Hey buddy, can you grab me a 15mm wrench? Forty-five seconds after asking your friend that question, you're wondering what's taking him so long. He returns to the engine bay shaking his head and reminds you that a clean toolbox is a happy toolbox. If you're tired of getting frustrated every time you spend more time than you should tracking down the right wrench size, this month's Truckin Tough is for you. We went out and purchased 10 of the most popular wrench organizers and put them through our gauntlet of tests. Keeping in mind most weekend warriors have a 26-inch-wide toolbox with 22½-inch-wide drawers, we examined wrench security, size identification, portability, number of wrenches stored, features, and mounting/storage flexibility. In addition, we compared value, country of manufacture, and ease of purchase. Now go out there and get organized.
1. Hansen Universal Wrench Holder - 5300
$7.95 (at summitracing.com) hansenglobalinc.com
Hansen is in the business of organizing professional mechanics and home DIYers alike, so it came as no big surprise when their universal wrench holder took home the top spot. Made in the USA, the 13-wrench holder locks each wrench in place securely. Grab the handle and you can easily transport the rack from toolbox to mechanic's cart, and with two sets of SAE and metric sizes, identifying the right wrench size is a snap. The holder also includes holes for wall mounting if you choose. For less than $8, the Hansen holder is a great value and will provide many years of service.
2. Wrench-It-To-Me - 46884
At first glance, we thought the Wrench-It-To-Me was a gimmick. After going through our stringent testing, we now appreciate the large size, space-saving design, and storage for a variety of wrench styles. Made in the USA of durable heavy-duty plastic, the 16x22-inch organizer snugly fits into standard toolbox drawers and can accommodate 29 wrenches, as well as stubbys, Allen wrenches, and flare nut wrenches. The organizer is not portable, but once in a drawer, the wrenches stay put and don't slide around.
3. Ernst Manufacturing Gripper Wrench Organizer - 5088
$7.95 (at summitracing.com) ernstmfg.com
Similar in design to the Hansen organizer, the softer-compound plastic Ernst Gripper Wrench Organizer had a more difficult time locking wrenches in place. The USA-made Ernst organizer holds 15 wrenches, but didn't come with size labels. It is portable, and it can be hung on a wall, but with a few wrenches coming loose during the shake test, the Ernst fell to Third Place.
4. Sort-a-Tool Wrench Storage Tray
$9.95 (at sears.com)
Despite receiving four-star reviews online, we couldn't place the Sort-a-Tool wrench storage tray any higher than Fourth Place. Made in the USA, we like the large identification labels, but found the “sizing bar” to be more of a waste of time than genuine benefit. Also, the designated wrench length didn't accommodate many of our Snap-on wrenches used in the testing. If your set of wrenches doesn't include large sizes, this organizer may work well, but for those of us with 19mm and up wrenches, it fell short.
5. Lisle Pliers/Wrench Rack - 40460
$13.95 (at summitracing.com)
Lisle helps clean the clutter of your toolbox up with this clever plier/wrench rack (made in the USA). By laying the wrenches on their side, valuable space is instantly freed up. Unfortunately, once the wrenches are on their side, it becomes difficult to determine a size, and for the larger wrenches, they don't securely stay in place. Much like the Sort-a-Tool, if your wrench collection isn't extensive, this may be a solid choice but look elsewhere for large sizes.
6. Craftsman Wrench Holder - 65272
With stamped sizing from ¼-⅞ or 7mm to 19mm (randomly excluding 18mm), the Craftsman wrench holder retains 12 wrenches. However, it does not hold 12 thin or standard-handle wrenches securely. Several sizes fell freely during our shake test, and we found a few sizes were hard to insert into the holder. The Craftsman is portable and it can be mounted to a wall, but with it being made in Mexico, we couldn't look past its inefficiencies.
7. Wrench Rack - 36930
Several testers described the Wrench Rack as “awful, terrible, and weak.” Made in India, the flimsy, low-quality plastic rack didn't clear a typical 26-inch drawer, had no identification marks, and four wrenches couldn't even be forced into their respective positions.
8. Craftsman Universal Wrench Tray-Metric - 14969
At $14.99, the Craftsman Universal Wrench Tray was the second most expensive organizer tested, yet it only fit seven wrenches (10-17mm, but omitted 16mm). The red locking cover didn't secure the wrenches in the holder. In fact, all but one wrench fell free during the shake test. Stay away from this one.
9. Ernst Manufacturing Wrench Rail Kit- 6015
$10.95 (at summitracing.com) ernstmfg.com
For those looking to organize their random-sized wrenches, the Ernst Rail Kit is a viable option, as there is no real size requirement. However, the 6015 rail kit doesn't come with magnets or tape to secure it to a drawer, and the wrenches collapsed during the drawer open/close test. If you don't mind a little monkeying around to make them work, they can fit up to 40 wrenches, but the aggravation of wrenches sliding around does offsets the perks.
10. Craftsman Magnetic Locking Wrench Holder - 10017
$24.99 purchased at local store
A few months ago, we compared the best mechanic's seats. The seat we purchased from Craftsman inexplicably was discontinued as we performed that test. This month, the magnetic locking wrench holder we bought from Sears was also randomly discontinued. Doing an Internet search, it appears the holder was private labeled for Craftsman by another company. To make things even weirder, the photos of the wrenches on the product packaging are actually Mac wrenches. It's too bad Craftsman keeps having these problems, as the holder was actually good enough to garner the Fourth Place spot.