Standard vs Metric Wrench: What’s the Difference Between Both?

Standard vs Metric Wrench

If you use tools on a daily basis, then you must know that there are many different types of instruments available for our use.

Some of these tools will be the same but still have plenty of differences among them. Wrenches, for example, are one of those tools that have many differences between the metric and standard versions.

Now, we are going to let you in on all the difference and compare these two sides by side so that you are able to see what one has that the other doesn’t.

This will give you the opportunity to assess your options and finally make a choice that will meet your needs.

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Standard vs Metric Wrench Let’s get into it!


What is Standard Wrench?

A standard wrench is also known as an imperial wrench. The measurement of the tool is calculated in inches and even include fractions. That is exactly why this is difficult for many people to understand. You need to learn a few things before you can select the wrench.

Standard wrenches date back to the 1970s when SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) started using the standard measurement that is not very common in the United States of America.

And as most of the measurements there are done or converted to inches, it is only logical to use wrenches that use the same kind of measuring system. They range from 1/4 inches to 1 inch. There are 14 different sizes of the wrenches; however, the cheaper ones do not include all of them.

What is Metric Wrench?

A metric wrench is measured in millimeters and always use whole numbers. The bolts are signified by the measurement of the wrench in this type of system.

This is also known as the International System of Units (SI), it is called that as in many parts of the world, the measurements are done in meters and centimeters.

Many people prefer using this over the other kind of wrench because it is all labeled in whole numbers, and therefore they are comparatively easier to understand. This is especially true for those whole are new to using wrenches and do not have much idea about what they need and want.

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Standard vs Metric Wrench: The Differences

There are many differences between the two types of wrenches, and here we are going to be talking about all of them.

Standard vs Metric Wrench Identification

You might think it would be easy to tell them apart, but that is not really the case, especially if they both come in the same packaging.

You will not be able to see the differences between the two from afar, so you will have to take a closer look at it to figure out which on it is standard and metric.

With the standard one, you will see the measurements on edge, which will help you. The standard one will have the numbers infractions, whereas the other will be in the whole number.

Standard vs Metric Wrench The Measurements

We have, for the most part, already covered that these two wrenches have different measurements.

They have varied methods of measuring the width, diameter, and length. The metric wrenches will give you the measurement in 10cm, 8mm, and so on.

But a standard wrench, on the other hand, will be measured in inches and therefore might include some fractions. It is very important to choose the right kind of wrench as the wrong kind can have a serious effect on the nuts and bolts you are working with.

So, in order to avoid any unnecessary damage like that, just go with one that is correct for the bolts.

Standard vs Metric Wrench Price

Another thing you will find to be very different between the two types of wrench is the pricing of these two. One is more expensive than the other one. And in this case, it is the metric wrench that is more costly.

Well, there is actually a reason why it is a bit more expensive than the standard wrench; these wrenches usually come in a huge set. So you have a variety of them to work with. Whereas, a single piece of the standard wrench can be bought.

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Both of these have their own usefulness, but there are reasons why people might choose to purchase one over the other.

Standard vs Metric Wrench Application Of The Two Wrenches

There is a bit of a difference in the application of the two different wrenches.

The standard wrench is made more specifically for use in North America as the measurement is in the American system. The inches and feet calculation is the American system.

Whereas, the metric wrenches can be used with nuts and bolts that have been made according to the metric measurements. These are the ones that are calculated in millimeters and centimeters.

Now, both of these are equally useful. But the true difference lies in the nuts, screws, and bolts you are using the wrench with.

If they are of metric measurement, then you will have to use a wrench that follows the system. Whereas you have to choose the standard wrench when working with things that have an imperial measurement.

Can They be Used as Substitutes?

Both these wrenches have many similarities between then, but that does not really mean that they will be able to replace one another. Rather you will see that metric wrench is not a perfect fit for a standard wrench and vice versa.

So, in most the cases, you will have a very tough time if you want to use one with the other. But, there is a way you can use them as substitutes in a situation where you do not have the other kind of wrench.

There is a process you have to stick to if you really want to learn how to use one when you do not have the other on hand. Because there may many instances where this situation might occur.

Say for example; you have a metric wrench when the bolts you have to take out are all imperial. And going out to get a whole new set of wrenches is not really a cost-effective option. Well, this is when you need to know how to substitute them. And for that, you need to make use of a conversion chart.

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Standard vs Metric Wrench What is Conversion Chart?

The chart gives you a detailed comparison on which sized standard wrench is the perfect alternative for the metric wrench.

You will give various versions of the conversion chart online, and do not be worried about which one to use, they all have the same numbers and conversions.

The metric wrench is measured in millimeters and we know 1 mm is equal to 0.03937 inches.

And if you want an alternative for the .5 inch standard wrench, then you have to opt for a 12 or 13mm wrench. They would come to about .5 inches after conversion.

Standard vs Metric Wrench Final Thoughts

Fundamentally both types of wrenches are very similar, but there are a few differences between the two.

You will find some wrench sets at affordable price that comes with both standard and metric measurements.

Now that you know the differences, I hope you can now pick one among them.

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