Vise-grip tool test

Is the new 8-inch Irwin Quick-Adjusting Vise-Grip worth $25? Michel Roy thinks so.

By Michel Roy


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One of the most embarrassing moments I’ve ever suffered as a renovator involved a slightly battered adjustable wrench that absolutely refused to come off a plumbing fitting. I struggled under a sink while a client watched me squirm and curse under my breath for 20 minutes. The plumbing repair was easy; taking my wrench home was difficult.

Irwin has released a series of VISE-GRIP QUICK-ADJUSTING WRENCHES whose jaws lock in place where you set them, so the torque from tightening a nut doesn’t knock them out of alignment, requiring further adjustment. Because the adjustment doesn’t change after you’ve dialled it in, slipping and the resulting stripping of nut and bolt-head corners are also eliminated.

Instead of the classic spiral thumb barrel of typical adjustable wrenches, the new wrench features a sliding jaw with teeth that are engaged by a thumb catch. The wrench mechanism works either in a single or double action. You can simply push the sliding part of the jaw to make contact with the nut or bolt head, and it makes a pleasing ratchety, clicking sound.

While the defined increments of the tool provide a solid hold on a nut or a bolt head, the new Irwin adjustable wrench has found a place in my workshop apron because of the more literal music it makes. I’m addicted to the clicking noise. Plus, I’ve been using the wrench all over the shop and the house, for jobs where I would otherwise have used pliers for a secure grip to torque something down tightly. And the wrench comes off without any trouble, every time.

For more information, visit or call 800-464-7946.

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