What Tools Do Plumbers Need?

by Steve Coffey  // in Equipment, Operations, Plumbing


If not for the tools they use, a plumber would never be able to complete their task properly. Working as a plumber, whether you’re a residential plumber or a commercial plumber, you’re bound to experience many challenges. 

And in these challenges, your skills, thinking power – and most importantly, your tools – will get you through them. 

Using the right tools ensures you can give your clients the best professional service possible. 

There are many tools that plumbers use daily. So, if you’re planning to become a plumber or open your own business, being familiar with these tools is crucial. We’ve got you covered: in this article, we’ll discuss the tools used by plumbers in detail.

What are plumbing tools?

Plumbers use plumbing tools to carry out their job more efficiently. Aside from making the job easier, some of these tools are also made to protect the plumber from dangerous hazards at work. 

Each tool has a different purpose and is categorized as measuring and layout tools, assembly tools, piping tools, testing tools, drilling tools, cutting tools, and safety tools. 

Types of Plumbing Tools and Equipment Plumbers Use

grayscale photography of faucet

Measuring and layout tools

Just like carpenters, plumbers must measure and layout before doing the dirty work. Even if it’s just for a repair, measuring accurately is crucial to ensure the job is well done. 

For measuring and layout tools, here’s everything you will need: 

  • Tapes
  • Squares
  • Rules
  • Plumb bulb
  • Plumber’s level

Assembly tools

Assembly tools are needed to connect or assemble different elements. Some cutting tools are also considered assembly tools. 

Hack saw

A hack saw is a fine-toothed saw used to cut metal. Hack saws typically cut through plastic pipes, metal pipes, steel rods, etc. It is also used to cut bolt heads and nuts when jammed. 

Jab saw

A jab saw is a pointed saw used to poke through a small hole to make it bigger. It often pokes through soft materials like drywall but is sharp enough to cut small holes or shapes in plywood and wood. 


Also called wrenches, spanners are used to tighten and loosen standard-sized nuts. Another variation of a spanner is called a ring spanner, which has a circular-shaped closing at both ends.

Soldering machine

A soldering machine provides heat so that irons can be joined together. It also supplies heat to melt solder. 

Saber saw

A saber saw is a hand-held powered saw. Just like a jigsaw, it is used to cut through wood and other soft materials. This is different from a jigsaw because it lacks a sizable sole plate, which somehow reduces control over the saw. 

Compass saw

A compass saw is used to make curved cuts or compasses. It has a thin tampering blade that allows cutting small circles or curves. 

Piping tools

Piping tools are all the tools needed for handling pipes. You can expect these tools to always be in plumbers’ grips because they use piping tools frequently. 

Pipe and tube bending machine

A pipe and tube bending machine is a machine that permanently forms pipes and tubing. This machine bends pipes to produce finished parts to be used by plumbers later on. 

Portable electric drills

A cordless, portable electric drill is used for making circular holes or for loosening some screws. 

Threaded die

A threaded die is used to cut or form a male thread on the outside of rods. Male threads are like a bolt while female threads looks like a nut. Threaded dies are made of rigid steel and have a circular structure. They cut the outside surfaces of pipes and solid rods. This can be done manually or using a power tool. 

Rotary hammer drills

Rotary hammer drills are typically used to drill larger anchor holes. They are used to drill through masonry walls because of their enormous power.


Pliers are small hand tools used to hold screws, bolts, or any object firmly. Pliers can also handle hot metal. 

Press fitting systems

Press fitting systems join pipes with fittings. They perfectly deform the shape and join the fitting on the pipe. 

A bucket

Since plumbers work with pipes and water, a bucket is helpful because it stops any spills in the event of a leak.

Hole saw kit

A hole saw kit is used to cut holes of varied sizes and diameters. This kit makes it easier for every plumber as it is portable and has just what they need for sawing large-diameter holes. 

Testing tools

For plumbers to determine if they solved a client’s problem or if there aren’t any problems with the work they did, it’s essential to do a test run. In doing so, here are some of the tools they use. A lot of these are standard tools found at home. 

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter’s hammer
  • Spade
  • Trowel
  • Pressure buckets

Drilling and boring tools

We already know that drilling and boring are included in the daily tasks of a plumber. Most of the time, drilling is used to secure nuts and bolts. Here are some drilling and boring tools often used by plumbers. 


A jackhammer is an electromechanical tool that’s a combined hammer and a chisel. This is used to demolish hard surfaces. 

Bench vice

A bench vice is useful for securing objects that are being worked on or under construction. 

Diamond core drilling machine

A diamond core drilling machine is a type of drill that utilizes a rotary drill with a diamond drill to accurately create well-measured holes. 

Cutting tools

Cutting is also essential for plumbers, which is why they always have a set of cutting tools to cut pipes. 

Pipe cutter

Simple pipe cutting is done manually with a pipe cutter. When you cannot use a hacksaw, a pipe cutter is the fallback option. 

Soil pipe cutter

Soil pipe cutters are used to cut cast iron soil pipes or small diameter concrete pipes.

Internal pipe cutter

Made out of heat-treated steel, internal pipe cutters are used to cut pipes from the inside. It is also used to cut drain stubs or pipes that are sticking out. 

Grinding machine

A grinding machine uses an abrasive wheel that cuts through complex surfaces. It grinds holes with high accuracy and dimension. In plumbing, a grinding machine can remove high volumes of metal quickly and easily. 


Files are used to remove burrs and shavings from the pipe’s edges. They also smooth out and file the rough edges of pipes, burrs, and other metals.

Wooden chisel

A wooden chisel is often used for woodwork but is also used to shave rough surfaces. A chisel can also chop out corners or scrape whatever needs scraping. 

Safety tools

 Being safe whilst plumbing is crucial because some tools are dangerous. Because of this, safety tools balance out the risks of getting into an accident. Here are some essential safety tools used by plumbers. 

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Heat shield

Other Miscellaneous Plumbing tools

Apart from the earlier discussion, there are also additional tools that are not always used but at times can be immensely helpful.

 Some of these are:

  • Hangers
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Plunger
  • Pickaxe
  • Head pan
  • Drain snake
  • Drain auger
  • Plumbers torch

The Most Essential Tools Every Plumber Needs

Some tools are just crucial for plumbers. This means that plumbers can’t function without them. Here are some of the most essential tools needed by plumbers

Plumbing Wrenches

Plumbing wrenches are crucial for plumbers. Without these, checking out, tightening, and loosening pipes would be difficult. These wrenches are made for distinct types of pipes. 

Some examples are leaky pipes, which means a water leak that needs to be resolved. 

Plastic pipes are also called PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes, and they are much easier and much lighter to use.

Threaded pipes, on the other hand, are used in low-cost, noncritical applications. 

Here are the types of wrenches often used by plumbers. 

Allen Wrench

Allen wrenches have a hexagonal cross that allows them to be used on different types and sizes of machine screws. 

Adjustable wrench

This is an open-ended wrench with a movable jaw. It is also known as an adjustable spanner because it grips, fastens, and loosens bolts and nuts. 

Adjustable pipe wrench

An adjustable pipe wrench is used to hold or rotate circular bars or pipes. This wrench has jaws with serrations to hold screws or bolts firmly. 

Basin wrench

Basin wrenches are simpler to turn in small spaces. This is why it is regularly used to disconnect faucets beneath a sink. Some basin wrenches come with lights within to have clear visibility in the dark. 

Faucet Valve-Seat Wrench

Faucet Valve-Seat Wrenches are the tools used to remove and replace compression seats on tub and shower faucets.

Faucet Keys

Faucet keys are simple tools to unlock hose bibs and sill cocks that are impervious to tampering.

Torque key

A torque key is used to grip an object while providing comfort. It offers a slip-resistant magnetic head, a knurled knob for rapid spinning, and an ergonomic grip.

Internal pipe wrench

An internal pipe wrench is used to remove pipe plugs, fittings, small nipples, and threaded pipe ends that are no longer working. They are typically used on the inside of a pipe or a fitting. 


Slip joint pliers

Slip joint pliers have one jaw with a slot, allowing for a variable span. They are typically used to bend or hold a sheet metal, loop a wire, cut soft wire nails, remove cotter pins, or tighten or loosen a nut. 

Tongue and groove pliers

Tongue and groove pliers are used for holding irregular-shaped objects and clamping materials. For plumbing, they’re also used to grip and turn nuts and bolts.


Cup plunger

A cup plunger is not only essential for plumbers, but for homeowners as well. A plunger has a suction effect that unclogs toilets, sinks, and even drains. As the handle is thrust, the rubber cup creates a vacuum seal over the toilet or drain hole. This allows the pressure of the water to go up and down to unclog the toilet or the drain. 

Flange plunger or toilet plunger

Flange plungers or toilet plungers are specifically used for unclogging a toilet. These plungers are designed like a rubber cup with a flange resembling a sleeve. Saws and Cutters

Hole saw

A hole saw creates holes that are wider in diameter. Without removing any of the core materials, they can cut a hole. 


Borescopes inspect industrial systems and equipment without causing damage. They include cameras and a flexible tube that allow you to see hard-to-reach parts like a drain. 


What tool do plumbers use the most?

The tools used the most by plumbers are wrenches, such as a pipe wrench, a basin wrench, and an adjustable wrench. Pliers and hacksaws are also often used. 

What is in a plumber’s kit?

A plumber’s kit typically includes all the basics and essentials such as wrenches, a hacksaw, a plunger, pliers, files and safety necessities like gloves, boots, eyewear, and flashlight. 

What are the two basics of plumbing equipment?

The two basic pieces of plumbing equipment needed are a wrench and pliers. These two pieces of equipment may be small and hand-held, but they solve many plumbing issues every homeowner encounters. 

What power tools does a plumber use?

The power tools used by a plumber are a jackhammer and drill machine such as a diamond core drilling machine. These are often used when installing a new bathroom or heavily repairing one. They do everything from cutting, drilling, sawing, and grinding. 

What is the best tool brand for plumbers?

There are many tool brands for plumbers, but the highest-rated brand is Makita. The brand’s reputation has been exceeding the expectations of many plumbers. However, Dewalt, Evolution, Bosch, and Milwaukee are other recommended brands.

Final Words

Free photos of Pipe

As you can see, plumbers must choose from a wide variety of tools depending on their daily needs and the specific work that they do. 

Keep this article as a comprehensive list when you’re putting together a new toolkit or starting on a project. 

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About the author Steve Coffey

I am passionate about the building materials industry helping companies all throughout the channel see success and exceed the expectations of their audiences

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