Plumbers are essential workers and need the appropriate tools to handle plumbing systems’ installation, repair, and maintenance. If you’re considering joining the plumbing profession, you must understand the tools you’ll use.
With the right tools, you will be able to respond to plumbing damages, leakages, and defects before they become disasters. This article highlights the best 20 tools for plumbers in 2022 according to purpose and type.
A wrench is a plumbing tool for fixing broken pipes. The wrench has a special design to seamlessly loosen or tighten the pipe connections. A wrench is adjustable for use on pipes of different sizes.
Wrenches allow examining damaged pipes before removing them from connections. This allows for determining whether to replace or fix the damaged pipe. It is very important to have wrenches of various types handy. You’ll be ready to handle any job that comes your way.
What types of wrenches do you need?
Adjustable wrenches have an adjustable head or jaws and come in three options. One type is the adjustable end wrench or crescent wrench. These come in multiple sizes for handling small and large jobs.
An adjustable end wrench has a jaw with an angled gripping face. The jaw has a fifteen-degree angle concerning its handle. This wrench is handy for turning broken faucets or snuggly locking locks to a wall.
You need a standard adjustable wrench with at least 10 to 12 inches for gripping round pipes securely by digging its serrated teeth into the material to increase pressure on turning the tool.
You need a pipe wrench for gripping and turning pipes. Pipe wrenches may have manual or automatic adjustments. Manually adjusted pipe wrenches have an upper jaw known as the hook jaw.
This needs opening at a point slightly wider than the plumbing pipe. The hook jaw turns the pipe after applying forward pressure relative to opening the jaw. This wrench is not used on nuts to avoid damaging the metal surface. However, it works seamlessly when removing round bolts.
Pipe wrenches are made of steel, cast iron, or aluminum. The latter type is more expensive but is lightweight to carry. Investing in an aluminum wrench is a great buy for the reduced weight that protects you from fatigue during extended use.
Never use a pipe wrench on shiny fixtures or tiny or fragile pipes since it may leave teeth marks. You must use this wrench to handle galvanized steel, iron, or heavy-duty finish pipes like hydrants and outdoor spigots.
Faucet Valve-Seat Wrench
This simple tool is for removing valve seats on compression faucets. These old-style faucets work by compressing a rubber washer on a valve seat inside the faucet. You may also have to use a compression sleeve puller.
The washer may wear out, making the valve seat get damaged or rough, making achieving a complete seal impossible. In such a scenario, a valve seat wrench comes in handy for removing and replacing the valve seat. Alternatively, you may regrind the valve seat to make it smooth using a reseating tool.
When clients call you to change the faucet in their bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area, you must carry a basin wrench. Also known as a sink wrench, this tool is self-tightening and reaches places to loosen washers, pipes, and taps.
You need a basin wrench with a 90-degree telescoping shank with a gripping head and long handle. The purpose of the basin wrench is to install or remove faucets making it an indispensable tool for plumbers. This wrench is the best at accessing mounting nuts for sink faucets behind the sink basin.
Some pro tips when using wrenches
- Invest in the right wrenches
- Avoid using damaged wrenches
- Jaw size matter to avoid slipping
- Apply pressure only with the jaw in full contact with the bolt or nut
- Keep the wrench teeth free from sharp objects or oil
Sometimes you have to cut and fit pipes. So, you need to have the right tools to make your work easier. Here is the top tool for handling pipework.
A hacksaw is a handy tool for plumbers when dealing with stubborn nuts, bolts, and screws that may have damage but need removing. The hacksaw also allows cutting through various plumbing materials.
After tensing up the blade, you may also use a hacksaw to cut plastic or other hard material. A hacksaw has a frame that holds the blade under tension. The frame is adjustable to support blades of various lengths ranging from 250mm to 300mm.
Cutting using the hacksaw requires pointing the teeth in the opposite direction from you. Additionally, you must cut from the rough side, so the material remains in good shape. Afterward, you have to smoothen the edges using a file.
You need a pipe cutter to cut material that the hacksaw can’t handle. Pipe cutters come in various sizes, including standard and mini cutters for cutting pipes in tiny spaces.
Cutting using this tool requires placing the pipe on top of two hardened rolls and a cut
A pipe cutter creates a perfect and smooth cut, unlike when cutting with a hacksaw. However, it somewhat rounds the pipe end a little inwards. Some pipe cutters need to rotate around the tube. You can’t use these for cutting pipes fitted close to the wall.
You open the mouth of the tool to place the copper pipe and tighten the cutting disc on the surface of the pipe. Slicing the pipe requires turning the tool repeatedly around it. After slicing through, you remain with a clean-cut ready for sanding and soldering.
Pliers are shaped like scissors for grabbing instead of cutting. The head of the pliers has teeth for cutting into it for a better grip on whatever you wish to grab. You use pliers to open pipes instead of using a wrench. Pliers come in handy when unscrewing or holding popes in place.
Using pliers in pairs is very effective. You may use one for unscrewing and the other for keeping the pipe in place. So, investing in pliers of different sizes will make completing tasks easier. Some types of pliers for plumbers include:
- Tongue and groove pliers
- Water pump pliers
- needle -nose pliers
Clogged toilets are among the most popular service calls for plumbers. So, you need the right tools to deal with this problem anytime.
We’ve highlighted the essential tools for clearing clogs.
A plunger is your best friend. So, you have to invest in a sturdier model that won’t break while on site. You will use the plunger primarily to unclog toilets, shower drains, and sink drains. The ideal plunger shouldn’t push materials into the drain clogging it further.
After creating a tight seal, It should work like a suction device over the problematic drain and then pull upwards to suck out the debris. When going out to shop for a plunger, here are things to keep in mind:
Type of plunger
All plungers are not the same. There are three kinds of plungers, and you have to know the best for your client’s tasks.
- Cup Plunger – Has a half-sphere shape with a flat bottom and uses air pressure for pushing out clogs in plumbing systems.
- Flange Plunger – for effective declogging of toilets but not ideal for the kitchen sink.
- Taze Plunger – made of steel for handling clogs other plungers can’t manage.
Plunger Size Matters
Apart from plunger type, size matters when selecting this tool. Although the plunger size is standard, the handle length varies. Some plungers are 10 inches, while others may be about 3 feet.
A shorter handle gives you more control when using the plunger. Alternatively, a longer handle and larger cup give the tool more power. A longer handle also limits contact with dirty water.
When purchasing a plunger, storage is very important. The tool may have some bacteria sticking to it that may cause disease and illness. So, always invest in appropriate storage for keeping your plungers. You may invest in a bucket, plastic sack, or custom plunger holder.
You must invest in hand augers for opening clogged sewer drains. The tool is specially designed to remove clogs in toilets and comes in handy when a plunger is ineffective. There are special urial augurs for use to unclog urinals.
An augur may come with 25 feet cable for eliminating clogs in showers, sinks, tubs, drains, and toilet pipes. To boost flow, a hand auger effectively removes obstructions made by solid objects that you can shred, like tree roots and glass wool.
Sewer Inspection Camera
You should also invest in a sewer inspection camera. It is a robotic snake having an end with a tiny camera for viewing what is inside the pipes. The camera bends and twists inside the pipes to locate and diagnose problems.
The sewer inspection camera works by broadcasting a live feed of what is inside the pipes on a tiny screen for you to see. This tool has LED lights attached to the rod to illuminate darker places inside the pipes.
Some of the problems you may locate using a sewer inspection camera include:
- Cracks and misalignment inside the pipes
- Tree roots growing in the sewer line
- Older metal pipes experiencing corrosion
- Location of blockage
- Leaks in pipes
You’ll handle various tasks as a pro plumber, including handling fixtures, fittings, and other installations. So, you have to prepare to encounter various situations. Safety measures are necessary while using the various plumber tools.
Here are some of the safety risks for lumbers on the job
Plumbers work in various environments that risk exposure to health hazards, including chemicals like lead and asbestos.
Risk of electrocution
Handling electrical installations in wet environments comes with a risk of electrocution. Never assume that power is off without being sure. Use appropriate tools that will keep you safe, like a ground fault circuit interpreter. Immediately stop touching metal pipes when you feel a tingling sensation.
Working in cramped spaces
Some plumbing tasks require working in cramped spaces. These may come with various health risks such as oxygen deficiency and exposure to hydrogen sulfide from sewage decomposition.
Now let’s look at the plumber equipment for safety.
You must protect your eyes from caustic chemical splashes. Some clients may pour this down the sink and forget to tell you. So, ensure to invest in goggles, shields, and safety spectacles.
Safety spectacles look like eyeglasses but have metal or plastic frames with impact and shatter-resistant glasses.
Goggles fit over any prescription eyewear to give your eyes solid coverage. The goggles protect the eyes from impact damage or injury from any direction.
Face shields have impact-resistant plastic extending over the whole face.
Your number one asset is your hands. So, you must keep them and yourself safe all the time. The gloves are your first line of defense when facing health and safety hazards such as sparks, chemicals, and flames. You may encounter these while soldering, welding, or managing raw sewage.
Here are the types of gloves you need to keep yourself safe
Latex or Nitrile gloves
These are thin and moisture-resistant gloves to keep you safe from infectious and hazardous materials. Latex gloves are useful when cleaning drains or installing a new sewer where you’re likely to handle raw sewage. You may use nitrile gloves when allergic to latex. For enhanced protection, you can wear latex gloves under regular work gloves.
Drain Cleaning Gloves
Every plumber needs draining cleaning gloves made from leather, PVC, or synthetic material. These work gloves protect you from cuts and abrasions while handling tools like a metal drain snake. Drain cleaning gloves also protect you from sewage and other fluids during snaking.
Leather gloves are necessary for protection and better grip when handling any plumbing job. Wear rubber gloves inside the work gloves for protection from chemical injuries and when handling commercial-grade solvents.
Some plumbing jobs may require welding or soldering. So, you need welding gloves made of thick leather with long cuffs for protection from splattering burns. The welding gloves should match your regular welding or soldering temperature. Ignoring to wear gloves or wearing the wrong type puts your hands at risk of getting injuries.
There’s a risk of slipping and falling while handling plumbing tasks. So, you need slip-resistant boots to keep you safe. The ideal shoes for plumbers have impact-resistant tools for protection from dropped tools. Additionally, the work boots should have metal insoles for protection from puncture wounds when working in an environment with a likelihood of stepping on sharp items.
Here is a list of some of the top essential plumbing tools.
Pipe Leak Tape
Some plumbing jobs may require applying special pipe leak tape, especially when handling minor leaks for homeowners. Let’s look at the kinds of tape plumbers use to prevent leaks.
Pipe Thread Tape
Some people call this tape PTFE tape, plumber’s tape, thread seal tape, or Teflon tape. You may use this tape for sealing plumbing joints. The tape also comes in handy when lubricating joint connections. This allows smoother threading and seamless disassembly.
This tape is also known as a self-fusing tape or self-amalgamating tape for its self-adhesive feature. Silicone tape doesn’t stick to any other material apart from itself. You may wrap it around a leaky pipe for a temporary water seal.
Plumbing tasks are not always straightforward. So, you must carry the appropriate tools with you. One of the must-have tools is a pipe-bending tool. This tool makes bends in copper of about 90 degrees and various light stainless pipes. You may do this using vice for better stability or by hand.
Plumbing Business Tools
This is the final part of getting the best tools for plumbers. You need a business management tool to operate your business effectively. Additionally, a business tool like Field Complete will allow you to compete favorably and enhance your performance.
Here are the features of a great business management tool.
Plumbers need a job management tool for the seamless execution of activities in line with the job cycle. It also applies insights from tasks to enhance business operations. The right job management tool allows assessing how your business operates and incorporating systems, technology, and processes to run more competitively.
Estimation and Quoting
You have to create quotes for customers after assessing their job requirements. This is a time-consuming task if you lack the right tool. Your estimates and quotations should bear your company’s logo, colors, and contact address.
Fortunately, you may use a plumbers’ tool that allows creating personalized templates to create and send estimates and quotes on the fly. The estimate offers how much the project will likely cost, and the quotation gives the exact figure.
Scheduling and Dispatching
Plumbers have to create and manage job schedules, assign, and dispatch technicians in the field. The right tool will make scheduling and dispatching a breeze. Managing your job calendar and appointments allows taking on more clients.
Effective scheduling and dispatching allow field technicians to determine their daily schedule and tasks. This encourages prioritization and staying on track to avoid missing any appointments. Punctuality is essential for plumbers to save clients from disasters.
Communication with field technicians is very important in the plumbing industry. The right tool will streamline work and boot collaboration. A messaging feature allows sending and receiving job updates to stay on schedule.
Apart from helping to avoid misunderstandings regarding job completion, effective messaging allows sending job details to the field team. This allows faster job completion and eliminates chances of miscommunication.
Schedule a free demo today to see how Field Complete can help you get started in the plumbing industry