How to Properly Hold and Use an Adjustable Wrench?

Adjustable wrenches are a standard tool found in many DIY and professional toolkits. These wrenches are also known as crescent wrenches or spanners. And they have a movable jaw that can be adjusted to fit various fastener sizes. They are helpful for tightening bolts, nuts, and screws and are often used in automotive, plumbing, and construction work.

Using an adjustable wrench properly is vital for safety and efficiency. Incorrect using can lead to slipping, which can cause injury or damage to the fastener. It can also result in the wrench slipping and rounding off the corners of the fastener, making it more difficult to remove in the future.

In this article, we will cover the proper techniques for holding and using an adjustable wrench.

how to use an adjustable wrench

How to properly hold and use an adjustable wrench – complete guide

Step 1: Choosing the right size adjustable wrench

Adjustable wrenches come in various sizes, from small models that can fit in tight spaces to large ones that can handle heavy-duty tasks. Choosing the right size wrench for the job is essential to ensure a proper fit around the fastener. A wrench that is too small may not provide enough grip. In contrast, a wrench that is too large may be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

To determine the appropriate size wrench, measure the size of the fastener or use a wrench size chart. It is also important to select a wrench that fits snugly around the fastener to avoid slipping. This will help ensure that the wrench does not damage the fastener and will allow for proper torque to be applied.

Step 2: Adjusting the jaw size of the adjustable wrench

One of the benefits of an adjustable wrench is that it can be adjusted to fit different sizes of fasteners. To adjust the wrench jaw, simply use the thumbscrew or lever on the back to widen or narrow the jaws.

It is important to understand how the jaw size affects the grip on the bolt or nut. As a wrench that is too small jaw may not be able to get a good grip. While a wrench that is too large jaw may damage the bolt or nut.

Step 3: The proper grip on the adjustable wrench

  • To properly grip an adjustable wrench, place your thumb on the backside of the wrench handle and wrap your fingers around the front. This will give you maximum control and leverage.
  • Avoid placing your fingers between the wrench jaws, as this can lead to pinched fingers or hand injuries.

Step 4: Positioning the adjustable wrench on the bolt or nut

Once you have a proper grip on the wrench, the next step is to place it correctly on the bolt or nut that you are working on. To do this, align the jaws of the wrench with the flats of the bolt or nut. The flats are the flat sides of the bolt or nut that are not rounded. It is crucial to ensure that the wrench is fully seated on the bolt or nut, as this will give you the best grip and allow you to apply the most force.

Step 5: Turning the adjustable wrench

Now that the wrench is positioned correctly, you can turn it to tighten or loosen the bolt or nut. It is important to apply steady, even pressure to the wrench as you turn it. Avoid using excessive force, as this can damage the tool or the bolt or nut that you are working on. Additionally, avoid leveraging the wrench against your body or other objects, as this can increase the risk of injury if the wrench slips.

Maintaining your adjustable wrench

It is vital to maintain it regularly to ensure that your adjustable wrench continues to function correctly. This includes cleaning and lubricating the jaws, as dirt and rust can interfere with their ability to grip bolts and nuts.

It is also essential to store the wrench properly to prevent damage, such as placing it in a toolbox or hanging it on a pegboard.


What is the correct position of the adjustable wrench to a fastener?

Proper positioning is crucial to ensure safety and efficiency when using an adjustable wrench. The wrench’s jaws should be positioned around the fastener with the movable jaw facing away from the body.

The handle should be held with a firm grip, and the wrench should be turned in a controlled and steady manner, following the direction indicated on the fastener. Proper positioning of the adjustable wrench allows adequate torque to be applied and helps avoid slipping. Otherwise, it can cause injury or damage to the fastener.

How do I stop my wrench from slipping?

Slipping wrenches can be frustrating and dangerous. You can follow the things that we mentioned below to prevent a wrench from slipping-

  • Always choose the correct size wrench for the job and ensure that it fits snugly around the fastener.
  • It is also crucial to maintain a firm grip on the wrench handle and apply the proper force when turning it.
  • Using a wrench with a longer handle can also provide additional leverage and help prevent slipping.
  • In addition, it is a good idea to inspect the wrench for wear or damage before using it, as damaged wrenches are more prone to slipping.

By following these tips, you can help prevent your wrench from slipping and ensure that it works effectively and safely.

Are adjustable wrenches perfect for all fasteners?

It is important to note that adjustable wrenches are not the best choice for all fasteners. Sometimes, a fixed-size wrench may provide a better fit and more leverage. For example, a fixed-size wrench may be more appropriate when working with large or minimal fasteners.

Additionally, some fasteners, such as those that are highly torque-sensitive, may require a specialized tool or a torque wrench to ensure proper tightening or loosening. While adjustable wrenches can be a helpful tool for many tasks, it is crucial to consider the specific needs of the fastener and choose the appropriate tool for the job.


Finally, using an adjustable wrench properly is essential for any DIY enthusiast or professional mechanic. By following the proper techniques you can ensure that you can apply the necessary force to tighten or loosen bolts and nuts without damaging the tool or the bolts and nuts themselves. Remember to adjust the jaw size appropriately for the size of the bolt or nut, and maintain the wrench regularly to ensure its longevity.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top