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I have been working on a series of DIY tool kit buying guides (thank you to Home Depot for sponsoring this endeavor!), and one of the most interesting parts involves drawing a line between “must-have” and “good-to-have” tools.
At what point does a tool become an essential DIY tool kit component?
A knife is essential. Measuring tape? Of course. Screwdrivers, pliers, and a hammer? Absolutely. But there are other tools that are good to have.
A dead blow hammer, for instance, is a solid offering that complements any starter tool kit. That’s something most DIYers and pros can use.
But what about a painter’s tool? That’s a very application-specific tool, with little utility outside of painting-related tasks. That’s the type of tool that you buy as you need it.
During one of my many visits to local Home Depot stores to research and purchase tools for this content series, I bought myself a new Husky strap wrench.
I have an older strap wrench from a different brand, and while versatile, it’s very light duty. I bought that other strap wrench quite a few years ago, motivated by a “I wonder if this will come in handy” mindset. That strap wrench has definitely come in handy.
I saw this Husky strap wrench and bought it on the spot.
My strap wrench has come in handy over the years, and I anticipate that the same will be true for this Husky. I don’t intend for this Husky to take the place of my smaller and lighter duty strap wrench, but I can already predict that I’ll use this Husky for tougher tightening or loosening tasks.
What do you need a strap wrench for? I have mainly used mine for turning PVC pipes, but strap wrenches can also be used on oil filters, caps, knobs, and pretty much anything cylindrical. I have also used mine to open jars when nothing else would work.
One thing to keep in mind is that strap wrenches are easiest to use around fixed objects, as they require two hands to adjust and tighten.
The Husky has a 28″ strap and can be used on parts 1″ to 8″ in diameter. The strap is a very thick and heavy duty rubber, with grooves for a very secure grip. It’s simple to use and easy to adjust.
Additionally, the strap is non-marring, and so it won’t damage delicate finishes the way pliers might.
To use the strap wrench, you wrap the strap around the object to be loosened or tightened. Pull the rubber strap until you have a snug fit, and then rotate the handle in the desired direction. Pivoting the tool locks the strap in place and under tension, and static friction enables users to easily apply torque to hard-to-turn objects.
You can also use strap wrenches on irregularly-shaped objects, such as this garden hose spigot, although I don’t think I’ve ever used my strap wrench in this manner yet.
This is a problem-solver type of tool. It’s the type of tool you can buy either with deliberate uses in mind, or just to have available for when you might need it.
I wouldn’t consider this a “bare essentials” must-have, but I’m sure it’d see use in any DIYer or pro user’s kit..
There are a lot of tools where I hesitate to say “buy one even if you don’t think you’ll use it, because there will be a time when you need it.” But, with a $11 price tag, this is a relatively low-risk buy, and it’s the type of tool that will sometimes justify its purchase the first time you tackle a “can’t do it any other way” type of task.
Once you have a strap wrench at your disposal, it makes all kinds of things easier. For instance, with a good strap wrench, you might never curse at your water filter housing wrench again.
The strap wrench is covered by Husky’s lifetime warranty on hand tools. They say: If your Husky product ever fails, bring it back and we will replace it for FREE.
Husky also has a woven polyester strap wrench, for use on pipes up to 2″ and tubes up to 3-1/2″ wide.
If you want something a little lighter duty, Home Depot also has a Klein strap wrench with 1-1/2″ to 5″ capacity and 6″ handle.