What are plumbing tools?
Plumbing tools are tools that plumbers and homeowners use in order to fix, install, or remove plumbing fixtures and plumbing pipes. Plumbing tools can be electrical-powered or hand-powered, and serve different functions depending on the task a professional plumber (or homeowner) needs to accomplish. Owning the right plumber tools means you’ll always be prepared for any unexpected repairs, which is why we decided to compile a list of important plumbing tools to consider owning.
Plumbing Tools Checklist
Below is a plumbing tools list containing most of the tools plumbers will use in one way or another. Further down will be a breakdown of each of these tools and why they are important for plumbers to own.
Note: Every plumber will have slight differences in the tools they use. We included the most common ones on our list. If you feel like we missed a tool feel free to let us know and we can add it to the list.
Drain Snakes & Augers
- Electric Drain Cleaning Machine
- Toilet Auger
- Electric Drain Auger
- Power Drill
- Right-Angle Drill
- Plumber’s Level
- Plumber’s Tape
- Plumber’s Torch
- Putty Knife
- Metal Files
- Tape Measure
- Caulk Gun with All-Purpose Caulk
- Wire Brush
- Non-Contact Volt Meter
- Flame-resistant Pad
- Appliance Dolly
- Pipe Vise
- Tap Reseating Tool
- Faucet Handle Puller
- Spud Wrench
- Basin Wrench
- Strainer Wrench
- Seat Wrench
- Adjustable Wrench
- Pipe Wrench
- Ratchet Wrench and Sockets
- Blow Bag
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Channel lock pliers
- Pipe Cutters
- Power Miter Saw
- Reciprocating Saw
- Cold Chisel
- Utility Knife
- Deburring Tool
Drain Snakes & Augers
Drain snakes are plumbing tools that allow you to remove any blockages in either your pipes or sanitary sewer. These drain snakes can be hand-powered and electric-powered (i.e. motorized snakes), and the type you get will depend on the type of blockage you’re dealing with. Drain snakes are important for the day-to-day operations of a plumber.
- Electric Drain Cleaning Machine – Powered by electricity, these motorized drain snakes give you the ability to clean out sewage pipes with the use of a spinning expandable coil. The best drain cleaning machine we recommend is the Ridgid 52363 K-400 Drum Drain Cleaning Machine.
- Toilet Auger (also called closet augers) – thin flexible tube with a crank handle that is designed to break and push clogs. These augers are designed for the toilets in your home, and are simple to use. If you’re looking for an auger as a homeowner, toilet augers are your best bet. The Ridgid 59787 is a great one to own.
- Electric Drain Auger – These augers are similar to toilet augers in terms of purpose, but are electric-powered. There are many electric drain auger brands out there, but one we recommend from Amazon is the Populo Drain Auger.
Wrenches are great when you’re dealing with pipes, bolts, and nuts. Owning wrenches is basically a requirement for any plumbing job. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and the wrench you use is unique to what plumbing project you’re looking to tackle.
- Spud Wrench – This wrench is standard on one end , with a tapered, pointy handle on the other end.
- Basin Wrench – Basin wrenches (also called sink wrenches) are T-shaped tools that allow plumbers to tighten fasteners (such as threaded nuts) in hard to reach places. Most commonly used for working on faucets.
- Strainer Wrench – This is a wrench designed to securely remove the sink or tub strainer.
- Seat Wrench – This wrench is designed for tightening and removing faucet seats.
- Adjustable Wrench – This is a wrench with an adjustable jaw, making it useful for handling fasteners of different sizes.
- Pipe Wrench – Pipe wrenches are adjustable wrenches designed for handling pipes, pipe fittings, and large nuts. They are often used in pairs to avoid damage to pipes and fittings.
- Ratchet Wrench and Sockets – Made to fasten or loosen nuts and bolts without having to reposition the tool on the fastener.
The two main pliers plumbers use are needle nose pliers and channel lock pliers. Both are important for plumbers as they serve different functions.
- Needle Nose Pliers – Allows you to grab and handle small parts, as well as bending and snipping wire. Needle nose pliers are not adjustable and are similar to tweezers in functionality.
- Channel Lock Pliers – These pliers utilize an angled head and adjustable jaws that allows you to grab and handle small parts. Commonly used for adjusting and tightening water pipes, nuts, and bolts..
- Power Drill – Power drills come with an assortment of bits that allow you to create holes, tighten screws, and even cut pipe.
- Right-Angle Drill – An L-shaped drill specialized in drilling holes in hard-to-reach areas.
- Plunger – Plungers (also called force cups) utilize water and air pressure to unclog toilets.
- Blow Bag – Blow bags (also called expansion nozzles) are designed for floor drains and attach to a hose. Once attached, they can produce large spurts of water that assist in unclogging drains.
- Hacksaw – A handheld saw designed for cutting metal and other materials.
- Pipe Cutters – Pipe cutters (also called tubing cutters) are cutters designed to cut plastic and metal pipes. The best PVC pipe cutters have the ability to cut other pipe materials as well, and will last you a long time.
- Power Miter Saw – An electric saw designed to provide quick and efficient cuts to pipes and wood.
- Reciprocating Saw – Reciprocating saws (also called sawzalls) are designed for cutting through wood, drywall, and other materials.
- Cold Chisel – Designed for shaping and cutting metal and other hard materials.
- Utility Knife – Even if you don’t plan on doing much DIY, a utility knife is pretty much obligatory. Things from opening packages to trimming a carpet are much more straightforward with one on hand.
- Deburring Tool – Made for cleaning up bits at the end of a pipe once it has been cut.
- Plumber’s Level – Even the slightest imbalance can be an eyesore. Crooked paintings and uneven furniture are easy to avoid with a level. Levels are easy to use and will help prevent a lot of uncertainty when trying to use only your eyes as judgment. You’ll have plenty of options, too, including digital ones that are particularly user-friendly
- Plumber’s Tape – Also called thread sealing tape, plumber’s tape is used for when threaded connections don’t have a built-in rubber seal. This is to prevent any potential leaks.
- Plumber’s Torch – Used for soldering fittings to copper pipes.
- Screwdriver – Used for tightening and loosening screws.
- Putty Knife – Used for handling plumber putty.
- Metal Files – Designed for smoothing and shaping metal objects.
- Tape Measure – Without a quality tape measure, measuring anything large with ease is impossible. Ensure that any tape measure you consider is durable and at least 25 feet long. An auto-retractable one that has a moveable hook makes solo DIY a breeze. Also, the ability to lock into place is incredibly useful.
- Caulk Gun with All-Purpose Caulk – Sealant used for covering cracks around pipes and plumbing.
- Headlamp – A light worn on your head to provide additional visibility in dark locations.
- Wire Brush – Made for removing rust and cleaning off paint.
- Non-Contact Volt Meter – This critical yet straightforward tool will help you determine currents and achieve proper grounding.
- Flame-resistant Pad – Used to keep materials safe from the flame of a plumber’s torch.
- Crimpers – Used for joining to pieces of metal together.
- Appliance Dolly – Used for carrying heavy items, such as water heaters.
- Pipe Vise
- Tap Reseating Tool
- Faucet Handle Puller
How much do plumbing tools cost?
Plumbing tools will vary in cost depending on the specific tool you need. Basic plumbing tools like pliers or wrenches will typically be less than $20 unless you buy them in a set. However, more complex tools like a drain cleaning machine can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Homeowners looking to just own basic plumbing tools should expect to spend around $100-$200.
Where do I buy plumbing tools?
You can buy plumbing tools online through Amazon, Home Depot, and other home improvement retail websites. In addition, you can visit your local hardware or home improvement store and find most of the plumbing tools you’ll need for a project.
How to organize plumbing tools?
Plumbers will typically organize their plumbing tools into two separate tool bags. One tool bag will contain all the tools they use every day, whereas the specialty tool bag will hold any tools plumbers use from time to time, but not on a daily basis. Having two tool bags makes it easier for plumbers to find their tools because they’ll know exactly where to look while dealing with less clutter.
What is a plumber’s helper tool?
A plumber’s helper tool is just another name for a plunger and is used to clear pipes and drains that are clogged.
Do plumbers use tool belts?
Plumbers do not typically use tool belts, and will instead carry the majority of their tools in a toolbox.