7 Plumbing Tools You Should Keep in Your Toolbox

by Shelley Frost
various type of plumbing tools on white background

You may not have aspirations of becoming a plumber, but DIY repairs on a leaky pipe here and a clogged drain there can save you some serious cash.

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Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you fixed the issue yourself. Having a few specialty tools on hand can make plumbing repairs easier. Many of the tools work for other jobs, too.

What Are Some Plumbing Tools You Should Keep on Hand?

Having a few basic plumbing tools on hand can help you out of a sticky situation, such as an overflowing toilet or a leak under your sink. If you feel more confident in your plumbing skills, you might add more advanced tools to your toolbox. Here's a list of plumbing tools you need to tackle a variety of plumbing tasks.

Seeing the water rapidly rise after you flush the toilet brings a certain kind of fear that can send you into panic mode. Having a plunger on hand can clear the clog and send the water down the drain where it belongs. You can also use plungers to clear minor sink clogs, but you'll want different types for different jobs. 

For your toilet, grab a plunger that has a flange, which is an extra rubber flap inside the main cup. This design helps you get better suction in the toilet bowl. Sink plungers have a flat cup without the extra flange. They create a better seal on the flat surface of a sink or tub. 

2. Plumber’s Snake

When a plunger isn't enough to clear a clog, a plumber's snake can help break up the blockage. To use it, you uncoil a flexible metal cable down into the drain until it hits the clog. Then, you move it around so the head cuts through the clog. Sometimes, breaking up the gunk helps it move through the pipes. Other times, the sludge comes out with the snake when you remove it. 

3. Adjustable Pliers

Pliers give you a good grip on small objects, such as nuts and bolts. Grabbing adjustable pliers makes it easy to use them on fasteners of different sizes without buying several different sizes of pliers. The space between the jaws easily adjusts to fit different items, making it a versatile plumbing tool. 

4. Adjustable Wrench

Wrenches serve a similar purpose to pliers, but they fit around larger objects, such as pipes, fittings and larger fasteners. An adjustable wrench saves space in your toolbox, since you can make it work for a variety of items. Even though this style of wrench is adjustable, it comes in different sizes. For plumbing, having 6-inch and 10-inch adjustable wrenches should cover most of your needs. 

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5. Specialty Wrenches

Some plumbing jobs are easier with specialty wrenches. One such tool is the basin wrench, which features a long shaft to help you grasp the nuts on hard-to-reach faucets. One end of the T-shaped tool is similar to a clamp, so you can tighten or loosen the faucet nuts. 

A pipe wrench might also make it on the list of plumbing tools you need if you plan to work with pipes at all. It's a larger wrench designed for the fittings on pipes. Pipe wrenches come in different sizes and are adjustable to fit various pipes and fittings. Some people use two pipe wrenches together — one to hold the pipe and one to turn the fitting.

6. Plumber's Tape

If you plan to fix leaky pipes, grab a roll of plumber's tape. It's also called thread sealing tape or thread tape. The tape goes on the threads of the pipe to help create a good seal and prevent additional leaks. 

7. Pipe Cutter

Another tool you might need if you plan to repair pipes is a pipe cutter. There are various types of pipe cutters and saws for different jobs. Some cut metal pipes, while others are better for PVC pipes. Tubing cutters work on metal. You can also use reciprocating saws and hacksaws for some pipe-cutting purposes. 

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