25 Essential HVAC Tools List: Different Types & Their Uses

essential hvac tools

HVAC technicians are required to have a lot of tools. Some of them are made especially for working on HVAC systems. We have made a list of some of the tools you will need if you choose HVAC as your career.

The Essential HVAC Tools List:

1. Multimeter

The multimeter is used to see if there is a live current in wires, power switches, or outlets. It keeps the technician safe from being electrocuted.

multimeter

2. Thermometer

The thermometer tells the technicians what the temperature of the HVAC unit is. This reading is what tells them if they need to add refrigerant.

manifold gauge

3. Manifold Gauges

Manifold gauges are a technician’s best friend. These gauges are what a technician uses to see if there are any leaks in an air line. They are also used when removing refrigerant from a HVAC unit or for charging air conditioner units.

manifold guage

4. Folding Bar (Drive Bar)

A folding bar is a long tool with slots on both sides of it. One side has slots that are one inch from the edge, and the other side has slots that are ½ inch from the edge. Sheet metal is inserted into the correct side and bent to whatever angle is needed. It keeps your seam straight and at equal depths for the entire length of the bend.

drive bar

5. Crimpers

Crimpers have teeth that are used to clamp an open end of a round pipe closed. This now closed end, the male fitting, is inserted into the open end of another pipe, the female fitting, to connect them together.

crimper

6. Tubing Cutters

Tubing cutters are made to cut the copper tubing that is used in air conditioning systems efficiently. The cutting wheel is clamped down around the tube and spun around until the tube has been completely cut through. The cutting wheel clamp will need to be tightened after two or three rotations to get all the way through the tube.

tubing cutter

7. Refrigeration Gauges

Refrigeration gauges can read all different types of refrigerant levels, and hold those pressures where they need to be. The gauges come with a manifold (a pipe with more than one opening). The hoses are often sold separately, though. The hoses need to have quick release fittings, as well as de minimis fittings. De minimis fittings help reduce the amount of refrigerant that may leak into the air outside the unit.

refrigeration gauge

8. Vacuum Pump

HVAC technicians use vacuum pumps to remove moisture from the HVAC systems that they are working on.

vacuum pump

9. Hand Seamer (Tongs)

Hand seamers look a lot like a pair of pliers but have a longer flat edge to them. They are primarily used when bending sheet metal. They help the bends to be clean and accurate.

hand seamer

10. Awl

Awls are used to scratch a metal surface to mark it, or to punch a hole in it when necessary.

awl

11. Tin Snips

Tin snips are extremely sharp scissors that are able to cut through metal. There are three different types that are used on HVAC units.

tin snip

  • Lefts (Reds)

These snips are usually red in color and cut to the left. This is odd for a lot of people, but it doesn’t require the metal to be lifted up on as much.

  • Rights (Greens)

These snips are usually green in color and cut the way that we think of as normal cutting, to the right.

  • Straights (Bulldogs)

These snips are generally orange in color, but not always. They cut straight and are called bulldogs because they can cut through more than one sheet of metal at a time. Bulldogs are usually used to make shorter cuts.

12. Metal shears

Shears cut through metal like tin snips, but they are meant to be used for longer straight line cuts.

metal shears

13. Hammer

HVAC technicians use hammers any time that they need to pound on something.

hammer

14. Screwdrivers

Almost every unit that an HVAC tech works on has screws of some sort. It is important for them to carry a variety of flat-head and Phillips head screwdrivers with them at all times.

screwdriver

15. Pliers

There are two kinds of pliers used by HVAC technicians:

pliers

16. Hex-Head Nut Drivers

Hex-Head nut drivers are like screwdrivers, but they have hexagon-shaped heads. There are three common sizes of hex heads used in HVAC systems: 1/4, 3/8, and 5/16 inch.

hex-head nut driver

17. Tape Measure

HVAC techs measure all kinds of units for duct work. It is important that they have a minimum of 25 feet of tape measure, to make sure it is long enough to meet their needs.

tape measure

18. Wire Strippers

HVAC technicians have to strip wires frequently when rewiring things. See our top 5 picks here.

wire stripper

19. Pipe Wrench

Different HVAC systems have differently sized pipes. A plumber’s pipe wrench is used to secure pipes that the technicians are working on.

pipe wrench

20. Caulk Gun

A caulk gun holds the caulk container and allows the HVAC tech to easily seal all duct work. It is also used to fill any opening, such as holes in a house.

caulk gun

21. Level

A level is used to make sure the HVAC units being installed are level.

level

22. Cordless Drill

Cordless drills are used to drill new holes for running wires. They need to be wireless so they can go anywhere without length limitations. We suggest that you have two batteries so that one is always charging. You can see our top 5 picks here.

cordless drill

23. Sawzall

The sawzall is handy because it does exactly what it says. It saws all things. HVAC technicians can save time by sawing through different materials without having to change tools.

sawzall

24. Extension Cord (Heavy-Duty)

HVAC technicians are always needing power in places far away from electrical outlets. Heavy-duty extension cords are required to handle the power load that the techs use.

extension cord

25. Step Ladder

A step ladder is often needed when cleaning out vents or when outside at a working station.

HVAC technicians use a wide assortment of tools. Some of them are very common to us all, and some of them, not so much. We hope we have given you a good idea of what kinds of tools are used and what they are used for.

step ladder

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!