The Different Types Of Wrenches: Wrench Guide

Wrenches are a type of tool that is used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. They come in many shapes, sizes and variations for different purposes. Wrench will be divided into two groups according to the types of materials that are used in manufacturing wrenches like: standard and special types.

According to the Standard Types of Wrenches

Pipe wrench

This wrench is used to tighten or loose pipes and other fittings. 

A pipe wrench has jaws with a curved surface, openings for pipes that have slightly oval cross section shape, a knob to prevent end-wise movement when automatically and manually adjusting the size of the opening, a shank for applying rotating force, and a handle for operating the pipe wrench.

Chain wrench

This wrench is used for tightening or loosening chains. 

A chain wrench has a long bar with handles at each end, a movable handle in the middle that can be adjusted to change the opening size and an adjustable nut on both sides. These nuts are for pliers to hold the chain while rotating the handle to adjust tension.

Chain wrench is used to loosen or tighten chains and some people use it for bicycle handlebars as well.

Socket wrench

This wrench is used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts.

A socket wrench has a socket for holding an adjustable nut, with a hollow shank that can be tightened or loosened by rotating the handle, side plates that form an open space between them, a flexible band attached to the upper and lower surfaces of the side plates to twist inside sockets, a handle for operating the socket wrench, and an adjusting key.

Socket wrench is used in engineering machinery factory such as drilling machines.

Torque wrench

This wrench is used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts based on a pre-set value like a certain number of Newton meters.

There are often used in assembly lines because they allow workers to apply as much tension as possible without over tightening parts, which can lead to breakage and lost time in production.

Torque wrenches come in a variety of sizes, with the most common being 6, 8, 10 and 12 mm. They are used mainly on cars but also have other uses like tightening bicycle axle nuts or adjusting the string tension on a bass guitar.

Ratcheting Wrench

It uses ratchets for gripping fasteners at different angles.

Oil Filter Wrench

It uses an oil filter which needs to be tightened or loosened.

It has two pipes and a slim one with a compact shape that can fit through the gap, more convenient for hand operation.  

Combination wrench

This wrench is used to tightening or loosening nuts and bolts in automotive vehicles. A combination wrench can be used as a standard adjustable, box or open-end, depending on what kind of fitting it is used for.

Impact Wrench

It uses an electric motor to generate rotational force that tightens or loosens nuts and bolts.

Impact wrenches are often used in industrial settings where manual torque wrenches would take too long or require the operator to be present for long periods of time.

Crowfoot Wrench

This wrench has a hexagonal or square head and uses an open-ended number or letter to specify the size. The depth of the wrench is specified by what size head it uses because the deeper the crowfoot wrench, the thicker its shaft will be.

According to the Special Types of Wrenches

Monkey wrench

Monkey wrench used by both left and right hands to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. Therefore, an adjustable monkey wrench is able to turn in all directions.

Monkey wrenches are often used to work on old-fashioned household plumbing systems and can also be used as wrenches for other types of tools like lug wrenches and screwdrivers.

Pliers Wrench

It has a head that can hold onto objects like bolts and nuts and also has jaws that are used to grip and bend objects. In order to avoid slipping off the object or getting stuck in it, some plier wrenches have teeth along their cutting edges.

Pliers are used in many industries such as construction, automotive and automotive where they can be used to hold objects.

Strap wrench

It has a strap with smooth edges to avoid scratching the surface and enough length to allow a good grip but not too long as to get in the way during work. The strap can be made from rubber, plastic or nylon depending on what kind of job it is used for because different materials have different levels of strength.

It is used by being wrapped around the nut or bolt and using a lever to tighten it. It has one advantage over other wrenches because it can turn nuts that have already been partially loosened which can save time and increase efficiency in some instances such because it prevents workers from having to readjust their tool after every use.

Plumber’s Wrench

Plumber’s Wrench has dual ends that are used to tighten and loosen plumbing pipes. This wrench uses pipe wrenches, screws, nuts, bolts and other fitting.

Tap Wrench

It is used to tighten or loosen taps.

The tap wrench has a handle and an adjustable head that is able to grip the shank of the taps and also can be adjusted for different tapping tasks.

Because the handles are solid, they offer more leverage than other wrenches without handles which can make the wrench more durable, but they are also heavier.

Spud Wrench

Spud Wrench has either an L-shaped or U-shaped handle that provides more leverage for the operator.

It can also be used as a hammer with the flat side of the tool resting on its face to help drive nails and other similar objects into materials.

This wrench has one feature that sets it apart from other wrenches because the handle is removable and can be stored inside the wrench when not in use.

Alligator Wrench

It has two parallel metal arms that are used to loosen or tighten bolts by putting pressure on the bolt from both ends.

The gears between each arm help prevent slipping when torque is applied and also keep the proper distance between its jaws, which makes the grip more secure.

This wrench has different sizes that are used for different kinds of work.

This wrench is also known as a parallel-jaw wrench and it has two sets of jaws playing the role of one set of pliers which can make it more versatile allowing it to hold small items like nuts or larger items such as pipes. This kind of wrench is sometimes called a double jaw

Basin Wrench

It is used to loosen and tighten nuts that are on the faucets in indoor plumbing systems such as sinks and bathtubs.

The basin wrench has one end for tightening and one for loosening which allows it to be versatile, but because of its shape it can’t reach as far as a regular wrench.

This kind of wrench is made from soft wood or plastic because they are more resistant to water and other types of outside elements that could damage the wrench.

Armorer’s Wrench

Armorer’s Wrench has an opening at the end to allow the insertion of other wrenches into its jaws.

This kind of wrench allows for more leverage than a regular wrench, but can also be used to hold objects in place while they are being worked on. Because of this it prevents the worker from having to hold the part in place while also working on it.

Armorer’s Wrench is used by inserting the head of a regular wrench into its jaws and using the adjustment screw to lock it in place. It can be useful for jobs that require more torque than a normal wrench can provide, but requires less leverage and greater maneuverability.

Garbage Disposal Wrench

Garbage Disposal Wrench has one end that is tapered and can be inserted through the hole in the bottom of the disposal.

This kind of wrench will catch on the flange inside most disposals with ease, but it may have difficulty with different types or brands.

The tapered end and the offset head make this wrench easier to use than a regular wrench, but it can still be difficult if the hole is too small for the wrench to fit.

This kind of wrench is made from durable metal or high strength plastic that will not wear out easily after repeated use.

Tension Wrench

It is used in watchmaking to make it easier to open and close movements while they are being adjusted.

The tension wrench has an L-shaped head that can be inserted into the movement and then used by twisting it until enough pressure is applied to open or close the gears inside. This type of wrench is used instead of regular wrenches because it can apply more force to smaller areas.

Because watchmaker’s tools are typically expensive, a tension wrench will often be the one tool that has to last the longest and perform all tasks moderately well while being delicate enough for watchmaking needs.

Spoke Wrench

Spoke Wrench used for bicycle wheel maintenance. It has the same shape as alligator wrenches with jaws that are parallel to each other, but it has been made larger and thinner to allow it to fit on bike spokes.

The design of this wrench also makes it more versatile than an alligator wrench. It can be used to loosen tight bolts as well as tightening them on both bike spoke and other bicycle parts.

A spoke wrench will often have a T-handle that is easy to grip but still strong enough to apply the right amount of pressure.

This kind of wrench is made from durable steel or zinc alloy, which makes it strong enough for the jaws to be able to withstand the force of a bike wheel without crushing.

Spanner Wrench

It has jaws that are identical to a regular wrench, but instead of being straight they have been angled to fit one side of the shape of a bolt.

The two opposing angles allow the tool to be able to apply more force than an alligator wrench because it spreads out all of the pressure that is being applied.

Spanner wrenches are commonly used on both bike parts and regular bolts while still being able to fit in small tight spaces. It is also more versatile than a traditional hex key because its jaws can grip onto the sides of shapes, rather than just flat surfaces.

This kind of wrench is made from tough and heat resistant alloy steel, which makes them strong enough to hold up to the incredible amounts of pressure that is put on a bike component.


Which wrench should I use for bike maintenance, an armorer's or a spoke wrench?

An armorer's wrench is used for bike maintenance while a spoke wrench is used for bicycle wheel maintenance.

Should you oil your wrenches often to keep them from rusting?

Wrenches should be oiled regularly to prevent them from rusting, but there are products that can be used as lubricants without the need of oil that will work just as well. These include WD-40 and Tri-Flow, which both have a variety of lubricating benefits.

Are there any products that can be used to clean your wrenches?

Yes. Wrenches should be oiled regularly to prevent them from rusting, but there are products that can be used as lubricants without the need of oil that will work just as well. These include WD-40 and Tri-Flow, which both have a variety of lubricating benefits.

What should I do with my old worn out wrenches?

Old worn out wrenches can be recycled through the steel industry to be used in new metal products.


The types of wrenches that I have discussed are important because they can be applied to many different areas. They all have similar uses and parts, but each has a unique feature about it that makes it the best option.

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