It isn’t every day that a new tool company comes along to challenge the likes of Snap-on and Matco. Taking a slice of the pie from well established brands is tough, no matter the segment. When you’re talking about something as important as hand tools, that job becomes a whole lot more difficult. After all, a mechanic’s wrench set is as important and personal to them as a knife is to a chef or a tube of hair gel was to James Dean.
In other words, tools are one product area in which it is very tough to get people to switch brands.
Enter the crew from Olsa Tools. Five years ago, founder Charles Marois was working on a vehicle in his Alberta garage, becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of organization options and storage solutions for his automotive sockets and wrenches. Following the development and successful launch of these types of products, Olsa Tools started down the path of making pro-grade items that are more affordable than other brands but don’t skimp on build quality.
Of particular interest? Their line of Slim Profile wrenches. They’re designed to reach fasteners in tight spaces (those infernal bolts behind an engine clutch fan spring immediately to mind). This particular set of spanners is open-ended, meaning they don’t have an offset like a traditional box-end wrench. Combined with a very thin shaft, these things make snaking into difficult places a breeze.
So how do these slim wrenches stack up? Read on to find out.
What’s in the Box?
Available in either a 5-piece SAE Set or 7-piece metric set, we got our hands on both for review. The metric set sizes range from 6 to 19 mm, while SAE sizing goes from 1/4” to 7/8” – both feature a thickness of 2 mm on the lower end, going up to 4 mm in the largest sizes. Each set comes in a foam tray with clearly-marked labels for easy storage, to make finding the right wrench you need simpler for you (or your designated helper).
To get a better idea for sizing, just check out the following images. The first provides worm’s-eye view comparing an Olsa Tools 9/16″ wrench from this set to a 9/16″ box-end from my own stash of Mastercraft gear. The second shows them side-by-each in profile.
Neat, hey? The wrenches were easy to grip and turn, even with their slim design. We noticed no flex or weak spots when pressing them into duty under the hood of an aging Silverado with fuel delivery problems. The larger units had a pleasant heft that made wrenching easy while the ones designed for fasteners of a smaller diameter spun fuel rail connectors off their perches with ease.
How They Performed
It’d be a mistake to equate slender construction for weakness. Olsa Tools says their wrenches are tested to endure a lifetime of use and we certainly saw no faults in these tools while arms deep into a repair on the Chevy. Since the wrenches are so thin, it is tempting to try and bend them horizontally with your hands but one must remember that a wrench applies its force vertically along the length of its body and, by this measure, these slim-fit wrenches are plenty strong.
Complaints? Well, they’re harder to pick up off a flat surface than a traditional box-end wrench thanks to the very design that makes them so handy in the first place. Absent of any flared or raised surfaces – the whole point of a slim wrench – there’s nothing on which to grab. It’s a trade-off we’re more than willing to make and another vote for putting the wrenches back in their foam organizer between tasks.
Another hiccup involves said foam organizer. In it, the wrenches sit bolt upright which looks fine until one learns that the 13/16″ x 7/8″ wrench, the biggest of the set, is too tall to fit in a low-profile toolbox sliding drawer when stored in the foam. This forced your author to remove it and place it flat on the organizer, triggering all kinds of OCD tendencies for those of us who like a neat tray. Our suggested fix would be for Olsa Tools to angle the wrenches at a 45-degree slant in their foam home; the wrenches would still be easy to grab but consume less vertical space.
The slim design makes these wrench sets convenient for tight spaces, while still being strong enough to get the job done. And it seems like we’re not the only ones who are impressed: according to Canadian Business, Olsa Tools ranked 17th on the 2019 Startup 50, a list that tracks Canada’s top new growth companies. Their revenue has grown over 900% in the last two years alone.
Looks like some of the major tool players will be forced to share their slice of the pie after all.
If you are interested in purchasing the Olsa Tools Slim Profile Wrench Set, make sure to use our exclusive coupon code AG10SPWRENCH to save an additional 10-percent off. This coupon will expire on December 31st. (To shop these wrenches in the US, click here. To shop in Canada, visit Olsa’s Canadian site here.)
7pc Open End Wrench METRIC
- Sizes: 6×7, 8×9, 10×11, 12×13, 14×15, 16×17, 18×19
- Foam Tray Size: 11.81″ x 2.16″ x 5.11″
5pc Open End Wrench SAE
- Sizes: 1/4×5/16, 3/8×7/16, 1/2×9/16, 5/8×3/4, 13/16×7/8″
- Foam Tray Size: 14.17″ x 2.36″ x 4.52″
Metric Sizes Dimension:
- 6 & 7 mm = 15 x 2 cm
- 8 & 9 mm = 18 x 2.5 cm
- 10 & 11 mm = 18 x 2.5 cm
- 12 & 13 mm = 21 x 3.5 cm
- 14 & 15 mm = 21 x 3.5 cm
- 16 & 17 mm = 25 x 4.5 cm
- 18 & 19 mm = 25 x 4.5 cm
Metric Wrench Thickness:
- 6 & 7 mm = 2mm
- 8 & 9 mm = 2mm
- 10 & 11 mm = 2.5mm
- 12 & 13 mm = 3mm
- 14 & 15 mm = 3mm
- 16 & 17 mm = 4mm
- 18 & 19 mm = 4mm
SAE Sizes Dimensions:
- 1/4 & 5/16 ” = 15 x 2 cm
- 3/8 & 7/16 ” = 18 x 2.5 cm
- 1/2 & 9/16 ” = 21 x 3.5 cm
- 5/8 & 3/4 ” = 25 x 4.5 cm
- 13/16 & 7/8 ” = 29 x 5 cm
SAE Wrench Thickness:
- 1/4 & 5/16 ” = 2mm
- 3/8 & 7/16 ” = 2mm
- 1/2 & 9/16 ” = 3mm
- 5/8 & 3/4 ” = 4mm
- 13/16 & 7/8 ” = 4mm