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Wrenches that Make Plumbing Easier

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey demonstrates the uses of less common wrenches


  1. A traditional basin wrench is used to disconnect faucets underneath a sink, since they’re easier to turn in tight spaces. They also make ones with lights in them for visibility.
  2. A multi-purpose basin wrench can function the same way as a traditional basin wrench, but they’re better to use for plastic wingnuts that are being used in newer faucets.
  3. For water hose connections, there’s usually only three open end wrench sizes needed.
  4. A multi-purpose open end wrench combines those three sizes into one, plumber-friendly wrench.


Richard demonstrated a variety of wrenches that are all designed to work with the connections around faucets and toilets. For jobs in the basement or other more complicated plumbing jobs, other tools will be required.

The basin wrenches Richard demonstrated, both the standard version and the one with the light, are available at most home centers.

The interchangeable plastic tab/brass connection basin wrench Richard talked about is the EZ Change Faucet Tool, and the other wrench Richard showed is the 2-in-1 One Stop Plumber’s Wrench. Both of these are manufactured by Ridgid.