“We can rebuild him — we have the technology.” Alright, so the bionic man could run really fast (in slow motion – with sound effects), see really far, and he was really strong. But what about home improvement? I suppose he could probably grip bolts tightly with his fingers, but sadly not all of us “have the technology.” Luckily for us flesh and blood non-bionic types, there’s the Bionic Wrench and Bionic Grip from LoggerHead Tools. LoggerHead shipped us a couple of these wrenches to see if they lived up to their Bionic heritage. Read on for both the Bionic Wrench and Bionic Grip review impressions.
The Bionic Wrench
The closed head design of the Bionic Wrench makes its intended targets nuts and bolts. Available in three sizes; 10″, 8″, and 6″. Each replacing 18, 14 and 14 SAE and Metric wrench sizes respectively. That’s right, 3 Bionic Wrenches equals 46 standard wrenches!
In areas where the nut or bolt was flush with a flat area we found the Bionic Wrench awkward to use (you have to keep a firm grip on the tool, which is tricky to do when your hand basically needs to go between the wrench and the flat surface the nut or bolt is attached to). In these situations, we’d be inclined to reach for a socket set.
However in situations where there is clearance for your hand around the tool, the Bionic Wrench is great. Because the gripping power is distributed to all the flat surfaces of your nut or bolt, the Bionic Wrench can even work on somewhat rounded off fasteners. Very handy if someone damaged the fastener with one of those pesky non-bionic wrenches.
The Bionic Grip
It’s the more open-ended Bionic sibling, ideal for gripping pipes and round stock. This wrench has a fierce grip! We definitely liked how tightly you can hang on to round material. That grip is further enhanced by sharp teeth on each gripping area (unlike the Bionic Wrench which uses smooth, flat areas to apply pressure).
As with the Bionic Wrench, if your pipe is right up against another surface, clearance can again be an issue. Since the frame of the Bionic wrench protrudes a bit past where the teeth grip, you’ll need a bit of clearance both for the frame of the tool and for your fingers to get a proper grip on the tool.
If you’ve got enough room to work with, you can really clamp down though. So much so, that I suspect you could crush softer metals like copper. We didn’t try that since we didn’t have any scrap copper and didn’t want to make a bionic leak with our existing copper lines. However, the Bionic grip does distribute pressure across more areas than conventional pliers, (four rather than two), making it less likely to distort your hollow stock.
Overall, we think the Bionic Wrench and Bionic Grip are both useful to have around. We found the Bionic Grip particularly handy when it comes to getting a very solid grip on pipes. With no adjustments to make (other than possibly which size tool you reach for), both Bionic tools are very easy to operate. They provide a solid grip, and are a viable option when you’re dealing with a nut or bolt that’s been rounded off a bit.
We also found both of them, but the Bionic Wrench in particular, tricky to use in areas with tight clearances (there are many jobs that a socket set or open ended wrench are better suited for). One of the biggest benefits we see with both tools is in their versatility. If you’re frequently wrenching around with well-exposed nuts and bolts and want to travel light, then just one or two Bionic tools can equal about 10 pounds of wrenches and sockets.
Popular Mechanics gave these their “Editors Choice Award” a few years back and I can see why they liked them. Loggerhead has created some handy tools with very innovative design. With that said, clearance issues on many jobs will make these tools something you likely only reach for when you have the space for them and your hand.
If you’re eager to add Bionic power to your arsenal, you can pick them up online for roughly $25-$40/wrench: