What Is A Spanner Wrench Used For? Types And Their Uses

A spanner wrench is a tool used to loosen or tighten fasteners such as bolts or nuts. It provides grip and mechanical help in applying torque to turn fasteners or, rather, keep them from turning. They are mostly movable objects or parts of an object like nuts and bolts. It holds them in place and ensures they are loosened completely if the aim was to turn them and tight if the aim was to keep them from turning.

Spanner Wrench

What Is A Spanner Wrench?

This tool provides grip for tightening or loosening a fastener containing pins or tabs around its circumference. The tabs and pins facilitate the tight grip.

Wrench VS. Spanner

You might be asking: Is there a difference between a wrench and a spanner? There is no difference in functionality as the Americans call it a wrench while Britons call it a spanner. However, there might be some structural differences between the two. These are highlighted below:

One opening on the sideOne opening in the middle
Shaped like a single clawShaped like a pair of claws
Teeth in the openingNo teeth in the opening
Adjustable to different sizesSometimes adjustable to different sizes

Types Of Spanner Wrenches

There are over forty known types of wrenches, depending on their uses and shapes. Here are the most common with their features and purposes.

Name Description Purpose
Open-end wrenchflat interior C-shaped jaws that slide snugly along the sides of a nut or bolt, allowing the user to exert torque pressure in either direction. Must be repositioned after every turn.Used for nuts and bolts in narrow spots where users only have access to the nut’s side
Box end wrenchResembles rings with interior shapes featuring six or twelve sides Offset handle to avoid scraping knuckles when tightening nuts or bolts on flat surfaces.Used for nuts and bolts where the user has full access to the top.
Combination wrenchSame head size on both sides It can be flipped around as the user works since both ends fit the same nut.Effectively used for roadside repairs of automotive
Adjustable wrench (knuckle buster)Versatile as it can be used on different sizes of nuts and bolts.Used for basic plumbing work
Hex-key wrenchShort six-sided bars of steel on the head L-shaped One side shorter than the other Both ends fit the same size hex-head nutUsed in installing and removing recessed hex-head nuts and bolts in faucets, towel bars, and doorknobs Assembling furniture like closet organizers
Torque wrenchIt fits a specific nut or bolt Tightens nuts and bolts to a specific pressure Has a flashlight, LED readout, or a scale to notify the user once required pressure is achieved.Used for all types of mechanical work and in metal building constructions

What To Use If You Don’t Have A Spanner Wrench

Duct Tape

Duct tape is split into two parts of about twelve inches, leaving a tail of about six to eight inches to act as the handle. Each part of the splits is fixed tightly on either side of the nut or bolt and turned accordingly to tighten or loosen.

Two Coins

Two coins of the same size can be placed on either side of the bolt and controlled by the knuckles turned to tighten or loosen the nuts as required.

Zip Tie

Azip tie is firmly fixed around the nut or bolt and pulled towards the right side resulting in tightening or loosening the bolt or nut.

Another Nut And Bolt

In this case, a nut is connected to the subject bolt and another bolt connected to the nut, after which you can turn the last bolt accordingly to tighten or loosen the subject bolt.

How To Determine The Spanner Wrench Size To Use

Spanner wrench sizes refer to the distance across the hexagonal nut’s flats or bolt that they would fit. It is calculated by multiplying the bolt size in inches or millimeters by 1.5. Those marked by size in inches or millimeters are preceded by initials A or AF.

Top 6 Best Brand Producers Of Spanner Wrenches

Statistics show the following brands have recorded the highest sales of spanner wrenches in the past year.






Are Spanner Wrenches Universal?

A universal spanner wrench is considered an all-in-one. Not all spanner wrenches are universal. However, those with features below can be used universally to tighten or loosen fasteners:

1. Interchangeable with any spanner wrench

2. Can be used for almost any task involving a spanner

3. Can conform to any size needed to achieve a task

Therefore, most wrench spanners are designed only to perform specific tasks and tighten or loosen bolts and nuts of specific sizes.

Final Word

Tightening or loosening nuts and bolts cannot be done properly without the use of a spanner wrench. The tool makes it stress-free to apply torque on objects to turn them accordingly. This makes mechanical and plumbing connections work easier. However, you will have to pick the right types discussed above based on the kind of fastening you are doing. 

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