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Best Adjustable Wrenches

Updated March 2023
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Best of the Best
Olympia Tools 01-015 15" Adjustable Wrench
Olympia Tools
01-015 15" Adjustable Wrench
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Best for Experts
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If you need a large tool and premium quality that's designed to last, our DIY expert recommends this.


A large tool (15 inches) that's constructed to tackle big projects with its forged-steel craftsmanship. This is a serious, well-made tool. Available in various sizes.


Pricey. Heavy and bulky; not ideal for small to moderate tasks and won't fit tight areas.

Best Bang for the Buck
Irwin Tools VISE-GRIP Adjustable Wrench, 8-Inch
VISE-GRIP Adjustable Wrench, 8-Inch
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Simple Yet Solid
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This nicely priced wrench scores well with users, according to our expert.


There is an imperial scale on one side and a metric scale on the other. The jaws adjust easily and won’t open themselves when you’re using it. The larger-than-normal handle lets you get a good grip on it.


The name suggests it is a vice grip, but it is, in fact, a crescent wrench.

TEKTON 23001 4" Adjustable Wrench
23001 4" Adjustable Wrench
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Best for Small Spaces
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Choose it if you need an option for small nuts and bolts and tight spaces; this sturdy little hand tool can go where others can't.


Small yet strong, this tool has similar durability and function as larger models, but in a handy 4-inch size. Has etched measurements in inches and metric scale. Affordable.


Only suited for small applications. Jaw mechanism has been reported to get a bit loose over time.

WORKPRO 4-piece Adjustable Wrench Set, Forged, Heat Treated, Chrome-plated (6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch)
4-Piece Adjustable Wrench Set
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Best for Everyday Use
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Great for home projects or to have in your car for emergencies; earns our expert's approval.


Simple and sturdy; crafted with solid material. Easy for anyone to use. Having different size options is great for varied needs. Plain and simple tool, but gets the job done.


Not the most precise tool. Better for everyday use rather than precision projects.

Stanley MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench, 6-Inch
MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench, 6-Inch
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Handy Assistant
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This handy and comfortable wrench fits nicely in a pocket or a toolbox and performs well around the house.


Compact 6-inch length. Slip-resistant handle offers comfortable grip. Tapered jaw can get into tight spaces. Jaw has wide capacity and adjusts with trusty knurl mechanism. Laser-etched inch and millimeter scales.


Some would like the adjustment setting to be firmer.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best adjustable wrenches

An adjustable wrench is a handy tool that you can use in a variety of situations. Where ordinary wrenches can only accommodate one hexagonal nut size, adjustable wrenches fit a range of nuts. Adjustable wrenches are often known as Crescent® wrenches, but Crescent® is a particular brand name. The generic term is actually just “adjustable wrench.”

Looking for the right wrench to fit a particular bolt can be confusing because some bolts use English measurements, and others use metric measurements. Finding the right wrench for the right bolt can be a matter of trial and error — trying a wrench that looks right and then progressing to the next larger or smaller one if it doesn’t fit.

An adjustable wrench removes the trial and error from the process because the head can be adjusted to fit a wide range of nuts, regardless of whether they're English or metric. For this reason, many consider adjustable wrenches one of the most versatile tools around.

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“Monkey wrench” is an old term for an adjustable wrench. It was given the name because the up-and-down movement of the lower jaw is similar to the movement of a monkey’s jaw.

Key considerations

Work to be done

The kind of work you’re doing determines what kind of wrench you need and what size it should be.

Plumbing: If you’re working on plumbing, you may need a wrench with large jaws to grip the couplings on the pipes. This is particularly true if you’re doing drain work. Drain pipes have large diameters which, in turn, require large wrenches. In some circumstances, you might need a pipe wrench with teeth to get a good grip on the pipes or couplings.

Gas lines: The difference between regular plumbing and gas lines lies mainly in the size of the pipes. Gas lines are typically smaller than plumbing pipes, so a large wrench probably isn’t ideal here. You need something smaller.

Automotive work: The nuts on cars are normally hexagonal nuts. Adjustable wrenches are ideal for working on cars, but tight spaces can sometimes be a problem. Smaller heads on the wrenches or extensions for the handle may be required in some circumstances.

Industrial: If you’re working in a factory, whether on the production floor, on an assembly line, or in maintenance, you need a variety of adjustable wrenches based on the size of the hex nuts you’re working with. Depending on the kind of machines you’re working on and the pressures involved with that machinery, you may need a long extension on the handle in order to properly tighten or loosen the hex nuts.

Expert Tip
Ideally, pulling your wrench is better than pushing for easier movement.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


The size of an adjustable wrench is determined by the length of the handle. A four-inch wrench has a handle that is only four inches long and a small head. The small head will only be useful on small nuts and bolts. A 12-inch wrench will be much larger with a longer handle and larger head. It will be able to grasp large nuts, bolts, and pipes.



The base material of all wrenches is forged steel or steel alloy. Non-magnetic wrenches are made from stainless steel. The handles are made from the same steel alloy as the head but are often covered with a rubberized grip of some kind.


Adjustable wrenches don’t all have scales on them, but it is incredibly handy when they do. If the space you’re in is too cramped to accommodate the size of an adjustable wrench, you still might get it in there to measure the size of the hex nut you’re working on. You can use that measurement to pick the correct wrench for the job, avoiding the old trial-and-error method of figuring out which one to use. The scales can be either in English or metric measurements.

Head thickness

The thickness of the head determines how tight of a space you can get into with an adjustable wrench. For this reason, manufacturers often list the thickness of the head if it is thinner than the handle. If it is the same thickness, they normally don’t mention it.

Expert Tip
When space is tight, be prepared to flip the wrench over so you can complete the full turn.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


Rubberized or sprayed-on grips are commonly seen on adjustable wrenches these days. It increases the comfort in your hand, prevents the wrench from slipping when you’re sweaty, and provides some protection for your hand when you have to exert a lot of force.


The color of the head and screw adjustment mechanism is usually shiny chromium or black phosphate. The handle may be a variety of colors. The handle of a pipe wrench is almost always red, but other than that, black, blue, red, and yellow are the most common colors you’ll find on the handles.

"English measurements are sometimes referred to as Imperial measurements. If you see a scale on a wrench referred to as an imperial scale, it’s just an ordinary English scale with a fancy name."

Adjustable wrench prices

Low price

$8 to $14 is the general range for low-priced wrenches. These are usually off-brand wrenches or small name-brand wrenches. The size of the wrench will be a major determining factor in the price, along with quality and brand name.

Medium price

$14 to $20 is considered the mid-range price for adjustable wrenches. In this range, you’ll find solid wrenches between eight to 12 inches with rubberized grips and scales engraved on both sides. Longer wrenches without rubberized grips or scales can also be found in this range.

High price

Anything over $20 is in the high-end range. This is where you’ll find high-quality tooling, gel grips, and name brands leading the way. Longer wrenches, from 15 inches all the way up to 30 or 45 inches for heavy industrial use, are found in this category. These specialty wrenches can easily cost $300 or more.

Expert Tip
Do not strike a wrench with a hammer. This creates unsafe situations and risks breaking the tool.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


  • Always turn an adjustable wrench toward the movable jaw. This motion forces the jaw toward the body of the wrench, tightening the grip and reducing the strain on the movable jaw. Turning the wrench away from the movable jaw strains it and weakens the adjustment mechanism over time.
  • Before using an adjustable wrench, open the head to a distance slightly larger than the nut or pipe you need to tighten or loosen. Slip the head over the nut or pipe, and hold it in place. Then, tighten the screw mechanism until it is tight. Now you’re ready to use the wrench.
  • Grease can settle into the grooves of the screw mechanism and trap dirt, debris, and grime. When the grease dries, it will make the screw mechanism difficult to turn. Keeping it clean and lubricated will help avoid that problem.
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The Crescent® wrench got its name from the fact that when the head of an adjustable wrench is opened, it roughly resembles a crescent moon.


Q. Should I put the wrench in a toolbox or hang it on the wall?

A. Either method of storage is fine, but there is a lot of grime in toolboxes — grime that can get into the screw mechanism of the wrench and cause it to bind up. You can prevent this either by regularly cleaning your toolbox or hanging tools on the wall.

Q. Should I wear gloves when using an adjustable wrench?

A. The term “knuckle buster” originated when people working on machinery didn’t wear gloves or their hand slipped off the wrench when they were applying force. Rubberized grips have eliminated the majority of the latter problem. Working in tight spaces is a never-ending problem, though, and often there simply isn’t enough room to wear gloves. Knuckle busters are here to stay.            

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