In this article, we provide a list of the 32 best plumbing tools to have on hand to serve homeowners and solve even the most complex plumbing problems as efficiently as possible — giving your customers a highly professional service and experience.
Our list includes:
Essential hand tools to get the job done (wrenches, power tools, etc.)
The first part of the list is focused on the practicalities of plumbing, while the second part lists a range of software tools from ServiceTitan that you can use to manage and operate your plumbing business.
Plumbing Hand Tools
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at each of the tools and why you should add them to your plumbing tool kit.
The Plumbing Tools List
No tool is more associated with plumbing than the wrench, and no plumbing tools list would be complete without it! There's no single all-purpose wrench, however, so well-prepared plumbers usually bring several to a job site.
1. Pipe Wrench
The pipe wrench serves as a plumber’s largest wrench. Plumbers use these heavy tools to tighten and loosen nuts and fittings on pipework. They typically use two of these wrenches together — one to hold a pipe in place and the other to rotate the nut or fitting in the appropriate direction. Pipe wrenches come in various lengths, and prepared plumbers typically work with an entire set of these tools.
2. Basin Wrench
The basin wrench is a T-shaped tool plumbers use specifically to work on faucets. The clamp-like mechanism on one end of these wrenches allows plumbers to reach into narrow spaces and loosen or tighten the nuts that keep our faucets working (and not leaking).
3. Adjustable Wrench
The adjustable wrench tightens and loosens hexagonal nuts and fittings on pipes. These wrenches come in various sizes, but plumbers most often have the 6- and 10-inch versions on hand.
Plan to spend: $10–$40
4. Faucet Key
Not a traditional wrench per se, but a critical part of any plumbing tools list. Faucet keys are small, X-shaped tools designed to open and close spigots and sillcocks. There are versatile models on the market for dealing with different stem fittings — 1/4", 9/32", 5/16", and so on.
If you work as a plumber, tools that make working with pipes easier (such as polyethylene or PVC pipes, drain pipes, and copper tubing) appear prominently on your plumbing supplies list. Modern plumbers use a variety of tools and techniques to repair, alter, replace, and install piping in various (and usually tight) spaces around the home.
Plumbers carry hacksaws to cut through a variety of hardware, including pipes, nuts, bolts, and screws. This is challenging work, and plumbers need to tightly secure their blades (and keep spare blades in the truck). A hole saw is also a useful addition to the tool kit.
6. Tube and Plastic Pipe Cutters
If you're a trade professional who regularly deals with copper or plastic piping (and you probably deal with both frequently), you know you’ll eventually need to remove, replace, and resize them. There are many handheld tube and plastic pipe cutters and PVC ratchet tools on the market, so novice and veteran plumbers alike can choose which models work best for them.
The #1 newsletter for the trades.
7. Plumber's Torch
Many plumbers seal copper piping by soldering it. You need heat to solder. Plumber's torches are small, handheld tools that allow plumbers to apply intense heat in precise areas, soldering and sealing new piping for installs and replacements. They’re a must-have for any plumbing tools list.
8. Thread Sealing Tape
Also known as "plumber's tape," plumbers use this tape to patch or prevent possible leaks at threaded joint connections in piping. Quality thread sealing tape is resistant to high and low temperatures. It also stretches for better, form-fitting coverage and never dries out.
Like wrenches, plumbers use pliers (also called water pump pliers) every day. These specialty tools are among the best tools for plumbers because they allow professionals to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts too small for a wrench to grip. They also fit easily in a plumber’s hand to squeeze into tight spaces where a wrench won't fit.
10. Deburring Tool
A deburring tool lets plumbers remove burrs resulting from cutting and drilling the edges of metal or plastic pipes. Sometimes called reaming, deburring helps plumbers smooth the surface of the pipe to prevent erosion.
Plan to spend: $10–$20
11. Press Fitting Systems
Connecting pipes securely is critical to any plumbing project’s success. Iron Pipe Size (IPS) press-fitting systems physically press a connection onto a pipe, producing an impermeable connection or seal.
Press tools save plumbers time and money because plumbers can make connections with them in less time than it takes to weld or solder the pipes.
Clearing Clogs and Blockages
Sometimes the problem isn't the pipe, it's what's inside, and drain cleaning is a regular part of any plumber’s job. Good plumbers know their way around a stubborn clog — whether it’s a sink drain, garbage disposal, shower, or toilet — and which tools they need to keep a homeowner's plumbing uncongested and running smoothly.
“We try to have a pretty good variety of sewer machines. We have a couple of drain cleaning options on each line for our plumbers when we send them out.” says Chris Gist, owner of NWFL Mechanical in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Most homeowners own toilet plungers and sink plungers as a DIY tool, but plumbers should come equipped with them, too. Trade professionals should be ready with heavy-duty flange and cup plungers of different sizes, which produce significantly more suction than the average consumer plunger.
13. Hand Auger
A hand auger is a circular, handheld device that allows plumbers to drive a cable deep down a drain to break apart and clear clogs (via a hand crank). Hand-auger technology has come a long way over the years, and there are various models and capabilities on the market for plumbing professionals to consider as part of their plumbing tools list. For smaller drains (hand basins or kitchen sinks), a drain snake or drain auger should be enough for the job.
Plan to spend: $20–$40
14. Snake Machine
A snake machine is essentially a larger, motorized version of the hand auger. When clogs are especially deep or difficult to displace, snake machines usually have the muscle to remedy the situation.
Plan to spend: $80–$200
15. Inspection Camera (Borescope)
Plumbers used to view inspection cameras (also called borescopes) as top-of-the-line technology in the plumbing trade, but now most plumbers carry them. These small cameras tethered by a long, flexible cable are inserted far down into drains and sewer lines to give professionals a better look at the condition of the piping and whatever may be obstructing it. Smaller plumbing businesses can now use prosumer models that connect directly to a smartphone for fast, convenient application.
Experienced plumbers know there are many ways to get hurt on the job. Luckily, a number of different tools help to protect plumbing professionals and dramatically lower the chances of an accident. Any discussion about the best tools for plumbers should include these items.
Being a plumber means closely examining leaks, soldering, and other things that can be potentially dangerous to one's eyes. A good plumber is also a safe one — they always arrive at the scene with appropriate eyewear.
Plumbers are exposed to a lot of things that no one wants to touch with their bare hands. There are various types of heavy-duty gloves on the market to protect a plumber's hands, allow them to grip slippery items more easily, and offer a range of other benefits.
18. Heat Shields/Pads
If soldering is a regular part of your day-to-day, then it's critical to use the proper safety equipment to protect yourself (and homeowners). Complete your plumbing tools list with reliable heat shields and pads. They help to protect plumbers and the surrounding environment from heat damage or fire when soldering is necessary.
From redesigned hardware to emerging technologies that are changing the face of the plumbing industry, there are always new tools and solutions for plumbing pros to up their game and better their business.
19. PEX Pipe Expander & Fittings
PEX piping is one of the latest innovations in the plumbing industry. It’s a resilient and flexible plastic piping that offers unprecedented convenience and reliability. A PEX expander is a drill-like tool that widens the mouth of the pipe so you can insert a metal fitting. Because PEX piping retains its original shape, the mouth closes in on the fitting, creating a perfect seal for water to pass through.
Crimp tools are critical in PEX-related plumbing, but plumbers use them with other types of piping as well. Crimping is joining multiple pieces of metal or other material by deforming or squeezing one or both of them to hold them together.
“Be discriminating when purchasing crimpers for PEX”, says Gist, the owner of NWFL Mechanical. “The difference between buying the expensive ones and buying the cheap ones is pretty substantial.” Gist recommends Milwaukee brand crimpers.
Plan to spend: $25–$60
21. Tube Bender
A tube bender is exactly that — a plumber’s tool specifically used to bend tubes, rods and bars. Likewise, a pipe bender is used to bend and shape pipes made from copper or stainless steel. Bender tools allow plumbers to bend the tube without crimping the tubing.
22. Stubby Screwdriver
It might sound basic compared to other tools, but plumbers should consider the stubby screwdriver as a must-have on any plumbing tools list. It could be a job-saver when a plumber needs to tighten or loosen a screw in a hard-to-reach place.
As with traditional screwdrivers, plumbers can purchase stubby screwdrivers with multiple flathead or Phillips bits.
23. Flow Rate Calculator
Easily calculate or convert units of measurement for volumetric flow rate using ServiceTitan’s Flow Rate Calculator. This free tool helps plumbers quickly determine the speed of water flowing through a pipe and how much space it occupies based on diameter and velocity — without complicated equations and manually converting metrics.
24. Pipe Volume Calculator
Figure out how much water a piping section can handle and tally how much the water in those pipes weighs using the free ServiceTitan Pipe Volume Calculator. Plumbers can easily convert pipe volume and mass using six different measurement units to save time, reduce waste, improve accuracy, and confirm appropriate pipe size for any plumbing job.
ServiceTitan’s 8 Software Tools to Help Run and Grow Your Plumbing Business
We built ServiceTitan to help plumbers more efficiently run their plumbing businesses after discovering that business tools specifically designed for home services professionals, such as plumbers, were sorely lacking. Today, our field service software is trusted by 100,000+ contractors.
ServiceTitan includes tools for:
25. Call booking: To speed up bookings and give customers a more personalized service.
29. Payroll & Timesheets: Specifically designed to help service businesses manage all aspects of payroll.
31. Dispatching: Send out job confirmations to customers and make sure your plumbers arrive on time.
32. Mobile App & Tablet: Make it easy for customers to order, buy, and pay for your company’s plumbing services with a simple tap-click-or-swipe on a mobile tablet.
To grow a plumbing business, you need to have the right tools in your arsenal. Beyond the essential hand tools every plumber should carry to every job, you need marketing and advertising tools, scheduling and dispatch software, and invoicing and accounting tools to help you succeed.
ServiceTitan offers all of these tools and more, so professional plumbers can focus on their business.
Schedule a free demo to learn how ServiceTitan can help you manage your plumbing business.
ServiceTitan Plumbing Software
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.