The 10 Best Wrench Sets

Updated October 31, 2017 by Chase Brush

10 Best Wrench Sets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether using them in a professional workshop or simply to have handy around the house, a good quality wrench set is essential in order to get any job done quickly and efficiently. Check out our comprehensive selection, which includes options that come in a range of sizes, are priced to suit any budget, and are suitable for almost any project, from appliance maintenance to automotive work. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best wrench set on Amazon.

10. Performance Tool W1069 22-Piece

Variety is of great importance when investing in a wrench set. The Performance Tool W1069 22-Piece will not disappoint in this area, as it features tools small enough for minor appliance maintenance and large enough for working on engine blocks. Still, they do rust easily.
  • wide range of sizes
  • each tool has high polish finish
  • cheap price but also cheaply made
Brand Performance Tool
Model W1069
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Stanley 94-543W 7-Piece

Each tool in the Stanley 94-543W 7-Piece is constructed from anti-corrosion chrome vanadium steel, and incorporates a box-end ratchet that is designed to provide good torque and minimize fastener rounding. Sizes are limited, however, so this shouldn't be your only set.
  • ideal for use with impact sockets
  • they are easy to clean
  • ratchets may wear out over time
Brand Stanley
Model 94-543W
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Husky Combination

This Husky Combination includes 28 of the most commonly used wrench types, so you'll always have just the right tool for any situation. The compact, hard plastic case folds open for easy access to the pieces, making it great both for storage and organizational purposes.
  • metric and sae options
  • durably constructed
  • sizes seem to run large
Brand Husky
Model 1000 016 289
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. GearWrench 9416 Master

With a compact molded rack for storing all 16 pieces when not in use, the GearWrench 9416 Master makes a great addition to the home garage or basement workshop. The sleek open-ended heads fit nicely into tight spaces, though they only come in metric sizes.
  • lifetime manufacturer's warranty
  • ends don't need much room to turn
  • bodies too thin to get solid grip on
Brand Apex Tool Group
Model 9416
Weight 6.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Crescent CCWS3 10-Piece

Heat-treated for strength and stamped on both sides for quick identification, the Crescent CCWS3 10-Piece is a DIY enthusiast's best friend. Nickel-plated chrome offers lasting protection, while the ergonomic case can be hung on the wall, preserving space in crowded shops.
  • comes in larger and smaller options
  • affordably priced
  • tools can fall out of case easily
Brand Crescent
Model CCWS3
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

5. Tekton Stubby Combination

If you frequently find yourself working in tight spaces, you're going to want to invest in this Tekton Stubby Combination. Each of its 12 wrenches has a shorter length and sleeker body than standard models, giving you less leverage but more room to maneuver.
  • compact roll-up storage pouch
  • grip flat sides of bolts not corners
  • not meant to serve as primary set
Model WRN01190
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Craftsman 20-Piece Ratcheting

The Craftsman 20-Piece Ratcheting is built with enough confidence that the manufacturer backs it with a lifetime guarantee. The ends are engineered to make complete contact with whatever fasteners you put them on, preventing stripping and ensuring quick removal.
  • easy to hold and to use
  • 12-point box ends for a good grip
  • ends are not offset
Brand Craftrsman
Model 946935
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. DeWalt DWMT73810 Metric

It's not a huge set, but each piece of the DeWalt DWMT73810 Metric is carefully crafted to hold up in extreme work settings, such as a busy mechanic's garage. But equally as impressive is the case they come in, which can be used alone or slipped into a tool box easily.
  • longer than most wrenches
  • manufactured in taiwan
  • case is stackable
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. SYM Tools Combo Set

If you're looking for a solid collection but don't want to pay an arm and a leg, check out the SYM Tools Combo Set, which features 22 drop-forged steel pieces that won't rust or corrode any time soon. They're also easy to clean, and come in both metric and SAE sizes.
  • great value for price
  • suitable for automotive work
  • each piece is clearly marked
Brand SYM Tools Combo Set
Model pending
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Tekton 90186 Combination

With sizes ranging from 8 to 19mm, the Tekton 90186 Combination is a comprehensive kit that should come in handy during almost any job, from routine house maintenance to automotive work. Each end is offset 15 degrees to allow for finger clearance and ease of use.
  • extra long handles offer good reach
  • space-saving holders
  • chrome vanadium steel finish
Model 90186
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

What Is A Wrench?

There are many, many types of wrenches out there, including the torque, pipe, and spoke varieties, but perhaps there are few as popular as the combination wrench. This model, also called a combination spanner in British English, gives the user two tools in one: on one side of the implement an open-end wrench and on the other a box-end wrench. To accommodate a range of fasteners, most combination wrenches are sold in sets that include from five to more than 20 pieces.

So, what’s so great about having both an open end and a box end? Well, let’s say the fastener is easy to access; in this case, a box-end wrench works well, because it offers better leverage. If, however, you don’t have room to slip the wrench over the fastener, then an open end still gives you access — just slide it into place from the side. Best of all, because the combination wrench is double-sided, you have both options handily paired together. Your other option would be to use an adjustable wrench, but these tend not to offer the gripping strength of either the open-end or box-end of the combination model. They’re also more prone to rounding a bolt or nut.

Because combination wrenches have fixed dimensions, you’ll need to select the right size for the fastener with which you’re working. Trial and error or eyeballing it are certainly options, but if you’d like to be more exact, combination wrenches offer measurements in both SAE and metric. SAE, often called standard, runs in fractions of inches, while metric sizes run in millimeters. Both are used for a variety of different jobs, and a good set of either should have the size stamped on each tool. A high-quality set will most likely include some type of carrying case or holder, too.

Wrench Usage Tips

While it’s true that a wrench doesn’t seem hard to use, there are incorrect methods that could lead to big problems. You might, for instance, round the head of a bolt, which means that it resists the grip of the wrench and becomes stuck. Injury is another possibility; the wrench could slip off and lead to you barking your knuckle, falling, or worse. Engaging in a few best practices helps you avoid these problems.

Always use the right size for the fastener, whether you’re using the open or box end. If the wrench feels like it’s slipping or it doesn’t make adequate contact with the fastener, you don’t have the correct size. When you’ve found the size that fits snugly, make sure that the wrench is in full contact before you apply any pressure.

Never add a cheater. The fastener may be stubborn, but don’t put a piece of pipe over the wrench for more leverage. Doing so greatly increases the chances of stripping the head of the fastener. It’s also a good way to injure yourself. Try a longer wrench or lubrication, instead. By the same token, don’t hit the wrench with a hammer. It’s likely that you’ll end up weakening or bending the wrench.

Get rid of bent or otherwise impaired wrenches. You might notice, for example, that the jaws of the tool appear to be widened or that the handle is not straight. This is your cue to get a new wrench. And don’t try to straighten out a bent tool, as doing so is only likely to weaken it even further.

Start with the best set of wrenches that you can afford, especially if you expect to use them heavily. A strong, quality set of wrenches can last you a lifetime and never give you any problems, especially if they are corrosion-resistant. When you finish using one of your wrenches, wipe off any grease or oil before you put it away.

A Very Brief History Of The Wrench

It’s clear that the first wrench as we know it today was patented by Solymon Merrick in 1834, but at this point, history becomes slightly murky. We have a stunning range of wrenches available to us today, and each one has its own inventor, but the who and when are not always clear. One of the most interesting examples of this confusion surrounds the heavy-duty adjustable monkey wrench.

Many people claim that the monkey wrench was patented by a mechanic named Charles Moncky around 1858; the name monkey wrench was either a purposeful or accidental misspelling of Moncky’s last name. Others hold that this Charles Moncky did not exist. To begin with, no one by this name has been found in census records, although there is a record for a toolmaker named Charles Monk. It’s possible that he was mixed up in the story somehow, but it’s not likely that he was the inventor. The term monkey wrench appeared in print from around 1840, when Mr. Monk would have been only 12 years old.

In fact, monkey wrench was quite a common term in the 1800s, and many people posit that "monkey” came from either the wrench's similarity to the action of a popular monkey-on-a-stick toy or the use of the word monkey to refer to machines with pieces that moved up and down a shaft. While the origin of the name is still under debate, we do know that a screw wrench was patented in 1841 by Loring Coes, and it was this wrench that served as the model for monkey wrenches over the next hundred years.

The naming controversy doesn’t end there, however. In 1922, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson patented a wrench he devised while in prison. (His crime? Traveling across state lines with a white woman.) In 2015, a rumor began to circulate that his invention was called the monkey wrench in order to demean its African-American creator. As historical evidence has shown, though, the term monkey wrench is far older than Johnson’s iteration of the tool. Perhaps no one will ever know where, exactly, the term comes from — maybe it’s enough to be glad that no matter the names, we have plenty of wrenches for the jobs we need to do.

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Last updated on October 31, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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