As a DIYer, you’ll grip, loosen, tighten, and turn nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. For these tasks, you need a reliable set of wrenches that can take the beating of heavy use. One thing I learned about DIY work is that a single wrench just doesn’t work. If you want convenience and the best wrenches for the money, I highly recommend that you invest in a set. Sure, it comes at a higher price, but it will last for years, and even decades, of regular use.
So for this post, I channeled my experience from my previous tools together with my personal picks that offer the best value for money.
Combination Wrench Set
|Milwaukee Electric Tools
Combination Wrench Set
|Wright Tool Combination
|Capri Tools Ratcheting
Combination Wrench Set
I’ve seen and tried dozens of wrenches before, and I can say that not all of them lives up to the marketing hype. I also learned my lesson from cheap wrenches that break just when I needed them the most.
Wrench types and their purposes
Are you new to handyman work? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a rundown of why you should have a wrench on your toolbox. Below, I listed the widely used wrench types and the purpose of each one:
This type of wrench is non-adjustable, but it comes in a variety of sizes within a set. The good thing about open wrenches is that there’s no need to worry about breaking the jaw because it’s solid. I use this when tightening bolts and nuts because it tightens and loosens faster than a crescent wrench. You can also find open wrenches with flex heads so you can work on fasteners in different angles.
Crescent wrench, also known as an adjustable wrench, is a versatile tool. It has a large adjustable jaw and another smaller, fixed end. This is designed to hold hex and square nuts perfectly. Most of the time, the head of the crescent wrench is set at 22.5 degrees for two different gripping positions if you’re working on tight spaces. This also works in both metric and standard fasteners.
🔧Box/Double Box wrench
On the other hand, box wrenches have two ends with ring-like heads. I first saw this in my dad’s garage many years ago and not only until seven years ago that I realize its real purpose. Box wrenches are ideal for hex-head fasteners. Since box wrenches have an enclosed opening, it reduces the risk of damaging the fastener. You can also find box wrenches with an offset handle that lets you work on a flat surface without your knuckles getting in the way.
A combination wrench has an open wrench head at one end and then a box wrench head on the other. This is one of the widely used types of wrenches for DIY projects and commercial use. I have a whole set of this at home, which is technically similar to having two sets: a set of open wrenches and a set of box wrenches in one.
The socket wrench isn’t like any other wrenches. It utilizes a ratcheting mechanism for faster and easier fastening. This is a must-have if you need to fasten a lot of bolts and nuts. The socket head of this wrench is replaceable to suit different fastener sizes. Nowadays, you can find sockets for this wrench to suit both SAE and metric sizes.
The pipe wrench is actually a sub-type of the adjustable wrench. This is every plumber’s tool since it’s used on threaded pipes. It also has more teeth for better grip as well as a hook top jaw that holds the pipe snugly.
NOTE: There are more wrench types out there in the market. The ones I listed here are the types I, and many DIYers, use more often.
Considerations when buying wrenches
No matter how large your wrench set is, it’s useless if it doesn’t have the type you need for your project. Are you doing a lot of plumbing? What type of fastener are you going to use? These things make a big difference on the wrench set you’re going to buy.
Wrenches come in a wide range of sizes to suit an equally diverse fastener selection. Most wrenches nowadays are suitable for both SAE and metric fastener, which is a big plus.
If you’re going to work on tight spaces, you’ll benefit a lot from wrenches with angled heads. This isn’t a requirement but remains a big plus in terms of versatility. Less bulky wrenches are also ideal for smaller and tight workspaces.
5 Best Wrenches for the Money
BEST OVERALL: Best Wrenches for the Money
MY TOP PICK: GEARWRENCH 16-Piece Combination Wrench Set
Product Name: GEARWRENCH 16-Piece Combination Wrench Set
Product Description: If you’re looking for a best-value wrench set, I personally recommend the GEARWRENCH 16-piece set. I have this at home, and the splurge is really worth it. The box end of these wrenches has an off-corner design that reduces fastener rounding while providing better grip. Also, it has a ratcheting design that requires very minimal 5-degree adjustments to move the fasteners. This is way better than the standard 30 degrees on most wrenches.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
Aside from that, I like the Pass-Thru technology of this set that allows me to work on any threaded rod and bolt lengths. The heads are thin, too, which is perfect for tight spaces and small areas. Don’t worry because the wrenches are very solid and can take the beating of rusty and grippy old bolts. It’s made of alloy steel, which is tough enough for the toughest job.
I also appreciate that GEARWRENCH stamped the sizes of each wrench on both ends, which prevents confusion.
Aside from the 16 wrenches, you’ll also get a plastic rack to keep everything organized. The best part here is that a lifetime warranty covers this set. For me, that’s one thing you can’t beat at this price range.
Made of rust-proof alloy steel
Ideal long bolts and threaded nuts
I just wish it comes with a box and not only a rack
Milwaukee Electric Tools Combination Wrench Set
Another combination wrench set that I recommend is the Milwaukee Electric Tools. This is a 15-piece SAE set with a satin chrome finish. Its max-bite end grip offers 25% more torque for easier tightening and loosening of fasteners.
I also like the ink-filled sizing labels, which makes it easier to read. The I-Beam handle design also reduces hand strain when working on tight bolts and nuts. The teeth of these wrenches really bite tight, no matter how heavy the force is.
This set has wrench sizes ranging from ¼-inch to 1-inch. All of these are contained on the Milwaukee Electric Tools tray where you can lock the wrenches in place. It also has two hanging holes so you can set it up on your garage wall.
Like the GEARWRENCH set, this one is also covered by a lifetime guarantee. For me, it’s always a big deal when a brand offers this type of warranty. It says a lot about the quality of the product.
The only thing I noticed about this set is that the chrome finish will start to peel off after some time. It’s not a big deal for me since the wrenches remain solid.
Wright Tool Combination Wrench Set
If you want a set you can bring at the trunk of your car, I recommend the Wright Tool Combination Wrench Set. This massive 18-piece set comes in a denim tool roll with individual sleeves.
All Wright Tool wrenches boast 50% more protrusion engagement as well as 80% stronger material. It’s made of premium Wright alloy steel that can endure the toughest job at hand.
As for this set, you’ll get 18 pieces of 12-point metric combination wrenches. The pieces included here are 7 mm to 24 mm wrenches. Each wrench has more metal and stiffer jaws for high-stress use.
Aside from the 18-piece set, you can also get the larger 28-piece set. However, if you find these two sets intimidating, you can start with either the 10, 11, or 15-piece options.
I also discovered that the Wright Tool Wrench set could hold up on regular farm use. I’ve gifted my brother a set, and he now uses it on his farm with no physical signs of damage yet.
To be honest, Wright Tool is hard to beat for this price point. It has a premium feel and function, which is a must-have for every DIY geek.
Capri Tools Ratcheting Combination Wrench Set
For starters who are looking for a smaller mechanic set, the Capri Tools might be their best bet. This set comprises of 12 wrenches with 100-tooth ratcheting heads. It offers the tightest grip with a very minimal 3.6-degree swing arc. This set contains wrench sizes 9 to 19 mm.
Moreover, each wrench on this set transfers torque evenly to prevent bolt rounding. It also has a 0-degree offset on the box head for the best clearance on tight spaces.
Meanwhile, the open end has a 6-point groove on the jaws so the bolt will not slip while you work. Unlike the box end, the open end uses a 15-degree turn. Anyway, the wrench is flippable so you can turn the fastener faster and easier.
I also like that Capri Tools added an integrated steel color ring that makes it easy to identify metric (blue) from SAE (red).
The bonus part here is the chrome plating, which really gives a sophisticated look to the wrenches. However, I wish that they filled the size stamp with ink, so it will be easier to read.
ToolGuards Ratcheting Wrench Set
One of my first wrenches are from ToolGuard, and I was never disappointed. This wrench brand offers high-quality tools for a lower price point, one of which is their 22-piece ratcheting wrench set.
These wrenches are made of chrome vanadium steel for the best performance. It also boasts a 90-tooth ratchet gear with a 5-degree swing arc. Meanwhile, its full-drive box end has excellent torque transfer that prevents bolt rounding.
Overall, this set includes 11 metric and 11 SAE wrenches so you can turn just about any fastener. Just like the brand claims “it’s every mechanic’s dream”.
The wrench sizes included in the set are 6 mm to 18 mm as well as ¼-inch to ¾-inch pieces. All of these are contained inside the chic tool roll case with the size printed on each wrench sleeve. If you’re a neat freak, this small feature will add a big value to your purchase.
For a lower price, you’ll get high-quality wrenches covered by a lifetime warranty. This is the best value you can ever get if you’re a DIY mechanic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best brand for wrenches?
A: I swear by GEARWRENCH, Milwaukee, ToolGuards, Capri Tools, and Wright Tools. All of these brands offer excellent wrenches, especially in sets. You’ll never go wrong with these if you’re looking for the best value for money.
Q: What is the most commonly used wrench size?
A: For the most part, wrench sizes ¼, ½, and 3/8 are widely used for a range of tasks. For those who perform heavy-duty work, the must-haves are sizes 1 and ¾-inch.
Q: Should I get a ratcheting wrench?
A: If you’re working on tight spaces and worried about getting a tight finish, a ratcheting wrench will be helpful. Another benefit of a ratcheting wrench is you can change its direction, which prevents the wrench and bolt from getting stuck.
If you’re looking for the best wrenches for the money, the five sets I recommend here will surely become great additions to your toolbox. Wrenches are staples of every DIY mechanic since it makes the job easier without too much strain on the hands.
What do you think of these wrenches? Have you used any of it before? Let me know below!