Best Plumbers Tools
Every plumber, regardless of whether they’re a professional or amateur will need a variety of tools to get the job done. In the office, we’ve put our heads together to create a complete list of “must haves” to help. Enjoy!
Every plumber should have a few of these pocket-sized tools. Pipe Cutters (also known as an Automatic Pipe Cutter, Pipe Slice and Single Handed Pipe Cutter) can cut through most piping with ease. They produce a cleaner cut than using a hacksaw, more importantly, they are quicker. They can be used in tight spaces which makes them ideal for plumbing use.
Circular pipe cutters are not adjustable so it is recommended that you purchase the most common diameters of copper piping (8mm, 10mm, 15mm, 22mm and 28mm). When picking a copper pipe cutter, you want to ensure that it’s lightweight but sturdy enough to make the cut clean and precise. If you can avoid or remove any external burrs at the same time, the more the better.
Telescopic Tube Cutter
The Adjustable Tube Cutter (or Telescopic Tube Cutter) is a must have tool for any plumber. It can cut pipes and tubing 6 – 35mm in thickness. Perfect for those jobs your circular pipe cutter can’t manage. It will cut through copper pipe neatly and will produce a clean cut. It also comes with a built-in deburrer for neatening up those cutting jobs.
Adjustable Spanner (Large, Medium and Small)
Adjustable Spanners are extremely useful tools for any worker and absolutely essential for a plumber. They are easily adjusted with a flick of the thumb and once set, the jaws will remain at their set width. They are used to turn nuts, bolts and fastenings. You need to buy at least a pair in order to tighten compression joints without twisting the pipework.
Adjustable Pipe Wrench
An Adjustable Pipe Wrench is the iconic tool for a plumber. It has loads of leverage to turn pipes and fittings with a rounded surface. The toothed jaws allow it to dig into the workpiece and are sometimes the only thing that can remove a stuck pipe, bolt or when a nut has been rounded. A must-have tool!
Slip Joint Pliers
Slip Joint Pliers (also known as Water Pump Pliers, Groove Joint Pliers and Groove Lock Pliers) have a fulcrum (pivot point) that can be adjusted to increase the size range of the jaws. Their toothed jaws make them ideal for gripping and holding jobs. These pliers have various applications and are an extremely useful tool.
Blowlamp and Gas
This iconic tool has earned its place as the plumber’s best friend by its simple yet effective design. Plungers are inexpensive and is possibly the first tool you grab when a sink, toilet, drain or bath needs unblocking. Have a look at the Power Plunger – a lot less effort, and dare I say, a lot more fun!
Spirit Levels (Large, Medium and Small)
Spirit Levels are designed to indicate whether a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Having a range of sizes (small, medium or large) will allow you varying levels of accessibility. You should always use the biggest sized level you can for accuracy.
These days, we love the digital spirit levels because they give us another level of precision that only a practiced hand can give with a traditional spirit level. We have created a guide to the best spirit levels, something to match everyone’s needs and budget.
Allen key set or Hex key set. Look out for the ball end or ball point hex keys, these will work at different angles and are ideal for those fittings in awkward places. Many taps and shower heads are held on with a hex grub screws. They are easy to attach and remove as long as you have the correct sized Hex Keys (also known as Allen Keys). Every plumber should have a set of these. Opt for the Ball End (or Ball Point) Hey Key, these can be used at various angles and are excellent for use in tight spaces.
Drain Rods and Accessories
A Soldering Pad (or Plumbers Mat / Soldering Mat) is a fire resistant cloth used to protect surrounding surfaces and workpieces when soldering or otherwise using a naked flame. This is handy for when you are completing work on clients premises to ensure that you do a professional job without making a mess or causing any damage.
Long Nosed Pliers
Magnetic levels are widely used in a variety of plumbing applications. Magnetic power allows the level to be set in any position safely and securely. It allows the user to perform without holding the level, enabling the use of both hands. The magnet won’t work on copper pipes but will enable you to level radiators hands free.
Gas Meter Box Key
Long Phillips Head Screwdriver
Sometimes there is just one screw that you can’t reach even with the most slimline electric screwdriver. This is where the stubby screwdriver comes into its own. It can be held in the palm of your hand and used in a variety of tight spaces such as under sinks and in bathroom units. No need to bruise those knuckles any more.
Because of the nature of pipework, plumbers may spend extended periods of time working on their knees. Knee pads will keep you from injuring yourself, they will protect you from impact and discomfort. They can be included within work wear with some trousers incorporating knee pads, alternatively then can be purchased separately and added externally. Knee pads are essential for people that work regularly on their knees, protecting the health of their knees and reducing the risk of being unable to walk unaided at 60 years old.
A stop cock key is essential for turning off the mains water supply. Typically stopcock keys needed to reach external stopcocks that can be below ground level. This is why they include long shafts to aid in accessing hard to reach places. The stopcock key is then turned to open or close the stopcock, either allowing or stopping the flow of gas or water through.
This multi-purpose tool has a wide variety of applications. A Stanley knife can be used to cut a wide range of materials. If nothing else it will sharpen your pencil. Fits snugly in a pocket or tool belt and can be grasped at a moment’s notice. Their retractable blades are sharp, cheap and easy to replace.
Open Ended Spanner
The open-ended spanner is probably the first piece of equipment anyone will name if you ask them what is in a toolbox. The sizes of open-ended spanners vary, with most now being double-ended including two different sizes. A spanner is an essential tool for any plumber and having a complete set will stand you in good stead for any number of jobs.
The jigsaw is particularly useful for plumbers because it allows the user to cut arbitrary patterns and irregular shapes. This is extremely handy when you need to cut a hole for a new pipe fitting or gain access to pipework via the floorboards. A high quality jigsaw can make good clean cuts to ensure a professional finish to your work.
Pipe Freezer Spray
It will allow you to conduct plumbing work without having to turn off the main supply of water or drain down. Pipe freezer spray will not damage your pipes and can keep them frozen whilst you complete the task in hand. A great tool for plumbers to complete jobs quickly and efficiently without making a mess.
An SDS (special direct system) drill is a powerful tool and is typically used for those jobs where extra power is needed. The drill has three basic functions: normal drilling, hammer action drilling, and chiselling. It can hold large diameter drill bits and will make light work of tough drilling jobs. The SDS drill is a great multi purpose drill for plumbers to get on with the job at hand.
Angle grinders are very powerful tools with multiple uses. They can be used to cut, grind and polish. There are various attachments that include: diamond blades, wire brushes, sanding discs, polishing pads, and grinding wheels. This handheld tool can be used to remove excess material from an object or simply for cutting through a workpiece and is incredibly versatile and powerful. It will cut through anything with the right attachment making it handy for plumbers completing installations. The latest technology has led to the introduction of cordless angle grinders. If you want to know which is best then check out our cordless angle grinder review.
Immersion Heater Spanner
An immersion heater spanner is a simple tool for fitting and extracting immersion heater elements which is a common job for plumbers. Immersion heater elements can get damaged through a faulty element, a build-up of limescale or corrosion. The immersion heater spanner is the only tool to loosen or tighten immersion heaters for installations or replacements.