Gearwrench is a decent name when it comes to mid-level wrenches, ratchets, and other mechanics tools. I came across a 28pc combination wrench set at a great price, but it’s not a straightforward recommendation, making for what I feel could be an interesting reader discussion.
You see, there’s a catch here – this is a 6pt combination wrench set.
This is an all-in-one wrench set, meaning it gives you both SAE and metric wrenches, in the following sizes:
- 1/4″, 5/16″, 11/32″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″, 13/16″, 7/8″, 15/16″, 1″
- 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 mm
These wrenches have a full-polish finish, standard open end, standard 15° offset, and a 6pt box end.
Who should buy this wrench set?
Anyone who wants a good range of 6pt combination wrenches. I say good range because from 1/4″ to 1″ with no skipped sizes is a good SAE set, and the same is true for 6 to 19 mm, also with no skipped sizes.
But here’s the next question:
Who needs 6pt combination wrenches?
Fact: A 6pt wrench box end will have a more secure fit on hex fasteners than 12pt box ends or “universal” style box ends.
In other words, there’s less chance or rounding-off fasteners. You get a better fit, more engagement, less risk of damage.
6pt is better than 12pt.
When buying my first socket sets, I made sure to buy 6pt sockets for this reason. It wasn’t easy, as a lot of consumer sets give you 12pt sockets.
But with wrenches, I still do not own any 6pt combination wrenches. Why? Because 6pt restricts your access angle.
Let’s say a fastener is turned just beyond where you could access it with your wrench’s box end. If that wrench is a 12pt combination wrench, you have to rotate the tool 360/12, or 30° to engage the next flats. With a 6pt box end wrench, you have to rotate the tool 360/6, or 60°.
In order to turn that fastener, you need to double the swing arc for a 6pt wrench as you do for a 12pt wrench.
This isn’t a big deal for 6pt sockets being used with a ratchet or ratcheting accessories. But for a 6pt wrench, there’s no escaping the minimum engagement angle.
Have you ever worked with an open end wrench and been frustrated at being unable to turn a standard hex bolt or nut in one direction, only to flip the wrench and find that you still cannot engage its flats? A 6pt wrench might encounter similar difficulties.
So, who should buy 6pt combination wrenches? Anyone who KNOWS they want or need them. Everyone else will be better off with more common 12pt combination wrenches.
I have been tempted to buy a set of these Gearwrench 6pt combination wrenches – they are indeed a great value – with the idea that I would use them mainly as secondary wrenches, such as when turning a fastener with a wrench on one side, and needing a wrench on the other side to hold things steady. But, since I have fixed and ratcheting combination wrenches, and no shortage of smooth jaw pliers and adjustable wrenches, my temptation is more of a curiosity than any real need.
Do YOU prefer 6pt wrenches? Why? Have you bought a set only to leave them to collect dust?
What needs or types of uses could justify a set of 6pt wrenches?
Lastly, this set seems like a very good buy – 28 full polish Gearwrench-brand wrenches for ~$82. What’s the catch?