individual advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on the repairs you want to carry out and the things you value most, a different type of torque multiplier is suitable. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of torque spanner is best for you.

For this purpose, we will introduce you to all the types of torque spanners mentioned above and clearly explain what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

What distinguishes the electronic torque spanner and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The electronic torque spanner has a digital display. The practical screwdriving tool measures the tightening torque by means of strain gauges and shows the converted value on the display.

Advantages
  • Quick adjustability
  • Easy handling
  • Inexpensive purchase
Disadvantages
  • No continuous use
  • Short service life
  • Unsuitable for changing tyres

With this electronic tool, limit values can be programmed in and output immediately. The internal memory creates an automatic intermediate storage. You can read out this data afterwards.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the indicating torque spanner?

The indicating torque spanner has additional advantages for you as a user in handling, precision and resistance. The tool, which is now also called a flat bar spanner, is very accurate to use. An adjustment knob at the end of the handle allows you to quickly set your desired tightening torque.

On a clear double scale, you can see at a glance what you have set with a colour differentiation between Nm and ft.lb. When the set torque is reached when tightening a screw connection, this is indicated by an acoustic and tactile signal.

Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • Little expertise required
  • Very robust
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Inaccurate measurement results

If you, as the user of the tool, are shown the torque to be achieved, you should stop the application of force immediately. This is the only way to achieve an accurate result.

It is not necessary to reset the setting. Usually a torsion bar, also called a torsion bar or torsion bar spring, is also used to drive the lever.

With tools, the exact achievement of a set torque must not depend on the speed of operation. Target values must always be reached exactly, no matter how fast or slow you operate the tool.

What distinguishes the mechanical torque spanner and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

There are two types of mechanical torque spanner.

The buckling spanner: When the desired torque is reached, the spanner buckles. Professionals speak of breaking off in this case. What is the advantage of this function? Overtightening of the screw or nut is avoided. This tool is suitable for both amateurs and professionals.

Advantages
  • Ideal for do-it-yourselfers
  • Little expertise required
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Inaccurate measurement results

The crack spanner: This is also called a triggering torque spanner. Its use must be stopped by the user. The click spanner does not stop automatically. The click spanner is suitable for professionals.

What distinguishes the triggering torque spanner and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Releasing torque spanners are less handy and convenient. On the other hand, they are cheap to buy. You need some practice to use this type of torque wrench. You have to know when you have transferred enough muscle power into connecting force.

Use a tester or a scale to set the required target torque before using the torque spanner. A click or crack that can be felt and heard signals when you should stop tightening the bolt or nut.

Advantages
  • High precision
  • suitable for professionals
Disadvantages
  • Automatic stop requires user knowledge
  • costly

As soon as the exact torque is applied, most variants simply slip through and thus prevent overtightening. Most spanners have an accuracy of +/ - 3% of the measured value.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate torque spanners

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate torque spanners. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain tool is suitable for you or not.

If you research the online market, you have the great advantage of getting an idea of the respective product before you buy it, based on numerous reviews. After all, there are many different manufacturers and types of torque spanners to choose from.

The following purchase criteria should be taken into account:

  • Product dimensions and weight
  • Material
  • Drive
  • Torque
  • Application (Which vehicle?)
  • Ease of use
  • Practical extras

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Product dimensions and weight

The length of a torque spanner plays an important role. Are you looking for a torque spanner for your road bike?

For this purpose, a length of 30 cm is more than sufficient. However, if you want to use it on your car, you should choose a tool that is at least 45 cm long.

A longer torque spanner allows for greater leverage and thus potentially higher torque. At the same time, the physical effort required remains the same.

Material

There are an incredible number of torque spanner variants on the market. If you take a look at some customer reviews, it becomes clear: don't save on tools. It costs you nerves, time and money!

Many torque spanners are bought in the euphoria of bargain hunting, but soon turn out to be plastic replicas. Cheaply produced, not very user-friendly, unwieldy and brittle.

High-quality torque spanners are characterised by a uniform casting. The most qualitative and standardised material is chrome vanadium steel.

Most manufacturers use this mixture. The torque spanners in the test also confirm this. The handle is primarily made of rubber and plastic. Real differences finally become apparent in the quality of the workmanship.

Drive

With torque ratchets, the drive with which the socket set works is always interesting. The ratchet head is equipped with a so-called square spigot, the dimensions of which are given in inches. The optical symbol for the unit inch is the superscript inverted comma (").

Depending on the size of the socket used, different spigots can be used. These sockets or heads are available with different sizes of tang and can thus be individually adapted to the size of the nut.

This alternative offers great flexibility. For the spanners in the test, a 1/4" or a 1/2" dimension is a common standard. Generally, spigot sizes of 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", 1" or 1½" are offered.

Torque

The different torque spanner tests prove: Each model is suitable for an individual torque spectrum. Before you decide to buy a spanner, you should make sure that the possible torques fit your vehicle.

The torque required for your vehicle can be found in the instruction manual or by asking the manufacturer. As these tools are exposed to enormous leverage forces due to their elongated shape, they are made of special materials such as chrome vanadium steel, cast iron or aluminium.

The torque multipliers in our test are all made of chrome vanadium steel, which is a clear seal of quality.

Especially when it comes to torque, you should play it safe before you buy. Otherwise, materials and vehicles can be damaged. And there goes the joy of bargain hunting.

Area of application

It is important that you know what you need the torque spanner for and how often. Every owner of a car workshop knows these special tools. They are used to tighten wheel nuts on alloy rims to a certain torque. If this were not the case, the rims could deform due to excessive force.

Torque spanners are also used in medical fields. They are needed to fasten dental implants or artificial joints so as not to damage the filigree screws. Consequently, the dimensions of the torque spanners and the tightening force are significantly smaller.

Torque spanners used in locksmith's shops or in steel construction have much larger dimensions. Torque spanners in these areas can have a length of 1.5 m.

Incidentally, the maximum limit of the possible tightening torque for torque spanners is 1,500 Nm. Higher values can only be achieved with special accessories.

Torque spanners are nothing more than spanners that exert a certain force on the screw or nut and thus prevent overtightening. You can adjust this force. (Picture source: 123rf.com / Vladimir Zhupanenko)

Ease of use

A round handle that is made of steel cannot score as well as one that is dedicated to ergonomics. During longer working intervals, this difference becomes painfully noticeable and is a reason for exclusion.

Even in terms of mechanics, a critical look is necessary, because here too there are differences that are noticeable in terms of quality.

In the case of indicating torque spanners, calibration and adjustment must be easy (with one hand). Nothing should jam or become misaligned during work.

Did you know that if the torque spanner is used frequently, the calibration can deteriorate?

To keep the values accurate, you can have the adjustment carried out by the manufacturer, for example. This way you can enjoy the torque spanner for a long time.

Here are the basic tools to be distinguished: mechanical and electronic torque spanners. In addition, mechanical torque spanners are subdivided once again into bend spanners and crack spanners, as they have different release mechanisms.

  • Mechanical bend wrench

In buckling spanners, when the torque is reached, the front side, i.e. the side where the nut is attached, is snapped through or off. The user knows exactly when the torque is reached.

  • Mechanical crack wrench

With a click spanner, when the torque is reached, a clearly perceptible click signals that the desired torque has been reached.

Precise torque setting (mechanical torque spanner)

The desired torque can be set in two different ways:

  • The desired torque can be set by means of an adjusting screw located in the handle of the torque spanner, which can also be read off a scale.
  • In the second version, the setting is made by means of an adjusting knob at the end of the handle. The setting is made precisely by turning the adjusting knob when it is pulled out. The torque can also be read on a scale. The latter setting variant is clearly the better solution. The adjusting knob is returned to its locked position after use and is thus secured against unintentional rotation.

Practical extras

Many sets offer attractive accessories such as extra attachments, extensions, spare parts, foam storage boxes or simple tool boxes. Think about what you need, which parts you already have in your tool assortment and what makes sense for you in your field of application.

Especially expensive torque spanners impress with the mentioned extras, so that you can store your tools well and protect them from all kinds of temperature and weather conditions. Moreover, tools lying around are a safety risk.

Look for non-slip handles, i.e. chrome vanadium steel with PE or rubber handles. You can also tick off this point with nice torque spanner extras. The models offer a wide range of delivery options. Some manufacturers simply supply the tool itself.

Others offered the service of including a matching tool case with the spanner. The latter is not absolutely necessary for a torque spanner, but was definitely considered a bonus in the test. A socket spanner set is also required for working with various cars and bicycles. And here, too, some manufacturers are accommodating.

For example, some tools come with 17 or 19 mm sockets at a low price. However, caution is advised with such supplied attachments: They are often not of the same quality as those offered for sale separately by licensed manufacturers. It can happen that they break during use.

Picture source: 123rf.com / Vladimir Zhupanenko

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