Make no mistake: a torque wrench is an excellent tool for precisely tightening nuts and bolts. However, when an error in tightening would prove particularly costly or problematic, a torque wrench does not protect you. New digital torque wrenches, however, can be programmed to only deliver the precise amount of torque needed.
It is hard to imagine that anybody would argue that the standard torque wrench does not have a place in a toolbox. This ingenious device allows the operator to gauge, with a fair measure of accuracy, how much torque, or rotational force, is being applied to a nut or bolt as it is being tightened. While in many casual applications this information may not be necessary, it becomes absolutely vital in sensitive applications such as automotive repair or structural engineering.
While it serves the purpose of being more precise than a standard socket wrench, there are still some limitations in the old-fashioned torque wrench. For example, while the wrench is designed to measure torque as it is being applied to a nut or bolt, it does nothing to moderate the torque applied. As such, it is up to the experience of the hands using the wrench to determine what the proper torque is. Too much torque can still easily be applied by one who does not have experience with the tool. Not only that, but since it relies on human judgment, mistakes are bound to occur from time to time. So, while the old-fashioned torque wrench is a major improvement on the socket wrench, there are still some limitations.
This is where the digital torque wrench comes in handy. When a job requires a level of precision which is not easy to reliably perform with human hands alone, the digital torque wrench can be the precision engineers best friend. Not only is the LED readout of a digital torque wrench less susceptible to misreading based on internal friction, but the chip which measures torque in these wrenches is programmable. This means you can set these wrenches to only apply up to a certain torque. Usually, this is enforced by a slipping sort of mechanism. Dont worry: It wont strip your bolt. Rather, this mechanism releases the bolt from its tight grip, transferring the extra torque away from the bolt. This programmable feature means that each of your bolts will be tightened to exactly the proper tightness, every time, with minimal slippage.
Sometimes, though, you need more than just a straight torque wrench. A flex-neck torque wrench has all of the features of a standard torque wrench, but the head can be angled to reach into difficult areas. These torque wrenches are available in both standard and digital varieties.
Make no mistake; a digital torque wrench is a specialty tool. However, its easy to use, and if you have a project where precision tightness of bolts is critical, you couldnt ask for a better tool for the job.