Not familiar with torque sticks? No problem. Torque sticks are a simple device that does an important job. Imagine an impact gun extension, but instead of being strong and rigid, the extension is made of sprung steel that can only take so much torque before it starts to twist. Once the torque stick starts to deflect, each impact from the impact wrench is absorbed and no longer transferred to the bolt. Tasks like tightening lug nuts become much faster as you can use your impact wrench without having to worry about over-torqueing.
That said, it’s worth mentioning a couple things. First, we always recommend doing a final once around with a proper torque wrench to make sure the torque settings are where they need to be for whatever project you are working on after using torque sticks. While torque sticks are a much safer way to quickly tighten lug nuts, they are not as precise as a torque wrench. We try to always error on the side of safety, and really hope you do to! Second, torque sticks are designed specifically to be used with impact guns. They will not limit your torque when hand tightening.
Torque sticks are normally purchased in sets. Each stick will be a different color and thickness, and will be machined to twist at a certain torque setting. Normally, manufacturers set torque values according to common OEM manufacturer’s lug nut torque specifications.
Sounds great, right? After all, who doesn’t want to make work quicker and easier? Well, there is a catch with torque sticks. Steel quality and manufacturing tolerances can vary greatly from company to company, and in turn, the quality and precision of torque sticks can be all over the place. If you’re going to use torque sticks, it is critical that you find a good quality set that you can trust.
The Best Torque Sticks
Finding the best torque sticks wasn’t easy. We admit we were inclined to trust the high dollar products off the tool truck at first. Can you blame us? Torque sticks need to be precision made in order to be accurate, and we naturally figured that the top-shelf brands would provide the best products.
However, we were able to disprove our theory. Now, don’t misunderstand us here – we found the high dollar toque stick sets to be accurate and, other than price, we actually don’t have anything negative to say about them. To be honest, we could have recommended one expensive name brand set, except for one thing…
We found another set of torque sticks that didn’t cost nearly as much, were every bit as accurate, and had a feature that the others didn’t – they were universal.
See, many high dollar torque sticks are not only built to a specific torque value, they are also built to only fit one size fastener! Imagine having to buy several torque sticks of the same torque setting, for multiple lug nut sizes! At the over $50 each, we think it is ridiculous.
Luckily, so does the Neiko company, and that is why we are naming the Neiko 02450a ½” Drive Torque Limiting Extension Bar Set as our pick for the best torque sticks.
Neiko did it right when they designed these torque sticks. Instead of making them size specific, they built them like every other impact extension. Simply use your impact sockets that you already have and you’re all set!
Neiko built these sticks out of impact grade chrome molybdenum steel. That is high quality steel that you can trust to be accurate.
The torque sticks are color coated and engraved with torque values so you’ll never be guessing which stick you are using. This kit comes with 5 sticks, with torque values of 65, 80, 100, 120, and 140 foot pounds. For you metric guys, that is 90, 110, 135, 160, and 190 Nm. Each stick is 8” long. We also found the nice plastic case to be very handy. It keeps the sticks organized and in one place, and fits easily in a drawer in our tool box.
When it comes to where to buy, Amazon.com tends to have very attractive pricing, so we recommend you start there. Overall, we think you’ll be extremely happy with the Neiko torque sticks and you can expect that they will last you a very long time. Happy wrenching!