7 Most Essential Plumbing Tools

Gary Johnson
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Plumbing tools are important.

When you are dealing with plumbing, you really don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need a tool and it’s nowhere to be found.

You might even find yourself in a situation where you need to make (or improvise!) a certain tool, because you accidentally left it at home or lost it.

The last thing you want to deal with when trying to fix a leaky faucet or unclog a toilet is dealing with a missing tool.

Below find a list of plumber’s tools and a short guide to what makes each one important.

NameCategoryProduct
RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing CutterBest OverallRIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter
Stanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension HacksawBudget PickStanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension Hacksaw
RIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe WrenchUpgrade PickRIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench

1. RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter

Our rating: 9 / 10

RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter

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Pros:

  • Versatile tool gives you a lot of bang for the buck
  • Easy to use
  • Well-made, durable
  • Shipped fast

My top pick is the RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter.

The first thing you notice upon opening up this package is how heavy it is. This cutter feels really solid in your hands. It’s hard to believe that the main body is actually made of nickel-plated brass, not steel.

Of course, we’re talking about tools and not jewelry. What’s important here is that because of its thick, heavy steel construction, the cutter is easy to control. It doesn’t vibrate or flop around while you’re using it, and the cuts are extremely clean. It’s also pretty easy to use – just slip the cutter over the line, and squeeze the trigger.

2. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver

Our rating: 9 / 10

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver

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Pros:

  • Works with various other tools
  • Affordable
  • Does not require gas to operate
  • Suitable for both light and heavy-duty work
  • Lightweight and compact

The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver is an excellent buy—especially for people who are eager to start a home improvement project.

This drill’s 3/8 inch chuck offers a wide range of bit choices and the variable speed setting allows you to drill holes and drive screws with great ease and precision. The BLACK+DECKER drill also has an easy-to-set depth control so that you can drill a hole at an exact position and get the best results.

This drill has a clever design that allows you to easily switch from drill mode to hammer mode. This means you can drill holes in wood or metal and then drive a nail into the hole with the same drill.

3. Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger

Our rating: 9 / 10

Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger

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Easily removes even the toughest clogs. Heavy duty design and large diameter plunger cup easily removes clogs from toilets, sinks and tubs. Special all-angle cup design, suitable for 15 degree-30 degree floors and 15 degree-30 degree angle toilets. Non-slip handle makes plunging comfortable.

Plastic handle is rust proof and durable. Makes removal of clogged pool and tub drains much easier.

4. Channellock 460 16.5-Inch Straight Jaw Tongue and Groove Pliers

Our rating: 9 / 10

Channellock 460 16.5-Inch Straight Jaw Tongue and Groove Pliers

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Pros:

  • Ergonomically designed for controlled comfort and durability
  • High-performance jaws allow for more applications and use
  • Replaceable jaws for longer life of tool at a more affordable cost
  • 90° offset joint allows the hand to maintain a natural grip
  • 304-stainless steel construction is durable and lightweight
  • Perfect for almost every job around the house

Cons:

  • Narrow tips aren’t as effective when reaching confined areas
  • Not suitable for heavy duty work

This plier set from Channellock has been a favorite among plumbers and other professionals for several years. It got featured on Good Morning America when the hosts did a segment on how to fix a stuck garbage disposal.

The grip can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the screws on the side of the handle. This makes it ideal for jobs that require delicate handling. The jaws are also replaceable, which means that you can get a second pair of jaws and keep the first one unused to avoid wearing them out too fast.

The 16.5-inch length is great since it’s long enough to tackle most tasks but not too long and cumbersome to use. They weigh about 3.4 pounds, which adds to their overall durability.

5. RIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench

Our rating: 8 / 10

RIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench

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RIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench, 14-inch Plumbing Wrench.

Very durable and tough. Heat-tempered jaws for increased lifespan.

Excellent grip and easy maneuverability.

6. Drainx Pro Steel Drum Auger Plumbing Snake

Our rating: 8 / 10

Drainx Pro Steel Drum Auger Plumbing Snake

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Pros:

  • Convenient kit with drum remover and gloves
  • Powerful 25-foot cable
  • Perfect for clearing drain blockages
  • Includes gloves for less mess

If your drains are not working properly and you’re looking for an easy-to-use option to help clear them, the DrainX Pro cable drain snake is our top choice. This kit comes with a 25-foot steel drum remover cable, hand gloves to avoid dirt and grime getting on your hands, and a convenient storage bag to keep everything together when not in use.

This cable drain cleaner features an auger tip and a heavy-duty cable covered in an ultra durable, yet flexible nylon fabric jacket. The cable unspools easily through your drain pipe and is able to break down tough clogs while cleaning and de-clogging your pipes. It’s flexible enough to follow the path of a standard drain.

7. Stanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension Hacksaw

Our rating: 6 / 10

Stanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension Hacksaw

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Pros:

  • Cheaper than most decent hacksaws
  • Great for regular home use
  • Precise and cuts through wood, sheet metal, plastic and thicker metals
  • Robust and sturdy design
  • Comfortable to use
  • Top quality
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a case
  • Not the best to use for large cuts

This “Starter” hacksaw is designed for both novice and experienced hobbyists and tradesmen. It offers precision cutting for fine detail work as well as large-scale, rugged, high-tension cuts.

With a durable frame, hardened blade with tempered teeth, and a metal-tooth blade cover, it will resist breaking and is great for regular and frequent use.

Its design is great, because it has a quick-change button for blade replacement. You can even mount it in a bench vise, which makes it convenient for you to change the blade.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What tools should a plumber have?

One extremely useful tool for any plumber or DIY homeowner is a pipe wrench. Pipe wrenches are used for turning, holding, and tightening pipe and fittings. While they look similar to a screwdriver, there's a big difference: a pipe wrench has teeth and is used for twisting, while a screwdriver is used to apply force to a screw.

A plumber's wrench is a type of crescent wrench, and is sometimes referred to as a line wrench. In addition to the normal handle, plumber's wrenches have an adjustable jaw, which can be opened or closed. This is useful for turning a nut while leaving the end pipe in one spot instead of rotating.

In terms of their design, plumber's wrenches have a round head that often fits over nuts or other pipe fittings to reduce the risk of slipping and damaging the material they are tightening.

What are four power tools specific to plumbing?

The remaining three power tools are more or less general purpose tools that can be applied to plumbing if needed. One of these, the reciprocating saw, can be a great time-saver for making plumbing cut-outs in drywall. It can also be used for cutting through cabinets, ruining them in the process, if you're not careful.

Another general strengthening tool is a jigsaw, and we’ve used it to cut metal framing members and grids in the process of remodeling our own bathroom. Then there are always random bits of hardware that can be used to secure plumbing, so having a fixed-set of general hardware tools can come in handy.

What is a plumbers wrench called?

This wrench that is used to tighten the packing nut is an adjustable wrench. You can buy one at home improvement stores or plumbing supply stores.

Don't try to remove the packing nut with any tool except for the adjustable plumbers wrench. If the packing nut is not tight enough, the handle will leak.

When removing and replacing the faucet handles, use the flathead screwdriver.

The "Clickety-Clack" sound is caused by the washer in the faucet handle being worn or by the valve seal being worn. To fix it, replace the washer in the handle or the valve seat washer on the underside of the handle.

What are the most common plumbing problems?

No matter what kind of plumbing problem you're having, there are 7 home plumbing essentials with the know-how to make thousands of minor repairs yourself.

In most cases, if your pipes have access to water, they are going to freeze in some way, shape, or form. That's why it's best to prepare by ensuring each of these plumbing tools is at the ready for a system-freezing emergency. For frozen drains, the 7 best plumbing tools include:

  • Quick cure drain cleaner
  • Broom with a pail
  • Snake
  • Multipurpose chemical drain opener
  • Heating pad
  • Safety goggles

Using these key tools will get the job done quickly and safely so you'll soon be thawing out your frozen pipes and returning your home to normal.

Conclusion

If your furnace is down, your toilets are clogged and you can’t take a shower, you’re going to need a few tools to save the day. By digging through our arsenal of plumber’s tools, you may be surprised how much you already have in your garage. Grab your wrenches – here are the essentials for a well-equipped toolbox.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing CutterBest OverallRIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter
Stanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension HacksawBudget PickStanley STHT20138 Solid Frame High Tension Hacksaw
RIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe WrenchUpgrade PickRIDGID 31095 Model 814 Aluminum Straight Pipe Wrench