How to Use a Basin Wrench

water flowing into a sink basin
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50
What You'll Need
Basin Wrench
Lubricant (preferably WD-40)
What You'll Need
Basin Wrench
Lubricant (preferably WD-40)

A basin wrench is a tool commonly used in plumbing for one single task–loosening the nuts that hold the faucet onto the sink.

Sometimes you may be able to do the job with a regular wrench; however, in many bathrooms there is not enough clearance around the sink to freely reach the faucet nut with a regular wrench. That’s when a basin wrench comes in handy.

The tool can be used for any other nut that is hard to reach as well. Here is how a basin wrench should be used.

Step 1 - Examine the Basin Wrench

Examine the basin wrench before using it. Take a closer look at its parts and understand how the tool works. Every basin wrench has two parts, which are usually black and silver.

The silver part is the handle and the black part is the wrench claw. The wrench claw swivels around the handle and can be positioned in many different angles, thus enabling you to access hard to reach places.

Step 2 - Work out the Wrench

basin wrench

When a basin wrench hasn’t been used for a long time (this is valid for new wrenches too) you will most probably encounter problems when trying to swivel its claw. The claw will be tight and hard to move. That problem is easily solved by applying some WD-40 or similar lubricant and then waiting a couple of minutes.

Step 3 - Adjust the Wrench Claw

The wrench claw is very easy to adjust, in order to fit every nut size. All you have to do is open the wrench claw up.

Once the claw reaches the desired nut it clamps to it automatically with a spring holding it in place. This is a good thing, since not only different nuts have different sizes, but they also tend to wear out with time.

With the self-adjustment feature of the wrench, it can clamp onto uneven shapes without any problems.

Step 4 - Adjust the Wrench Handle

For additional effectiveness, the basin wrench has an extendable handle. The advantage of it is this way the basin wrench can reach places that would normally be impossible to reach with an ordinary wrench.

With the wrench claw turned to an angle of 90 degrees and an extended handle, you can reach literally every nut.

Step 5 - Use the Wrench to Replace a Faucet

vanity with white basin

If you need to remove the nut that holds the faucet onto the sink—the most common task for a basin wrench—you should firstly get in a position where you can see the nuts properly.

Once you’re in the correct position use the instructions from the previous steps, adjust the basin wrench to the correct direction and use it to loosen the nuts of the faucet.

Remove the faucet and replace it with a new one. Then tighten its nuts, thus mounting the new faucet in place.