FIXT has come out a new line of T-handle torque tools that they say will replace most torque wrenches. And they’ll be especially handy for those times when you wouldn’t bother to break out a torque wrench at all.
The new FIXT-T PRO were designed with motorsport enthusiasts in mind. For these types of applications, where most fasteners should be tightened within a specific torque range, proper torque can save time and money. For very demanding applications, the “feel” of how tight a fastener is just won’t cut it.
FIXT-T PRO torque drivers are available in 3 measurement ranges: 4-20 ft-lbs and 48-240 in-lbs imperial, and 6-27 Nm metric. Measurements are laser-marked on anodized aluminum handles, while the shafts are made from stainless steel. Color options currently include black, blue, gold (orange), red, and green.
Right now, the FIXT-T PRO is only available with a 3/8″ square drive end, but we’re told that a 1/4″ version is in development.
No presetting of torque is needed. Simply drive a fastener, keep an eye on the torque scale, and release pressure once the desired torque is read off the side of the tool.
The downside is that you cannot dial in a specific torque level. The FIXT T-handle driver is best used for tightening fasteners to a desired torque range. It can hit target torque values, at least those lined on the scale, with decent accuracy and repeatability, but there’s a larger human error component compared to using a torque wrench.
How Well Does it Work?
FIXT sent over one of their new T-handle drivers last fall, and I was immediately in love with. I very much like T-handle drivers, and one with a built-in torque scale? Marvelous!
I’ve kept it at-hand since then, looking for opportunities to use it. After all, I’m not very involved in motorsports, although I do use torque wrenches somewhat regularly.
I found the FIXT to be very well built. It’s made in the USA, and works exactly as advertised.
At times I longed for a wider readout, such as the larger scales found on beam-style torque wrenches. There were one or two times when odd angles meant I couldn’t maintain line-of-sight with the torque measurement scale. I found that contrast of the torque scale markings was excellent, and the contrast of the arrow on the stainless steel part was good and reasonably easy to read.
I’ve flip-flopped a little about this tool for a couple of months. It’s not what I would call an essential or must-have tool, but when it’s useful, it’s a time-saver, effort-saver, or both. The trick is to figure out whether it’ll be useful for your needs or not.
I’ve mainly used the FIXT T-handle instead of a torque wrench, and it is nearly as consistent and repeatable. It’s not as pin-point accurate as a torque wrench with click stop, but it’s bullseye-accurate in that you can get to a desired torque range pretty quickly. There are times when a torque wrench is the better tool.
It’s best to consider these as specialty tools for which the benefits become obvious to certain users. This is one of those times when I wish I could put a tool in front of every reader so they can see exactly what I see in it.
All in all, I think that the FIXT T-handle torque tools are well designed, well built, and potentially very handy tools. I recommend them, but only to users that can see the benefits of the design, if that makes sense. I suppose that the same can be said about torque wrenches as well.
If you don’t work with high-performance equipment, these torque tools might not be for you. They are definitely suitable for general automotive and motorcycle maintenance and work, but you won’t want to toss away your other torque wrenches. I consider the FIXT T-handles more as complementary products.
Each T-Handle, regardless of scale, is priced at $160 for the USA-made 3/8″-drive tool, and an imported dual-scale SAE (ft-lbs) and metric (Nm) version is reportedly in the works and will be available for ~$99.
This was a difficult tool to review because, other than initial proof of concept, I had to search hard for suitable test scenarios. I also had to remind myself that this isn’t a general purpose tool, although I did enjoy using it as a T-handle socket driver. It’s the kind of tool that a lot of users aren’t going to see the point of, and that’s what kept the review on the backburner for some time.
I think you’ll definitely see these tools at the track, in pit boxes, and in weekend warrior’s racing bags, but you’re not going to see them in every mechanic’s toolbox. I’m really hoping that FIXT comes out with a smaller version with 1/4″ hex bit holder. If the price is right, a T-handle 1/4″ bit torque screwdriver might be more popular with users that have less-demanding needs.
More Info(via FIXT)
FIXT promo video:
Quick “how it works” animation:
Thank you to FIXT for providing the review sample unconditionally.