If you were to whittle your toolbox down to just a handful of essential tools (though why would you?), an adjustable wrench would undoubtedly make the cut. The name is a dead giveaway for how versatile this tool is. The fact that they’re adjustable allows them to be used to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts in a wide range of sizes. Adjusting the jaws of the wrench is easily done using a rotating metal piece variably called a worm screw for its curly shape or a knurl for its textured surface. The worm screw allows you to open the jaws much wider than the head of the wrench, or tighten them to be flush with each other.
One of the most common applications for adjustable wrenches is plumbing. If you need to loosen or tighten the nuts that control your pipes, an adjustable wrench will likely be the first thing you’ll reach for. Auto-enthusiasts also rely on adjustable wrenches, and they can even come in handy when assembling furniture. You can also use them for making repairs to bicycles. Adjustable wrenches are useful just about anywhere you might need to adjust nuts and bolts. And since they’re so versatile, you might find yourself using them for unconventional purposes or as a replacement for another tool, such as a makeshift vise-grip when you need to hold a piece in place.
Even if you don’t expect to need an adjustable wrench anytime soon, it’s the kind of thing you’ll be glad you had should you find yourself with a midnight plumbing issue. We’ve picked out some of the best adjustable wrenches on Amazon to keep in your toolbox.
1. Channellock Adjustable Wrench
Channellock consistently delivers when it comes to basic tools. The jaws of this adjustable wrench open up to 1.5″, making it easy to grip larger nuts. The head of the wrench is clearly marked with inch measurements, and a marker on the jaw indicates how wide the jaws are opened. The textured grips reduce hand fatigue and make the tool easy to hold for extended periods.
Pros: Comfortable textured grip. Opens up to 1.5″. Contrasting ruler markers on the side make it easy to see how wide the wrench is opened.
Cons: The grip could be more securely fitted on the wrench.
2. Crescent Adjustable Wrench
Crescent is one of the standard-bearers when it comes to adjustable wrenches, such that adjustable wrenches are often colloquially referred to as crescent wrenches. This sturdy 8″ wrench is made from alloy steel and is coated with a black oxide finish which helps resist corrosion. A laser-etched scale makes it easy to make adjustments. A wide variety of sizes are available from this listing, ranging from 4″ to 12″.
Pros: Black oxide finish resists corrosion and adds a unique look. Wide capacity jaw.
Cons: Worm screw could turn more easily.
3. TEKTON 6-Inch Adjustable Wrench
This simple wrench is six inches long, making it a good compact size for average home repair use. The jaw opens up to 3/4″, so it’s suited to tightening smaller nuts. The ruler markings on the side are laser-etched, preventing them from being rubbed off over time. One side has inch measurements and the other has metric measurements. You can also choose other sizes from this listing, ranging from 4″ to 15″ in size.
Pros: Laser-etched ruler marker in both inches and millimeters. Variety of sizes available.
Cons: Jaws could be tighter. No comfort grip on the handle.
4. WORKPRO 4-piece Adjustable Wrench Set
The best adjustable wrenches eliminate the need for having a whole toolbox dedicated to wrenches, but it can still be worth having multiple adjustable wrenches for handling jobs of different sizes. This set from Workpro is great for that reason. Four wrenches are included for about as much as you’d pay for one tool from other brands. Included wrenches are 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″. The heads have convenient markings.
Pros: Set of four wrenches in four common sizes. Easy-to-read measurements.
Cons: Not as durable as some of the top options. No comfort grip on the handles.