10 Must-Have Tools for Plumbers

Are there any trades today where you can use your hands to make a good living? In 2021, the average salary for a plumber is $58,858, ranging between $51,192 and $67,338.

Whether current salaries spark your interest in the plumbing trade, or you’re already working as a plumber, you need tools.  A lot of tools! From tools to fix pipes and unclog drains to cutting metal and PVC pipe — the number of tools plumbers use daily can’t all fit into one tool bag.

The best tools for plumbers help them focus on what they do best: fixing plumbing problems. In this post, we will look at ten must-have tools every plumber needs in their toolkit. Read on before you head out on your next trip to the plumbing supply store.

1. Wrenches

Plumbers use a variety of wrenches to complete their projects. One wrench, the pipe wrench, is essential in the trade, most plumbers don’t only use them on the job. They include images of pipe wrenches in their branding materials. Here is a breakdown of the different wrenches you should have in your plumbing toolbox.

Pipe Wrench

A.K.A.  plumber’s wrench,  a good pipe wrench is a plumber’s best friend. This tool will help you grasp and turn nuts, screws, or bolts. The long handle on the pipe wrench allows you to apply more force and can make hard jobs easier and faster (especially if you’re working with rusty pipes).

Adjustable Wrench

The joint on an adjustable wrench allows the flat jaws to open or close. This wrench comes in handy if your pipe diameter changes and you need different tools, such as when tightening nuts and bolts.

Basin Wrench

A basin wrench does one thing only — it helps a plumber remove and install faucets. If you don’t have one, you’re probably not a professional plumber. Ouch!

Faucet Key

Formally known as a sillcock key, plumbers and other contractors use faucet keys to open tamper-resistant hose bibs, spigots, and valves. Fun fact: Survivalists keep them in their bug-out bags if they need to tap into an external water supply.

Next, we’ll show you the most common pliers plumbers all over the world use.

2. Pliers

Whether you need leverage to move and grip small objects or you need to bend and shape wires and rods, pliers show up in almost every plumbing toolbox. Here are the two most common:


Needle-nose pliers make it easy to cut and grip small tubing. Plumbers like them because they help access hard-to-reach spaces

Tongue-and-Groove Pliers (Channel Lock)

Tongue-and-groove pliers allow you to grip objects much better than regular slip-joint pliers can. You might recognize them by their popular nickname: Channel locks.

Experts at Supply Smart, specialists in residential plumbing products, recommend keeping both of these types of pliers available for every job you tackle.

3. Files

Plumbers use files to clean and smooth rough edges of metal. Files make excellent multi-purpose tools. You can use them to cut, clean filings from surfaces, scrap, and boring holes into objects.

4. Plunger

Every home has one (or at least it should), but a plunger is also an essential piece of plumbing equipment carried in every plumber’s truck.

Plungers use suction to help remove clogs from toilets and drains. DIY plumbers usually keep a standard drain plunger in or near the bathroom. Drain plungers work best on flat surfaces, which is why they don’t work so well on clogged toilets.

For uncomplicated toilet clogs, plumbers use either a flange or accordion plunger. If you’ve worked in the plumbing field for even a short time, you know sometimes it takes more than a plunger to move stubborn clogs. Next, we’ll look at the best friend any plumber could ask for – the plumber’s snake.

5. Drain Snake

For the plumbing jSnakehat requireSnakettle more than plunging, power drain snakes make the job easy. Drain snakes, also sometimes called augers, help clear obstructions in drains and pipes.

The sharp tip of this tool can break up clogs or grab an object (a child’s toy truck) stuck inside a toilet. Snakes are helpful for clearing debris and hair clogs in drains.

As helpful as they are, plumbers should take care when using drain snakes. It’s easy to make a clog worse or damage the tool itself if you’re not careful how you use these plumbing tools.

6. Hacksaw

If a plumber needs to cut metal, a hacksaw is a go-to tool to get the job done. Hacksaws contain a fine-toothed blade that cuts through metal piping, PVC pipe, or other plastic objects.

Overall, using a hacksaw helps get the project done efficiently. You can easily replace the blade once it’s dull and worn.

7. Torches

Any plumber worth their weight will keep a propane torch in the truck. Torches cut and solder metal. They also make an excellent solution when you need to create a cutting or bending tool. Plumbers also use them to solder pipe joints together.

And the classic use for a torch? Heating something that has frozen due to cold winter temperatures!

8. Vise grip

When you need to clamp down tight on something and hold it in place while working on it, you’ll grab your vice grips.

Vice grips look like big wrenches with teeth on the inside. They work by providing pressure between two surfaces (so you can bend or unbend metal objects, for example).

Vice grips come in various sizes. The amount of force you need to apply determines which size tool you need.

9. Caulking Gun

Plumbers always need high-quality caulking tools, including a good caulking gun. You can’t apply caulk around sinks, bathtub edges, and other places where leakages occur without these vital plumbing tools.

Not having a calling gun may not seem like a big deal until you realize your customer has developed a water issue due to gaps between surfaces not being sealed properly.

10. Multimeter

Most laypeople hear the word multimeter and associate it with electricians. They use multimeters to diagnose electrical problems by determining whether there is power in certain areas of an electrical circuit.

Plumbers use this tool to test for current leaks near water lines during construction projects. Kitchens and bathrooms are the primary areas where a multimeter will be useful since these areas tend to be where leaks are most likely to occur.

Enjoy Reading About Tools for Plumbers?

Whether you’re an aspiring plumber, or you’re a seasoned plumbing contractor, you’ll work more efficiently with the right tools. Without the must-have tools for plumbers, not only will your toolbox seem half-empty, you may have trouble completing your plumbing projects.

If you’ve enjoyed exploring a few of the essential tools for plumbing, you’ll enjoy browsing the archives here on our blog. Take a few minutes and see what we’ve put together for people just like you.

Thank you for reading!

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