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Flare-Nut vs Regular Wrench: Which is Best for Your Needs?

flare-nut-vs-regular-wrench

flare-nut-vs-regular-wrench

The wrench is an incredibly versatile and useful tool to have on hand, and there are so many models for specific purposes. Two popular wrench types are the flare-nut and regular. Though each wrench type is useful, each one comes with its own advantages and drawbacks.

Simply put, what distinguishes these two wrench types is their head shape. The flare-nut has five sides, while the regular only has two. This makes the two wrench types ideal for different scenarios.

To find out which wrench type is right for your needs, read on. This article overviews both the flare-nut wrench and the regular wrench, as well as gives you advice on which one you should get. Let’s get started.

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Overview of the Flare-Nut Wrench

The flare-nut wrench is a specific type of wrench with five sides. It is open-ended so that it can be used for hexagonal nuts and fittings. Many people mistake the flare-nut wrench for a box or ratchet wrench, but there is an open head instead. The head has a 15-degree angle with grooves so that the wrench fits tightly over different sized flare fittings and hex nuts.

Many flare-nut wrenches are double-sided. What this means is that there are two heads that face in opposite directions. This will allow you to loosen tight fittings quickly and smoothly without readjusting. Additionally, the open head lets you loosen nuts and fittings without the risk of edge stripping.

Craftsman Flare Nut Wrench
Image Credit: Pixabay

Advantages

Flare-nut wrenches are advantageous because they have more powerful gripping powers. It’s 5-sided design makes it much more snug around different nuts. As a result, it is better at loosening or tightening nuts than the regular wrench.

Flare-nut wrenches also tend to have shorter handles. Though a shorter handle does not provide as much leverage as a long one, it makes them more suitable for tight spaces. This is especially helpful since many tight spaces, such as under the hood of a car, will require both a tighter grip and shorter handle.

Disadvantages

At the same time, flare-nut wrenches are not the most durable wrench type. The sides of the jaw are thinner than regular wrenches. This makes them weaker and more susceptible to breakage. If you use a flare-nut wrench too roughly, it is way easier to snap. If you accidentally snap the wrench, the broken piece can fly off and injure someone.

Another downside of the flare-nut wrench is its usability. Although the flare-nut wrench is highly advantageous for certain jobs, it simply isn’t as versatile as the regular wrench. So, you would only want a flare-nut wrench for specific jobs. Some people might not ever find the need for a flare-nut wrench.

Best For

Obviously, flare-nut wrenches are best for tightening or loosening hexagonal nuts and fittings. This makes them versatile and useful, especially for working on cars or plumbing.

The most popular industry to use flare-nut wrenches is the automobile industry. The fastenings on these wrenches are great for securing brakes and clutch lines. You can also use them for fuel pumps and temperature sensors.

The plumbing industry also uses flare-nut wrenches often because of the enhanced use of the hex nut shape or flare fittings.

Pros
  • Tight grip
  • Short handle
Cons
  • Not very durable
  • Not as versatile

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Overview of a Regular Wrench

Most people are pretty familiar with the regular wrench, but it is helpful to look at it in more detail. Though there are many types of regular wrenches, the U-shaped wrench is the most popular. It is often used to grip opposite faces of a bolt or nut. It normally has oriented ends that are angled at 15 degrees. This allows the wrench to provide a greater scope of movement.

wrenches
Image Credit: Pixabay

Advantages

Since the regular wrench is used frequently, it is really advantageous to keep a regular wrench in your set because you can use it for a variety of purposes. This U-shape design means that it can fit most shapes or designs.  It’s versatile use makes it an essential tool to just about any workplace or home.

Another advantage of the regular wrench is that it has a form fitted design. This design allows it to be more powerful, making it a great option if you have greater bolt needs. Additionally, this design minimizes the chance of breaking the wrench or bolt.

Regular wrenches are also much more durable than flare-nut wrenches. The sides of each jaw are thicker. This makes them less likely to break or snap. The enhanced durability of the wrench both saves you money and makes accidents less likely to occur.

The last benefit of regular wrenches is that they are really affordable and easy to find. Their versatility means that you can find them with little to no hassle.

Disadvantages

The versatility of the regular wrench does come with a drawback. Notably, the more versatile and less specific design means that it does not provide the strongest grip around certain nuts. Because of this fact, you are at greater risk of having an accident when using this wrench for oddly shaped or small nuts.

Additionally, many regular wrenches have very long handles. Although a long handle will give you more leverage, it also means that wrenches of this length are less suitable for tight spaces. When working in automobiles or other small areas, you may find a regular wrench to be too long to get the job done.

Best For

Regular wrenches are better for general use and big bolts. Because of their durability and nonspecific design, you can use them for many purposes, ranging from automobiles to plumbing to fixtures. The regular wrench can be great for just about everything except tight nuts.

Pros
  • Highly versatile
  • Form fitted design
  • Durable
  • Easy to find
Cons
  • Weak grip
  • Long handle

Flare-Nut Wrench vs Regular Wrench: A Detailed Comparison

Design

Edge: Depends

Both the flare-nut wrench and regular wrench are going to have a head and handle. Generally, regular wrenches have longer handles than flare-nut models, but that can depend on the exact model. As for the head, a flare-nut wrench is 5-sided. A regular wrench, on the other hand, will have a 2-sided head that looks like a U.

The 5-sided design of a flare-nut wrench makes it better at gripping nuts, but it also means that it is less durable. Conversely, the 2-sided head on the regular wrench makes it more durable but less powerful at gripping.

Power

Edge: Depends

Flare-nut wrenches tend to have more gripping power. Since the models are more fitted, they can more snugly grip small nuts and other fitted hoses. The U-shaped design of regular wrenches, on the other hand, means they don’t fit or grip as tightly as flare-nut wrenches.

With that being said, the U-shaped design and long handle normally means that regular wrenches have more leverage than flare-nut wrenches. This is advantageous in certain scenarios, but disadvantageous in others.

Durability

Edge: Regular wrench

In terms of durability, the regular wrench wins. Since it only has two sides, each of the sides are thicker, making them stronger and more durable. Flare-nut wrenches, in comparison, have thinner sides that are more susceptible to breaking.

Price

Edge: Neither

As for price, both wrenches are extremely affordable. You may be able to find regular wrenches a bit easier, but you should have no problem finding either model at an extremely affordable price.

mechanic holding a wrench
Image Credit: Freepik

Which Is Best For Me?

Scenario Which Wrench To Get
Plumbing Flare-nut wrench and regular wrench
Automobiles Flare-nut wrench and regular wrench
Small nuts Flare-nut wrench
General use Regular wrench
Bolts Regular wrench
Budget Flare-nut wrench or regular wrench

Deciding between a flare-nut wrench and a regular wrench can be difficult since they are similar, and both come with substantial advantages and disadvantages.

To put it simply, you should get a flare-nut wrench if working with small nuts, especially if you are in the automobile or plumbing industries. On the other hand, you might want to get a regular wrench for versatile or non specific usage.

When to Get a Flare-Nut Wrench

Because of the shape of flare-nut wrenches, this wrench type is absolutely necessary if you work in the automobile or plumbing industries. The open 5-sided design ensures that you can easily grip nuts so you can maximally tighten or loosen them.

If you don’t intend to work on automobiles or plumbing really ever, the need for a flare-nut wrench is less existent. Although flare-nut wrenches are not that expensive, you might not feel the need to get one unless you work or dabble in these industries.

Overall, use a flare-nut wrench for tightening or loosening smaller nuts. The open 5-sided shape ensures maximum grip and protection while working.

When to Get a Regular Wrench

No matter your profession or interests, it is always good to have a regular wrench on hand. Its versatile design means that you should be able to use the wrench at least once or twice.

Luckily, the regular wrench is incredibly affordable, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money for a tool that you might not use that frequently. Even plumbers and automobile workers should have a regular wrench on hand, even if they use the flare-nut wrench more often.

You should use a regular wrench to tighten or loosen larger bolts, but regular wrenches are not suitable for small nuts.

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Conclusion

The flare-nut wrench and regular wrench are both highly useful, but you should select the flare-nut wrench when working on nuts, especially within the automobile or plumbing industries. Regular wrenches, on the other hand, are better for bolts and general use.

If you aren’t sure what your intended use will be, I recommend getting a regular wrench. It is much more versatile and useful. Luckily, both types are highly affordable, so many people would be able to afford both models. You might want to buy both if you are unsure which one you need. Chances are, you will use both at one point in your life.

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