How To Use a Basin Wrench and What to Do If You Don’t Have One


A basin key is a special installation tool that almost all professional installers possess – and that every homeowner who does DIY installation work should own. The tool is designed for only one task – to install or remove a faucet – but it does one better than any other tool. Once you understand how to use basin wrench, it becomes an indispensable part of your work. 

Kitchen and bathroom sink taps are usually secured with shallow mounting nuts that are only accessible at the bottom of the sink behind the sink. Standard keys and pliers are almost useless in this situation.

A basin wrench has a swiveling gripper head that sits at the end of a long handle. It is designed to reach into this unpleasant, inaccessible space behind a sink to tighten or loosen the mounting nuts to a faucet or flexible supply pipe nuts connected to the end of the faucet.

These nuts are so difficult to reach that some installers prefer to attach the faucet to the sink or countertop. before Insert the sink or countertop. However, where this is not possible, you can use the basin key to reach behind the sink from below, grab the mounting nuts and easily tighten or loosen them.

The tool has a long shaft and a small, spring-loaded claw head, which is tightened to the nut when the shaft is turned. The head was rotated 180 degrees in both directions to set it up to loosen or tighten the nuts. Below the end of the shaft is a sliding T-rod that provides leverage for turning the shaft.

Since it is only intended for use on nuts for attaching faucets, the possibilities of using a basin wrench are limited. However, from time to time, every homeowner needs to replace a faucet. If you need one, a basin wrench is the best $10 or $20 you’ve ever spent.

How to use a basin key correctly

Turn the head of the basin wrench so that it is perpendicular to the shaft and points to the correct position for loosening or tightening the nut:

  • To loosen the nut, turn the wrench counterclockwise and the opening of the claw on the head should be on the right.
  • To tighten the nut, turn the wrench clockwise and the opening of the claw should be on the left.

Remember that turning clockwise will make you firmer; Release turning counterclockwise. Or, if you prefer: quite narrow, left-loose. Also, remember to look at the mother from the perspective of looking at her under the sink — not from top to bottom.

You know that you have positioned the head correctly when the claw grips the nut while you turn the wrench in the desired direction. If you move it backwards, the claw immediately slips from the mother.

Pressing the basin wrench

Place the head of the wrench around the mounting nut of the faucet so that the fluted jaws of the claw grip the notches or edges of the nut. The head is placed to loosen the nut. Use the T-rod at the end of the basin wrench to rotate the shaft and loosen or tighten the nut. You may need to use two hands on the T-bar, or you can slide the rod all the way to the side and use one hand to leverage with the other hand to steady the wrench shaft.

With old faucets, the nuts can corrode in place, which requires a significant effort to loosen. Sometimes you can make this easier by spraying penetrating oil on it and waiting a few minutes before trying to loosen the nuts.

Tips for using a basin wrench

It doesn’t take long to use basin wrench but here are some tips for difficult situations:

  • A telescopic key left photo has an extendable shaft to reach faucets with really deep sinks.
  • Use a tube or the back end of an adjustable key to increase leverage on a T-bar right photo to remove stubborn nuts. This type of leverage is not required when tightening a nut.
  • The claw can grip a mother from any position around the mother just like a pair of pliers. Therefore, move the head to a position suitable for turning the wrench.

How to remove a kitchen faucet without using a basin key?

As you already know, removing a kitchen faucet is easy. The process depends on whether or not the nuts are kept away from the faucet. So, you can easily remove the nuts without a basin wrench.

Steps to remove the faucet

Once you’ve collected the above tools, it’s time to start the process. Don’t skip a step to quickly remove your faucet. Otherwise, you may encounter a problem or the faucet may break. Here’s how we start:

Turn off the valves

First, locate the hot and cold valves and turn them off. You can find them both under the sink and in the closet. To stop the flow of water, close the valves.

Turn on the faucet

Now close the faucet after closing both valves. It helps to take the pressure out of the tap. When the power is removed, the faucet feels light to be easily removed.

Disconnect the water pipes

The previous step is simple. Maybe you don’t have to go under pressure to open the faucet and have done it successfully. Now disconnect the water pipes from both taps. The duct closure pliers can be used to help you disconnect the water pipes.

Take out the nuts

After disconnecting the water pipes, follow this important step. Use your socket wrench to remove the nuts used to hold the faucet. However, you can use some grease to make the nuts light when the screws are tightened tightly. This makes it easier to loosen the screws and remove the nuts.

Disconnect and lay out the hose

I hope you have completed the previously mentioned steps without skipping them. If the faucet has a sink, detach the hose from the faucet. Clean the sink with a towel or a clean cloth.

Replace the faucet with a new one or reuse it by repairing it (if you encounter problems).


A basin wrench is a necessary tool if you have a plan to remove your sink. Even though this tool is very handy to help you with the job, it is not impossible to remove your sink without it as well.

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