How to decide between open or ring spanner sets

How to decide between open or ring spanner sets?

Person A: “Pass me that spanner set, would you?”
Person B: “Open or ring?”

Person A: “What now?”

Of course, it doesn’t take long at all to explain to Person A what the key difference is between ‘open end’ and ‘ring’-type spanner sets.  Open end is the type depicted in an emoji when you type ‘spanner’ into your iPhone message app – the most common spanner type with that familiar square C or U-shaped end.  The ‘C’ or ‘U’ is the jaw that fits perfectly onto the fastener’s parallel sides, a little like the way you would grab a bolt to unscrew it with your own fingers.  And ring spanner sets have a ring or O-shaped jaw, often  enabling the user to grab even more securely all around the fastener.

But when a business or an organisation like yours is doing its research as to which spanner sets are the right choice for your most common tasks, what else is there to know about the ‘open vs ring’ selection?  The answer, unsurprisingly, is that the right tool depends entirely upon what you’re going to be doing with it.

For instance, there will be occasions when you pull out the box spanner only to discover that there simply isn’t room around the entire fastener to afix it – let’s call that Example 1 for later reference.  In that case, the ‘C’ jaw of the open-end alternative will almost always be able to be slid into position on two parallel sides, as would have been the case when the fastener was secured in place.

Therefore, the key advantage of open-end spanners – and the reason their image is most synonymous with the word spanner itself – is the versatility.  Indeed, a single, double-ended, open-end spanner featuring two of the most common spanner end sizes is the most versatile spanner you can possibly possess.

The headline benefit of a ring spanner, on the other hand, is that it can be the most appropriate and efficient choice for certain situations.  If, for instance, there had been room around the fastener in Example A for a ring spanner to slot around it, there are two potential benefits that can be taken advantage of:

  1. No slip

Especially when in combination with a multi-sided fastener, the teeth on the inner edge of the ring or ‘O’ ensure a more even and secure grip, almost completely eliminating the risk that the spanner’s grip will slip – common with the more versatile open-end alternative.

  1. No damage

Similarly, because that tooth-on-edge combination grip between the spanner and the fastener is so secure with evenly-distributed load, there is much less of a risk that an instance of slippage will result in damage to the crucial edges of the fastener.

  1. Knuckle room

Another key benefit of a ring spanner is that the working end is often offset, giving the user knuckle room for those tighter spots and very useful clearance when in use to avoid obstructions and protrusions.

Are you ready to select the correct spanner sets for your industry, business or specific application?  If you’re not sure, bear in mind that you can purchase spanner sets featuring double-ended combination spanners, with open-end on one end and a ring spanner head on the other – meaning you’ve always got the best of both worlds in your hot little hand.  If you’re still unclear about what spanner set is right for your organisation or tool-box, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an expert.


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