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Understanding the Most Common Types of Wrenches

Wrenches are one of the most versatile hand tools you can find. As a tried and true equipment type for fastening nuts, bolts, and other hexagonal fasteners, wrenches are frequently used in a large number of industrial applications, including in the aviation sector. Ranging from simple to complex variations, there are several major wrenches to consider when your application requires one. In this blog, we discuss five of the most common types of wrenches available on the market today. If you are in need of dependable tools or components for your application, you may use the information provided in this article, alongside the various search tools on our website, to find a suitable item for your particular operations.

5 Common Types of Wrenches

The most simple definition of a wrench is a hand tool which is designed to grip and turn a fastener in order to install or remove it. In this way, a wrench works like a lever which can be used to twist a fastener at a right angle when compared to the axes of the lever and bolt or nut. Listed below are several more distinct categories of wrench types you may find in a typical tool box.

Combination Wrenches: Combination wrenches consist of one open end and one box end, usually of the same size. Whereas the open end forms a “c” shape which can be easily slipped onto the outside of a bolt, the box end is a fully enclosed loop that can be used to add additional grip for more stubborn fasteners. Therefore, they can be used for a variety of fasteners without having to switch tools. Combination wrenches are typically available in both metric and standard sizes so that they can fit any project.

Socket Wrenches: Consisting of a handle with a 90-degree ratchet and a set of cylinder-shaped sockets of various sizes, the socket wrench can be used wherever you would use a common wrench. However, with the addition of a socket, they can be set to tighten or loosen nuts while keeping the socket in place on the nut. This capability makes them especially useful for automotive and mechanical applications that involve working in a tight space. Most socket wrenches come with an accompanying set of sockets in different measurement values, allowing users to adjust nuts of various sizes.

Adjustable Wrenches: As the name suggests, adjustable wrenches feature a lower jaw which can be adjusted to fit different sizes of nuts and bolts. This type of wrench is ideal for both tightening and loosening applications. They are also designed to work with both metric and standard fasteners, further ensuring that they can fit the needs of an application.

Torque Wrench: Torque wrenches are used to apply a specific amount of force to a fastener which has been recommended by an engineer or manufacturer. With very sensitive and precise mechanics, this tool should only be used to tighten a fastener and never to loosen one. Specifically, torque wrenches are designed to mimic the form of a socket wrench with the added benefit of special internal mechanisms for increased accuracy in fastening maneuvers.

Allen Wrenches: Also called hex keys, Allen wrenches are a type of wrench that is shaped like an “L.” As one of the simplest and most common tools in a typical tool box, Allen wrenches are designed to produce a large amount of torque to turn a fastener. Having a hexagonal cross section on both ends, they are typically placed inside the hexagonal interior of a nut or bolt to apply torque internally, rather than around the exterior as with a standard socket wrench.


As the usual counterpart for nuts and bolts, wrenches are simple manual tools which can be designed to suit a range of operations. Here, we have presented five of the most common types of wrenches available. Nevertheless, there are even further varieties available to suit specific projects. On Industrials 360, we boast an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products that we have sourced to similarly fit a diverse range of industrial and aviation operations. Working with a network of leading global manufacturers on our Approved Vendor List (AVL), we promise rapid lead times and convenient shipping solutions to meet your unique requirements. Start exploring our catalog of available parts on our website today to learn how Industrials 360 can simplify your procurement process!


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