The box end wrench is a tool that has been around since the beginning of the automobile. Not much has changed with them since they were invented. However, they have gotten smaller and lighter as metal and manufacturing processes have improved. This installment of Tool-Time Tuesday we are going to cover ratcheting wrenches, a relatively new improvement.
To break it down, the boxed end of the wrench has a ratcheting mechanism just like a traditional ratchet. This allows you to put the wrench on a bolt or nut, move it back and forth to loosen or tighten without removing the wrench.
These are absolutely great tools that every gear head should have in his garage. Since there is no reason to remove the wrench, valuable time is saved. The other feature is they are slim like a box wrench. These means where you can’t get a typical ratchet on a bolt because of its depth, now you can.
What to look for:
There isn’t a lot to these wrenches but there is two distinct styles to them.
The first style is completely flat, with no angle to the head of the wrench. This style has no selector switch, so you have to flip the wrench over to make it tighten or loosen.
The second style has a selector switch, so you can make it tighten or loosen like your typical ratchet. This style generally has the bend on the end, which is great in preventing scrapped knuckles.
Either style is great and there is nothing wrong with either one. Some manufactures have started to offer a hybrid set as well, where the head pivots. These are especially nice.
Which ones you choose is purely a preference. Just about every manufacture makes these, so choose your favorite and pick up a set.