Pipe Wrench Vs Channel Locks

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The Pipe Wrench and Channel Locks are similarly used in fitting pipes, sockets, screws, nuts, and bolts, yet they differ in application since the pipe wrench is mostly for plumbing and while the channel lock pliers are flexible in an industrial and professional setting.

Where are Pipe Wrenches used?

Pipe Wrenches are a type of open-end wrench and adjustable wrench that has a long, flat handle and jaws that is best for gripping, tightening, and loosening pipes and other round metal objects.

When it comes to application, the pipe wrench is similar to a monkey wrench, in that they are hefty in size and have strong leverage and torque and because of this they are often used in actual pipe work in plumbing. They can also be used easily in a residential setting on the lower sizes.

Overall, they can work on pipes, screws, sockets, nuts, and bolts, from plumbing to automotive repair.

Where are Channel Locks used?

Channel Lock Pliers, are amazing fastener hand tools that has a plier handle with a slip-joint end that adjusts.

The famous ever ready ChannelLock tool got its name from the Channellock company who patented and manufactures most of the available slip joint plier in the market, hence the company name became synonymous to the tool.

The Channel Locks are also known as: tongue and groove joint pliers, groove pliers, water pump pliers slippy pliers, adjustable pliers, arc-joint pliers, gland pliers, tap spanners, pipe spanners, Multi-Grips, or simply as Channellocks.

They are used in tight or hard to reach places as a substitute to bigger wrenches and they can easily work on smaller pipes like a pvc pipe, hex nuts, and bolts.

Channel Locks can also be used as a ratchet wrench which is used to loosen or tighten the bolts of the conveyor belt. Also they can be used for turning key locks, bailing wire, chainsaws etc.

They are definitely a handy tool for a DIYer or Professionals toolbox.

Similarities between Pipe Wrench and Channel Locks


Both are made with a long handle to give the extra leverage. Also, due to the longer handle, it provides extra protection & control as compared to a short handle.

The channel locks have a smooth flat jaw at the end to not damage nuts and bolts, whereas Pipe Wrench has teeth which are also called hook jaw or serrated jaws for better grip.


Both are used in repair works or machine installations.


Both are designed for heavy usage and provide high torque output along with a strong bite strength by its jaws.

The inner design of both tools is similar, and they are developed keeping in mind their respective applications.

Both tools have different applications from each other but serve the same purpose, which is to be the best at fastening, gripping, tightening, and loosening pipes, screws, nuts, and bolts.


Both can be versatile on their own respective applications, as the Channellocks can fit virtually in any tight space as long as the hand can reach it while the pipe wrench can easily go back and forth a residential and industrial setting in plumbing.

Differences between Pipe Wrenches and Channel Locks


Pipe Wrench is usually larger than the channel locks as they are meant for plumbing works while the channel locks are smaller to fit into spaces.


Pipe Wrench is generally heavy than the channel locks as they are meant for plumbing works and the channel locks are lighter to fit into spaces.


Pipe Wrenches are generally made of a long-handled bar while the channel locks are made of aluminum, yet they are both very durable and can last a long time before wear and tear comes in.


The grip of pipe wrench is made with teeth on the jaw while the gripping jaws are flat in channel locks.


Pipe Wrench is generally used in plumbing works, only a few smaller models can be used for a residential setting while channel locks can also be used in both residential and industrial professional setting as a substitute to bigger wrenches without sacrificing any accuracy and workmanship.

Availability for Pipe Wrenches and Channel Locks

In the market, there are also variants that are smaller in size like channel locks.  

This is when you have to buy the right one for you.  

A rule of thumb – measure from your palm to elbow and make sure it is at least 1 inch longer than your forearm. That is how long the pipe wrench should be.

When it comes to buying the best pipe wrench, it is often dependent on the level of work you’re going to be in, since you need bigger pipe wrenches for bigger pipes, nuts, and bolts.

Best Channel Locks

The best channel locks would be the original tongue and groove plier from ChannelLock, as this features an innovative adjustable jaw that can be moved up and down to match the profile of the pipe as well as give the best amount of torque and power available depending on size.

The plier can slide up and down with a good maximum depth. This channel lock is heavy-duty in nature, so it is better for an industrial or professional setting.

Another great option would be the Knipex Cobra Pliers, as Knipex is the leading plier’s wrench manufacturer, they too have their flagship plier that has immense grip capacity for its size as well as a self-locking mechanism, which is best for both residential and industrial setting.

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