Specialty Wrenches Are Worth the Investment

There are common wrenches that are found in all plumbers’ toolboxes, but there are also many others that can be valuable assets depending on the specifics of your work

Specialty Wrenches Are Worth the Investment

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Any professional contractor can attest: The right tool can make all the difference and will help a job go smoother and faster.

For new plumbers, the best tools to have on-hand are a quality set of 10- to 12-inch pipe wrenches. These plumbing basics are considered a smart investment and can help plumbers complete most of the residential jobs they’ll come across.

However, not all residential jobs are cut-and-dry. That’s why both new and seasoned plumbers can benefit from some of the specialty wrenches on the market today. These additional wrenches are designed to save time, enhance safety and leave professionals feeling less fatigued at the end of the day. Which is right for you? Consider these questions:

Do you service or install fittings in hard-to-reach places?

Consider a telescoping LED basin wrench.It’s been described as a "magic tool" by plumbers who  work with faucet fittings and retaining nuts. The slender design of this self-tightening basin wrench is ideal for loosening or tightening fittings in hard-to-reach places, while the pivoting removable T-handle allows even greater access to confined spaces such as a faucet in the kitchen, bath or laundry room. The added waterproof LED light eliminates the need to use a separate light to illuminate the work area.

Do you work on polished, plastic or plated pipe?

You’ll love having a strap wrench on-hand. The strong woven nylon strap provides a tight grip on polished, plastic and plated pipe without marring the pipe with "teeth" marks that can damage the surface. This pipe wrench is usually needed when installing stainless steel pipe in a food service setting, in open or exposed interior designs or any other situation where a clean finished appearance is important.

Do you ever need a hammer and use your wrench instead?

While installing pipe hangers and supports, how many times have you not had your hammer and reached for your wrench? That’s when you need a rap wrench. This multi-use tool is designed to provide a flat surface to hammer nails when installing pipe hangers, supports or any other miscellaneous hammering needs.

Do you work in narrow spaces or tackle unique applications?

A multisided hex or spud wrench can come in handy. The hex wrench gives a secure grip on all hex nuts, square nuts and valve packing nuts. The spud wrench, meanwhile, is designed for square or rectangular stock and provides a slim profile for fitting into narrow openings.

Do you work in spaces with difficult angles?

An offset wrench provides additional mobility in spaces that are hard to reach with a standard straight wrench. When the width of the jaws of the wrench is positioned at a 90-degree angle, the offset wrench provides the convenience and maneuverability standard wrenches do not.

Also, the following tools aren’t wrenches, but they are great complements to your wrench collection: 

  • Tongue and Groove Pliers
    These pliers are one of the most common tools plumbers turn to when they need to hold, grab, pull or twist nuts, bolts and irregularly shaped objects. Pliers come with adjustable jaws to cover a wide range of sizes. 
    The RIDGID STRAPLOCK Pipe Handle is intended for gripping 3- to 8-inch plastic pipe in order to confidently apply the necessary force to hold two pieces of pipe together while the glue sets. This tool also has daisy-chain capabilities to attach multiple Straplock handles in order to accommodate larger items for material handling and guidance.

Along with selecting the best wrenches for your work, proper care and maintenance is key to protecting your investment. 

Check them daily prior to use for wear, damage or debris. The handles and gripping surface should be clean, dry and free of oil and grease. The teeth of the wrench should be cleaned with a wire brush and nonpainted parts should be well lubricated with oil to prevent rusting. Lubricate all moving parts/joints as needed with light lubricating oil and wipe off any excess oil. In order to ensure wrenches remain in top working shape, do not use them for anything other than their intended purpose.

About the Author

Sabrina Witkowski is a global marketing manager for professional tools at RIDGID, a global manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in over 100 countries. Learn more at RIDGID.com.  


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