I found myself in a bit of a bind yesterday, where I needed a 24mm wrench for the first time – and didn’t have one.
I was assembling a new piece of machinery that came with large metric hardware, and it required 22mm and 24mm wrenches.
Most of my wrench sets only go up to 19mm. I mainly work with SAE/inch fasteners, which I have wrenches over 1-inch in size for.
A long time ago, I added a set of “jumbo” wrenches in inch sizes that perfectly complemented my standard combination wrench set. I have another 1-inch wrench from a separate purchase as well.
I got through the task using a 1/2″ ratchet and 24mm socket, and another 1/2″ drive ratchet with a 24mm deep impact socket. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
In a pinch, a large adjustable wrench might have worked too, but some of the spots would have been tight.
So, I’m now thinking that I should purchase either a 24mm wrench – which seems good to have – or a “jumbo” metric wrench set in case similar happens with other metric sizes.
Because, you know what’s going to happen – as soon as I buy a 24mm wrench and it’s a day past the return period, that’s exactly when I might need a 23mm wrench, 30mm wrench, or another size that would be included in a jumbo metric wrench set.
Tekton’s 24mm combination wrench is $19, which seems reasonable. Milwaukee’s is $26. Proto’s is $26 at Zoro (before coupon).
There are pricier options too, such as the Williams SuperCombo, which is $38.
What I’m finding is that many jumbo wrench sets start above 24mm, in which case I suppose I would buy 24mm and maybe 23mm sizes, and then a separate 25-32mm set if I think I might have future need for it.
Larger sizes get pricey.
Maybe I’ll just stick with 24mm.
I would ordinarily look at metric bolt head and wrench sizes, which suggests I won’t need sizes in between 22mm (M14), 24mm (M16), 27mm (M18), and 30mm (M20). But a recent assembly project made heavy use of M10 fasteners that required a 14mm wrench size, which according to sizing charts is a JIS standard instead of ANSI/ISO or DIN.
My favorite wrenches are from Proto, Facom, and Milwaukee Tool. Or at least I should say my favorite wrenches beyond my old USA-made full-polish Craftsman Professional combination wrenches that I am very attached to.
As jumbo wrenches are far less commonly purchased than smaller-sized combination wrench sets, I’m not seeing a lot of options, or great pricing.
Right now my short list is a new Proto, Tekton, Milwaukee 24mm combination wrench, in that order – unless I can find a reasonably priced 23mm to 30mm jumbo metric set.
I’m also worried the “buy a set, it’s a better value if you need more sizes just in case” mentality is affecting my judgement.
$20-$26 for a wrench isn’t too bad, and money saved by not buying a jumbo set could potentially be spent elsewhere. Maybe after the next couple of times I use this size, I’ll also add a ratcheting wrench.
A 24mm ratcheting combination wrench is double the money. For this size, I think I’d rather have a plain 12pt box end, not jut for the lower cost but the smaller side walls. I see ratcheting wrenches as a good-to-have option in addition to but not instead of manual combination wrenches.
Which would you buy? How often do you use larger sizes outside of 24mm?
Is there a brand I should be looking at outside of Proto, Tekton, and Milwaukee?