Until you have the opportunity to experiment with different torque wrenches, it might be daunting choosing a tool you’ll place so much trust in. Although seemingly identical to look at, the Silverline and Sealey are true chalk and cheese, although they are typically only £20 apart if you shop around. Silverline’s omission of an imperial scale will clinch it for many, but in addition the build quality of the ratchets favours the Sealey. Critically, Sealey includes an individual certificate of calibration so you know what to expect before you begin.
Draper’s football rattle design has much to commend. In use, it was the only wrench head able to reach manifold nuts in situ without an extension bar. Its slimline credentials are bolstered by the easiest analogue scales to read on test, and there’s three of those. Setting the torque value is simple and quick without fear of the handle slipping under load.
Proxxon’s slick package is easy on the eye and flattering to the brain. If you can live with just a Nm scale this deserves to be your winner. Setting the torque value is intuitive and takes seconds while the locked handle doesn’t slip and is the most comfortable on test. Shame about the lack of a lb ft scale for older Land Rovers though.
The odd wrench has to be Clarke’s digital version. At first, the instructions could be a turn-off for some, but get through them over a cup of tea, practice and the wrench comes into its own. The lack of a slipping grip handle is most welcome and four torque ranges cover all the bases from only 14.75 lb ft, making it extremely versatile. The backlit LCD display and 60 hours battery life mean you can burn the midnight oil without disturbing the neighbours.
Pro winners are jointly, the Draper and Proxxon for their ability to be used readily, accurately and effortlessly, though the Proxxon has the feel good edge if you can live with a single Nm range. For DIY use, the Clarke’s versatility and accuracy clinch the overall prize. It’s a lot of wrench providing plenty of control in an easy to master and use package.