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Plumber’s Spud Wrench

Plumber’s Spud Wrench

A spud wrench is a must-have plumber’s tool. In fact, it doesn’t hurt for any home owner venturing into do-it-yourself plumbing projects to have one of these.

Spud wrenches essentially loosen and tighten oversized nuts on pipes. They are known for making tough jobs easier with their unique design and flexibility. They are usually very durable as far as tools go.

Spud wrenches are definitely versatile, and are often referred to as adjustable spud wrenches.

In other words, you can grip large slip nuts of varying sizes with just this one tool. Professionals will usually have a few different sizes of spud wrenches to cover the entire pipe diameter spectrum.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the common profiles and how spud wrenches are used around the house.

Spud Wrench Types

old adjustable-spud-wrench

As previously mentioned, spud wrenches are sturdy tools. They have always been constructed of alloy steel. Spud wrench jaws are incredibly strong to help you loosen stubborn nuts.

Since plumbers use these in tight spaces, they need all the torque help they can get!

In the past, open-ended spud wrenches came in one size only. It was typical to have a whole set of spud wrenches.

As things evolved, adjustable spud wrenches became the norm. The adjustment is usually performed by turning a dial to open or close the jaws.

You’re right if you’re thinking this is pretty much the same thing as a crescent wrench.

The elite spud wrenches possess a small gear, which when turned, slides the shank of one end of the jaws up or down. This changes the position to either increase or decrease the space between the jaws. 

In fact, wrenches like these are often referred to as pipe wrenches; a more descriptive approach to what this wrench is used on.

The main difference thought between the two types of wrenches is that a spud wrench jaws are most often smooth in finish to compliment the smooth sides of the hexagonal nuts they come into contact with.

Here’s a typical adjustable spud wrench you can buy at Home Depot:

Modern spud wrench used for plumbing

Spud Wrench Uses

The following are some of the most common ways you can use these wonderful wrenches.

If you’re not familiar with an adjustable spud wrench that plumbers use, you’ll see from this list that it is quite handy.

Whether you’re repairing, removing, or installing a plumbing appliance such as a toilet or radiator, you’ll be glad you have one of these instead of just a regular wrench!

  • Use a spud wrench to turn the slip nuts on a “P” trap under a sink
  • Removing the spud on a floor radiator. For example a 2″ or 3″ spud wrench is used to “back out” a spud of an old radiator. This can be difficult depending on how long it’s been since the spud was removed.
  • Loosening or tightening down a spud nut on a toilet (water closet). This is the pipe that joins the tank and the base.
  • Installing a water heater. Sometimes, space can be tight in this project, so it’s good to have a spud wrench nearby.

Other Names for a Spud Wrench

  • Adjustable spud wrench
  • Radiator spud wrench
  • Closet spud wrench

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