I have been using a Proto 8-inch Clik-Stop adjustable wrench here and there for nearly four years now, and I’m still not sure as to whether I like it or not. Sometimes I prefer to reach for a Channellock adjustable, sometimes I reach for this Proto.
Proto offers Clik-Stop wrenches in satin and black oxide finishes, and in sizes 4″ to 24″.
On the outside, a Clik-Stop wrench looks like any other ordinary adjustable wrench. The difference is in how the jaws are adjusted. The top of the thumbwheel is spring-loaded downwards, and there are small teeth formed into the bottom of the wheel. A raised line across the inner section of the thumbwheel housing meshes with the thumbwheel.
To adjust the jaw opening size, push up on the thumbwheel as, or before you rotate it with your thumb. If you don’t counteract the spring force that pushes the thumbwheel downwards, you can still spin the wheel, but in small increments as the teeth click from one notch to the next.
When the wrench is in use, downwards forces on the lower jaw pushes the thumbwheel downwards, and it locks in place. This prevents the wrench from re-adjusting on its own. And if you should accidentally move the thumbwheel between turns of the wrench, a click of the mechanism will tell you that the opening width has changed slightly.
In use, Proto Clik-Stop wrenches are quick to adjust to. The first few times were a little frustrating, as adjusting the thumbwheel requires a modification to muscle memory. Switching between different adjustable wrench styles can be confusing, but not really frustrating.
The question isn’t so much “does the Clik-Stop mechanism work?,” but rather “does the Clik-Stop mechanism provide any benefit?”
The Clik-Stop design works exactly as Proto says. They advertise it as a way to prevent jaw movement during use, and it does just that.
With loose and sloppy adjustable wrenches, unintentional jaw width adjustment can be a problem. But with quality adjustable wrenches, this is much less of an issue, at least in my experience.
Actually, there is more play in the lower jaw on my Proto Clik-Stop wrench, than in any of my Irega-made Channellock adjustable wrenches.
This is a wrench I thought I would love. I remember those first few times I tried to use it, and I hated it. Now, I’m pretty neutral about it. If I lost my 8-inch Clik-Stop wrench today, I probably wouldn’t replace it.
I could recommend these wrenches, but not as strongly as I would recommend Channellock’s. It’s a shame, because Proto’s quality is exceptionally good. The wrench feels strong, is very well finished, and is quite comfortable to use.
But while the Clik-Stop mechanism works exactly as intended, it’s a solution to a problem I don’t readily encounter with my other adjustable wrenches. Maybe that’s due to how I use adjustable wrenches. That’s why I cannot really recommend against these wrenches, because having the Clik-Stop feature might be beneficial in a “there if you need it, can be ignored if you don’t” kind of way. Or, you might find it to be annoying.
This is one of those tool designs that you will either love, hate, or feel ambiguous towards. There are few other tools that I could say this about.
The 8″ wrench was on sale when I bought it from Amazon back in December of 2010. Now, it’s priced at about $24. Other sizes are priced at about $25 and up.