I recently had to replace the ball valve from the picture.

enter image description here

The plumber used a wrench similar to this to hold the plastic nut. Is a Stillson wrench good too? I want to buy tools to do such works myself. What type of wrench and what size do you recommend for general plumbing work at home?

  • I am going to guess that terms "Stillson" and "S-type" are very region specific. I know that I have never heard of either type. Could you edit your question to show pictures of both types? I am sure you would get more of a response to your question if you did that.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 8:43
  • I completely removed the namings.
    – robert
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


A Stillson wrench that you referenced is normally called a "pipe wrench" and comes in sizes from 6" through 96". The most usable sizes for a home owner would probably be sizes from 8" through 18" inch. They are normally used to hold or turn smooth type piping. Due to their flexible, top jaw they do not work well on soft materials like plastic pipe and fittings. For the home owner, a pliers looking tool commonly referred to in the piping industry as "channellocks" (pardon the use of a proper name, but that is what they are called by tradesman) or the older name "water pump pliers", would be a great choice. You may also want to buy an adjustable wrench called a "crescent wrench" to hold the parts with the flat surfaces. By the way, when you replace the ball valve make sure you use a quality ball valve made in the USA since most of the foreign ones are of very low quality. I am not trying to belittle or disparage any manufacturer or supplier, that is just the way it is. Also that reducing fitting on the left side of the picture should be replaced if that is a domestic water line. Only brass, copper, or plastic fittings and pipe should be used on domestic water supply.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.