25 Best Irrigation Tools for Contractors
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When it comes to understanding the intricacies of distributing the right amount of water to the right places at the right time to grow a perfectly lush landscape, customers can count on an irrigation contractor to dig deep—and bring the right irrigation tools to do the job.
With most sprinkler irrigation systems buried underground, contractors who specialize in the installation, maintenance, and repair of residential and commercial irrigation systems must also know how to design an efficient system and perform excavation work before installing one.
Tools used for irrigation range from the basic (a shovel, hacksaw, wire cutter, wrenches, and knives can do the job) to more specialized tools, such as sensors for soil moisture, irrigation scheduling tools, and trencher machines to make the work easier.
Below, we take a look at the 25 best tools for irrigation contractors to service sprinkler systems for the modern homeowner, commercial properties, churches, schools, and even golf courses.
Love getting your hands dirty? If you work as an irrigation contractor, digging in the dirt all day becomes part of the job. Use these digging tools to make the job a little easier.
Mattock: Great for digging short trenches and removing rocks. Some consider it a cross between a pick and a shovel.
Trenching shovel or spade: Used for digging narrow trenches in soft soil or removing loose dirt from a machine-dug trench. It usually comes with a long handle and a 3- to 4-inch wide shovel.
Tamper bar or digging bar: A heavy steel bar about 5-feet long, used to dig or compact soil, as well as loosen rocks.
Trencher machine: Rider trenchers work best, but find the most powerful one available. Unless your company digs trenches on a regular basis, look for trencher machines at your local irrigation equipment rental store or used irrigation equipment for sale.
Round-point blade shovel: Used to dig large holes needed for valves, multiple pipes, and more.
Square-point blade shovel: Handy for back-filling trenches and scraping mud from sidewalks.
Irrigation contractors use a variety of wrenches to loosen pipe fittings, turn valves off and on, and reach into confined spaces when necessary.
Water meter wrenches: These wrenches turn on and off the main water supply valve for a house or building. Usually about 36 inches in length with a tee handle and grip, this wrench reaches into shallow meter/valve boxes that are less than 30-inches deep.
Hunter wrench: The Hunter adjustment wrench consists of a 3/32 allen key, two convenient finger loops for gripping, and an opposite side arc adjustment key. It’s used to make arc and radius adjustments on sprinkler heads.
T-handle tool or Tap wrench: A T-handle is more compact than a double-end adjustable wrench, and comes in handy when working in confined spaces or where you need extra reach.
Pipe wrench: Use pipe wrenches to assemble any steel or brass pipe. Be careful to only tighten PVC fittings by hand or they could crack.
Irrigation head wrench: Also called a “pop-up” wrench, this tool works on some sprinkler irrigation systems to allow contractors to inspect the sprinkler’s internal mechanism without digging up the entire sprinkler head. Use the top of the wrench to pry up the top of the sprinkler, then unscrew the internal mechanism using the extended hex portion of the wrench.
When installing or repairing pipes and tubing, some cutting may be necessary to achieve the tightest fit. Keep these cutting tools sharp and ready as part of your irrigation equipment.
PVC pipe cutter: Used for cutting PVC pipe and poly hose, this tool works much faster and easier than a saw, and results in a square cut with few burrs.
Hack saw: A traditional blade used to cut metal and PVC pipe in tight places.
Wirecutter stripper: Used for cutting and stripping insulation off the control wires when installing irrigation system equipment.
Emitter irrigation multi tool: Emitter (or dripper) tool used for punching pilot holes and pellets, inserting and removing an emitter, and cutting tubing.
Sensor Irrigation Installation Tools
When installing lawn irrigation equipment, train your techs to educate homeowners about water-conservation devices to help them save money and protect the environment. If installing farm irrigation equipment, show farmers how to save time and grow a good crop with soil moisture sensors.
Irrigation leak detection equipment: Some irrigation equipment manufacturers, such as LeakTronics, sell leak detection kits for professionals. A series of valves inside the device generate a pulsing action when the water flows through the sprinkler system. The pulse delivers vibrations to the contractor’s ear, which he uses to map out the system’s plumbing lines and listen for any evidence of leaks.
Irrigation scheduling tools: Used to quickly check your soil water balance and weather data to make decisions about how much and when to irrigate.
Water flow meters: Often used as crop irrigation equipment, this tool accurately measures and manages water usage for irrigation. Monitoring flow rate also helps farmers avoid costly leaks.
Root soaker irrigation tool: Used to deliver water directly to the root zone of trees, shrubs, and plants. Simply attach a garden hose to the upper end of the steel shaft, and the tool’s pointed end drills its own hole into the soil.
Soil moisture sensors: Used to measure the volumetric water content in soil, so farmers know exactly which crops need watering and when.
Drip Irrigation Tools
Drip irrigation allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants and minimizes evaporation. Drip irrigation installation tools need to be durable enough to handle a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.
Drip irrigation insertion tool: Used to insert quarter-inch barbs and button drip emitters into quarter-inch poly or vinyl micro tubing.
Drip irrigation punch tools: Used for making a precise hole in mainline tubing to install emitters or transfer barbs. Think of a drip irrigation hole punch tool as one similar to what we use to punch holes in paper.
Other Tools for Your Irrigation Tool Box
While we outlined the best tools for irrigation above, some jobs require a few others.
Riser extractor: When a piece of threaded pipe breaks off where it screws into a fitting, there may not be enough pipe to grab with a wrench or pair of pliers. A pipe extractor with a toothed probe bites into the pipe, allowing you to twist it out.
Irrigation valve tool: Used for turning on and off manual sprinkler control valves.
Irrigation business software: From scheduling and dispatching to communicating with customers, ServiceTitan’s irrigation business software tracks technician productivity, customizes reporting, allows customers to book online, and records every call. It also integrates with QuickBooks, calculates timesheets and payroll, and provides simple digital estimating and invoicing.