Spanner redirects here. For spanner screwdrivers, see spanner (screwdriver).
A wrench, also known as a spanner, is a hand tool generally used for turning fasteners, particularly nuts and bolts. Commonly, it consists of a single handle and a pair of jaws with parallel, typically smooth faces, though some designs feature only a single jaw.
Wrenches may be open or closed; open wrenches may be fixed or adjustable. A closed wrench is known as a box wrench. A combination wrench features a box wrench at one end of the handle, and an open wrench of the same size at the other end.
Comparison with pliersEdit
A properly-sized wrench fits snugly around the nut (or other work piece), turning it without damaging it. A loosely-fitting wrench may round-off the fastener's corners, making the fastener more difficult to remove. An overly large wrench, unless adjustable, will not be able to turn the fastener at all.
In comparison, a pliers' jaws are inherently adjustable, enabling it to grasp a wide range of fastener sizes. The textured jaws, however, make the pliers likely to mar the fastener. Pliers are thus more of an all-purpose tool, with wrenches more precision and kinder to the fastener.
Open-ended wrenches form a C shape, wrapping around three sides of the fastener. These may be adjustable or of fixed size. By their nature, open-ended wrenches don't grab a fastener's head as firmly as a closed (box) wrench, leaving the open-ended wrench more prone to slipping off, damaging the fastener and the users knuckles.
Box wrenches are traditionally made with a six-point (six-sided) or twelve-point (twelve-sided) opening. Six-point wrenches are stronger, as they have more metal between the points. They can only grip a fastener in six different orientations, however, and cannot turn square fasteners. Twelve-point wrenches are more prone to failure (or to rounding-off the corners of the fastener), but are more versatile, since they can be applied in any of twelve different orientations. Twelve-point wrenches can also turn square fasteners.
To combat rounding-off, one newer design has hollowed-out points. This enables the wrench to grip the sides of the fastener, rather than its corners, preventing round-off.
- Pliers - commonly used when the right-size wrench can't be found
- Plierench - combines aspects of the wrench with those of the pliers
- Popular Mechanics. Complete Car Care Manual. Hearst Communications, Inc. 2003. ISBN 1-58816-260-5.
- Stanley Proto. "J1122SPL - Box Spline Wrench 3/8" x 7/16"". Stanley Proto Industrial Tools. n.d. Accessed July 2, 2012 at http://www.stanleyproto.com/default.asp?CATEGORY=STD+BOX+WRNCH&TYPE=PRODUCT&PARTNUMBER=J1122SPL&strSiteName=PROTO&strDefaultCatalog=PROTO&SDesc=Box+Spline+Wrench+3%2F8%22+x+7%2F16%22