I visited two local Lowe’s stores this weekend and came across either a new Kobalt tool or a tool so unsightly that I blocked out all memory of it – the Kobalt ratcheting rapid-adjust wrench.
I posted a quick in-store video of the wrench’s adjustment action to Instagram, and will link to it at the end of the post.
Basically, it’s a new take on the Kobalt Rapid-Adjust wrenches from a couple of years ago.
You squeeze the handle to auto-close the adjustable jaws, and then there’s a push-button release level.
Admittedly, ratcheting jaws do seem to make this wrench a little more versatile. However, I can’t help but feel this to be an abomination of an adjustable wrench.
Those jaws look like they’ll tear into delicate surface materials. Perhaps not, but they look like aggressive pliers jaws instead of what you might typically find on an adjustable wrench.
I bought one. It’s purely for some light testing and potential review purposes, but I feel pretty lousy about it. First of all, it was priced at $25, which I just know is too high. Next week, or the week after that, this gift-center special buy will almost definitely drop to $15 or so. $25? I can think of far better adjustable wrenches for that kind of money.
ToolGuyd Pick: Channellock Cushion-Grip Wrench via Amazon
If I were looking to shed a few dollars off my credit card bill, I’d look at Channellock’s plain-handle adjustables. You can buy a Channellock 8″ made-in-Spain adjustable wrench for $7 less than this Kobalt is currently priced.
I’m sure that the Kobalt ratcheting auto-adjust wrench is a fine substitute for… I don’t know. I’m not walking into this review very open-minded. There’s a good chance I won’t even remove it from its packaging and that it’ll go back to the store for a refund this week.
I can see myself testing it and coming to the conclusion that a quality adjustable wrench is a safer buy, or that one could budget towards a Knipex Pliers Wrench or similar for turning fasteners via a pseudo-ratcheting action.
Maybe the in-store display was a little wonky and left me with a little more hesitation than deserved.
I don’t have good feelings about this tool. Maybe that’ll change and it’ll surprise me during testing.
Can you see a use for this wrench?
Is this a solution to a problem? Or a gimmick aimed at less discerning tool buyers and gift givers?