Despite the rapid technological development, some simple tools remain unchanged since their advent, and they are still in high demand. A wrench represents such an instrument. Every fitter has this tool in their toolbox. Moreover, it can be also found in the toolkit of nearly all amateur masters. Wrenches are used almost everywhere – in production, workshops, service centers, as well as in everyday life. The wrench is simple in its construction but it is multifunctional. Today, you can find specially designed models on the market that were developed to make even the most complicated work more productive and simple.
The main task of a wrench is tightening or undoing threaded elements. This tool has several popular modifications that allow you to work with various types of fasteners. Many craftsmen know what kind of wrench is appropriate for a specific manipulation. But to avoid difficulties with the choice of wrenches, you need to learn more about their features and scope.
Types of Wrenches
This tool seems simple and has been used for many years to tighten or unscrew the threaded fasteners. But with the advent of new machinery, the requirements for the design of the wrench have changed. And today, one and the same tool can rarely fit different fasteners. One wrench is fine for servicing cars, while a totally different one is needed for working with gas pipes. Still, the most common modifications are:
Regular wrench. It is the simplest variant of the tool with an open end. The main advantage of open-end wrenches is their versatility and simplicity. Besides, the price is very low.
Flare nut wrench. It is a modernized version of a regular wrench. The working end is designed in a shape of a closed ring. It fixes the entire fastener along the contour, and it allows to evenly distribute the load is on all six faces of the nut or bolt.
Combination wrench. This tool combines the features of an open-end and flare nut wrench. Combined instruments have a standard open mouth on one side and a closed loop on the other. The ring end has a twelve-sided profile inside enabling easy fastener handling. These types of wrenches are most often purchases as they are a universal tool.
Adjustable wrench. This variant is similar to a regular one, but the size of the mouth can be regulated within certain limits by shifting one of the wrench’s jaws. The main benefit of this tool is that it easily substitutes the whole set of regular wrenches.
What Is a Flare Nut Wrench?
This wrench has a closed round shape. Such configuration minimizes the possible damage to the fastener head. Some models have a shaped handle that provides enough space for your hand while you are tightening the nut on. A flare nut wrench design allows you to completely cover the fastener and evenly distribute the load. These wrenches have a higher tightening force than regular ones. The working area is made in the form of a closed ring, and the inner profile may differ depending on the purpose. This wrench type is usually used for heavy workloads. The inner edge of a flare nut wrench usually has six or twelve grooves. This tool is the best for working hex bolts or nuts. The twelve-point profile allows you to change the position on the nut with just one movement.
There are several types of flare nut wrenches:
- A straight wrench. It is mainly used for the nuts located in the open working areas where there are no obstacles;
- The L-shaped wrench. It has a specific design with the head the head perpendicular to the handle. With this tool, any fastener is removed with the least effort;
- A wrench with offset handles. This configuration is ideal to access fasteners in hard-to-reach places. Its working heads are equipped with hinges and can easily move;
- The sickle-shaped wrench also helps to improve access to the fastener. They are widely used in repair shops, car services for dealing with complex equipment.
All the above wrenches can have 6-sided or 12-sided profiles that provide ideal adjunction to the nut or bolt.
Pros and Cons of Using a Flare Nut Wrench
This wrench type is very popular and each master has experience of using it. What are the main benefits of a flare nut wrench?
- The working head of such a tool is able to fix the fastener evenly from all sides. So there is no need for continuous wrench rearrangement during the work.
- Compared to other tools, the flare nut wrench is the most convenient to use. It can have 6 or 12 facets inside the working head, which greatly expands the scope of its application.
- Flare nut wrenches allow working with the threaded elements at a small angle (5 degrees), and in conditions of limited access to the mount at an angle of 15 degrees without much effort.
The design of the working head allows to avoid damages of the fastening element since the load is directed at the angle, and not at the edge of the fastening.
What Is a Regular Wrench?
It is the simplest and most widespread type of wrench. It is designed with a U-shape and has only two or three contact spots with the head of the threaded element. Mechanics use it to work with hex nuts and bolts with little effort. These wrenches can be one or double-sided and have different mouth sizes. This feature allows covering a wide range of fastener sizes. The working area of the open-end wrench is positioned at a 30° – angle against its handle. Sometimes the angle between the head and the handle can reach even 75 degrees. Some double-sided tools have different angle combinations. The mouth size of this tool is proportional to the length of the instrument. The main drawback of a regular wrench is insufficient contact with the head of the fastening element due to the open mouth. Therefore, it can damage the element you are working with or the tool itself.
Pros and Cons of Using a Regular Wrench
There are many narrow-purpose wrenches on the market, but regular wrenches do not lose their popularity. What are their benefits?
- Versatility is the main advantage of the open-end wrench. This wrench type is represented by a wide variety of options, and the master has the opportunity to select the tool that is best suited for his field of activity and the fastening with which he is going to work with.
- Another advantage is the ease of use. The open-end wrench is lightweight and convenient, so you can work with it without much effort.
- Price. These tools are not expensive in production, therefore, you will find very low-budget offers. It allows you to buy and replace regular wrenches as often as you need.
Among the shortcomings, it is the lack of contact between the tool and the fastener and a high risk of damage.
Comparison of Wrenches
What tool will be more practical? Every master is puzzled by this question. Let us see what are the differences between these two popular tools.
A regular wrench is mainly used for tightening or loosening various fasteners. And flare nut wrenches are more suitable for plumbing and machine works. But at the same time, both of them are pretty similar and can cope well with the same tasks.
Regular wrenches are recommended for fasteners made from hard material to prevent slippage. And flare nut wrenches are better for softer fasteners to avoid stripping damage while working with them.
Both wrench options are effective enough for removing or tightening the nuts and bolts. Though a regular wrench has two small areas of contact with the nut. These are too close to the corners of the threaded element. And if the size of the threaded part is slightly smaller than the size of the wrench mouth, the excessive pressure on the nut will damage it. On the contrary, a flare nut wrench has a considerable benefit – when working with such a tool, you should not worry that you can damage the fastener.
From this point of view, a regular wrench can be even more expensive than a flare nut wrench. But the difference is minimal, and both instruments are very affordable.
Actually, regular and flare nut wrenches perform the same function – they help to work with threaded parts. These models have similar features and differences. But they are very versatile and fulfill the main purpose well in the hands of a skilled craftsman. It is difficult to say which one will serve you better since both options are rather handy. The best approach is to purchase a universal wrench set and be ready for any repair.
Wrenches are in demand not only among professionals but also among ordinary users who occasionally deal with fasteners. And even if regular wrenches are universal and the most affordable, it is advisable to have other tools in your arsenal as well. In many cases, it is the type of wrench used that determines how effective fastener loosening or tightening will be. Miscalculations may cost you a lot since an incorrectly chosen wrench can lead to damage of the mounting elements and worsen the problem. We hope this article has provided you with enough tips on how to choose the right wrench on your own.