What Is an Adjustable Wrench: Things You Need to Know

They say your toolbox is not really complete if you do not have an adjustable wrench in it. But what is an adjustable wrench? Also known as an adjustable crescent or an adjustable spanner, it is a tool which can be used to tighten or loosen a bolt or a nut, and it comes with a jaw which can be adjusted into different nut sizes. It also comes with a screw at the bottom of the head which is turned to adjust the wrench. It is made up of one movable jaw and one fixed at the top.

The adjustable wrench may not fit all types of job, but it sure does have many important uses and functions in many working environments. It has different sizes and shapes, and it can be used in a variety of flexible tasks to make your life easier. So, go read on to know more about what an adjustable wrench is!

What Is an Adjustable Wrench: Four Best Uses

There are so many jobs where you can depend on an adjustable wrench and here are some of its most common uses:

  • Plumbing

Plumbing is undoubtedly the most common task that will require the use of an adjustable wrench. It can fit different piping sizes which can vary from a thicker hex bolt of a sink to a thinner toilet bolt or a smaller bath tap. An adjustable wrench can either loosen or tighten the nuts of all three without an issue.

  • Auto Mechanics

Every auto mechanic owns an adjustable wrench. Compared to other wrenches, adjustable wrenches have an advantage in some auto repairs since they can be used even in smaller areas or in adjusting nuts or bolts placed in awkward positions. It offers more torque or a better grip to remove a hard bolt head. It sure works best on cars with awkward hand spaces which makes the use of a regular wrench impossible.

  • Motorbikes and Cycling

When you need to fix a puncture after getting stuck somewhere, an adjustable wrench can save you. It is extremely useful when there is an immediate need to remove your wheel after getting a flat tire from cycling. It is a must to have one with you every time you go out cycling because it will save you time and energy in such cases. It is also a vital tool for motorcycle riders as it can fix minor adjustments, or loose bolts and nuts.

  • DIY Furniture

Do-it-yourself or self-assembly furniture come with a bolt or a nut that need to be fitted. It can be time-wasting to bring 10 to 20 wrenches, not to mention the struggle to scan all of them to find out which one will fit which bolt or nut.

An adjustable wrench will save you since it can simply fit against any bolt head, by making adjustments as needed. It also eliminates the need to carry all of your heavy tools from one place to another to assemble your furniture.

Four Main Types of an Adjustable Wrench

When it comes to maintenance and home repairs, adjustable wrenches are particularly useful and handy that each household should have it. Here are the main types of adjustable wrenches with their distinctive uses and characteristics:

  • Adjustable Spanners

This is also known as the crescent wrench and is considered the most common type and almost always available in any household. They come in different sizes, but its most common feature is the 15-degree angle between the handle and the movable jaw. They are commonly used to unscrew or fasten plumbing accessories such as elbows, pipes, and faucets.

  • Monkey Wrench

This type of adjustable wrench is normally used in large-scale projects. It has jagged jaw grips and a long handle. Its jaw can stay firmly attached to boxes, pipes, and other objects of different sizes. Its material is made up of steel which has undergone heat-forging, making it remarkably strong, and allowing it to bear the human body weight pushed against it.

  • Pipe Wrench

Also known as the Stillson Wrench, it is commonly confused with the monkey wrench because of their similarities. However, the pipe wrench has a sleeker body which makes it more convenient to use in hard-to-reach locations or areas such as corners and nooks.

It is suitable to be used with round-surface fittings and soft iron pipes, but not with hex nuts since the teeth of its jaws can damage the hex head. This type of adjustable wrench is made of steel or aluminum and are available in different handle sizes such as 10, 14, 18, 24, 36, and 48 inches. You can also purchase jaw kits to repair your old wrench instead of buying a new one.

  • Plumber Wrench

This type of adjustable wrench comes with a key ring positioned in one of its handles, which is used to close the jaws around the fitting or pipe. It should not engage the bolt or nut head it is applied to since it clasps with great force.
Due to its size, it should only be used on jobs where the other types of the wrench are not suitable.

The Conclusion

So, what is an adjustable wrench? After a thorough discussion above, we can say that an adjustable wrench is a great tool that should be part of every toolbox. Since they are adjustable and can fit almost all bolt and nut sizes, this one tool should be enough to cover so many tasks, while also allowing you to save money and time since there will be no need to look for another tool to fit the job.

What’s good is that even if it is your first time to use it, you will not have a hard time because it is not that complicated to use. You just have to familiarize yourself with its different types and know what to use on specific jobs, and you are good to go. There is no special preparation or training needed, just remember some of the tips mentioned above, and you should be able to use the tool and complete whatever task you’re working on.

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