REVIEWING PIPE WRENCHES
It has been projected that there will be a resurgence in construction activities post the Covid-19 pandemic. Added to an ever-rising demand for proper sanitation services and safe water supply, this will lead to a shoot up in the importance and demand for plumbing services. Plumbing is an indispensable requirement in any residential or commercial setting. Plumbing involves a wide range of jobs and this naturally requires any plumber to have a separate toolkit containing multiple tools.
It is crucial to decide which tool to use while working on a particular plumbing job. The selection of the correct plumbing tool is itself a skill associated with this profession. Most vocational courses include a training component on the correct and efficient usage of plumbing tools.
The basic plumbing tools includes; pipe wrenches, pliers, pipe-cutters, tape measures, utility knife, adjustable wrench, torpedo level, multi-bit screwdriver, hammers, permanent markers, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) etc.
This article will discuss what is a pipe wrench, the types of pipe wrenches and review the best pipe wrenches for plumbers.
WHAT IS A PIPE-WRENCH?
A pipe wrench is a staple in any plumber’s toolbox. It is a tool that is designed to grip, turn, tighten and loosen pipes or pipe fittings. It is an adjustable wrench that is mostly used on threaded pipes, galvanised steel, black iron or similar metal pipes. Pipe wrenches have really sharp jaws that tighten and dig into the pipes for grip. The lower jaw is fixed and the upper jaw moves up and down and adjusts itself accordingly to fit different pipe sizes. The teeth however, only grip when turning the wrench in a particular direction.
The pipe wrench is also popularly known as the plumber wrench. Understanding the different type of pipe wrenches and how to use them in the best possible manner is important for those entering the plumbing trade.
There are a few categories of pipe wrenches that plumbers can look into.
- Straight pipe wrench – this is the most basic and traditional type pf pipe wrench. It can be used for tightening almost all types of threaded pipes.
- Offset Pipe Wrench – An offset wrench has jaw openings at 90-degrees from the straight pipe wrench which allows better access to the tighter and more awkward spots.
- Chain Pipe Wrench – this type of wrench uses a chain instead of the hook jaw and is perfect for working on pipes which are relatively tighter.
- Strap Wrench – the concept is extremely similar to that of the chain wrench but a strap wrench uses a woven nylon strap instead. This type of wrench is useful when one is working on a newly polished pipe and that does not want it mar it or damage the plating.
- End Pipe Wrench – this type of wrench has jaw openings at a slight angle compared to the straight pipe wrench. It can be used while working on the end of a pipe.
- Compound Leverage Wrench – When trying to loosen pipes that have become hard and frozen due to corrosion or other kinds of damage, this is the type of wrench that should be used. The design of this pipe allows the multiplication of force applied on the pipes.
All these types of pipe wrenches therefore solve different purposes. However, for a plumber just starting his career and beginning with a basic toolbox, the straight pipe wrench is the one to start out with. It is a great purchase while working on residential sites and the lightweight material makes it easy to carry it around. But irrespective of the type of wrench purchased, it is very important for plumbers to research and choose good quality tools. It is an investment as there have been several instances of pipe wrenches often lasting for the entire lifetime of a plumber’s career.
WHAT ARE THE BEST PIPE WRENCHES AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET?
There are a large number of options for plumbers to choose from when it comes to pipe wrenches. This section of the article will explore and review some of the best pipe-wrenches available in the market for plumbers to choose from.
- Rigid 31095 Model Straight Pipe Wrench – This 14-inch aluminium pipe wrench is priced at $46.90. The item weighs 1.1 pounds. The cast aluminium used in the handle makes this model 40% lighter than traditional models of the same size. The jaws are designed to work on pipes of 0.5 inch to 1.5 inches diameter which is the standard size of most pipes found in homes. This model is also liked by most plumbers due to its perfect size. It is long enough to offer a good grip but still short enough to fit into small quarters and cabinets where plumbing fittings are mostly located. This is an extremely strong, durable and easy-to-use pipe wrench. One downside of this pipe wrench is that it is more on the expensive side.
Bahco 9071 Pipe Wrench – This 8-inch pipe wrench is adjustable in nature. This wrench priced at $25.33 is ideal for plumbers and electricians. While the slim head gives it an easy accessibility and the tapered jaws give it immense turning strength. This item weighs 272 gm and offers a larger grip width to the user.View on Amazon –
Goplus Pipe Wrench Set – This set consists of 4 pipe wrenches with dimensions – 8 inches, 10 inches, 14 inches and 18 inches. These very versatile wrenches are essentially plumbing tools that come with long handles and an in-built strength. This set is priced at $39.99. The bodies are made of iron and steel, making the extremely durable and reliable. The deep grooved teeth allow a solid grip. These wrenches are heat-treated and resistant to rust and corrosion. The plastic-wrapped handles also offer a comfortable grip, especially while working outside. This set of pipe wrenches is therefore fir for professional plumbing use.View on Amazon –
Tradespro 83094 Pipe Wrench – This 24-inch heavy duty pipe wrench costs $29.97. the drop-forged steel used makes it extremely strong. The wrench I also subjected to heat treatment to enhance its durability. The jaws are machined and it can work on pipes with diameters – 0.5 inch to 2 inches. This model is not crafted with as much precision as other high-quality models but it is preferred mostly for its affordability.View on Amazon –
Loggerhead Tools Pipe Wrench – This is an adjustable wrench which is 8 inches in size. The bionic grip offers a powerful and symmetrical grip cushioned with comfort. These pipe wrenches are versatile, easy to use and perfect for handymen. This type of wrench can be used for a variety of household jobs. The biggest advantage of this model is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It weighs 12.8 ounces and costs $36.48.View on Amazon –
Mudder Store Strap Pipe Wrench – This 12-inches nylon strap pipe wrench costs $13.99. It has a non-slip design which offers a good gripping strength without damaging the body or causing scratches. It allows flexible usage and grip materials up to 9 inches in diameter. The materials used are also extremely durable.View on Amazon –
Pipe wrenches are a key component of any plumber’s toolkit. As compared to standard wrenches, pipe wrenches have serrated jaws which make them ideal to work on pipes that do not have flat edges and therefore make them fit for plumbing-related work. These tools easily bite into a pipe’s metal and rounded surface. Pipe wrenches are mainly distinguished by their sizes. Since there are very powerful tools, it is essential to use them with precision.
This article has listed out some of the best pipe wrenches available in the market. But based on the type of task, there are also a wide range of other pipe wrenches that plumbers could look into and choose from.