Monkey Wrench Vs Pipe Wrench – What are the Key Differences?

If you’re looking for a wrench, you might be wondering if a monkey wrench or pipe wrench is the right tool for the job. While both wrenches have their uses, there are some key differences between them.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the key features of monkey and pipe wrenches that helps you to know which tool is suitable for you. Stay tuned to find out!

Monkey Wrench Vs Pipe Wrench

What is a monkey wrench?

A monkey wrench is a hand tool that is used for gripping and turning nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. The head of the wrench is typically made of metal and has a series of ridges or teeth that grip the material being turned. The wrench handle is usually longer than the head, providing leverage for extra torque.

Monkey wrenches are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different-sized fasteners. They can also be equipped with a built-in ratchet mechanism to make it easier to turn stubborn nuts and bolts. Overall, monkey wrenches are versatile and handy tools that can be used for various tasks around the home or workshop.

How does a monkey wrench work?

The monkey wrench jaws are adjustable, so they can be used to grip a variety of different sizes of objects. The wrench is named after its inventor, Charles Monkey, who designed it in 1858. The monkey wrench is also sometimes called an adjustable spanner or pipe wrench.

It consists of two jaws, a handle, and a screw mechanism that adjusts the size of the jaws. To use the wrench, you simply place it around the object you want to grip and turn the screw to tighten or loosen the jaws.

When should we use a monkey wrench?

These adjustable wrenches are commonly used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. Unlike a standard wrench, a monkey wrench Jaw can fit various sizes of fasteners. This makes it an essential tool for anyone who works with machinery or other equipment that needs to be regularly maintained.

When using a monkey wrench, it is important to identify the correct size for the task at hand. Otherwise, the wrench may slip and cause damage to the surrounding area. Additionally, monkey wrenches are not suitable for use on delicate materials such as glass or plastic. For these types of tasks, it is best to use a more delicate tool such as a screwdriver.

Benefits of using a monkey wrench

  • Suitable for use with various fasteners
  • More durable
  • Easy to operate
  • Affordable


  • If you don’t pick the right size, it can slip easily

What is a pipe wrench?

A pipe wrench is usually designed for use on pipes and other cylindrical objects. The jaws of a pipe wrench are serrated, allowing them to firmly grip the surface of a pipe. The handle of a pipe wrench is usually straight, although some models have offset handles to provide greater leverage.

Pipe wrenches are also available in various sizes, from small hand-held models to large floor-mounted models. But the most common sizes are 14-inch and 18-inch models.

In addition, there are also adjustable pipe wrenches that can be adjusted to fit a range of different-sized pipes. Pipe wrenches are an essential tool for plumbers and other professionals who work with pipes.

How does a pipe wrench work?

A pipe wrench is also an adjustable wrench that is typically used for working with pipes and fittings. The wrench jaws are made up of two parts: a fixed jaw and a movable jaw. The fixed jaw is attached to the body of the wrench, and the movable jaw is connected to a threaded screw.

By turning the screw, the user can set the distance between the jaws, which allows the wrench to be used on pipes of different sizes. Once the desired size has been reached, the user can then use the wrench to tighten or loosen the pipe as needed. The pipe wrench design makes it an essential tool for anyone who works with plumbing.

When should we use a pipe wrench?

A pipe wrench is designed for use on cylindrical objects such as pipes and fittings. They are usually made from steel or cast iron and have two jaws that grip the workpiece tightly.

Pipe wrenches are typically used for two tasks: turning threaded pipes and fittings and breaking them loose. When using a pipe wrench to turn a pipe or fitting, it is essential always to maintain a firm grip on the tool.

If the wrench slips, it can easily damage the workpiece. In addition, it is important to apply even pressure to both jaws of the wrench to avoid stripping the threads.

When using a pipe wrench to break loose a stuck pipe or fitting, it is important first to position the wrench so that the jaws are aligned with the direction of the force. Next, apply pressure to one jaw while keeping the other jaw stationary.

As the pressure builds, the object should begin to loosen. If necessary, reposition the wrench and repeat the process until the object is free.

Benefits of using a pipe wrench

  • Provides firm grip
  • Best for pipes or other rounded objects
  • Easier to adjust

Monkey wrench vs pipe wrench – comparison

Regarding hand tools, Monkey Wrenches and Pipe Wrenches are two of the most popular options. But what’s the difference between these two types of wrenches? Here we compare these two wrenches according to their shape, strength, durability, weight, price, and comfort.


Monkey Wrenches are generally thinner and smaller than Pipe Wrenches. Monkey Wrenches also have a shorter handle, which gives you more control over the tool but can make it harder to apply leverage.

Pipe Wrenches, on the other hand, have a long handle that makes it easier to apply leverage but can make the tool-less maneuverable.

Jaw type

The jaws on a Monkey Wrench are smooth, while the jaws on a Pipe Wrench are serrated. The serrated jaws on a Pipe Wrench grip onto pipes more securely, making it the better option for working with plumbing.

So, when deciding between a Monkey Wrench and a Pipe Wrench, it’s essential to consider the tool’s jaws and choose the best wrench for the job.


When it comes to these two wrenches’ strength, there is no clear winner between a monkey wrench and a pipe wrench. Both tools are designed for different purposes and excel in different situations.

A monkey wrench is typically used for larger projects where more torque is needed for moving nuts and bolts, while a pipe wrench is better suited for that jobs where dexterity is more important.

In terms of raw strength, however, a monkey wrench has the advantage. The large jaws of a monkey wrench can generate more torque than a pipe wrench, making it ideal for loosening bolts and nuts.

However, a pipe wrench can exert a greater force on smaller objects due to its narrower jaws. Ultimately, the best tool for the job depends on the specifics of the task.


Monkey wrenches are typically made of cast iron or steel, which makes them very durable. However, this also makes them quite heavy, making them difficult to use for extended periods.

Pipe wrenches, on the other hand, are usually made of lighter materials such as aluminum or plastic. This makes them easier to handle but also means that they are less durable than monkey wrenches.


In terms of price, monkey wrenches are typically more expensive than pipe wrenches. However, both types of wrenches can be found for a reasonable price if you know where to look. Ultimately, the decision between a monkey wrench and a pipe wrench comes down to personal preference.


Monkey wrenches and pipe wrenches have advantages and disadvantages, but there is a clear winner regarding comfort.

Monkey wrenches are typically smaller and lighter than pipe wrenches, making them easier to carry around and use for long periods. They also have a shorter reach, which can be advantageous when working in tight spaces.

However, the jaws of a monkey wrench are not as adjustable as those of a pipe wrench, so they may not be able to grip all types of nuts and bolts securely. Additionally, the smaller size of monkey wrenches can make them more challenging to use with large piping.

On the other hand, pipe wrenches are heavy-duty tools designed for larger projects. They have longer handles and much stronger jaws, which can adjust to fit a variety of different sizes of pipes. However, these features also make pipe wrenches more challenging to control, and they can be pretty tiring to use for extended periods. Additionally, the length of the handle can make it awkward to use in tight spaces.

So which wrench is more comfortable to use? It depends on the project you’re working on and your personal preferences. If you need a powerful wrench for large pipes, then a pipe wrench is probably your best bet.

But if you’re looking for something lighter and easier to control, then a monkey wrench is probably a better choice. Whichever wrench you choose, just be sure to use it safely and take breaks often to avoid fatigue.

Monkey wrench vs pipe wrench – Comparison table

 Monkey wrenchPipe wrench
PowerMore powerfulLess powerful
DurabilityMore durableLess durable
Best forNuts and boltsPipe
ComfortMore comfortableLess comfortable
MaterialsUsually made of metalMade from steel or cast iron

Pipe wrench vs monkey wrench– which is better?

Monkey wrenches are typically used for loosening or tightening bolts and nuts. They have a wide jaw that can grip various sizes of bolts, making them very versatile. The downside to monkey wrenches is that they can slip off easily if they’re not the right size for the bolt.

Pipe wrenches, on the other hand, are designed for working with pipes. They have a narrower jaw than monkey wrenches, which allows them to get a better grip on pipes. However, this also means they can’t be used on anything besides pipes. Additionally, pipe wrenches can be difficult to use if you don’t have enough experience to operate them.

So, which wrench is better? It depends on the job you’re doing. A monkey wrench is your best bet if you need to loosen or tighten a bolt or nut. If you’re working with pipes, then a pipe wrench is probably a better choice.

See also: Allen wrench vs allen key


Is a monkey wrench and a pipe wrench the same tool?

A pipe wrench and a monkey wrench are two different types of tools. A pipe wrench is designed for gripping and turning pipes, while a monkey wrench is designed for gripping and twisting nuts and bolts. Both wrenches have jaws that open and close to grip the object being turned.

However, the jaws on a pipe wrench are slightly curved, while the jaws on a monkey wrench are straight. Additionally, the handle on a pipe wrench is usually longer than the handle on a monkey wrench. Monkey wrenches are also sometimes called Stillson wrenches.

Why do they call a pipe wrench a monkey wrench?

The term “monkey wrench” is actually a corruption of the original name, which was “monkey’s claw.” The tool we now know as a pipe wrench was invented in the early 19th century by a blacksmith named Solomon Merrick. Merrick’s design was based on a popular tool known as a Stillson wrench, which was used for turning bolts and pipes.

The major innovation of the monkey wrench was its adjustable jaw, which allowed it to grip a variety of different sizes of objects. The first monkey wrenches were made of cast iron and were quite heavy.

Today, they are generally made from lighter materials such as aluminum or steel. Although the name “monkey wrench” is now more commonly used than the original “monkey’s claw,” both terms are still used interchangeably in some parts of the world.

What can I use instead of a monkey wrench?

While it is a versatile tool, there are some instances where it may be more appropriate to use an alternative. For example, a pair of needle-nose pliers may be a better option if you work with tiny bolts or nuts. If you are working under a sink, a set of ratchet wrenches may be more effective.

And if you need to apply a lot of torque, an impact wrench may be the best choice. Ultimately, the best tool for the job will depend on the specific task. But by keeping these alternatives in mind, you can be sure to choose the right tool for the job—monkey wrench or otherwise.

Monkey wrench vs Stillson wrench – what are the differences?

The two types of wrenches are similar in that they are both used to grip and turn objects. However, there are differences between them. A monkey wrench has an adjustable Jaw, while a Stillson wrench has a stationary Jaw. This means that a monkey wrench can be used on various objects, while a Stillson wrench is best suited for one specific size.

In addition, monkey wrenches typically have longer handles than Stillson wrenches. This gives the user more leverage, making it easier to turn stubborn objects. Finally, monkey wrenches are usually made from steel, while Stillson wrenches are often made from cast iron. As a result, monkey wrenches are typically more durable and less likely to break under heavy use.


All in all, a pipe wrench is going to be the better choice for most people unless you have a specific need for a monkey wrench. If you’re unsure which one you need, go with the pipe wrench – it’s more versatile and can be used in more situations. Thanks for reading!

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