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plumbers toolsWhenever you need a plumber, all you have to do is type a few words into Google, and within moments, you have dozens within your area from which to choose. When you finally decide on a plumber to take on the plumbing problems in your home, you've probably chosen them for their price, good testimonials, etc - you probably didn't gravitate toward your plumbers-of-choice because you knew all the tools they had, and that they were all essential to performing superior work. Well, it's about time, you the consumer, knew the must-have tools for anyone who claims to be a plumber. Without these basic essentials, a plumber really can't do an adequate job on your pipes. With this knowledge, you'll be able to probe prospective plumbers on what they have in their kit, and what they don't.

10 Plumber Tools:

Pipe Wrench

Perhaps one of the most vital tools to any plumber’s collection is the faithful pipe wrench. Basically, this all-too-familiar tool tightens and loosens pipes, and fittings. Actually, your plumber should have two of them, one for gripping, and another for turning. The serrated teeth of these wrenches help the wrench keep a firm grasp on the fixture - good plumbers will wrap a cloth around the jaws of the wrench as to not damage your fixture's finish. It's important to note that the tool is not intended for hardened steel hex nuts or other fittings, as they would ruin the head. Still, if a hex nut is soft enough that it becomes rounded beyond use with standard wrenches, a pipe wrench is sometimes used to break the bolt or nut free. 

Adjustable Wrench

As you'll see, wrenches are extremely important in the work of a plumber, and the adjustable wrench is another essential part of the ensemble. Versatile and highly effective, the adjustable wrench is a required tool for working on supply lines, compression fittings, and other plumbing parts that come equipped with hex-shaped nuts. It's vital that your plumber’s adjustable wrench is able to hold a firm setting, so that it won't become loose under heavy torque. Like the pipe wrench, most plumbers have two adjustable wrenches - large and small.

There are many forms of adjustable wrenches - taper locking wrenches, which need a hammer to set the movable jaw to the size of the nut, to the more contemporary screw, adjusted wrenches. Some wrenches even automatically adjust to the size of the nut. As we've said, simpler models use a serrated edge to lock the movable jaw to size, while more sophisticated versions of the tool are digital, and use feelers to set the size of which it should open.

Basin Wrench

Sink faucets are often held into place by specific types of nuts, and your plumber is going to need the ideal wrench for tightening and loosening them - this wrench being the basin wrench. Its lengthy shaft and swivel jaw is able to reach up and into the narrow space behind the sink, and grip onto the nuts. Interestingly, there's really no other tool that is able to accomplish what the trusty basin wrench can.

Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

Although you may not think so, pliers are a truly essential part of a plumber's tools. These specific types of pliers are actually the most common tools that plumbers go to when they need to grab, pull, hold, tighten, loosen, or twist something. They have serrated jaws generally 45 to 60 degrees from the handles, and the lower jaw can be moved to several positions by sliding along a tracking section under the upper jaw. Plumbers tend to like this tool because the pliers can adjust to quite a few different sizes without the distance of the handle growing wider, which often creates a hand-gripping problem. 


Wherever your plumber goes, the plunger ought to go right along with him. Your plumber shouldn't assume for a second, that you have a plunger available for him to use, upon his arrival. Arguably, the plunger is a plumber's most important weapon in his artillery. As you already know, plungers are necessary for dislodging clogs from toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and floor drains. It's important to clarify the difference between a sink plunger and a toilet plunger, and that is the sink plunge looks like a ball cut in half, while the toilet plunger tend to take a shape more resembling a trash can cover, for instance. When your plumber uses his plunger, he ought to firmly press down, creating a tight seal around the drain, and then quickly pull up. This will create a vacuum effect - unclogging the stubborn blockage.


Contrary to popular belief, plumber don't simply plunge drains, take piping apart, and put it back together - sometimes they actually have to cut through piping, hardware, screws, bolts, and nuts. For this, a hacksaw is implemented. Plumbing hardware can be unusually sturdy, so it's important that your plumber keep a spare blade on hand, just in case the current one breaks. When dealing with tight spots, your plumber ought to wrap one end of a loose blade in a cloth to create a handle, to slip the blade in for the cut. If you don't see him doing this, it wouldn't hurt to recommend it!

Metal File

After cutting metal piping, it can be a little rough around the edges, to say the least. So, a metal file is often used to smooth these edges. Like we've been mentioning, a good plumber will have a couple of these in his collection - perhaps a rounded tapered one, and a rounded one with a flat surface.

Plumber's Snake

Also called a hand auger, this drain-clearing tool is essentially a 25 foot long flexible steel cable that's effective at clearing clogs from showers, tubs, sinks, drain lines, and toilets, but it seems to be most commonly used in shower / tub drains. Your plumber should implement this tool when the plunger fails to work.

Tubing Cutter

This tool appears very similar to a C-clamp, and it offers a quick, clean way to cut a copper pipe. Your plumber ought to have a standard-size tubing cutter, as well as a close-quarter mini-cutter, which is ideal for tight spaces.

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Topics: Trenchless Technology, Plumbing Tips, Inspection, How To, Preventative, Home Plumbing Tips