The True Utilities HandSpan is a compact adjustable wrench that can be carried on your keyring. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a hex screwdriver bit holder built into one end! This seems like a great tool for EDC or minimalist tool kits.
If you’ve had to sit through an episode of Bob the Builder, you probably already know that the British call a wrench a spanner. So why did it take me so long to figure out why True Utilities called their keychain wrench multi-tool the HandSpan?!
This minuscule multi-tool packs a lot of functionality into its small body: an adjustable wrench, calipers that can be used to make outside and diameter measurements, and two screwdriver bits. It measures approximately 2″ by 2-5/16″ thick. And since it’s made from stainless steel, the HandySpan should be somewhat corrosion resistant.
To get all this utility in such a small tool, the adjustable wrench works double duty as a set of calipers. To use the calipers you just read the inch or millimeter scales etched into either side of the wrench as you tighten the knurled nut. The HandSpan has a fastener and measurement capacity of 0 to 3/4″ (0-20mm).
The HandSpan comes with a plastic keyring attachment that the tool locks around for carrying. When you need to use the tool, simply open the jaws with the knurled thumbwheel as you would during use.
The plastic keyring attachment also provides storage spaces for the included Phillips and slotted screwdriver bits. When you need to use either of the bits, they can be removed from the plastic carrier and inserted into in the hex-shaped bit holder recess along the edge of the tool.
Although they don’t specify the size, it looks like the HandSpan is compatible with industry-standard 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits.
For those of us who loath blister packing, True Utilities packages the tool in a nice resealable plastic (styrene) case. So, if you end up tossing the HandSpan into a the junk drawer with all the other multi-tools you don’t use, at least you have a nice case to repurpose.
As the HandSpan is an imported tool, there are only a limited number of ways you can get it in the US. You can purchase it from fruggo and they’ll ship it to the US for ~$19 plus ~$6.50 shipping. If you are lucky enough to have a Duluth Trading Company store nearby, you can pick it up in-store for around $22. Unfortunately, Duluth Trading Company doesn’t carry the HandSpan online.
Update: Fruugo no longer sells this. The next lowest price online is ~$30 from Amazon with shipping. Can you find anywhere else that sells this?
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Buy Now (via fruugo)
More Info (HandSpan Website)
The HandSpan weighs 136 grams, or about 4.8 ounces. This sounds heavy, but picking up the HandSpan package at my local Duluth Trading Company surprised me; even though I didn’t take it out of the package, it felt lighter than I thought it would.
I have had an old Diamond 4inch adjustable on my key chain for maybe 30 years. Can’t remember useing it.
That looks pretty bad-A. I mean it wont save the world but it just might! There have been a couple of times where something like this would have been awesome to have. While I’m a complete minimalist when it comes to my keychain, meaning I only have 3 keys and a FOB on it. This is something I would consider putting on my backpack.
I would rather carry a Leatherman Crunch…the handspan looks like it would lack the torque to do anything…
I don’t think I’d need one. For one, it’s too small to do anything meaningful. There’s no handle, so how would you be able to grip it comfortably? I see problems with it tearing up the pocket(s) in my jeans and especially my dress slacks. The jaws are covered, but the knurled thumbwheel is still exposed. The added weight of the tool on my keyring would become annoying after a while if I carried it around all day. It’s a large bit of metal that would become cold during the winter months if you were outdoors. I agree with Ryan’s response; the Crunch would be comfortably on my hip in a leather or nylon sheath; I wouldn’t notice the weight as much, and it would have greater utility.
Finally, I don’t have to tighten/loosen many (if any) screws or bolts during a typical day. I usually carry a small assortment of full-sized tools in my trunk, so if a problem comes up I reach for those. The number of times I’d be away from them doesn’t justify the initial cost or the minuses just described.
What country is it made in?
Good question. The True Utilites site seems to be down right now.
I believe True Utilites is a British Company, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t manufacturing/buying the HandSpan in another country.
The site is back up. As I thought, they are located in the South West of England. They are owned by the ASG Group in Dallas, Texas.
I couldn’t find where they manufactured their tools on the website though, so I dropped a note to the company asking them where they manufactured their tools, specifically the HandSpan. I’ll reply when/if I get an answer.
Here is the response I got from True Utility:
“All of our True Utility items are designed in the UK and are manufactured in China.”
“…it looks like the HandSpan is compatible with industry-standard 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits.”
From the picture it appears that the bits employ a spring ball retention, so the HandSpan won’t be able to retain ordinary 1/4″ hex insert or power bits, but the provided bits should fit regular 1/4″ hex drivers. Adopting the spring ball design severely restricts the bit selection you can use with the tool, and therefore its ultimate utility. Lose one of the bits and you’re definitely ‘screwed’.
Glue a small magnet to the bottom of the bit recess?
I’ve just received mine . and have just put it to use .the hex orifice is 5 mm not 1\4 ” .I have cobbled an odd Allen key and bent it to go on my keychain .it has just attached two chunky bolts to a large gate and didn’t fail so I am pleased .
A note on the packaging: it is made from “recyclable crystal clear styrene.”
Dang! Just saw this and would’ve put it on my stocking stuffer list if I’d seen it pre-Xmas…
2nd day of use at work found the wrench has fell off 4 times I’m not pleased I’ll have to redesign the key chain mount
Colin that is disappointing. It sounds like you are attaching it to your keychain. How about if you just put it in your pocket, would the carrier stay in the jaws without the extra weight of the keys, or is it just not “locking” like they claim?
Very cool idea
Scott in GA
These are down to $15 at Amazon, free shipping.
$11.99 shipped on Amazon now.
I just got one as a gift. It isn’t 1/4″ drive which is a really stupid design decision.