eTork EC3250 Digital Torque Wrench Review: Is it Worth It?
Learn what you need to know about our top choice for the best digital torque wrench in this in-depth review.
With enough experience, most DIYers can learn to torque nuts and bolts appropriately without the risk of snapping them or damaging the machine being worked on. But even the most experienced DIYer needs a handy torque wrench for certain projects. Whether it’s torquing bolts in an engine so they stretch just enough or ensuring that lug nuts are installed properly, a precision tool like the eTork EC3250 is critical.
I performed hands-on testing with the EC3250 as part of the best digital torque wrench reviews. Surprisingly, this relatively basic model stole the show for me. Without being flashy or over the top, it uses a reliable click-style design that produces an audible and tactile pop. It also allows users to dial in the exact torque rating when this click happens, down to 0.1 pound. In this eTork EC3250 review, I’ll explain more about this tool, what I like about it, and if it’s the right choice for you.
eTork EC3250 ½-Inch Drive Digital Torque Wrench: At a Glance
- Audible and tactile click (more like a pop) is extremely noticeable and prompts a stop better than lights and beeping
- Features a backlight that allows the user to see the torque setting in low light, such as when under a vehicle
- Users can set the wrench and then turn the gauge off, as the pop does not require the digital readout to work
- The addition of an indication beep or light would improve the wrench a bit, though it’s not necessary
- It requires 7.5 degrees of swing to continue tightening, and this can be difficult with a long handle
What is the eTork EC3250?
The eTork EC3250 is a digital torque wrench designed to tighten nuts and bolts to an exact tightness specification. Essentially, the user tells the torque wrench how much force is needed to exert on the fastener by adjusting a knob, and the wrench then pops or clicks when it reaches the required amount of force, providing audible and tactile feedback for the user.
The EC3250 can handle torque ranges between 25 and 250 foot-pounds, allowing users to set it for a variety of different hardware. Simply turn on the gauge, pull the knob on the handle outward slightly, and twist the knob to increase or decrease the setting. Clockwise increases the torque input while counterclockwise decreases it.
In order to exert 250 pounds of torque, this torque wrench has to be long. It measures just under 24 inches, providing enough leverage to crank down on heavy-duty bolts. Its construction is alloy steel and plastic with a bit of rubber overmolding around the grip.
The eTork EC3250 has multiple torque settings for users to choose from, which include foot pounds, inch pounds, Newton meters, and kilogram centimeters. Measurements are accurate to within 3 percent clockwise and 6 percent counterclockwise.
Is the eTork EC3250 easy to set up?
There isn’t any assembly to deal with for the EC3250, so it’s essentially ready to go right out of the box. The only thing I had to do to fire it up was remove a plastic tab that was blocking the battery terminal. The tab was clearly sticking out from under the display face, and it was easy to remove.
Setting the EC3250 is also easy. In order to set this torque wrench, all the user has to do is click the power button (it’s red) one time, and the display will flash a few times before becoming a steady reading. To adjust the setting, simply pull the knob out from the handle slightly and turn the knob clockwise to increase the setting or counterclockwise to decrease it. The digital display will track the settings, and users can lock their settings in by pressing the knob back into the handle.
At that point, the user can choose to leave the digital display on or turn it off. It will go off on its own after 10 minutes, but the wrench itself will still function perfectly without the display on.
Is the eTork EC3250 easy to use?
The EC3250 is easy to use. Once users set the dial to the desired torque setting, all they have to do is snap a socket on the end of the ratchet and tighten the fastener using the ratcheting function. They’ll continue tightening until they hear and feel a click or pop. Once they feel this pop, they can stop tightening as that’s their cue that they’ve reached the desired setting.
Compared to other digital torque wrenches, I prefer the click-style indicator. The beeps and lights from other models don’t prompt a stoppage quite like a pop does. Plus, click-style torque wrenches pop at the exact setting, while some digital torque wrenches begin alerting before the actual force required is applied.
Also, it’s worth noting that the long handle makes applying the torque easier, and the grip has a bit of rubber overmolding for improved grip.
The one area where the EC3250 may be not so easy to use has to do with its length and the teeth in the ratchet. This ratchet has 48 teeth, which means it requires 7.5 degrees of swing to gain a tooth and continue tightening. This can be tough with a 24-inch handle, so users may need to get creative.
What types of projects is the eTork EC3250 good for?
With a range of 25 to 250 foot-pounds, the eTork EC3250 isn’t really a jack-of-all-trades. It’s best for heavy-duty applications, such as tightening axle nuts or bolts to the correct specifications or tightening torque-to-yield head bolts in an engine. It can also handle most small engine repair situations as well as torque down large bolts on tractors and heavy equipment. It’s also ideal for tightening lug nuts, as the length makes it easy to apply force.
There are jobs, however, where this tool is not ideal. For instance, it’s not great for low-torque applications, as it only goes down to 25 foot pounds. Also, it’s so long that it may not be useful in tight quarters, such as alongside an engine in a compact vehicle.
It’s also important to note that users can still snap bolts and cause damage with this torque wrench if they ignore the pop or click. The handle is long and applies a lot of leverage, so it’s important to pay attention when using it.
How does the eTork EC3250 perform compared to other digital torque wrenches?
The eTork EC3250 doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles. It does have four different units of measure as well as a very handy backlit display, but it doesn’t beep, vibrate, or light up when the user reaches their ideal setting. So then, how does it perform?
My opinion of the eTork EC3250 is that if you’re paying attention while using it, it outperforms other digital torque wrenches. Some digital torque wrenches that alert with lights, vibrations, or beeps will turn off after a certain amount of time. Users can set one down and pick it back up, not realizing it turned off, and over torque a bolt expecting the alert to go off. Also, some models don’t lock settings in, which means they can accidentally adjust when the user is manipulating them.
Neither of those are issues with the eTork EC3250. This model does not need to be turned on to provide that tactical and audible pop. Also, since the knob locks back into the handle, it’s difficult to change the torque setting accidentally.
However, this wrench still does provide digital accuracy while utilizing old-school click-style technology, and I think that’s an excellent combination.
Is the eTork EC3250 worth the money?
At the time of writing this piece, the EC3250 is just under $100, and that’s a steal. Other digital torque wrenches with the same torque range can cost up to twice as much while not doing a better job of torquing a fastener.
Also, for the price point, this model comes with a certificate of calibration. That means someone tested the torque wrench before it was packaged up for sale, ensuring that it’s accurate to the standard by which the manufacturer markets it. For example, this wrench is marketed as 3 percent accurate clockwise, so someone tests the wrench to ensure that’s true. If it’s not, they’ll recalibrate it to ensure that it is.
Are there better, more accurate torque wrenches available? Yes, probably, but they can cost between five and eight times the price. The eTork EC3250 is a nice blend of accuracy, digital technology, and old-school click-style design that definitely makes it worth the money.
Is the eTork EC3250 right for you?
There are a lot of circumstances that may determine the right torque wrench for your needs. For example, if you’ll only be using the torque wrench once a year, it may be better to save money and purchase an analog wrench. However, if you’re always in the garage tinkering on that project car, the eTork EC3250 might be just right.
This digital torque wrench is best for folks who will use it a lot but don’t need a top-of-the-line model. DIYers who work on their own cars, small engines, and other similar projects will benefit from the easy setup and smart design while also saving money over the more expensive models.
For folks who work on larger projects and need the accuracy of a torque wrench, the eTork EC3250 will most likely do the trick. It has plenty of range, a reliable system, an affordable price point, and a digital readout to make setting it up a breeze. Those who value flexibility, reliability, affordability, and ease of use should seriously consider it.
Meet the Tester
Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic.