This tough-looking wrench is the new Craftsman Extreme Grip 12″ Breaker Wrench, designed for loosening tight and stuck fasteners.
It’s reminiscent of the Crescent clench wrench, the similar Craftsman models, and many earlier wrenches of a similar style that have existed for quite some time. It seems to be a more old fashioned design.
The Craftsman Extreme Grip Breaker Wrench is long, giving you a lot of leverage for tasks where you need brute force. Its serrated jaws give it an aggressive look, and likely a strong and secure grip. Obviously, this is not the tool to use on delicate or easily marred materials.
The Craftsman Breaker Wrench also has a slip joint design, allowing you to increase the jaw opening width as needed. This means you can use it on fasteners, and then work on pipes or other larger materials.
I guess this makes it a 2-in-1 tool, capable of nut-busting tasks and certain plumbing applications.
It also features a dual-material handle, which Craftsman says provides “all day comfort.”
As with other tools of this nature, the jaws are spring-loaded and self-adjust. The jaws’ opening width can accommodate hex fasteners 3/8″ to 1-3/4″, and NPS pipe sizes 1/8″ to 1-1/4″.
If the Craftsman 12″ Breaker Wrench is a bit too large for your needs, consider these 2 alternatives. I own both, and can enthusiastically recommend them.
The Channellock Nutbuster is very capable at loosening small and medium sized fasteners. Its no-slip fastener grip holds tighter when you turn the pliers, and its jaw shape has proven to be quite perfect.
Compare(Channellock Nutbuster via Amazon)
What I like most about the Knipex Raptor pliers, aside from the great handle grip, is its less aggressive and smooth jaws, which do a lot less damage if you need to use them on a stuck fastener you need to reuse. It still works well on rusted-on, corroded, and other types of gnarled fasteners.
Back to thoughts on the Craftsman 12″ Extreme Grip Breaker Wrench…
One advantage this type of tool has, compared to pliers – even the other 2 mentioned above – is that you don’t need to squeeze the handle to maintain a good grip. You don’t have to do that very much with all types of pliers, but you do with a lot of them. Let go of that lower pliers handle, and the top jaw might swing free and you lose your grip on the stuck-on fastener.
With a tool like this, you can focus your strength and energy on torquing-free the stuck fastener, fitting, or pipe.
This is one tool that I’d think especially lives up to Craftsman’s Extreme Grip branding.
It’s reasonably priced too, at just $20. Part of me wishes that Craftsman also made a shorter version, but when dealing with stuck fasteners, a bit of extra leverage is hardly ever a bad thing. With a 12″ length, you shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting this into your tool bag or toolbox, or finding a place for it on your pegboard next to a longer pipe wrench.
If you need something with a bit more turning power, invest in a breaker bar for your socket set, and a dead blow mallet for extra coercion. I suppose you could use a dead blow mallet with this Breaker Wrench, but I don’t know if that would be a good idea.