Ring spanners are a classification of spanners identified by having a ring end that is used for tightening and loosening fasteners like nuts and bolts. The ring end opening is placed over the fastener to grip the entirety of its edges, rather than just on half of the edges as if you were using a traditional spanner or wrench. Ring ends look and function similarly to ratchet ends, only without the ratcheting mechanism.
Ring spanners are a preferred type of spanner to use because they fit over a fastening and can therefore generate more torque than a c-spanner or generic wrench head. Torque is the directional force that is generated through a spanner to tighten or loosen fastenings like nuts and bolts. The greater the number of contact points between the spanner and the fastening, the greater torque can be generated.
That said, because the user must place the ring spanner over the fastening, some fastenings may be inaccessible for a ring spanner. For example, ring spanners are quite popular for mechanic and bicycle work because all of the parts are open. One of the more common sizes is a 21mm ring spanner.
RS carries all types and sizes of ring spanners, both as individual pieces and as part of a spanner set. You can sort our range by type or size, or by brand, such as our house brand RS PRO.
Different Types of Ring Spanner
There are a few different types of ring spanner to choose from, with each type having its own benefits. Each type of ring spanner will be available in the same sizes, as it is often prudent to carry multiple types of same-sized spanners to be prepared on the job.
Six-point and 12-point Spanners - The ring end recess on a spanner has either a six-point or twelve-point opening. The difference between the two types lies in how much torque each can produce. Since the greater the number of contact points, the greater the amount of torque, a 12-point ring end spanner will generate more torque.
Ratchet Ring Spanners - Ratchet ring spanners are the same shape as a standard ring spanner but will contain a ratcheting mechanism to assist in tightening and loosening fastenings such as nuts and bolts. The ratcheting mechanism in the ring head simplifies using the spanner because the user does not need to remove the spanner from the fastening after each time they apply force. Instead, they can simply return the spanner to the starting position without any noticeable resistance.
Offset Ring Spanners - Named for their crooked shape, offset ring spanners are a two-in-one wrench tool that is designed to access hard-to-reach places. Each end of an offset ring spanner will have a different-sized ring end, usually the next size higher or lower.
Insulated Ring Spanners - Single-end ring spanners that are surrounded by thick insulation to protect against electric shocks.
Benefits of Using an Offset Ring Spanner
Offset ring spanners are an ideal tool for mechanics and DIY enthusiasts alike because they combine two sizes of spanner heads in one tool, have a long handle, and are great at generating torque and they have a design feature that makes them more suited to access hard to reach places.
While it may seem logical that having more tools makes you more prepared for any job, the reality is that tools are heavy and take up space. Because of that reality, offset spanners and other multi-size tools are preferred by tool owners.
In addition, mechanics appreciate the crooked handle design because they can approach fastenings from different angles. Working on a car engine or other automotive parts does not afford much space, so having flexibility with your tools makes a big difference.