I first tried Channellock’s WideAzz adjustable wrenches nearly 6 years ago. Since then, I bought maybe 6 pairs, some for me, some for my father, plus a couple of Irega-branded adjustable wrenches. Irega makes the wide-jawed adjustable wrenches for Channellock, in Spain.
They really are superb adjustable wrenches. The ones with Code Blue comfort-grip handles are my favorites, but I have one black oxide wrench that I am also quite fond of. The wrenches are great bare, but the Channellock grips are the cherry that tops off the perfect sundae.
In a nutshell, this is what I like about Channellock’s wide adjustable wrenches:
- Smooth thumbwheel operation for fast and fluid adjustment
- Jaws open wider than many competing models, without making the wrench heads too bulky
- Adjustment mechanism is strong with little slop or wobble
- Comfortable usage
- Decent pricing
Now, Channellock has come out with new Xtra Slim adjustable wrenches, which are built with thinner jaw tips. Channellock says that these are manufactured exclusively for them, and so you probably won’t find them under Irega or any other branding.
Similar thin-jaw wrenches already exist, such as these Engineer models, but I am nonetheless exciting about Channellock’s new release.
The wrenches’ jaws are just 3/16″ thick, which will allow them to fit in all but the slimmest openings. According to Channellock, Xtra Slim WideAzz wrenches’ jaw tips are 40% thinner than on regular adjustable wrenches of the same size.
There will be two wrench sizes, 6″ and 8″, and both will feature the four-thread knurl, non-protruding jaws, jaw opening measurement scales, and Code Blue grips as Channellock’s other top-notch adjustable wrenches. The 6″ wrench has a 1.34″ capacity, and the 8″ wrench has a 1.5″ capacity.
Street Price: $30-32
As with Channellock’s other adjustable wrenches, these are confirmed to be made in Spain.
Can you tell that I’m excited about the new Channellock wrenches?
Have you ever been in a situation where your adjustable wrench couldn’t reach a fastener because its jaws were too thick? If the answer is no, then these probably aren’t for you.
While every now and then I could use a slim jawed adjustable wrench, there are two types of applications where I am guaranteed to be frustrated. First – removing bicycle pedals. Some pedals install and are removed with hex keys (and sometimes hex sockets with breaker bars and mallets), others require slim wrenches. After too many frustrations, even with my go-to Stanley adjustable wrench (at least for applications where my Channellock ones can’t fit), I broke down and bought a pedal wrench.
Second – installing or removing leveling feet or threaded stem casters. Often, there are teeny tiny hex flats that are impossible to reach with regular adjustable or open end wrenches. I have a little stamped wrench that came with casters meant for a wire shelving unit, but it’s a real pain – literally and figuratively – to use. These Channellock wrenches would work wonders for final tightening and initial loosening over casters and equipment feet, at least those that have flats for such purposes.
There have been other times where there’s just not enough clearance for full-sized wrenches.
These aren’t one-tool-fits-all wrenches, although I don’t see why they couldn’t be used for general purpose applications on occasion. If you look back at the slim jaw Engineer adjustable wrench post, there are quite a few comments discussing out such wrenches are great for use on jam nuts. I imagine that they might also work well on panel-mounted components, which often come with very thin retention nuts.