$10 Harbor Freight Torque Wrench

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907
Location
PA
Thread starter
Is this accurate enough for the occasional weekend use? Just did my spark plugs and my large Craftsman only goes as low as 20 ft/lbs and I needed 9-10. I'd use this maybe 3-4 times a year. I see some cheap ones on Amazon for $25-40 so I wonder how decent the $10 one is from Harbor Freight.
 
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12,877
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I think it'll be good enough for things like spark plugs & wheel lug nuts. I too just bought this torque wrench for $10. I only want to keep/use it in my cars trunk, should I have a tire repair on the road. I still want to be able to put accurate/even torque on each lug nut out on the road. Even if this torque wrench isn't accurate as a better wrench, It'll be accurate enough for this while out on the road.
 
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35,850
Location
ME
You can get an 8 point socket (or an allen slug, etc) and compare against your Craftsman where the values overlap!
 
Messages
271
Location
Hedgesville, WV
I have all 3 of their torque wrenches. Mine are about 6 years old now so I dont know if they are better or worse but every once in a while I will take them over to a buddy who has a nice old Craftsman that he still sends in for calibration and they are always within 5% of his. I have noticed that its a good idea to lower the range and torque once to click after it has sat awhile. A couple times I got higher readings on the first use. The one really great part is that they are very repeatable.
 
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2,949
Location
Western S.C.
Originally Posted by eljefino
You can get an 8 point socket (or an allen slug, etc) and compare against your Craftsman where the values overlap!
The simplest accurate way to check a torque wrench is to put it on something that won't turn, and hang an accurately known weight from the handle, and multiply the weight by the relevant distance. My old cheap Kmart beam wrench checks ok that way.
 
Messages
661
Location
South Carolina
I have all 3 sizes and they are consistent, very close to my old Craftsman, and overall a great value. My only complaint is that the click is not very loud for the 1/4" model (gotta rely more on feel than sound).
 
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1,444
Location
MN
I've got the Harbor Freight 1/4 and 3/8 torque wrenches, had them for years. They still work perfectly to this day, I've never had an issue. They might be off a percent or two, but that's fine.
 
Messages
25
Location
IL, USA
My 3 torque wrenches are all beam and 40 years old, but I bought the HF 1/2" for lug nuts. Better than standing on my head trying to read the beam. $10 well spent. But remember to relax the spring between uses if you want to maintain any accuracy.
 
Messages
907
Location
PA
Thread starter
So either this thing is total garbage or I'm deaf. I hear no click from this thing at all. Did I get a bad one??
 
Messages
34,636
Location
NY
Originally Posted by jayjr1105
So either this thing is total garbage or I'm deaf. I hear no click from this thing at all. Did I get a bad one??
Bring it back and get another one, you might have a dud.
 
Messages
1,448
Location
iowa
After dealing with countless fasteners over the last 48 years, I would trust my feel for feeling bolt clamping force, more than any $10 torque wrench. I do use a torque wrench on many other things, but it cost much more than $10 and I recently had it calibrated, and it was spot on after 17 years.
 
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Messages
4,001
Location
Central Maryland
After a TPMS episode caused by an HF inflator gauge that was suddenly way, way off, I would never trust anything needing a torque wrench, to a HF torque wrench. Try anything by sturtevant richmont.
 
Messages
907
Location
PA
Thread starter
I haven't returned it yet but I'm finding that it's not audible on the lower settings but you can feel a quick bump. Is this how most cheap 3/8 models are when close to the bottom of the range?
 

dnewton3

Staff member
Messages
8,459
Location
Indianapolis, IN
$10 is admittedly tempting, but I think spending a bit more would get a better tool. I just recently got some clicker type torque wrenches from Menards (MasterForce). While not nearly as nice as a Snap-On or other top tier brand, the MasterForce tools have a lifetime warranty and are easy to return for exchange. Got a 1/4" and 3/8"; each $60. I've had a 1/2" drive one for many years and it's done a fine job. Craftsman and Kobalt would also be worth looking at. (My research indicates that the Kobalt and MasterForce may well be the same unit ... at least from what I've seen). I have nothing against HF; I've got lots of stuff from them over the years and generally been happy with the item I've bought. But a torque wrench needs to be a bit higher quality because you're no longer just getting "close enough" with the feel-0-meter of using your tactile sensation. If you are going to use a torque wrench, it must be important enough that you want the accuracy in the first place. So I would say spend more than $10.
 
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