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Shortly after discovering the Best Damn Screwdriver Idea In A While, I ran into the quintessential Tool Gone Wrong: the 48-in-1 Ratcheting Rotary Socket Wrench. If you take a dog bone wrench and wrap a double-ended ratcheting box-end wrench around it, you’ve got the concept. What’s next? Giving the wrench flexible heads?

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The photo does the wrench no justice — this is a big tool. Listed at 1.5 lbs, the larger end of the wrench is a little smaller than my fist. I can’t imagine why you’d grab a wrench with such a monster of a head for a 9/16″ bolt.

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So where does the 48-in-1 designation come from? The manufacturer designed the sockets to be compatible with six different types of bolts: square, 12-point, hex, rounded hex, Torx, and Spline. But can’t you use a twelve-point socket for 6-point fasteners? There are eight different sized sockets: 5/16″, 3/8″7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″,5/8″, 11/16″, and 3/4″. If you accept their premise, then multiply six bolt types by eight sizes and you have your 48 functions.

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Each end of the dog bone rotates in a ratcheting mechanism, somewhat like a ratcheting box-end wrench. And like many ratcheting box-end wrenches, to reverse the ratcheting direction, you flip a lever.

If you’re looking for a Christmas present for somebody you really dislike this year, the 48-in-1 ratcheting rotary socket wrench might be a $20 well spent.

48-in-1 Wrench [Home Depot]


26 Responses to Worst Damn Wrench Idea In A While

  1. dreamcatcher says:

    “Worst Damn Wrench Idea In A While”


    Crescent FR28SWMP 8-Inch Adjustable Ratcheting Socket Wrench

    Otherwise known as the “slip off a bolt – strip a bolt head – smash yer knuckes” wrench.


  2. Yadda says:

    Black and Decker makes a smilar version for $27.99 at Wal-Mart.

  3. Toolaremia says:

    There are Lies, Damned Lies, and Marketing…

  4. frank says:

    So shoot me – I like it. My bolt-head size estimation skills aren’t what they used to be, and being able to grab a single wrench instead of a ratchet and a socket holder seems like a good thing to me. Yea, it’s big, but I’ve found that I’ve got a bunch of bolts that have plenty of room for this kind of tool. I’ve got plenty of other wrenches for those tight spots, but I’m pretty sure I’m about to buy one of these.

  5. @frank: Bang! :)

    Just make sure you take a look at the demonstration model first, don’t buy it sight unseen. Like I said the picture doesn’t do the size of this thing justice.

    If it’s something you can find a use for, all the better to you. One man’s trash is another mans treasure as the saying goes.

  6. mike foley says:

    Gosh I love tools, even freaky ones! Ultimately, if it’s what I think it is in scale, I’m gonna keep one under the seat of my truck for self-defense!

    Man, there’s comedy in tools.

  7. mike foley says:

    I want to be clear here, I intend to go BUY one. And yes, it will probably be quite useful.

  8. Bailes says:

    Not sure what Johnson is using, but I really like my 48 in 1 Rotary Wrench. I just got it a week ago and it has worked great on several different projects. I’d buy it again. And besides, it is gauranteed for life, so whats not to like!

  9. Dave says:

    I purchased one recently and found it very useful. As long as you don’t try to use it on a “stuck” bolt it works fine. I didn’t have any problems using it on my motorcycle to remove a number of different size bolts. AND I didn’t have to have an entire tool box to do it. It is a very good tool for your emergency tool box. (and yes it is very large)

  10. Jim K. says:

    Needs a laser!!!

  11. Brau says:

    The most natural niche for this wrench is the emergency toolbox in the trunk, so it seems to me it’s missing the one thing you always need late at night, on the side of the road with a broken belt, struggling to see the adjuster bolt on the alternator … a light. Also, the socket won’t fall off and roll away into the ditch.

    All those times I had to use a Bic lighter flint to locate things, I woulda killed for a cheap LED light on my wrench.

  12. Cameron says:

    I saw that monster in the store and just laughed.

  13. Discobubba says:

    Just saw a commercial/short infomercial about this same design on a Kobalt tool but from what I noticed it didn’t have the ratcheting portion to it but did have a bit driver and light adapter which fit into it.

  14. Fixemup45 says:

    Seems funny to me that there is an ad for the lesser 16 in 1 Wrench right underneath this review of the 48 in 1. Interesting…….I like the utility of the 48 in 1 wrench. Have heard good things.

  15. fredb says:

    It’s in the Home depot sales flyer that came in todays paper, might go to HD and see one of these in person

  16. DougJ says:

    I like this wrench. I use it – it works!

  17. Dammit says:

    Seriously though, did anyone actually try use use this turd for it’s intended purpose? My store had one set up with a couple of lags in a 4×4. The sizes aren’t labeled on the heads. It was pick and choose and hope it didn’t go too far once it was on the head. Maybe they can come up with a way to use a torch to braze PVC next.

  18. Daniel says:

    I do not understand why one would buy a wrench this big. Just go use the traditional ones so that you will earn the skill of a handyman!

  19. Bill says:

    Looking for an online reivew, the only useful comment I find present in the articie is that “this is a big tool”. followed by “If you’re looking for a Christmas present for somebody you really dislike this year, the 48-in-1 ratcheting rotary socket wrench might be a $20 well spent.


  20. @Bill:

    I’m looking forward to your review of Husky’s 48-in-1 Ratcheting Rotary Socket Wrench. Please post a link here when you’ve published it.

  21. Bill says:

    It’s your review website Ben.

    I learned here that this wrench it is big and that you don’t like.

    Thank you.

  22. jesse says:

    Well, you get a lot of tool for the money – in terms of its weight…

  23. TomaFixin says:

    Like so many multi-wrenches, even the ordinary adjustable, the large, in this case huge, end of the wrench prevents access to all but the most unobstructed bolt heads. The original 8-in-1 Williams multisocket (non-ratchet), the ancestor of all of these suffered from the same problem. However it was old Williams strong and made in the USA. I’ve got two of them, but they don’t get much use on modern, jam-packed no-clearance equipment, besides being inch-sized.

  24. Steve G says:

    “Not sure what Johnson is using, but I really like my 48 in 1 Rotary Wrench. I just got it a week ago and it has worked great on several different projects. I’d buy it again. And besides, it is gauranteed for life, so whats not to like!”
    It’s a quote, but I totally agree.

  25. Tom says:

    Wife ALMOST got it for son inlaw, luckily she showed me first. As soon as I got done laughing I said the same thing they said here before reading this article. You better have a foot of clearance where the bolt is! 80% of the bolts or nuts you’re working on there would be NO clearance for this ham fisted contraption. I would teach the lady on QVC a little about tools, then even SHE’D see why sometimes a thin 5/8 deep well socket is what you need. And if you need THAT you’d better not reach for this colossal weapon…LOL

  26. Russell says:

    I saw the commercial for the Tiger Wrench 48 in 1 socket wrench and I wanted it. I wanted it so badly that I got online and started looking for it.
    Now that I am here, reading these comments about a similar tool, I have changed my mind. The whole idea of buying a all in one wrench like this is to eliminate a bunch of tools in my toolbox, make some space. If this thing is as big and bulky as y’all are saying, then it wont do that. It will just be another tool that takes up space in my already stuffed toolbox.
    So, thanks but no thanks.

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