12 Different Types of Wrenches Every DIYer Should Know

The deeper you look into the wide world of wrenches, you’ll start discovering more and more wrenches that you might not have even known existed before. Here are the 12 different types of wrenches every DIYer should know.

Wrenches have been around since the 15th century and have been found to have been used for everything from pipe clamps to crafting certain types of armor.


As the years progressed, more and more wrenches started being manufactured for every purpose under the sun. Though you might not need every standard wrench type on the market, having a couple of them can go a long way in ensuring you’ll get a job done much more effectively.

A standard wrench is a basic hand tool that’s used for turning rotary fasteners. A nut or bolt head are two common things that go hand-in-hand with wrench usage.

Open End Wrench

No matter if you’re a wrench hobbyist, mechanic, or construction laborer that might use wrenches on a daily basis, an open-end wrench is a very common wrench that you’ll probably have seen or used at least once in your lift.

Open end wrenches have an opening that is in the shape of a U. It can be adjusted to suit many different types of lug nuts or bolts. An open-ended wrench will grip onto the opposite faces that lug nuts are on. With open end wrenches, you’ll typically have the opposite side of the wrench being a different size that will work with different openings.

Box End Wrench

A box end wrench has an opening that will grip onto nuts and bolts, and it appears similar to a ring. The box end wrench is a one-piece wrench that has different opening points that grip nuts/bolts. With a six-point opening grip, that means you can grip onto nuts and bolts at six different points. With twelve-point opening grips, you can grip onto nuts and bolts that have twelve different points.

With more points on the box ended wrench type, you have a little more flexibility in terms of turning the nuts and bolts.

Combination Wrench

The combination wrench is another common wrench that has two sides to it. One side will be an open end wrench, and the other side will be a box end wrench.

Flare Nut Wrench

The box end wrench and the flare nut wrench are quite similar to each other. The flare nut wrench is basically just a box end wrench that has a slit in the opening instead of an opening that’s completely closed. This wrench is used for gripping nuts on tubes. The jaws are a little thicker on it in comparison to your typical box end wrench.

Torque Wrench

If you don’t want to run the risk of over-tightening a nut/bolt, then you’ll get a torque wrench. Torque wrenches are very useful for tightening up the lug nuts on your tires. With a torque wrench, you’ll be setting the specific level of torque that you’ll need in order to tighten something up. Once that torque gets to the specified level of tightness, the fastener will click.

Allen Wrench

An Allen wrench is a very common type of wrench that is used to tighten up screws/bolts. These hexagonal wrenches are available in an L-shaped or T-handle form. L-shaped Allen wrenches are shaped exactly like an L, and the T-shaped Allen wrenches resemble a T.

Bristol Wrench

A Bristol wrench type isn’t as popular in comparison to some of the other wrenches on the list. It appears similar to an Allen wrench, but it’s mostly geared towards very tiny screws, like the ones you would see on cell phones.

Torx Wrench

A Torx wrench appears similar to an L-shaped Allen wrench. The main difference is that the cross-section looks like the shape of a star. You’ll find a lot of employees working in production lines and equipment repair factories using Torx wrenches. Torx wrenches are very durable and they don’t cause damage to screws very often.

Ratchet Wrench

With a ratchet wrench, you can turn nuts/bolts without raising the wrench off of the nut or bolt. The mechanism in the wrench lets you turn it in a certain direction without the other being affected. Ratchet wrenches allow you to tighten and loosen nuts or bolts while not moving the wrench from the position.

Ratchet wrenches are very useful for mechanics and other trades. They speed up the process by which you can get something done, and make life easier.

Ratcheting Box Wrench

A ratcheting box wrench has a ring spanner that contains an end section that will ratchet as you’re tightening up nuts or bolts. These useful wrenches combine the simplistic design of a box wrench and the straightforward use of a ratchet wrench. The combination of these things makes using a ratcheting wrench very convenient for tighter areas.

Flex Head Socket Wrench

The flex head socket wrench is also commonly known as a Saltus wrench. This wrench is fairly similar to a socket wrench. The main difference is that the socket is fixed on the handle.

One thing to note about the sockets on the flex head socket wrench is that they aren’t interchangeable. Instead of being interchangeable, the sockets rotate around the handle so that you can use it at different angles. The majority of these types of wrenches have two heads. One will be an open-end head and the other will be a socket.

Striking Wrench

The striking wrench is commonly referred to as a hammer wrench, and some people also call it a slugging wrench. These wrenches are thick, fairly short, and have a block end on the wrench handle that is used to strike things with.

An adjustable wrench has jaws on one end that can be adjusted in order to fit whatever you’re using it on. These are common wrenches, and most of them have jaws that are angled around 15 degrees from the handle.

There are dozens upon dozens of different wrenches on the market, and most people won’t ever come across a situation or project where they’ll require some of the more unique ones. Your standard adjustable wrench will go a long way in ensuring you’ll be able to get many projects done.

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