Tool review: Mac Tools’ digital torque wrench model TWM265IDA
This review covers Mac Tools’ 1/4-inch drive digital torque wrench, model TWM265IDA. Three additional digital torque wrenches are also available, including TWX100FDA (3/8-inch drive with a range of 5 to 100 ft.-lbs.), TWV145FDA (1/2-inch drive with a range of 10 to 145 ft.-lbs.), and TWV250FDA (1/2-inch drive with a range of 15 to 250 ft.-lbs.). All models offer torque value selections in in.-lbs., ft.-lbs., Nm and kg.cm.
This digital torque wrench not only allows you to select torque unit format (in.-lbs., ft.-lbs., Nm or kg.cm) and to easily set your desired torque value, but it offers a very noticeable light flash and beep as you approach and reach your selected torque. The wrench also allows you to record the torque values that you’ve reached for later review. Let’s say that you just tightened a bolt to your desired torque, then answered the phone or took a break. If you start to worry about what you tightened the last bolt to (if you suffer from short-term memory loss), you can review your last operation.
If you want to record your torque on the tool’s internal memory, press the U/S button and hold it down. The display will then display “mode,” letting you know that you’re in the peak/track mode.
After turning the unit on by pressing the “C” button, choose your desired unit format (in.-lbs., ft.-lbs., Nm or kg.cm) by pressing the “U/S” button (press the button once for each change until you hit the format you want). Then set your desired torque value by pressing the up or down button until the value you want is displayed.
I selected this particular model (featuring 1/4-inch drive) specifically to try it out on lower torque value applications with smaller diameter fasteners (No. 6, 8, 10 and 12 machine screws, 1/4x20, 1/4x28, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, etc.) such as carburetor service, certain sensor applications, throttle body service, etc., where in.-lb. values are commonly required.
As you approach your desired torque, the green LED lights will start to illuminate, in progression, for 80%, 85%, 90%, 95% and 97.5% of your max setting. The red LED will illuminate when you’re within 99.5% of your setting. This allows you to creep up on your target while being alerted as you get close and when you hit your target. This is a very nice feature, helping you to avoid over-torquing on delicate fastener applications.
During our test use, we found these lights to be bright and very noticeable, even out of the corner of your eye. They really stand out and grab your attention. They clearly indicate when you are approaching and when you hit your target value.
There’s no need to remember to turn off the tool. It automatically shuts down and enters a sleep mode after five minutes of non-use.
NOTE: When trying to photograph LED lights under my studio strobes, it’s difficult because the studio lights overpower the LEDs. Take my word for it — these lights are very easy to see in any shop environment. I took a few shots without strobes to illustrate the brightness of the LEDs. Even if you’re not paying attention to the LED lights, the warning buzzer provides a very noticeable audio and tactile signal. I found that even when torquing a fastener that faces the shop floor (with the tool upside-down, hiding the display from view), you can hear the progression of applied torque, and you hear the distinct final tone and feel the buzz in the hand when you reach your target.
The grip area features shallow flutes, and in combination with the ergonomic shape of the grip, this provides a comfy and confident grip surface. A PC terminal is featured on the right side of the grip body, which can be used for uploading recorded data to a personal computer.
Chances are, you probably won’t use this, but it’s nice to know it’s there. This terminal is also used for tool calibration by a qualified service center.
There’s not much to criticize about this high-precision tool. It looks great, balances well in the hand, and the progressive green-to-red indicator lights are really user-friendly (once you start to use it, you don’t want to put it down — it’s that cool).
My only gripe is the slot-drive battery compartment cap, which is fairly difficult to remove with your thumbnail, requiring a coin or screwdriver. But considering the lengthy anticipated battery life, you won’t be changing batteries that often anyway. ●
505 N. Cleveland
Westerville, OH 43082
TORQUE VALUE RANGE (Model TWM265IDA)
In.-lbs. 15 to 265
Ft.-lbs. 1.11 to 22.12
Nm 1.5 to 30
Kg-cm 15.3 to 306.1
O/A length 15.4 inches
Weight 3.3 pounds
Accuracy +2% / – 3%
Unit selection in.-lbs, ft.-lbs., Nm, kg.cm
Head type flexible ratchet
Operation mode Peak hold/track
Batteries Two AA
Battery life standby One year
Battery life cont. use 110 hours
LED lights Two red, 10 green