When it comes to the differences between the Monkey Wrench and Pipe Wrench, they mostly differ in their adjustable jaws, as the monkey wrench has a flat jaw while the pipe wrench has teethed jaws, yet they are both similarly used in fitting and tightening and loosening pipes, nuts, and bolts.
That’s why it can be difficult for those who are just starting to build their tool collection to know if you should get a monkey wrench or a pipe wrench.
These wrenches have been the staple handy go-to tool of plumbers and mechanics for centuries because they can easily provide the leverage and torque one would need to fit pipes, nuts, screws, and bolts.
It’s easy to see how the misperception could arise. Both adjustable wrenches look nearly identical and are designed for squeezing and tightening nuts and bolts.
Our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench comparative guide will help you decide whether a monkey wrench, a pipe wrench, or both is the purchase for you.
We’ll explain how to use each type of wrench and explain their differences. We even offer alternative wrench types and brand recommendations.
Short Version / TL;DR
Don’t have time to read through the article? Don’t worry, we get you – here’s a brief rundown on our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench guide:
Although they both have similar functions, both Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench are used for different purposes.
Monkey Wrenches are necessary for assembling and repairing machinery and making plumbing repairs. The monkey wrench is a versatile tool used by plumbers, auto mechanics, and manufacturers. The common pipe wrench is actually a type of monkey wrench.
The monkey wrench is a specialized wrench used for tightening or untightening pipes and turning fasteners, especially in confined areas. It gets its name from the curved shape of its jaws and its resemblance to the teeth of a monkey.
The top jaw holds or grabs the bolt while the bottom jaw is free to rotate and tighten or loosen the nut. The monkey wrench is made of steel, aluminum, or other metal alloys. Its shape resembles that of an L or F. It is at least 24 inches long from end to end.
The Industrial brand Pipe Wrench was originally created for use in the plumbing industry. However, it is also used very often in the construction of vehicles or machinery.
Pipe wrenches are used in industries such as plumbing, gardening, and farming. They’re generally used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts or remove threaded pipes.
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Channellock 8WCB 8-Inch
Channellock 8WCB 8-Inch Adjustable Wrench
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Dweller Power’s Pick
#1 Trusted Pipe Wrench Brand
RIDGID 47057 Straight Pipe Wrench
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What is a monkey wrench?
Now considered an antique, the famous monkey wrench is a type of adjustable wrench and was mostly used back in 19th-century America and is designed and refined to be the better version of older 18th-century English coach wrenches.
Monkey Wrenches are necessary for assembling and repairing machinery and making plumbing repairs and even now, the monkey wrench is a versatile tool most sought after by plumbers, auto mechanics, and manufacturers.
The monkey wrench even now is considered a specialized adjustable wrench used for tightening or untightening pipes and being a fastener, especially in confined areas and is dependable if you have as one of your plumbing tools.
The head of the monkey wrench is a reliable flat upper jaw, and there’s a hole that lets you apply pressure to these wrenches with a screwdriver, while the top’s smooth jaws hold or grabs the bolt while the bottom mechanism or spring assembly is free to rotate and tighten or loosen pipes, screws, bolts, and nuts, making it a very flexible tool even back then.
The monkey wrench is made of really durable cast iron with a handy wooden grip while its shape resembles that of an L or F and the size can vary from 8-in to 60-in long from end to end.
Monkey Wrench Pros & Cons
- Heavy Duty Wrench
- Powerful torque
- Durable and Long Lasting
- Rare to Find
- Heavy and Bulky
- Limited Sizes
Monkey Wrench Vs Ford Wrench
The monkey wrench and ford wrench is the same thing, just named differently, mainly because monkey wrenches were called a Ford Wrench when every Ford Car Model back in the early 1920s to 1940s was supplied with a Monkey Wrench and it became synonymous with the Ford brand name.
The term ford wrench is also sometimes used loosely, usually by non-tradespeople, to refer to the monkey wrench (owing to their broadly similar shapes). But they’re the same thing!
The term “monkey” is a reference to an early-19th century American usage of “to monkey with” as meaning meddling or messing about with something. The monkey wrench was called a Ford Wrench because every Ford Car Model back in the early 1920s to 1940s was supplied with a Monkey Wrench and it became a staple hence most people coined it as such.
Adjustable Wrench Recommendation –
Channellock 8WCB 8-Inch
With our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench guide, we need to be fair to you and say that there is no more Monkey Wrenches available in the market. Adjustable Wrenches has now been an industry standard.
With that, the Channellock 8WCB is engineered to be the perfect size for almost any job. The Channellock 8WCB is a compact multi-purpose adjustable wrench. From repair jobs to yard work, it’s great for any task. At 8 inches long, the wrench has jaws that can handle everything from fat garden hoses to small bolts like those found on children’s toys.
With its unique design, it eliminates the need for multiple wrenches and helps you work in tight spots with ease.
The Channellock 8WCB Adjustable Wrench has a cushioned handle that lets us put real strength into a turn without worrying about sore hands afterward. After years of reliable service, the Channellock 8WCB Adjustable Wrench shows almost no signs of wear. With a few turns, it will loosen even heavily-seized nuts and bolts in a matter of seconds.
Great for plumbing jobs and automotive repairs, this adjustable wrench quickly tightens or loosens nuts and bolts. Whether it’s a stubborn pipe fitting or a loose-jointed hinge, the Channellock 8WCB Adjustable Wrench can do it all!
What is A Pipe Wrench?
The Pipe Wrench, also known as the Stillson Wrench or the Plumber Wrench, was originally created for use in the plumbing industry, yet it is also used very often in the construction of vehicles or machinery because of its reliability, hence its the staple plumbing wrench.
Pipe wrenches are highly favored in industries such as plumbing, gardening, and farming and they’re generally used to tighten or loosen and remove a threaded pipe with varying sizes in pipe diameter, yet they are often a great alternative to an adjustable wrench for working on nuts, screws, and bolts.
Owning a pipe wrench gives you the freedom of being able to work on practically anything that is threaded, including nuts and bolts. Because of this simple fact, the pipe wrench can be used in over a dozen different applications and industries.
Pipe Wrench Pros & Cons
- Very Common
- Variety of Sizes
- Easy to use
- Comfortable Grip
- Need multiple Pipe Wrenches for different Pipes
RIDGID 47057 Straight Pipe Wrench
For the Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench, we present to you the Best Pipe Wrench found in the market. With the RIDGID 47057, keep your projects running efficiently with this sturdy, well-designed side handle pipe wrench. The handle is made of aluminum for stability during those long jobs, and the extra-long jaws withstand years of hard use. Oil and dirt will not build up inside the jaws, so you can clamp to your heart’s content. This RIDGID 47057 Straight Pipe Wrench is a great addition to any tool collection.
Delivering a trusted grip when you need it most, the 47057 pipe wrench is designed to handle 2-inch pipes proficiently. This RIDGID aluminum straight pipe wrench is manufactured with correct tolerances for superior durability and less wear.
This Ridgid pipe wrench has extra-large teeth that grip directly to the surface of your soft-metal pipes for added grip and control. The high-strength alloy steel material is easy and comfortable to use with thanks to the ergonomic design.
This pipe wrench is made of steel for use with metal tubing, and it only weighs 2.5 pounds. It’s easy to change out the pieces for use with your other wrenches, so you can save time on jobs.
This combination pipe wrench features a drop-forged steel head for superior strength and durability. The teeth are designed to clean without additional brushing, and they do not require extra brushing between jobs.
This Straight Pipe Wrench is a high-quality, professional grade tool created with comfort and ease of use in mind. The simplistic yet effective design allows for single handed operation. This professional high performance pipe wrench can be used to tighten or loosen production pipes, elbows, or tubing made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum or brass. Definitely one of the premium deals you can get!
Similarities between the Monkey Wrench and Pipe Wrench
The monkey wrench and pipe wrench are nearly identical in design, and they can be used for almost any circumstance that requires a standard adjustable wrench.
The ability to perform tasks such as loosening or tightening pipes, a hex nut, hex bolts, screws, and any other type of threaded fasteners are a benefit of the monkey wrench that makes them perfect for use on every possible task you may be facing while working on the jobsite or at home.
With their long handles that can measure up to 60 inches in length, these wrenches provide plenty of leverage to ease the pressure during small-sized to industrial heavy duty jobs.
The monkey wrench and pipe wrench also are similar with their grip style that provides a comfortable grip for you while you’re using them and leverages the weight to give the most torque available.
Differences between the Monkey Wrench and Pipe Wrench
Their jaws are different because the monkey wrench has an adjustable jaw that has a flat surface while the pipe wrench has an adjustable jaw that is toothed, known as a hook jaw, heel jaw, or serrated jaws and some models even have curved jaws to get a better grip on the pipes.
There is also an economic factor with needing more monkey wrench because a monkey wrench’s jaw is permanently there, while you can always replace the hook jaw of a pipe wrench, so this is a matter of versatility giving the pipe wrench an upper hand.
They also differ in availability, since the monkey wrench is now considered a rare antique tool while the pipe wrench is ever readily available in hardware stores and online, although both are still the best tools for the trade.
Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench
To conclude our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench Comparative Guide, remember that they are both mostly used in varieties of application and trades that deals with pipe work, and even if the monkey wrench is considered as an antique, it can still be used today like a pipe wrench.
Be sure to have both these wrenches since you never know what kind of projects you might be faced with. In our opinion, a pipe wrench is essential.
Other wrenches perform well like the monkey wrench and pipe wrench.
If you are interested in them we have guides for other wrench comparisons:
Chain Wrench vs Pipe Wrench – mostly deals with the more specialized wrenches in action.
Crescent Wrench vs Monkey Wrench – deals with the adjustable wrenches and their proper use.
Pipe Wrench vs Channel Locks – not to be confused by the brand above, but the channel lock tool and similarities when it comes to the flexibility of a pipe wrench.
Pipe Wrench vs Adjustable Wrench – here we will discuss the main benefits with having both the pipe wrench and adjustable wrench while highlighting their similarities and differences.
This ends our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench Discussion.
With that, please always remember that you need a good set of wrenches. If you can take our advice with our Monkey Wrench vs Pipe Wrench Comparative Guide.
We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
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Weldon is a Single Dad who loves teaching others about the workaround in the house. He loves to write about DIY and Home Improvement Hacks and just recently had his first child. You’ll have some fun read with his write-ups and more of his works in his own home!