Do It Yourself

The Strap Wrench – An Unexpectedly Useful Tool



Strap Wrench

I’ve had a pair of strap wrenches for a long time.

In fact, they are something I believe my dad gave me as a gift years ago… and to this day I’m still thankful he gave me these wonderful tools.

The funny thing is,  I actually haven’t had occasion to use them until recently when I met my match…

The lid to a new cup my son received:

Try as I might, I could NOT get the lid off! I twisted and twisted but to no avail. But I couldn’t show weakness…

I’m a guy, darn it!

Eventually I gave up and started for a large slip wrench but thought I might crack the plastic when it dawned on me, get a strap wrench.

And so I did.

You wouldn’t believe how easily the lid came off with a simple twist of the appropriate tool!

I was almost ashamed…

…until I turned that into a teaching moment about torque and angular momentum and what not

(I’m pretty sure I made up half of it–and besides, my kid zoned out about five seconds in anyway….)

Anyway, the point here was that the strap wrench saved the day yet again. This isn’t the only time. I’ve used it to remove all sorts of things I can’t much remember anymore, from stubborn PVC to water filter housings to assorted plumbing. And the best part about them is that they won’t scratch finished surfaces!

For me, I feel a simple strap wrench is a nice addition to any prepper’s toolbox. In fact, i keep one in my “bug out toolbox” and have considered placing one in my vehicle but haven’t quite done so yet.

So, what other types of unexpected tools can you think of?

I would appreciate hearing about them.

View the original article.

Grab a strap wrench today, they are inexpensive to buy and you might just be surprised at how useful it can be when you're in a bind!


Editors Note:  For years my Dad kept multiple strap wrenches in his garage, and I never really gave them much thought. Honestly I really thought that they were just used for changing oil… boy was I ever wrong!

Just in case you are unfamiliar with what a strap wrench is or how it works, Damian sent along this video to fill us in:

Want to know more? Check out these related articles from our site:

The Five Tool Rule

10 Must-Have Tools for Off the Grid Living

Crovel: The ultimate entrenching tool

Continue Reading


  1. The Concrete Fairy

    August 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    I hurt my shoulder and wrist badly, for 6 months I had no strength on my right side at all. With a strap wrench I can open jars even when I am in serious pain. Definitely something to keep around, with your medical supplies if nowhere else.

  2. Farmist

    August 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    If you have a Harbor Freight store nearby they have a 2-pk for $4.99

    • 'Above Average' Joe

      August 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Great Idea Farmist!

    • JJM

      August 23, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      First strap wrench I had was a $5 purchase – broke 1st time I tried to use it and I was not pulling hard at all.

    • Holy Shirt

      August 26, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      I bought that set from Harbor Freight. It nearly killed me opening and using it the first time. The larger tool easily removed the tight metal lid from a 24-ounce glass jar. Packed in air-tight, clear plastic, I had no way of knowing that the rubber straps reek until I opened it at home. I sealed them in a 2.5 gallon plastic-zipper freezer bag, which I stowed on a cool closet shelf. rWithin two days, they disabled my senses of smell, taste, hunger and thirst. I became so sick I could not keep water down, and quickly dehydrated. It took three weeks of doctoring to get better. My doctors suspected stomach cancer from the symptoms. Great tools, if they don’t kill you first. There is a reason Harbor Freight gets only $5. Buy them elsewhere.

      • pam latimer

        August 31, 2013 at 5:23 AM

        WHAT do you think the factory smells like that makes those things and others that they sell. they whole store smells like that!! sad

  3. Chaos_Sue

    August 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM

  4. Chuck

    August 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    The new strap wrenches with a rubber strap and plastic handle are junk. The original strap wrench was made of cast iron and had a very heavy cotton strap. You could move items that will break the new strap wrenches. The current ones are better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but if you can get hold of an old cast iron strap wrench handle, refit it with a new nylon strap. You will have to make your own. A shoe repair shop can help you with the sewing. Alas, as far as I can tell no one is making a replacement strap for the older style wrench. I had mine for over 50 years before the cotton strap gave up the ghost. Without meaning to malign Harbor Freight, I personally would not use tools I purchased from Harbor Freight as items that I might need to save my life or in a desperate situation. Harbor Freight has its place and I am a frequent customer of theirs, but when it comes to heavy use or extreme situational use, I would not depend upon a tool made in China or India to sell as a price leader. Just my opinion for whatever it is worth.

  5. Warren

    August 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    In places, Kenya, where there is no strap wrench or duct tape widely available, specifically for removing stubborn oil filters they will take a Sisal rope, woven from plant fibers, wrap it once around the filter and one guy will pull up while the other guy keeps tension on the other side. Much like a strap wrench the fibers grip the filter and spin it loose.

  6. Linda

    August 24, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Well, can someone tell me where I got mine? The

    • Linda

      August 24, 2013 at 1:47 AM

      As I was saying, the “strap” is metal, and so is the handle.

      • G Fraser

        August 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Linda if the strap is like a bicycle chain, known as a roller chain, it is used mainly as a pipe wrench and can be found at older hardware stores with good tool selections, plumbing supply stores and sears may still have them. Probably can be found online. Hope this helps.

        • Farmist

          August 26, 2013 at 10:56 PM

          …and if the strap is flat metal, what you have is an oil-filter wrench.

  7. Greg

    August 24, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Remember children,you get what you pay for.

  8. Patti

    September 1, 2013 at 5:50 AM

    I just read this article about the strap wrench a couple of days ago. I had never seen one before. Imagine my surprise when I found a 7 inch heavy duty strap wrench at a garage sale yesterday. Never would have even noticed it, let alone known what it was for. Oh ya it cost a whole 75 cents! Thanks for a great tip, sure came in handy!

  9. wayne

    September 24, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    A simple piece of rope can be used. Wrap around lid in “U” shape. Squeeze ends together and twist.. easy a most people have a old piece of rope lying around.

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