How to use a pipe wrench

How to use a pipe wrench

Pipe wrenches are special wrenches used to grip and turn pipes such as water pipes and gas pipes. Pipe wrenches have a special structure in which two plates with teeth are used to clamp and hold the pipe, which is fundamentally different from the way wrenches are used to tighten and loosen bolts and nuts. Let's take a look at how to use a pipe wrench in detail.

Uses and Features of Pipe Wrench

Pipe wrenches are mainly used for plumbing work, and are used for attaching and detaching fittings to pipes such as water pipes and gas pipes. Since pipes do not have angles, they cannot be turned with an ordinary monkey wrench or wrench. However, forcibly tightening and turning the pipe with other tools may cause damage or deformation to the pipe. In such cases, a pipe wrench can be used to apply the appropriate tightening force to the pipe and turn it. The pipe wrench can firmly hold a tubular pipe by the teeth on the two jaws that bite into the pipe from two directions.

Pipe wrenches can be classified into the most common type, the Tri-Mo type, and the Ridge type and Stilson type, which are used in some parts of the world. In addition, as a type of pipe wrench, there are various types of pipe wrenches with different characteristics, such as chain tongs (chain wrenches) that obtain bite by wrapping a chain around a pipe and turning it, corner wrenches that combine the advantages of the monkey wrench and pipe wrench, and pipe wrenches with resin processing to reduce pipe damage, etc. There are dedicated products for this purpose, so make the most of them. When selecting a tool, consider the material and standard of the pipe to be handled and the shape of the part to be handled.

Tri-mode type


Chain tongs (chain wrench)


Corner wrench


Pipe wrenches are made of extremely hard material to bite firmly into pipes. The jaws and teeth are made of chrome molybdenum steel for strong grade products, and carbon steel for machine structural use for normal grade products. The material of the body part is diversified depending on the type, such as carbon steel for machine structural use, ductile cast iron, black core malleable cast iron, aluminum forgings, etc.

How to Use Pipe Wrench

The use of a pipe wrench is very different from that of a regular wrench, but it is not difficult if you keep the essentials in mind. Let us show you how to use a pipe wrench.

How to clamp a pipe

When attaching a pipe to a fitting, etc., before attaching the pipe wrench to the pipe, turn it temporarily until you can turn it with your bare hands. Operate the adjusting round nut at the base of the handle with your finger and adjust it to the same diameter as the pipe to be pinched. Bite the pipe between the jaws, and if necessary, further tighten the adjusting round nut to stabilize the pipe.

How to turn

With the pipe tightened, push the handle in the specified direction and turn it. The handle is designed to be further tightened against the pipe by pushing and turning it, so that the pipe can be stably grasped and operated. By lightly lifting the body in the opposite direction of rotation, the bite is loosened, allowing the pipe wrench to be easily removed. It can be easily attached and detached with a ratchet mechanism-like feel, and efficient rotation can be obtained. However, due to the structure of these tools, they can only rotate in one direction. To obtain rotation in the opposite direction, the pipe wrench must be installed in the opposite direction.

How to remove

Simply push the upper jaw lightly to open the mouth and remove the pipe.

Precautions for use

Observe the dimensions

The standard of the pipe that can be clamped depends on the nominal size of the pipe wrench. Be sure to use a tool that conforms to the pipe standard.

Secure installation

Install the pipe wrench firmly and vertically, without tilting it at an angle to the pipe. Rotating the pipe wrench without proper installation is extremely dangerous because it may cause the pipe to spin, damaging the pipe and the pipe wrench.

Proper Operation

Do not use excessive force to rotate the pipe by splicing the pipe to the handle, or rotate the pipe quickly and all at once.


Pipe wrenches are indispensable tools when handling pipes such as plumbing. Be sure to use it properly without neglecting safety measures and inspections.