30 Best Plumbing Tools to Get the Job Done
The right plumbing tools can make hard jobs easier and your business more profitable. With thousands of tools to choose from, it can be tricky to figure out where to start.
To help you fill your tool bag, we’ve compiled a list of the best plumbing tools for the job.
Get an insider’s look at the tools and equipment Terence Chan, owner of Impetus Plumbing and Heating uses in this tour of his custom plumbing van and shop.
Plumbing tools for pipework
Plumbers on the job need to install, repair, or replace different types of piping to fix leaks or clogs. To make sure you’re well-equipped for the task, you’ll want the right tools.
1. Plastic, copper, and steel pipe cutters: Used by plumbers for quick, clean, and professional slices or cuts, pipe cutters are a convenient alternative to hacksaws.
2. Hacksaw and junior hacksaw: Hacksaws are manual tools used to cut through plumbing pipes, nuts, bolts, and various other metals. Junior hacksaws are smaller versions that are useful for cutting pipes in small spaces.
3. Hole saw kit: Hole saw kits are cylindrical-shaped blades that attach to your power tool to cut perfectly round holes. They’re used by plumbers to cut holes of larger diameters to run pipework and wiring or to install drainage pipes.
4. Thread sealing tape: Also known as “plumbers tape”. This is used as a sealant on threaded pipe joints that don’t have a built-in rubber seal. It also acts as a lubricant making it easier to screw in and disassemble.
5. Press fitting systems: Used to secure a connection onto a pipe by pressing a seal, press fitting systems are a quick way for plumbers to seal a connection without welding or soldering.
Wrenches for plumbers
The essential plumbing tool, plumbers rely on many different types of wrenches daily to tighten, loosen, or screw pipe fittings. Here are the wrenches you’ll need in your tool bag.
6. Pipe wrench: One of the most important tools in your tool kit, a professional plumber uses pipe wrenches on almost every job to loosen or tighten pipes and fittings. They have a toothed jaw that grips the pipe or fitting making it easier for plumbers to move. Common sizes you may need include; 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, and 18”.
7. Basin wrench: Also called a “sink wrench” basin wrenches are used to turn fasteners in tight spaces that are hard to access with a traditional wrench. They are typically used under sinks to disconnect faucets.
8. Faucet seat wrench: This L-shaped wrench is used to replace valve seats on sink and tub faucets.
9. Adjustable wrench: With its movable jaw, plumbers can use adjustable wrenches to torque nuts and bolts of various sizes.
10. Faucet Key: Also known as a “sillcock key” faucet keys are used to open and close outdoor water spigots on commercial and industrial buildings.
Plumbing tools for clogged drains
One of the most common plumbing issues homeowners encounter are clogged drains in sinks, toilets, or showers. To quickly and effectively clear clogs for your clients, keep these tools handy:
11. Plungers: A plumber’s first method to unclog drains. You’ll want to have a few different plungers handy, depending on the type of drain you’re clearing. The three different kinds of plungers are a cup plunger, flange plunger, and accordion plunger.
12. Manual or motorized drain snake: When a plunger can’t clear the blockage, drain snakes are used to break through the clog. Motorized drain snakes are particularly helpful for more stubborn clogs because they have more power to push through the blockage.
13. Drain auger: Drain augers work similar to a drain snake and are used to clear clogs in bigger pipes like a toilet or shower.
14. Drain inspection camera: Also called “borescopes” drain inspection cameras are used to view the inside of a pipe or drain and identify what and where the blockage is.
Plumbing power and specialty tools
If you’ve achieved your Master plumbing certification, you may find yourself needing specialty and power tools to help you tackle bigger, and more complicated plumbing projects. These include:
15. Soldering torch: Also known as a “plumbers torch” soldering torches are used to heat frozen pipes or rusted nuts and to solder copper pipes.
16. Hydro jetting machine: Professional plumbers use hydro jetting machines to clear grease, sludge, and soap clogged in sewer lines. These machines use high-pressure water to unblock debris.
17. PEX plumbing tools: Used specifically to work on PEX piping systems you’ll want to keep a full range of these tools handy including a crimping tool, a pipe-cutter and a de-crimping tool.
18. Cordless power drill and drill bits: This is a handy plumbing tool for every tool bag. Plumbers use their cordless power drills with a number of attachments including hole saws or drain snakes.
Basic tools every plumber needs
If you’re just starting your plumbing business, make sure you’ve purchased a few of the basics (in addition to the above), before heading out on your first job.
19. Flashlight and/or headlight: Because plumbers spend so much of their day working under counters or behind walls, flashlights are useful to shine more light into their dark and confined workspaces.
20. Screwdrivers: Useful for installing or changing plumbing fixtures, make sure to keep a complete screwdriver set in your tool bag.
21. Stubby screwdriver: These small screwdrivers are a lifesaver when working in hard-to-reach places. The short handle allows you to easily loosen or tighten screws in cramped spaces.
22. Pliers: When nuts or bolts are too small for a wrench to loosen, plumbers use pliers to tighten and loosen them.
Other items to stock in your plumbing van
To be prepared for every plumbing job or emergency, stock your van with the following essentials and consumables:
- Soldering wire
- Soldering paste
- Washers and O-rings
- Batteries (AA, AAA, 9V)
- Butterfly anchors
- Duct tape
- Silicon grease
- Replacement hacksaw blades
Safety tools and supplies
Maintaining a safe work environment for you and your client relies on investing in the right plumbing safety tools and supplies for the job. Pick up these safety supplies and make sure you’re using them properly.
23. Gloves: Pick a heavy-duty work glove to protect your hands from hot elements or sharp surfaces. Plumbing gloves also help you easily grip wet and slippery items on the job.
24. Knee pads: Pipework and other plumbing duties often require you to be on your knees for long periods throughout the day. Knee pads can help soften the pressure and save you from serious joint issues down the road.
25. Heat shields: When soldering in small or confined spaces, heat shields are used to protect you and your client’s property from potential heat or fire damage.
26. Goggles: Whether you’re soldering or cutting a pipe, or snaking a drain, safety goggles are important to protect your eyes from flying debris and chemicals.
Digital tools to better run your plumbing business
For your business to be a success, you’ll need more than just plumbing tools to get the job done. Investing in digital tools can help streamline your plumbing business and set you up for success.
27. Plumbing Field Service Software
Field service software helps plumbing business owners organize and manage their daily operations from the office, or while they’re on the job. Look for options that allow you to automate your quoting and invoicing workflow, store detailed client information along with job photos and notes. It also helps you schedule one-off appointments or recurring jobs, and dispatch your crew faster.
Jobber’s plumbing business software lets you:
- Book new customers faster with online booking
- Create and send plumbing estimates and invoices
- Track client details and job history with a plumber CRM
- Schedule and dispatch plumbing technicians with a couple of clicks
- Automate appointment reminders and client follow-ups
- Collect payments and in-person or online
- Manage your plumbing business from anywhere with Jobber’s mobile app
28. Flow Rate Calculator and Pipe Volume Calculator
Downloading a couple of plumbing apps to your phone or tablet can also be useful tools on the job.
- Use a flow rate calculator app when you need to quickly calculate the speed of water running through a pipe.
- A pipe volume calculator app comes in handy to calculate the volume of water a pipe can manage based on its length and diameter.
29. Accounting software
Plumbing business owners need accounting software to balance their books, track inventory, pay salaries, and make sure their business is turning a profit.
Pro Tip: Use Jobber’s Quickbooks integration to keep your data up to date and eliminate double entry.
30. Review automation software
Asking for positive online reviews is one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your plumbing business. With review automation software like NiceJob or Broadly it’s simple to collect reviews and build your reputation online.
Get the right tools for the job
A full tool bag will help you tackle even the toughest plumbing jobs. However, the tools you need for your business will vary depending on the types of services you offer.
Use this list as your guide and bookmark it for later in case your service offerings change.
Originally published March 2022. Last updated January 5th, 2023.