By wrench, we thought the tools that can be used to fasten things like screws, nuts, and bolts – but that’s just the definition of the wrench.
Many of us are not familiar with different types of wrenches with different names, sizes, and designs.
That’s why we have prepared this complete guide with what is a wrench, how does it works, types of wrenches, sizes, usages of wrenches and features, where you are going to get a complete idea about wrenches. So let’s start our journey.
What is a Wrench
A wrench is one of the most used automotive repairing tools, also known as a spanner. It basically operates with the help of hands and easily tightens and loosening things like nuts, bolts, screws.
Types of Wrenches
There are many types of wrenches, which come in different sizes and designs, so depending on the size and wrench, it is used in different work areas. Below we share some wrenches that are used in almost all cases.
1. Open End Wrenches
Open-end wrenches are the easiest and quickest tools that look like U shape; they are specially designed to easily fasten jobs in the tightest spaces. It has two different sizes of faces attached to both openings, which are designed to easily tighten and loosen the different sizes of heads of nuts and bolts.
- It comes in both metric and standard sizes.
- Easily tighten and loosen nuts and bolts.
- Different sizes two open ends.
- Its flex head wrenches help you work in different hard spaces.
2. Box End Wrenches
The opening of these types of wrenches is enclosed, which is much like a ring; it can hold the head of nuts or bolts and leverage without slipping. They have 6 to 12 points inside the jaws, which helps in different types of gripping in different work areas. Another great aspect of box-end wrenches is that they are perfect for working in hard to reach spaces like open-end wrenches.
- Enclosed opening both sides
- Great for regular fastening work
- It comes in both metric and standard sizes
- Easily tighten and loosen nuts and bolts
3. Combination Wrenches
The combination of open-end and box end has been designed as a combination wrench. On one side, it has an open end shape, and on the other side, it has a ring shape, but both shapes are the same size. The primary purpose of this combination wrench design is that if you can’t reach with one type of wrench while working, then you can easily get the other wrench.
- Combination of open-end and box end jaws
- Great for regular and advanced work
- It comes in both metric and standard sizes
- It makes any fastening job easier.
4. Adjustable Wrenches
This type of wrench does not have two jaws like an open end, box end or combination wrench. There is only a completely adjustable jaw, which means you can adjust it according to the size of the nut, bolts without any hassles. It also has a lot of strength, which is suitable for fastening screws of different shapes in almost all types of projects.
Though these types are not seen to be used in such a way nowadays, these are much more budget-friendly than other wrench sets.
- Easily tightening and loosening
- Great for regular and advanced work
- Completely adjustable jaws
- Work with both standard and metric jaws.
5. Allen Wrenches
Those are common wrenches that can be seen in the toolbox of all types of mechanics. It has been designed in an L-shape with a compact size steel bar. The shorter side of the L shape is called the head, which is used for fastening, while the longer side is the side of the handle.
Allen wrench is also known as hex key. However, there are many two-way observations about Hex key vs Allen wrench; in reality, there is no difference between them. They have many different sizes which are used in everything from industrial work to small repairing.
- Easily tightens and loosens hex head bolt, screws
- It comes with both standard and metric sizes
- Also available are both L and T shapes
6. Socket or Ratchet Sets
Though it does not have a wrench tag with its name, it is one of the most widely used wrench tools in the wrench industry. The socket or ratchet tool is a very convenient mechanism, and a comfortable handle helps you tighten easily and loosen things like the wind of the wrench without moving the sockets perfectly nuts, bolts, sockets, and screws.
It has different sizes sockets to fit with almost all types of screws, as well as it can easily move nuts bolts, especially in narrow spots.
- Variety sizes sockets allow you to fasten easily
- Great wrench for tight spaces
- Easily fasten without moving the wrench.
- Easy to use
8. Pipe Wrenches
The pipe wrench is specially designed to hold around the pipe easily. It easily grabs the pipe with its jaw teeth, rotates, and helps in fitting the pipe with different fittings. As its jaw is adjustable, it can be used in almost all work fields like plumbing, pipe repairing.
- Adjustable jaws for easy fastening
- Great for any plumbing work
- It comes with both standard and metric size
9. Crowfoot Wrench
Crowfoot wrenches usually have different sized heads without handles. And these are basically designed keeping in mind the tight spaces so that the crowfoot wrench can be easily attached to any ratchet handle and efficiently reach the narrow areas.
- Convenient design
- Easy to attached
- Durable built-in quality
- Variety sizes range
- Great for hard to reach spaces
10. Impact Wrench
An impact wrench is currently one of the most used wrenches; it is also called a pneumatic and air wrench. You can use it anywhere with either an air compressor or a rechargeable battery.
An impact wrench can be used in almost all automotive work fields, due to which its price range may be higher depending on compatibility.
- Delivered higher torque
- Variety sizes available
- Easily tighten and remove any bolts
- Great for sticky nuts and bolts
- Operated with both the air compressor and rechargeable battery
11. Lug Wrench
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You may have guessed from the name of this wrench about which purpose the wrench is used. Many people call it wheel brace and tire iron. Lug wrenches are a lot of X-shaped and a lot of L-shaped; it is basically designed to tighten and loosen the lug nuts, bots in vehicles.
- Use for remove lug nuts from wheels
- Great tool option for garage
- Made with higher strength materials
- Capable of removing tight lug nuts from any space
12. Oil Filter Wrench
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Oil filter wrench is not always usable as other tools, but it is a must-have tool in the automotive industry. This is especially great for car mechanics and garages for removing the oil filter. You will see that car oil filters are so slippery, which is why most wrenches are not suitable for removing or spinning them. Basically, oil filter wrenches are effective in removing spin-on type filters.
- Affordable price range
- Easily spin difficult on type oil filter
- Provide perfect grip to oily filter
- An excellent option for removing oil filter from the car
13. Ratcheting Wrench
A ratchet wrench is very similar to a box-ended wrench, but inside one end it has a ratcheting device. One of the most useful advantages of a ratcheting wrench is that it helps tighten and remove any nut and bolt without repeatedly releasing the tool. This is a very useful tool for narrow spaces.
- Tightens and Loosen nuts and bolts
- Comes with both metrics and standard sizes.
- Great for tight spaces
- Ratcheting helps to fasten without removing the tool.
14. Torque Wrench
A torque wrench is a must-have tool for any mechanic and repairer; it is designed to provide a specific amount of torque. Basically, it is a suitable option for various complicated projects; you can apply by setting a particular torque amount.
You can see both digital and manual torque wrenches in the market, which you can use in your required field.
- Avoid the damage of fasteners.
- Provide specific torque
- A torque wrench is excellent for accurate fastening
- It comes with a both manual and digital scale
- Have a great accuracy between 3 to 5%
- Great for industrial works and repairers
15. Alligator Wrench
The name Alligator wrench is based on the process of biting nuts and turning the steel pipes and rods. However, most of the current fastening work does not use it.
- Adjustable sizes
- Efficiently handle square nuts and bolts
- Great for turning steel pipes and rods
16. Armorer’s Wrench
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Armorer’s wrench is mainly used for repairing certain gun models. Its C-shaped heads and different types of holes in its body help you remove and tighten the specific nuts and bolts of the gun.
- Made with highly durable materials
- This wrench is excellent for AR-15 gun
- Variety sizes holes for various size nuts
- Easy to use, attached perfectly.
17. Basin Wrench
Many people are unfamiliar with a basin wrench, but it is one of the most popular plumbing tools for a plumber in the sink and toilet repair. It’s very strange to see a lot of T shape and a curved jaw. Therefore, it is also often referred to as a sink wrench.
- Pivoting fixed jaw
- Telescoping shaft
- T handle provides great pressure
- Used for tightening and removing mounting nuts
- An excellent option for hard to reach space
18. Bionic Wrench
The function of a bionic wrench is very similar to an adjustable wrench, which allows tightening and loosening of nuts and bolts comfortably. Its patented design forces any nuts from all sides to turn and provides a perfect grip.
- This is like an adjustable wrench.
- Provide perfect grip for fastening
- Create more pressure around the nuts and bolts
- A most powerful way to loosen and tighten.
19. Bung Wrench
When you want to remove metal, plastic caps, or drum plugs from the top of any barrels or drums, the bung wrench is the most suitable option for you. It is also known as a drum plug wrench or drum bong wrench. Bung wrench comes in various types; you can use sparkless version wrench for explosive materials.
- Socket style wrench
- Great for removing metal or plastic caps
- It comes in a variety of types
- Provide excellent security for tightening your drum
20. Cone Wrench
The cone wrench is well known in the field of bicycle repairing; it’s flattened open-ended and extensive mouth, perfect for any wider nut and bolt tightening and loosening. Being a little thinner, it is very suitable for hard to reach spaces. In addition to bicycle repairing, it is also used in many different repairing tasks.
- Flattened open-ended wrench
- Great selection for hard to reach spaces
- Most suitable option for wider nuts and bolts
21. Die Stock Holder Wrench
The stockholder wrench is another strange wrench, which is not always seen. It is only found in die and tap sets and used for creating great threads on nuts and bolts. The Stock Holder Wrench consists of different varieties, which look very different from one to the other.
- Deliver perfect grip
- Create threads on nuts and bolts
- Excellent selection for heavy work
22. Dog Bone Wrench
Many people may be surprised to hear its name; basically, its look is pretty much like a dog bone, that’s why everyone knows it by its dog bone wrench name. However, many people compare it with a dumbbell because its handle is pretty much like a dumbbell.
It is mainly used in the field of bike repairing, also very suitable for hard to reach space repairing projects. Besides, it has a variable size on both sides, which is ideal for a different purpose.
- Excellent strength and durability
- Variety sizes in both heads
- Suitable for tight spaces
- Efficiently work on many repairing work
- Great selection for bike repairing
23. Drum Key
The drum key is another T-shaped wrench that is used only for tightening and loosening percussion appliances. The flattened handle attached to it helps to create perfect grip and pressure. Depending on the type of your drum, it has a few varieties.
- Efficiently adjustable
- Classified as non-pitched instruments
- Use for tightening and loosening the tension rods
24. Fan Clutch Wrench
An opening end of the fan clutch wrench has a U shape design, which helps to remove only the car’s fan clutches efficiently.
- It has U shape opening in one end
- Only used for car fan clutches remove
25. Fire Hydrant Wrench
Like the name, it works the same. It is basically designed for a fire hydrant. It’s not a necessary wrench for your toolbox. Fan Clutch Wrench is entirely adjustable, and with an extended handle, access and create more efficient torque.
- Adjustable design
- Great selection for fire hydrant
- A long handle helps to create more torque.
26. Flare Nut Wrench
Flare Nut Wrench may seem familiar to you because it looks a lot like an open-ended box wrench. This is because plumbers use it in most fields, and though it works much like a box wrench, it is not widely used currently because its work is accomplished with an open-ended wrench or box wrench.
- It has mighty gripping power.
- Used with hexagonal nuts and fittings
- Much more snug around different nuts
- You can use it for regular tightening and loosening work.
27. Garbage Disposal Wrench
Though the name Garbage disposal wrench is similar to wrench, but it is not a type of wrench. So when you see the garbage disposal is clogged, then you can use this tool to unclog these blocked issues.
There are many types of wrenches available, which are basically needed for plumbers, but if you have a garbage disposal in your home, then the garbage disposal wrench is a handy tool for you, which you must have in your kitchen.
- It comes in various sizes.
- The main usability is unclogging the garbage disposal.
- Handy tool for every garbage disposal system kitchen
28. Hammer Wrench
Hammer wrench is also known by many as striking wrench; it is mainly used for high force tightening and loosening work also used in all the tasks that require more strength. A hammer hits the hammer wrench to create a high force, and thus, the rusted bolts are removed.
- Designed to work with a hammer
- Provide extra torque and force
- Great for use to remove the rusted nuts and bolts
29. Monkey Wrench
A monkey wrench is completely adjustable in size. Also, it is pretty similar to an alligator wrench. It is used for tightening and loosening pipes and fittings, as well as for holding different parts of the pipe with the help of its jaw.
- Entirely adjustable jaw
- Use only for pipe fittings repairing
- Great selection for plumbing work
30. Pedal Wrench
The pedal wrench has a U shape on both sides, which is used for various repairs work like a pedal, but most of it is used for bicycle repairing and other required work.
- U shape design
- Used for pedal repairing work
- Good selection for bicycle repairing
31. Pliers Wrench
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Pliers wrenches usually come in pairs, with some differences between them. In addition, the Pliers wrench is adjustable, which makes it easy to hold nuts and bolts of various sizes for maintaining, bending, or turning.
- Adjustable jaws
- Used for holding, turning, or bending the objects
- You can also use it for tightening and losing purpose.
32. Plumber Wrench
The plumber wrench looks a lot like a hammer wrench, but its function is almost similar to a pliers wrench. You may have already seen the name and realized its usability. It can be used in the field of different sizes of pipe tightening. However, it is currently very infrequent. No one uses it except a professional plumber.
- Adjustable sizes
- The handiest option for a professional plumber
- Used for tightening different sizes pipes
33. Spanner Wrench
The usability and availability of these tools are very rare; it has a pin, allowing you to use various items loosening.
- Provide great grip
- It comes with pins that help to loosen items.
34. Spark Plug Wrench
The spark plug wrench is used when necessary to remove the spark plug from any place. Its use can be seen in car repairing shops in most fields. However, if you are not involved in car or vehicle repairing-related work, you do not need it.
- Easy usability
- Used for removing the spark plug
- Handy tool for car mechanic
35. Spoke Wrench
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At first glance, many people may think that it is not like a wrench. Basically, a spoke wrench is used to maintain the spokes of the bicycle wheel wires. It can be easily adjusted and then rotated efficiently without removing the tool.
If you want, you can use it on bicycle wheel maintenance as well as other wheel combined machines.
- Handy tool for bicycle wheel repairing
- Easily fit wire-spoke
- Continues rotatable without removing the tool
36. Spud Wrench
Though most of the work of the spud wrench can be done by many current tools, due to which it is said that there is not much usage at present. However, many old plumbers still use it. The Spud wrench has an adjustable jaw, which is basically used to line up pipe holes.
- Easily line up pipe holes.
- Adjustable jaw
- Mainly used only for plumbing work.
37. Strap Wrench
The strap wrench looks a lot like an oil filter wrench, which is why many users are a little bit confused by seeing both of them. However, there is a big difference between a strap wrench and an oil filter wrench. A strap wrench is used to remove too slippery nuts and bolts. It can also be used to change oil, especially in cans or other things.
- Convenient tool
- Used for removing too slippery nuts and bolts
- You can also use for can removing and other purposes
38. Stubby Wrench
A stubby wrench is also known by many as a short body wrench; it is basically a short version of a combination wrench. However, It came with a complete set so that it can be used in most tightening and loosening works.
A stubby wrench is used in the limited spots, basically the spot where the large-size combination wrench can not reach.
- Very short and convenient
- The main usable purposes are tightening and loosening
- It comes with both SAE and Metrics standard
- Great selection for hard to reach spaces
39. Tap Wrench
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A tap wrench does not look like a wrench in any part, but many experts consider it as a wrench. It is mainly used for cutting female threads inside the nut. Mostly its usage is not seen.
- Used for cutting female threads
- Only used in specific cases.
40. Tension Wrench
The tension wrench is used for different purposes, but its primary use is lockpicking. Depending on the variety of usability, it can be used for rigid or flexible purposes.
- Variety types available
- Used for lockpicking
- It comes with flexible and rigid
41. Torx Key
At first impression, everyone will call it Allen wrench, though it looks like Allen wrench, but there are many differences between Allen Wrench vs Torx Key. If you notice, you can see that its head is star-shaped, which is basically used for loosening and tightening star shaped nuts and bolts.
At present star-shaped screws are very rare, due to which the Torx key’s usability is also very rare.
- This head is star-shaped.
- The primary usability is loosening and tightening
- Used for star-shaped screws, nuts, and bolts.
Most Common Wrench Sizes
You can see different sizes of wrenches in the market, which are designed to work in the right way. Though each wrench has many specialities, there are several common wrenches sizes, which are regularly used for almost all types of repairing, replacing, fastening work.
The most common wrench sizes are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inches.
- 1/2″ Wrench: This wrench size is mainly used in large projects, industrial work, or large vehicle repairing work. It is the largest size wrench among the common wrenches sizes.
- 3/8″ Wrench: This size wrench is usually seen by all types of mechanics because it is an average size wrench that is used in almost all types of repair work.
- 1/4″ Wrench: This is the smallest wrench in a common size wrench, which is used for fastening small nuts, bolts, screws. It is also one of the best wrenches for any small size fastening and loosening work in detail.
7 Tips for Safely Use of Wrenches
Always try to safely use the industrial automotive and such repairing tools, as well as be very careful. Wrench is one of the most used repairing tools, there are many different types, and all of them are very similar, but for use safely, you must use certain aspects.
Use of Wrench
Though the primary purpose of the wrench is only nut and bolt fastening, different types of wrenches are used depending on the sector. As well as applying different torque for different tasks, if you apply torque in the wrong process, you have a chance of serious injury at any moment. To use the wrench safely, be sure to try to maintain the tips shared below.
Tips 1: Use Durable and Quality Wrench
The durable quality wrench is very safe, with no chances to easily slip from the hand while working, so it lasts for a long time. So be sure to use a quality wrench to protect yourself from any kind of injury.
Tips 2: Use the Perfect Size Wrench for your work.
To get your job done perfectly and achieve great leverage, you must use a wrench suitable for your job. On the one hand, you will be able to complete your work very quickly and easily, on the other hand, your time will be much safer.
Tips 3: Always Pull, Never Push The Wrench
When using a wrench, there are many risks due to the wrong application of torque. Always try to apply torque by pulling your wrench, so the risk is much less because while pushing, there is a risk of your body being injured after the hand slips suddenly.
Tips 4: Always Keep Clean Your Wrench
Always try to clean and store the wrench after use, as well as check whether it is dry before use.
Tips 5: Never Hit Your Wrench with a Hammer
Many people strike the wrench with the help of a hammer to give extra pressure while using a regular wrench, which is one of the biggest mistakes. Especially if your wrench is not designed to be hit resistant, then your wrench will be seriously damaged.
Tips 6: Don’t try to Increase Leverage with Other Objects
Many people add long pipes or other longer things separately to increase the leverage of the wrench. It is a completely wrong process, as it damages the head and jaws of the wrench. On the other hand, there is a risk of a heavy accident. If extra leverage is required, purchase a long handle wrench.
Tips 7: Never Use a Degraded Wrench
Damaged wrench jaws are very weak, which is why they are not perfect for fastening. Avoid damaged wrenches all the time in your work area; they are very risky for you as well as your machine.
Hopefully, you are almost familiar with wrenches and got many concepts about different types of wrenches, sizes, and safely wrench usability. Here is a lot more information related to wrenches. You can follow our other guides and reviews to choose the most suitable wrench depending on your work. We choose wrenches after thorough analysis and share a complete guide and review.
Martin A. Sims is a technician at a reputed automobile service center for the last 5 years. After studying at San Mateo College of Silicon Valley on vehicle engineering, he has started his career at age of 24. now he is spreading his knowledge among beginners around the world through thewrenches.com.