Adjustable Wrench Types and Size That You Need to Know

by Joost | Updated on:  April 5, 2018

When applying torque to objects like bolts and nuts that need turning, one tool that is indispensable is a wrench, also known as spanner.

As a DIYer, the most crucial wrench you should have is an adjustable wrench, as it comes with jaws that you can customize to fit different tasks.

You can extend or reduce the jaws to suit faucets and pipes of different sizes. That way, you can handle home repairs and maintenance routines for your machines and tools.

In this Guide, you will learn the major types and size of the adjustable wrench that are available. With regards to that, you will get insight into the distinctive traits and the uses.

Adjustable Wrench Types:

1. Adjustable Spanners



Also called crescent wrenches, adjustable spanners are available in virtually every household these days.

The most distinct characteristic of the adjustable spanner is the 15° angle between the handle and the movable jaw.

Adjustable spanners are reasonably priced, and apart from that, they come in a broad range of sizes to suit any job you might have in mind.

They are best suited for unscrewing or fastening plumbing fixtures like elbows, faucets, and pipes.

Don’t have enough strength to open bottle lids? There’s an adjustable spanner subtype that is meant just for you.

As you use the adjustable spanner, ensure that the movable jaw is clasped securely around the pipe. This will help prevent rounding, which can be a pretty annoying issue.

Also, be sure to position the jaw on the side toward which the rotations will happen. This will help avoid deforming the wrench.

2. Monkey Wrench


Looking for an adjustable wrench to use in large-scale projects like fixing vehicles or water systems for customers in your neighborhood? Then, you will need a monkey wrench.

What most distinguishes this adjustable wrench is its long handle and sharp jaws that grip objects very firmly.

The tool is crafted from steel or its alloys through a process known as heat-forging.

The sturdy construction is what accounts for the monkey wrench’s remarkable strength. A monkey wrench is capable of bearing your entire weight as you push against it.

3. Pipe Wrench


People often confuse the pipe wrench with the monkey wrench, as the two are very similar. Nonetheless, the pipe wrench, otherwise known as the Stillson wrench, happens to be sleeker than the monkey wrench.

Moreover, this wrench makes it easier for you to reach difficult locations like corners and nooks.

The pipe wrench is perfect when you’re working with round-surface fixtures and soft iron pipes. But, you shouldn’t use it with hex nuts as its teeth can quickly ruin the hex head.

The Stillson wrench is manufactured from steel or aluminum and can be bought in different handle sizes, including 10”, 18”, 24”, 36”, and 48”.

There are also jaw kits if you prefer repairing your old pipe wrench rather than purchasing a new one.

4. Plumber Wrench


Plumber wrenches come with a key ring fitted to one handle, for closing the movable jaws around the fitting or pipe.

This wrench clasps with striking force, and hence it doesn’t need to engage the bolt or nut head it’s applied to. As the wrench is quite bulky, you should only use it where other kinds of wrenches don’t work.

Adjustable Wrench Size:

The adjustable wrench is available in varying sizes. The most common sizes include the:


As you look for adjustable wrenches, I recommend you go for those that are made of steel or steel alloys.

These materials are stronger and can handle stressful jobs without breaking. Furthermore, they last longer than other materials.

If you can get one that is chrome-plated, that’d be even better as it will be able to resist corrosion and also make cleaning easy.