12 Best Substitutes for a Wrench

best substitutes for a wrench
Photo by Dmitriy Demidov

While wrenches are among the most essential tools in your toolbox, they’re not always the easiest to use.

Sometimes you can’t find one when you need it, or you may need one that’s compatible with both metric and standard sizes.

But you don’t have two wrenches of that size to use as replacements; not to worry, we got the best substitutes for a wrench in this guide. 

To avoid all the problems mentioned earlier, that’s why there are so many best substitutes for a wrench out there, from multipurpose screwdrivers to adjustable pliers.

Here are some of the best substitutes for a wrench to add to your toolbox immediately!

1. Screwdriver

We have the screwdriver on this list of the best substitutes for a wrench. A screwdriver is a handy tool to have in your home, but what do you do if you don’t have one? 

Well, many common items can be used as substitutes. The first and most obvious one is a hammer.

Take a look around your house; chances are there’s something other than a screwdriver that has flat edges on it.

2. Hammer

A hammer comes second as the best substitute for a wrench on our list. It is a tool that’s commonly used to drive nails into materials.

Hammers are usually made from metal, but wooden hammers and glass hammers can also be found. There are many different types of hammers, but all have a handle and a head. 

Proceeding the most common type of hammer is the claw hammer which has a curved head on one side (usually in the shape of an S).

This makes it easier to remove nails from boards. Knowing how to use a hammer properly is important, so don’t forget about safety!

3. Pliers

Don’t forget that pliers are also one of the best substitutes for a wrench. A plier is a tool that is used to hold and grip objects. Also, it can be used to twist and turn objects as well. 

Meanwhile, there are many types of pliers, but most people use needle-nose pliers because they can grab small or thin objects.

A large set of pliers might not be ideal for this type of task. For most tasks, you will want a set with at least four different sizes to get different grips on all types of items.

4. Knife

Knives make excellent, thus, best substitutes for a wrench. If you need to tighten a bolt, use a knife as an improvised wrench by placing its blade on the bolt and twisting it to tighten it.

Alternatively, if you need to loosen a bolt, use the knife’s handle as your makeshift wrench by placing its blade on top of the bolt and then turning it. 

In addition, knives can also be used to remove stubborn nuts or bolts using this same method.

Finally, many knives come with hex-shaped handles, which provide an easy way to grip bolts to twist them. Or even unscrew them from their respective holes.

5. Duct Tape

The first thing most people think of when they need the best substitute for a wrench is duct tape.

In many cases, this can work as a makeshift wrench, but it might not be strong enough to do certain jobs.

For example, you wouldn’t want to use duct tape for tightening lug nuts on your car’s tires or loosening tightly fastened bolts. 

If you need something stronger than duct tape and have nothing else around the house, you could try using a pair of vice grips or pliers.

They won’t work as well as a wrench because they’re not specifically designed to tighten and loosen objects.

However, they will still get the job done in many cases. A third option is using an adjustable crescent wrench or channel lock pliers.

6. Spanner

A spanner is a type of wrench that is easily classified as one of the best substitutes for a wrench.

Mechanics and handymen often use it to turn bolts and nuts that can’t be easily reached with an ordinary wrench. 

Unless you are a professional, it’s unlikely that you will need this tool. The spanner has three arms and one jaw, which fits in between two other arms.

There might be no room to use an open-end or box-end wrench on the nut or bolt head because of tight space constraints. In this case, try using a spanner instead.

7. Adjustable Wrench

An adjustable wrench, also known as a crescent wrench, is great for most jobs. It’s especially handy if you’re turning nuts and bolts of different sizes or shapes.

The best part about an adjustable wrench is that it can be adjusted to fit any size nut or bolt. 

However, there are some instances when an adjustable wrench may not work, such as when a bolt has no head on it or is made of thick metal.

In these cases, you’ll need a different type of wrench. Overall, it is one of the best substitutes for a wrench!

8. Vise Grips

Looking for the best substitutes for a wrench? A vise grip is a simple tool that can be used as a wrench. It fits onto pipes and nuts or bolts, and it grips things tightly.

Moreso, it is perfect for when you need to tighten or loosen something but don’t have a wrench available. 

Also, the vise grip is great because it doubles as a clamp and can be used to hold items together while you work on them. This is especially helpful if you work with smaller items, like screws.

9. Breaker Bar

Not forgetting the Breaker Bar as one of the best substitutes for a wrench, it is also known as a crowbar.

It looks like a long metal rod with an S-shaped end that can be used to turn bolts or pry things apart. 

Moreover, its advantage over the wrench is that it’s thinner and can fit in tighter spaces.

This makes it good for working on engines or other tight spots where there might not be enough room to fit your hand or arm comfortably. 

10. Pipe Wrench

A pipe wrench also works well, being on this list of the best substitutes for a wrench. Pipe wrenches have teeth on one end that are designed to grip pipes.

As a result, they work well when you need to tighten or loosen something like screws holding piping together tightly.

11. Impact Driver

An impact driver is a type of drill that can be used and is regarded as one of the best substitutes for a wrench.

The impact driver provides power by hammering on the screw or bolt, which causes it to become tighter. Impact drivers are great for projects that require big bolts or screws. 

Often, it is used in construction, carpentry, and home improvement when you need to drive lots of screws or bolts into the wood.

Impact drivers are also good for removing screws or bolts from wood if you are having trouble getting them out, especially with a standard drill or Phillips head screwdriver.

Though we’ve come to the end of this list of the best substitutes for a wrench, there is still some vital information you need to know about wrenches.


A wrench may be the most versatile tool you can have in your toolkit, but it’s not the only tool you can use in its absence.

Whether your wrench broke, got lost, or was just far away when you needed it, there are other best substitutes for a wrench to use.

In fact, these include plenty of other household items you can use to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts without needing to run out and buy one.

This list of the best substitutes for a wrench will show you how to handle any job, no matter what kind of wrench-like tool you need or don’t have on hand!

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