Best Adjustable Wrench: Reviewed & Compared For Toolsmen

By design, classic wrenches are only able to effectively pair with a bolt or fastener of the exact same size as its set jaw. This can become a problem if you’re working on a large job that requires loosening and tightening nuts or pipes of various sizes. After all, you'd usually need to lug around a whole collection of different-sized wrenches just to satisfy the needs of the task at hand.

Professionals and DIYers alike would still be struggling with that inconvenience if not for the invention of the adjustable wrench. Known as an "adjustable spanner" in many English-speaking countries, these useful hand tools allow a user to manually adjust the jaw size of their wrench on demand.

You might still need to apply some guesswork if you’re shopping for a new adjustable wrench. After all, there are many different lengths and styles on the market today. This guide will help you shop through them all by providing you with reviews of this year’s top 9 best adjustable wrenches.


Preview

Product

Length

Max Jaw Opening

Check Price

Channellock 8WCB 8-Inch WideAzz Adjustable...

Channellock

8WCB

8 inches

1.5 inches

Jetech 36 inch (900mm) Straight Pipe Wrench,...

Jetech 900mm

Pipe Wrench

36 inches

4.5 inches

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Adjustable Wrench Set,...

IRWIN VISE-GRIP

2078706

6", 8", 10" and 12" (set)

1.5 inch

Crescent 24' Adjustable Tapered Handle Wrench...

Crescent Adjustable Tapered Handle AC224VS

24 inches

2-7/16 inches

TEKTON 23003 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench

TEKTON 23003

8 inches

1 inch

Klein Tools 3227 Adjustable Wrench, Spud...

Klein Tools

3227 Spud

10 inches

1-5/16 inches

Stanley 85-610 10-Inch Long MaxGrip Locking...

Stanley 85-610

10 inches

1.5 inches

Swpeet 2Pcs 12 Inch Large Adjustable Oil...

Swpeet S438

12 inches

4.5 inches

NEIKO 03713A 3/8' Drive Adjustable Click...

Neiko 03713A

3/8" Drive

14 inches

Not Applicable


Benefits of Adjustable Wrenches

One of the adjustable wrenches first benefits is right there in its name. Because these wrenches feature an adjustable jaw, they can be used to create a perfect pairing between the tool and the targeted fastener or pipe. This, in turn, creates a more efficient translation of torque that prevents slipping.

As a result of this function, adjustable wrenches can save you or your team a lot of money. After all, with just a couple of different adjustable wrenches, you'll be able to replace a whole assortment of single-size wrenches. You also won't need to lug around as many adjustable wrenches for much the same reason. In all, their versatility is by far an adjustable wrench's biggest asset.


Buying Guide for Quality Adjustable Wrenches

Usage Needs

Before you begin shopping for an adjustable wrench, you need to appraise the kinds of tasks you'll be using said adjustable wrench for. You should predict if your wrench will most be used for loosening or tightening because different models are optimized for different situations. Frequency of use matters too, especially when comparing DIY-grade and pro-grade models.

Wrench Size & Weight

An adjustable wrench can be one of the bulkier tools in your tool chest. As such, you may want to compare models based upon their size and weight. To that end, you should pick out a model that you can regularly handle without becoming fatigued. That being said, a heavier or longer model could be useful for gaining torque on a particularly tight nut or pipe.

Ease of Use

You’ll need to put a little elbow grease into your adjustable wrench, no matter how big it is. Such work can become strenuous and tiring unless you obtain an adjustable wrench with a comfortable grip. Some models achieve this by adding a rubberized coating to their shaft. Others feature an ergonomically-shaped shaft that is easier to grip without straining one’s hands.

Durability

Everyone wants their hand tools to last for an exceptionally long time. To achieve that goal, you’ll want an adjustable wrench that is built from durable materials. In most cases, adjustable wrenches today are built from some type of steel core. This may then be coated with chrome or another material that prevents the underlying core from corroding.

Jaw Capacity

While comparing adjustable wrenches, you’ll notice that each list a “jaw capacity.” This measurement simply indicates the total width to which the unit’s jaw can be extended. In other words, this metric tells you precisely the largest diameter item that it can be clamped down upon.

Price

As always, be on the lookout for an adjustable wrench that is of good value. In other words, your chosen model should match its price with its overall durability and productivity. In some cases, a unit's price may also be raised due to a warranty. Though you pay extra for them, these warranties can easily pay for themselves if you end up disliking your chosen wrench's performance in the field.


9 Best Adjustable Wrenches Reviewed

1. Channellock 8WCB

Best Adjustable Wrench Overall

Length

8 inches

Max Jaw Opening

1.5 inches

Weight

12 oz.

Good For

Tightening large diameter nuts and piping

First and foremost, I want to introduce you to the very best adjustable wrench overall. In other words, I want you to take a look at the Channellock 8WCB. This model was designed to help professionals and DIYers alike tighten large diameter piping and mid-sized fasteners without any trouble. As the best 8 inch adjustable wrench, this model also offers you a comfortable space to grip onto the tool via its proprietary Code Blue rubber grips.

The Channellock 8WCB also has the capacity of a standard 12 inch wrench without being nearly as bulky. In fact, the 4 thread knurl and non-protruding jaws on this particular model allows it to slip into tight spaces that even other adjustable wrenches in its class cannot handle.

Even beyond this, you’ll be able to count on this $25 wrench for the long-haul. That’s because it was built from chrome vanadium steel, which is one of the most durable materials available in the consumer tool market right now.

Pros

  • Patented Code Blue grip designed to provide comfort while also remaining durable
  • 1.5 inch jaw capacity comparable to that of a 12 inch wrench
  • 4 thread knurl and non-protruding jaws provide greater capacity without making the head bulky

Cons

  • Jaw tips are unnecessarily sharp

2. Jetech 900mm Pipe Wrench

Best Adjustable Wrench for Plumbing

Length

36 inches

Max Jaw Opening

4.5 inches

Weight

13.23 lbs.

Good For

Gaining traction on stripped bolts, securing large pipes

Even one look at the Jetech 900mm Pipe Wrench will tell you that this is undoubtedly the best adjustable wrench for plumbing in this collection. To that end, this model's 36 inch total length also makes it one of the best adjustable pipe wrenches on the market today. While it is rather weighty at around 13 lbs., that weight certainly pays off when you can gain traction on any large pipe or fastener – including those that have been stripped.

In terms of durability, the Jetech 900mm Pipe Wrench certainly stands above other adjustable plumber’s wrenches. That’s because its shaft is made from C60 high carbon steel, while its teeth are forged from a hardened steel alloy. Not only that, but the entire body of this model utilizes an I-beam architecture. As such, it will never bend or break under pressure, no matter how often you use it over its multi-decade lifespan.

Pros

  • C60 high carbon steel and I-bean style construction provides exceptional durability
  • Quench hardened teeth provide secure grip on even stripped bolts
  • Black phosphate coating prevents degradation up of hook components

Cons

  • Expensive for just a single wrench

3. IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078706

Best Adjustable Wrench Set

Length

6", 8", 10" and 12" (set)

Max Jaw Opening

1.5 inch

Weight

4.1 lbs.

Good For

Jobs with several different nut sizes

While a single adjustable wrench can often cover the utility of an assortment of standard wrenches, a single adjustable wrench alone cannot grasp every fastener or pipe alone. That’s why many knowledgeable handymen look for the best adjustable wrench set when they shop.

If you count yourself among that savvy crowd, you’ll want to grab the IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078706 set. It comes with a 6", 8", 10" and 12" wrench, all of which are forged from durable chrome vanadium. Despite that construction, you'll find this set easy to transport to and from your job site. That's because, in total, these 4 adjustable wrenches weigh only a little over 4 lbs. That minimized total weight is a credit to the ProTouch grips on these wrenches, too, given how they improve a user's grip without adding any extra bulk.

To make matters that much better, each wrench in this set is also marked with SAE and metric measurements. As such, you can take these to any job site and know that you’ll be able to easily find a compatible tool based upon the hardware presented by your current task.

Pros

  • Each wrench in set made from chrome vanadium and feature SAE/metric measurements
  • Utilizes ProTouch grips to prevent hand fatigue
  • Machined jaws provide addition grip on smooth fasteners

Cons

  • Set tray is a bit flimsy

4. Crescent Adjustable Tapered Handle AC224VS

Best Large Adjustable Wrench

Length

24 inches

Max Jaw Opening

2-7/16 inches

Weight

9 lbs.

Good For

Reaching far away piping and fasteners

Crescent is one of the best known names in the adjustable wrench business. That’s where the “crescent wrench” got its name, after all. With this in mind, it is no surprise to learn that the Crescent AC224VS is one of the best large adjustable wrenches out there today. At a full 24 inches long, this unit provides a jaw capacity up to 2-7/16 inches. As such, this model is ideal for reaching pipes and fasteners outside the reach of a standard length adjustable wrench.

This 24 inch adjustable wrench is built from heat-treated forged alloy steel, making it impressively durable without becoming excessively bulk. Its SAE and metric measurements are also laser-etched right into its surface so that you never lose track of this unit's fitments. Even this model's hex jaw design is impressive, given that it can decrease regular slippage by adding more stable points of contact on any rounded object.

Pros

  • Heat-treated forged alloy steel is durable, yet still considerably lightweight
  • Laser-etched SAE and metric scale won’t ever rub off
  • Hex jaw design reduces slippage

Cons

  • Decrease in reliability and resilience from older models

5. TEKTON 23003

Best Budget Option

Length

8 inches

Max Jaw Opening

1 inch

Weight

8.6 oz.

Good For

Quick DIY projects, fixture installation

If you're a DIYer who just needs a single adjustable wrench that qualifies as the best budget option, then the TEKTON 23003 is for you. With a price tag just over $10, this model is affordable on all budgets. Despite its price, this model is also one of the best small adjustable wrenches in this collection. That’s because this model’s precision-machined slide jaw is able to latch on and hold tight to fasteners up to 1 inch in size without hardly any slippage at all.

Given its price, you might also assume that the TEKTON 23003 is made from cheap metals. But the truth is quite the opposite! As it turns out, this model is made from carbon steel with a chrome-plated finish. As such, you can expect it to stand up to several years of worksite wear and tear without breaking down. This construction makeup also makes this wrench easy to lift based upon its 8.6 oz. total weight.

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Chrome-plated finish protects carbon steel construction from corrosion
  • Slide jaw and worm gear contact provide 3 spots to prevent excessive play during use

Cons

  • Does not last as long as more expensive wrenches

6. Klein Tools 3227 Spud

Best Adjustable Spud Wrench

Length

10 inches

Max Jaw Opening

1-5/16 inches

Weight

1.2 lbs.

Good For

Lining up bolt or rivet holes

Finding the best adjustable spud wrench at an affordable price can be challenging if you are shopping exclusively online. Instead of checking all of those other tool sites, take my word for it and pick up a Klein Tools 3227. This model’s continuous-tapered handle is ideal for lining up bolts and rivets. At the same time, this model's 10 inch length and 1-5/16 inch jaw capacity combine to allow this model to apply an optimal amount of torque from a decent distance.

When purchased online, just one Klein Tools 3227 will cost you right around $50. But consider that high price to be an investment in a very durable hand tool you’ll use for the rest of your career. That’s because this unit features a forged steel alloy body that won’t wear down after thousands of uses. The same goes for the knurl on this particular model, which will turn smoothly throughout its entire productive lifespan (if it is regularly oiled, of course).

Pros

  • Continuous-taper handle ideal for aligning with bolts and rivets
  • Forged steel alloy body is heat-treated for added resilience
  • Includes a lanyard hole for easy storage and transportation

Cons

  • Inconsistent quality control on jaws

7. Stanley 85-610

Best Locking Adjustable Wrench

Length

10 inches

Max Jaw Opening

1.5 inches

Weight

1.4 lbs.

Good For

Maintenance and auto repair

Though you won’t see nearly as many of these on the market today, you can still find the best locking adjustable wrench by picking up a Stanley 85-610. This 10 inch unit takes the best parts of a set of locking pliers and an adjustable wrench to create a 1.5 inch jaw that won’t let go of its target. In fact, with the lock engaged on this unit, it won’t grind down a targeted fastener. As such, many folks recommend this model for performing automotive maintenance.

Besides, the Stanley 85-610 features a forged steel body and jaw that are not liable to wear down after excessive metal-on-metal contact. Instead, both components can withstand the force of industrial use without ever bending or warping at all. However, if a defect does rear its head on this adjustable wrench, you can rest assured that Stanley will cover its replacement. That's because this unit comes standard with a reliable lifetime warranty on its craftsmanship.

Pros

  • Forged steel body and jaw won’t wear down from metal-on-metal contact
  • Locking mechanism allows for a secure fit, especially on automotive parts
  • Comes with brand’s limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Tendency to “float” when it is not clamped down

8. Swpeet S438

Best Adjustable Oil Filter Wrench

Length

12 inches

Max Jaw Opening

4.5 inches

Weight

2.2 lbs.

Good For

Removing oil filters

Auto mechanics, take note – the Swpeet S438 is absolutely the best adjustable oil filter wrench on the market today. This model’s 12 inch length alone speaks to its practicality, especially when it comes time to reach in and grab ahold of a car’s expended oil filter. On its own, this model should be able to accomplish that job with ease. But if you mount this wrench with its attachable oil wrench tool, you'll find it even easier to remove a vehicle's oil filter without damaging it.

You might just assume that the specs described above are the end of the line for its productivity. But instead, you'll find that the Swpeet S438’s three-position slip joint design has even more to offer when it comes to making streamlined sizing adjustments. Furthermore, you'll find over time that this model's satin chrome finish is fully able to resist the types of corrosive oil that you'll inevitably encounter while using it.

Pros

  • Three-position slip joint design can easily be opened up to 4.5 inches
  • Comes with oil wrench tool to allow for damage-free removals
  • Chrome finish prevents oil from corroding wrench’s surface

Cons

  • Mostly a one-trick pony

9. Neiko 03713A 3/8" Drive

Best Adjustable Torque Wrench

Length

14 inches

Max Jaw Opening

Not Applicable

Weight

2 lbs.

Good For

Applying force when securing a fastener

Finally, let's round out this collection with the best adjustable torque wrench – the Neiko 03713A. This model weighs around 2 lbs. and measures up to a full 14 inches in length. In terms of features, it includes many of the most important functions for a modern torque wrench. These include the iconic "click" noise during a torqueing motion, as well as a fully functional reversible motion.  Together, these features allow this unit to apply up to 80 lbs. of force to a fastener without any hesitation.

Unlike many other models in its class, the Neiko 03713A ships pre-calibrated for optimal use. As such, you can use it right out of the box without needing to fuss with adjustments. Should you need to make some adjustments, though, you’ll be able to do so easily using the 0-10 gradient etched into the exterior of this model’s handle. Just be sure to start with a lower setting because this model is known to over-tighten bolts in some situations.

Pros

  • Chrome vanadium steel construction provides durability that can last for decades
  • 0-10 gradient etched into handle allows for adjustments up to 80 lbs. of force
  • Ships pre-calibrated with a dual-range pressure scale and a fully audible “click”

Cons

  • Too easy to over-tighten with this unit

Adjustable Wrench Types

As you may already know, many individual hand tools may be called an "adjustable wrench" off the cuff. The first among these is the adjustable spanner or crescent wrench, which most folks recognize as being the classing “adjustable wrench.” These tools feature a top-mounted adjustable jaw that typically opens to 3x its tightest setting.

The monkey wrench is often called an adjustable wrench by DIYers, though its form is noticeable different. These units feature a side-mounted adjustable jaw, but they are rarely used outside of the aviation and plumbing industry today. Instead, plumbing wrenches (or Stillson wrenches) fill this knitch with their hard steel teeth and internal spring system.

There are other types of specialty adjustable wrenches, many of which are used to tighten or loosen specific industrial hardware types. An adjustable oil filter wrench is a prime example of this. You may also see adjustable torque wrenches on the market, which combine the utility of the torque wrench with the flexibility of an adjustable wrench.


Tips & Techniques for Using Adjustable Wrenches

Even if you’ve used an adjustable wrench many times before, there’s plenty of room for improving your technique. Whether you’re a new DIYer or a veteran craftsman, consider the following tips for making the most of your new adjustable wrench:

  • Always select the correct wrench size for the job.
  • Always pull your wrench toward yourself. Never push it away from yourself.
  • Don’t use a damaged or degraded wrench. Instead, purchase a new one.
  • Only use your wrench as was intended by its manufacturer. Never use your wrench as a hammer.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long do adjustable wrenches typically last?

The lifespan of an adjustable wrench really comes down to what it is made of and how it is used. If your chosen model is made from solid, reliable materials, it could last through decades of regular use. At the same time, if you care for and maintain your adjustable wrench, it will last long enough to be passed down to a younger craftsman.

Are wrenches the same as ratchets and sockets?

In terms of their core functions, all three of these tools can both tighten and loosen fasteners. However, wrenches require full turning to achieve a desirable level of torque. A ratchet or a socket, meanwhile, is designed to torque within a minimized arc. As such, a ratchet or socket is better suited to adjusting fasteners within tight spaces.

What is the difference between a wrench and a spanner?

In truth, these are only two different names for the same tool. In the US, you’ll likely hear this tool called a wrench, while the UK and other European countries use the term spanner. In practice, these two names do not imply functional differences.

What does “SAE” mean in reference to tools like wrenches?

“SAE is short for “Society of American Engineers.” In the context of wrenches and other hand tools, this abbreviation is used to denote that a tool utilizes American-style measurements. That is to say, an SAE tool uses Imperial measurements like inches and feet.

How do I adjust a torque wrench?

Most torque wrenches can be adjusted on the handle. A portion of the handle can be twisted to add or remove pressure from the torque wrench's head.

Are there special maintenance tips to keep an adjustable wrench in good condition?

As with all of your metal hand tools, proper maintenance can help make your adjustable wrenches last for decades at a time. This includes storing your adjustable wrenches in a dry, clean area between uses. However, storage should only be sought out after said wrenches have been freed of all dirt, oil, and debris that might otherwise corrode its exterior.

Also, you’ll want to lubricate your adjustable wrenches frequently. Most users choose to do this as often as once a year to keep their adjustable wrenches in top form.


Conclusion

The price range above goes from very cheap to considerably expensive, you can bet that there’s a model in this collection that will serve your professional or DIY needs well. Each of these models was made for someone like you, so don’t wait to take full advantage of what a modern adjustable wrench can offer.

If you want the best adjustable wrench for all kinds of professional and DIY jobs, then reach for the Channellock 8WCB. As one of the most trusted names in the hand tool industry, you can count on this model’s chrome vanadium steel construction to hold up to many, many years of hard use. All the while, you won’t feel any discomfort while using this adjustable wrench thanks to its durable Code Blue grips.