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Best Plumbing Tools List: 47 Must-Have Tools [+ Printable Checklist]

Best Plumbing Tools List: 47 Must-Have Tools [+ Printable Checklist]

Essential supplies for a successful plumber include pipework tools, wrenches, pliers, drain tools and select power tools.

Your role as a plumber serves various purposes as you face new challenges. From finding and fixing leaks to installing water heaters, each day on the job differs.

So when it comes time to stock up your toolbox and work truck, you need a kit that serves both you and your customers. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive plumbing tools list that includes everything you need to be a successful plumber, no matter your project.

Download our printable checklist below or keep reading to get more details on the plumbing tools you need and what jobs you’ll use them for.


Table of Contents

Pipework Tools

Pipework tools include cutters, a hacksaw and more. They’re specifically for repairing, installing or cleaning pipes, tubes and supply lines. Read on to learn about seven pipework-specific tools every plumber needs.


1. Pipe Cutters

The name of these tools is pretty straightforward. Plumbers use them to cut through various types of pipes. Pipe cutters are predominately classified by the materials they can cut through, such as plastic, steel, copper and brass. They are an alternative to a hacksaw, as they make more precise and clean cuts.

Best For: Installing and replacing water, drain and supply pipes.

2. Internal PVC Pipe Cutter

An internal PVC pipe cutter is a handheld tool shaped like a cylinder with a blade at the end, allowing workers to insert the blade into the pipe and cut from the inside. This is especially useful when a plumber needs to cut pipe without disturbing the surrounding structure and remove a portion of the PVC.

Best For: Repairing or installing PVC pipes within walls, floors or other structures where it is difficult to cut the pipe externally.

3. Hacksaw

Another type of pipe-cutting tool is the hacksaw. It is a handheld saw that can cut through various materials, including metal and plastic, depending on the tooth configuration. Plumbers will typically use a hacksaw when a pipe cutter won’t work. For example, a plumber would use a hacksaw if a pipe is oddly shaped or they need to cut around an object. Since a hacksaw is more flexible and is operated by hand, it allows for more control.

Best For: Cutting pipes by hand during installation and repairs and cutting threaded rods.

4. Junior Hacksaw

As you might guess from the name, a junior hacksaw is smaller than its standard counterpart. While a standard model has an average blade length of 10 to 12 inches, a junior model measures about six inches. A smaller model is especially helpful for cutting through smaller pipes and completing more detailed work due to its ease of control.

Best For: Similar tasks to a hacksaw but on a smaller scale or lighter material.

5. Ratcheting Pipe Cutter

Our last pipe-cutting tool is a ratcheting pipe cutter, similar to a standard pipe cutter but due to its ratchet system, can make cuts in small, incremental strokes of the handle. Plumbers prefer this type of cutter because it is easier to work with and less strenuous on the user.

Best For: Making precise cuts in PVC, steel, copper or brass pipes.

6. Press Fitting Systems

A press fitting system joins pipes using a mechanical press rather than traditional methods like soldering. These systems make it easier to join pipes, and they produce efficient and effective results thanks to watertight sealing elements, such as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber.

Best For: Connecting stainless steel and copper pipes such as water supply lines and heating systems.

7. Plumbing Brushes

Plumbers use plumbing brushes to clean and prepare the inside of pipes, fittings and other plumbing components. Many plumbing jobs require different brush sizes, so keep a set on you so you’re prepared for any situation.

Best For: Removing debris, corrosion and buildup inside pipes to clear them out or prepare them for joining.


Wrenches are a plumber’s best friend, but one wrench won’t cut it. Since you never know what a job will require, you’ll need various wrenches in your tool belt. From basin wrenches to strap wrenches, here are the six most common types of wrenches plumbers use.


8. Basin Wrench

There’s a reason “basin” is right in the name. Basin wrenches help loosen and tighten nuts in tight spaces, typically behind or under sinks. Basin wrenches feature a vertical handle that the plumber uses to easily tighten or loosen these hard-to-reach nuts and bolts.

Best For: Installing, removing and repairing sink faucets.

9. Pipe Wrench

If you close your eyes and envision a plumber holding a wrench, you’re probably imagining a pipe wrench. This tool is specifically designed for threaded pipes or pipe fittings during installation and removal. The wrench offers additional leverage while the plumber turns it, which makes it easier to get a tight seal or loosen fittings.

Best For: Connecting or disconnecting threaded pipes and fittings.

10. Faucet Key

Faucet keys are also known as sillcock or hose bib keys. They are specifically designed to fit valves on outdoor spigots and faucets and control water valves. Depending on the faucet’s shape, the end of the key has a square or pentagon shape, which fits into the valve to control the flow of water.

Best For: Turning water on or off from outside a structure. Specifically for winterization or a construction project where water must be temporarily turned off.

11. Ratchet Wrenches

Also known as socket wrenches, ratchet wrenches fit directly over bolts and nuts and use the ratcheting mechanism to quickly loosen and tighten the bolts with ease. A traditional wrench would require the user to turn the bolt, remove the wrench and readjust it, whereas a ratchet wrench allows the user to turn the bolt by cranking the wrench in place.

Best For: Loosening or tightening nuts and bolts when securing pipe clamps or fittings.

12. Adjustable Wrench

Also known as a crescent wrench, an adjustable wrench acts similar to a traditional wrench but features an adjustable jaw that can fit different sizes of nuts, bolts and fasteners. As a rule of thumb, the longer the handle, the more torque the plumber has for turning the desired item.

Best For: Loosening and tightening pipe fittings and fasteners of various sizes.

13. Strap Wrench

A strap wrench is a different type of wrench made out of a durable strap attached to a handle. The strap helps to distribute force so you don’t scratch the surface of the pipe.

Since walls and floors conceal many pipes, a plumber can use any type of wrench and risk scratching the surface. However, some jobs may leave pipes exposed, in which case you would use the strap wrench.

Best For: Installing or removing faucet fixtures and working on exposed pipes with a finished surface.


Plumbers should always have a set of pliers on hand. They often come in handy when they need to firmly grasp objects that aren’t easily holdable by hand. For example, holding a small bolt in place would require a handy set of pliers as it would be too difficult to hold it in with fingers alone.


14. Needle Nose Pliers

As its name might indicate, needle nose pliers are a set of pliers that come to a sharp point at the end. The plier’s long and tapered jaws can hold smaller items in place and provide a strong grip. They can also substitute for a wrench by altering bolts in spaces where a wrench isn’t viable.

Best For: Gripping and manipulating small objects within confined spaces.

15. Tongue and Groove Pliers

These adjustable pliers allow plumbers to grip and turn different objects. The jaws are designed with a pattern inside to provide additional grip, and the sliding joint creates different sizes, allowing the tool to accommodate various types of projects.

Best For: Gripping, turning and adjusting pipes, fittings and fixtures. Smaller tongues and pliers can grip and adjust nuts and bolts.

Other Hand Tools for Plumbers

If we haven’t already covered a hand tool that a plumber would use, you’ll likely find it below, including screwdrivers, PEX tool kits, nipple extractors and more.


16. Screwdriver Set

Screwdrivers are one of the most basic hand tools and they’re useful for various plumbing tasks. A plumber’s screwdriver set should include various sizes and shapes of drivers such as flatheads, Phillips, hex (Allen wrench), torx and ratcheting screwdrivers. To save space, you may consider investing in a multi-bit screwdriver that includes one or two handles and interchangeable bits.

Best For: Tightening and loosening screws found on fixtures, brackets and appliances.

17. Stubby Screwdrivers

Along with typical screwdrivers, a plumber will likely need a set of stubby screwdrivers. Also known as cabinet screwdrivers, these tools have a compact design with a shorter handle and shaft. Since they are smaller, they are easier to maneuver in small spaces and fit tiny screws like the ones seen on cabinet hinges.

Best For: Tightening and loosening screws found on fixtures in tight spaces like behind toilets, under sinks and inside cabinets.

18. Cartridge Puller

There are cartridges inside faucets that control the water temperature and flow. These cartridges require a specific tool, the cartridge puller, to remove them. A typical cartridge puller is shaped like a T and has two prongs at the end of it. When engaged, the prongs clamp shut around the cartridge, allowing the plumber to turn, loosen and remove it.

Best For: Removing cartridges in single-handle faucets in showers and some sinks.

19. Nipple Extractor

In plumbing, a nipple is part of a threaded pipe that can allow plumbers to connect pipes and fittings. The threaded nipple can rust over time, making it difficult to remove if a repair or replacement needs to be made. In situations like this, you would use a nipple extractor. By using the extractor to grip the threaded end of the nipple, you can loosen and remove it more easily than if you were to use a wrench.

Best For: Removing the short section of a threaded pipe known as the nipple when an adjustment, repair or replacement is necessary.

20. PEX Tool Kit

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is often used as an alternative to PVC pipes thanks to its flexibility and ease of installation. If a plumber is working on a PEX plumbing system, they’ll need a special set of tools for cutting and securing these pipes since they differ widely from the more common alternatives.

This tool kit will likely include:

  • PEX tubing cutter
  • PEX crimp tool
  • PEX clamp tool
  • PEX expander
  • PEX ring removal tool
  • PEX go/no-go gauge
  • PEX reaming tool

Best For: Working on PEX-specific pipes to cut, crimp, remove, expand and perform other common pipework tasks.

21. Push-to-Connect Fittings Removal Tool

Push-to-connect tubing is popular among plumbing systems for its ease of installation. These types of fittings use a collet that provides a tight seal without soldering or gluing. However, when these tubes need to be disconnected, a plumber must enlist the help of a push-to-connect fittings removal tool.

These tools use a squeezing mechanism that releases the collet inside the fitting, allowing the plumber to release and remove the fitting without causing damage to the pipe or fitting.

Best For: Removing the fittings on fixtures, valves and other plumbing components that used a push-to-connect fitting during installation.

Drain-Specific Plumbing Tools

It’s no secret that plumbers work on drains almost daily, so every plumber should have these tools. From drain snakes to cameras, here’s everything a plumber needs to work on drains with ease.


22. Drain Inspection Camera

A drain inspection camera is a small, yet powerful, camera that is secured to the end of a long cable with an LED light. Plumbers thread the cable down a drain with the camera and light on so they can inspect the pipes below and identify any potential drainage issues.

Best For: Locating blockages and clogs and inspecting the pipe for corrosion, cracks and other damages.

23. Plungers

Plungers are manual tools that use air pressure to unclog sink drains and pipes. There are two types of plungers every plumber should have. The first is a cup plunger, designed for drains on flat surfaces such as shower drains and sinks. The other type of plunger is the flange plunger, which features a rubber extension from the cup — optimal for fitting to and unclogging toilets.

Best For: Clearing out clogs and blockages in drains, toilets and pipes.

24. Drain Auger/Drain Snake

A drain snake is a specialized plumbing tool that looks like a long cable with teeth at the end. Plumbers use drain snakes by feeding them down a drain and finding the blockage. The teeth grab the blockage so the plumber can pull it back up to clear the pipe. Drain augers can either be manual or motorized. While manual snakes are often suitable for home-based projects, motorized augers can simplify and speed up much larger plumbing tasks.

Best For: Unclogging shower and sink drains from hair and other blockages.

Power Tools for Plumbing

When your hand tools won’t get the job done, you may need to pick up some power tools, like a drill or hole saw. While you may not need these tools for every job, they’re nice to have close by and worth keeping in your work vehicle.


25. Cordless Power Drill

A power drill is a common power tool that plumbers and handy people tend to keep with them. Power drills make tasks such as creating holes and securing screws much easier. Many plumbers will opt for a cordless drill as it offers mobility so they can work in various locations without being attached to a power source.

Best For: Installing and removing fixings, assembling pipes and fittings and making holes for anchors.

26. Drill Bits

Drill bits are located at the very end of the power drill and are interchangeable, so plumbers can use them for various applications. Plumbers often need different drill bits based on their task and the material they are working with. Tile, masonry, auger and twist drills are just a few examples of drill bits plumbers often use.

Best For: Drilling holes through various materials such as tile, wood and PVC.

27. Hole Saw

This is a cylindrical saw that features a serrated blade, making it optimal for cutting large, precise, circle-shaped holes. Hole saws come in multiple sizes and blade shapes that cut through materials like wood, plastic, drywall and metal. Many hole saws come as a drill attachment similar to a drill bit. As the saw rotates from the power of the drill, the blade cuts through the desired material.

Best For: Creating precise, circle-shaped cuts in different sizes and materials to cut out openings for pipes and wires.

28. Soldering Torch

If a metal pipe needs a quick, watertight repair or seal, soldering is a permanent solution that’s extremely durable. The torch is a localized heat source that melts the solder in wire or paste form. Once the soldering torch is removed, the solder will cool and harden.

Best For: Join or repair copper and steel pipes and fittings.

29. Hydro Jetting Machine

This specialized piece of plumbing equipment uses high-pressure water to clean the inside of drains and sewer pipes. With its distinct nozzle and high-pressure pump, plumbers use this machine to take on jobs that they can’t complete with a plunger or drain snake.

Best For: Removing stubborn blockages in drains and pipes like grease and tree roots.

30. Reciprocating Saw

Also known as a sawzall, this electric saw features a blade that quickly moves back and forth. The reciprocating motion allows the tool to cut through materials effectively and efficiently. It can make clean cuts in almost any material a plumber comes in contact with, such as PVC, wood and copper.

Best For: Making clean, efficient cuts through pipes, fixtures, drywall, nails and more.

Basic Plumbing Supplies to Always Have On-Hand

Our list of supplies doesn’t stop at tools. You also need plenty of other items to be prepared for your plumbing jobs. Things like plumber’s tape are obvious, but don’t forget about the nonobvious, like extra batteries and duct tape. Here’s a comprehensive list of other items you should have on hand to be prepared for each job.


31. Plumber’s Tape

Plumber’s tape is a film-like nonstick tape made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Plumbers use this tape by wrapping it around a threaded pipe and then screwing the outer threaded pipe over it. It’s an easy, inexpensive and efficient way to ensure a watertight seal.

Best For: Create a watertight seal between two threaded pipes.

32. Plumber’s Putty

Plumber’s putty is similar to plumber’s tape in function but differs in use. Since it’s a soft compound, plumbers can easily spread it in places where tape is not as viable. Another perk of a plumber’s putty is that it will not harden, making it an excellent sealant for fixtures that require flexibility.

Best For: To create a watertight seal on drains, faucets and toilet bases.

33. Caulk Gun and Silicone Caulk

Ever notice an almost rubber-like substance between your bathtub and the floor? That is silicone caulk! It creates a flexible yet watertight seal between two surfaces. Silicone caulk comes in a long tube that comes to a point at the end where the caulk is pushed out. A caulk gun allows for fast and easy application as it squeezes the top of the tube when the user pulls the trigger.

Best For: Creating a long-lasting seal between two surfaces, often at an angle like between a floor and bathtub or floor and toilet.

34. Soldering Wire

The soldering wire is especially helpful for joining two pieces of metal, typically copper, together. The soldering process uses a heat source to heat the wire and metal surfaces. As the wire melts onto the surface and then cools, it will form a strong bond between the two metal objects.

Best For: Create a permanent, tight seal between two copper pipes or fittings.

35. Soldering Paste

This spreadable substance is easier to use than soldering wires for tight spaces. While this paste has a similar purpose to wire, it’s often more accessible and easier to use. To use soldering paste, a plumber would spread the paste onto the desired surface and then use a heat source to melt the paste into solder and create a seal in the copper pipes or fittings.

Best For: Create a permanent seal in hard-to-reach places.

36. Washers and O-Rings

A washer is a small metal disk with a hole in the middle that acts as a screw or bolt fastener. Its purpose is to tighten and secure the bolt in place by evenly distributing its load. O-rings are small, donut-shaped pieces of rubber. They are placed in a groove and then compressed when two joints or threaded surfaces meet. The combination of the flexible rubber and compression makes a watertight seal.

Best For: Creating seals between two plumbing fixtures and ensuring the seal’s security.

37. Batteries and Chargers

You never want to get stuck at a job due to a dead battery. Whether your power tools require replaceable or chargeable batteries, you should always have extra with you. Most power tools take their specific brand of rechargeable battery packs. Consider buying two batteries and a charger so you always have one in use and one charging.

Best For: Replacing dead batteries in power tools.

38. Screws

Plumbers need screws to secure materials and join them together. It’s important to have the right screw for the right job, depending on the materials you’re working with.

Here are 10 screws a plumber needs:

  1. Drywall screws
  2. Sheet metal screws
  3. Machine screws
  4. Wood screws
  5. Self-tapping screws
  6. Hex head screws
  7. Concrete screws
  8. Lag screws
  9. Stainless steel screws
  10. Bracket screws

Best For: Fastening two materials together, such as metal to wood or fixtures to natural stone.

39. Sandpaper

This is an abrasive sheet that plumbers use to create smooth surfaces in wood or other soft materials. Alternatively, plumbers can use coarser sandpaper to roughen a smooth surface like PVC and prime it for an adhesive. Sandpaper is also an effective cleaning tool for oxidized metal surfaces.

Best For: Preparing or finishing surfaces by smoothing out imperfections or creating a textured surface.

40. Emery Cloth

Emery cloth is similar to sandpaper in that it is an abrasive. However, this tool is used primarily on metal surfaces. It is also more durable than sandpaper since the abrasive is adhered to a cloth rather than paper, making it less inclined to tear. Plumbers use emery clothes to clean off oxidized metal and smooth out any imperfections.

Best For: Smoothing, polishing and cleaning metal surfaces and plumbing components.

41. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a common household item, but it still belongs in your commercial toolkit. This extremely sticky and durable tape can temporarily fix pipe leaks. While it’s not a permanent solution, duck tape can come in handy when you’re in a pinch and need to quickly make a fix that you can fully address in a few short hours.

Best For: Creating a temporary seal in a pipe to reduce leaking until you can make a permanent fix.

42. Silicone Grease

Silicone grease is both a lubricant and a sealant made from silicone. Since it is silicone, it is resistant to water and oxidation. Plumbers use it in various ways, such as lubricating and preventing oxidation in threaded pipes, o-rings and cartridges.

Best For: Lubricating moving plumbing components and preventing corrosion.

Plumbing Safety Supplies

Worksite safety should always take priority. That’s why we made sure to include a list of safety supplies you need for any plumbing job. Whether it shields you from harm or keeps you comfortable on the job, these items are essential for your well-being at work.


43. Knee Pads

Plumbers spend a lot of time examining and working on low spaces, like under sinks, which requires them to be on their knees often. To ensure the comfort and the safety of these joints, many plumbers opt to wear knee pads over their work pants. You should choose knee pads that easily strap on and off and fit comfortably while you’re standing or kneeling.

Best For: Working under sinks, at the bases of bathtubs or any project that requires bending down for elongated periods.

44. Flashlight and Headlamp

Most plumbing jobs will have you looking in spaces that have limited access to light, so you’ll need to bring your own portable light source. Flashlights are an excellent option since they’re compact. Another option is a headlamp, which you can strap to your forehead for a hands-free light source.

Best For: Seeing details in spaces with little or no light, like under a sink or down a drain.

45. Gloves

When you’re working with your hands all day, it’s easy to form blisters or accidentally cut yourself. To prevent this, consider picking out a nice pair of work gloves that fit nicely and allow for a full range of motion in your hands and fingers.

Best For: Protecting your hands from blisters, cuts and other minor injuries while working with tools.

46. Safety Goggles

A plumber’s worksite contains dozens of hazards, so a pair of well-fitting safety goggles are a must-have piece of personal protection equipment (PPE). Safety goggles should sit comfortably over the eyes and can be worn over prescription lenses if necessary. Always secure your safety goggles before beginning work by adjusting the straps as needed.

Best For: Protecting your eyes from strong chemicals, dust and other debris.

47. Hard Hat

Another essential piece of PPE is the hard hat. Plumbers and other workers use these to protect themselves from potential head injuries that could result from bumping their heads or falling objects. Always make sure your hard hat fits properly by tightening and loosening it with the ratchet. Additionally, you must only wear your hard hat on top of your head, never too far back or too far forward.

Best For: Protecting your head from the impact of falling objects, low structures and projectiles.

When the tools in your toolbox don’t cut it, you may need heavy equipment to complete the job. Thankfully, BigRentz takes out the hard work of sourcing equipment with ready-to-rent machines at various locations across the country. BigRentz offers heavy equipment for plumbers, like man lifts, light towers, air compressors and trenching machines.

Make sure you’re prepared for every job with a reference checklist you can use daily. Download our plumbing tools and supplies list below!


And next time you score a big-time plumbing job, don’t forget to check out BigRentz to rent equipment at your convenience.


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