Stands out for its extra wide jaw (1 1/2 inches) and etched metric measurements. Built for durability and comfort, thanks to its comfort grip and chrome vanadium-steel craftsmanship.
On the costly end of the price range. A few reports of misaligned jaws upon arrival.
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.
A large tool (15 inches) that's constructed to tackle large projects with its forged-steel craftsmanship. This is a serious, well-made tool.
Pricey. Heavy and bulky; not ideal for small to moderate tasks and won't fit tight areas.
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.
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.
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.
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 the 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Q. Should I put the wrench in a toolbox or hang it on the wall?
A. Either way 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. If you keep it clean, however, it won’t matter.
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.