Best adjustable wrench for home maintenance & DIY

Sunday, March 28, 2021
best 12 inch wrench

When I was a wee lad, we had a fantastic garage that my dad worked in.

It was huge!

It had couches, a rocking horse, a clothes dryer, an unbelievably old radio (made of wood) that he would play horses races on and a pool table.

All of that and the tools. 

There were tools for chainsaws, the lawnmower, and so many rusted hand saws

But that crescent wrench of his! It was a shiny tool of wonder. He had painted the end blue so he would know it was his.

Even as a child, I knew it was something special. It was adjustable so as a kid, it meant I could use it for all kinds of mischief and later on, maintaining my bicycle.

And now as an adult, I miss that wrench.

So, dear reader, I'm in the market for a new spanner.

It's got to be a quality one.

One that won't rust if MY son leaves it outside in the grass for a week.

One that's easy to adjust and one that feels just right in the hand like my dad's did.

It's got to have a sense of weight about it that just says, yep, I can get this nut undone, piece of cake, just put some elbow into it mate!

So what's the best adjustable wrench on the market for me to have a look at then? Are they any popular brands or newer kinds of material I should be thinking about? I have no idea, so let's find out on my journey to get a new wrench.

The first thing to ask ourselves is what size wrench do we need? Are we fixing car engines, adjusting wheel alignment on a bicycle or what?

If you want a stock standard, no fuss wrench, then, by all means, grab a cheap steel wrench that will do the job but it might make you work a little bit harder than you need:

steel adjustable spanner

This kind of spanner will set you back less than 10 bucks on Amazon. It's the classic style, drop forged and made of steel with a chrome plated finish and it will do the job but it might not be the kind of tool you keep in the shed for thirty years.

We reckon though you should insist on a quality wrench, and we think Ares have just the tool for you.

The Ares15-Inch adjustable wrench boasts a 2-inch (50.8mm) jaw capacity and a precision machined 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm, making it perfect for jobs requiring exacting precision in tight spaces.

Both the handle and jaws have an HRC 40-50 hardness rating, so it’s tough enough for stubborn jobs. It's tough as it is made of durable, heat-treated Chrome Vanadium Steel with a corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating.

Its handle grip features an anti-slip design which delivers the user more gripping power to help reduce fastener damage and provide more torque while preventing hand stress and fatigue during prolonged use. 

The wrench is a wrench for all jobs. DIY around the home, plumbing, working on the farm or doing automotive work. 

Here's the specs:
  • Size: 6-inch
  • Jaw capacity: 15/16-inch (23.8125mm)
  • Constructed of Chrome Vanadium Steel
  • Corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating
  • Unique jaw and neck design increases steel hardness (HRC) by 3 degrees and reduces the wrenches’ overall weight by 10%
  • Ergonomic TPR handle grip
  • Anti-slip design 
  • Precision milled 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm
  • Metric and SAE measurement markings
  • Special jaw design protects nuts during use for increased torque

But you want to know if the Ares spanner is the real deal. Well, buyers on Amazon have road tested it and given their review feedback:

"I use this wrench almost daily. The grip is nice, fitment of the adjuster is excellent, the small teeth on the jaws are a nice for a little additional bite. Well worth the price for quality tools."

"Good quality and very small for very tight spaces"

So check out the price on Amazon:

Ares also do a pretty handy set of wrenches:

This sets wrenches features up to a 1 5/16-inch jaw capacity and metric and SAE measurements, eliminating guesswork when doing precision jobs.

The 8-inch wrench also features a V-jaw with aggressively angled teeth perfect for gripping pipes and rounded fasteners.

handy wrench set

Coilover spanners

coilover wrench
There are also plenty of other kinds of wrenches that have specific design features to help with particular tasks such as the coil-over.

Coilovers can be used to tighten side slot nuts on collars, lock nuts and bearings.

Because of the action when using them, they can give great leverage when turning stubborn bolts.

These kinds of spanners are very popular for motorcycle maintenance as they can fit shocks, steering columns, and all kinds of nuts.

Top five facts about spanners and wrenches

  1. Crescent wrenches are actually a trademarked brand all of their own!
  2. English engineer Richard Clyburn is widely credited with inventing an adjustable spanner in 1842.
  3. The first patent for a spanner was granted to Enoch Harris in 1885. This featured an adjustable jaw. Since then many different patents for differing forms of spanners have been accepted over the years.
  4. No one knows how the term "monkey wrench" came about but we think the Foo Fighters may have had something to do with it.
  5. The expression "spanner in the works" came about from employees deliberately sabotaging factory production lines with tools such as wrenches. Or not...

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