Good torque wrenches don’t come cheap, and chances are you’re going to need several different sizes. One alternative solution is to buy a torque adapter, like this electronic one from Eastwood that has a digital readout. With this adapter you can use any of your 3/8″ or 1/2″ ratchets to do the job.
This torque adapter measures torque in the range of 15 to 150 ft-lbs, or 20 to 200 Nm. Eastwood claims that the device is accurate within ±2% of the reading from 10% to 100% of full scale. Unless I’m mistaken, more simply stated, it’s accurate to ±2% within the specified operating ranges.
The digital torque adapter is built with two 1/2″ female drives. You use can use a 1/2″ ratchet on one end of the torque adapter, or a 3/8″ ratchet with use of an included size adapter, and you also get two adapters that attach 3/8″ and 1/2″ sockets to the other end.
This versatility may come at a cost, as the length of the torque adapter and drive adapters on both sides can add up. With adapters on one or both sides, the torque adapter might not fit in the types of places a more compact torque wrench could go.
You can read both the torque set point and the actual torque on the backlit display. When you are getting close to the set torque, the device notifies you by flashing a red LED and pulsing a buzzer. As you get even closer to the set point (within 2%) the LED flashes and buzzing sounds speed up and closer together. Then, when you reach the set torque, the LED turns solid red and the unit buzzes continuously.
The cheapest place I could find to buy this Digital Torque Adapter was from Eastwood directly. There you’ll pay $50 plus about $9 for economy shipping in the US.
Buy Now (via Eastwood)
Unless you want to try your luck on eBay, the only other reliable place I could find selling this adapter was Amazon, where you’ll pay a little more: $54 plus $12 shipping.
Buy Now (via Amazon)
See the how to use the Torque Adapter in this video:
You might also want to check out the user manual (PDF) to see if this suits your needs.