Tool Review – Husky 5-80 ft. lbs. 3/8 in. Drive Digital Display Torque Wrench

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As an electrician I was excited to test out this digital torque wrench by Husky.  In the electrical trade torque specifications are important on a lot of terminations we make.  If you have too loose of a termination on an electrical component it could cause an arc, resulting in an electrical fire.  Loose terminations are also responsible for excess heating of a conductor (wire) which over time can melt the insulation surrounding a wire, and cause a short-circuit or ground-fault.  So how did the tool perform?

The Tool

Upon opening the package, I was pleased to find that this torque wrench comes in a hard plastic container.  I’ve heard stories of people leaving this roll around in their tool boxes and them get smashed around – resulting in the calibration being offset, and the tool never torquing correctly again.  Calibration and re-calibration is something that is unavoidable with a sensitive tool like this, so keeping it in a safe place, free from damage is a great idea.

First things first, I had to play with the display.  This is the coolest feature of this specific wrench, so I wanted to see what options it came with.  I tried turning it on but it seemed like the batteries were dead or missing.  So after pushing and holding, pushing, pushing several times…I finally tried pushing both the “green” and “red” buttons at the same time and voila!!!  The display came on.  This was pretty annoying.  Why this is designed in a non-obvious way, I can’t understand.  Should be green for “on” and red for “off” if the rest of human society and human psychology is any indication of the meaning of these two colors.  But I digress…

Adjusting the knob on the bottom of the tool is very easy to do.  There seems to be difficulty getting to exact numbers, so you have to go in increments and get as close as you can to set the desired torque level.  Husky does mention in their literature that this is calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy which is a pretty tight tolerance.  I was able to get within 4-6 in-lbs of my destination each time, and 1-2 ft-lbs – but never exactly where I needed to be.  This isn’t a huge problem, because the manufacturer’s torque settings are usually on the side of “over-tight” to make sure a solid connection is established.  One or two ft-lbs isn’t going to cause a fire, most likely.

As for the feel of the tool, and functional use – this is 18 inches long so it is a beast to use.  It will work well in most applications but as we electricians know there are some tight environments that we may not be able to get this in and use it such as in a ceiling-mounted transformer above a grid ceiling.  It’s torque range is from 5-80 ft-lbs, 60-960 in-lbs, and 6.78 – 108.48 N-m for you fancy-pants out there.  I found the readings to be accurate, and general usability to be outstanding.  This is a great enhancement to an already time-tested tool.

Summary

All in all this is a well-designed tool, and I will be keeping it on my truck permanently.  Torquing electrical terminations is becoming a bigger deal as time goes on and arc-detection and prevention continues flooding the market with products.  As an electrician you should start to familiarize yourself with the torque specifications in Annex I near the back of the NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code).  Most equipment we will torque, will come with manufacturer’s torque recommendations, however if you are unable to find them the NEC has some recommendations that are well researched and reliable.  4.5 stars in my book, go out and get you one!  They come with a lifetime warranty!

For more detailed information on this torque wrench CLICK HERE.

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