For those who have everything, now there’s the Black & Decker Automatic Adjustable Wrench. This wrench makes it easy to quickly adjust the jaws without having to remove the wrench from a tight space. Just activate the button, and the AA battery-powered wrench will open as wide as 1-1/4 inches to accommodate even some of the largest bolts you’re likely to encounter around the house. What’s the downside? Unlike a traditional 8″ adjustable wrench, the Black & Decker Automatic Adjustable Wrench is heavy—it has to be to house the motor and mechanics to do what it does.
This product isn’t a svelte tool by any means. In fact, its girthy handle and rather large form factor makes it a tad unwieldy. Where it shines is in its ability to fit into tight spaces, where a socket set might not, and allow you to get a tight grip on a bolt without the need for reaching your fingers in to twist the manual adjustment control. The jaws are made of heat-treated hardened steel and Black & Decker claims it provides up to 220 ft-lbs of torque. We’re not sure how they got that number, but as measuring torque is a factor of angle and force, it’s a difficult number to pin down.
The Black & Decker Automatic Adjustable Wrench takes two AA batteries—which is what makes the handle so thick—and the batteries will power the wrench for up to 650 cycles (opening and closings of the jaws). That should last quite a while, and the manual “override” ensures that you’ll at least have a manual adjustable wrench handy when the batteries eventually run out.
Overall, we found the Auto Wrench to be a unique tool, and one that might make a good gift. It’s just not something for the serious tool-user. This is a cool toy to have around the house and is sure to make using an adjustable wrench a better experience for those not as handy with the manual versions. We’ve found it priced anywhere from a high of $39.99 to just under $25, so be sure to shop around before picking this one up. For the rest of us, tools like the Irwin Quick Adjusting wrenches seem to be a much nicer solution and offer pro performance in a smaller, more versatile package.