Wrenches: 30 Types and Uses (A Comprehensive Guide + FAQs)
Updated: May 3
Wrenches are tools that are used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. There are many different types of wrenches, also known as spanners, each designed for a specific purpose. There are also many specialized types of wrenches, such as the torque wrench, which is used to measure the amount of force required to turn a nut or bolt.
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What is a Wrench?
A wrench (US) or spanner (UK) is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn bolts and screws. A wrench is usually a metal bar with a handle on one end, and a gripping jaw or head on the other. The size of the wrench is determined by the size of the bolt or screw it is meant to tighten or loosen.
There are many types of wrenches available in the market, each with a different purpose and job. Every type of wrench is completely different from others, with its own unique features, uses, and benefits.
Many companies and their professional technicians use different types of wrenches for different purposes. Before applying any type of wrench to any job, one should know the types of wrenches and their uses individually. Now let's take a look at the different types of wrenches and their uses.
Related Article: Screwdrivers: Parts, Materials, Types & Application
Types of Wrench With Applications
1. Adjustable Wrench
The adjustable wrench is more popular today than ever because of how adaptable it is. The crescent, which can be controlled by a screw, sets this wrench apart from others. With the turn of a knob, this wrench becomes able to do everything that a fixed wrench does – but without taking up nearly as much space.
2. Allen Wrench
Allen wrenches, also called hex keys, are simple tools that fit into the head of a bolt or screw with a hexagonal hole. They come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate different types of bolts and screws. Many people have already used these wrenches because they often come included for free in furniture that needs to be assembled.
3. Box-Ended Wrench
This type of wrench has a closed loop on both ends, with one end higher or lower than the other. It is meant to fit hexagonal or square bolts of various sizes. The box-ended wrench is used to hold or secure the fastener head corners, reducing the chance of rounding off the fastener head as opposed to an open-ended wrench.
4. Combination Wrench
Most people have seen a combination wrench before - one end is crescent-shaped while the other is closed. They are typically sold in sets with other wrenches similar to them. The closed-ended side is meant to loosen difficult nuts, while the open-ended side is used to unscrew them quickly.
5. Crowfoot Wrench
This slightly unusual crescent wrench is simply a crescent wrench head without a handle. Instead, it is intended to be used with a ratchet handle, allowing for fast turning and fitting into spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible. An adaptable compact set for all sizes of nuts and bolts.
6. Lug Wrench
Lug wrenches either come in an L-shape or X-shape and are used to tightly/loosely screw on/off lug nuts found on the wheels of a car. Many mechanics and some at-home car DIYers will have a lug wrench.
7. Oil Filter Wrench
This is another wrench that's used in the automobile sector. Homeowners, on the other hand, who wish to repair basic problems with their automobiles will have one of these on hand. The type of oil filter wrenches available varies significantly and is frequently unique to particular automobile brands.
8. Open-Ended Wrench
This is one of the most popular kinds. It has two open ends, with one size being somewhat larger than the other. While they are excellent for reaching difficult-to-reach bolts, these wrenches are more likely to round the edges of a nut than other options.
9. Pipe Wrench
The pipe wrench is a more gigantic and well-built adjustable wrench. They are commonly used by plumbers to grasp metal pipes and fittings together. A pipe wrench is mostly used to loosen the stuck bolts which are difficult to remove by other types of wrenches. This is because the serrated teeth on a pipe wrench can grip the surface of a pipe firmly.
10. Ratcheting Wrench
At a first glance, ratcheting wrenches may look similar to box-ended ones. However, upon closer inspection, you'll notice that one of the ends contains a ratcheting mechanism inside of it. The ratcheting jaw of this wrench is ideal for bolts that require continuous repositioning. This makes it perfect for use in tighter spaces.
11. Socket Wrench
Sockets of different sizes can be attached to them and inside there is a ratcheting mechanism. It allows you to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts without having to reset the position wrench every time. They are available in many different sizes and often come in sets with a range of sockets to fit.
12. Torque Wrench
The torque on this wrench is adjustable, making it a versatile tool for any job. There are a few different types of torque wrenches on the market, such as manual and digital. Automotive work is where they are most often utilized, although they may be used in a variety of industries.
13. Armorer’s Wrench
This wrench is named as such because it is meant specifically for use with particular models of guns. It features a C-shaped head and a serrated head with many different square slots. These are generally only used for firearms work.
14. Basin Wrench
At first glance, this wrench looks unusual. In reality, many individuals would consider it to be nothing more than a wrench. It has a long, T-shaped handle with a curved jaw that resembles the top of an “S.” This type of wrench is mainly used for jobs such as fixing taps and leaks under sinks and toilets, which is why it is sometimes called a 'faucet wrench.'
15. Bung Wrench
The socket-style drum bung wrench is designed to remove the plastic or metal caps from barrels or drums - as its name suggests. When working with combustible materials, you can choose from several varieties of spark-free or sparkless options.
16. Cone Wrench
A cone wrench is an open-ended, flattened wrench with a very flat interior. It performs similarly to the spanner, except it's intended for bigger nuts and bolts. Most often, these wrenches are used on bicycles though there are some appliances that require them as well, like washing machines. It is sometimes employed where ordinary wrenches might be too thick.
17. Pliers Wrench
A plier wrench consists of two handles with flat jaws attached at an angle by a bolt. The bolt slides into different positions on the upper jaw, allowing the wrench to fit different sizes of heads. The name comes from the way this tool is held, which resembles a pair of pliers.
18. Strap Wrench
When we hold pipes and round jobs with a pipe wrench it leaves unsightly gripping marks on the surfaces of components. Therefore strap wrenches are used to avoid this surface marring of parts. A leather or canvas belt is rolled around and tightened with the buckle. And with the help of its handle, the pipe is tightened or loosened.
19. Plumbers Wrench
The plumber wrench's jaws are hexagonal nuts. It has the same shape as a plier wrench except it has a much longer handle. The jaws of its vice-like grip are adjustable to fit a variety of pipe fittings, which makes it especially useful for plumbing work.
20. Tap Wrench
This tap wrench is like a key, which fits the square drive of the tap, used to cut the female thread (such as the inside of the nut). These wrenches can be T-shaped or have a double-handle bar with an attachment socket in the middle.
21. Alligator Wrench
An alligator wrench is a wrench with two jaws at one side from which one jaw has serrated jaws and the other jaw is flat as well as an adjustable wrench at the other end. Iron and steel pipes and rods that could not be turned with a standard wrench were turned using an “alligator” tool. Such a tool was frequently used by a pipefitter to install or remove air and water lines from a locomotive
22. Dog Bone Wrench
Each end of the dog bone wrench has two box-shaped pieces, one with smaller socket sizes and one with larger socket sizes. The wrench got its name because it resembles a bone, and is occasionally called the dumb-bell wrench. Small and compact, these are often used for bicycle maintenance but can come in handy outside the garage as well. The best dog bone wrenches have swivel heads for easy maneuvering.
23. Drum Key
A drum key is a type of wrench that has a T-shape with a flattened handle. It's often used to tune different percussion instruments, such as drums. A drum key with a longer handle lets you apply more torque than a shorter one.
24. Fan Clutch Wrench
Flat clutch wrenches are similar to spanner wrenches, only they have a smaller U-shaped opening on one end. The purpose of these tools is to remove fan clutches from cars. A wrench of this type with a square opening can be used as a clutch hold tool, while a second wrench is used to turn the hex nut.
25. Hammer Wrench
A hammer wrench is a short, stout wrench with a solid end that you use to hit with a hammer to deliver more force. Also known as a striking wrench, its purpose is to use high force in order to tighten large flange fittings and fasteners, as well as release stuck or rusted nuts and bolts. This wrench is perfect for some heavy-duty jobs, like metalwork, plumbing, or electrical work.
26. Garbage Disposal Wrench
Clogged waste disposal is a common occurrence in many households. To fix this, most models come with a larger type of Allen wrench. This handy tool can easily dislodge the clog and have your sink running smoothly again in no time. For bigger nuts, you can use a flat wrench that has a squat, U-shaped head.
27. Tension Wrench
The tension wrench is the most important tool for lock picking, and it comes in a variety of designs. They can be hard or soft, and their purpose is to apply tension. A tension wrench is a tool that locksmiths use to lift a lock in movies and video games.
28. Spoke Wrench
They are tiny in size and intended to keep spokes tight and in true position in the bicycle wheel and you find this tool in a bike repair shop. The drive head fits around the nipple nut on one end, and the spoke is inserted into a slot on the other. Due to its size and design, this kind of wrench may be fully rotated without having to remove it.
29. Pedal wrench
Another specialist bicycle repair tool, the pedal wrench is a tool for installing or removing bicycle pedals. The pedal wrench has a flattened head and circular cross-section handle. On the head, there is/are one or two U-shaped slots that help to put on/take off the pedals from the cycle cranks.
30. Bionic Wrench
A bionic wrench is an adjustable wrench that helps you to quickly and easily tighten or loosen bolts. The bionic wrench head has six pins to keep the wrench in place while using equal force on all sides of the nut or bolt. The bionic wrench's advantage is that it works on a wider range of fastener sizes rather than using multiple sets of wrench sizes
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Are Wrenches And Spanners The Same?
In the UK, the words Wrenches and Spanners are not the same. Wrenches are typically adjustable, while spanners are not. Additionally, wrenches tend to have a rounder head shape, while spanners typically have more of an oval or teardrop shape.
More specifically, the term ‘wrench’ is also used to describe a spanner-type tool that has an adjustable profile size. These tools are also known as ‘adjustable spanners’, pipe wrenches, or ‘monkey wrenches.
In the USA, the word ‘wrench’ is used almost entirely instead of the word ‘spanner,’ to describe these types of tools.
Who Uses A Wrench?
Wrenches are commonly used by home improvement enthusiasts, automotive mechanics, and builders. They are also used in a wide variety of industrial and commercial settings.
There are many professionals who use wrenches. Wrenches are very versatile tools and can be used for a variety of tasks. Some of the professionals who use wrenches on a regular basis include mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters.
How Can I Get Started And Manufacture My Own Wrench Line?
When it comes to choosing the perfect wrench for your needs, it can be helpful to do some research on the different types that are available. There are many different types of wrenches, each with its own unique set of features and benefits. After determining what type fits your customer base, locate a manufacturer who can produce them.
It's not difficult to find a manufacturer that can produce wrenches, but you'll want to make sure the company is experienced and reputable. A reputable manufacturer should be able to assist you with the design of your wrenches and ensure that they are made to your exacting standards even helping with packaging and branding.
In order to ensure that your wrenches are made to your exact standards, it is important to provide the manufacturer with your specifications and requirements. Providing the manufacturer with detailed specifications or mock-ups of your wrenches can be very helpful in ensuring that the final product is exactly what you envisioned.
Additionally, you should communicate any special needs or requirements to the manufacturer so that they can be taken into account during the production process. In most circumstances, this entails informing them of the various types of wrenches that are required, how many are needed, and when they must be supplied.
After you have compiled all the requirements for your desired product, the manufacturer will then be able to give you a price quote. This will include the cost of materials, manufacturing, and shipping. It is important to work with a reputable manufacturer who can produce high-quality wrenches according to your specifications.
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