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What is a Torque Wrench?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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A torque wrench is a tool that allows one to control circular force, or torque, when putting in, removing or tightening a bolt or a nut. It comes in many different styles and levels of complexity depending upon its applications.

A simple one, called a beam torque wrench, has a scale on the wrench that will measure the amount of torque being used. The scale is attached to a slightly flexible arm that will show the scale of torque when the wrench is in use. This type may be okay for general use, but it tends to be somewhat inaccurate in its measurements. When one must very specifically measure the amount of torque, using the simple torque wrench is inadvisable.

Another type in quite common use is called a click torque wrench. Prior to using the wrench, one can set it to provide a specific amount of torque and no more. When the amount of torque needed is reached, the wrench mechanism slips so that no more force can be applied.

Click torque wrenches are typically used to tighten bolts on the wheels of cars. Too much torque can strip the metal holding the bolt, and cause the wheel to become loose. This tool may also be used to fasten roof bolts, bolts on bicycles, and in any application where nuts and bolts need to be tightened.

The torque wrench can vary greatly in price. The beam type is usually much lower in price, but may be a poor option where one requires accuracy in torque. A fairly well made click torque wrench comes at a higher price, which can vary depending on the size of the wrench required. People may also have sets of wrenches since not all nuts and bolts measure the same. For example, someone purchasing a torque wrench for a bicycle would want a much smaller diameter measurement fitting than a person purchasing one to tighten roof bolts.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a About Mechanics contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon308445 — On Dec 10, 2012

Can anybody please explain what are the criteria for selecting a torque wrench?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a About Mechanics contributor, Tricia...
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