I was checking things out at the local Home Depot, mainly to see if there were any new tool releases that weren’t on my radar. At the start of the tool aisle was a new and full display of Skil Secure Grip wrench sets.
Each Skil Secure Grip wrench has two box-ends that can fit a range of sizes. The packaging says that the 4 wrenches and their 8 ends can fit a combined 27 different fractional and metric bolt sizes.
The wrenches have specially shaped and grooved 6pt box ends and auto-adjusting teeth that can grip ordinary 6pt hex fasteners, as well as rounded ones.
OEM: Iron Bridge Tools
Patent No.: 8,544,367
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
I found the concept behind these wrenches to be intriguing and of course played around with the “try me” wrench. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very impressed. There are a few things I don’t like about the design of these wrenches.
First, the wrenches’ box ends all seem to have aggressive grooves, probably to help grip rounded fasteners. If your fasteners aren’t rounded, this feature could potentially help that along.
Second, both of the shown wrench’s box ends fit the “try me” bolt. The smaller one gripped it better, but the larger one gripped it as well. This means that you cannot just use the first wrench that fits a fastener. If you do, you could damage it. If the larger of these box ends was used on the “try me” bolt, the bolt’s corners might have been damaged.
Third, the wrenches are all pretty short. You’re not going to be able to exert a lot of torque with any of them.
Fourth, the wrenches were very light. While this is good if you want to carry them as part of an ultra-light tool lit, I felt them to be a little too lightweight to the point of being flimsy. The wrenches are basically built out of sheet metal, or thin plate, whatever you want to call it.
Fifth, I prefer 12pt box end wrenches. With these, the 6pt box ends might pose a problem in corners or tight spaces.
Sixth, the size markings were a little hard to read. I hope they don’t fade with age or exposure to common household lubricants and chemicals. The shown wrench covers 7 different sizes.
Seventh, it seems that the box ends only self-adjusts in one direction. This could potentially pose a problem if you need to back off the wrench from a fastener. Possibly not, but I would have to test this beyond the in-store “try me” display to find out for sure.
Maybe I’m missing the point, or maybe I’m just being too judgemental, but I cannot really see any positive qualities about these wrenches. If you try these out and think differently, please let us know with a comment!