18 Plumbing Tools for Homeowners or Working Plumbers

Having the right tools can make plumbing jobs much easier for both homeowners and professionals. With a well-stocked toolbox, common repairs and installations can be completed safely, efficiently, and with high quality results. Here are 18 of the most useful plumbing tools that every homeowner and plumber should have.

Basic Hand Tools

Even simple repairs require a few standard hand tools. Having these basics on hand will allow you to tighten fittings, cut pipe, deburr copper, and complete other fundamental plumbing tasks.

Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches, often called crescent wrenches, are a must-have for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. Choose a 10 or 12-inch size wrench which allows you to grip different sized fittings. Make sure the jaws open wide enough to fit larger pipes or fittings.

Channel Lock Pliers

Channel lock pliers work similarly to adjustable wrenches but have a higher gripping strength. The wide jaws can grip pipes, nuts, and fittings. Get a 10 or 12-inch size for versatility.

Pipe Wrench

A pipe wrench has a specialized jaw that grips round objects very securely. The serrated teeth help generate tremendous gripping force to loosen stuck fittings. A 14 or 18-inch pipe wrench can handle most household plumbing jobs.

Basin Wrench

A basin wrench has an “S” shaped head that lets you access the retaining nuts securing faucets and other sink hardware. The long handle and pivoting head make it easy to reach up behind sinks.

Tubing Cutter

Copper and plastic tubing require specialized cutters to make straight, burr-free cuts. Tubing cutters have a cutting wheel enclosed in a circular jaw that makes clean slices.


A hacksaw with a metal cutting blade can cut through pipes, bolts, and other materials a tubing cutter can’t handle. It’s useful for cutting threaded rod and other materials.

Pipe Cutter

Steel and black iron pipes require a specialized pipe cutter tool. The cutter wheels slice through the pipe while keeping it round for easy threading. A ratcheting pipe cutter is easiest to use.

Deburring Tool

After cutting copper tubing, the ends must be deburred and reamed to smooth out any ridges or burrs. A simple deburring tool has multiple blade sizes to deburr different tube diameters.

Torpedo Level

A small torpedo level is extremely useful for plumbing to make sure pipes, valves, and fittings are aligned properly when installed. The rounded shape allows placement on curved surfaces.

Drain Cleaning Tools

Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing headaches. Having the right tools to clear blockages will save you from needing to call a plumber.


A standard flat plunger or flange plunger generates suction to dislodge clogs. Cover the drain opening completely when plunging.

Auger (Drain Snake)

For tougher clogs, a drain auger can snake through bends to clear blockages. A hand crank auger is inexpensive but requires physical effort. Electric powered models make the process easier. 25-foot cables can clear most household drains.

Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool

Resembling a long, plastic shoestring, this handy tool can grab hair and gunk clogging a drain. Insert it into the drain, then twist and pull to extract debris. It’s great for bathroom sink and tub drains.

Faucet and Valve Tools

Installing or repairing faucets requires specialty tools suited for the job. Investing in quality tools will make the tasks much simpler.

Basin Wrench

A basin wrench is designed specifically for tightening nuts and bolts securing faucets and other sink hardware. The offset shape fits up behind sinks.

Faucet Seat Wrench

Faucet seat wrenches have thin open-end jaws made to remove and install faucet valve seats and springs. Different sizes are available depending on the faucet brand.

Faucet Handle Puller

To remove stuck faucet handles, a handle puller wedges between the handle and body to pop it loose. Choose a puller that works with common residential faucet brands.

Valve Stem Packing Tool

Leaky faucets usually indicate worn out valve stem packings or washers. A packing tool allows safe packing replacement without damaging the valve stem.

Spud Wrench

A spud wrench is designed specifically to remove toilet tank spud nuts to replace flappers, valves, and other internal parts. The thin offset end fits in the tank.

Faucet and Valve Seat Grinder

Seat grinders reshape damaged faucet seats and valve seats to stop leaks. The abrasive chuck grinds the surface for a tight seal.

Soldering Tools

Soldering copper pipes requires some specialized fluxing and soldering tools. With quality equipment, even first-timers can quickly master the soldering process.

Torch Kit

A basic propane torch kit should include an adjustable flame torch, striker, flux brush, and soldering mat. Look for torch kits designed for plumbing soldering.

Lead-Free Solder

For health reasons, only lead-free solders containing tin and copper alloys should be used. Different melting points are available. Acid-core solders incorporate flux.

Emery Cloth

Emery cloths are small sandpaper strips used to buff copper joints prior to soldering. The abrasion helps the solder adhere properly.

Wire Brush

After soldering, use a brass wire brush to scrub off flux residue and oxidization. The brush cleans the pipe surface without damaging it.


Sandcloths are also useful for cleaning copper pipe prior to soldering. The coarse grit removes contaminants for better solder adhesion.

Flux Brush

A flux brush coats copper joints with soldering flux to prepare the surface and promote flow. Disposable brushes are most convenient to eliminate cleaning.

Soldering Paste Flux

Liquid flux can drip off pipes during soldering. Flux paste stays put on vertical surfaces. It also reduces fumes.

Lead Test Kit

To check for lead contamination, inexpensive lead test kits can quickly detect lead on soldered joints and copper pipe surfaces. Safety is critical when soldering.

Plumbing Specialty Tools

Some plumbing tasks call for more specialized tools. Having them when needed will make the jobs much easier.

Tubing Bender

Bending copper tubing requires a quality tubing bender to prevent kinking. Benders come in different sizes to match various tube diameters.

Flaring Tool

Flaring tools roll and flare the ends of soft copper tubing to connect to flare fittings. A good flaring tool produces smooth, leak-free flares.

Ridgid PEX Crimp Tools

PEX plumbing systems use copper crimp rings to connect fittings and valves. The matching Ridgid brand crimp tool securely crimps the rings.

PVC Ratchet Cutters

For cutting plastic PVC pipes quickly and cleanly, ratcheting PVC cutters are the ideal solution. One simple squeeze cuts through pipes.

Internal Pipe Wrench

An internal pipe wrench fits inside pipes to grip the walls and turn stuck fittings and pipes. Great for removing broken shower arms.

Mini Tubing Cutters

Mini tubing cutters are designed for 1⁄4, 3⁄8 and 1⁄2 inch tubing. The small size allows cutting in tight spaces.

Utility Knife with Blades

A folding utility knife and sharp blades are essential for cutting shingles, PEX, PVC, opening boxes, stripping wires, and more plumbing tasks.

18 Plumbing Tools for Homeowners or Working Plumbers – Conclusion

Equipping your toolbox with quality plumbing tools will give you the ability to tackle virtually any home repair. Investing in specialized plumbing tools like a basin wrench or tubing cutter may cost more up front, but will save money in the long run by enabling DIY projects and avoiding plumber fees.

Whether you’re a homeowner that likes taking on basic plumbing jobs or a professional plumber, this list of 18 essential tools will provide everything needed for most common repairs and installations. With the right gear, plumbing tasks become much more doable.

Frequently Asked Questions About Essential Plumbing Tools

Plumbing tools allow you to fix leaks, clear clogs, and install new pipes and fixtures. Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have about equipping a DIY plumbing toolbox.

What are the most essential tools every homeowner should own for basic plumbing work?

At a minimum, every homeowner should have an adjustable wrench, pliers, torpedo level, plunger, and drain snake. A basic toolbox with these items will allow you to tackle many basic repairs.

What tools does a professional plumber carry?

Plumbers have a vast array of specialized tools. Key items include pipe wrenches, tubing cutters, soldering torches, basin wrenches, faucet tools, pipe cutters, and drain augers. Having quality professional-grade tools makes plumbers more efficient.

Can I use a crescent wrench instead of a basin wrench to work on faucet nuts?

While a crescent wrench may seem similar, a basin wrench is specially designed for reaching up behind sinks and tightening faucet nuts in cramped space. The thin curved head can fit where other wrenches cannot.

How do I know what size tubing cutter to buy?

Check the outside diameter of the copper tubing you’ll be working with. Tubing cutters are sized for 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4 inch tubing. Buy the size closest to your piping OD.

What plumbing tools should every home have to handle clogged drains?

At minimum, a plunger and hand auger are essential for clearing clogs. A Zip-It tool is also handy for grabbing hair in bathroom drains. For severe clogs, a powered drain auger is extremely useful.

Can I use sandpaper instead of emery cloth to polish copper for soldering?

While it may seem abrasive, standard sandpaper is too coarse for smoothing copper pipes. Emery cloth has finer grit sized specifically for preparing copper. Match grade emery cloth to pipe diameter.

Is it necessary to buy a basin wrench to remove the nuts holding my bathroom faucet?

The basin wrench is specially designed to reach up behind sinks and remove nuts in tight spaces. While you may be able to improvise another tool, the correct basin wrench will save frustration and prevent damage.

What plumbing tools should I have for PEX projects?

To install PEX piping, you’ll need tubing cutters sized for the tubing, PEX crimp rings, and the matching PEX crimp tool for the brand crimp rings you choose. Consider an internal pipe wrench to unscrew fittings.

What are tube deburring tools and why do I need them?

When copper tube is cut, it leaves burrs that must be removed. Deburring tools efficiently chamfer and smooth the inside and outside of freshly cut tube ends. Proper deburring is critical for leak-free soldering.

Can I use a multipurpose torch kit for soldering copper pipes?

For best results, use a torch kit designed specifically for copper plumbing with the right torch tips and accessories. Plumbing torches allow fine heat adjustment and integrated soldering helps.

How often do professional plumbers need to buy new tools?

Plumbers use tools daily, so they periodically need to replace heavily used items. Many plumbers budget for tool replacement every 1-2 years, depending on workload and tool quality. Hand tools may last longer than powered tools.

What are the most essential electrical tools plumbers utilize?

Electricians handle home wiring, but plumbers need basic electrical tools like a voltmeter, GFCI tester, and cable cutters. Plumbers dealing with water heaters and pumps may need multimeters to diagnose problems.

What accessories do I need for soldering copper pipes?

A quality soldering kit will include a torch, adjustment tools, flux brush, emery cloth, sandcloth, solder, and safety gear. A soldering mat, wire brush, and lead test kit are also useful soldering accessories.

What are the most useful basic plumbing tools for a new homeowner?

Every new homeowner should equip their toolbox with pliers, wrenches, a basin wrench, plunger, tubing cutter, hacksaw, torpedo level, drain snake, and pipe wrench. Invest in quality tools made for plumbers.

This detailed guide covers 18 of the most useful plumbing tools for both homeowners and professionals to handle common repair and installation jobs. Equipping your toolbox with the essentials listed here will save time, frustration, and money on future plumbing projects.