What Is a Tap Wrench? Here’s What You Should Know

Set of wrenches and tools

Wrenches are commonly used to install and remove fasteners. They consist of a handle with an opening or bit at the end that’s able to grab a fastener. Not all wrenches are the same, however. In addition to socket and open-end wrenches, there are tap wrenches. What are tap wrenches exactly, and how do they work?

Overview of Tap Wrenches

Also known as a T-handle wrench, a tap wrench is a type of handheld tool that’s characterized by the presence of a tap. All tap wrenches have a tap. The tap is the removable bit on the end of a tap wrench. You can remove the tap and replace it with a different tap in the appropriate size.

Tap wrenches feature a T-shaped design, which is why they are also known as T-handle wrenches. They feature a horizontal handle at the top, which connects to a vertical shaft in the center. The shaft runs from the handle down to the tap, which can be removed.

How Tap Wrenches Work

With their unique design, you might be wondering what tap wrenches are used for. The most common application for tap wrenches is to create internal threading for fasteners. Fasteners like screws and bolts require internal threading. Fasteners themselves have external threading, but they still require internal threading during install. To create this internal threading, a tap wrench may be used. Tap wrenches offer a simple and effective way to create internal threading for fasteners.

Before installing a fastener into an object, a tap wrench may be used. Placing the end of a tap wrench into a pilot hole and twisting it from the handle will create internal threading. The tap at the end of the tap wrench will dig into the object while creating internal threading. Once the internal threading has been created, the tap wrench can be removed by turning the handle in the opposite direction. With the newly created internal threading, a fastener can then be installed in the object.

What About Double-End Tap Wrenches?

While most tap wrenches feature a T-shaped design, some of them feature a double-ended design. Known as double-ended tap wrenches, they don’t have a horizontal handle. Instead, double-end tap wrenches feature interconnected shafts, both of which have a tap on the end. Double-end tap wrenches are typically used in applications that require larger taps than that of standard tap wrenches.