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Whether you call it a Saltus Wrench or a flex combination wrench, it still looks like you left your sockets alone in the dark with your wrenches for too long. I remember running into one of these wrenches in my dad’s toolbox as a kid and thinking, “What the hell is this for?” Given the proliferation of ratcheting box end wrenches and other innovations, most people probably don’t run into these wrenches anymore.

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The open end and the socket on one of these wrenches are the same size, and the socket isn’t removable. The socket usually rotates on the end of the wrench, somewhat like a socket on the head of a breaker bar — this setup might get you into some areas too tight for a ratchet and socket.

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I found three manufacturers that still make these wrenches: SK, Matco, and Armstrong, although there are probably more out there if you search hard enough. A single wrench will run you anywhere from $15 to $40, while a set can run anywhere from $100 to $400.

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11pc SAE Saltus Wrench Set [Matco]
12pc Metric Saltus Wrench Set [Matco]
Flexible Combination Wrench [SK Tools]
Armstrong Flex Combo Wrench Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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9 Responses to The Bastard Child Of A Wrench And A Socket

  1. Bill says:

    Just bought a set of these from Tractor Supply for $19.00 – Can’t say how they will hold up, but the price was right.

  2. Chris says:

    Perfect for oil changes, dealer techs commonly have one in their box for repeated drain plug use

  3. _Jon says:

    “… it still looks like you left your sockets alone in the dark with your wrenches for too long.”
    — LOL! I thought the same thing, only less well phrased.

  4. Fritz Gorbach says:

    The wrenches I carry in my toolbag for everyday use are a set of these from proto up to 7/8″. Believe it or not, these seem to be the most convenient tool going for a lot of the work I do on machinery. Used them almost every day for four years since I got them. I once traded

  5. Fritz Gorbach says:

    The wrenches I carry in my toolbag for everyday use are a set of these from proto up to 7/8″. Believe it or not, these seem to be the most convenient tool going for a lot of the work I do on machinery. Used them almost every day for four years since I got them. I once traded for a set of gearwrenches, and that only lasted a week. Sometimes the socket is just enough to get to a bad spot, and the open end is good enough for anything.
    I would like to have the nice polished snap-on set, but I just can’t justify the $600. Maybe some day.
    Oh, and I mean no harm to gearwrenches, either. I have several sets and I do like them…just that these work better for what I do.
    I think years ago these were also available with deep sockets on the end also, but I can’t find them now.

  6. Old Donn says:

    I’d never square off with guys who use these every day, but from a weekend warrior standpoint, it seems to me a standard issue box wrench or the box end of a long pattern combo would do the same job a lot easier. More versatile with none of the clearance issues.

  7. Lance says:

    Snap-On makes these as well. They call them “Flex Combination” wrenches. Part number FHOM606B, for example, is a six-piece set.

  8. Dr. Evil says:

    This is the only wrench that will tighten head bolts on shovelhead harley motors.

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