All toolboxes should have a decent wrench as a permanent resident. Whether something needs tightening up or taking down, you never know when a wrench might be useful, but you can be sure that it eventually will.
Trouble is that tools can be quite expensive these days, and not everyone has wads of cash lying around ready to drop on the latest 24-piece spanner set. With this in mind, we’ve collated our picks of the best budget wrenches to check out today, covering the full ambit of wrench-dom from ratchets to sockets.
Before buying your new wrench, we would recommend assessing where the utility of the tool will lie, as different styles suit different needs and not all can reach the trickier areas.
For example, an extending socket wrench will suffice the need for measured force when tightening wheel nut fixings, while a ratchet wrench would suit the nuts found in an engine bay for efficiency where the environment isn’t so commodious. Here are our picks of the best budget wrenches.
These handled wrenches are good all-around tools and easy to pick up on a budget.
The adjustability of the head allows these wrenches to fit all nuts and bolts within the specified size range, making them versatile in their practical application and eliminating the need for numerous single size spanners. Handled wrenches such as these would be best suited to gripping or tightening nuts in open space for manoeuvrability.
MAXPOWER Adjustable Wrench
This wrench from MAXPOWER features a 30mm adjustable head to accommodate any nut or bolt within that range, complete with millimetric scale and flat jaws for maximum purchase. Moreover, within the frame of the wrench are two additional octagonal holes for precise adjustment for specific sized screws. The wrench is manufactured from carbon steel for improved strength but features a rubber wrapping on the handle for grip and comfort when addressing stubborn screws.
Stanley Adjustable Wrench
For a cheap yet effective wrench in the toolbox, this piece from Stanley would make a great choice. With the name of pedigree in the tool making trade, this Stanley wrench guarantees strength and durability with an alloy steel body and bi-material handle for improved grip and comfort. The lightweight 280g narrow frame and compact head design of this wrench improve its manoeuvrability, extending its utility to some of the tightest spots on the car or elsewhere.
WORKPRO Adjustable Wrench
This wrench from WORKPRO features a 2-in-1 design whereby the adjustable jaw can be removed with the thumbscrew and reattached to the flat edge or serrated angled edged depending on the necessity. The flat edge will benefit the grip on nuts to tighten or loosen while the angled edge can be used to grip round tubing in place. This wrench also features a soft ergonomic handle with grooved edges for less slip and improved grip while in the hand. The head of the wrench has a 42mm wide jaw with a clear metric scale for adjustment.
Wheel Nut Wrenches
Wheel nut wrenches are socket wrenches with long handles for improved leverage when screwing the nut, allowing for greater force to be applied without additional strain on the operator. As the name would suggest, these wrenches are great for wheel nuts as they suffice the need for additional force to securely fasten them on or get them off.
RAC Telescopic Wheel Nut Wrench
This wheel nut wrench has a rubber grip that extends telescopically. By extending the handle, the leverage on the fastening then increases, meaning more weight can be applied to the wheel nut to tighten and with a fully treated carbon steel frame to ensure strength. This wrench comes with a 17mm and 19mm ended reversible socket to fit most wheel nuts on the market.
Bargains Galore Wheel Nut Wrench
This wrench from Bargains Galore also features a reversible socket with either a 17mm or 19mm edge, manufactured from Chrome Vanadium for improved strength. The rubber handle is grooved to prevent slipping and extends to improve leverage on tight nuts. Once fitted to the nut, the exemplary strength allows enormous pressure to be applied to the nut without the risk of the wrench breaking.
Goodyear Cross Wheel Nut Wrench
This Goodyear four-way cross wheel wrench is fixed and therefore cannot be extended. However, the carbon steel frame features four different socket sizes on the end – 17mm, 19mm, 21mm and 23mm – covering just about every single wheel nut size. As it’s fixed, this wrench cannot collapse down, but at 14” it should be compact enough to fit within a spare wheel or inconspicuously into the boot. If your car’s wheels are screwed on by 21mm or 23mm nuts, a suitable wrench might be hard to find - for £13, this one’s a bargain.
Ratchet wrenches are socket wrenches with a mechanism of ratcheting pawls, allowing operators to screw a bolt in one direction then pull the wrench handle back to the original position in order to begin the movement again. While spanners or adjustable wrenches will need to be detached from the bolt and repositioned to carry out this movement, a ratcheting wrench can just be pulled back within a small space, making them incredibly efficient tools.
The ratcheting technology means that these wrenches are especially useful in tight working environments with restricted space, such as engine bays or within the chassis of the vehicle.
Goodyear Cross Wheel Nut Wrench
This internal mechanism of this wrench features a 72-tooth ratchet, the high number allowing adjustable movement to tighten screws in even the tightest of spaces. The screwing movement of this ratchet can be easily reversible by flicking the thumb reverse switch, changing from clockwise to counter-clockwise instantly. This feature is great for making small adjustments to nut fastenings consecutively, based on how tight they need to be.
With the wrench itself, 12 socket sizes are included in this package to fit most nuts and bolts. For quick changes will carrying out the job, a fast release button on the head of the wrench allows the sockets to be changed quickly and efficiently. The sockets themselves can be stored on the rack included with the wrench for safety and organisation.
Egofine Ratchet Wrench
This ratchet wrench from Egofine also features 12 reversible drive sockets manufactured of high strength vanadium steel as well as a four-inch extension bar for reaching areas with restricted space. The handle is encased with a rubber wrap for improved ergonomic value and can be stored on the included plastic rack that also houses the 12 sockets for convenience. Available for around £13, we think this package is fantastic value for money and a great bargain.
Amazon Basics Ratchet Wrench
This piece from Amazon Basics is an all-in-one multi-purpose tool, with screw heads, precision screw heads and 14 wrench sockets included as standard for just under £13. As a wrench, the driver provides clockwise or counterclockwise ratcheting in a twisting motion to allow rotation with a constant application of pressure on the nut. The T handle provides greater torque to the operation with improved comfort on the hand. Complete with a plastic case, this would make a great choice for a wrench on a budget.
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