If you were to whittle your toolbox down to just a handful of essential tools (though why would you?), an adjustable wrench would undoubtedly make the cut. The name is a dead giveaway for how versatile this tool is. The fact that they’re adjustable allows them to be used to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts in a wide range of sizes. Adjusting the jaws of the wrench is easily done using a rotating metal piece variably called a worm screw for its curly shape or a knurl for its textured surface. The worm screw allows you to open the jaws much wider than the head of the wrench, or tighten them to be flush with each other.
One of the most common applications for adjustable wrenches is plumbing. If you need to loosen or tighten the nuts that control your pipes, an adjustable wrench will likely be the first thing you’ll reach for. Auto-enthusiasts also rely on adjustable wrenches, and they can even come in handy when assembling furniture. You can also use them for making repairs to bicycles. Adjustable wrenches are useful just about anywhere you might need to adjust nuts and bolts. And since they’re so versatile, you might find yourself using them for unconventional purposes or as a replacement for another tool, such as a makeshift vise-grip when you need to hold a piece in place.
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Even if you don’t expect to need an adjustable wrench anytime soon, it’s the kind of thing you’ll be glad you had should you find yourself with a midnight plumbing issue. We’ve picked out some of the best adjustable wrenches on Amazon to keep in your toolbox.
1. Channellock Adjustable Wrench
Channellock consistently delivers when it comes to basic tools. The jaws of this adjustable wrench open up to 1.5″, making it easy to grip larger nuts. The head of the wrench is clearly marked with inch measurements, and a marker on the jaw indicates how wide the jaws are opened. The textured grips reduce hand fatigue and make the tool easy to hold for extended periods.
Pros: Comfortable textured grip. Opens up to 1.5″. Contrasting ruler markers on the side make it easy to see how wide the wrench is opened.
Cons: The grip could be more securely fitted on the wrench.
2. Crescent Adjustable Wrench
Crescent is one of the standard-bearers when it comes to adjustable wrenches, such that adjustable wrenches are often colloquially referred to as crescent wrenches. This sturdy 8″ wrench is made from alloy steel and is coated with a black oxide finish which helps resist corrosion. A laser-etched scale makes it easy to make adjustments. A wide variety of sizes are available from this listing, ranging from 4″ to 12″.
Pros: Black oxide finish resists corrosion and adds a unique look. Wide capacity jaw.
Cons: Worm screw could turn more easily.
3. TEKTON 6-Inch Adjustable Wrench
This simple wrench is six inches long, making it a good compact size for average home repair use. The jaw opens up to 3/4″, so it’s suited to tightening smaller nuts. The ruler markings on the side are laser-etched, preventing them from being rubbed off over time. One side has inch measurements and the other has metric measurements. You can also choose other sizes from this listing, ranging from 4″ to 15″ in size.
Pros: Laser-etched ruler marker in both inches and millimeters. Variety of sizes available.
Cons: Jaws could be tighter. No comfort grip on the handle.
4. WORKPRO 4-piece Adjustable Wrench Set
The best adjustable wrenches eliminate the need for having a whole toolbox dedicated to wrenches, but it can still be worth having multiple adjustable wrenches for handling jobs of different sizes. This set from Workpro is great for that reason. Four wrenches are included for about as much as you’d pay for one tool from other brands. Included wrenches are 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″. The heads have convenient markings.
Pros: Set of four wrenches in four common sizes. Easy-to-read measurements.
Cons: Not as durable as some of the top options. No comfort grip on the handles.
Yesterday, a reader asked about where they can buy a USA-made adjustable wrench in 4″ size.
Oh boy. That’s a tough question.
I have one, a Craftsman wrench that I bought a few years ago, but I could almost guarantee that you won’t be able to find that same tool today. I also have an Irega-made Channellock wrench, 4.5″ long, but it’s made in Spain, and not the USA.
There is a Crescent 4″ wrench, but recent online user reviews complain about the wrench now being made in China.
So, that leaves Proto, specifically the Proto J704, with a satin finish, and J704S with a black oxide finish.
There might be others, but 4″ adjustable wrenches are incredibly hard to find. My Channellock has a 1/2″ jaw capacity, which is useful, but only for certain tasks.
If you know of another USA-made 4″ adjustable wrench, please let us know! Ridgid, for example, only goes down to 6″.
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If you’re not set on a USA-made wrench, I really like Channellock’s adjustable wrenches. Their 804 wrench is small, and it feels a little coarser than their other Irega-made wrenches, but I consider it to have the perfect balance between size and function.
It’s a good wrench for EDC – for stowing in a daily work or tool bag, or anywhere else. It comes in handy for small stuff, and you have a chance at getting something done when your main tools are somewhere else.
The total jaw capacity is actually around 5/8″, and so it’s more useful than online specs might suggest. It’s also a little shorter than 4.5″, too.
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Sections: EDC, Pocket, & Multitools, Hand Tools, Made in USA, WrenchesTags: Adjustable WrenchesMore from: Channellock, ProtoSours: https://toolguyd.com/usa-made-4-inch-adjustable-wrench-edc/
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After testing 15 adjustable wrenches over the past three years, we’re still convinced that the Channellock 8WCB WideAzz 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench is the best one for your home toolbox.
The Channellock 8WCB is a manageable 8 inches long but has the jaw capacity of a much larger wrench, so it can handle everything from a fat garden hose to a small fastener on a child’s toy. Because the jaws are narrow and come to a point, they can work in tight spots where other wrenches are too bulky to fit. As for comfort, this Channellock model had the best padded handle of all the wrenches we looked at, allowing us to put some real strength into a turn without worrying about having sore hands afterward. Lastly, the build quality is excellent: The thumb turn is smooth, the lower jaw has little wobble, and after consistent use over three years, the wrench is hardly showing any wear at all.
At this writing the Channellock will set you back about $25, so it’s more expensive than a standard, smaller-jawed wrench. But if you’re going to own only one wrench, it’s smart to have one that can tackle all but the largest jobs. Even if you don’t consider yourself a DIYer, you never know what leaky plumbing connection you might need to tighten at 2 in the morning.
If the Channellock is unavailable, we also like the Milwaukee 48-22-7508 8-Inch Wide Jaw Adjustable Wrench. It has the same length and the same wide mouth as the Channellock 8WCB, but the jaws are a little fatter and don’t come to as narrow of a point. The Milwaukee model also has no padding on the grip area, and even though the all-metal handle is comfortable, we think most people would prefer the added hand protection of the Channellock. On top of that, the Milwaukee is usually a few dollars more expensive. This is a new pick for 2016, though, replacing the Klein D509-8 Adjustable Wrench, Extra Wide Jaw, which has stubbier jaws that are harder to use in tight situations.
If you’re not looking to invest much and just want a wrench that can handle the basics, we like the Irwin Vise-Grip 2078608 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench. It opens to about 1⅛ inches, so it can’t fit around larger plumbing connections or even a garden hose, but its comfortable handle and solid build quality make it a nice choice for general around-the-house tasks such as assembling furniture or attaching training wheels to a bike.
If you’re willing to invest more to have the best there is, we recommend the Knipex 86 05 180 Pliers Wrench. This tool combines the best elements of adjustable pliers and adjustable wrenches, and the result is that the smooth-faced jaws of the Pliers Wrench grip a nut like a pair of pliers rather than cradling it as our other picks do. Where the tool differs from regular pliers is that the lower jaw moves parallel to the upper jaw (instead of like an alligator mouth), ensuring an even clamping force along the edges of the nut regardless of the sizing. This design greatly reduces any chance of slippage or of rounding over the corners of the nut. The engineering of this unique tool is simply outstanding, and the build quality is excellent. In fact, of all the hand tools I’ve used in a 15-year career of construction and tool reviewing, the Pliers Wrench is my favorite.
Everything we recommend
Why you should trust me
I spent 10 years in construction as a carpenter, foreman, and site supervisor in the Boston area. I also recently wrapped up a four-year full gut and remodel of my own 100-year-old farmhouse. In addition, I’ve been writing about and reviewing tools since 2007 with articles appearing in Fine Homebuilding, Popular Mechanics, This Old House, and Tools of the Trade, among others. Through all of this, I’ve gained a thorough knowledge of hand tools, including adjustable wrenches.
To narrow down the hundreds of wrenches available, I relied on my own experience and had conversations with two tool experts: Marc Lyman, editor of HomeFixated, and Stuart Deutsch, editor of ToolGuyd. Each brings a unique perspective—Lyman is a DIY/home-improvement aficionado, and Deutsch approaches his tools from an engineer’s standpoint (and has a PhD in materials science and engineering to back it up).
For testing, I enlisted the aid of Aaron Goff, a high-end residential carpenter with 13 years of experience.
Why an adjustable wrench?
Basically, if you own a house, you should also own a reliable adjustable wrench.
An adjustable wrench is an all-purpose nut- and bolt-turning tool. Because it has two parallel, flat jaws with no teeth, it’s good for situations where you don’t want to damage the nut or bolt with the grip of the jaws, as you would with a pair of adjustable pliers. A wrench can serve to adjust the seat on a bicycle, build a playset, assemble prefab furniture, or tighten up a lag screw on a deck ledger. Also, because of the delicate fittings that are prevalent in plumbing systems (such as the chrome connections under a pedestal sink), an adjustable wrench is an invaluable tool for any plumbing project or repair. Basically, if you own a house, you should also own a reliable adjustable wrench.
How we picked and tested
What I discovered during my research and interviews is that if you’re going to own only one wrench, it should be an 8-inch, wide-mouth model. This means that it’s an 8-inch wrench with the jaw capacity of a 12-inch wrench, a versatile tool that isn’t burdened by a long, bulky handle.
On a standard 8-inch wrench, the jaws open to about 1⅛ inches, which is enough for a lot of tasks but not all of them. To step up in jaw width, you usually need also step up in overall size and go to a 10- or 12-inch wrench. Most 10-inchers open just over 1¼ inches, and the 12-inch models sit around the 1½-inch mark, but with these traditional tools the increased jaw capability comes with a longer, more cumbersome handle. So recently, a handful of manufacturers have released 8-inch wrenches with a larger jaw capacity, usually around 1⅝ inches.
In my house I have a perfect example of the benefits of wide-mouth wrenches. The radiator manifold in my basement (which I need to tinker with every time I fuss with a radiator or remove it for painting) has brass connections that are too large for a standard 8-inch wrench. They’re also situated up at the ceiling in such a way that a tool with a large handle isn’t practical to use. A wide-mouth wrench makes it easy for me to loosen and tighten the connections, as I can grab the fitting and also have plenty of room to move my hand and operate the tool.
My heating system is another example. Virtually every connection coming off my boiler and water heater, up and into the radiator manifold, is sized so that a standard 8-inch wrench can’t grab it but a wide-mouth can.
I asked HomeFixated’s Marc Lyman about wide-mouth models, and he said that he really likes what they have to offer, adding, “I have run across situations where my [standard 8-inch] adjustable didn’t have the capacity needed for a specific job. That’s always a bummer.” He also pointed out that to accommodate larger-sized nuts, the jaws are longer, meaning you have a little more reach to the tool if you’re working in a tight spot such as under your sink. In addition, it means that the jaws can more easily fit around the entire edge of the nut. Lyman noted, “I’ve had the joy of rounding off larger nuts when the jaws don’t make contact along the full length of the nut edge.”
A lower-quality wrench will wiggle from the get-go, but a good wrench will have a jaw that sits securely in the tool.
In addition, we tested a number of other styles to see how they would measure up to a traditional adjustable wrench. This group included three ratcheting wrenches, the Stanley FMHT72184 FatMax Ratcheting 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench, the Bostitch 99-079 8-Inch Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench, and the Crescent ATR28 8-Inch Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench; a locking plier/wrench hybrid, the Stanley 85-610 10-Inch MaxGrip Locking Adjustable Wrench; and lastly, three double-handled adjustable gripping wrenches, the Knipex 86 05 180 Pliers Wrench, the Kobalt Magnum Grip Pliers, and the Craftsman 8-Inch Max Axess Locking Wrench.
Before I put a single wrench to a bolt, I checked the stability of each contender’s lower jaw (the part that moves when you adjust the wrench). A lower-quality wrench will wiggle from the get-go, but a good wrench will have a jaw that sits securely in the tool and connects solidly with the thumb turn with minimal movement. You’ll always see some play, but if the lower jaw can freely move up and down 1/16 of an inch, you’re not looking at a high-quality tool. Such looseness can prevent a tight grab and cause the tool to slip off the nut, which can round off and mar the edges in the process. When it comes to tool quality, it’s all about the shaping and machining of the metal, and the better tools simply have higher tolerances.
To test these tools, I spent a couple of days with each one doing a number of small around-the-house projects (both general maintenance tasks and as part of a larger renovation). I adjusted chair legs, attached training wheels, emptied and refilled my heating system, assembled a tricycle, put together some knockdown furniture, attached garden hoses, installed a radiator, set up a garden irrigation system, and tightened up some loose gate hardware. I also recruited Aaron Goff, a Boston-based carpenter, to spend an evening looking over the tools and testing each one on a variety of fasteners. Goff has been in the trades for about 13 years and is very particular about the quality of his tools—he has absolutely no patience for cheap gear that falls apart within a couple of years.
Of all the wrenches we tested, the Channellock 8WCB WideAzz 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench handles the most situations with the greatest comfort. The generous 1⅝-inch jaw capacity, usually found only on a 12-inch wrench, allows it to turn all but the most massive nuts and bolts. Since the jaws are not only the thinnest we’ve seen but also designed to the sharpest point, they can fit in tight spots where most others can’t. This Channellock model has a distinctive, padded handle that protects the hands in high-torque situations, as well. Overall the tool has a notably high-quality construction, evidenced by a smooth thumb turn and stability in the lower jaw. And both tool experts that I spoke with hold it in high regard.
The Channellock is one of the few wide-jaw wrenches available, meaning it has a maximum jaw opening of 1⅝ inches but measures only 8 inches long. This jaw capacity is about ½ inch larger than that of the typical 8-inch wrench and is a size usually associated with a 12-inch wrench, which has a much longer, bulkier handle. In practical terms, this design means that the Channellock can tighten everything from a teeny nut on a child’s toy all the way to a garden hose or a larger plumbing fixture, like those found near my boiler.
Of all the wrenches we tested, the Channellock had the easiest time grabbing the connections while still having room to turn.
The jaws of the Channellock are narrow and tapered to a point, giving them the ability to grip a nut in close quarters. Looking down at the top of the tool, the jaws start at ⅜ inch thick and taper to ¼ inch. Looking from the side, they have the slimmest profile and come to the sharpest point of any wrench in our test group. The connections on my garden irrigation manifold are all jammed together, making it difficult to use a wrench to tighten the hose ends, but of all the wrenches we tested, the Channellock had the easiest time grabbing the connections while still having room to turn. The Milwaukee and Bahco wide-jaws are similar in design to the Channellock, but neither competitor has such pointed ends. The Klein wide-jaw has more of a snub-nosed design, and in my tests it had difficulty getting into the tight space and finding a solid purchase on the fittings.
The handle on the Channellock is large and well padded, giving ample protection to the hands, particularly in high-torque situations such as trying to loosen a stuck bolt. The grip also has a good amount of texture, so your hand is unlikely to slip off while turning. The other wide-jaw wrenches either have a traditional dipped handle (Klein) or no padding at all (Milwaukee). The Bahco offers a comfortable padded handle, but in our tests that tool had other problems that took it out of contention, as described below.
As with the other wide-mouth wrenches, the overall quality of the Channellock is very high. The wrench has a nice weighty feel, and the lower jaw doesn’t have a tremendous amount of up-and-down wiggle to it, indicating a good-quality connection between it and the thumb turn. During adjustments, the jaw and thumb turn both move smoothly. We found that this wasn’t the case with most of the wrenches priced in the under-$20 range.
Unlike most Channellock tools, which are made in the US, this wrench is manufactured in Spain by a company called Irega. “Made to CHANNELLOCK specifications in Spain,” is what the Channellock website says. Irega makes nothing but adjustable wrenches; the products are very highly regarded and have a great reputation for quality.
Stuart Deutsch and Marc Lyman both like the Channellock Wide Azz. During our conversation Deutsch said, “Channellock’s Irega-made adjustable wrenches have become yardsticks to which I measure all other adjustable wrenches.”
In a 2009 post on ToolGuyd about his first experience using the Channellock, Deutsch notes that the wrench “had very little play in the jaw, was relatively smooth to operate, and felt robust and sturdy.”
In a post dated a year later, he refers to it as “by far my favorite [wrench] to use.” Three years after that, he includes it in his "Ultimate Tool Gift Guide," writing, “Channellock’s made-in-Spain (by Irega) adjustable wrenches are our absolute favorites. The cushion handles are grippy and super comfortable, the adjustment mechanism is smooth and strong, and the jaws open wide without the wrench being too large or bulky.”
Lyman, who also likes the Channellock, told me that he “definitely likes the extra capacity that the Wide Azz brings.”
The tool has a stellar reputation among its Amazon purchasers, too, as it currently boasts a 4.8-star (out of five) rating across 162 reviews. The significance here is that the reviews come from a full range of people, from plumbers and HVAC workers to bike and RV enthusiasts to homeowners and DIYers. Throughout the reviews, one oft-repeated sentiment is “This is the best wrench I’ve ever used.”
Flaws but not dealbreakers
While we appreciate the Channellock’s padded handle–and judging from Deutsch’s comments and the user feedback at Amazon, most people would agree with us—we’ve seen some dissenting opinions on it, with Aaron Goff, our tester, really not liking it at all. I was a little skeptical at first, but as I worked with the tool, I got used to the handle and ended up quite fond of it. The handle is certainly larger than most, and even though it’s comfortable, it isn’t particularly form-fitting to the hand (like the Bacho grip). But at least one Amazon reviewer agrees with Goff: Douglas Goldberg, who works maintenance in a large building and gives the wrench a very positive review, notes in an update to the review that he ended up cutting the padded handle off.
So the majority opinion seems to regard the handle as a good thing, but we did encounter some dissent on the matter. If it’s something you think you won’t like, well, that’s what our next recommendation is for.
If you prefer a more traditional handle or our pick is sold out, we also like the Milwaukee 48-22-7508 8-Inch Wide Jaw Adjustable Wrench. Like the Channellock, it has all the marks of a high-quality wrench, including a smooth thumb turn, very little wiggle in the lower jaw, and a nice, even balance in the hand. What it lacks is the padded handle and the extremely narrow, pointed jaws of our main pick. When it comes to the jaws, the differences are very slight, and most people would probably never notice, but if we were ever in a situation where every sixteenth of an inch counted, we’d prefer to have the Channellock over the Milwaukee. Lastly, the Milwaukee usually sells for a few dollars more than the Channellock.
Even with no padded handle, the Milwaukee wrench is extremely comfortable to hold. On tough, stuck nuts, it doesn’t offer the palm protection of the Channellock, but during regular use it fits the hand well, and the metal has a slight grainy texture.
One unique aspect of the Milwaukee is that the thumb turn makes contact with the lower jaw with five different threads; the Channellock has four. This design is supposed to give the Milwaukee added stability in the lower jaw, but in closely comparing the two, we couldn’t see any notable differences. Both are stable and precise.
Less capable, less expensive
If you just want a small, basic wrench and are looking to keep the investment to a minimum, we suggest the Irwin Vise-Grip 2078608 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench. The major drawback with the Irwin is that it isn’t a wide-mouth model. The jaws open to just over 1⅛ inches, so it should be able to do around-the-house jobs such as bike adjustment and furniture assembly, but it won’t be able to handle larger connections in a basement or to tighten a garden hose. It has a smooth thumb turn and hardly any wobble at all in the lower jaw, something we didn’t see in any other sub-$20 wrenches. But while we were impressed with the Irwin’s quality, we think you’d be better off with the Channellock in an emergency. It’s better to have the extra width and not need it than to not have it and need it.
Like the Channellock, the Irwin has a padded handle, but this one has an odd rectangular shape that we found comfortable and easy to hold. Even Aaron Goff, our tester, liked it quite a bit, proving that he’s not entirely opposed to padded handles.
A significant upgrade
If you’re really into your tools (and you’re willing to pay top dollar for the highest quality), we give a huge thumbs-up to the Knipex 86 05 180 Pliers Wrench. This tool is a bizarre yet wildly successful hybrid of a wrench and a pair of adjustable pliers. Because of its unique design, it grabs a nut with parallel gripping force, greatly reducing the chance of the tool slipping and increasing its effectiveness on beat-up, rounded-over fasteners. It has a jaw capacity of about 1⅜ inches, not as much as the Channellock but more than the Irwin. At more than $50 right now, it’s a pricey tool, certainly, but while we were testing it we quickly saw the value of its capabilities, not to mention its exceptional look and feel. In fact, across more than a decade of construction and tool reviews, the Pliers Wrench may be my all-time personal favorite.
Across more than a decade of construction and tool reviews, the Pliers Wrench may be my all-time personal favorite.
The body of the Pliers Wrench takes the form of a pair of adjustable pliers. The jaw size adjusts the same way, with a push-button mechanism that allows you to slide the lower jaw up and down a series of stops. But where the tool differs is in how the lower jaw moves in relation to the upper jaw once you squeeze the handles. On traditional pliers, the lower jaw moves off a pivot point, like an alligator’s mouth, but on the Pliers Wrench, the lower jaw always remains parallel to the upper jaw. To use the tool, you make the push-button adjustment to be a little larger than what you want to grab; then, when you squeeze the handles, the lower jaw clamps up toward the upper jaw but stays parallel to it the entire time.
As Knipex shows in this image, a traditional wrench doesn’t really grip the sides of a nut, instead catching the edges of the corners. Even with such nice tools as the Channellock, Milwaukee, and Irwin, this is the case. Because of the unusual mechanism of the Pliers Wrench, this model’s jaws clamp down on the entire side of the nut, grabbing the object with a truly parallel gripping force. The result is a near-zero chance of stripping or rounding over the edges of the nut, regardless of how stuck it is.
Another plus of this tool is that it makes quickly tightening or loosening a nut simple. Once you’ve made a turn, just release your grip a bit to open the jaws, reset the tool, and tighten again. It’s an easy rhythm to fall into, and one that makes for speedy work.
The one downside to the tool in comparison with a traditional wrench is that the handles can be tricky in tight spaces at times. Usually you can work the adjustment so that they are nearly closed when you grip; occasionally in our tests, however, this wasn’t possible, and we had to operate the tool with open handles.
On traditional pliers, the lower jaw moves off a pivot point, like an alligator’s mouth, but on the Pliers Wrench, the lower jaw always remains parallel to the upper jaw.
It’s also a high-end tool that comes with a high-end price, usually just over $50. The models with nonergonomic handles are a few bucks cheaper, but once you’ve decided to go in on a tool like this, getting the padded handles makes sense. Pricing fluctuates; the next size up, the 10-inch 86 05 250, is typically over $60, but at times it dips down under $55, at which point it’s a great value (the 10-inch model has a jaw capacity of about 1¾ inches).
The Pliers Wrench gets universal praise. In a ToolGuyd review entitled “The Amazing Knipex Pliers Wrench,” Stuart Deutsch writes that it “is an amazingly versatile tool that is unlike any other pliers or adjustable wrenches currently on the market.” Later in the piece Deutsch states, “My Knipex Pliers Wrenches are among my most valued tools. They really are as functional and practical as everyone raves.”
Ralph Fincher at Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, wrapping up his review, writes, “To summarize, the Knipex pliers wrench combines the best features of other tools, enabling one to grip and turn nuts and bolts with a single tool, and apply considerable squeezing pressure on objects without gouging or tooth marks.”
Long-term test notes
For the past three years, I’ve had our recommended wrenches in my toolbox and used them all quite a bit as I wrapped up a major home renovation and moved into a new place. The ones that I still reach for the most are the Channellock and the Knipex. When I originally wrote this guide, I still wasn’t 100 percent sold on the Channellock’s padded handle, but since then it has become one of my favorite features. If you have a stuck bolt, it really lets you lean into the wrench with little discomfort to your hand. And the Channellock’s slender nose has come in handy repeatedly as I’ve made many adjustments to my tightly packed heating system; the Channellock slips between the fittings while the other wrenches don’t even come close.
The Klein D509-8 Adjustable Wrench, Extra Wide Jaw was our previous runner-up, and it remains a very nice wrench. It differs from the Channellock and the Milwaukee in that it has stubbier, rounded jaws, so it has a harder time in tight spots such as an irrigation manifold. It also has a plastic-dipped handle, rather than a padded one. Like our Channelock pick, it’s an Irega-made product, and it’s of a similar high quality.
Channellock also sells the 8SWCB Xtra Slim Jaw WideAzz 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench, which is nearly identical to our pick (the same handle, jaw width, and overall build quality) but equipped with thinner jaws that are only 3/16-inch thick (looking from the top of the wrench). The jaws give this tool a better reach in tight, constrained spaces (the jaws of our top pick start at a thickness of ⅜ inch and taper to ¼ inch at the points). It typically has a price tag of nearly $30, though, and we think it doesn’t offer enough of a benefit to justify an additional investment of $8 to $10.
The Bahco 9031 R US 8-inch wide mouth adjustable wrench is comfortable to hold, but the jaws are designed so that they are just out of parallel, with the tips slightly closer than the throat. This design causes them to lock on to the nut, preventing slippage that could result in possible hand injury. Unfortunately, it also means that, once you’ve tightened a nut, the wrench is nearly impossible to pull straight off. So if you’re doing more than one turn on a nut (and you almost always are), this feature becomes frustrating very quickly. Bahco’s design choice makes sense, though, seeing as the company manufactures tools for the industrial and mechanical trades, where high torque is necessary on a consistent basis and slippage is a constant reality.
Like its wide-mouth sibling, the Klein D507-8 Adjustable Wrench Extra Capacity is a very smooth, very nice tool. It has a slightly larger jaw than the Irwin 2078608, coming in at about 1¼ inches. But at over $20 right now, it’s priced on the high side in comparison with some of the other tools we looked at. If you’re already at the $20 mark, you might as well kick in another five bucks or so and get the Channellock Wide Azz with the larger jaw capability.
The Stanley 90-948 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench sits in the same price range as the Irwin but lacks the same level of finish. The thumb turn has a grainy feel, and the lower jaw wobbles back and forth and up and down more than that of any of the other wrenches we tried. At ToolGuyd, Stuart Deutsch writes that the 6-inch version of this tool is his second-favorite wrench (behind the Channellock). The sizes may have manufacturing differences, though, because the movement on the lower jaw of the 8-incher is too significant to ignore.
In our tests, the ratcheting adjustable wrenches were all too bulky and clunky (with limited jaw openings) to make the grade as someone’s primary wrench. Of the three ratcheting models we tested, the Stanley FMHT72184 FatMax Ratcheting 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench was the most successful, but it was still fussy due to its oddly shaped handle, locking mechanism, and difficult thumb turn.
The Stanley 85-610 10-Inch MaxGrip Locking Adjustable Wrench is a cross between an adjustable wrench and a set of locking pliers (aka Vise-Grips, a registered trademark). The thumb-turn adjustment makes the jaw snug, and then the lever that runs the length of the handle locks the jaw tight. A second, smaller lever unlocks the jaw. It’s a cool setup, and it’s useful if you’re constantly coming up against stuck bolts, but the smallest size this wrench comes in is 10 inches, and the max jaw width is not even 1¼ inches.
The Craftsman 8-Inch Max Axess Locking Wrench and Loggerhead’s very similar Bionic Wrench (which we didn’t test)1 are not versatile enough to be the lone wrench in a toolbox. The head of the tool has a circular hole that you place around the nut; when you close the handles, a series of metal studs extend into the hole and grip the nut from all sides. We liked how this tool gripped in a clamping fashion, similar to the Knipex Pliers Wrench, but it was much more awkward to maneuver. Because this tool design completely surrounds a nut, you’ll have times when you can’t use it, such as if you need to tighten a connection on an existing pipe or hose.
Loggerhead’s Bionic Grip has an open-mouth design like a traditional wrench, but it maxes out at a width of ¾ inch and is really only for smaller tasks.
The Kobalt Magnum Grip Pliers have auto-adjusting jaws with a maximum opening of about 1¼ inches. The jaws of the tool have serrated teeth, but they come with little rubbery covers (that don’t fit very well) to simulate smooth jaws. Once you close the handles, it’s hard to tell when you’ve got a good grab on a nut, because of the amount of cushion in the jaw mechanism. Overall, this model has a cheap feel. It’s just not a very good tool.
Marc Lyman, Editor of HomeFixated, interview
Stuart Deutsch, Editor of ToolGuyd.com, interview
Stuart, Channellock’s Wide Adjustable Wrenches, ToolGuyd, July 14, 2009
Stuart, Your Go-To Adjustable Wrench?, ToolGuyd, August 24, 2010
Stuart, Ultimate Tool Gift Guide, ToolGuyd, December 8, 2013
Stuart, The Amazing Knipex Pliers Wrench, ToolGuyd, August 28, 2014
Ralph Fincher, Knipex Pliers Wrenches, Cool Tools, October 27, 2010
Douglas Goldberg, Amazon customer review for Channellock 8WCB WideAzz 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench, Amazon, October 11, 2012
About your guide
Doug Mahoney is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering home improvement. He spent 10 years in high-end construction as a carpenter, foreman, and supervisor. He lives in a very demanding 250-year-old farmhouse and spent four years gutting and rebuilding his previous home. He also raises sheep and has a dairy cow that he milks every morning.
13 Best Adjustable Wrenches for Daily and Professional Tasks
If you're a DIY enthusiast or an engineer who wants to fix everything by yourself, then an adjustable wrench is a must-have tool in your toolbox.
Even tightening a nut can be a big problem without an adjustable wrench. Unlike standard wrenches, it has an adjustable head to grip that lets you get your job done easily.
You can find the 13 best adjustable wrenches for your daily tasks and DIY projects on this list.
1. IRWIN VISE-GRIP Adjustable Wrench Set - Buy Now
This set will be your beloved companion to many of your jobs. From home repair to automotive maintenance, it can be used for all tasks. If you want a wrench set that you can use for a long time, the IRWIN VISE-GRIP is the most durable one on the market.
The set includes four of the most commonly used adjustable wrench sizes. If you're looking for a high-quality set with a good price, then you're in the right place.
2. Channellock 8WCB 8-Inch WideAzz Adjustable Wrench - Buy Now
This one provides great jaw capacity and endless amount of uses in the same design. It can handle everything from the smallest task to bigger projects. It adjusts smoothly, and it can get into tight spaces. This adjustable wrench is used by mechanics, carpenters, and hobbyists.
3. Tekton 23003 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench - Buy Now
Tekton's adjustable wrench is very easy to use and gets the job done. If you usually work with furniture, it's a good pick. It provides easy access to tight and small spaces.
It provides an excellent grip and you won't need to grab other tools. You can also do the smaller automotive repairs with it.
4. Milwaukee Adjustable Wrench - Buy Now
It has the same length and mouth size as the Channellock. It's designed with an ergonomic handle to provide maximum comfort. It is a more productive choice for professionals. It also doesn't damage the surface finish.
It is a very handy tool for technicians. If you want to have a single tool for all your needs, Milwaukee adjustable wrench is the one for you.
5. Stanley 90-947 Adjustable Wrench - Buy Now
This is a lightweight wrench that is easy to carry around. The little handy wrench can be used for all your works. It is especially useful for daily tasks.
It's slimmer than other wrenches, and rated 5 stars by Amazon users.
6. Olympia Tool 01-015 15-Inch - Buy Now
This adjustable wrench is a crowd favorite thanks to its great design. It's preferred by both carpenters and ordinary hobbyists.
Olympia is loved for its durable design. Its wide opening jaws make it a must-have tool for engineers and woodworkers.
7. Klein Tools 16 Inch Adjustable Spud Wrench - Buy Now
You don't need to carry several wrenches anymore. This adjustable wrench fits all nuts and bolts up to 1.4 inches (38 mm). You can assemble it by hand, and it provides you the smoothest and easiest operation. It is mainly used in small jobs.
8. Crescent 10" Adjustable Wrench - Buy Now
This adjustable wrench is made for heavy tasks. It allows you to work for hours without suffering with its ergonomic handle. It will deliver comfort even in problematic tasks. It is also extremely durable.
9. Electronic Repairing Tools Wrench - Buy Now
This electronic wrench provides the most accurate adjustment that you need. Its ergonomic and comfortable handle design is here to help you finish your task with ease.
Also, thanks to its LCD screen display and 0.01 accuracy, your measurements' accuracy will be guaranteed.
With 4 different unit transformations, you will not need multiple wrenches to meet your measurement requirements.
It is suitable around the house and the office, so you have a one-for-all kind of deal.
10. MAXPOWER Adjustable Wrench Set - Buy Now
This set includes four pieces of adjustable wrenches measuring 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches. If you need an adjustable wrench set to use over the years, this set will totally meet your needs.
The variety of sizes makes it essential for your toolbox. They can resist harsh conditions thanks to their sturdy design. The adjustable jaws allow you to operate on fasteners of different sizes.
11. Knipex 86-05-180 - Buy Now
This is a mix of the best features of pliers and wrenches, so you have unlimited possibilities in one tool. This adjustable wrench is perfect for gripping and fastening. It provides you easy access to confined spaces.
You can snap cable ties and tight locknuts with Knipex easily. You can use it for a hundred different jobs, and it is totally worth the price.
12. Navegando Adjustable Wrenches Set - Buy Now
Small size and durable design in one set that will meet all your needs! It's suitable for repairs and household appliances. You can easily use it in your home for your DIY works and maintenance.
The wrenches in the set have a great grip, and they're very sturdy. If you want a practical and inexpensive set, you can check this one out on Amazon.
13. Craftsman Evolv 3 Piece Adjustable Wrench Set - Buy Now
This set includes 3 different-sized wrenches for every task. They are suitable for small and large nuts, and they make tightening easier than ever before.
If you're looking for a quality and reliable adjustable wrench, this set is the most affordable one.
Interesting Engineering is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and various other affiliate programs, and as such there might be affiliate links to the products in this article. By clicking the links and shopping at partner sites, you do not only get the materials you need but also are supporting our website.
Wrench amazon crescent
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