Although the unexpected events of the past years brought life to a screeching halt for millions, professional plumbers and other essential workers had to quickly adjust to the new normal. The year brought along some stinky circumstances for plumbers—literally and figuratively. So, it goes without saying that a robust plumber's toolkit is a must-have to take on whatever the new year has to bring.
From up-and-coming specialty tools to customer service management software, check out the best plumbing tools for professional plumbers.
Between sewer line installations and leaky faucet repairs, plumbers need a haul of tools to complete the types of pipe working jobs customers most frequently require. To effectively tackle any job thrown your way, consider this plumbing tools list of the best pipeworking equipment to have on hand.
With specific jobs comes a need for specific, specialty pipework tools. Fortunately, for professional plumbers, recently implemented plumbing practices have introduced new tools to the market that can help get the job done. Here is a plumbing tools list of speciality items to use in 2022.
Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing is a recent introduction to the plumbing industry that offers a flexible, longer-lasting alternative to traditional piping options. With drill-like functions, a PEX pipe expander widens the end of PEX tubing, so a metal fitting can then be placed to create a durable and leak proof seal.
Rather than destroying a customer’s well-manicured yard to locate underground piping, adopt the use of an underground pipe locator instead. Pipe locators can precisely map underground piping to help quickly address any underground piping concerns and save plumbers hours of hard labor.
Pipe leaks can be located deep in a customer’s plumbing system, wreaking havoc around the entire home. A borescope uses a small video camera connected to a long flexible cable to quickly locate leaks and hidden clogs—with minimal to no wall and ceiling extraction involved, even in tight spaces.
A hydro jetting machine, like it sounds like, uses high-pressure water to clear out cogs and stoppages. Essentially a pressure washer for drain pipes and sewer lines, one of the most coveted tools for plumbers hooks up to propane or MAPP gas to power the device.
Ultimately, these types of tools for plumbers are “greener” than alternatives, including any kind of chemicals, although the pipes should still be examined before using one of these cleaners just in case there’s damage in the pipe that could be exacerbated by pushing 2,000 to 3,000 PSI through the drain.
Along with specialty pipework tools comes the need for classic fitting tools used to precisely install piping into a customer’s plumbing system on a daily basis. From steadily holding a pipe in place to cutting the proper size, here are the essential fitting tools you should have on your plumbing tools list.
Close-quarters, copper, “multi-purpose,” and plastic pipe cutters are essential plumbing tools for professionals doing installations and renovations of existing pipework. Pipe cutters and tubing cutters adjust to the width of the pipe you need to cut and let you score the material until you make your way through the pipe and cut it to length.
Less elegant than a pipe or tube cutter, but a hacksaw is one of the best plumbing tools for rough cutting work.
When working with metal piping, a plumber's torch or soldering torch is required to seal and connect copper piping and iron. Don’t forget to have a plumber's torch in your toolbox to quickly complete frequent metal piping plumbing jobs such as water heater installations, accompanied by soldering wire and soldering paste to ensure a strong bond.
If you need to shape and crimp copper pipe, then a plumbing press tool is non-negotiable. These come in a variety of sizes, shapes, costs, and versatilities, so choose carefully the one that is right for the current scope of your plumbing business.
Any time you’re trying to line something up on a wall you’ll be grateful to have your trusty level handy. While a traditional level is fine, we highly recommend investing in a laser level, which is just as accurate but less cumbersome to use and move around.
Plumber's tape (also called teflon tape or thread sealing tape) is critical for securing proper seals and preventing leaks, and a plumber’s best friend. Ideally, you’ll have tons of the stuff. Buy your plumber's tape in bulk to ensure you don’t get too low.
Aside from the above options on this plumbing tools list, other essential pipe fitting tools to have in your tool kit include:
Speaking of classic plumbing go-to’s, who could forget these piping hand tools? These various plumbing tools are essential for accessing building water supplies and carving out wall slots to accurately fit piping.
Superior to a drill, an impact driver delivers excellent torque for removing and tightening bolts and screws. Nothing is better is at removing frozen or stuck nuts and screws (freezing is a common occurrence where metal meets water and time). Most are also compact, making them excellent toolbox tools. Make sure to get a wide variety of nut drivers and screw heads.
You’ll still probably want a cordless drill, however, for those times you need to run line or punch a hole through something. This handheld tool will also double-up as a power unit for some drain augurs, which attach to the cordless drill to get power to turn and drive the mechanism.
For cutting into stone masonry, plaster, or other tough materials, a handheld tool like a rotary hammer makes the plumbing job significantly easier.
Hex fasteners are pretty common in homes and businesses, so plumbers should have a complete set of Allen wrenches as well as hex bits that fit into a power drill or impact driver to more quickly remove and replace various hex screws.
Faucet kets, also known as “Sillcock keys,” are used to open and close water spigots. Pretty important for a plumber. You’ll need a variety of sizes to fit different setups, but multiple adapter versions of these also exist to simplify things for the best plumbing job.
The basin wrench (or simply “sink wrench”) is a specialized tool for loosening nuts and screens in hard-to-reach areas. A basin wrench is the kind of tool you don’t know you need until you need it – and then you really need it.
You’re a plumber, a pipe wrench is a must! However, you’re going to need to pipe wrenches both large and small to tackle upcoming jobs — this is where adjustable wrenches come in. While a full set of different pipe wrench varieties is great, consider a “cheater” pipe wrench that adjusts to the size you need. Adjustable pipe wrenches can do just the trick to make the job easier.
Pliers are a plumber’s best friend. Locking pliers, needlenose, slip joint, and channel lock pliers will all come in handy at various points of various jobs. You never know the layout of an interior pipe layout (how tight the fit, etc.), so these plumbing tools come in serious handy.
A work light is an essential tool in your arsenal for when you’re crawling under homes and in dark, largely inaccessible places (not to mention, tight spaces). A headlamp is a particularly good idea since the light tracks with you as you turn your neck.
Aside from common water heater installations and leaky pipe repairs, clogged drains have to be some of the most frequent work orders in the plumbing field. Help save customers the time and agony of a messy plumbing clog by making sure you have these unclogging and cleaning plumbing tools on hand.
A severely clogged drain can quickly result in backed-up toilets, sinks and bathtubs, leaving customers stranded without facilities. Snakes and hand augers are simple declogging tools plumbers use to drive a cable deep into a piping system to break up a pesky clog. Some of the best tools come with a hand crank component to accurately control the insert speed of the cable and avoid customer pipe damage, key features of a trustworthy tool.
It’s shocking how often a “hard job” can be solved with just a bit of low tech plunging. Keep in mind there are several different types of plungers, each suited to specific jobs. The half-dome plunger – the image that probably comes to mind when you think “plunger” – is only really meant for sinks.
You’ll also need to acquire an accordion plunger, for cleaning more heavy-duty clogs, as well as a toilet plunger, which looks like the sink plunger but has an additional inverted “cup” on the end to help create a good seal with the toilet bottom. Cup plungers and flange plungers should be at the top of your must-have list for clearing clogs.
Once a clog has been located and cleared, a plumber will want to do some drain cleaning to reduce the chances of future clogs. As one of the newer plumbing industry advancements seen today, flex shaft drain cleaning machines use chain knockers attached to a long cable to assist with clearing build-up found in residential and commercial piping.
For larger drain jobs, including sewer line work, the compact design of hydro jetting machines is excellent to clean debris build-up and clogs. This warrior of all plumbing tools harnesses the power of pressurized water to clear sewer lines of heavy soap, slime and grease build-up. Failing to address this build-up over time can create major sewer line clogs and messy service calls.
Prior to 2020, the term “personal protective equipment” (PPE) was foreign to many people. Plumbers however, know firsthand that safety items are essential to the well-being of themselves and the surrounding environment while on the job. With a profession that introduces several personal safety risks and health hazards, plumbers often have a robust protective equipment kit.
For instance, eye protection, medium-duty gloves, steel-toed boots, and heat shields should be part of your plumbing tool kit. Now also essential in culling the COVID-19 spread, here is the PPE all plumbers should have access to.
With most plumbers working around sharp metal, high-heat soldering torches, and other plumbing tools, PPE is critical to the safety of both workers and customers. When using soldering torches, always have a soldering safety mask and heat pads on hand to protect plumbers and the surrounding work area from heat damage and injury.
Safe health practices are still a must for professional plumbers and essential workers alike. Face masks and hand sanitizer should always be readily accessible when responding to customer calls. You not only protect yourself from risk of infection, but also aid in stopping the spread of disease.
From finance management to employee management, a lack of proper business management tools can negatively affect company productivity and satisfaction rates. To better streamline your day-to-day operations, incorporate these business management tools to help keep all corners of your plumbing business at peak performance.
Without a thorough financial management system, a plumbing company can quickly crumble. With modern advancements in financial management software, staying on top of your coins can be a lot easier than you may think.
For instance, certain finance management software offers mobile payment integration which allows you to process and document customer payments through a single a mobile application. To take it a step further, this information can then be synced with your Quickbooks account to help you fully stay on top of pending invoices and complete payments, and save time.
Much of the success which comes with a flourishing plumbing business is the return of a recurring customer base. To better manage the bulk of your customer data (and ensure a next job), remember to incorporate the use of customer management software.
Here you can develop customer profiles to store contact details, work order history and invoices all in one place. This increased organization helps you remain on top of customer service, boosting the overall satisfaction rate for your company.
Of the countless business management tools out there, field service management software has to be at the top of essential tools for plumbing business owners. Busy daily operations can quickly become overwhelming without proper management, causing potential job delivery concerns and negative customer feedback.
By incorporating a field service management system, business owners can:
If you’re looking for these features and more, the FieldPulse Field Service Management App can help optimize managing your business from all sides. With FieldPulse, everything you need to track technician time, schedule multiple jobs and earn more repeat business and referrals are just a simple click away.
Discover how FieldPulse can save you time and money by scheduling a demo today.