3 Types of Nut Wrenches Explained

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Nut wrenches are one of the most useful and frequently utilized tools. They are the tools of choice whenever there is a need to hold and turn all kinds of bolts and nuts. If you are going to use a nut wrench, always make sure you choose a high quality one, so excessive torque can’t damage or strip the nut. This is because such a wrench has been designed to have a balance between load and leverage.

It comes in standard American inches and metric size and you can often find a special wrench that was made for a special job or purpose. If you are in the UK though, you might not find anything under the term “wrench” since it is termed as a “spanner” in that territory. There is a spanner tool in American usage, but it is a special kind of wrench that has a series of tabs around its circumference, which are fitted into notches or holes that are made into the material to be turned. A high quality wrench is usually made from an alloy of chromium and vanadium. Such an alloy is called tool steel, and is usually drop forged.

1. Open End

wrenches stacked on top of one another

One of the most common nut wrenches is the open end wrench, which is a one-piece tool that has a "U" shaped opening and is used for gripping a nut. The tool is often double ended, which means that there are two wrenches of different sizes attached to both ends. The wrenches are often oriented at a 15 degree angle. This allows a user to have a greater degree of movement in tight spaces.

2. Box End

There is also the so-called box end nut wrench, which is a tool made in one piece that has been incorporated with an enclosed opening used for gripping the nut. The hole is usually made with six to 12 points, so it can grip hexagonal nuts and bolts. There is a variation of the tool called the wheel nut spanner which comes attached with perpendicular spanners. This allows for a lot of pressure to be applied on the tool.

3. Tire Nut Wrench

For removing tires in your car, there is the tire nut wrench, which is composed of two parts. One of these is the main tube wrench, which you can turn at low speed but with heavy torque, and the other is the link rod, which you can use with the same heavy torque, but can be operated at high speed.

Using a Nut Wrench Correctly


No matter what kind of job you will be doing with a nut wrench, always make sure you choose a size that will fit the nut perfectly. If the wrench size is too big, it may damage the nut and round out its angles, which would make it harder to remove. There are adjustable nut wrenches you can use, but individually-sized wrenches are safer to use and are much stronger. You should also allow for enough room to operate. If the nut you are trying to turn is too tight and it suddenly gives way, you may end up with skinned knuckles if you are working in a tight space.