Goodbye adjustable wrenches: Meet the pliers wrench

Goodbye adjustable wrenches: Meet the pliers wrench

08/07/2019

The Irwin Vise-Grip Pliers Wrench is a budget solution to a long-fought problem. The quick-setting tongue-and-groove pliers will probably replace any adjustable wrench in your toolbox. 

Everyone has a few adjustable wrenches handy, for when you’re too lazy to search for that obscurely large combination wrench or socket, or if you live life dangerously and just want to roll the dice on rounding off a nut. The adjustable is almost a necessary evil, despite its bad rap for destroying fasteners. At least, it was a necessary evil; we’re convinced they will all eventually be replaced with a pliers wrench. 

If you’re not familiar with a pliers wrench, let’s get you up to speed. Essentially, it’s a tongue-and-groove plier, like you might find from Channellock, only instead of serrated and rounded jaws for gripping, the jaws are parallel to each other, flat and smooth. That makes the jaws better-suited for grabbing the flats of a fastener without causing damage.

While Knipex is considered the top of the heap for pliers wrenches, it carries a hefty price tag. Softening the blow, Irwin stepped into the pliers wrench ring with its version of the tool under the Vise-Grip banner. At half the price, the Irwin might be focused at the most price-conscious consumer, but it could be a good entry point into the pliers wrench world (without shelling out Knipex money).

If you’re wondering how you might use this on your car, well: Good point. These tools were originally targeting plumbers and folks working in industrial repair. Though basically any place you might use a large adjustable wrench, the Irwin Vise-Grip Pliers Wrench will slot in its place. You can set the pliers wrench to the approximate size of your fastener and then use your hands to set tension on the fastener before twisting. 

There’s a minor hiccup in the Amazon link below. This isn’t an 18-inch tool. That would be hilarious and would likely open about 4 inches. Instead, it measures about 8 inches in total length and opens 1.5 inches.  

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