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Old 07-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #1
5mall5nail5
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Default SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Well it goes without saying that HF units are going to be inferior to SK units. But, I wasn't really sure of what to expect when the SK arrived. Brief back story - I had picked these HF units up specifically for the 11mm and 14mm flare nut sizes. I never really used them until recently when I had a brake line that was being difficult. I slipped the 14mm over the nut without even thinking and started turning. Thought I broke it loose, but instead, I had actually rounded the nut and skipped it in the wrench opening.

No big deal, as there was another junction already removed and I removed the trailing arm from the car w/ the brake line still attached. I ordered a replacement line but its not formed so now I get to muck around with bending the line to match. Fun. So to avoid all that, here I am with SK units.

The SK hold the nut in a much different manner than HF. I expected the SK to just be more rigid and better steel but they actually have a different geometry which makes a lot more sense. Here are the images of how the wrenches hold the 14mm nut.


HF 14mm nut by Jon Kensy, on Flickr


SK 14mm nut by Jon Kensy, on Flickr

So you can see the SK rotates the nut and then hangs onto it on every flat and all but one corner. The HF units leave one flat and 2 corners untouched. The worst part about this is that the HF unit leaves the front open end of the wrench un-bound. The SK has the little tangs that hit the corner flats and keep the wrench from opening more than it should. The HF lacks that and the pivoting point on the wrench is at the top and bottom of the nut in the image, right in the middle of the wrench mouth, meaning they are more prone to opening. You can tell they tried to counter this with more material, but being HF we know that doesn't mean much.

I know that this is a $100 vs $10 comparison but I honestly didn't think there'd be a difference, so I never thought to pick up a better set.

Here are the wrenches in comparison:


HF vs SK Flare Nut Wrench by Jon Kensy, on Flickr

The SK have a little area of the chrome not sitting perfect but its in the opening of the wrench where wear is high - its not peeling and the B&W macro photo makes it look worse than it is. I am not that concerned. The handles and all over are perfect on every wrench. The 14mm is the only one with a little chrome acting up in the opening. Don't think I will bother returning.

They were $100 from Advanced Auto believe it or not and I used a coupon for $40 off! Not bad!

Oh well hopefully someone learned like I did that its not just the materials in use but the actual design - something as simple as a flare nut wrench can be made right and wrong - who would have thought!?

Enjoy guys
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

That reminds me of the difference between Craftsman and Snap-On flare nut wrenches.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Nice comparison! I never thought to look at how they hold the nut, assuming it would be the same. The SK definitely look like they do a better job.

I'm going to have to look at my older SK-made Cman Pro, but I'll bet they are made the same as the SK.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

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Originally Posted by Wakefield View Post
That reminds me of the difference between Craftsman and Snap-On flare nut wrenches.
The Craftsman (even RPs) are the same as the SK

Last edited by pipsters; 07-12-2012 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

I have both C-man and HF flare nut wrenches, gonna take a look at them side by side! Good to know, thanks.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

I do like my SK flare wrenches a lot. I normally only buy Metric but I decided to have the combo set on these.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Are the SK beams still real real square with sharp corners and all?
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

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Originally Posted by OEXL16B View Post
Are the SK beams still real real square with sharp corners and all?
No the beams are nicely polished and have a good radius on them. Not sharp at all.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Flare wrenches are the only Snap on product I have ever bought. I live in the rust belt and I figured to give myself a fighting chance for once.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Hate to say it but the HF grabs more sides of the nut where the SK almost leaves two sides almost untouched. I would like to see electrolights photos as well to determine the differences.....
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

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Originally Posted by RangerDaleXp View Post
Hate to say it but the HF grabs more sides of the nut where the SK almost leaves two sides almost untouched. I would like to see electrolights photos as well to determine the differences.....
Yes, the HF is most definitely a better design, hence why all of the expensive brands use the inferior design.

The style of the SK is definitely superior.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

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Originally Posted by RangerDaleXp View Post
Hate to say it but the HF grabs more sides of the nut where the SK almost leaves two sides almost untouched. I would like to see electrolights photos as well to determine the differences.....
It's about the same, but where the SK grabs is better.

If you look closely, they both leave about 1 and 3/4 flat sides left untouched. It's just in different places.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Interesting comparison.

I keep a set of hf wrenches in the bronco for trail repairs. Never had to use them
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

I have a fair amount of hf tools, and just as much snap on.

I hate my hf flarenut wrenches. They don't fit well, and they have huge heads.

I have been using some craftsman raised panel flarenuts, much better.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

Great photos and great information!

HF makes a lot of great products, many of which I use and love. But they also make a lot of crap! This is a great example of where you need to pick and choose which tools you save money on, and which tools you invest real money into.

Also, great to see another excellent product from SK.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

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Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
It's about the same, but where the SK grabs is better.

If you look closely, they both leave about 1 and 3/4 flat sides left untouched. It's just in different places.
While it would seem so, look at where the nut "ramps" on the HF and on the SK. The HF puts the point of the nut RIGHT at the widest part of the wrench, so as the wrench walks up the nut, it's at the widest, least supported part of the wrench hence why they expand and round/skip the nut.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

This is interesting. I've noticed the difference before, except that I never knew one style was better than the other.

Doing a quick search through eBay ... It seems like snap on, craftsman, mac, matco all have the same style as the SK.

However. Proto and Blackhawk have the HF style.

Furthermore, why don't these flare nuts have recessed out corners/flank drive?
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:45 AM   #18
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

This is real simple. The HF grabs four corners. REAL flare-nut wrenches, like the SK grab five corners. The corners (well, NEAR the corners) are where the real torque is transferred; as evidenced by the multiple designs of flank-drive and similar profiling to avoid rounding the corners of the fastener. Therefore the SK and similar styles have an immediate 125% advantage, not counting superior steel.

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Old 07-13-2012, 02:01 AM   #19
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

I wonder how much they save per set by not casting the extra corner/s
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:08 AM   #20
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Default Re: SK vs HF Flare nut wrenches

when i looked at the HF flare nuts wrenches, i got the impression that they were made as 6pts, and the small section was cut out after broaching. thats what it seemed to me. each wrench cut out is a little different shaped, and differently finished.

where as most any decent brand, it is obvious they are different than a 6pt wrench, in shape and finish.
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