Small wrenches are essential tools for any home repair job or DIY project. With a variety of sizes and styles, they can be used to help tighten or loosen nuts and bolts of all shapes and sizes. From the adjustable wrench to the ratcheting wrench, understanding the different types of best small wrenches and when to use them is key to any successful project. Whether you’re working on a car engine, a bicycle chain, or a furniture assembly, having the right size and type of wrench can make the job easier and help you get the job done quickly and correctly. Knowing when to use a combination wrench or an Allen wrench can help you save time, frustration, and money. With the right information, you can get the job done right the first time.
What are the Different Types of Small Wrenches?
There are many different types of small wrenches, each designed to fit the specific size and shape of a nut or bolt. Small wrenches come in a variety of different sizes, shapes, and materials. Knowing the different types of wrenches and when to use them is key to successful DIY and home repair projects. The most common types of small wrenches are:
– Block Wrench – Block wrenches are also known as open-ended wrenches. They are shaped like a backward “L” and fit nuts and bolts with a square or hexagonal shape. Block wrenches are usually used for larger nuts and larger bolts.
– Combination Wrench – Combination wrenches are also called “open-ended wrenches” and they have wiggly jaws that allow them to be used on different size bolts. The best way to remember which wrench to use on which bolt is to use the “rule of nine”: if the bolt is wider than the wrench by 9/16”, you need a bigger wrench.
– Crescent Wrench – Crescent wrenches are also known as “adjustable wrenches.” They have a movable jaw that you can adjust to fit different size nuts and bolts. While crescent wrenches are great for small nuts and bolts, they don’t work well on larger ones.
– End Wrench – End wrenches are also known as “spiral wrenches”. They are used mostly for oil filters and fuel filters. They have a curved jaw that wraps around the nut or bolt to help prevent slippage.
– Folding Wrench – Folding wrenches are also known as “pliers”. They have grooved jaws that allow them to grab and hold nuts and bolts of different sizes. Since they have movable parts, they are not recommended for use on nuts and bolts under 9/16”.
– Impact Wrench – Impact wrenches are used for mechanical work, like car repair, or for replacing lug nuts on car wheels. They are very powerful and usually have a fixed jaw.
– Open-End Wrench – Open-end wrenches are also known as “box wrenches.” They have a tapered edge that allows them to fit nuts and bolts of different shapes and sizes. Open-end wrenches are used for both large and small nuts and bolts.
– Ratcheting Wrench – Ratcheting wrenches are also known as “adjustable wrenches”. They have a movable jaw and a ratcheting action that allows them to fit a wide range of nut and bolt sizes.
– Socket Wrench – Socket wrenches are used mostly for automotive repairs. They have a square or hexagonal shape that fits into a matching square or hexagonal socket.
When to Use a Combination Wrench
The best time to use a combination wrench is when you need to find a wrench that can fit multiple nuts and bolts of different shapes and sizes. A combination wrench has a wiggly jaw that allows it to adapt to different-width nuts and bolts. The rule of thumb is: if the bolt is 9/16” wider than the wrench, then use a bigger wrench. If you’re holding a nut with one hand and trying to loosen or tighten a bolt with the other, a combination wrench is a great option.
The wrench is wide enough to help provide extra torque but narrow enough to get into a tight space. Note: Some combination wrenches come with a smooth jaw and others come with a serrated jaw. The smooth jaw is best for nuts and the serrated jaw is best for bolts. If you’re working on a bolt, you can use the smooth jaw for a nut and vice versa.
When to Use an Adjustable Wrench
An adjustable wrench is used when you need to fit a smaller nut or bolt or when you have a lot of nuts or bolts that are close together. Adjustable wrenches are usually smaller than combination wrenches, making them the perfect wrench size for nuts and bolts that are smaller or that are close together.
They may not be the best option, however, if you’re trying to loosen or tighten a nut or bolt that is 9/16” or wider. Note: Some adjustable wrenches have a screw mechanism that allows you to adjust the jaws and some have a knurled knob that allows you to adjust the jaws. If you’re unsure which style you have, try both until you find one that works for you.
When to Use a Ratcheting Wrench
Ratcheting wrenches are great for quick and easy maintenance tasks, like tightening spark plugs or changing your oil. They are very portable and easy to use, especially with one hand. Ratcheting wrenches can come in very handy when working in small spaces with limited access. Since they have a movable jaw that clicks as it tightens and loosens, you can easily see if the nut or bolt is tight enough.
There are different types of ratcheting wrenches, so make sure that you are buying a wrench that is designed for your project. If you’re not sure which type of wrench to buy, ask an associate at your local hardware store for advice. Many hardware stores also offer wrench rental, which can be helpful if you’re not sure if you’ll use a certain wrench again.
When to Use an Allen Wrench
An Allen wrench is used to tighten or loosen a hexagonal bolt. Hexagonal bolts are commonly found on bicycle pedals, furniture legs, and the handlebars of some bicycles. They are also used to tighten or loosen the screws on a camera or binocular tripod. You can use an Allen wrench to loosen or tighten the bolts on a toilet tank or a faucet.
An Allen wrench is also known as a hex wrench. Note: Some hex wrenches come with a hexagonal-shaped handle and others come with a T-shaped or L-shaped handle. Hexagonal-shaped handles are best for hex bolts that have a large diameter, while T-shaped and L-shaped handles are best for smaller hex bolts.