How to Choose and Use Pipe Wrenches: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Choose and Use Pipe Wrenches: A Comprehensive Guide

Hey there, Canadian DIY enthusiasts! When you’re deep into a project and encounter those stubborn pipe fittings that just won’t budge, you need the right tool to save the day. That tool is the trusty pipe wrench. In this guide, we’ll dive into what a pipe wrench is, its various models and dimensions, how to choose the perfect one, and even give you the lowdown on the prices. Let’s get wrenching!

What is a Pipe Wrench and What is it Used For?

A pipe wrench is like the superhero of wrenches, especially designed for tackling pipe fittings with an olive-like structure. Think braking systems, power steering, hydraulic fittings, and more. But what sets it apart? Well, it’s a 6- or 12-sided wrench (depends on the nut size), and it boasts a unique feature – the opening of its eye.

This eye-opening (pun intended) feature allows you to grip the piping firmly and cover the hexagonal fitting as much as possible. The result? Reduced risk of damaging the fitting and slipping off, which can often happen with open-end wrenches that only act on two sides of the nut.

Pro Tip: Whenever you can, opt for a 6-sided wrench over a 12-sided one. The 6-sided version provides a superior grip on the nut.

What Models and Sizes of Pipe Wrenches are Available?

How to Choose and Use Pipe Wrenches: A Comprehensive Guide

Pipe wrenches come in various sizes to fit different nut dimensions. Here are some common sizes: 9 x 11 mm, 10 x 12 mm, 13 x 14 mm, 15 x 17 mm, 16 x 18 mm, and 19 x 21 mm. These measurements correspond to the width of the opposite sides of the union nut.

One wrench typically offers two different dimensions for each of its sides. And if you’re more comfortable with imperial measurements, there are inch dimensions available as well.

Now, let’s talk about the different types of pipe wrenches:

  • Canvas Wrench: This one has a partially closed eye at the top, ensuring a tight grip on the pipe and maximum contact with the fitting.
  • Angled Wrench: The eye is slightly offset from the wrench’s longitudinal axis.
  • Offset Wrench: The horizontal plane of the eye is shifted from the plane of the wrench handle.
  • Swivel-Head Wrench: An articulated offset wrench that allows you to adjust the angle formed by the eye and the handle.
  • Ratchet Wrench: Equipped with an automatic mechanism, this wrench tightens or loosens at a reduced angle without needing to remove it from the fitting.
  • Pipe Wrench with Square Drive: This one comes with a square drive that can be combined with a socket wrench.

Note: You can find wrenches that combine these features, offering even more versatility.

How to Choose the Right Pipe Wrench

When it comes to selecting the perfect pipe wrench, quality is the name of the game. Since these tools need to perform efficiently (rounded fittings mean replacing the whole piping system), investing in professional-grade equipment is crucial. Opt for brands known for durability and reliability.

How Much Does a Pipe Wrench Cost?

The cost of a pipe wrench is typically proportional to its size. For instance, an average 13 x 14 mm wrench can range from $15 to $30 when shopping online, with prices being 20-30% higher in physical stores.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself stuck in the middle of a project because you’re missing a specific wrench, head to the nearest store for assistance. Afterward, if you want to build up your tool collection, consider ordering online for equivalent equipment at a more budget-friendly price.

There you have it, folks! With this guide, you’re all set to tackle those tricky pipe fittings with confidence. Grab your pipe wrench, put on your safety gear, and get ready to conquer your DIY projects like a pro. Happy wrenching, eh!

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