Top 10 Best Pipe Wrench – Reviews and Comparison Guide 2019
We all have that little plumber within us, right?
Imagine, you need some plumbing job done and that includes working with pipes.
Usually, the cost of hiring a professional plumber will be $45- $200 per hours. That means the job will require a budget of $175- $450.
So, you decide to awake the inner plumber and give the job a try.
You get ready with your equipment and start loosening a tube or bolt. How would it feel if your tool keeps slipping, unable to get a grip on that surface?
What’s happening here is the pipe/bolt/nut is round or too smooth. Usual wrenches come with smooth teeth which are unable to grasp them.
So how to work around this problem? Well, here’s where having the best pipe wrench benefits you.
Sometimes, a plumbing job will be so simple that’ll require only the right tool and a little bit of workaround knowledge. It will be a waste to call a professional plumber.
A pipe spanner might not be the most useful tool in your collection, but if you are thinking of building your toolbox, it’s a must-have. Especially because it can save hundreds of your plumbing costs.
It’s an investment for a lifetime. These wrenches are extremely durable and you’ll get your every penny compensated.
What are the special characteristics that make Stillson wrenches compatible for round fittings?
In this article, we’ll talk about this specific type of tool, its types, and the top choices ruling the market. This comprehensive article will also cover buying guides and tips on maintaining a pipe wrench. So, keep reading forward!!
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What Is A Pipe Wrench Actually?
The pipe wrench is one of the basic spanner types, the ones that usually come to your mind when you’re thinking about wrenches. It also goes by the name of Stillson, Stillson Patten and Plumber Wrench.
The main job of a plumber wrench is tightening and loosening pipe joints and threads. Often, a round shaped tube would be smooth, or the nut has lost its hexagonal shape due to overuse.
In these cases, the hardened serrated teeth that reside in the jaws of a plumber wrench come handy. They force a proper grip on the metal and allow the user to turn the surface even against resistance.
Usually, these tools are not intended to use against hexagonal nuts. A normal spanner should be able to do it. However, the hexagonal edges become too dull, this wrench comes at play.
Usually, pipe wrenches are made of cast steel. It is a durable metal and prevents rusting in the long run. Some modern wrenches are made of aluminum, but the parts matter more, the jaws and the teeth, are made of steel.
Stillson Pattern wrenches can be identified by their sizes. There are tools ranging between 3 inches to as long as 60 inches.
Our Top 10 Best Pipe Wrench Reviews Of 2019
1. Tradespro 830914 14-Inch Heavy Duty Wrench
Have you heard the proverb “Good things come to those who wait”?
If you have waited too long for a good quality plumber wrench, that’s probably because the good ones come with high price tags.
However, your wait is over, thanks to this affordable, yet sturdy tool we’re going to review.
Tradespro 830914 is a heavy-duty spanner that comes with traditional 14-inch size, but it’s the versatile features that make it stand out from the crowd.
For instance, it’s an adjustable pipe wrench. The jaw capacity is 1.5 inches, but upon your need, the opening can be expanded to 2.5 inches.
It’s not like describing an elephant blindfolded. There are itched markings which help you tell what size of a pipe you can handle with that adjustment.
The Tradespro 830914 is constructed of malleable cast iron. Since the head is going to face most agonies, it’s made with drop forged carbon. As if that wasn’t enough, a sandblast finish makes the head even more robust.
This instrument is a blessing for homeowners. Being just under 3 pounds, you can carry it around with ease. Since the jaw opening can handle up to 2” pipes, you should be able to handle most pipes around the house, including the small ones.
Even professionals can also find solace when they see the heavy-duty structure of Tradespro 830914. The look is not all hollow, with the materials used, it should stay around for at least a couple of years.
2. RIDGID 31100 Model 818 Aluminum Straight Wrench
Looks might deceive you, so can the outer physique.
Just see the marathon champions. They usually are skinny, but when it matters, they can continue moving forward for hours.
Same goes for the RIDGID 31100 Model. This aluminum wrench is 40% lighter than its heavy-duty counterparts. But heck, you can use it for a long time, which makes it the best pipe wrench for plumbers.
So what makes it lightweight, yet durable?
The answer lies in its materials. The tool is made of aluminum, which is strong and less susceptible to environmental hazards.
The handle comes in I-beam shape. And along with it comes a fully floating hook jaw. You can adjust the jaw with ease. The ergonomic design of the handle lets you hold it without any fatigue.
If you’re looking for a slightly bigger 18-inch model, but don’t want the extra weight, then RIDGID model 818 will be perfect for you. You can use it for pipes ranging from 1” to 2.5”.
The most notable feature is perhaps the self-cleaning mechanism. The threads clean themselves as the non-stick adjustment nut moves along, cleaning the stains. Feel like the jaws underperforming a little? You can even replace the hook jaw, heel jaw, and spring assembly.
3. Goplus 4pcs Adjustable 8" 10" 14" 18" Heavy Duty Wrench
There was a time when a mechanic had to carry a full box of fixed Stillson wrenches.
That’s because pipe standards in the 19th centuries weren’t exactly met always. Fortunately, pipes nowadays are made in a more automated method, maintain a specification.
But that doesn’t exactly solve the problem. There is a wide range of tubes that are used around houses, buildings, and apartments. And there isn’t any single spanner that can cover them all.
To address this problem, what you can do is buy a set of adjustable pipe wrenches. These tools will cover a range of surface dimensions, providing you a plethora of options.
That’s exactly the idea behind Goplus 4pcs Heavy Duty Pipe Wrench. They came up with an affordable set ranging between 8” to 18”. Together, they can cover a great variety pipe diameters from 1 inch to 3 1/8 inches.
You might think they had to decrease the quality to come up with such low pricing. But satisfied users say otherwise. The malleable iron cast handle and forged steel head seem to serve them with grace, effectivity, and durability.
The jaws and nuts are heat treated, thus robust in nature. You’ll like how the teeth are precision machined to provide a secure grip on the surface. The head is spring loaded, which improves effectiveness by fast jaw gripping and releasing.
Holding spanners for too long can be a hassle. It puts stress on joints and muscles. However, Goplus makes the user experience a lot easier with the plastic wrapped handle.
4. Grizzly H6271 Steelex 4-Pcs Wrench Set
Mass production is a remarkable thing. It allowed Ford to reduce its cost by 75% back in 1915.
That’s why not all tools that come with cheap price is necessarily made “cheap”. It can be due to the popularity of the product and immensely skillful manufacturer behind it.
That’s why, when you see a quality set like Grizzly H6271 Steelex coming at an affordable price. Count the blessing and embrace it. Regardless of a professional mechanic or a DIY enthusiast, one might need plumber wrenches of different sizes every now and then.
The Grizzly H6271 comes with four wrenches of 8”, 10”, 14” and 18” sizes. The total package weighs slightly above 9 pounds, but don’t worry, it’s not like you have to carry the whole package around.
Rather, you pick the one you need and get done with the work. All of the tools are made of heavy steel, while the jaws are made of hardened steel. The handles are covered with thick rubbery foams. After all, it’s the pipe you’re going after, not your hands.
The lower jaw is machined and able to grip surfaces quite strongly. If the performance starts to go downside, you can remove it and sharpen it. If you’re building your toolbox, this package can be all you need to deal with pipes.
5. IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Pipe Wrench
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”, Steve Jobs once said.
Innovation usually comes from a manufacturer, and thousands of users reap the benefits. And if the chronology goes for 130+ long years, there’s no way you can distrust the company.
Founded back in 1885, Irwin is probably the oldest tool manufacturer of our time. But when you look at their products, you’ll be stunned by the modern looks and designs.
One will immediately fall in love with the bluish design IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP comes in. Not just beauty, deep inside, it’s a beast with heat treated, drop forged cast iron construction.
The heat treatment makes it robust to such extent that it highly resists breaking and bending. The teeth are precision machined and heat treated too, making them capable of biting into pipe surfaces.
The wrench is heavier than traditional aluminum ones but lighter than its cast iron counterparts. Which makes it one heck of a stable, balanced straight wrench. The I-beam handle is wide, yet ergonomically narrowed at places to help the user grip it.
The nut adjuster is a treat for busy users since it can be spun easily. They have a distinctive “hammer-like” head. Which can be used as a replacement hammer to some extent.
Remember what we told about innovation? This is how Irwin does it.
6. Bahco 9072 RP WE Adjustable /Pipe Wrench Ergo
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 34% of injuries happen around the workplace occurs due to ergonomic reasons.
Since hundreds of customers purchase tools from a company, not paying heed to their ergonomic welfare might have a serious backlash. Companies like Bahco understands it.
The Bahco 9072 is a 2 in 1 tool. You will be getting a Stillson wrench and an adjustable wrench at the price of one. Electricians, plumbers, and maintenance workers, people who usually have to use both tools won’t need to carry them separately.
The mechanism is rather easy, but fascinating. Simply reverse the jaws to access the combined functions. With the sharp teeth aggressively, this tool will bite into the surface instantly.
The tool is 10 inches long. The head is slim but conical. This allows easy access to difficult angles, and also provides strength while turning the pipe. The wrench allows a maximum jaw opening of 1 5/16 inches.
The tool is made keeping its users comfort in mind. You’ll instantly love the larger grip and thermoplastic handle as you hold it. The black phosphate finish is a treat for the eyes. The measurement scale on the head shows fastener size that you can work with.
7. Performance Tool W1136 Wrench Set
Performance tool lives up to its name, performing at the finest level.
Keeping a decent set of plumber wrenches is a good idea, because you don’t know when you might need it, and for which pipe dimensions. Buying different sizes together can significantly reduce the purchase cost.
This Performance Tool W1136 comes with 4 wrenches, 8 inches, 10 inches, 14 inches, and 24 inches. While most of the sets on the market use 18 inches wrench instead of the fourth, Performance Tool was thoughtful enough to provide its customers with broader options.
The thing that’ll catch your eyes is the bright red enamel design. But underneath the beautiful design, there’s a heavy duty construction. The tube wrench is made of quality steel while the jaws are precision milled.
Apart from giving the tool an enhanced look, the enamel finish acts as a protective layer against corrosion. The maximum jaw capacities of the wrenches are respectively 1 inch, 1-1/2 inches, 2 inches, and 2-7/8 inches.
8. Bahco 141 Universal Pipe Wrench
People usually love to fix their own plumbing problems, unless it is in confined spaces.
A shallow space, a difficult angle makes working with a pipe challenging. Unless you are prepared with a specific type of tools, you’ll end up passing hours of futile time.
Bahco 141 is a Swedish pipe wrench, in other words, a universal one. The small head and the distinct design of this tool makes it easier to work in confined areas. Although it slightly resembles straight wrenches, there are small alterations in the design.
The jaws have opposite jobs for starters. The outer part jaw comes with sharp and large teeth, which instantly grabs large surfaces. The jaw facing inward comes with finer teeth, providing support for the former.
The jaws are narrow, which allows them to access difficult spaces. The jaws can be opened up to 6 -1/3 inches, which is frankly more than its straight wrench counterparts. It has a gripping capacity up to 5 inches.
This universal wrench is made to last for a long time. The structure is made of high alloy steel, then treated with black oxide to prevent rusting and decaying over time.
9. Olympia Tool 01-636 Aluminum Pipe Wrench
Having a tight budget is a depressing thing, as you have limited options.
But if you are careful, you can find just the exact quality usually pricier products provide. You won’t have to dig deeper into your pocket, just deeper into the market.
Olympia Tool 01-636 is lightweight, but not cheaply made. The aluminum pipe wrench is easy to maneuver, and won’t put any strain on your wrists. The design is nothing too fancy with metallic gray color. But it’ll get your job done, that’s for sure.
The handle is made of cast aluminum. The jaws are properly machined for highest performance. The drop forged steel jaws meet industrial quality with a hitch. The adjustable nut allows the user to adjust the degree of jaw opening.
10. Wideskall 3 Pieces Heavy Duty Set
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like beautiful things, be it people, book or even tools.
When beauty combines quality, you know you have got a perfect gear for your toolbox. Wideskall 3 Pieces Wrench Set is such a product. It’s inexpensive, looks beautiful and above all, forgiving to your hands.
The Wideskall is lightweight at 5.68 pounds, but that’s not the only thing that makes it an ergonomic selection. The handle comes with cast iron housing that not only protects your hand from strain but also prevents accidental slips.
Underneath the grip, the handle is robust, made from cast iron. It won’t bend or twist despite strong torque. The jaws are made of hardened steel. They have deep and sharp grooves on them to bite into bolt or tube surfaces easily.
The jaw arm has markings on it indicating how wide of a pipe it can handle. As you expand the adjustable jaw, the molded scale will keep informing you of the workable diameter.
The set contains 3 wrenches and probably the cheapest set on the market. The 10, 12 and 14 inches models can provide maximum jaw openings of 1-1/8 inches, 1-3/4 inches and 2 inches.
11. Drixet Heavy Duty 18" Pipe Wrench
Stuck with a fixed pipe or a broken nut but failing to get it off?
Happens to a lot of us. The solution is simple, you need a tool that comes with robust heat treated material to break it off or unstuck it. But the simple solution becomes an impossible task when your wrench can’t meet the criteria.
The Drixet Heavy Duty Wrench will come in handy in these situations. Not only it’s made of forged heat treated steel, but also it comes with precision machined teeth to make the job easier.
It will work around stubborn pipe joints and nuts. As an added bonus, it will take care of your palms too. The handle is designed to fit your hands, and the rubber grip on it won’t let your palm slip, even if it’s sweaty and slippery.
Weighing only 4.2 pounds, this is lighter than most 18 inches pipe spanners. With a maximum jaw opening of 2.5 inches, you should be able to use this tool in majority general cases.
The adjustable nut is easily movable. However, in case you become too comfortable spinning it, the knurled nut hangs up at the end of the thread. The hook jaw is marked with numbers, which indicate how much tube diameter the current opening can manage. The threads are self-cleaning and wipe dirt, grimes on their own.
Things To Consider Before Buying Pipe Wrench
Imagine having to replace an entire wall or repainting it just because you didn’t address a leak in time. Wretched, isn’t it? Whether you are a professional or a homeowner with a toolbox setting in mind, hand tools are a must. With them at your disposal, you won’t have to run to a plumber every time a pipe joint needs fixing.
Adding a simple, economic plumber wrench can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. However, bearing some essential features in mind will lead you to the right purchase.
Stillson wrenches come in a variety of size. I mean, a lot. While industrial wrenches are usually bigger ones, they are not the ones you need for home use. Determine the usual types of works you will be doing with your tool and select a size suitable for those jobs. Experts suggest 14-18 inches of sizes for home. With this size, you will be able to perform simple home improvement tasks.
Size isn’t the only specification you need to look into. Since the job includes pipes and nuts, other specifications can determine how much you can accomplish with it. Below, we’ll go through the things you have to consider-
Jaw Capacity- For home use, a jaw capacity between 1 to 6 inches should be sufficient.
Jaw Adjustment- Sometimes it can be tiresome to get the right fit for the surface diameter. Some wrenches come with spring-loaded jaws. They eliminate the guesswork and lets you easily adjust the tool. Some even can be locked into places once you got your right fit and needs repetitive use.
Head Type- Sometimes you’ll have to work with difficult angels or little space between the tube and the wall. In these cases, a wide head might be difficult to operate. You will need a narrow head with more gripping teeth, or a strap to wrap around the surface.
Engraved Number- Sometimes it’s really hard to determine how much jaw opening you need to fit the surface diameter. Some pipe wenches come with engraved numbers on their jaw. Which, as the adjustable nut moves, shows which pipe diameter can be grabbed with the current jaw opening.
Materials play a part in the longevity of a tool. Going for cheaply made pipe wrenches might save you some bucks instantly, but you won’t get expected performance from it in the long run. Usually, wrench heads are made of cast steel, carbon steel or forged steel. They tend to last longer and prevent breaking. Some wrenches are made of ductile iron. Which can be bent after a period of use, and you’ll know it’s time to replace it. Stainless steel wrenches will also last around for a long time and give you ample value for the money.
Apart from the materials, wrenches usually come covered with protective coats. Black oxide or sandblast coated wrenches decreases the likelihood of rust. Also, they are less susceptible to wear and tear.
As we discussed above, there are about six common plumber spanners to choose from. For regular house jobs, a straight type will be enough. But, if you encounter jobs like working on the basement or fixing something within space constraints, you might as well choose offset wrenches. If the pipe joint is too stiff, a compound leverage wrench is what you need.
Plausibly, you might not want to buy one from each type for home use. Wrench with spring loaded jaws will help you work with different sized pipes. You just have to adjust the jaws and you can start working right away.
Performance And Ease Of Use
Fixing a broken joint can be a pretty strenuous job. And if your pipe isn’t making things easier, you’ll end up compromising the fitting.
The weight of the spanner should be something that can be held for a long time. An overly heavy wrench will cause strain and pain on the muscles if hold for too long.
There is a gap you should maintain between the hook jaw and the surface. The gap is ½ inches. This gap will make tightening or loosening the pipe easier. If the hook jaw comes in touch of the surface, moving it will be more challenging.
Finally, the teeth. Make sure the serrated teeth are sharp and provide a strong gripping action. You don’t want the tool to slip due to dull teeth, which can lead to unwanted accidents.
Any hand tools, not just the pipe wrench, should be comforting to hold. You’ll be working holding the grip and probably get a sweaty palm in the process. If the handle is slippery, your hands might slip and get injured. Also, a bare handle puts stress on the palms.
Plumber wrenches should come with handle covers. Anti-slip rubber of plastic coated handle will be a delight to hold onto.
Different Types Of Pipe Wrenches
Understanding different varieties of this wrench are important since they offer different types of amenities. Using wrong plumber wrench for the job might lead to damage of the pipe and joint, even body injuries. On top of that, losing purchase money over a wrong type is pathetic, isn’t it?
There are mainly six types of plumber wrenches. Let’s not bother you with overwhelming information, just the necessaries so that you can set them apart.
1. Straight Pipe Wrench:
Usually the most bought and used type. The straight wrench is used to adjust pipes sizing between ¾ to 8 inches. We’re talking about most used sizes, but if you need, the size can go as high as 60 inches.
2. Offset Wrench:
This one comes with narrow jaws and extremely useful in inadequate spaces. You can use them when there isn’t much room to move the tool, i.e. parallel setups or pipes with obstinate angels.
There is a variation of offset spanner that is widely popular. The model is known as universal or Swedish pipe wrench. This one comes with sharp teeth on its outward jaw and finer teeth on its inward jaw. The jaws are tampered, allowing the user to work in limited space.
3. End Pipe Wrench:
The jaws are little different from regular wrenches. They are set at a slightly deviated angels compared to the tool itself. This allows them to operate when the tube is located too close to the wall. Usually, the end side of a pipe will be located in such a place, thus the name End Wrench. The teeth of End wrenches provide a stronger grip than its counterparts.
4. Compound Leverage:
Like its name, it’s made to give the user extra leverage. It is used on joints that are too tight to disassemble. That may happen due to cold or when the joint is aged, broken or corroded. What the tool does is amplifies the power the user applies and let the joint loose without damage.
5. Strap Pipe Wrench:
A bit different from traditional plumber wrenches. Instead of a head, the tool comes with a strap. The strap can be made of rubber, leather, even metal. This wrench is mostly used of off-shaped tubes or joints. The user attaches the strap to the surface and it’ll tighten by itself. The friction between the strap and the surface then comes into play and facilitates the loosening of the pipe.
6. Chain Pipe Wrench:
The tool is a variant of the strap type wrench. Instead of rubber or leather straps, this one comes with a chain strap. This instrument works wonder on super smooth pipe surfaces of tubes with weird shapes.
Which Are The Best Pipe Wrench Brands On The Market?
You’ve decided to add a pipe wrench to your toolbox. So, you head to the market, looking through the options and wow!! A shiny Stillson wrench in half of the regular price. You don’t know the manufacturing company, never heard of it. But nothing can beat quick profits, right?
Regrettably, these “John Doe” company pipe spanners can break after the first or second use. Instead of saving cash, you might end up buying a replacement.
Why leave things to guesswork, when you have prominent brands to choose from? Not only they provide excellent quality, but also their after sales services are well known in case you need replacement. Here are some of the top pipe wrench brands on the market-
1. Trades Pro
Trades Pro is a venture of Alltrade Tools LLC, a renowned name in tools and equipment manufacturing industry.
Started back in 1979, they have surpassed the boundaries of America and become the other name of trust all around the world.
Quality, service, and value are the 3 things they want to ensure for their customers. In order to achieve that, they try to meet or exceed US government tool standards.
Apart from Trades Pro, the parenting company also owns respectable brands like Power Built, All Space, Vision, and Kilimanjaro.
Ridgid has been around for approximately 96 years now. This company was found in 1923 and the inventor of the modern pipe wrench, the very product we are reviewing here.
When legacy meets effectiveness, top quality products come out as a result. The makes tools that can work efficiently in heat and cold temperature, withstanding dirt and mud.
Another thing that made them stand from the crowd is their receptive, friendly customer service, which is ever ready to provide you with beneficiary information and knowledge.
Goplus manufactures a wide range of products from air tools, power tools, cutters, saw-blades to home improvement tools.
They have one of the most versatile metalworking and woodworking machinery collection. They are known for their customer friendly price ranges since they cut down any dealer and reach to the customer directly.
Does that mean you have to wait to receive their product? No! Since they have two big warehouses located in most strategic locations, you can receive your order within a few days.
4. Irwin Tools
Irwin Tools is a hub spot for professional grade accessories and hand tools. This brand is well known to professionals who demand nothing but longevity and performance.
This is a century old tools company, dated back in 1885. Some tools have started their journey from Irwin workshops, among them are marathon saw blades, vise grip locking tools, quick-grip bar clamps etc.
They have inspection teams that visit job sites to gain first-hand knowledge on how to improve their tools even better.
Like the previous company, Bahco also has a rich and long history of leading the way. Established in 1886, it wouldn’t have been here today if it wasn’t for uncompromising quality.
They don’t just manufacture tools, they do so with innovative mind and keeping user ergonomics in mind. That’s why their products tend to last longer and unlikely to put danger on the user.
They have factories located across Europe. And with their extensive distributor network, you’ll see Bahco products in far corners of the country.
6. Olympia Tools
This company has been around for 46 years. You might say Olympia is ‘younger’ in comparison with the previous companies we discussed.
Despite being younger, they have become a global manufacturer. You’ll find their products in major retailer shops around the globe. They manufacture hand tools, outdoor equipment, tool accessories, and specialty tools.
So what made them so widely accepted? They have combined the three things retailers and customers root for, uncompromising quality, low price and on time delivery.
How To Take Care Your Pipe Wrench For Longevity
How would it feel if you rush to get your pipe wrench in order to quickly fix a water leak, and find the device isn’t prepared for the job? That might not be an immediate scenario after you buy a pipe wrench, but time will catch up if you ignore the maintenance for too long.
It’s not that tools need intensive care. They’re built to take all the abuses you throw at them. But they also need proper maintenance if they have to keep the performance level high. As for tools like pipe wrenches, deterioration might start if you ignore the maintenance job for too long.
So how to take care of your pipe wrenches so that they stick around for a long time? The processes are easy, and below is the list of them.
Clean After Use:
After vigorous sessions of usage, the wrench needs to breathe and get cleaned. If you let the dirt and debris stick around for a long time, the tool will be susceptible to damage. Make sure you wipe the tool neatly, then use a wire brush to clean the teeth. Make sure no particles are stuck between the teeth.
The tool joints and are non-painted parts of a wrench should be cleaned regularly, even though you don’t use it. Tools like pipe wrenches which have moving parts, or use frictions as a part of the job can decay quickly. Lubricating them will slow down the wearing process.
You do not need to spend fortunes to do that. Just using basic, pneumatic tool lubricants should be enough. Use a small dab every now and then to keep the parts lubricated.
Avoid High Humidity:
Humidity is an enemy to, well, almost everything. From food to tools, keeping your things in humid condition will accelerate deterioration. For tools, it’s rusting.
Applying a layer of oil is a good step to keep away corrosion. But what’s even better than this is keeping your pipe wrench in a dry place. You can keep your tools in a toolbox. This will help you keep them organized and protected from humid conditions.
Apart from that, you can use one or two packs of silicone gel. They tend to absorb the humidity from the air and keep the surroundings dry.
Hopefully, these tips will be sufficient to keep your pipe wrench up for the game for a long time. However, remind one thing, don’t sweat it too much. Wrenches are made to be used vigorously, and they can be damaged or broke from time to time. If that happens, move on and look for your next economic option.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who Invented The Pipe Wrench?
Pipe wrench, also known as Stillson wrench was invented by a mechanic working at the Walworth Company, back in 1869. The mechanic was Daniel C. Stillson. Thus, the tool is called Stillson wrench.
Later, in 1888, a Swedish inventor Johan P. Johansson invented adjustable pipe wrenches. The reason that invigorated him to invent this version is interesting. Back then, the nuts and bolts size standards were poorly maintained. Often, a mechanic would have to go to a job with a full set of fixed pipe wrenches. So the invention of adjustable pipe wrench that can work with different nut dimensions was a need of the hour.
2. Why A Pipe Wrench Is Called A Monkey Wrench?
A pipe wrench is sometimes called monkey wrench and these two terms are used interchangeably. But let me give you an interesting piece of information, these two aren’t the same thing.
What causes the confusion is the look. They both look almost identical. However, if you are a DIY enthusiast, you need to know more than that and be able to separate these two.
Pipe wrenches are usually used for tightening and loosening pipes and tube joints. On the other hand, the works associated with money wrench is mainly bolt related works. Usually, they are used to unscrew hexagonal nuts and not pipes.
The monkey wrench comes with jaws that can be opened with a shaft and a bolt. Once you get the desired space, you have to tighten the locknut to start working.
3. What Size Pipe Wrench Do I Need?
Before jumping into the answer, let us turn your attention to the results of not choosing the right size. Every mechanic who didn’t pick their plumber spanner right has a story of injury, be it scars or bruised knuckles from due to a slippery wrench. Sometimes, the pipe might break and worsen the situation even more.
For someone who intends to build a toolbox for home use, 14-inches would be perfect pipe wrench size. The weight is light and suitable to carry around. As for more sophisticated home and industrial use, an 18 inches pipe wrench should be able enough. Remember, this wrench can work with piping up to 2.5 inches diameter.
If you’re sure you have to work with wider pipes, feel free to choose from bigger sizes. There’s no scarcity of options. You can get sizes up to 60 inches.
If you have to work with varying sizes, choosing an adjustable pipe wrench is the right course of action.
4. How To Use A Pipe Wrench?
It might sound peculiar because wrenches are known as tools with the easiest mechanism. Well, like other things in life, a little know-how will help you save sweat and time.
A pipe wrench is a clamp-like tool and it comes with two jaws. The lower jaw is fixed, while the upper jaw can move back and forth.
So, to tighten or loosen a pipe, place the pipe between the jaws and in the center. Do not connect the upper hook jaw with the pipe. As a rule of thumb, always keep ½ inch gap between the two.
Once the tube is properly centered between two jaws, tighten the hook jaw until two of the jaws bite properly on the pipe. Make sure the jaws are attached strongly. After that, move the pipe in order to tighten or loosen.
5. What Are The Different Uses Of Pipe Wrench?
There are various uses of a pipe wrench. Some of them can be done with ratchet or socket wrenches, but you can always cash in having a plumber wrench and make the most of it. Here are some of the pipe wrench uses-
For plumbing- Tightening or loosening pipe joints, attaching them together, loosening dull hexagonal nuts, fixing sinks, toilets and bathroom fittings.
For Bicycle and Motorcycles- Tightening fire deflation, loose chains, attaching tires to the body.
Furniture- Attaching furniture that comes packed and unassembled, tightening the varying sized nuts and bolts.
Auto Repair- A must-have for car owners. Comes handy in replacing a flat tire with a new one.
6. Pipe Wrench Vs Adjustable Wrench, What Are The Differences?
Although both are wrenches, they are used for different purposes. Yes, they have some features in common, and sometimes people use one in change for another. However, the technical procedures of how they work are different.
An adjustable wrench is also called an adjustable spanner, adjustable end wrench or crescent wrench. Basically, an adjustable wrench is made to work with bolts and nuts of different sizes.
It’s an open-ended wrench that comes with a movable jaw. A worm gear mechanism enables the jaw to move back and forth with the help of the thumb.
On the other hand, pipe wrenches are used to tighten and loosen pipes. This one also comes with a hook jaw that can move and a fixed jaw. These jaws are connected by moving a knurled nob. The teeth of the jaws are angled, and they tend to stick to the pipe tightly once attached.
The two tools are also different in case of size. While plumber wrench ranges between 3 inches to 60 inches, adjustable wrench comes between 4 inches to 12 inches size.
Putting the blame on ignorance is easy, but it’s you who end up with a loss.
Any investment should be done with an informed decision, not on whims. While there are resources that can help you, it’s up to you to determine your priorities.
Same goes for tool selection. When you decide to purchase the best pipe wrench, remember the selection vastly depends on your requirements.
You might need a quality plumber wrench without being too heavy.You might require not just one, but a set of wrenches for your professional or personal use.
Perhaps you have to work on inadequate spaces which cannot be done with usual straight wrenches.
So many people, so many minds. That’s why the most fitting choice isn’t the same for everyone.
Here’s where we come in. We have provided you with an extensive guide on pipe wrenches. We scoured the market and chose top 11 models this specific tool. While most of them come with different features, one thing is common. They are loved and appreciated by their users and they’re market leaders.
With the detailed reviews, you will be able to choose one that goes with your specific requirements.