A torque wrench is one of the most useful and versatile hand tools that can be purchased for use around the house or at a business.
Before purchasing one of these items, it is important to understand how it works. Most people think that tightening a nut is just a matter of applying the wrench and adding some effort until it stops turning. However, most fasteners have a manufacturer's rating that has an optimal level for maximum effectiveness and long life. When too much torque is applied to a tire's lug nut for example, it can lead to premature wear and cause it to fail. This applies to bolt heads as well, since they can help to determine the forces on other items like a gasket located in a car engine for example. The wrong amount of torque applied to a bolt can easily ruin the gasket material or worse, bend the metal head cover itself. A correctly calibrated wrench is the very best way to apply torque to any situation that calls for it.
But the question is what style and type is the right choice among the plethora of options available. One consideration is the type of indicator built into the wrench body. The ones with a dial indicator are typically very accurate and for the novice, very easy to read. It will show exactly how many ft-lbs of torque the wrench is applying to the nut or bolt. Most professional rely on this style because it is critical that adjustments made are exact to the manufacturer's specifications. With the precision of the dial indicator, most mechanics prefer this type for daily use. There are other variations of this method, including some with an indicator that goes off when a preset value is reached. This can be in the form of a light or buzzer to signify the result has been achieved.
A clicking style is another variation on this variety. It makes a clicking sound to signify that the preset value has been obtained. These are the most popular models on the market and can be readily obtained at most DIY stores. The clicking is intended to show that the proper level has been reached, and the next one can be tightened. These are good, sturdy models intended for general use and will be fine for homeowners in most of their applications. For the individual interested in a more high tech model, the latest innovations have LED or LCD integration built in. The electronic display indicates the exact torque in foot lbs for a more precise measurement. In addition, they can be switched to show SAE (English) or Metric units depending on the situation.
The clicking style of torque wrench has been the most popular style for years, being used by mechanics and home owners alike for decades. This would be a good recommendation for any do it your selfer interested in doing any kind of mechanical work. Not only will this save time and energy, but employing hand tools of this type properly will also lengthen the life of many pieces of equipment, likely paying for the tool in only a couple of years.