This specialized plumbing tool is a part of most plumber’s toolboxes, used for tightening fasteners in tight spaces. For anyone who does casual DIY plumbing work around their home, it’s invaluable.

You won’t need it often, but when you do, it will make the job a lot easier.

Basin wrenches are specifically built to install and remove faucets. Sure, they aren’t the most versatile object in the world — but they’re better with faucets than other wrenches.

What Is A Basin Wrench Used For?

A basin wrench is built for installing and removing faucets. It doesn’t serve any other purpose. Most people don’t own one unless they’re a professional plumber or doing a lot of home improvement.

But there are numerous reasons that this tool is a vital investment.

The biggest issue with sink faucets is that they aren’t easy to work with. They tend to be secured using nuts that can only be accessed underneath the sink, at the back of the basin.

It’s essentially impossible to fit a standard pair of pliers or a wrench into this area.

Basin wrenches solve this problem.

This type of wrench has a long handle with a pivoting head. It can easily grip the nuts of a faucet even when you can’t see them.

Thanks to the elongated handle and adjustable head, you can reach it up behind the basin and loosen or tighten the faucet nuts.

It’s so hard to reach the nuts of a faucet that many professionals actually prefer installing the faucet before they install the rest of the sink. If you can’t do that, though, a basin wrench is your new best friend.

The head will turn a nut 180 degrees as you move the handle. There’s a T-bar at the bottom that gives the head enough leverage for this movement.

Basin wrenches are relatively simple to use, once you get the hang of it. And even if you’ll only use the tool once, spending a few extra dollars is worth the lack of hassle. Installing faucets without basin wrenches is much more difficult.

What can I use if I don’t have a basin wrench?

If you don’t have a basin wrench, you’ll find it difficult to reach up and access the faucet nuts. To install a new faucet, you’ll need to use a variety of different tools.

If you’re installing a new sink, one way to avoid the hassle is by installing the faucet first. That way, you don’t have the basin in the way.

You can mount the faucet and tighten the nuts using your standard wrench.

But if you absolutely must work behind your basin with no specialized wrench, you’ll need these tools:

  • A socket wrench
        
  • A ratchet spanner
        
  • Channel lock pliers
        
  • Screwdrivers
        
  • Water pump pliers
        
  • A clean cloth

If you have a wrench for your sink drain, that can work too.

You’ll want to turn the water off and remove the piping from the faucet. Then you can use the socket wrench to loosen the mounting nuts.

In cases where the nuts are too tight to get a grip, you can use grease for lubrication. Screwdrivers are necessary if you have screws rather than nuts.

What To Look For In A Good Basin Wrench

Basin wrenches are shaped specifically to help you reach the nuts on your sink faucet. You’ll want one that’s capable of loosening or tightening these nuts.

The first thing to keep in mind is the jaw size. The larger the jaw, the larger the nuts. You need to make sure that the wrench can accommodate nuts of your faucet size.

Many wrenches are adjustable, so you can close them perfectly around the nuts.

The most versatile wrenches tend to be able to handle nuts of more than an inch in width. Chances are, you won’t need to deal with any nuts that big.

But this tool is ideal for professionals and those who often do different faucet jobs.

Next, think about the shaft. This is the long handle that you’ll use to push the wrench behind the basin. The majority of tools are anywhere from 10 to 12 inches in length, with 11 being the main average.

Some tools are built with telescoping shafts. These can be extended to a range of different lengths, so they’re perfect if you’re working with a lot of different sink basins.

The best wrenches will have swivel heads that let you work on the nuts from any angle. You should be able to gain enough leverage to loosen and tighten the bolts.

Swivel heads are far easier to use than fixed heads, particularly when it’s difficult to see what you’re doing.

Most wrenches are built with a T-handle on the end. This sliding component can be used to apply torque. If the nuts are corroded or rusted, you can put an extension bar onto the T-handle to get even more force.

Good T-handles should be sturdy, durable, and easy to grip.

The General Tools telescoping basin wrench is a great choice for most faucets. The telescoping design allows you to easily move the wrench wherever it’s needed.

Meanwhile, the pivoting jaw gets a good grip on the nuts, and the ratcheting allows for maximum leverage.

Final Thoughts

A basin wrench might seem too much of a specialty tool to be worth the investment. After all, you’ll only need it when you’re installing a new faucet or taking off the old one.

But the faucet installation process is much more difficult without this nifty tool.

If you’re a plumber, having one of these in your toolbox can save a lot of hassle. The same goes for anyone who’s doing home renovations or planning to upgrade their sink soon.