Aluminum Vs Cast Iron Pipe Wrench

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Depending on the user, the aluminum pipe wrench is better if you are a DIYer because they are lighter and works best for plumbing tasks around the home, the cast iron pipe wrench on the other hand is built for heavy duty professional users that work on bigger pipes.

If you’re a DIYer, chances are you have, at one time or another, struggled with the different materials of pipe wrenches. It’s one efficient hand tool that each home or professional plumber should have.

Below we will discuss the in-depth differences between both Aluminum vs Cast Iron Pipe Wrench

Aluminum Pipe Wrench

Aluminum Steel is much lighter but it may not last as long as a wrench jaw made out of cast iron would. But you can easily leverage a cheater bar if you need extra leverage with the hook jaw while using an aluminum pipe wrench.

A lightweight aluminum steel pipe wrench can still get lots of action around a DIY project or even in a professional project as some plumber professionals started switching to the lightweight approach.

An aluminum pipe wrench can easily work on tight spaces securing those bolts and with its teeth. Mostly works best with working on threaded pipe fittings because it doesn’t dent the pipe.

Cast Iron Pipe Wrench

A Cast Iron Pipe Wrench is probably the best material for a pipe wrench that covers all foundations from the pipe diameter to the pipe’s grip and hook jaw. It is the material used for the traditional pipe wrench.

Heavy at the base with a long handle, this is the staple contractor’s plumbing wrench.

Plumber Contractors love it and surely you would too even if you’re mainly working on home improvement work.

The pipe wrench size of cast iron pipe wrenches quite vary but they’re mostly on the thicker and wider end with the best maximum pipe capacity. With a bigger size however, they may not be the best suited for tight spaces.

They are however not getting the spotlight as they used to because cast iron pipe wrenches are mostly on the expensive end.

Aluminum Vs Cast Iron Pipe Wrench Tips


There are pros and cons to both materials and it really depends on what your focus in life as well as your budget is because both types of wrenches will cost you money.

It is important for you to purchase a wrench that is made out of cast iron. A good wrench made out of cast iron will not cost you as much money in the long run and it will be very durable.

You can always have a great deal on aluminum pipes when you are building your home but buying heavy duty cast iron wrenches can get quite expensive.

That is why it makes sense to buy a wrench that is made out of aluminum since they are more affordable and they will be used more frequently than cast iron wrenches in a DIY setting.


As discussed earlier, professional projects would be better paired with a cast iron pipe wrench while DIY projects are better with an aluminum pipe wrench.

These is because of their design, wherein the cast iron pipe wrench is bigger and heavier, not best for tight spaces while the lightweight aluminum pipe wrench can fit virtually anywhere even when working on a flat surface.

Ridgid Wrench Feature

Ridgid has been the world’s best pipe wrench manufacturer for almost a century (already at their 98 year), their pipe wrench lineup is one of the world’s most diverse for DIYers and Plumbers alike.

Below are their top lineup of wrenches that offers both aluminum and cast iron composition.

Ridgid Offset Pipe Wrench

The Ridgid Aluminum Offset Pipe Wrench provides easy entry into tight spots and has a jaw opening parallel to the handle with a narrower hook jaw head. It’s one of the few cast iron pipe wrenches that can work in tight spaces easily

Ridgid Compound Leverage Wrench

The Ridgid compound leverage wrench is perfect for loosening frozen pipes and joints. The wrench multiplies the force applied to it, making it an ideal tool for freeing locked couplings and frozen joints. It has hardened alloy steel jaws that are replaceable.

Ridgid Straight Pipe Wrench

Ridgid offers high-quality Straight Pipe Wrenches that have a sturdy, ductile-iron housing and an I beam handle with a full floating forged hook jaw.

Ridgid Heel Jaw

The Ridgid Pipe Wrench Heel Jaw with Pin Assembly has a durable design and is an affordable replacement for pipe wrenches. It is versatile and compatible with both heavy-duty and aluminum wrench types.

Take the old heel jaw off of your pipe wrench, screw the new one on!

Other Tools To Complement A Pipe Wrench

Torque Wrench

Most often used by car mechanics, there are some usage of a torque wrench in homes or plumbing work, mainly when working with nuts and oil pipe fittings.

There are many ‘types of torque wrenches’ that can help you as a DIYer as well

Adjustable Wrench

An adjustable wrench is a close relative of a pipe wrench and can also be used as an alternative when you don’t have a pipe wrench.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Buy A Pipe Wrench?

You can buy a pipe wrench at your local hardware store, or directly buy from online retailers like Amazon or Lowes, or Harbor Freight, or order online direct from the manufacturers themselves like Ridgid Online.

Why Are Pipe Wrenches Heavy?

They are heavy because they need to have leverage when twisting pipes or turning them from left to right or vice-versa.

What Pipe Wrench Brand Do I Need?

You can never go wrong with Ridgid Wrenches, but you can also work with the budget you have and try to walk in your local hardware store or shop online.

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