Great lug wrenches for tough-to-reach nuts and bolts

·11-min read



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If you’ve ever had to change a tire before, you know that it’s almost impossible without a lug wrench. A lug wrench is a must-have tool for any car owner, from the daily commuter to the serious motorhead. Lug wrenches allow you to loosen and tighten your car's lug nuts so that you can change a flat tire or perform tire maintenance without having to wait for roadside assistance.

Lug wrenches are indispensable, but looking for one can be daunting, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. We've scoured the web for the leading lug wrenches of 2022 and put together a list of some great choices for both professional and amateur use, so get ready to throw out your old tools and pick up one of these bad boys-- it might just be worth it.

What are the leading lug wrenches of 2022?

EPAuto Universal Lug Wrench: Our Pick

EPAuto Lug Wrench is a handheld lug wrench that lets users remove lug nuts with ease.

It’s made from heavy-duty carbon steel that gives it the strength and durability needed to perform the task at hand. Its chrome-plated protective coating makes it rust-resistant, and its four-way cross design provides enough leverage for use in tight spaces. It’s easy to use, and it won’t slip or break under pressure.

Its compact design means it won't take up much space, but it can still provide better leverage than a lot of other wrenches on the market today. Designed with affordability in mind, this lug wrench is inexpensive enough for both professional mechanics and first-time buyers alike and takes the top spot on our list thanks to its compact design and versatility.

Pros

  • Heat-treated carbon steel construction

  • Chrome-plated corrosion-resistant coating

  • Four socket design

Cons

  • Not great for extra tight lugs

Cartman 16 inch Universal Lug Wrench: Another Great Option

This heavy-duty Cartman lug wrench can make removing and replacing the lug nuts on your vehicle a breeze.

This rugged and durable wrench features carbon steel construction that makes it easy to loosen the most stubborn lug nuts, even if they're lopsided or misshapen. Its high-quality steel will resist rust and corrosion, ensuring that this wrench stays strong and reliable for years to come. The extra-long 16" handle provides you with leverage, making it easier to get a grip on your car’s lug nuts. 

Its universal design means that this wrench is compatible with most vehicles, making it a great accessory for your car. The anti-slip rubber grips enhance comfort and ensure it won't slip out of your hand when you’re using it. To round things off it’s lightweight and portable, meaning you can toss it in your trunk and forget about it until you need it.

Pros

  • Universal size that fits most cars

  • Anti-slip rubber grips

  • Protection centers for extra strength

Cons

  • Chrome finish might wear off with time

WORKPRO 14 inch Foldable Lug Wrench: Easily Adjustable

This WORKPRO Lug Wrench is a good choice for any driver who wants to be prepared for their next flat tire.

Its alloy steel makes it durable, and its chrome polish is designed for maximum corrosion resistance. This wrench is 14 inches long and can fold up to fit inside your glove compartment or beneath your seat. 

You won't have to worry about compatibility thanks to this wrench’s universal design. It can be adjusted to three different positions and four different hex sizes (17 mm, 19 mm, 21 mm and 23 mm). Its compact size makes it easy to store and take with you wherever you go-- on the road, the trail or even at home.

Pros

  • Compact and foldable design

  • Three different adjustable positions

  •  Exceeds ANSI safety specifications.

Cons

  • Sockets possibly too big for some cars

Performance Tool 20 inch Lug Wrench: Also Consider

For a tool that’s going to get the job done, consider going with this wrench from Performance Tool.

It’s made from high-grade steel, making it durable and tough— you won't have to replace it any time soon. It also has a silver chrome finish that makes it corrosion-resistant. 

Its one-piece construction also makes it powerful enough to withstand a great deal of torque when securing or removing lug nuts. The contoured handle grip lets you apply the required torque without damaging nuts or bolts, and it includes an SAE and metric design to make it a versatile choice. Whether you're dealing with an old jalopy or an expensive sports car, this lug wrench can help you get the job done.

Pros

  • Made from high-grade steel 

  •  Rust-resistant coating

  • Contoured handle grip for extra comfort

Cons

  • Does not come with anti-slip grip

GTE Tools Lug Wrench: Another Option

Tired of lugging around a bulky old wrench that might not be compatible with your next vehicle?

Then get your hands on the GTE Tools lug wrench, made from heavy-duty steel that’s built to last. It's also got a built-in steel breaker bar for when you need a little extra torque, plus an integrated socket adapter for even more leverage. 

This wrench has a dual-drive head that fits lug nuts of all sizes, so no matter what kind of car you drive or the lug nuts it uses, this wrench has got you covered. The ergonomic handle ensures an anti-slip, comfortable grip, and its compact telescopic design makes it easy to store in the glove compartment of your car so you won't be left in the lurch the next time you need to change a tire.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty steel construction

  • Steel breaker bar with enhanced rust protection

  • Integrated socket adapter for extra leverage

Cons

  • May not be compatible with larger vehicles

Buying guide: lug wrenches

It's always a good idea to keep a set of tools in your vehicle for emergencies. Your car’s manual usually lists things you’ll need, but besides the obvious ones (like a jack and spare tire) you should also have a lug wrench too.

With so many types of lug wrenches and lug nuts available, it can be difficult to choose the right one. With this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to purchase the right tool for the job.

What’s the difference between a lug wrench and a socket wrench?

Both lug wrenches and socket wrenches are extremely useful tools that can be used in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to cars. They may seem like the same tool, but they differ in their uses and the types of nuts that they can tighten or loosen. It’s important to understand the difference between a lug wrench and a socket wrench so that you can use each kind of tool appropriately.

Lug wrench

A lug wrench is a tool that’s used to tighten or loosen a car tire’s lug nuts-- lug nuts secure the tire onto the wheel hub while the tire is on the car. A typical lug wrench has four ends and is often shaped like an X when viewed from above. These ends have different sizes, allowing them to fit different lug nuts. A lug wrench is generally made out of carbon steel and has a long handle that allows users to apply more torque force when loosening or tightening the lug nuts. 

Socket wrench

A socket wrench is an adjustable tool that uses interchangeable sockets to adapt to nuts and bolts of various sizes. Also known as a ratchet or ratchet spanner, the head of a socket wrench has two parts-- one part that moves freely, and another part that locks into place to prevent movement during use. They can have a T-shaped handle with a socket on either end, and these fit over the square head of the nut/bolt. When you twist it, the socket wrench will either loosen or tighten the nut/bolt as needed. You don't have to use much force with socket wrenches because the tool will do all the work for you.

How do I choose a lug wrench?

There are different types of lug wrenches available, and each is designed with specific things in mind. When shopping for a new wrench, here are some factors you should consider:

Compatibility

Different vehicles have different wheel sizes and bolt configurations, so it's important to choose a lug wrench that’s compatible with your vehicle. There are four main types of lug nuts: spline drive, bullet, hex and acorn/conical seat. Standard lug wrenches include sockets sized 17 mm, 19 mm, 21 mm and 23 mm. Most cars require one of these sizes, but some larger vehicles use larger lug nuts and will require a socket size of 27 mm or 32 mm. To avoid buying a tool that isn't right for your car, check the size of the nuts on your car before you go shopping for a lug wrench. 

If you have locking wheel nuts installed on your car, then you may need a special manufacturer-provided socket. It’s strongly recommended that you keep this tool in your trunk along with your spare wheel and jack so that it’s always around if you need it.

Material

The materials most frequently used for lug wrenches are steel, aluminum and chrome-vanadium steel. Steel wrenches are very durable and can withstand nearly any weather condition. Aluminum lug wrenches are lightweight but are susceptible to damage if you apply too much force during use. Chrome-vanadium steel is resistant to corrosion, so if you live in a humid climate then this option might be the one for you.

Portability

Lug wrenches can be light or heavy depending on their size and what they're made of. A steel T-bar lug wrench is heavy, but that’s because it's built for durability and strength. A small aluminum lug wrench, on the other hand, is light, but it may not be as strong as its steel counterpart when it comes to removing stubborn wheel nuts. If you want something compact and portable, then go for a telescoping lug wrench that can easily fit in your car’s trunk or glove compartment.

Handle

The lug wrench handle plays a huge role in removing and tightening the nuts and bolts on your wheel hub. It should be sturdy enough to deal with high torque without breaking or bending, and should also have an easy-to-grip handle that won't slip from your hands during use. It's a good idea to go with rubberized handles, as these provide a comfortable grip even when it’s hot out. Rubberized handles can also absorb some of the pressure from your hands, giving you better control of the tool when you’re using it.

Handle length

Longer handles provide more leverage, but may not be practical for vehicles with limited space around the wheel well. If space is an issue, look for a telescoping handle that can be adjusted to the ideal length when needed and stored at a shorter length when not in use.

How much does a lug wrench cost?

A lug wrench is an inexpensive but essential tool for every vehicle. The average cost of a lug wrench is between $15 and $50, depending on the style, size and material. Traditional models with a four-way cross or L-shape design can cost between $10 and $30, while the most expensive lug wrenches are the telescopic models made from die-cast iron. These have a T-shaped head that slides underneath the tire and a low profile for use in tight spaces, and can cost up to $50.

People also asked

Q: Are lug nut wrenches universal?

A: Yes, most lug nut wrenches are universal. That being said, you should definitely check the product specifications before buying, just to be on the safe side.

Q: Do cars come with a lug wrench?

A: Most cars come with a basic lug wrench nowadays. If yours didn’t, though, don’t worry-- you can easily purchase one from Amazon or your local auto shop.

Q: What can I use a lug wrench for?

A: A lug wrench, sometimes known as a tire iron, can be used to screw or unscrew lug nuts on cars, trucks and other vehicles. Lug wrenches are either X-shaped (four-way) or L-shaped.

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