What is the difference between an adjustable wrench and a pipe wrench?

What is the difference between an adjustable wrench and a pipe wrench featured

The Basics of Adjustable Wrenches and Pipe Wrenches

Adjustable Wrenches

An adjustable wrench, also known as a crescent wrench or a shifting spanner, is a versatile tool designed to turn nuts and bolts of different sizes. This type of wrench has a screw mechanism that allows its jaws to be adjusted to fit the size of the object it’s being used on. Adjustable wrenches typically have a smooth, flat surface on one jaw and a serrated surface on the other.

Pipe Wrenches

On the other hand, a pipe wrench is a heavy-duty tool that’s specifically designed to grip and turn long, cylindrical objects such as pipes and fittings. Pipe wrenches have toothed jaws that are angled to provide a strong grip on round surfaces. They also have a long handle that allows for more torque, making them ideal for use on tight or rusted pipes.

The Differences


The primary difference between adjustable wrenches and pipe wrenches is their application. Adjustable wrenches are best suited for use on nuts, bolts, and other small objects, while pipe wrenches are designed for use on larger, cylindrical objects like pipes and fittings.

Jaw Design

Additionally, the jaw designs of the two types of wrenches also differ significantly. Adjustable wrenches have smooth, flat surfaces on one jaw to avoid damaging the surface of the object being worked on. Pipe wrenches, on the other hand, have toothed jaws that grip the surface of the pipe tightly, making them less likely to slip during use.

Handle Length

The length of the handles on adjustable wrenches and pipe wrenches also varies. Adjustable wrenches typically have shorter handles, making them more compact and maneuverable in tight spaces. Pipe wrenches, due to their longer and heavier handles, provide more leverage, allowing users to apply greater force to the object they’re working on.


Another significant difference between adjustable wrenches and pipe wrenches is their weight. Adjustable wrenches are typically lightweight and easy to handle, while pipe wrenches can be quite heavy due to their heavy-duty construction and long handles.


Finally, cost is also a factor when comparing adjustable wrenches and pipe wrenches. Adjustable wrenches are generally cheaper and more widely available, while pipe wrenches are more expensive and may be harder to find, depending on your location.

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