I love Channellock adjustable wrenches, and I discussed why in an earlier post. They’re smooth to adjust, they have wide jaw openings, they’re strong, and they don’t slip. Channellock adjustable wrenches are made in Spain, with all signs pointing to Irega as the OEM.
If I recall correctly, I spent more than twice as much on my Channellock 8″ adjustable wrench than I did on my Crescent. The version without a cushion-grip handle is less expensive, ~$17 and change via Amazon, but still appreciably higher-priced than Crescent’s 8″ wrench.
So there I was, setting up an install and I realized I needed two wrenches. My Channellock 8″ wrench is always in a visible and easy-to-reach place, and I needed another tool. The socket set I had nearby only went up to 7/8″, but I was working with hardware with 15/16″ flats.
I dug around. No, my Knipex 7″ Pliers Wrench wouldn’t do, due to awkward angling, and so I didn’t even hunt down my 10″ Pliers Wrench. Other pliers wouldn’t quite do either. So, I dug around a little more and found my USA-made Crescent adjustable wrench.
My Channellock adjustable wrench is smoother to adjust and it has a wider jaw opening. There’s no denying that it’s a better adjustable wrench. But while the Crescent wrench isn’t as polished as Channellock’s, it worked quite well enough. As the title says, the experience was better than I remembered. I’ve used junky wrenches before, and the Crescent is far from that. The Crescent provided a pleasant user experience.
My several years-old Crescent wrench was comfortable to use, fairly smooth to adjust, and didn’t slip. Honestly, I was surprised, I had expected it to slip or be a hassle to adjust.
I should also mention that both wrenches were equally useless at the end, with their head size getting in the way of final tightening. I had to take a few minutes to retrieve two 15/16″ combination wrenches.
Crescent adjustable wrenches are not made in the USA anymore, at least not the ones stocked at the local home center stores. I’ve heard that USA-made versions are still available at industrial suppliers, but I haven’t confirmed this firsthand.
I try to be very cautious about not forgetting the tools I’ve owned and used before, especially those I upgraded from. But in this case, what happened? Have I let myself become snobby about adjustable wrenches? Maybe I’ve just become spoiled by the smoothness of Irega and Channellock wrenches.
I can’t find a reliable source for USA-made Crescent wrenches, but you can find the imported version for about $11. Home centers have it for a little more. The wrench I used above is NOT the same as what’s available today due to different sourcing.
Buy Now(Crescent 8″ Wrench via Amazon)
When Dewalt came out with adjustable wrenches, the product managers compared them to Crescent, which they described as the industry standard. I believe Milwaukee did the same when they announced their adjustable wrenches. Crescent adjustable wrenches are the benchmark, and this particular experience reminded me of why.
A few years ago, I had the idea to do a USA-made vs. imported wrench comparison and found two wrenches of different sourcing on the same peg, so I bought one of each. I believe that the wrench I used here is the “new old stock” model from that comparison. I’ll break it in a little more in coming weeks to see if my positive experience changes, although that’s more for personal curiosity since it seems you can’t buy this exact wrench anymore.
In the meantime, which is your go-to adjustable wrench? For me, Channellock is still my favorite, but this particular Crescent wrench will serve well as a backup.
I’m treating this experience as a reminder that perspectives can warp over time.