Toolipedia: Adjustable Basin Wrench

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about telescoping basin wrenches

A basin wrench with labeled parts | Construction Pro Tips

What is an adjustable basin wrench?

An adjustable basin wrench is the perfect tool for hooking up and removing supply lines from the bottom of faucets. Because the threaded pipe of the faucet is blocked by the sink basin, reaching the pipe and working with the supply lines and the mounting nut can be challenging. The basin wrench is able to reach up to the supply line nut and retainer nut for the faucet and, because of its features, slip onto the nut and either loosen or tighten them.

Here are the basic parts:

  1. T-handle
  2. Telescoping shaft
  3. Pivoting fixed jaw
  4. Pivot pin
  5. Spring loaded curved jaw

The basin wrench is a useful tool for residential plumbers, remodeling contractors and DIYers.

How is a basin wrench used?

Operation basics

  • Adjust the telescoping shaft to allow for room to turn the T-handle
  • Slide the jaw of the basin wrench over the nut. Because it is spring loaded and curved, it should lock onto the nut.
  • To loosen a nut, have the jaw opening on the right and turn counter-clockwise (Remember, you will be looking up at the nut.)
  • To tighten, do the reverse: jaw to the left, and turn clockwise.


  • Be sure to turn off the water supply at the valve below the working area
  • Open the faucet valve to relieve any extra pressure
  • Wear safety glasses to prevent any dust, corrosion or other foreign objects from falling into your eyes as you work

What are the different types of basin wrenches?

  • Some basin wrenches do not have a telescoping shaft
  • Some have lights included to help see the nuts better
  • Some basin wrenches, especially older models, do not have a spring loaded curved jaw
Tip for using a basin wrench | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

What makes a good basin wrench?

  • Telescoping shaft
  • Strong spring in curved jaw
  • Long, thick T-handle
  • Minimal play in the pivot head

Rigid makes high quality basin wrenches.

Basin Wrench Tip: Getting a bit more torque

Sometimes supply line nuts and retainer nuts can be stuck on due to corrosion. Using the hole on the end of a crescent wrench or a small pipe to extend the length of the T-handle will give you more torque with your basic wrench.

Get more plumbing tips here.

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LeRoy Demarest
I have worked for over a decade as an environmental scientist working on an advanced bioremdiation clean up project. For the past six years I have also worked as an adjunct instructor for several colleges, both F2F and online, teaching a number of science courses. Finally, I have been freelance writing for a variety of publications on the topics of: gardening, environment, construction, science, science education, academics and technical work.