This is the Pipe Vise Micro 5 (model SW127-14), a small self-adjusting wrench that can be used on fasteners, toilet bolts, supply lines, smaller tubing and pipes, or other such materials.
It works in a similar manner to the brand’s excellent portable pipe vises and larger wrenches, but in a size that takes up little space in your pocket or tool bag.
The Micro 5 is 6″ (152mm) long and can fit fasteners or cylindrical stock from 8mm (~5/16″) to 14mm (~9/16″) in diameter. It weighs just 0.28 lbs (130g).
The wrench features a self-adjusting and ratcheting-action mechanism, comfort contoured handle, and durable chrome finish. It looks to fit well in tight spaces.
Price: $55 with free shipping (USA)
Keep in mind that the jaws have serrations; the tool shouldn’t be used on delicate fasteners or fittings.
This style of wrench is not new but this is the first I’ve seen one this well thought out. My gripes with these is that with most designs there is often not enough space to get the tool where it needs to go. There’s usually some problem: too thick, jaw too wide, etc, and are only useful for working out in the open. But this looks like it’s much more slender than most examples of this tool, it can fit where others can’t. I also like they put different serrations on the fixed vs. removable jaw.
It appears there’s also a similar tool but with twice as long a handle, the “micro 10”. I’m very tempted to buy both, these look useful. Their “Amigo” model looks very handy as well.
Ridgid (Emerson) make ones the call RapidGrip in 10 and 14 inch sizes. It looks like the Amigo line goes up to 16 inch. They picture the micro being used on a crudded-up angle-stop. That’s probably a good use. Not so good if it were used on a new valve where it would damage the finish.
I have a 14 inch aluminum-handled Ridgid RapidGrip. It’s great for working with pipes but it’s exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned that some of these tools are very thick and that limits their utility. The Ridgid Rapid Grip certainly is extremely thick.
My father used to have a smaller size that was meant more for general fasteners rather than pipes. It was probably an 8 inch and resembled the Weil adjustamatic except the moveable jaw was styled like the square-drives you and Jared posted links to. That was always what I consider an example of the hook being wide and limiting access.
Not the same, but made me think of the Ares spring-loaded crowfoot wrenches:
The “Micro 5” looks a bit more compact, but the Ares set is quite a bit cheaper, comes in one, two or three sizes and works in two different orientations.
The first modern ones we saw (and used) of these were branded Weil Adjustamatic. They were made in Japan – sold at plumbing supply house in the 1970’s and came in 6, 8 10 and 12 inch lengths. Heller Brothers (better known for files and blacksmith tools) had made ones that they dubbed “master wrench” years earlier. That probably was prior to 1955 when Heller brothers was bought out by Simonds. I have one that is 14 inches long – but here’s a 6 inch one on eBay:
BTW – both Powerbuilt and Vim make square drive attachments (sort of like a spring-loaded crowfoot) that look like the business ends of this wrench:
Interesting tool. A bit pricey and I wonder about where it’s made. Could not spot a COO on the pictures nor on pipevise website.
The Pipe Vise (Perot Industries LLC.) tools (Bigfoot Aluminum Pipe Vise) that I’ve seen were made in China
Soooo, nobody has concerns about $55, for that tiny wrench? I understand specialty tools, but I could buy a whole tool kit for that.
Absolutely I do. I was all set to likely buy one, but not at that price
It’s steep, but it’s not out of line for a pro-quality tool. When I wrote my earlier post I had been assuming–incorrectly it may seem–that these were made in the USA. If these are made in China like the pipe vises that fred saw then I’m not so sure.
You can a Wera self-setting spanner (which is the same type of tool but nicer) for less.
Or a a knipex pliers wrench
I have the full set of the Joker self-setting spanners and several sizes of Pliers Wrench (5, 10, 12, 16″), they’re both excellent tools. And I think you’re right, for many applications they would overlap. Working on chrome fittings like that pic shows the pliers wrench would have a much lower chance of marring anything. But at the same time I feel there are times when this tool would work better than those alternatives. The Pliers Wrench has smooth jaws so if the part you’re trying to grab is round then they are useless while the Micro 5 looks like it will bite hard on round objects just like its big brother pipe wrenches. The jokers have the same problem: they’re flat-jawed. They work great on hex nuts, not so great on round, knurled, or other shapes. The Micro 5 looks like it will grab things like pipes and rounded-off or corroded fasteners that those other tools won’t. Also, the Joker requires 60 degrees of rotation before you can “ratchet” it onto the next position on a hex nut. If you are applying a lot of torque the pliers wrench is the same, though for light duty work you can reduce that to 30 degrees by flipping the tool over each fraction of a turn, assuming you have sufficient clearance to work the handles. The jaws on the Micro 5 will work with a much smaller swing arc, those kinds of wrenches will work with just a few degrees of room to swing.
I think the pliers wrench is the tool to buy first, but I don’t think it makes tools like this obsolete.
I don’t even think Hazet or Snapon could ask for $55 for this
I saw the post and thought its nifty but most fasteners that size I wouldnt want to risk damaging. Then I saw the price and interest vanished. I see the use case where it does something I dint already have a solution for or significantly better than my current solution as slim to none
but in a size that takes up little space can in your pocket…
Have another brand of wrench with this concept. Never had luck with it. Just ended with a dedicated size, or crescent type wrench and got the job done faster. These seem like Thanksgiving $10 stocking stuffers to me. But hey, I am hardly the hardcore tool guy.
I recall that our plumbers liked the Weil ones – because of their almost ratcheting-like action – compared to an adjustable that you need to turn then reset then turn again.
Thats the biggest advantage of this type. This particular one is smaller than channellocks, pipe wrenches or similar and could fit into certain places woth more swing easier than other wrenches. Also the design may make some blind fastening and loosening easier.
This may be a cool tool, but…not $55 worth. I’d pay about $10 for one.
I thought this was super cool when I saw the picture, but it is not $55 cool. I can get a small set of cobras that will work in pretty much every situation these will, but for half the price. Also with the cobras I get a German made tool instead of a china made one. I am sure they are great and all, but there is not anywhere near enough engineering, innovation, or cost of construction to make these worth $55.
Never could get used to these. I prefer German type pipe wrenches because the give a better hold.
You can also get offset ones for tighter spaces but 6-7″ regular ones are plenty small.
(Ignore the brand. It was the first picture I run into.)
There are also the “Swedish Pattern” pipe wrenches. We tried a few – but none of our plumbers seemed to like them enough to buy more:
In me experience, German type are slim and behave like pliers. It’s a very solid design and you can stick a pipe at the end and apply as much torque as you can. Swedish are clunky and don’t fit anywhere.
I can see how this has the potential to be very handy in hard-to-reach spots and/or for rounded off bolt heads or nuts that don’t lend themselves to cobras or channellocks. I view tools like this the same way I view screw extractors or circuit locators or a nice fish tape or any other specialty tool…they seem expensive when you buy it but when you need it, they are literally worth their weight in gold. If I was still in the trades I’d probably pony up for one.