What is a large adjustable spanner called?

What is a large adjustable spanner called? - Fix It Cape Town



When it comes to working in various trades, having the right tools at your disposal is crucial. One such tool is the adjustable spanner, also known as a wrench in North America. This unique tool is specifically designed to accommodate different sizes of nuts and bolts, making it a versatile addition to any toolbox. In this article, we will explore the term used to describe these large adjustable spanners, understand their benefits in various trades, and why they are considered a go-to tool for professionals.

What is an Adjustable Spanner?

An adjustable spanner, commonly referred to as a crescent wrench or an adjustable wrench, is a hand tool primarily used for gripping nuts and bolts. Its distinguishing feature is the adjustable jaw, allowing it to fit a range of sizes. These spanners typically have a flat handle with a fixed jaw on one end and an adjustable jaw on the other.

The Benefits of Adjustable Spanners

Adjustable spanners offer several advantages in various trades due to their unique features and functionality. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:


The ability to adjust the jaw size is perhaps the most significant advantage of an adjustable spanner. This versatility allows the tool to fit different sizes of nuts and bolts, eliminating the need for multiple spanners. This feature translates into convenience, cost savings, and reduced clutter in toolboxes.


Using an adjustable spanner minimizes the time spent searching for and switching between different sizes of spanners. With a single tool, professionals can easily tighten or loosen a wide range of fasteners efficiently, saving valuable time on the job.

Easy to Use

Adjustable spanners are known for their simplicity. With a straightforward design, professionals of all skill levels can quickly grasp how to operate this tool. The adjustable jaw can be quickly set to the desired size by sliding it along the handle, making it easy to use and handle in tight spaces.


Unlike other types of spanners or wrenches, adjustable spanners are widely available and can be easily found in hardware stores, online platforms, and even general-purpose stores. This accessibility ensures that professionals and enthusiasts alike can easily acquire these tools when needed.

Compact Size

Compared to a set of multiple spanners, adjustable spanners are compact and take up significantly less space. This aspect is particularly beneficial for individuals who need to carry their tools to different job sites or have limited storage space.

Prevent Damages

Using the correct-sized spanner is crucial to prevent damages to the nuts, bolts, or other fasteners. An adjustable spanner eliminates the risk of using an improperly sized tool, reducing the likelihood of damaging the hardware being worked on. This prevents costly repairs and extends the lifespan of the fasteners.

Adjustable Spanners in Various Trades

Adjustable spanners find applications in a wide range of trades and industries. Here are a few examples:

Automotive Repairs

From working on engine components to tightening or loosening wheel nuts, adjustable spanners are a staple in any automotive repair shop. Their ability to fit different sizes makes them invaluable when dealing with the variety of nuts and bolts found in vehicles.


Plumbers frequently rely on adjustable spanners to assemble and disassemble pipe fittings, faucets, and other plumbing fixtures. These spanners provide a secure grip, ensuring proper sealing of connections without damaging the hardware.


In the construction industry, adjustable spanners are commonly used by carpenters, electricians, and general Contractors. They prove handy during installation or maintenance tasks that involve various sizes of fasteners, such as assembling scaffolding, electrical connections, or tightening bolts on structural components.

HVAC and Appliance Repairs

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technicians, as well as appliance repair professionals, often deal with a wide range of fasteners. An adjustable spanner becomes a go-to tool for these trades, enabling them to quickly and efficiently work on different components with ease.

DIY and Home Projects

Even for non-professionals, adjustable spanners are useful tools for various do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Whether it’s assembling furniture, fixing household appliances, or working on bicycles, these spanners offer the flexibility needed to tackle a range of tasks without investing in a full set of wrenches.


1. Are adjustable spanners as strong as fixed spanners?
Yes, adjustable spanners are designed to be just as strong and durable as fixed spanners. However, it’s important to note that the adjustable jaw may have limitations based on its maximum opening width. In extreme cases, it’s advisable to use a spanner specifically designed for the size of the fastener to ensure optimal strength.

2. Can an adjustable spanner damage the nuts and bolts?
When used correctly, adjustable spanners will not damage the nuts and bolts. However, it is essential to ensure the spanner is set to the correct size to avoid slipping, which may result in rounding off the edges of the fastener. Additionally, using an adjustable spanner that fits well reduces the risk of over-tightening and potential damage.

3. How do I maintain an adjustable spanner?
To keep your adjustable spanner in good condition, apply a small amount of lubricating oil to the movable parts regularly. This prevents rust and ensures smooth operation of the adjustable jaw. Additionally, store the spanner in a clean and dry environment to avoid moisture buildup.


In conclusion, the adjustable spanner is a highly versatile tool that finds widespread use in various trades. Its ability to accommodate different sizes of nuts and bolts, coupled with its simplicity and convenience, make it a go-to tool for professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. With these spanners, professionals can save time, reduce clutter, and ensure proper fastening without the need for a full set of wrenches. So, whether you’re an automotive mechanic, plumber, construction worker, or simply a DIY enthusiast, an adjustable spanner should undoubtedly find a spot in your toolbox.

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