Of the standard tools we think of when we start building a new project or fixing something at home, a wrench often comes to mind. Although this may seem like a simple tool, there are many sizes, styles, and wrench designs, all created for a different specialized project and purpose.
Choosing the correct wrench for your project can be overwhelming, especially with how many wrench types there are to choose from. Below, let’s take a look at some standard wrench sizes and wrench designs to learn more about choosing the right tool for your job.
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Types of Wrench Sizes and Designs
Adjustable Extra-Wide Jaw Wrench
The adjustable extra-wide jaw wrench is a practical tool to keep in your toolbox. This wrench allows you to use several different wrench size options to custom fit your bolt in question. The extra-wide jaw opening will allow you to lock onto even the most oversized bolts and nuts in question.
Not only is the jaw of the wrench adjustable, but the tool also comes in a variety of lengths. Using a more extended-length handle on an adjustable wrench will give you more torque and power, allowing you to turn even the tightest bolt into place.
Adjustable Wide Jaw Wrench
The wide jaw adjustable wrench is very similar to the extra-wide jaw option, with the only difference being that the jaw is not quite as large. This tool is a great wrench size option to keep in your toolbox because it can work with many bolts and nuts. The wide jaw will give you multiple size options so that you can custom fit this adjustable wide jaw wrench to just the right size for your project or application.
Plus, like the extra-wide jaw option, this wrench comes in several size options for the handle’s length. Longer handles can give you added power and torque and allow you to get into hard-to-reach areas.
Combination Jumbo Box End Wrench
The jumbo size option on this particular type of wrench helps to designate that these wrenches are larger in size. These wrenches are perfect for large bolts and nuts. The sizing for jumbo wrenches starts at just over 2 inches and will go up to wrenches with a 4-inch outer diameter, called a spanner.
The combination box end wrench is the typical shape and style that people think of when they hear a “wrench” is in order. This simple but useful tool has an open wrench end at one side of the tool and a closed circular wrench at the opposite end. This tool has multiple uses and allows you to narrow in on your particular project’s correct size wrench.
There are multiple measurements on the box end wrench, which will help you choose the right tool for the job. Be sure to consider the length of the individual arms on the wrench head, the inner spacing (where the bolt will go) between the arms of the wrench head, the length of the tool itself, as well as the inner diameter of the closed circular wrench at the end of the tool. This type of wrench is commonly sold as a wrench set and is widely available in both a standard and a metric wrench size option.
Combination Standard 6 Point Wrench
The combination standard 6 point wrench is very similar to the jumbo combination wrench, except the wrench is available in smaller sizes that are better suited to common household applications. Like the jumbo wrench, the combination standard 6 point wrench has one open end and one circular, closed-end, which makes this a multi-purpose tool.
The standard 6 point wrench comes in several smaller sizes, ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch. The wrench can be selected for the length of the handle, length of the arms around the wrench head or the inner diameter of the wrench head itself. Longer wrenches tend to give the user more power and torque, while shorter-length wrenches may be better for tight proximity applications.
The standard 6 point wrench features 6 points of contact between the tool and the nut or bolt head you are working with. This style of wrench comes in both standard size and metric size options.
Combination Standard 12 Point Wrench
Another option for a standard wrench is the 12 point wrench. Similar to other combination standard wrenches, this design features an open-end wrench head and a closed-end. The wrench is available in a range of sizes, with the smallest option 1/4 inch, going up to 2 inches. The wrench also comes in various lengths and a variety of arm lengths, allowing you to choose just the right size for your next project.
Although this wrench style may look similar to the other available combination standard wrenches, this design features 12 points of contact in the wrench’s closed end. Having 12 points of contact for your wrench allows a tighter grip. When you can tightly secure the wrench around a nut or a bolt, you will not only have more leverage moving the wrench, but you can keep the integrity of the screw head more easily.
Combination Standard Open End Wrench
The combination standard wrench can be featured with a closed-end or an opened end. The open end combination standard wrench features an open end on both sides of the wrench. This design eliminates the closed wrench completely. Usually, the two open ends will face opposite directions, giving you more utility from your wrench.
The combination standard open-end wrench option comes in various sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 2 inches. The wrench is usually sold as part of a larger wrench set and can come in either a standard size set or a metric size set. Having both a standard set and a metric set will give you plenty of options to lock on to a bolt size of any dimension.
Combination Standard Short Wrench
The combination standard wrench is a great tool to keep in your toolbox, but it may not always be applicable for jobs working in tight or confined spaces. When you only have a small area to work in, consider using the combination standard short wrench. This wrench style features a shorter handle which allows you to get into tight spaces. While the wrench is smaller and easier to use, keep in mind that the limited wrench length will have less power and torque when tightening nuts and bolts.
Nuts and bolts can come from anywhere in the world, and it is not uncommon to find nuts and bolts designed in both metric sizes and standard sizes. Metric sizes will use millimeters as the measurement unit, while standard sizes are measured in inches. Often, when completing a project, it is necessary to toggle between metric sizes and standard sizes.
Using a convenient wrench conversion chart will easily allow you to find the correct wrench size to toggle between measurement units and successfully complete your job. Using the incorrect wrench size can cause you to round off the square bolt head edges, impacting the nut or bolt’s overall integrity.
Although a wrench may seem like an easy tool to identify and use for your next project, it can be quite tricky to figure out which wrench type and size is right for you. Between the varying sizes and the different wrench styles and designs, finding the right wrench is difficult. Below, we have put together a list of commonly asked questions related to wrench sizes so that you can be better informed and choose the correct wrench for your next DIY project.
What are SAE wrench sizes?
SAE is a common abbreviation that denotes a wrench size is a standard size. This notation means that the wrench head size is measured in inches rather than millimeters in the metric system. Standard wrench sizes range from 1/4 inch to 2 inches. It is also possible to buy jumbo size wrenches that range from 2 inches to 4 inches.
How are wrench sizes measured?
The exterior of a wrench head will consist of a hexagonal shape. The distance from one flat side to the hexagon’s adjacent flat side is called a spanner. Usually, standard wrenches are measured by their spanner dimension. For example, a 2-inch standard wrench will measure 2 inches from parallel flat sides on the hexagonal wrench head.
How do you figure out your wrench size?
If you have a bolt or a nut that you must adjust with a wrench, it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out the appropriate wrench size for your project. To calculate the wrench size needed, you must first measure your bolt. Take the diameter of the bolt, and multiply by 1.5. This calculation and conversion factor is valid for either metric or standard bolt sizes. The resulting number will be the size of the wrench you need to adjust the bolt properly.
For example, If your bolt measures .5 inches across, multiply this number by 1.5. The result will be 0.75, or 3/4 of an inch. To adjust a .5 inch bolt size, you will need a 3/4 inch wrench.
Do you need both standard and metric wrenches?
In today’s world, manufacturing can take place in any corner of the globe. You are just as likely to find a piece of furniture from Sweden as you are from the United States. It is a good idea to have a metric set of wrenches and a standard set of wrenches. While the two sets are widely interchangeable using a conversion chart, having both sets of wrenches will allow you to find the exact fit every time.