Last updated: September 10, 2020

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All handymen need a toolbox filled with the essentials. One of the most important, multi-functional tools that you will ever buy is a wrench; it is a must. Tighten a loose nut. Fix a leaking drain. Adjust a water outlet. With this tool, the possibilities are endless. There are many different models currently on the U.S. market. In this article, we are going to teach you everything you need to know to buy the best wrench for your workshop.

Key Facts

  • When it comes to wrenches, it is important to differentiate between a fixed wrench and an adjustable wrench. Adjustable wrenches, as the name suggests, can be adjusted to different sizes though an endless screw, while fixed wrenches have a fixed diameter and usually come with several, different sized wrenches.
  • Wrenches are usually made out of stainless steel. Currently, many models have rubber handles that make the tool more ergonomic and comfortable. This rubber will also prevent you from any accidents that have to do with electricity.
  • At the end of this article, in the section titled “Shopping Criteria,” we will list some important factors that you should keep in mind when making your purchase. The size of the wrench is one of these factors, for example.

Our Selection: The Best Wrenches on the U.S. Market

You will find various wrenches in any workshop. They are a must for any handyman. With these tools, you will be able to complete endless tasks. They are versatile, simple, and inexpensive. However, there is a variety of models on the U.S. market. So much so, that you may feel a bit lost. If you find yourself in this situation, do not worry. We have made a list of our favorite wrenches on Amazon to help you with your purchase.

Best Simple Wrench

If you are a minimalist and want a tool that is simple and gets the job done, the first item on our list is the wrench for you. Note that this is an adjustable wrench, so you can adjust the clamp to different sizes based on what you need it for.

Best Adjustable Wrench

The second item on our list is also an adjustable wrench. This tool is very versatile. What makes this product different is that it has rubber handles. These handles will be much easier on your hands and protect you from electricity.

Best Wrench Set

The third item on our list is a set of wrenches. Please note that these are fixed wrenches and come in different sizes. We will talk more about this type of tool later in the article. These wrenches come in a roll-up storage pouch which makes for easy storage.

Best Pipe Wrench

If you are looking for a tool to help you with any plumbing jobs or pipes in general, look no more. The last item on our list is the wrench for you. This pipe wrench will get the job done faster than normal wrenches.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Wrenches

Wrenches are very simple tools. So much so that they have barely even changed throughout the years. They have always been the perfect tool. In the following section, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions from buyers like you. We will dive into what a wrench is exactly and give you important information that will help you make the best choice possible. Keep reading.

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The main function of a wrench is to tighten and loosen bolts and screws.
(Source: Anton Estrada: 118701911/ 123rf.com)

What is a wrench exactly?

Wrenches are manual tools. They are made up of a clamp and a handle, which makes up the body of the wrench. In a special type of wrench that is called an “adjustable wrench,” the clamp can be adjusted. These tools are very simple, versatile, and inexpensive. Their main function is to tighten and loosen nuts or screws.

What can I use a wrench for?

As we explained in the section above, the main function of a wrench is to tighten and loosen nuts or screws. However, since this tool is extremely strong, you can even use it to hit certain objects. For example, you can hit nuts that have become rusty or stuck in a certain material to loosen them. A wrench is so versatile that you can use it for many tasks like:

  • Plumbing
  • Locksmith
  • Automotive mechanics
  • Ironworks
  • Light mechanics
  • Electricity
  • Maintenance
  • Gas system assembly
  • Assembly of air conditioning
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Wrenches are manual tools. They are made up of a clamp and a handle, which makes up the body of the wrench.
(Source: Vadim Guzvha: 76340293/ 123rf.com)

What sizes of wrenches are there on the market?

There are two main types of wrenches that you will find on the market: adjustable wrenches and fixed wrenches. With adjustable wrenches, you can open and close the mouthpiece to whatever size you need. On the other hand, fixed wrenches are, well, fixed and cannot be adjusted. This type of wrench usually comes in a set with other wrenches of different sizes.

What size wrench do I need?

Before we answer this question, let’s think about what would happen if you use the wrong size wrench. This can be dangerous, as the tool may not grip correctly and it will end up slipping and hurting your hands. As a general rule, we recommend that you purchase a 14-inch wrench when working at home and an 18-inch wrench for more professional tasks. Always think about what you are going to use the tool before making your purchase.

What are fixed wrenches and adjustable wrenches?

As we have already explained above, you will mainly find two different types of wrenches on the market: fixed wrenches and adjustable wrenches. Although you can use either, each type is normally used in certain situations. Let’s delve deeper into each type of wrench:

  • Fixed wrenches: The size of the clamp cannot be adjusted. This way, you will have to choose the correct size for the job. They usually come in sets that include different sizes of wrenches. Fixed wrenches are extremely useful in car, bicycle and motorcycle shops where you will usually use the same size wrench.
  • Adjustable wrenches: This type of wrench can be adjusted, so you do not need several wrenches of different sizes. These wrenches are very useful when working with tubes, pipelines, and other jobs where you will need many different sizes of wrenches.
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You will mainly find two different types of wrenches: fixed wrenches and adjustable wrenches.
(Source: Thodonal: 46185067/ 123rf.com)

What types of adjustable wrenches are there?

You can find many different designs and models of adjustable wrenches on the market. Although they are all wrenches, each type serves its purpose. For example. Pipe wrenches are best for plumbing. We have created a table of the different types and their features:

Type of wrench Handle Material Characteristics
Adjustable spanner Straight and uniform. Chrome steel or stainless steel. Anti-corrosion coating. Toothed. Opening between 13 and 85 mm.
Pipe wrench Straight or angled (depending on the design). You should choose the handle based on what you are working on Stainless steel. Wrought iron. Anti-corrosion coating. Made to adjust pipes and connections. Opening between ¾ and 4 inches.
Swedish wrench Two handles. One handle adjusts the size of the clamp. Mixed steel. Tempered clamp. Phosphate, stainless finish. You can adjust the size based on the pipe. Up to 100 mm.
Monkey wrench Straight and uniform. Galvanized steel. Stainless steel. Toothed wrack and endless screw. Opening between 13 and 85 mm.

How do I take care of and clean my wrench?

You need to keep your wrench from rusting. However, do not worry; these tools do not require much keeping up with, but there are some simple steps you should take if you want your wrench(es) to last you a long time. In the following section, we will explain these steps.

  • Wash the wrench after every use: After using your wrench, it will need to rest and be cleaned well. If you let the dirt and dust build up on this tool for a long time, it will not be able to be used anymore. Use a dry cloth to clean the wrench. Make sure that there is no dirt in the teeth.
  • Use lubricant: You should especially pay attention to the parts of the tool that are not painted. When you are not going to use your wrench, leave these parts lubricated. Make sure to lubricate the moving parts of the tool.
  • Avoid getting your wrench wet: Getting your tools wet is always a bad idea. Putting a layer of oil on them will prevent rusting or corrosion, but the best thing that you can do is always putting them in a dry place and a toolbox.
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The clamp of fixed wrenches can not be opened or closed.
(Source: Georgerudy: 76955955/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

If you have gotten to this part of the article, you probably know a lot more about wrenches than you did before. Now, we are going to explain a few shopping criteria that will help you make the best purchase. Shopping online can be complicated, but we are here to help.

Size

This size of the tool is the most important criteria when you are getting ready to buy a wrench. This factor will determine how you can use your new tool. Remember that there are two main types of wrenches on the market: fixed wrenches and adjustable wrenches. Adjustable wrenches will come with a maximum and minimum size and you can adjust the clamp to different sizes in between these two extremes.

Keeping in mind that the size of the wrench that you desire will help you when making your purchase. For example, if you need a small and portable tool, it is a good idea to buy a set of fixed wrenches. This way, you can leave all the sizes you won’t be using in the toolbox and only take the size that best fits the job.

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An adjustable wrench, as the name suggests, has a clamp that can be adjusted to different sizes based on what you need.
(Source: Dmytro Sidelnikov: 117136147/ 123rf.com)

Handle

The handle is another factor that will help you with your purchase. The longer the handle, the more force you can apply. Monkey wrenches and pipe wrenches, for example, have longer handles and allow you to put more pressure on them. This is why they are often used for plumbing and other more difficult activities.

The size of the handle will also depend on the size of the user. If you have smaller hands, you might want to consider purchasing a wrench with smaller handles, for example. On the other hand, if you have bigger hands, you will need a longer handle to grab a hold of.

Clamp

The clamp is the most important part of any wrench. Without this part, wrenches would just be a metal stick. There is a huge variety of designs of clamps on the U.S. market. Some tools have adjustable or reversible clamps, which means that you can use them in small and hard to reach places. This type of wrench is great for plumbing.

Some models have laser marks on the clamp, on one or both sides. These marks will help you choose the correct size faster. Some clamps have small teeth that will help you get a hold of the nut or screw you are working one. Bigger wrenches will have much larger clamps.

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These tools do not require much keeping up with, but there are some simple steps you should take if you want your wrench(es) to last you a long time.
(Source: Ivan Kruk: 83918038/ 123rf.com)

Usage

Not all wrenches are made the same way. Some are designed for professional tasks. You will often find these models in mechanic workshops. Other wrenches are less expensive and made for home jobs. As a general rule, every toolbox should have wrenches that range from 6 to 12 inches.

Smaller wrenches that are under 6 inches long are used more for do-it-yourself tasks. They are also used for smaller, harder-to-reach places. Some models are designed for specific tasks like working with pipes or plumbing.

Design

Both fixed and adjustable wrenches are often made out of forged steel and stainless steel. These tools often come with a special, anti-corrosion coating which is usually galvanized. If you are looking for a high-quality coating, we advise you to buy a wrench with a black phosphate coating.

Adjustable wrenches often come with painted handles or handles covered with rubber. Rubber handles will keep you safe when working around electricity. On the other hand, painted handles will help your wrench last you a long time, as the paint protects the tool from getting wet.

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There is a huge variety of designs of clamps on the U.S. market.
(Source: Wavebreak Media Ltd: 36354189/ 123rf.com)

Easy to Use

Adjusting a tube or working on plumbing can be stressful. If you cannot use your wrench properly, this is going to make the whole situation even worse. You need to choose a tool that is comfortable for you to hold and does not hurt your hand in any way. Remember, you may be holding this wrench for many hours.

Consider that wrenches that have teeth in the clamp will make it easier to grab a hold of what you are working one. It will also be much easier to work with a tool that has rubber handles. This will take the pressure off your hands and make the wrench much easier to grip.

Summary

Wrenches are very simple, precise, and versatile tools. They are one of the best inventions mankind has ever made. These tools are so perfect that they have not even changed throughout the years. Wrenches get the job done. We are confident that we have provided you with the correct information to make the best purchase possible. Now, it is up to you.

We hope that you have enjoyed our article about wrenches. If you liked this shopping guide and review, don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media. Have you tried using this tool? Tell us about your experience; we want to hear from you. Thank you so much.

(Source of featured image: Seoterra: 55392706/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Rebecca Campbell Construction & Home Remodeling Expert
Rebecca is a real hands-on type of girl. She took over her father’s small company that specializes in construction and home remodeling. Not only does she manage all the projects her company takes on, but she also loves to get her hands dirty.