How To Use A Pipe Wrench

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
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When you see a pipe wrench here and there, you may think it is a very common tool. But this simple tool has six different types as well as several different sizes. For this reason, before purchasing this kind of tool, you should know how to use one and what type to purchase. We are writing this article today to provide you with the necessary information about these facts.

What Is A Pipe Wrench?

A pipe wrench is a type of adjustable wrench which is used on pipes. Generally, a pipe wrench is used on threaded metal-made pipes, such as black iron, galvanized steel, and other similar types of metals. If you look at the top of the metal body, two serrated jaws are included there for a grip on pipes. You can simply tighten or loosen these serrated jaws for gaining or losing a grip. However, these two jaws do not move at once, and you can only move the upper one. Taking the upper serrated jaw down will increase the grip by tightening. On the other hand, you need to take the top jaw up for losing the grip and removing the wrench from the pipe. In this way, you can fit different sizes of pipes on your pipe wrench. Let’s have a look at the basic parts of a pipe wrench.
  1. Body
  2. Nut
  3. Hook Jaw
  4. Heel Jaw
  5. Pin
  6. Spring Assembly
We’ve already mentioned the two jaws, where one is the top jaw and is known as the hook jaw. Another one is the below jaw or heel jaw, which is attached to the body using a pin. However, the nut works as the adjusting tool here. Turning the nut clockwise or anticlockwise will move the hook jaw up and down. Not to mention, some rare types of pipe wrenches come with an additional head assembly, which is attached to the body. Anyway, many professionals use a pipe wrench like drillers, plumbers, and other pipe-related working professionals.

Process of Using A Pipe Wrench

Before using a pipe wrench on your selected pipe, you need to choose the right pipe wrench to suit your pipe. Because using a small pipe wrench may not give you the grip needed for the desired pipe. Besides, you must select a larger wrench when you need higher torque. After choosing the specific pipe wrench, you can follow the steps below-
  1. Use Eye Protection
For any risky task, your safety should be the first concern. So, wear eye protection first to save your eyes from any sudden accident or pipe leakage.
  1. Set The Wrench On Pipe
Put the pipe in between the two jaws of the wrench. Make sure that you are fitting the pipe wrench in the right place.
  1. Never Remove Your Hand
Don’t remove your hand from the pipe wrench when you’ve already set the wrench on the pipe. Otherwise, the wrench can fall into your legs, creating injuries or damaging the pipe when it is hung.
  1. Check For Slippage
Check both the pipe wrench and the pipe for any slippage. Because any slippery condition creates a risk of slipping the wrench from its position. And, it can be very dangerous for you and your pipe.
  1. Tighten The Jaws
After checking all precautions and setting the pipe wrench in its position, you can now tighten the jaws to get a grip. When you get a firm grip, stop tightening more to keep your pipe safe.
  1. Put Only Rotational Force
Then, you should give only rotational force for turning the pipe wrench. In this way, you will be able to work by moving your pipe.
  1. Always Maintain Balance
Balancing is one of the priorities here for better performance. So, always try to maintain your balance when rotating the pipe wrench.
  1. Loosen and Remove The Wrench
After your task is done, you can now loosen the jaws to remove the wrench grip. And, lastly, you can now remove your pipe wrench from its position.

Some Tips For Using A Pipe Wrench

If you are also aware of these tips as well as the using process, it will be easier for you to work with the pipe wrench in most conditions.
  • Always use light force on the pipe wrench since excessive force can damage the pipe.
  • Avoid working near high heat areas or such places where a flame is in the nearby area.
  • It is recommended not to modify your pipe wrench for reducing the risk of malfunctioning during the work process.
  • Never use handle extensions attached to your pipe wrench.
  • Don’t use such a wrench that has a damaged handle like bent or twisted.

Final Words

The most important thing you need to consider when you want to use a pipe wrench is to get a perfect-sized tool for your work. When you have the right one in your hand, you can just follow the above steps to enjoy the use process with perfection.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.