A pipe wrench is, odds are, what comes to mind when you hear the word wrench. It’s a metal hand tool with an adjustable jaw at one end. It’s designed to tighten or loosen in order to work on generally soft iron pipes, or fittings with rounded surfaces. In addition, the wrench also features angled teeth on the jaw that help to grip whatever you’re working on in place.
While there are several different varieties of pipe wrenches (offset pipe wrench, end pipe wrench, compound leverage pipe wrench, etc.), I will be focusing on the most common type of pipe wrench that will generally work on any job you come across: the straight pipe wrench.
Due to the fact that pipe wrenches are used mostly by professionals (plumbers, etc.), whatever tool they decide on needs to be long lasting. For this reason, every tool I have included in this list is made from either cast iron or aluminum. This will make sure each wrench is strong enough to work on any job (and very light, in the case of aluminum wrenches).Since ease of adjustment is very attractive when it comes to pipe wrenches, each of the tools on this list also has an easily spinning, adjustable nut. This is so that each wrench can be adjusted on the fly, even with one hand.Furthermore, for the sake of consistency, all of the pipe wrenches I have included on this list are either 12 inches or 14 inches long. This is just to standardize the list a bit. If you wish for smaller or longer pipe wrenches (depending on your job), they are available from each manufacture I have included.
Finally, each of the wrenches I have decided to place on this list come with a warranty. This is to ensure that your purchase is easier because it guarantees you don’t have to worry should your tool have to be replaced.
The Irwin Tools 274102 Vise Grip 2-Inch Jaw Capacity 14-Inch Cast Iron Pipe Wrench is the top pipe wrench because is has a flat hammerhead surface available to use, hardened teeth and a weight distributing I-beam handle that reduces fatigue. Read Full Review
The Irwin Tools 274102 Vise Grip 2-Inch Jaw Capacity 14-Inch Cast Iron Pipe Wrench is the best pipe wrench because for one, it has a hammerhead design that provides a flat surface on the tool to hammer. This is just plain useful because it makes the tool a multi-tasker. I also love the fact that the handle for this wrench is designed like a wide I-beam. This distributes the weight of the tool more evenly, which makes it a lot easier to use (by cutting back on hand fatigue). If you plan on using your pipe wrench every day, this is a great choice. Finally, this tool is on this list because the teeth in the jaw are hardened. That gives the wrench much more grip than normal, which increases the usefulness of the tool.
The Ridgid 47057 12" Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench - Model 812 is a great pipe wrench because it’s 40 percent lighter than cast iron pipe wrenches and it’s available with interchangeable hook and heel jaws for use on plastic coated pipes. Read Full Review
When it comes to industrial pipe wrenches, Ridgid is the brand most people use in my experience because they make really great, quality tools. The Ridgid 47057 12" Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench - Model 812 is on this list for that reason. This particular wrench is also 40 percent lighter than its cast iron counterparts. This makes it a great tool to use all day long because your arm won’t get as tired from repeated use. Another great thing about this wrench is that it’s available with interchangeable hook and heel jaws in case you ever come across plastic coated pipes. Again, that makes this tool more valuable because it increases the amount of jobs you can work on without having to switch tools.
The JH Williams 13504 Aluminum Pipe Wrench, 12-Inch is a top pipe wrench because of the pipe diameter finding scale on the tool that makes it a multi tasker, the 40 percent lighter weight and the slightly increased jaw capacity. Read Full Review
The 13504 Aluminum Pipe Wrench, 12-Inch by JH Williams (a Snap-on Industrial brand) is a great wrench because it has a scale on the wrench itself that helps the user to figure out pipe diameter. This is useful because it decreases the amount of tools you need for a job. Like the Ridgid wrench above, this wrench is 40 percent lighter than other comparable cast iron wrenches as well. I also loved the fact that this wrench has a jaw capacity (the amount of pipe it can work with) of 2 1/8 inches. This is a bit more than other 12 inch long pipe wrenches, which gives the user more room to work with.
The Armstrong Industrial Hand Tool WR Pipe 12 HD is on this list because of the increased ductility, the replaceable insert jaw and the fact that the handle and housing are finished in enamel, which eliminates rust. Read Full Review
The Armstrong Industrial Hand Tool WR Pipe 12 HD is a great pipe wrench for you to consider buying because the handle is made from pearlitic malleable alloy. This increases the ductility of the tool, which basically means how much the tool can flex without breaking. That makes this tool a lot stronger and long lasting than it would be otherwise. I also like the face that the insert jaw on this wrench is replaceable, as they are the most common part of the wrench I have seen break. Finally, the best part of this tool is that the housing and handle are finished in bright red baked-on enamel. This eliminates the possibility that the tool will rust, which increases how long it will last.
The Matco Tools PWR12 12 IN HD Pipe Wrench wraps this list up because of the weight distributing I-beam handle, the spring suspension that makes gripping and releasing quicker and the self cleaning adjustment nut. Read Full Review
The Matco Tools PWR12 12 IN HD Pipe Wrench is the final tool I have included on this list because like the Irwin pipe wrench, this tool features an I-beam handle. I mentioned above that this better distributes the weight, thereby decreasing hand fatigue. This tool also has a full floating jaw with spring suspension. This makes the tool grip pipes quicker and release quicker, which makes using the wrench easier. Finally, the adjustment nut is non-stick and automatically cleans grime from the hook jaw (the jaw that adjusts up and down) shank. That’s a very useful feature that saves time because it eliminates the need for you to do it.