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A plumber wrench
A plumber wrench, with the key ring on the thread of the left handle
Johan Petter Johansson with his wrench

A plumber wrench (or plumber's wrench, pipe wrench, Swedish wrench or Swedish pattern wrench[1]) is a form of plier described as a pipe wrench that uses compound leverage to grip and rotate plumbing pipes. Similar to the action of a Vise Grip plier, its jaw opening is adjusted to width by rotating a threaded ring. Its advantage is that it grips with significant force without needing to engage a lock nut like an adjustable tongue-and-groove plier. Like these, it can also be used on nuts, particularly hex shaped, and other flat engagement points. If used carelessly it can dent or break plumbing pipe.[2]


The plumber wrench was invented in 1888 by the Swedish inventor named Johan Petter Johansson. It shares some principles with both the Stillson-pattern pipe wrench and the rigid pipe wrench, as well as various forms of adjustable pliers, such as the Vise Grip and "Channelock" tongue-and-groove plier.

Johansson's tool is used rather than a pair of tongs[clarification needed] to separate or join[clarification needed] pipes.[3] It is not widely known in North America, but is common in Europe.[1]

Johansson also improved the adjustable wrench, with a patent in 1891.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Wrenches and accessories". Atesina S.p.A. Archived from the original on 9 Mar 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-08.
  2. ^ "Plumbing Tools List – List of tools that plumbers use". Certified Plumbing. March 28, 2020. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  3. ^ "The History Of Plumber Wrenches And Their Uses". Plumbers 911. March 21, 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Who is Bahco?". Bahco. Archived from the original on Nov 27, 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-11.