Is there such a thing as a high-quality adjustable wrench? One with high
enough quality that you could use it in place of a lot of ordinary
wrenches, and not have it round/damage the heads of the nuts?
In particular, it should reliably hold its exact adjustment, and should be
exactly adjustable to the nut it's applied to.
Even a Craftsman 2-piece set for $29.99 has a bad review for rounding the
nuts. What brand is better?
Klein makes a very good adjustable, however the biggest problem with any
adjustable wrench is that they're to bulky to fit in any tight area. Here's
I haven't used a Crescent wrench in probably 20 years. Used them on
bikes all the time as a kid, and the axle nuts were always chewed up as
a result. I do use pipe wrenches, Vise-grips, and pump pliers, which all
also usually do some damage, but for those applications there is usually
no other choice. Vise grips in particular are the last resort before a
smoke wrench- nothing to lose at that point.
There are all kinds of a adjustable and slip joints and adjustable box
wrenches. Nothing is better than the correct wrench for the job.
A 2 sided wrench on a hex nut will ALWAYS SLIP! Use adjustables on
square nuts only.
Well, although I've not bought a new one in at least 40 years, the
original Crescent was excellent quality.
It is still, however, an adjustable wrench and has some limitations
owing to that.
How well they work depends as much on the application as the wrench--we
use them all the time on farm equipment w/o rounding over nuts or bolt
ends, but they're typically larger than much of what the average
homeowner has around the house even though the torque can be quite high
(10- or 12-incher w/ all ya' got, sometimes w/ a little extra help
The smaller the fastener, the more likely the roundover problem will
bite because the surface area becomes smaller and any slip at all in the
jaws is amplified.
IMO for the average homeowner toolbox they're something to have on hand
but likely not the best choice whereas for what to carry in the tractor
toolbox for what happens or needs adjusting in the field they're ideal
w/ a few specific others for a given tool/operation.
The problem with these is they usually have only two points of contact - three
if you are EXTREMELY careful. those points of contact are destined to be at
the very apex of the hex. The higher quality box wrenches will have a special
design which doesn't grab the apex but a small distance from it which has a lot
more "meat" If you go to the snapon site they have very good explanation of
what I am poorly describing.
Tekkie - I approve this advertisement/statement/utterance.
OTOH, if they really were that bad, the stores wouldn't carry any of them...
They're what they are and there are good quality ones and not so good.
For some purposes (as noted earlier, particularly larger sizes) they're
perfectly adequate; for others not...
A lot of it is the mechanic. Knowing about fasteners and their suspected
torque has a lot to do with it. Example, I wouldn't even try an adjustable
wrench on an engine head bolt. I think one could get it out, but when the
alternative is to use the proper wrench, the alternative is obvious.
On smaller fasteners (or even bigger ones) not reefed down as much, mostly
anything will do, and if you can only have a few tools at quick disposal, an
adjustable wrench is just fine. Like screwdrivers, one size will fit a lot
of things, but when you need just the tool, nothing beats the right one.
You got some good replies, and I agree with them. I think the reason
they sell so well is that inexperienced people see them as a way to
avoid buying real wrenches.
For the record, about the only use I've ever found is shutting off and
turning on gas valves. Even then you need a good sized (and heavy) one
to get adequate leverage.
By the way, Snap-On makes beautiful, fully chromed 'comfort handle'
adjustable wrenches ranging from a measly $44.25 to $73.50 each (or a
set of 4 for only $228.50). They have them sans the 'comfort handle' as
well for slightly less. I've had an opportunity to witness one of these
in actual use, and can report that other than looking good, they're the
same old song and dance.
Search on adjustable wrench.
Even the highest quality adjustable wrench will only apply force to 2
sides of a hex shaped nut or bolt head, and at high torque is therefore
more likely to round the corners of the fastener. For a hex bolt
or nut, to apply the highest possible torque without damage a 6 point
socket or box-end wrench should be used.
Brands of higher quality than Craftsman include Stanley Proto, Snap-on, SK,
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
If you mean those closed-end adjustable wrenches with a pair of 120-
degree jaws, I found that they grip well and don't take up too much
space. I think they're called Pocket Sockets, but I'm not sure.
Channellock sells 3-jaw chuck wrenches that grip better than anything
but are bulky.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.