What wrenches does my home need?

by Greg on April 20, 2017

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There are so many different jobs that can arise around the house, and so many different wrenches with which to do them.

Even the most tool savvy home improvement enthusiast might need a little help deciding which wrench is best to have around the house.

Three common types of wrenches are socket wrenches, torque wrenches, and impact wrenches, and I will spend a little time talking about each.

Socket Wrenches

Socket wrench
This is the simplest and most common kind of wrench, and it comes in all different shapes and sizes. There are many uses around the house for which this wrench would be the easiest to use, it would work perfectly for such things as tightening loose nuts on chairs, building any sort of bookcase, or loosening the lugs on a car’s tire.

Socket wrench

These are often sold in fixed sizes without the ability to add additional attachments to change the size of nut or lug that the wrench will work on.

Socket wrench

Within the socket wrench family there are lots of different types. Some that have heads that you can bend to get into hard to reach areas (say on the underside of a desk), some that have a curve in the middle of the shaft, that can help give you a little extra leverage to spin the bar faster, and some that have an extra bar across the top giving the wrench a “T” shape so that you can grab it a little easier and apply more pressure.

Torque Wrenches

A torque wrench is a variation on a socket wrench that has a meter built in to tell you just how much torque you have applied to the bolt or nut.

Torque wrench

This is useful for jobs that require you to apply an exact amount of torque, such as when working with water or gas pipes. Applying too much torque to a sensitive pipe like that could result in breaking them.

Torque wrench

There are also now modern electric versions of torque wrenches available, which can offer more precise readings than their analogue counterparts. While you could also use this wrench for all the common everyday uses that you would use a normal socket wrench for, it isn’t necessary for furniture type tightening.

Torque wrench

Impact Wrenches

An impact wrench is an electrically powered wrench that can deliver a high amount of torque very quickly, and with very little effort from the operator. The impact wrench is also commonly referred to as an impactor or a torque gun, and it’s most common uses are in car repair, and in industrial settings.

Impact wrench

For jobs around the house, this wrench may be considered to be too powerful, and definitely should not be used in delicate situations where a torque wrench would be more appropriate, since the impact wrench is unable to measure the amount of torque that it is exerting.

Impact wrench

Hopefully this article has shed some light on what kind of wrench you need for the kinds of tasks that you commonly have to do around your home.


Abigail Jones

Abigail is the founder of Thehandynest, where she and her trusted blog that’s full of tutorials, ideas, advice and information will inspire you and help you with your home improvement and other needs. She is also a mother of two where she enjoys her passion and her dream of making the best place for her children.

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