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The Ultimate Plumbing Tools List for Homeowners

Updated Dec 28, 2022

Updated Dec 28, 2022

Home > Maintenance & Renovation > The Ultimate Plumbing Tools List for Homeowners

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You may think you need countless years of training and highly specialized equipment to fix your home’s plumbing needs. Fortunately, with a collection of simple tools and a little know-how, you can tackle many plumbing projects without hiring a professional.

Essential Plumbing Tools To Keep On Hand

We researched everything from wrenches to drain snakes to help you choose the best plumbing tools for your home. The list below includes functional devices for DIY maintenance masters, professional plumbers, and everybody in between.

Wrenches

Wrenches are some of the most useful hand tools in a plumber’s tool kit. While there are many different types of wrenches for plumbers, they all provide a similar function: gripping and tightening (or loosening) rotary fasteners with greater torque than the hand can achieve.

The sections below discuss some of the best wrenches for plumbers.

Pipe Wrench

Pipe wrenches are must-have tools for any plumber. These handy devices have serrated jaws to grip, tighten, and loosen pipe fittings. The jaws are adjustable, allowing the user to grasp and twist various sizes of fittings for assembly and disassembly.

Add it to your toolbox: DURATECH Heavy Duty Pipe Wrench Set

Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable wrenches, also known as Stillson wrenches and monkey wrenches, are another useful item for your plumbing toolbox. Like pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches have movable jaws for gripping and twisting fittings. Adjustable wrenches, however, have smooth jaw surfaces designed for turning nuts, bolts, and fasteners instead of rounded pipes.

Add it to your toolbox: WORKPRO 4-piece Adjustable Wrench Set

Basin Wrench

A basin wrench is a T-shaped tool for installing and disassembling sink faucets. These small-but-mighty devices are essential for accessing tight spaces under kitchen and bathroom sinks. The tool’s long shaft allows the user to maneuver mounting nuts in hard-to-reach places, while the lower T-bar allows easy tightening or loosening of the fastener.

Add it to your toolbox: HAUTMEC Basin Wrench

Shower Valve Socket Wrench

A shower valve socket wrench is necessary for removing fittings and nuts from bathtub and shower valves. These tools typically include a hex-shaped socket and bar handle for easier turning of tight valves. We recommend buying a socket wrench set to fit many different valve sizes.

Add it to your toolbox: DURATECH Shower Valve Socket Wrench Set

Faucet Key

Faucet keys are small wrench-like devices that open and close sillcocks and spigots. These X-shaped tools feature four openings for adjusting different fitting sizes on outdoor plumbing fixtures.

Add it to your toolbox: HAUTMEC 4-way Sillcock Water Key

Stubby Screwdriver



A stubby screwdriver is a miniature screwdriver useful for reaching fasteners in tight spaces. The short, stumpy handles and shortened drivers allow the user to tighten screws in areas without enough room for a full-size tool.

Add it to your toolbox: Buspoll Stubby Screwdriver Set

Pliers



Pliers are another hand tool that every plumber needs in their toolbox. Like wrenches, pliers are useful for gripping circular objects like pipes in hard-to-reach spaces. Water pump pliers, sometimes called tongue-in-groove pliers, have a stationary jaw on the bottom and a movable jaw for a high level of adjustability.

Add it to your toolbox: Craftsman Pliers Set

Hacksaw



Hacksaws are serrated hand tools made to cut through PEX, PVC, and copper piping. The manual nature of these tools allows the user to produce a slower, more precise cut. Hacksaws come in various sizes and tension levels, ideal for many DIY plumbing applications.

Add it to your toolbox: AIRAJ Hacksaw Set

Hole Saw



A hole saw is another necessary cutting device for your plumbing repertoire. Hole saws attach to power drills for quick, efficient cutting through various materials. These devices are most commonly used in plumbing to create holes for piping in walls and other surfaces. They’re also useful for cutting directly through piping to create joint connections.

Add it to your toolbox: PETUOL Hole Saw Set

Pipe Cutters



Tubing cutters are sharp, wrench-like tools used to remove damaged piping sections or cut new pipes to size. Plastic pipe cutters cut through common piping materials like PVC and PEX, while heavy-duty steel pipe cutters are suited for slicing copper, steel, and aluminum tubes.

Add it to your toolbox: AIRAJ PVC Pipe Cutter

Metal File



After slicing through pipes with tubing cutters and hacksaws, you’ll need a metal file to clean up uneven cuts. These tools have serrated metal surfaces of varying coarseness levels, ideal for smoothing rough, potentially sharp edges.

Add it to your toolbox: Kapoua Metal File Set

Plumber’s Torch



Plumber’s torches are useful for soldering copper pipes, fittings, and fixtures. These propane-fueled blow torches are must-haves for plumbing system installations and repairs.

Ensure you have the proper protective equipment when using torches for any application. Use a heat shield cloth to protect nearby surfaces from sparks and high temperatures. Wear work gloves and safety glasses to protect your skin and eyes from burns.

Add it to your toolbox: Bernzomatic Trigger Start Torch

Plumber’s Putty



Plumber’s putty is a soft, malleable material used for sealing faucets, pipes, and drains. The putty consists of powdered clay and oil compounds that dry to form a watertight barrier. Its flexibility makes it an excellent tool for DIY and beginner plumbers; roll the putty into a rope between your hands and wrap it around the piping section that needs sealing.

Add it to your toolbox: WM Harvey Stainless Plumber’s Putty

Thread Seal Tape



Like putty, plumber’s tape is a tool for sealing pipe connections. Most thread seal tapes are made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a silky material that easily rips to different lengths and widths. The tape’s waxy interior seals connections for improved insulation, security, and leak prevention.

Add it to your toolbox: VOTMELL Thread Sealing Tape

Press Fitting Systems



Press fittings are another tool for connecting pipes in plumbing systems. Press fittings are installed by inserting a pipe into a fitting and pressing them firmly with a hydraulic press tool. These systems provide a durable, watertight seal without using flames, putties, or liquid sealants.

This video from COMAP demonstrates how a press fitting system works:

Add it to your toolbox: IBOSAD Hydraulic Pipe Crimping Tool

Cup Plunger



A cup plunger is a tried-and-true drain cleaning tool every homeowner needs. These handy devices consist of a rubber cup attached to a handle. When pushed up and down over a clogged drain, the cup creates pressure in the pipe, forcing the blockage through.

Cup plungers come in multiple sizes and can be used to clear clogs from toilets, bathroom sinks, and kitchen sinks. Heavier-duty flange plungers feature a longer handle and smaller cup, ideal for unclogging toilets.

Add it to your toolbox: Mintcraft Drain Plunger

Hand Auger



If a cup plunger doesn’t cure drain clogs, you may need to use more powerful tools like hand augers. Hand augers, also known as drain snakes, are metal cables that “snake” into a clogged drain to break up blockages. The cables rotate, allowing them to work through stubborn clogs or wrap around and remove debris.

Add it to your toolbox: DrainX Drain Auger Pro

Snake Machine



A snake machine is your next solution if a manual hand auger can’t remedy stubborn clogs. Snake machines are electric drain augers that can push through blockages with more force and rotating power. Some include longer cables to reach deeper into clogged drains.

Add it to your toolbox: Populo Electric Drain Auger

Borescope



A borescope is an inspection camera that allows users to look inside pipework, sewer lines, and other hard-to-reach areas of a plumbing system. The camera portion of a borescope is attached to a small metal stick that can easily slide through tiny crevices. The stick attaches to a more flexible cord that the user can maneuver down drains and around tight corners.

Add it to your toolbox: Oiiwak Borescope Camera

Flush Your Plumbing Worries Down the Drain

We hope this list helps you flush complicated plumbing problems down the drain. With these tools in your back pocket, you’ll tackle big and small plumbing projects with the confidence of a pro.

Still want to leave the handiwork to a certified plumber? Explore our guide to hiring a plumbing professional for your home’s needs.

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