The Right Pipe Wrench
Use the right tool for the job
Posted 08:02 December 09, 2018
Last Updated 08:02 February 05, 2019
An experienced plumber will always tell you – pick and use the right tool for the job. The pipe wrench is the bread-and-butter tool of plumbers. Picking the right one for a job seems like a small thing, but it is a skill that experienced plumbers learn over time.
For the common folk, most think a pipe wrench is just a pipe wrench – but that’s not true. There are many different kinds of pipe wrenches. Here are the most common kinds:
Straight Pipe Wrench
The traditional pipe wrench. It is good at tightening and loosening all kinds and forms of threaded pipe. It’s the most common type of pipe wrench used.
End Pipe Wrench
The jaws of this pipe wrench are offset at a slight angle. This helps plumbers when working close to a wall or near the end of a pipe.
Offset Pipe Wrench
For the most awkward angles and tightest spots, plumbers use an offset pipe wrench. The jaws are offset by 90 degrees. They also access to spots a straight pipe wrench could never reach.
Compound Leverage Wrench
This pipe wrench multiplies the force applied through the use of a lever. It is used on excessively hard to break joints and where pipes are frozen or locked together due to age, corrosion, or damage.
Chain Pipe Wrench
This pipe wrench uses a chain instead of jaws. It is good for very tight pipes.
Very similar to the chain pipe wrench, this one uses a strap instead of a chain. It’s used on plastic, plated, or polished pipes when you want to avoid scratch damage.
Pipe wrenches come in all shapes and sizes. If you only have room for one in your tool box, get a 14 inch aluminum straight pipe wrench. It will handle most common jobs around the home. It’s very lightweight, easy to transport, and should be a standard component of a home repair tool kit.