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Best Torque Wrench for Your RV: Our Top Picks

If there’s one tool any full-timer, snowbird, or even a vacation RVer should always have handy, it’s a torque wrench.

In general, highways and interstates are full of dips, potholes, and other nut-loosening factors that will wear on certain parts of your RV. As you travel, you will need to keep certain things such as wheel lug nuts, hitch bolts, and suspension hardware tightened.

The best torque wrench will allow you to prevent premature wear and tear on your RV. And, it will save you from catastrophic, life-threatening events such as a wheel flying off or your trailer unhitching.

So, what is this essential tool exactly?

Explaining the Basics of the Best Torque Wrench

A torque wrench is a tool you can use to tighten nuts and bolts to a predetermined torque value. With this instrument, you can tighten fasteners to the proper tension. This detail is essential to help avoid damage from over tightening or joints coming apart from under tightening.

In other words, applying the correct torque measure is crucial for safety, assembly, and the performance of your RV’s equipment.

What is Torque?

Torque represents the measure of how much force on an object causes it to rotate, with the pivot point serving as the axis the object rotates on.

Pound-foot or Foot-pound?

Now I know what your thinking.

Surely I must mean foot-pound not pound-foot.

This notion is actually a widespread misconception that even tool manufacturers are guilty of perpetuating.

Be that as it may, foot-pound and pound-foot represent two completely different measurements.

Notably, pound-foot represents a unit of torque and a vector measurement created by one pound of force acting on one foot lever.

On the other hand, foot-pound (or more accurately foot-pound-force) represents a measurement of work. Work is the measurement of force over a set distance.

In other words, one foot-pound-force is the amount of energy needed to move a pound object one foot of linear distance.

How a Torque Wrench Works

Torque wrenches are first calibrated to apply a specific amount of torque to a fastener. The amount of torque applied depends on the amount of force on the tool’s handle as well as the length of the wrench.

The formula for torque is force x length.

Inside the handle is an internal mechanical indicator which connects to a calibrated scale. Once the indicator senses that the desired torque has been reached, stop twisting the bolt. Tools will typically have an easy-to-read scale or display to show how much torque is being applied.

The best torque wrench models allow you to calibrate to read in pound foot (lb-ft), pound inch (lb-in), or newton meter (NM).

The Different Types of Torque Wrenches

Now let’s look at some of the most common styles of torque wrenches that you will find in the garages and toolboxes of most RVers.

The four most common types are electronic, beam, click, and dial torque wrenches.

Electronic

Beam

Dial

Click

How to Use a Torque Wrench

Before you begin, it’s vital to make sure the torque wrench is calibrated. If it is, the tool will often display a sticker indicating that it was.

Most torque wrenches will have a lock which you would need to disengage before you can rotate the handle. Once the lock is disengaged, turn the handle to line up the number on the handle with the center line on the barrel.

You can choose to increase or reduce the torque by turning the handle clockwise for more torque or counter-clockwise for less.

After you finish adjusting the torque, re-engage the lock to avoid altering the setting accidentally.

When using your torque wrench, always use one hand to hold the pivot in place with the other on the handle. Rotate the tool until it makes a noise (usually a click).

This aspect is important:

As soon as you hear the noise, stop turning, because one click is all that you need. If you turn again, you will probably overtighten.

Once you’ve finished, position the scale back to its lowing setting, to prevent messing up the accuracy of future measurements.

Also, try not to use them on fasteners which are already entirely tightened with a standard socket or wrench. If you do, you may exceed the correct level of torque. Instead, it’s better to completely loosen the fastener then re-torque it to the correct setting.

Calibration

Even the best torque wrench models need regular calibration if they are to continue providing accurate and reliable measurements.

Calibration is checking the precision of a measuring instrument, as well as adjusting to align it to the standard. It allows the tool to produce more accurate results throughout the tool’s lifetime.

Measuring tools such as torque wrench become less accurate over time without regular calibration.

The permitted frame of calibration error is five percent, with any error beyond that number potentially damaging the tool’s performance quite severely, thus resulting in product failure.

You can use a professional service to calibrate your torque wrench or do it yourself.

Here’s how:

Please note, that we do not encourage folks to use their torque wrench as a breaker bar (not ratcheting wrench used to loosen stuck fasteners). Using your torque wrench instead of a breaker bar will throw off the calibration and damage your tool in the long run.

Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Torque Wrench

eTORK (C3250) 1/2-Inch Drive"Click Style" Torque Wrench

Image via Amazon

There are several factors to keep in mind when trying to find the best torque wrench for your RV.

Here are six key attributes you should look at before making a final decision.

Accuracy

Certificates

Materials

Ratcheting

Hard case

Scale readability

Handling

How We Locked onto the Best Torque Wrench

eTORK (C3250) 1/2-Inch Drive"Click Style" Torque Wrench Protective Case

Image via Amazon

To find the best torque wrench on the market, we researched numerous RV maintenance forums, websites, social media pages, and videos to collect a list of top recommendations.

After compiling our list, we then picked our final candidates based on user reviews.

We then chose the best torque wrench out of the group based on features, build quality, and review scores.

Check out Our Foot-Pound Torquing Champions

These are the top eight best torque wrench models on the market. These models offer different measurements between 20 and 250 foot-pounds.

Additionally, these models vary from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch sizes. Warranties range from one-year to lifetime.

The​ PROTO Tether-Ready is designed to meet standard industrial torque applications, heavy equipment, industrial torque applications, and maintenance.

Plus, it’s pre-calibrated to plus or minus 3 percent clockwise direction plus or minus 6 percent counterclockwise at 20 percent to 100 percent of full scale.

Lastly, this model is teather-ready with a built-in heat shrink loop.It comes with a lifetime warranty.

This Tekton 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench features a high-contrast dual-range scale that is easy-to-read, even in low-light settings.

The wrench makes a click that you can both hear and feel when the preset it reaches the preset value. Plus, it has a reversible ratchet head that drives in both directions and measures torque in the clockwise direction.

Additionally, this torque wrench is pre-calibrated to plus or minus four percent accuracy and is ready to use. Best of all, this tool has a durable all-steel construction with no plastic parts to break or wear out.

This product also comes with a lifetime warranty

The ​Tacklife HTW1A 3/8-inch Torque Wrench features an anti-rust, durable all-steel construction, silver chrome coating with sand-blasting for the body as well as sand-blasting, black chrome coating for its sleeve.

The tool produces a click sound that the operator can both hear and feel. Additionally, it comes with a 2.95-inch extension bar, and 1/2 inch and 1/4-inch adapters.

Also, it has a reversible ratchet head that allows for tightening and loosening in both directions. Finally, this product passes all calibration testes according to DIN-ISO-6789 (international standard) within plus or minus four percent.

Tacklife provides a two-year warranty with this product.

The​ Snap-On Industrial Brands CDI Torque 1/2″ Drive wrench features a dual scale, calibrated in two directions.

It has a positive lock with a spring loaded pull down lock ring, and an easy-to-read laser marked scale.

This tool is fast and easy to set and includes a quick release button providing excellent socket retention as well as easy socket removal. Plus, it has an ergonomic grip handle and meets or exceeds ASME and ISO 6789 standards.

Its accuracy measures plus or minus 4 percent clockwise plus or minus 6 percent counter-clockwise from 20 percent to 100 percent of full scale.

It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

The ​Precision Instruments 1/2″ Drive Split-beam Click Wrench features torque setting locks for repetitive applications.

Plus, this tool is accurate within 4 percent of reading from 20 percent to 100 percent of full scale. Also, setting the torque is fast and easy because it doesn’t have spring tension on the adjustable knob.

The length is designed to provide needed leverage needed for maximum torque applications. Additionally, the range also gives you the need reach to get to those hard-to-reach areas.

Best of all, the tool does not need to be “turned down” after use, providing extra convenience. At last, this tool features a nickel chrome finish with an ergonomic grip.

Precision Instruments provides a one-year warranty with this tool.

The​ eTORK C3250 – 1/2″ Drive Torque Wrench measures torque in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

Similarly, it features a 45 tooth ratchet head for more effortless clockwise and counter-clockwise operation in tight quarters. Plus, it has a hardened alloy steel housing for durability and strength, which also gives it a slimmer and lighter design.

Tempered chrome-alloy springs ensure accurate long-term performance, and each wrench comes with a personal certification.

Additionally, it has a large diameter ergonomic soft grip handle for more comfortable use and requires 50 percent less turning force than most competitive brands.

Furthermore, it has dual English and Metric scales, which are easier to read than many other wrenches, thus reducing possible setting errors.

The locking knob also secures your selected torque setting from accidental changes. Best of all, you can easily set the torque by pulling the large lockin knob out and turning the handle.

It meets the requirements of the American National Standard ASME B107.300-2010 and is pre-calibrated with accuracy to plus or minus three percent clockwise.

The eTork company offers a lifetime warranty on all non-commercial use tools.

The Capri Tools Diamond Grip Torque Wrench features a unique diamond contour grip designed, high-impact resistant sure-grip handle.

Not to mention, it's 100 percent steel and has an engraved foot-pound and Newton meter scale.

Capri Tools pre-calibrates the tool with an accuracy of plus or minus four percent counter-clockwise. It's also certified under ASME B107.300-2010 and ISO 6789:2003.

Plus, this tool will maintain accuracy for at least 5,000 cycles at full torque capacity and features CNC machined components for consistent accuracy. Not only that, it has a positive lock mechanism with a spring-loaded pull-down ring and comes with a calibration certificate.

The company also offers a lifetime warranty.

The EPAuto 1/2-inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10~150 ft./lb., 13.6 ~ 203.5 N/m features a durable ratchet head made from harden treated chrome vanadium steel alloy.

It also has a non-slip grip with a knurled handle and easy-to-read high-contrast scale with dual range.

The manufacturer calibrates this wrench within plus or minus four percent, and it is corrosion-resistant with a satin finish. Plus, the tool emits a loud click sound that alerts you when you reach the preset torque value.

The company's website does not specify if the tool comes with a warranty.

Locking down and Getting Loose with the Best Torque Wrench You Can Buy

After careful consideration, we finally settled on one tool to represent the best torque wrench on the market today.

Our pick is the eTORK C3250 – 1/2″ Drive Torque Wrench.

This wrench blew us away with the sheer number of detailed features and positive user reviews it has. It's clear that eTORK took their time to craft an excellent tool and hit all the right notes that should make an RVer very proud to own this torque wrench.

Plus, they guarantee their product for life. It doesn't get much better than that.

We hope this guide to the best torque wrench models for your RV proves helpful in your search. And remember to remain vigilant in checking vulnerable joints on your RV.

What's your favorite torque wrench? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Image via Amazon

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