Torque wrenches are powerful tools that offer you the torque necessary to properly tighten nuts and bolts (Source). However, a split beam torque wrench offers you the added capability of knowing exactly when you’ve reached your torque. The best split beam torque wrenches take the guesswork out of maintenance and give you the power you need to tighten almost any fastener.
Split beam torque wrenches function similarly to traditional torque wrenches, however with two beams. One beam is the lever used to actually apply torque to the fastener. The other beam is an indicator beam. A split beam torque wrench is unique in its ability to tighten bolts while giving you an accurate reading of the torque.
To use a split beam torque wrench, you must first open the hinge to set your desired torque. You then thread the screw, bolt, or another fastener in place by hand. Then, apply torque using the split beam torque wrench. Some split beam torque wrenches even have a “click” function that makes a sound when the torque is reached (Source).
A split beam torque wrench is a useful tool for ensuring that fasteners are tightened without being overtightened. They’re easy to use and perfect for automotive repairs.
Prior to purchasing a split beam torque wrench, you’ll need to consider its torque range as well as its drive size. You’ll also need to consider its accuracy and the comfort of its grip.
The next time you need to apply torque, do it with one of these top-rated split beam torque wrenches.
What Is a Split Beam Torque Wrench?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Split Beam Torque Wrench?
- 2 How Much Does a Split Beam Torque Wrench Cost?
- 3 Reviews of Top 5 Products
- 4 1. Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench – Best Overall
- 5 2. Torq Wr 3/8″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 100Ft Lbs – Most Affordable
- 6 3. Torq Wr 3/4″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 600Ft Lbs – Biggest Torque Range
- 7 4. Precision Instruments 1/2″ Drive Split-Beam Flex Ratchet Click Wrench – Great Value for Money
- 8 5. CDI Torque WSC-100CA 3/8-Inch Drive Quick Set Split Beam Torque Wrench – Best Compact-Sized
- 9 Split Beam Torque Wrench Brands
- 10 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Split Beam Torque Wrench?
- 11 How to Use a Split Beam Torque Wrench
- 12 Ready to Use a Split Beam Torque Wrench for Your Next Project?
Let’s start with the basics and explain what a torque wrench is. It is a type of tool that you use on bolts, nuts, and other fasteners when you need to apply some torque to them. A torque wrench can be incredibly helpful if you want to maximize the tightness of bolts and screws.
A split beam torque wrench is a subcategory of beam torque wrenches — these work by utilizing two beams. One of them is a lever that is both a handle and a way of applying torque to the fastener. Once you apply the force, the handle will deflect.
Now, the second beam is only partially attached to the head of the wrench. It acts as an indicator beam. A split beam torque wrench is easy to use and adjust. It has an impressive level of accuracy that is usually set in the factory.
How Much Does a Split Beam Torque Wrench Cost?
The price of a split beam torque wrench largely varies depending on features of the tool, especially torque range. These wrenches are advanced tools used by professionals and those who are looking for a long-term solution for all their fastening needs.
These products are long-lasting, but you will need to set aside at least $140 for a decent split beam torque wrench. The cost of a tool with average capabilities is $140-$200. For that money, you should get a standard drive size with a capacity of up to 100 ft/lbs.
If you need an extremely capable tool with maximum torque around 600 ft/lbs, you should be ready to set aside about $500-$800. Those wrenches with a higher torque range than that may be even more expensive.
The crucial consideration is how you plan to use a split beam torque wrench. If you don’t plan to tackle any heavy-duty applications, the chances are an average unit will serve you well.
Reviews of Top 5 Products
|Precision Instruments PREC3FR250F Silver 1/2″ Drive Split Beam Torque Wrench|
|Torq Wr 3/8″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 100Ft Lbs|
|Torq Wr 3/4″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 600Ft Lb|
|Precision Instruments 1/2″ Drive Split-Beam Flex Ratchet Click Wrench|
|CDI Torque WSC-100CA 3/8-Inch Drive Quick Set Split Beam Torque Wrench|
The grip is ergonomic and comfortable, and the chrome/nickel finish makes the unique look elegant. You can lock a particular setting if you plan to use the wren for similar applications.
Please note that this split beam torque wrench can only work in the clockwise direction. However, that is a downside to many similar units. The truth is it shouldn’t affect the performance unless you need it for a specific left-hand thread fastener, which is rarely the case.
2. Torq Wr 3/8″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 100Ft Lbs – Most AffordableHere is another split beam torque wrench designed by Precision Instruments. The difference is that this is a compact-sized unit, which puts it in the category of more affordable click-style wrenches.
You will get all the features of a premium unit. For example, you can lock the desired setting if you plan to use the tool on similar applications. It is also easy to set the desired adjustment, as there is no spring tension.
However, you should note that the drive size is 3/8 inches, which is acceptable for most automotive repairs. However, you need to ensure that your work doesn’t require torque larger than 100 ft/lbs. That is the maximum that this wrench can achieve. As long as you keep it within that limit, you should be satisfied with how the product works.
3. Torq Wr 3/4″ Dr Split-Beam Click Style 600Ft Lbs – Biggest Torque RangeIf you are looking for a tool that you can rely on for demanding applications, such as driveline bearings and even harmonic balancers, you can count on this Torq Wr.
The product features a drive size of ¾ inches, and the size was expected since it needs to provide and handle applications that require a large torque range.
The available adjustments for this unit vary from 200 to 600 ft/lbs. You may not be able to use it for most common applications, but it will be your go-to wrench for all special tasks.
Although it offers a large torque, it is easy to adjust the preferred range. You will also find using the unit effortless thanks to the click that you hear once you finish tightening the fastener.
4. Precision Instruments 1/2″ Drive Split-Beam Flex Ratchet Click Wrench – Great Value for MoneyThe final split beam torque wrench developed by Precision Instruments that we are presenting is this one. It is a unit with an average-sized ½-inch drive that has a flex ratchet.
At first glance, it seems quite similar to other PI tools. However, its torque range varies from 40 to 250 ft/lbs. That gives you plenty of room to adjust the desired setting.
It is what makes this wrench a great value for money, and one of the most versatile units out there. The only thing to pinpoint is that you can’t use it for extremely heavy-duty applications.
The base blue color looks nice, while the upper section is of classic metallic color. You shouldn’t have a problem storing this tool, thanks to its average size.
5. CDI Torque WSC-100CA 3/8-Inch Drive Quick Set Split Beam Torque Wrench – Best Compact-SizedCDI Torque surpassed all expectations with this split beam wrench. The product is reliable and long-lasting, and the chances are it will serve you for years.
The wrench looks simple but elegant and classy. It provides an accurate reading, and you can set the preferred adjustment by using the rotating knob.
If you have never used a split beam torque wrench, you may need some time to get used to the unit. However, the chances are you will discover how everything works quickly.
The maximum torque that the 3/8-inch drive can provide is 100 ft/lbs, with the lowest setting being 20 ft/lbs. Thanks to that, you should have the freedom to handle most light repairs, including automotive work. Please note the manufacturer also offers a similar unit with a torque range of up to 400 ft/lbs.
Split Beam Torque Wrench Brands
You can go to a local store to buy an ordinary torque wrench and use it for a while. But if you are looking to take durability and ease of use to the next level, you need a split beam torque wrench.
Furthermore, you need a reliable manufacturer of these tools. We are talking about companies that have a long tradition, and are ready to stand behind their products. Let’s take a look at the big names of the torque wrench industry, and manufacturers you should stick with when buying torque tools.
You can’t talk about the history of torque wrenches without mentioning Precision Instruments. The company was established in 1938, and they started by making dial wrenches. Ever since day one, Precision Instrument was dedicated to durability, reliability, and accuracy of their products.
The company wasn’t afraid of innovation. They were always looking for innovative solutions, and they launched split beam torque wrenches in 1974. These tools were a step forward compared to previous wrenches, and they managed to remain popular even today.
Precision Instruments has a large factory in Des Plaines, Illinois. The company emphasizes they are still dedicated to quality, and delivering top-class torque wrenches to users.
eTORK is another manufacturer with admirable tradition. It has been over four decades since Jan S. Stasiek established the company. The technology developed by the owner of eTORK was used in more than half torque wrenches in the United States.
Today, the company still focuses on this category of tools. They design both digital and analog torque wrenches to serve the need of their users.
The company isn’t shy as it calls itself the biggest manufacturer of torque tools in America. CDI Torque has been around for over five decades since it was founded in 1968.
For over 20 years, they have been manufacturing tools that meet ISO-9001 standards. It is interesting to note that CDI is one of the torque tool suppliers for the US Government General Service Administration.
The range of products the company makes goes from torque screwdrivers and testers to calibration systems.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Split Beam Torque Wrench?
A split beam torque wrench is only one type of wrenches you can choose for your projects. The reason people pick them is that they are easy to use, accurate, and reliable.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to this tool. If you want to choose the ideal option for your needs, these are the features to consider.
It is one of the crucial characteristics to consider during the purchasing process. We can divide fasteners into four categories, depending on the torque level that you need:
- Extremely light-duty – these handle up to 75 ft/lbs. That is why you shouldn’t use them for anything else but simple maintenance tasks. That includes valve cover bolts, spark plugs, etc.
- Light duty – these can vary from 30 – 150 ft/lbs. These torque wrenches are both affordable and versatile. They should be able to handle the majority of automotive repairs.
- Moderate duty – depending on the model, these can be from 50 to 250 ft/lbs. You will find that some critical automotive applications, such as hub and axle bolts, belong to this group.
- Heavy-duty – these can go anywhere from 120 to 1,000 ft/lbs. Driveline bearings and components require somewhat less torque than harmonic balancers and camshaft sprockets, but they still require a generous amount of torque.
When it comes to size, we also have five different categories of torque wrenches:
- 1/4” drive – it is the smallest size, but you can use it for compact bolts and nuts, as well as other repairs up to 20 ft/lbs.
- 3/8” drive – you could say this is a standard for automotive repairs. It is suitable for all work that goes up to 75 ft/lbs.
- ½” drive – it is another versatile and common choice among the users. The size is adequate for transmission, engine, and suspension mounts. The maximum range is around 250 ft/lbs.
- ¾” drive – the biggest size tackles the most demanding repairs. It is not versatile, but it can come in handy in extreme situations.
Other Features to Consider
Here are some other things to keep in mind during the purchasing process:
- Grip – it is vital that you feel comfortable using the torque wrench.
- Accuracy – you want the tool to be as accurate as possible.
- Material – most torque wrenches are primarily made of steel for optimal durability.
How to Use a Split Beam Torque Wrench
The majority of split beam torque wrenches belong to click-style tools.
Here is a simple guide on how to operate them:
- Choose the right tool. It is crucial to pick a wrench that suits your specific application. Adjusting everything will ensure that you do the fastening job adequately.
- Thread the fastener. Before using the actual tool, use your hand to thread screw, bolt, or any other fastener you want to tighten. The entire idea is to place it securely so that you can use a torque wrench on it.
- Position the tool and apply torque. Place the tool so that the head of your wrench is over the head of the fastener. Apply torque to tighten the fastener, but make sure to do it slowly. That way, you will avoid
- Listen for a click. If you are using a click-style torque wrench, you will hear a click at some point. Once you have enough experience, you will also be able to “feel” it. The click signals that you’ve completed the tightening job.
Ready to Use a Split Beam Torque Wrench for Your Next Project?
Do you already know which is the best split beam torque wrench for your upcoming project? The area where split beam wrenches can help the most is automotive work. Depending on the unit, you can handle all types of repairs.
Two factors are crucial when choosing a split beam torque wrench – drive size and torque range. Those will determine the types of applications the tool can handle. You want to think about the next, but also other upcoming projects. The idea is to find a wrench that is versatile enough to serve you for time to come.
The majority of manufacturers ensure optimal accuracy and ease of use. However, make sure that the handle is ergonomic and comfortable. That will minimize fatigue when using the tool for a long time. Remember this tip for your other tools as well, including other types of wrenches like gland nut wrenches (read our review here).
Ultimately, make sure that you’ve picked a split beam torque wrench that meets your expectations. As long as you do that, you will have a tool that will be a pleasure to use!