Are There Special Tools For Plumbing? 24 Tools Every Plumber Should Have

As with most other professionals in the construction and home improvement industry, there are specific plumbing tools every plumber should have. Some of these tools are standard things most construction workers and DIYers will have on them. Others, however, are tools specifically for plumbing, and they serve no other purpose.

If you’re thinking about starting your own plumbing business or are a homeowner who wants to be ready for any plumbing crisis, you’ve come to the right place. This article will have a complete plumbing tool list of items you should have on hand so that you can tackle any plumbing job.

Must-Have Wrenches

A wide variety of specialty, adjustable, and pipe wrenches are staples for professional plumbers. Here are the six most important ones to keep in your tool kit:

Basin Wrench

If you plan to work with faucets at all, you’ll need a basin wrench. This specialty wrench has a special design and fitting on the end that allows you to get into tight spaces and loosen or tighten nuts and bolts. This is important when dealing with faucets, as working space is very limited.

Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable wrenches will get you out of more than one jam during your time as a professional plumber. You can adjust the size of the wrench to accommodate a wide range of nut and bolt sizes, which means you don’t have to carry your entire wrench set everywhere you go.

Pipe Wrench

Pipe wrenches are another staple for plumbing businesses. Pipe wrenches are large, adjustable wrenches made specifically to deal with installing and replacing gas or steel water and gas pipes.

Channel Lock Pliers

Channel-lock pliers are similar to adjustable wrenches in that you can adjust the size of the wrench. However, you have to open and close the pliers with a scissor-like motion and use brute strength to hold the pliers tight. It won’t do the work for you as with an adjustable or pipe wrench.

Torque Wrench

In some instances, you can’t simply tighten a nut or bolt until it feels tight. Instead, you need to be more precise and tighten it to a specific tightness calibration. To do that, you’ll need a torque wrench.

Cartridge Puller

Another handy tool you’ll need when working with faucets is a cartridge puller. Cartridge pullers reach into water valves on showers and faucets and get to places that no other tools for plumbing on this list can. It’s specifically made to remove cartridges and stems on faucets. While a universal cartridge puller is a good start, certain faucet brands have their own specific pullers.

Tools For Pipe Work

In addition to pipe wrenches and channel lock pliers, there are other things you’ll want to add to your plumbing tools list for pipework.

Plumber’s Torch and Soldering Equipment

Although copper piping isn’t relied on as heavily in modern plumbing as it once was, it still gets used quite a bit. While there are modern alternatives to traditional soldering, such as Sharkbite fittings, it’s still important to have a plumber’s torch and soldering equipment. Odds are you’ll get into at least one situation where soldering is the only option.

Additionally, Sharkbite fittings and similar options are fairly pricy, so if you do a lot of copper work, soldering equipment is a must.

Thread Sealing Tape

Although it’s one of the smaller items you’ll have in your tool kit, thread-sealing tape is essential. You’ll use this special tape any time you are twisting pipes and fittings together to tighten them. Failing to use thread sealing tape on threaded fittings will almost certainly result in leaks.


Although no one wants to be known as a hacksaw plumber, having a hacksaw in your tool kit is a good idea. Hacksaws are handsaws that have sharp, jagged teeth that are perfect for cutting copper or PVC pipe. While you likely won’t need a hacksaw very often if you have electrical or battery-operated saws, they’re good to have in a jam.

Tubing Cutter

If you cut a lot of smaller copper, having a tubing cutter is essential. Tubing cutters can cut pipes that are anywhere from 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches round, and their hard blades can cut through a wide range of materials.

Ratcheting Pipe Cutter

While tubing cutters are good for harder pipes, you can get by with a ratcheting pipe cutter for plastic pipes. Ratcheting cutters use a ratchet system that slowly tightens and cuts plastic pipes, including PVC, CPVC, and ABS. It’s the perfect tool for smaller pipes less than 1 1/2 inches round.

PEX Crimping Tools

Remember when I said that copper piping is largely a thing of the past? That’s because PEX has taken the plumbing world by storm and is now the most popular material used for residential and commercial water lines. As such, you had better have various sizes of PEX crimping tools, as well as PEX fittings on hand. 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″ are the most common sizes and are a good start.

Deburring Tools

In addition to a torch and soldering kit, you’ll also need deburring tools for plumbing if you work with copper pipe. Deburring tools sand down the inside and outside edges of copper piping after you make a cut, smoothening them out and removing any burrs. Failing to do this could keep the weld from holding, resulting in leaks.

Drain Cleaning and Clearing Tools For Plumbing

Even if you don’t work in the roto rooting side of plumbing, you’ll likely need to inspect, clean, or clear a drain at some point. As such, here’s a list of tools you should have on hand.

Drain Inspection Camera

Drain inspection cameras have gotten me out of more jams than I can count. In addition to their obvious use for inspecting drains to find jams and blockages, they’re also great for getting a better vantage point in tight spaces. If, for example, you need to cut into a wall during a remodel but are worried about potential water lines or gas pipes, you can drill a tiny hole in the wall and stick the camera in to take a look around.

Drain Auger

If you plan on doing any plumbing repairs or drain cleaning, a drain auger is a must. Drain augers are either hand-operated or electrically powered and are used to burrow into drains and sewer lines to remove blockages. The longer the auger is, the more capabilities it will offer.

Drain Snake

Rather than pushing blockages deeper into your septic system for removal, you may need to grab onto something and pull it out. If that’s the case, a drain snake is the way to go. As the name implies, a drain snake “snakes” its way into your drain to remove hair, paper products, and other non-solid items.


Is a plumber without a plunger even a real plumber? This is one of the most basic and commonly used tools on the service and repair side of things, and you would be silly to be without one. However, if all you work on is new installations, you likely won’t need a plunger.

Power Tools For Plumbing

Most of the tools we’ve looked at so far are hand-operated in nature. To make your life easier, there are also a few power tools you should consider investing in.

Power Drill

The power drill is one of the most used and important tools for plumbing you can have in your bag of tricks. From installing brackets and support systems for pipes to roughing in the plumbing system on a new house to whatever else you can think of, you’ll want a power drill at your side. Adding to their convenience is the fact that there are plumbing-specific attachments you can get for your drill, including polishers, scrubbers, drill bits, and more.

Hole Saw Kit

Another handy dandy attachment you should have for your power drill is a hole saw kit. Hole saws are perfect for drilling perfectly round holes in walls, ceilings, and floors for pipes to travel through. They will make your work look significantly neater and better than if you cut everything.

Reciprocating Saw

If you don’t want to use a hacksaw to do all your pipe cutting, you should have a reciprocating saw. Reciprocating saws will save time and energy as opposed to using a hacksaw. You can cut anything from PVC and ABS pipes to copper, steel, and cast iron, as long as you have the right blades.

Electric Hole Saw Drill

If you’re going to have a hole saw kit, you had better also have an electric hole saw drill. Battery-powered drills are good for drilling through thin or soft obstacles, but electric drills are best for heavy-duty or repeated use.

Safety Plumber Tools

If you’re new to the plumbing industry, you probably don’t realize how dangerous the job can be. Here are a few potential hazards to worry about:

  • Objects flying in your eye from drilling, cutting, and soldering.
  • Crushed fingers while working with pipes and heavy tools.
  • Burning yourself while working with soldering equipment.
  • Dropping pipes and heavy objects on your toes.
  • Much more

While you can’t always account for every accident and hazard, here are a few safety essentials to get you started.


Your eyes will take more of a beating than any other part of your body as a plumber. Nearly everything you do poses a potential risk to your eyes, whether it’s using a heat torch, cutting pipes, drilling holes, or installing pipes. Therefore, you should always have your safety goggles in position while on the job.


Aside from your eyes, your hands and fingers are at the next most risk. As such, you should always wear gloves for protection. Gloves will also help you get a better grip on your tools and pipes and can actually help you be a better plumber. You also won’t be at risk of getting harmful contaminants on your hands if you’re cleaning a drain or dealing with sewage.

Heat Shields

In addition to keeping you from burning yourself, heat shields will also keep you from burning the house down. You should put heat shields on any surface that falls in the line of fire when you’re soldering.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are quite a few tools you should have on hand if you’re thinking about becoming a plumber. In addition to making your life easier, these tools for plumbing will also help you do a better job and be the best plumber that you can be. While there are lots of other tools you’ll probably want to invest in eventually, these are the bare basics and will help you get started. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *