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Wrenches are handheld tools that are mostly used for gripping, fastening, tightening, and loosening things like nuts and bolts. They are made from a chrome-plated steel alloy. But did you know that there are as many as 41 different types of wrenches?
Each wrench has its purpose and functionality. This knowledge will be of use when you have to do minor things like changing the tire of your wheel or fastening a nut because you can’t always call a handyman to do such trivial things.
41 Different Types of Wrenches
A wrench is also known as a spanner. You will find basic types of wrenches lying around in your home because they are convenient and user-friendly. Listed below are 41 types of wrenches.
1. Open-End Wrench
This is one of the most ordinary types of wrench you would find in every toolbox. They come in various metric and standard sizes. They have a very simple mode of functioning. Open-end wrenches are U-shaped with open jaws on both sides of the wrench. They have a fixed or different width of opening on the ends. They are mostly used for nuts and bolts that are hard to reach.
2. Adjustable Wrench
As the name suggests, an adjustable wrench can be adjusted to any size to fit any kind of hexagonal nuts. It’s one of the most versatile tools as it can fit a variety of nuts regardless of their size. It has a U-shaped open jaw on only one side. You have to turn a screw which is usually located at the side or bottom of the wrench to adjust the size.
3. Box-Ended Wrench
Made to go around specific sizes of nut and bolt, box-ended wrenches are enclosed on both sides. It is used in square-shaped or hexagonal-shaped nuts and bolts. They come in kits of all sizes.
4. Crowfoot Wrench
Crowfoot wrench is also known as tight clearance offset sockets. The unique thing about this wrench is that they come without a handle or a shaft. It’s used to hold nuts and bolt heads. You can get a handle to attach it to the wrench. If the nut is located in a deep place that’s hard to reach, the crowfoot wrench is perfectly designed for hard-to-reach areas.
5. Combination Wrench
In a combination wrench, one side has an open U-shaped jaw, whereas the other side has a closed loop for square and hexagonal nuts. Nuts that are extremely difficult to loosen are unfastened using a combination wrench. They come in a set of many sizes.
6. Ratchet wrench
A ratchet wrench is also known as a socket wrench. Like the other wrenches, this is also used to tighten and unfasten hardware. One end of it has a closed loop as a ratcheting device. They are mostly used to tighten or untighten nuts and bolts.
7. Short-Body Wrench
This is also called a stubby wrench. They have an open-ended U-shaped jaw on one side and the other end is boxed. You can do complete rotation because of the boxed end. The only difference between a combination wrench and this one is that the body is shorter in the latter. This allows the ratchet to fit in tighter spaces.
8. Basin Wrench
It’s a plumbing tool also known as a sink wrench. It is used to dismantle taps. It can rotate and comes with a long handle. The self-adjusting grip head is used to tighten the nuts of sink taps. However, that’s the only job a basin wrench can do. It can’t fasten and unfasten nuts.
9. Allen Wrench
Hexagonal sockets can be tightened and loosened with the help of an Allen wrench or Hex Key wrench. It’s a small hand tool that can be used to repair a bicycle, furniture, and cars. They are hexagonal-shaped screwdrivers that are compact and can be carried anywhere. There are different types of Hex Key wrenches: L-Style, P-Handle, and Folding Hex Key.
10. Star-Head Key Wrench
This star-headed key is quite similar to a hex key wrench. They are designed to fit into the body of nuts and bolts that are in the shape of stars. They come in the same L shape as Hex Key. They are also known as Torx Key and are often confused with Allen wrench. They are mostly used in automatics industries.
11. Chain Wrench
This type of chain is one of the heavy-duty tools and they are used to unbolt objects that are oddly shaped. It’s an adjustable wrench attached to a chain on one side. They are easy to use and durable. They are useful for plumbing and pipe fitting. It works excellently in confined areas.
12. Torque Wrench
Available in various shapes and sizes, torque wrenches are used to tighten nuts and bolts to a predetermined specific torque value. If the tightness of the screw is essential and can’t be compromised, then a torque wrench is used. It cannot be used easily as a DIY project. You will have to read about torque wrenches before using them on your own.
13. Pipe Wrench
Used on threaded pipes, pipe wrenches come with adjustable wrenches. They have two serrated jaws. One of these jaws has teeth and they are pivoted like a hinge to grip the pipe. The other jaw can be adjusted in any size of the pipe. You need to wear gloves before using a pipe wrench to prevent cuts on the skin.
14. Strap Wrench
You can hold the object and tighten it with the help of the tightening strap. They come with a handle and the belt or the strap can be adjusted to any size. This is used on pipes and other cylindrical objects. The strap is made of rubber material and can damage the pipes.
15. Oil Filter Wrench
Used to remove oil filters on spin-on, these filters are smooth. They have a loop of chain attached to one side. This chain is strapped around the oil filter. You need to turn the bar anti-clockwise by hand until the chain strap is tightly wrapped. You can use an adjustable spanner to tighten it further. You can also tighten the oil filter with your hand but using an oil filter will prevent your hands from getting messy.
16. Monkey Wrench
The monkey wrench has an appearance of both L and F shapes. They are adjustable wrenches with two ends. The upper jaw end is fixed, whereas the lower jaw can be moved up and down. It can fit various sizes of nuts. It’s named so because when a monkey wrench is in use, it looks like a monkey climbing up and down.
17. Impact Wrench
Mainly used in automotive and construction industries, impact wrenches are great at tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. They come with high rotational torque. None of the other regular drills can offer the kind of torque output impact wrench delivers. Very minimal human force is required to use an impact wrench.
18. Pedal Wrench
They come in two variants. In one of the pedal wrenches, only one side has a U-shaped end. On the other, both have U-shaped jaws. It is mainly used in bicycle shops to repair bicycle pedals.
19. Pliers Wrench
They deliver fast and easy work in confined spaces. They are used to grip, tighten, and loosen objects. They come with two ergonomic handles. You don’t have to worry about any damage as they have smooth jaws. Using the two handles, you can grip the object and fasten the object.
20. Tap Wrench
Used to make screw threads, tap wrench is also known as T-handle wrenches because they look like the letter T. The T-handle has a crossbar at the top. They are used to create internal threading for fasteners like nuts. It rotates the tap to create a hole for screws. They come in different sizes.
21. Plumber’s Wrench
Compound leverage is used to grip a plumber’s wrench. It is used to rotate plumbing pipes. It cuts the threads into the pipe so you can install fasteners like screws and nuts. It has an adjustable jaw and grips with a significant force. If not used carefully, it can damage or break the pipe.
22. Spud Wrench
This is another common wrench found in toolboxes. With a tapered spike on one end which looks like a knife, the spud wrench comes with an adjustable open end. It is used in automotive industries to line bolt holes in pipes and steel construction frames. It is also known as a construction wrench.
23. Alligator Wrench
Used to turn iron rods and pipes, it is named an alligator wrench because the top end of the wrench is serrated and looks like an alligator’s mouth. The other end is smooth. When the iron rods and pipes cannot be turned with a regular wrench, an alligator wrench is mostly used to manage square-shaped heads.
24. Armorer’s Wrench
Armorer’s wrench is used in assembling and removing parts from rifles and guns. They are extremely durable and their ergonomic handle makes them very comfortable to grip and hold. It is used to install and uninstall carbine castle nuts and receiver extensions. The torque specifications will be mentioned on the tool.
25. Spoke Wrench
It’s a small tool used in bikes and bicycle tires. It’s also known as the spike key. They are used to adjust where spokes are to bring it to proper alignment. They come in millimeters. They come in both circular and square-shaped wrenches. If you don’t know which size to get, measure your spoke nipple and see which one you need to buy.
26. Dog Bone Wrench
A dog bone’s wrench is a double-ended bicycle wrench that is available in 10 sizes. They are mainly used in the maintenance of bicycles and bikes. They fit easily in small spaces. Both ends of this wrench are box-shaped. However, the ends of the socket are in different sizes.
27. Drum Key Wrench
Like a spoke wrench, the drum key is another tiny tool used to tune the drums and provides good leverage to fasten and fasten the bolts on drum hardware. It is square. The tension rods of drums can be tightened and loosened using the drum key wrench.
28. Hammer Wrench
It’s a simple tool that is often used along with a hammer. It is also known as a striking wrench. It has a plain and flat surface on the handle and the head is closed in a circle to sit on nuts and bolts. It is usually struck by a hammer to fasten or tighten the objects. You start striking gently and then increase the pace to tighten the bolt.
29. Bung Wrench
They are used to install or remove the drum plugs that are also known as bungs. They are used to open drum bung caps without damaging the insides of the drum. The drum plugs have to be removed safely and that’s why you have to slowly loosen the plug. They are the same size universally and they fit all types of drum plugs.
30. Fan Clutch Wrench
Mostly found in the automotive industry, a fan clutch is used to remove fan clutches in automobiles. The wrench has a U-shaped opening on one side. The other end of this wrench is square. This can be used as a double clutch tool to hold.
31. Tension Wrench
A tension wrench is a simple tool that has a flat steel strip. It looks like the letter L. A tension wrench is bent at a 90-degree angle on one side and the other is straight and flat. The bent on one side comes in both short and long ends. It’s used to open locked doors. It’s popularly known as a turning tool.
32. Cone Wrench
Come wrenches are very similar to open-ended wrenches. They come with U-shaped wide jaws on both sides. The only difference is that a cone wrench is much thinner than other types of wrenches with open ends on both sides. They are used in the assembly and maintenance of bicycle parts.
33. Lug Wrench
Used to tighten and loosen lug nuts on car wheels, they are known as wheel braces and tire irons. They come in two designs. One looks like the letter L and the other looks like the letter X. They are metal rods simply used to change the tires of the car with the help of a socket wrench on the bent end.
34. Die Stock Holder Wrench
During cutting and shaping of objects like pipes, die stock holder wrenches are used to fit and turn dies. They are mostly used for cutting external thread. They can drop different sizes of hex.
35. Flare Nut Wrench
They are also known as brake wrenches or tire wrenches that are used to secure clutch and brake lines. They are used instead of an open-end wrench because they provide more contact to six-sides fasteners. In terms of appearance, they look similar to open-end wrenches.
36. Garbage Disposal Wrench
If you have a clogged disposal unit, then a garbage disposal wrench will be helpful to unclog the appliance. This wrench will reach the drain and rotate the plates and lock onto the bolts. Once the wrench fits perfectly on the bolt, it can be rotated to clear the blockage.
37. Fire Hydrant Wrench
These adjustable wrenches can be used to fit various sizes of hydrant nuts because of their versatility. They are used to remove the caps in fire hydrants. They are also used to open a hydrant valve. The hook at one side fits on the groove and then it can be opened by twisting the groove.
38. Dental Key Wrench
Mainly used in dentistry during the 18th and 19th centuries, the dental key wrench is used to take out diseased teeth. They are also known as “tooth keys”. They were used to extract teeth that were severely infected.
39. Chuck Key Wrench
The chuck jaws are a type of clamp used to hold a cylindrical object together. A chuck key wrench is used to loosen or lighten those chuck jaws. It can be used by putting the chuck key wrench on a drilling machine.
40. Bionic Wrench
It’s an adjustable hybrid wrench that comes with a pair of pliers. It is patented and is 6 inches long. It is a simple wrench used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. It has superior gripping qualities that make this wrench user-friendly and won’t harm the hands even after frequent use. A bionic wrench is a smart tool for quick fixes.
41. Spanner Wrench
A spanner wrench looks like the letter C. It resembles the crescent moon at the open end of the wrench which is used to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts. It has a pin or hooks at the opening. Sometimes it comes with several hooks or pins that fit into the head of the bolt.
All these types of wrenches have specific purposes. Choosing the right one to simplify your project needs is essential. Let us know the type of wrench you mostly use in the comments below.