Knipex makes mini Cobra pliers and Pliers Wrench sizes, but they’re both pliers and require constant handle pressure to maintain a secure grip. Sometimes what you need for EDC or a portable tool kit is a mini adjustable wrench.
I bought a Craftsman or mini adjustable wrench once, and it was alright except for being a little sloppy. Since I misplaced it recently – perhaps my subconscious wanted this to happen – I ordered two new ones.
I don’t use adjustable wrenches on a daily basis, but they do come in handy fairly often. Thinking back at this past year, I’ve used pliers on-the-go much more often than adjustable wrenches, and mini pocket pliers even more so. That’s why I will soon buy the 6″ Knipex Pliers Wrench that I mentioned is on my holiday shopping list.
But I wanted to replace my mini pocket adjustable pliers anyways. Here’s what I just ordered:
Engineer TWM-08 Thin-Jaw Pocket Wrench
I mentioned these adjustable pliers in last year’s post about Engineer Inc’s thin-jaw adjustable wrenches. Well, I finally pulled the trigger.
At $26, it’s a bit of a splurge, but hopefully the small size, handle grip, and thin jaws make it a useful and justifiable part of my kit.
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Channellock 804 Mini Adjustable Wrench
I was introduced to Channellock adjustable wrenches more than 6 years ago, and since then I have purchased quite a few of them. They’re top quality from what I’ve seen.
These are my favorite adjustable wrenches, and I have not yet found any others that come close – at least none within my budget to try. I remain open minded about Milwaukee’s upcoming adjustable wrenches, but even if quality and performance are equal, Channellock’s sourcing might still give them an edge. Irega makes all of Channellock’s adjustable wrenches in Spain.
I have a mix of cushion-grip Channellock wrenches and bare metal wrenches and like both styles. For something that might ride around in my pocket or a compact tool bag kit, I prefer bare metal. For my toolbox, I keep the cushion grip ones more rechable.
I hesitated to buy Channellock’s 4.5″ adjustable wrench in the past based only on a bang-for-the-buck standpoint, but recently decided that the $15 price point is justifiable. The price will only bug me at the time of purchase, and I figure that I’ll never think of it again during the years of good service I’m expecting for this wrench.
Hopefully it’s exactly like my larger Channellock adjustable wrenches, only smaller.
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You could find this wrench for $1 less from Zoro, which is where I ordered mine from because they have a limited time promo on $250+ orders. Other than that, Amazon has the best price I’ve found.
Channellock once asked me for feedback, I think it was about my favorite Channellock tool, and so I told them exactly what I thought about their adjustable wrenches. A few years later, a reader informed me that Channellock posted my recommendation on their site. Cool!
Crescent AC24VS 4″ Adjustable Wrench
Crescent makes a slightly less expensive 4″ adjustable wrench, but at $12 it’s not priced low enough for me to give it serious consideration over the Channellock.
There’s no indication as to whether Crescent still makes this size in the USA, but even if they do, I like Channellock adjustables much better than my USA-made Crescents.
I figured that it was still worth a mention.
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Let’s not forget about the Handspan adjustable wrench keychain that Benjamen posted about last year. This one was on my wishlist, but it’s no longer available for $19 plus $6.50 shipping. Now, you could only find it for $30 and change at Amazon.
I should have bought this when I wanted to. I’ll check again in 6 months, maybe the price will come back down towards $25 shipped. You can’t put much torque on a tool like this, even compared to a 4″ wrench, but I suppose it’s still better than having to hand-tighten or loosen something.
Still, for $25, the Engineer Inc. model is probably the better choice, despite not having a similar screwdriver bit-holding function.
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When I was in the Navy, a few friends of mine had these tiny 4″? ford wrenches made by Crescent. I haven’t been able to find one since. I still want one. After owning a pair of Wrench Pliers, I think these might fill the gap for people who want something compact but doesn’t require hand pressure to grip something.
Back in the day used to check the local pawn shop for tool deals. They had half their backroom floor covered with 5 gallon buckets full all sorts of wrenches, sockets, etc.. Picked up a couple of 4″ Crescent brand adjustable wrenches, an 8″ and a couple of 10″ wrenches, (one chrome, one black oxide) for $12 bucks.
Despite my more recent preference for the Knipex Plier Wrenches, I picked up some Engineer thin jaw adjustables TWM-08 (4.3 inch) , TWM-03 (6 inch) and a pair of Channellock slim jaw wide mouth wrenches 6SWCB and 8SWCB). We had some of the regular Channellock wide mouth wrenches when I was working – and most of the guys like them.
I also have a 4 inch Williams AP-4 along with a pretty full set of Williams APL (locking adjustable) wrenches – now all probably 40 years old. I also have a few antique monkey wrenches from Coes, Crescent (called Auto wrenches – like the C79H and C711H that are still made). Probably the worst old adjustable that I have is a vintage Crescent B11012 that is double-ended.
Among the more specialized adjustable wrenches that I’ve seen lately are ones for AN Fittings like these:
The last time I was at Sears, I noticed that their better line of Craftsman adjustable wrenches were still USA made. I fiddled with a few, and noticed that some had more ‘rattle’ than others. The best seemed about as tight as any I had seen, and the loosest weren’t bad, I’d call them OK to pretty good, but if you are considering one, check several, you might find one tighter than the rest.
I bought an Engineer wrench from that sale. I carry it in belt pouch along several other tools. I’ve found it quite handy.
Dave L–Carrying it in a belt pouch sounds like a great idea; I assume this is the kind that electricians and others wear that hold one or several tools. Personally, I don’t carry ANY tools loose in my pants pockets as a matter of safety. The only exception to that rule is that I occasionally have a small folding knife in the watch pocket of my jeans.
Have an ancient pair of Diamond (remember them?) adjustables, are only about 5″ in length and open about 12mm or so, but are handy from time to time. The form factor is “normal” – no goofy handle overmoldings to get in the way.
I believe it was Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company. I had a pair of their glass running pliers. I think they were absorbed into what became the Apex Tool Group
This right here is my favorite adjustable wrench , it has a 4 inch body but the head of a 6 or 8 incher. I frequently put this little guy in my pocket.
I love all my Engineer brand tools including the one you mention above. They make two other sized ones too:
Engineer TWM-03 Thin Jaw Adjustable Smart Monkey Wrench
Engineer TWM-07 Thin Jaw Adjustable Smart Monkey Wrench
The slim jaws are particularly useful for electronics and cabling when you need a lot more sensitivity.
I’m also a fan of Chanellock. But I prefer the “WideAzz Adjustable Wrench” models. That way I can stick with only having to make sure I have one instead of all sizes which always means not having the right mouth size on hand when you really need it. They also make a few sizes of those too, a mini and standard:
Channellock 6WCB WideAzz Adjustable Wrench with Code Blue Grips
Channellock 8WCB WideAzz Adjustable Wrench with Code Blue Grips
I have use CHANNELLOCK 804 MINI ADJUSTABLE WRENCH many time.It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts.
I use a 4 inch Harbor Freight adjustable as a quick gauge to measure rootstock and scion diameter when grafting. It works well for this purpose.
That Engineer stubby adjustable, if it had full jaws, would be great for me. On the back of our orchard tractor, a Kubota 2420, the 3 point linkage arms and the control arms are close to the drive shaft going from the PTO to the implement. I have to loosen/tighten 1″ lock nuts on the adjusters to take out the sideways slop and even using the 6″ adjustable is a pain. Maybe they have one with full jaws?
How about using a crowfoot?
Eight years late to this party…for what it’s worth, I bought one of the stubby versions recently and took the overmold off. It turns out that the stubby version is the longer wrench, cut to about 3″, with the overmold attached with thermoset glue.