Channellock’s adjustable wrenches are among my favorite tools to gift to others, for a number of reasons.
To start off, they’re far better than most other brands’ adjustable wrenches.
Here’s why I really like them:
- Wide jaw opening width
- Strong gearing
- Higher tolerance gearing
- Short gear protrusion saves space
- Comfortable grip
A good rule of thumb is that the better the adjustable wrench, the minimal rattle you’ll hear in the adjustment wheel when you give it a shake. Channellock adjustable wrenches are among the quietest designs I have ever used.
The greater the tolerance, the lower the slop.
Channellock adjustable wrenches open up wide, and their Code Blue wrenches adjust even wider.
They are a bit pricey though, and so you’re not going to get a 3pc set for $10. This 8″ wrench typically retails for ~$25 to $30.
That’s also why I like giving these as gifts – it can be a difficult expense to justify for users who are still building up their tool collections.
This is a permanent addition to my tool box. If you don’t have one, consider treating yourself, adding it to your last-minute gift wishlist, or get one for someone else and promptly ask to borrow it. I don’t recommend that last idea. What’d I do is get one for someone else, and then justify buying one for myself as well to stave off potential jealousy.
Buy Now: 8″ Code Blue via Amazon
$25 for an adjustable wrench can be a big hit to your wallet.
Alternatively, consider this 6″ chrome-finish Channellock wrench for just under $15.
I really like Channellock’s regular adjustable wrenches, despite the opening widths being slightly smaller than on their Code Blue wrenches.
These wrenches also have strong and higher-tolerance pawls than other brands’ wrenches.
Buy Now: 6″ Chrome Finish via Amazon
My first Channellock adjustable wrench had a black phosphate finish, because I was more sensitive to the pricing than surface finish.
It has held up well over the years, and remains another option of the Code Blue proves to be a but too much of an investment right now.
Buy Now: 6″ Black Finish via Amazon
All the evidence points to Irega being Channellock’s OEM partner. These wrenches are made in Spain.
Are you still not yet convinced? Give it time, this won’t be the last time you hear from me about these wrenches. Almost every time I use these wrenches, I think to myself “more people should really upgrade from whatever home center brand they’re using.”
Koko The Talking Ape
I just got curious about how that pawl is made. Forged? Machined?
And is it really a “pawl”? I would’ve called it a “screw” or maybe “worm” (as in “worm drive.”)
yeah it’s a worm gear.
Pawls are the little locking lever that keeps a wheel/gear from spinning backwards.
I have 14 machines w a toolbox and all have a full set of wrenches, including combination sets, sockets, a Nebraska-made vice grip or two, and an American made adjustable wrench or two, mostly Diamond and Crescent (old GOOD Crescents).
The only place adjustable wrenches have value for me is in these machines just in case a size of end wrench is missing, etc. (Well, I have a few 24″ and even larger ones for some of my special needs on REALLY BIG stuff, but that’s beyond what most would need).
ANY adjustable wrench should be an ’emergency” tool. No matter how careful you are, you’ll end up rounding off a fastener with them eventually, and if you’re unlucky, it will be something special/expensive or worst yet, hard to source or replace.
First rule of “mechanic-ing” is DO NOT USE A CRESCENT WRENCH if you can avoid it.
You break that rule and you’ll eventually pay BIG TIME.
That said, everybody needs some for emergency, occasional use, BUT THAT’S ALL.
Channelock brand are light years better than HUSKY or Kobalt: Kolbalts are total junk.
The Kobalt wrenches – with UPC’s starting 820909 are made by Hangzhou Great Star in China – the same company that supplies Lowes with some other Kobalt tools and Lowes (and others) with Glodblatt trowels, Arrow staple guns and Jorgensen/Pony clamps.
Koko The Talking Ape
So far, my Knipex pliers wrench has replaced my crescent wrench. Tighter and faster. Box, open and combination wrenches are great, but sometimes you find some big fastener (in plumbing fixtures, for instance) that no fixed wrench will handle.
The issue comes when you’re not in a garage or workshop. When you’re climbing a ladder to work on stage lighting, you don’t have the luxury of having a full combination wrench set in your back pocket. When you’re working on an HVAC unit on a roof while your truck is two blocks away, those wrenches are a big strain on your back which may or may not help on this call.
With proper use (apply force to the fixed jaw), adjustable wrenches are perfect for their intended use. I’ve spent over 30 years in fields where a fixed set of wrenches are impractical for daily use and will defend their use all day long.
The argument about people using them properly and how many people reach for one without knowing what they’re doing; that’s a long diatribe that we’d both agree on.
Well said. These style wrenches have been around for 100 years, with good reasons for that. Tool belts/bags & pockets are where they’re at home.
Another example: clean room. Since it’s extremely time consuming to exit and re-enter a clean room, it’s very smart to bring some essential, compact multi-use tools with you. Back when I was regularly going into clean rooms, I always brought a Leatherman multi-tool; one of the techs I worked with a lot always had a massive Swiss Army Knife.
Skye A Cohen
Good thoughts, I would push back a little about them only being emergency tools. It really depends on the trade how different tools get used. My plumber friends for example use adjustable wrenches all the time to hold a fitting like a ball valve for example in place while they tighten the threaded pex adapter. Carpenters use them often too for many things, including “off label” use like bending hinge knuckles. I can think of other uses too beyond just use cases where a box wrench or other would be better
The first time you have to purchase, lose, re-purchase, track down where it was “misplaced”, and then use an 1½” wrench AND an 1¼” wrench to take apart a stainless steel union on a pneumatic diaphragm pump that’s leaking all over the floor, and then put said union back together, that is ‘just’ barely past hand tight…you’ll understand why Crescent style wrenches are not “emergency” use only tools and have a purpose and place.
Not everything out there is torqued down to the point where fasteners are in danger of getting rounded off, but a LOT of things out there are a LOT bigger than the OE/BE wrench you don’t want to carry around all day.
That said, right tool for the right job, right technique for the right tool..
While I’m not a particular fan of adjustable wrenches these are among the best.
We moved over to Knipex plier wrenches for many of the tasks for which we had previously used adjustable wrenches. But adjustable wrenches are still were useful. We also had some from Bahco that were pretty good as far as slop went. In the old days we liked Williams ones that came with a push pin locking mechanism.
There are also some really short handled adjustable wrenches from Ares (Taiwan) plus Supertool (Japan) and Top Kogyo (Japan)
Channellock (Engineer too) also sell ones with thinner jaws – The Channellocks are wide mouth and come in both 6 and 8 inch size:
Are the Channellocks still made by Irega in Spain?
The ones I purchased 1-2 years ago say “Spain”, so unless something has recently changed, I would think so.
And these short handled ones can be a real life saver for working in tight spots. Love mine.
Yes, as far as I am aware.
Irega has multiple lines of adjustable wrenches. You need to look at their much pricier wrenches to see the comparable models.
I’ve got 3 sizes from bahco and absolutely love them. Line a lot of folks my knipex pliers wrenches are definitely a go to, but an 8″ bahco ergo-something stays clipped to my pouch with some blue-point speed wrenches. The 8″ reversible “pseudo-pipe wrench” sees even less use but has also come in extremely handy now and then.
Im also not a huge fan of adjustable wrenches but i do use them from tim to time around the house for plumbing mostly or occasionally at work. I have a couple kobalt Christmas time specials from years ago and they suck. They have a ton of slop but im not a maintenance man at work so I probably only use them 3-4 times a year. At home i have a do it best brand and a few old ones that are nice and tight. I put together a cheap tool set for my niece a few years back and I found the harbor freight one better than most out there but it still had some slop.
I have S, M, and L Husky adjustable wrenches on my pegboard for those times when I need to hold a nut in some assembly or piece of OPE. Also have one in my car tool bag. I don’t use them when anything beyond wrist torque is involved. I normally prefer quality tools, but simply don’t need anything better in an adjustable wrench. YMMV
I ordered that Channellock on Black Friday and it’s a really nice tool. For that price, nice to have one that’s a pleasure to use.
Adjustable wrenches are like locking pliers. No true use but come in handy time to time. Also unlike classic American tools, modern tools are either chiwanese made or some modern gimmick to sell more tools. Invest in a pair of crestoloys and call it a day!
I absolutely love these wrenches. I have the 8″ code blue with slim jaws and that feature has come in handy more times than I can count. I am in the market for a smaller one though; I’ll grab one of the basic 6″ ones linked to.
If you need short and wide one – here’s one that’s sort of in between:
Would locking adjustable wrenches reduce bolt-rounding problems? I’m thinking of:
but there are similar models from Crescent and Craftsman.
Not if you’re using a good adjustable wrench with little backlash and slop to avoid fastener slipping.
If the fastener doesn’t slip, you don’t get rounding.
They work nice carried in a tractor cab. Changing broken teeth on farm equipment in the field. Where the nuts are partially eroded away from soil contact.
I’ve been picking up old Crescent/Diamalloy wrenches at the flea market. All the good old American steel, stained dark but the wire wheel brings up a beautiful luster. Cleaned out the gunk, re-lube the parts. Their scars are minor.
Might be thicker than what’s mentioned above, might not open as wide, but they’ve got a lot of life left in them. Feel great in the hand. Two-three bucks apiece. Hard to beat.
For just a bit of history:
The Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company (previously the Diamond Calk Horseshoe Co. of Duluth MN) once owned the trademark for Diamalloy. Diamond Tool made some of the earliest adjustable wrenches. They were acquired by the Triangle Corporation – then owners of Bonney, Herbrand, and Utica Tools. Triangle was then bought by Cooper Tools – then owner of Crescent Tools. Cooper is now part of the Apex Tool Group – owned by Bain Capital. So the Diammaloy moniker on your Crescent wrench help to date it.
I check out yard sales and such for cheap tools and have found out that some of the older channel lock adjustable wrenches are not as good as the newer ones. The easiest way to tell the better ones is to look at the screw. If 3 threads engage the movable jaw they are not as good as the ones where 4 threads engage the jaw. I can’t say the 3 thread ones are junk, but they are not as tight and don’t hold their setting nearly as well as the 4 thread ones. . My latest score was a like new condition 24 inch 4 thread Channel lock for $50. As far as I can tell the Code Blue are all 4 thread, but the plain handled ones can go either way, and it is more common for me to see the 3 thread style in the larger sizes.
The Diamonds i have acquired, are on the wall of fame pegboard, retired.
My old blue dipped Channellock adjustables, are on that board also.
2 of each size current generation black phosphate, Channellock adj., to 15” are on the ‘use’ board.
1 of each size current gen are in the carage, to 15”
2 of each size current gen, to 15”, are in the job site roller box.
an 8” code blue, resides in each vehicle, and bed stand
forgot to comment, a code blue 8” adjustable is a great idea for a stocking stuffer
I didn’t know the opening size different between the Code Blue and plain-handled adjustable wrenches. Interesting!
I’ve got a few Channellock adjustables. The 6″ Code Blue is my most used, but I also like my tiny plain-handle 4″ version. If you haven’t used a quality adjustable wrench before, these Channellocks are eye opening.
I think anything “nicer” than Channellock’s adjustable (I use the quotation marks because I’m not sure there is many better options, just more expensive) is probably outdone by the Knipex Pliers wrench.
I have a bunch of the skinny jawed Channelock adjustable wrenches and love them. They’re great for holding nuts the brake caliper slide pin inserts into.
If you’re going to get a good adjustable wrench, go for a TOP Hyper Monkey Zero from Amazon Japan. https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/TOP-Hyper-Monki-Zero-HM-32/dp/B06ZZLPH3V They have a two piece, spring-loaded worm that eliminates almost all the slop. Lobster makes a variant, but it’s not as good as the TOP.
I mentioned the Top Kyogo brand above:
Supertool (like in their short MFTN68A and MFN280 wrenches) is another Japanese brand.
And then (as you say) there is Lobtex – Lobster.
Some of the Japanese adjustables are made out of aluminum – and sort of designed for use on plumbing slip nuts where a lot of torque is usually not required.
While on the subject – there are also flex-head adjustable wrenches:
I have to admit, that’s a crazy-cool adjustable wrench. A bit pricey, but I think their design is likely to work.
Yeah, the Channelock series are the ones I want to replace my Mastercraft ones. Overmolded Soft Plastic Grip and all! To me? The quality of the brand screams “This is a Reasonable Price!!” The only thing stopping me is a proper full replacement of my Mastercraft set. It’s this 5-piece set with them ranging from… I think 3″ to 9″? They’re at the bottom of one of my tool boxes, barely touched at all. But they have really comfortable grips, are really precise with the adjustment mechanism, and they’re everything I needed to prove I need a SERIOUS set of these for reality. Plus… They don’t have the actual measurements laser-etched onto the wrench, like the Channellock ones do… Sure, it’s PRINTED there, and on the opposite side it’s Metric… but honestly… I DO know it’s the Channellock ones I want.
I have had one of these for a few years now and from day one felt like they are worth every penny.
2 pack deal
Thanks! That seems like a good price on the 6″ and 10″ set.
What is wrong with all of these tool manufacturers making their wrench handles have square edges? Our hands are not square! They really hurt your hand if you really have to pull hard on them! I am especially talking about all of these newer combination wrenches with square edges instead of rounded ones. This is really dumb.