4 Types of Adjustable Wrenches Explained

Adjustable wrenches are useful tools that each household should have at its disposal. As they are outfitted with jaws that can be extended or reduced to fit pipes and faucets of varying size, adjustable wrenches are particularly handy when it comes to home repairs and maintenance. There are four main types of adjustable wrenches, with distinctive characteristics and uses.

1. Adjustable Spanners

By far the most common type, adjustable spanners, also known as crescent wrenches, are found in almost any household these days. These wrenches are widely available both at local hardware stores and online. They are reasonably priced and come in many different sizes to fit any type of job. Their most distinguishable feature is the 15-degree angle between the movable jaw and the handle.

Adjustable spanners are suitable for fastening or unscrewing plumbing accessories, such as pipes, elbows, and faucets. There is even a subtype that is utilized as a lid opener by people who do not have sufficient strength in their hands.

When using this type of adjustable wrench, you should make sure that the movable jaw is snugly clasped around the pipe, so as to avoid rounding. Always place the jaw on the side towards which you will be rotating in order to prevent the deformation of the tool.

2. Monkey Wrench

This type of adjustable wrench is typically used in large-scale projects. It is distinguished by a long handle and jagged jaw grips that stay firmly affixed to all kinds of pipes, boxes, or other objects. The instrument is made from steel or steel alloys through heat-forging, which accounts for its remarkable strength. A monkey wrench is so strong that it can bear the whole weight of the human body pushing against it.

3. Pipe Wrench

The pipe wrench or Stillson wrench is very similar and often confused with the monkey wrench. Yet, it has a sleeker body and is much easier to use in locations that are hard to reach, such as nooks and corners. The pipe wrench is suitable for working with soft iron pipes and round-surface fittings. It should not be used with hex nuts because the teeth of its jaws would damage the hex head.

The pipe wrench is made of aluminum or steel and can be purchased in handle sizes of 10, 14, 18, 24, 36 and 48 inches. Jaw kits are also available for people who prefer to repair their old wrench rather than buy a new one.

4. Plumber Wrench

The plumber wrench has a key ring attached to one of its handles, which is used to close the movable jaws around the pipe or fitting. Since it clasps with significant force, the plumber wrench does not have to engage the nut or bolt head it is applied to. Due to its unwieldy size, this wrench should be used only where the other types are not suitable.