The Essential Plumbing Tools List: 11 Different Types & Their Uses

plumbing tools

If you are looking to be a plumber, or if you are a do-it-yourselfer and want to do your own work at home, there are quite a few tools you will need before you get started. We have compiled a list for you of the top 11 tools that you will need to have on hand.

1. Plungers

plunger

  • Cup Plunger

A cup plunger is the most common plunger on the market. It is a rubber cup that fits over drains in sinks, showers, and bathtubs to unclog them.

  • Flange Plunger

A flange plunger is the plunger you use on toilets. It is a cup plunger with an extended rubber head that is shaped like the hole in your toilet to help it seal better. Some flanges can fold up inside the cup and also be used as a cup plunger.

2. Snake (drain augers)

A snake is a coiled metal cable that you put into a drain and rotate to force the cable through the pipe to unblock a clog. These are used when your plunger won’t clear the drain.

drain augers

3. Wrenches

wrenches

  • Adjustable Pipe Wrench

Adjustable pipe wrenches have sharp teeth and are designed to grip round objects, like pipes, tightly by digging teeth into the pipe.

Pipe wrenches are mostly used on heavy-duty fixtures like galvanized steel or iron. They are not used on small, fragile pipes or shiny pipes because they leave teeth marks.

  • Basin Wrench

A basin wrench has a pivoting head and a long handle, helping you to get into those hard-to-reach places behind sinks. It is used to tighten or loosen faucet mounting nuts.

  • Faucet Valve-Seat Wrench

The faucet valve-seat wrench is used when a seal has dried up and cracked, causing leaks in sinks, radiators, or any other item that uses water lines. This wrench will help you to properly install new seals once you have scraped the old ones off.

  • Allen Wrenches

Allen wrenches are little L-shaped wrenches with hexagonal heads. They are used in a lot of plumbing fasteners. There are many different sizes, so get a set with an assortment of sizes.

  • Faucet Keys

Faucet keys are small X-shaped wrenches that are made to open and close spigots and sill locks.

4. Pliers

pliers

  • Channel Locks

“Channel locks” is another name for tongue and groove pliers. They are pliers with adjustable jaws that lock into the place for the size that you need them to be. They are commonly used together when you need two pliers of the same size, or to hold a pipe with one while using the other to unscrew it.

  • Slip Joint Pliers

Slip joint pliers are also known as water pump pliers or groove joint pliers. They have a slot in the head that can slide up and down to adjustable them to your desired width. They are used for holding or gripping other tools.

5. Stubby Screwdriver

The stubby screwdriver is used for screws in tight places that can’t be reached with a normal or electric screwdriver.

stubby screwdriver

6. Washers and O-Rings

Washers and O-rings are sold in variety packages that have several different sizes. Replace washers and O-rings that have gone bad, causing leaks. Replacing the old ones with new will give you back the tight seal that you desire.

washers and o-rings

7. Plumber’s Tape

Plumber’s tape is thin white tape that you wrap around the threads on pipes and fittings before putting them together. It helps the two pieces seal better to avoid leaks.

plumber's tape

8. Saws and Cutters

hacksaw

  • Hacksaw

A hacksaw will come in handy to cut pipes that you can’t get apart. It also works to cut off rusty or stripped nuts, bolts, or screws.

  • Hole Saw

A hole saw is used to cut holes in the floor or wall to run plumbing piping and tubes through.

  • Hose Cutter

The hose cutter is used to cut and shape copper tubing. It makes the perfectly clean and square cut that is needed with copper. You use it by clamping it onto your pipe and then rotating it 360° around the pipe until it cuts through. You will need to tighten the grip every couple of rotations to cut all the way through your pipe.

  • Tube Cutters

Tube cutters are made to cut plastic tubing efficiently.

9. Pipe Bender

A pipe bender is used to shape new pipes that you are installing to the same shape as the old ones you are replacing. They are also used when a pipe needs to be bent to go around corners.

pipe bender

10. Metal File

The metal file is used to smooth rough edges that are left on your pipes after cutting them.

metal file

11. Plumber’s Torch

Plumber’s torches are small torches, usually fueled with propane, that are used to melt solder to join copper pipes together.

plumber’s torch

This list is not an exhaustive list of plumbing tools, but it is definitely a start in the right direction. Happy plumbing!

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Header image credit: stevepb, Pixabay

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!