Once in a while in your life, you might have had the need to change the wheels of your child’s bike or yours. You might be a plumber and once you searched for a fitting tool to fasten some soft nuts all in vain. In that case, you rush for your craftsman toolset for a wrench.
Most people are conversant with a regular wrench which consists of two straight jaws and a rounded middle. The gap between the jaws is the one that determines the size of the wrench. A flare nut wrench, on the other hand, is arguably the replacement of the normal wrench for some scarce applications that require it as it solves much of the problems like stripping nuts or injuring the knuckle.
As it is with most hand tools, the two, a flare nut wrench and regular wrench comes with a share of confusion for most users. Bearing in mind that their uses are almost similar, explaining a flare nut wrench vs. regular wrench is a bit of a hassle. This post, however, makes it easy for you by explaining each tool and its specific traits and uses.
The main point reference is that a flared nut wrench is a hybrid version of the box-end wrench and traditional wrench. However, instead of a complete enclosure, one of its sides is left open to allow for enough room for the wrench to fit around the hose before it comes down around the nut.
What is a Wrench?
A wrench also called a spanner in Commonwealth English is a small tool that is used for providing a grip or a mechanical advantage while applying torque to turn objects. It is mostly used on rotary fasteners like bolts and nuts to either fasten them and keep them from turning or to loosen them.
Wrenches come in different shapes with the most common ones being the ring wrench and open-ended wrench. With their history going as far back as the 15th Century, the tools have grown to different versions now although the regular one is still the most common.
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Types of Wrenches
As of today, there are a number of wrench types that one can choose from. They include:
- Open-end Wrench: this is a one-piece wrench designed with a U-shaped opening on both sides. The openings are different in size and are both oriented at an angle of 15 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the wrench’s handle.
- Box-end Wrench: also a one-piece tool with double openings on each side. It is also used for tightening or loosening nuts or bolt heads that have hexagonal or octagonal shapes.
- Combination Wrench: this is a double-ended type with an open-end wrench on one end and a box-end wrench on the other. The two sides usually fit the same size of bolts.
- Ratcheting Box Wrench: this is a type of the box wrench, but its end section ratchets. The tool also allows for ratcheting to be reversed by flipping over the wrench or activating a reversing level on it.
- Flex-end socket wrench (Saltus wrench): the concept of this type is similar to a socket wrench. It has a socket permanently affixed to its handle, but the sockets are not interchangeable as it is with a socket wrench.
- Flare Nut Wrench (tube wrench or line wrench): this type is similar to a box-end wrench although it has a narrow opening that only allows the wrench to fit over a tube as compared to a box-end wrench that encircles it. It also has thick jaws that increase the contact area with the bolt or nut.
Other wrench types include
- Spanner wrench
- Striking face box wrench
- Slammer wrench
- Slugger wrench
- Hammer wrench
- Adjustable wrench/adjustable end wrench
- Crescent wrench
- Self-adjusting wrench
- Pipe wrench
- Socket wrench
- Ratchet wrench.
- Torque wrench
- 4-way lug wrench
- Dog bone wrench
What is A Flare Nut Wrench?
This is a tool used for gripping bolt heads and nuts on the end of tubes. It has a narrow opening that is wide enough to allow for the wrench to fit over the tube. It also has thick jaws that increase the contact area with a nut or bolt.
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One of the advantages of the flare nut wrench is that it offers a firm gripping of the five sides of the nut. This is different from the usual two that a regular wrench grips and which usually makes it hard for a six-sided grip. Also, it is much more unlikely to strip the nuts if you are dealing with soft metals
A flare nut wrench is designed for a wide variety of applications. It is mostly used on cars (also called a brake wrench as a result) and is mostly used on fastenings that secure clutch lines and brakes on cars. They are also used on fasteners that secure fuel pumps or temperature sensors or with any other machine work or plumbing with flare fitting or compatible hex.
What is A Regular Wrench?
The regular wrench can take various definitions based on the type. However, the most common one is the type with a U-shaped opening used for gripping two opposite faces of a nut or bolt.
The wrench has oriented ends with an angle of around 15 degrees. The orientation is to the longitudinal axis of the handle which allows for a greater range of movement even in enclosed spaces by flipping the wrench over.
Difference Between Flare Nut Wrench Vs. Regular Wrench
The striking differences between the two wrench types include:
A flare nut wrench is an open-ended wrench designed for fastening or loosening hexagonal fittings and nuts. A regular wrench, on the other hand, is the most common wrench type and features U-shaped openings on both sides for gripping two opposite faces of bolts and nuts.
A flare nut wrench is mostly used in machine work and plumbing. Mechanics also use them to fasten clutch lines and brakes on cars. They are also used to secure fuel pumps and temperature sensors.
A regular wrench, conversely, is used for turning rotary fasteners such as bolts and nuts or to keep them tight and free of turning.
A flare nut wrench is mostly used on fasteners that are made of soft metal. This helps to reduce the odds of stripping the nuts. It also helps to reduce the chance of stripping and injuring the user.
A regular wrench, on the other hand, is used on any other fasteners but mostly harder metals. This is because using it can easily slip or strip the metal especially if it is soft.
The efficiency of a Flare Nut Wrench Vs. Regular Wrench
One of the drawbacks of a flare nut wrench is its form-fitted design. As such, it does not have the overall strength that a regular two-sided wrench has. The regular wrench is more powerful in this case, and if a nut or bolt is stuck, chances of the wrench breaking or twisting of the hand are minimal as compared to when you are using a flare nut wrench.
Also, there are only a few tasks where a flare nut wrench would be required. As it stands, a regular wrench can perform most of the applications you would use a flare nut wrench for. In simple terms, the flare nut wrench has extremely specific jobs which are not common: otherwise, for every other task, a regular wrench would surface for you.
Even though the prices between the two tools do not vary too much, a flare nut wrench is considerably cheaper than a regular wrench.
Flare Nut Wrench Vs. Regular Wrench: Which is Better?
When shopping for these tools, the issue of budget and costs will not come up much as compared to other considerations. Mostly, what will matter most is the intended use of the wrench type that you want.
Overall, the regular wrench is a more valuable option since a flare nut wrench is more specific, but it will all boil down to the applications head. Otherwise, if you are a temperature sensor expert or a plumber, the flare nut wrench would be your ultimate asset while a regular wrench would come in handy for any other nut or bolt fastening needs.
References & Further Reading
Last update on 2019-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API