I have a Navy buddy that told me about the time when he was a rookie on a ship, and the chief mechanic told him to go down to the tool locker and get a metric monkey wrench for him. Of course, this was a regular thing they did on board to all the new hands. After about 20 minutes of asking and looking around, he returned to the chief mechanic empty-handed, at which point the more experienced crew erupted into laughter. When I saw an 8″ long example of the Irwin quick adjusting wrench (in metric, no less!), I knew I had to get one just to show my buddy—and save the pride he lost some 20 years ago. Plus, after having much success with the Irwin Groovelock pliers I had to give this tool a try.
I actually liked the metric Irwin quick adjusting wrench so much that I picked up an 8″ SAE model to go with it. You are probably wondering how they achieve the different scales in an adjustable wrench. Upon closer examination, it was evident that the teeth in the movable jaw are actually in either MM or 1/16 inch increments. When you snug the moving jaw up to your workpiece, a spring-loaded mechanism in the sliding lever keeps the jaw locked in the correct position. The wrench is very fast to adjust and is just as quick to change by pulling back on the sliding lever. Since the sliding lever is in the same location as a traditional thumb screw on an adjustable wrench, this wrench feels right at home in your hand.
Irwin Quick Adjusting Wrench Quality
The overall quality of the Irwin quick adjusting wrench is great. The inside finish of the parallel jaws is smooth which helps to get a good square grip on a bolt or nut. There are precise scale markings on the sides of the jaws. The markings look like laser etching that is not that deep into the metal. On one of the wrenches we have used for a while, these marking are becoming difficult to read. We would like to see actual indentations or deeper engravings to indicate the jaw position.
The grips are also fantastic. They fill the hand well and are not too rubbery. The grips are the Irwin “ProTouch” Grips that have become popular on many of Irwin’s other products. Even when we used the wrench on a greasy automotive project, keeping a safe grip on the handle was easy. The overall fit and finish of the metal parts on the wrench is great. The spring action of the sliding lever is easy to manipulate. We found with a squirt of a light spray lubricant on the sliding mechanism, that the overall performance of the wrench was greatly improved. Similar to many moving hand tools, a little light oil is all it usually takes to make them work much better.
Like many of the recent Irwin tools we have used, like the Irwin Vise-Grip cutting pliers, this one definitely delivers. With professional quality, reasonable price, and great features, the Irwin Quick Adjusting Wrenches are a great new spin on a classic product. We consider it a solid value because this tool improves a traditional adjustable wrench which costs about the same.