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Think of this as a no-battery version of Black & Decker’s AutoWrench.  Here’s how it works: the jaw is spring-loaded towards the “open” position, so when you pull down on the lever located where the knurled part usually is, the wrench springs open.  You then release the lever and push the jaw closed around the fastener head with your fingers.  It’s ratcheted, so it stays in that position until you pull the lever again.  Irwin claims this action is two times faster than a standard adjustible wrench.

While the AutoWrench performed up to spec in our tests, many readers experessed concern over its appetite for batteries.  This looks like a simple solution that might appease everyone. 

Irwin tells us the 8″ version will retail for $20, and they’ll offer 6″, 10″, and 12″ versions as well.  Look for it on shelves later this year, and keep your eyes out for a hands-on with it soon here on Toolmonger.


10 Responses to Preview: Irwin’s Vise-Grip Quick-Adjusting Wrench

  1. Stuey says:

    Haha, why is there a SAE label on it? Now THAT would be funny, if they sold SAE and metric versions. That would almost be as bad as if they sold special left handed wrenches.

    This looks interesting – I’m looking forward to your review!

  2. I would assume that the measuring scale along the jaw is graduated in inches, and if you flip the tool over, there’s a metric scale on that side along with a different yellow marking in the handle.

    But I would still keep my eyes peeled for the metric version in the early April sales flyers 😉

  3. Chaon says:

    I’ve never seen one of these, but from the description I’m thinking this:

    If it is ratcheted, then won’t the ratchet teeth limit the possible widths of the jaws? So there is a tooth position for 1″, and another for 11/16″, but none for 2.5cm.

    So yes, there should be a metric version.

  4. Tom Chervenak says:

    A couple of comments…

    There is no spring opening the jaw when the lever is pulled, gravity does the opening.

    There are metric and inch (SAE) versions of the wrench because the wrench opens in either millimeter increments or 1/16″ increments to fit the metric or SAE fastener as precisely as an equivalently sized open end wrench. So you can say the wrenches have the fexibility of an adjustable wrench with the precision of a set of open end wrenches.

  5. Chaon says:

    “the wrench opens in either millimeter increments or 1/16″ increments”

    Let’s just all pretend I said it that way.

  6. Teacher says:

    Irwin claims it’s twice as fast as a standard adjustable wrench? Does it really take other people that long to turn the wheel on a standard adjustable wrench? Whew! Fitting this adjustable wrench to this fastener has got me plum wore out. I been turning this wheel for at least 3 seconds!

  7. Ned Wolf says:

    Standard adj wrenches in tight spaces you need to feel your way sometimes on to the nut or hex head. Now you can do it easier and same adjusted. I hate the standard wheel type when doing auto repair. When you make several turns and then readjust, either too tight, too loose, many times a miss fit drives me crazy. If this stays adjusted it would be faster than 2 x’s if you repair auto’s, bikes, appliances, etc.

  8. Stuey says:

    I don’t know… For certain repairs, an adjustable wrench isn’t a great idea. Take modern bike repair for example. There are very few fasteners on my bike where a wrench is needed, and an adjustable wrench cannot be used for all but one, where my thin Stanley 6″ can barely fit.

    After reading Tom’s comment, I agree that this wrench is not for increased speed, but instead increases precision.

  9. Shawn says:

    I am telling you I used this last weekend. I was making repairs to a boat lift in upstate NY and the water was cold so I wanted it to work as quick as possible. The nut was under the I-beam and it was easy to adjust with no problems. It stayed in place through all 8 nuts and I never had a problem. My brother and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. They made believers out of us!

  10. Shawn says:

    I got a email from Vise Grip this morning and there is a cool little demo on the website. Take a look at it, I think it might answer some questions people have about how it works.


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