Time-Saving Tools for Plumbing

A man using a pipe wrench underneath a sink.

Plumbing issues are hard enough to tackle on your own, but they are even tougher when you do not have the right tools for the job. From tube cutters to compact torches and basin wrenches, here are a few time-saving tools you should acquire for your next DIY plumbing project.

1. Tube Cutter

A red tube cutter.

A tube cutter can save you a lot of time and frustration. These handy cutters are small enough for just about any situation and can be used on both aluminum and brass pipes. Even better, tube cutters give you a straight cut that leaves the edges well rounded.

2. Plumber’s Snake (Hand Auger)

Someone using a plumbers snake in a tub.

A plumber’s snake is a must-have tool for difficult clogs. These tools work by reaching deep into the pipe and breaking up the gunk causing the clog. A hand auger is usually around 25 feet and can be used by hand or attached to a drill.

3. Basin Wrench

A basin wrench against a white background.

A basin wrench is one of the most used tools in the plumbing world. These wrenches are used to remove nuts around faucets and are great in tight quarters. A typical basin wrench features a lengthy shaft and clamp on one end that swivels into place.

4. Pipe Wrench

A red pipe wrench being used under a sink.

A pipe wrench is another staple in the plumber’s tool chest. Pipe wrenches are usually larger than their adjustable counterparts and are ideal for loosening large nuts and pipe fittings. When you purchase a pipe wrench, consider doubling up as you may need two to get the job done.

5. Thread Seal Tape

Thread tape on a blue wheel.

Thread seal tape, also called PTFE tape or plumber’s tape, is something you will use for a plumbing project at some point. This tape is wrapped around the thread of the pipe and creates a seal that prevents leaks. Plumber’s tape is used whenever you are connecting water lines, like when you replace a shower head.

6. Hacksaw

A man uses a hacksaw with a yellow handle.

A hacksaw is a great tool for situations where you cannot use a tube cutter. For instance, you will need to use a hacksaw if a pipe is too large in diameter or is made out of PVC. When using a hacksaw, make sure you have extra blades just in case one breaks or gets dull after extended use.

7. Plunger

A small plunger being used in a sink.

Every home should have at least one plunger on hand for whenever the toilet gets clogged. A plunger is one of the most basic plumbing tools, but you might be surprised with how much it can unplug. It is also super easy to use.

8. Metal Files and Emery Cloth

A man holds a metal file.

Whenever you cut a metal pipe you want to make sure the edges are completely smooth and free of any burrs before you attach fittings. A good metal file and some emery cloth can easily smooth out even the roughest of edges. As a general rule of thumb, a half-round and rat-tale file will suffice for just about any plumbing job.

9. Torch

A propane torch.

There may come a time when you need to sweat copper to install fittings. When that happens, you will need a torch to get the job done right. A torch will help prevent water from ruining a solder joint, which will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

10. Pliers

Pliers and a wrench in a stainless steel sink.

A good set of pliers is another must-have for any serious plumbing project. Pliers can be used to grab, pull, twist, and loosen pipes and fittings. While a normal set of pliers is good to have on hand, you should consider purchasing different types and sizes — like tongue-and-groove pliers — so that you are prepared for any job that might pop up.

11. Adjustable Wrench

A adjustable wrench.

Adjustable wrenches are great for working on supply lines and compression fittings. These wrenches come in different sizes and can be adjusted so that they do not slip when loosening or tightening nuts.