The Best Wrenches (Spanners): Everything to Know

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The Best Wrenches (Spanners): Everything to Know

Whether you’re fixing stuff, working on your home, or trying to deal with a stubborn car, practically any mechanical task you’re taking care of, you will need spanners. This is what makes them a necessary part of the toolkit, and it’s the exact reason we are talking about them in this article. We’re going to cover everything from torque spanners to Allen wrenches and anything in between, because having the right wrench when you’re working under the hood of your car or on DIY projects can make all the difference.

Set of Ronix socket wrenches

Best Torque Wrenches

So, you get some furniture from IKEA and you are trying to assemble it (God knows how many times we’ve done it wrong), you are tightening those bolts but how would you know when enough is enough? That’s where you need a torque wrench. It helps you with the specific amount of tightness, not too tight, not too loose. But why is that necessary?

Ronix torque wrench

Well, you don’t want to snap or damage the bolt mid-work by going with a regular spanner. You can just choose a torque wrench and avoid the drama altogether.
There are different types of torque wrench but all of them basically do the same thing. Some have a scale and some click when you reach the perfect tightness, you should pick the one that matches your needs.

Best Digital Torque Wrenches

We’re going high-tech now, no longer relying on clicks, digital torque wrenches got displays that show the exact torque measurements. They are used when you really need to know how tight or loose the bolt is. Some can even store the torque data so you keep track of the work you’ve done. Obviously, they are more expensive and rely on batteries, but they are very useful when it comes to complex work that needs things to be exact.

Digital torque wrench

Best Torque Wrenches for Bikes

Every biker should know a little bit about bike maintenance and repair because it can be the difference between an empty bank account and buying that dream mountain bike!
Torque wrenches help out a lot for these activities. Bike torque wrenches usually have a lower torque range because the bolts on a bike are more delicate, especially on the frame and the handlebar. One more thing you need to consider is that you can’t risk under-tightening the bolts on something like this. What if your seat slips while you’re riding because it is loose?
If you’re an experienced mechanic you may be able to rely on the feel for tightening the bolts, but why risk it when you can just use a torque wrench!

Torque wrench being used on a bike

Order Wholesale Wrenches (Spanner) Designed to Attract Customers

Best Ratchet Wrenches

Ratchet wrenches are like normal wrenches but with a cool trick up their sleeves: they have a mechanism that lets you tighten or loosen bolts without taking off the spanner. This can help you work with your spanner in tight spaces (like when you are working on your car) and make it less annoying. It saves you time, sweat, and the money you may have had to spend on a tow truck to get you out of trouble if you don’t have a ratchet spanner on your side! They come in different sizes and shapes and you can pick one based on your needs.

Torque wrench

Best Pipe Wrenches

Pipe wrenches are very appropriately called: they’re used for pipes (I mean, what did you expect really?). They are brute force tools with gnarly toothy jaws that grip the pipe like a dog biting a chew toy. They are also built like tanks and in different sizes, so you can use them whether you’re working with a garden hose or a drain pipe.

Ronix pipe wrench

Best Allen Wrenches

Also called hex keys or hex wrenches, and because of their shape and size, they are especially useful for bicycles. Allen wrenches are L-shaped bars of steel with hexagonal heads. They’re really slim so they’re a great choice for those awkward angles in bikes and cars. Like other spanners they come in different sizes, they even come in millimeters!

Ronix Hex Key

You can get a good set of Allen wrenches with a good range of sizes to cover most of your needs. They can be used for furniture assembly (Here we go again with IKEA), electronics repairs (or at least an attempt to fix them just for them never to turn on again, sadly), and anything with hexagonal screws.

Best Strap Wrenches

Strap wrenches are sort of the opposite of pipe wrenches, as they use grip strength instead of brute force. They usually have woven nylon or rubber straps that take the shape of the thing you’re turning. This feature distributes the pressure evenly, and that minimizes the risk of damaging polished pumps or anything delicate you may be working with.

Strap wrench

It’s understandable that strap wrenches may seem like they wouldn’t work well but you’d be surprised! The material and the tightening mechanism make for a powerful grip, they may even work better than normal wrenches on round and smooth surfaces since they slip less. These tools are also flexible enough that they fit into smaller spaces.
They may not be THE tool for every job, but they are a great choice for when you need a secure grip without risking damage.

Best Impact Wrenches

So, what if the force of hand is not enough when trying to get off that rusty lug nut that feels glued?

Impact wrenches are the point we get electric. They’re fast and powerful, and they’re lifesavers when you’re dealing with what feels like a hundred bolts in one project.

Ronix impact wrench

They come in 2 main types: 1. Electric (usually battery-powered) and 2. Pneumatic (air-powered). The difference is that the electric ones are generally cordless and you can take them anywhere, but pneumatic ones are usually more powerful with the drawback being that they need to stay connected to an air compressor.

Best Air Impact Wrenches

They are the pneumatic version of the tool we just talked about. Air impact wrenches run on compressed air, and they are more powerful. One thing that makes them special compared to the battery-powered ones is that they just keep working as long as you got an air compressor hooked up, basically a source of endless power (well not really but it does the job). They are generally cheaper too, but you need to think about the price of the air compressor as well.

Ronix air impact wrench

Two more things, they can be a bit noisy and less portable. Wear ear protection if you are going to use them for an extended period of time, and consider that maybe they are not as portable as the battery-powered models, they are just great for the garage.

Best Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches are probably what everyone thinks about when you mention a wrench. It’ a pretty straight forward tool, it’s a metal handle with a movable jaw.

Ronix adjustable wrench

It has a screw mechanism to change the width of the head to fit a lot of different nut and bolt sizes. Even though this mechanism makes the tool a bit bulkier, it still remains an incredibly useful thing to have in the toolbox.

Ronix adjustable wrench

Best Open-End Wrenches

It’s the classic. Open-end wrenches have been around for a long time, and for good reason. They are really simple, just the metal bar with a U-shaped opening at one end. Because of this simplicity, open-end wrenches are usually one of the most affordable options. They are also quick to use, since there are no adjustments.
They have their own drawback though: You can’t apply as much torque on them, because they may slip off and round the corners.

Ronix open-end wrench

Best Box-End Wrenches

These are basically the opposite of open-end spanners. They are completely closed around the head of a nut or bolt so it’s got a secure grip; no slipping, rounding or damaging the corners. You also don’t need full rotations, just a bit of back-and-forth. They come in various different sizes, some even have slightly angled heads for a better access in tight spaces.

Ronix box-end wrench

Best Combination Wrenches

Combination wrenches are the best of both worlds. One end has a box end, and the other end has an open-end wrench. Having both options, let’s you save time and energy by not having to constantly switch between tools.

Combination wrench

Best Socket Wrenches

It’s a wrench with a detachable head. You have a handle with a ratcheting mechanism, and a collection of interchangeable sockets in different sizes. It’s not the strongest but it can handle a good amount of torque.

Ronix socket set

Another thing you may need to think about when getting a set is that socket wrench sets are a bit more expensive than a single wrench, but since it replaces multiple wrenches, it may be worth it.

Best Line Wrenches

They are also called flare nut wrenches, and they are especially used in plumbing. They don’t have normal flat jaws, instead they got a U-shaped jaw with teeth! Line wrenches dig their teeth into the thing they need to turn so you don’t need to worry about grip. Actually, you got so much grip that you can even apply torque with one hand!

Best Thin Wrenches

Sometimes, space is a premium. There’s nothing really special about thin wrenches except for the thinness, and as a result they can reach nuts and bolts in tight spaces. They are also called slim wrenches or ultra-thin wrenches, and they are ideal for working in machinery. Thin wrenches are not a single category of spanners, they can be open-ended, box-ended, and even a combination wrench.
As nice as the thinness may seem, you need to consider that they are not as powerful as normal wrenches (which is kind of fair with their size) and they may increase the risk of rounding because of how thin the jaw is.

an open-end thin wrench

Read more: 10 Different Types of Wrenches (Spanners)

Best Oil Filter Wrenches

Changing oil is already a messy job, and THEN imagine having a normal wrench with no grip, trying to loosen an oily filter. Oil filter wrenches usually have a long handle or strap to give you some extra leverage and help you with the torque. This protects your hands from hot oil too. Oil filter wrenches have different types, like strap wrenches or even adjustable models.
Good luck trying to change the oil filter, and don’t forget to put something under the car so you don’t get oil everywhere!

Best Wrenches for Hydraulic Hoses

Don’t use regular wrenches since they have flat jaws that can dig into hydraulic hose and cause leaking or round off the nut’s edges, and more importantly, they are not strong enough to apply the necessary torque needed in high pressure hydraulic systems. There are different types of wrenches you can use for hydraulic hoses: The gripping surface of the socket wrench evenly spreads out the pressure, while flare nut wrenches have u-shaped jawed head that grip firmly onto the filter.

Best Wrenches for Mechanics

Mechanics don’t use a single type of wrench for their projects, they use a variety of different ones like:

Combination Wrench: You can see how they may be useful with their versatility, acting as two wrenches in one.

Socket Wrench: Again, it’s about having access to a lot of different sizes of wrenches, and socket spanners are perfect for that with their changing heads

Ronix socket set

Ratcheting Wrench: We’ve already talked about them, and when you tighten and loosen hundreds of bolts and nuts every day, it helps your wrist to not have to lift the wrench every time.

Of course, mechanics can use a lot of different wrenches based on the project or the type of the vehicle they are dealing with, and these are just some of the types of wrench they use every day.

Ronix socket set

You’ve gotten familiar with most of the main categories of spanners. As simple as they may seem, they’ve been the backbone of the industry for a long time now. Having the right one can save you time and protect the delicate parts, so make sure you pick the one that matches your needs!

Ronix Adjustable Wrench

FAQ

Who Makes the Best Ratcheting Wrenches?

There is not really a single “best” manufacturer of ratcheting wrenches, but here are some of the top companies:

GearWrench: Popular for their durability, and smooth ratcheting mechanism.

Snap-on: They have great ratcheting wrenches but at a premium price.

Milwaukee: They are innovative and have great products as well

Ronix Tools: Offers a good balance of quality and affordability, a popular choice for serious DIYers.

What Is the Best Brand for Wrenches?

Similar to ratcheting wrenches, the “best” brand depends on what you need and how much you are going to spend. But have these factors in mind when choosing one:

  • Your Needs: Remember that professional mechanics often go for top-tier brands, while casual DIYers can find good value in mid-range options.
  • Budget: When it comes to premium brands, as you know, they often come with a higher price tag.  You should think about the amount you are comfortable spending.
  • Warranty: A good warranty shows the manufacturer’s confidence in their product quality.
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Ronix

13 May 2024

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