How to Use a Basin Wrench

  • 01 of 04

    The Basin Wrench--a Useful Plumbing Tool

    Basin wrench

    A basin wrench is one of the basic plumbing tools that every do-it-yourselfer should have in their toolbox. It is inexpensive to buy and you can use it to get to those hard to reach places that pliers and other tools can not reach--such as the space tucked up behind a sink basin and the wall or back of a base cabinet.

    The basin wrench is the best tool for tightening and removing kitchen faucets, lavatory faucets, and the water supply lines going up to a faucet. It has a spring-loaded, pivoting...MORE head that can be rotated to either tighten or unscrew those mounting nuts

    Here is a quick rundown on how to use a basin wrench to remove or install a faucet.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Step One: Position The Claw

    Using a basin wrench
    Aaron Stickley

    Pivot the claw of the basin wrench to a 90° position to the shaft of the tool so that it will clamp in the direction needed. This will vary depending on whether you are loosening or tightening the nut. 

    The claw at the end of the basin wrench springs into place and grips the mounting nut under the faucet. When removing a nut, the claw should wrap around the nut in a clockwise direction around the nut (as you look upward at the tail piece), so that as you twist the wrench counterclockwise, the...MORE motion is away from the open jaw. The left photo above shows the position of the claw for unscrewing a nut. 

    When tightening the nut, the wrench claw is in the opposite position: wrapped around the nut in a counterclockwise position--again, so that when you twist the wrench the motion is away from the open jaw. The right photo above shows the position of the claw for tightening a nut. 

    You will quickly learn the right way to position the wrench ​because done incorrectly, the wrench will skip off the nut as soon as you begin to twist it. 

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Step Two: Grasp The Mounting Nut

    How to use a basin wrench
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Reach up and position the claw of the basin wrench onto the mounting nut. (In the photo above, the tool is positioned for removing the nut.)
    2. Use the perpendicular bar at the end of the basin wrench to unscrew the nut. Turn in the usual direction for any screw or nut: counterclockwise to loosen and clockwise to tighten.
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04


    Telescoping basin wrench
    Aaron Stickley
    • If the distance to the mounting nut is too far, a telescopic basin wrench can extend the tool so you can reach the faucet mounting nuts  (see left photo). 
    • For a difficult mounting nut use a pipe or the back end of a crescent wrench to increase your leverage when turning the basin wrench (right photo). 
    • Grabbing the nut with the basin wrench claw can be done from different positions, so work it in whatever position is easiest for you.