Sunday, November 21, 2010

Solid Design, Light On Slippage, Stanley's 6" Adjustable Wrench Is A Keeper!

The Good: Well-made, Durable, Easy to clean, Does not wear out easily.
The Bad: Smaller than some might need.
The Basics: Near-perfect, the 6” Stanley Adjustable Wrench is easy-to-use and recommend for all homeowners or do-it-yourselfers!

When it comes to wrenches, it’s hard to go wrong. In fact, it wasn’t until I was considering my Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench that I thought both about how simple tools sometimes fall truly to the absolutes of the rating spectrum and how very many Stanley tools I have in my toolbox! For the latter point, I suppose this helps as I review more tools, as Stanley is fairly popular as far as tool manufacturers go. As for wrenches, adjustable wrenches might not have a lot of criteria needed for greatness, but in my book, durability – especially because adjustable wrenches have moving parts – is a big one.

For that, it is hard to imagine a better tool than a Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench.

The 6” Adjustable Wrench gets its name because it is six inches long. The jaws open on the wrench to a maximum span of 1 ½” and the slot is designed to grasp eight, six or four sided nuts, depending on how one uses it. Adjustable wrenches like this one work ideally in settings where one has various size nuts or bolts they are torquing, but the desire or inability to swap out specific tools – i.e. each exact wrench for each size and type of nut or bolt – for the task. Adjustable wrenches are less-specific, but more convenient, making for a versatile tool which is not usually the ideal for professionals or perfectionists. That said, the Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench is hard to argue with.

To use, simply open the jaws of the wrench up using the imbedded screw dial near the head. This is easy enough to do with one’s thumb and the jaws on my Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench have held up just fine for over ten years. I have never had any problems with the teeth or the dial having burrs; this is a quality manufactured tool. Once the jaws are open enough to admit the nut or bolt, dial the screw dial back so the jaws close around the metal of the nut or bolt. Then, twist the lever or use the lever to hold it stationary while whatever needs twisting is twisted. It is that easy.

This is a very simple tool to use properly and it works on leverage, the idea that a job like twisting a nut becomes easier when one is father away from where the force is being applied. For that, the 6” adjustable wrench is a mixed bag. The handle is a bit shorter than many people would like – I have found myself going for larger wrenches under some circumstances – but it also allows one to use this tool in tighter corners. Those who have smaller hands will find this to be a good size. Tools that rely on leverage occasionally bend or break from the force, but I have not had that problem with the Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench. In fact, the solid steel construction of this wrench has never wavered, bent or dented and unlike some adjustable wrenches I have used, I’ve not encountered any slippage, even after a decade of use. The fact that this has moving parts which have remained tight after ten years of home projects makes this a quality tool that is easy to recommend.

Outside the handle length, the only other possible detraction I could find for the 6” Adjustable Wrench by Stanley was the fact that the grip is solid stainless steel. That makes it potentially painful (or at least cold!) to use in winter or cold environments. Because I always recommend wearing work gloves, that is a minor problem and comfort issues from extended use have not come up for me, as I always wear work gloves while using this.

The Stanley 6” Adjustable Wrench is all most homeowners will need for tightening (or loosening) bolts around the house.

For other Stanley tools kicking around my workshop, please check out my reviews of:
Stanley 60-002 Phillips Head Screwdriver
Stanley 66-052 6-piece Precision Screwdriver set
Stanley 64-105 Phillips head screwdriver


For other tool and appliance reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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