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Common Plumbing Tools for the Plumbing Trade

Plumbers assemble, install, and repair pipes used for heating, water and drainage in residential homes and businesses. Often, they face unforeseen circumstances and scenarios in which they must rely on their training, knowledge of the trade, and the tools they have on hand. Therefore, accumulating and maintaining a supply of tools is key for plumbers.

Plumbing Tool List

In addition to hands-on training, individuals in the plumbing trade require specific tools and materials to successfully complete on-the-job repairs. From basic tools such as plumber’s wrench to more advanced equipment like a propane torch, every individual in the trade should learn how to use the common tools of the trade.

What tools do tradesman in the plumbing industry need? Let’s look at a few tools common to an average plumbing task or repair.

The wrench is one of the most basic and essential tools used by a plumber. It’s important to note that plumbers need several different wrenches to remove fittings due to varying pipe sizes. Some useful wrenches include:

  • Fixed wrenches (standard and metric)
  • Pipe wrench (large and small)
  • Adjustable crescent wrenches
  • Basin wrench

Pipe wrenches have strong, adjustable jaws for turning iron pipes, but plumbers should be cautious when using them on PVC, so as not to crack the plastic pipe.

A plumber should be well-prepared to resolve clogged sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, and other drains throughout households and commercial businesses. To do so, he or she should understand some helpful tools:

  • Plunger
  • Hand auger (also called a plumber’s snake)
  • Screwdriver
  • Bucket, rags, and sponge

Hand augers and plungers help remove debris and allow water to flow freely through a drain pipe. No matter which drain is clogged, it’s wise to have a bucket, rags, or a sponge on hand to clean up excess water and debris.

Another common tool in the plumbing trade is the hacksaw. Plumbers use hacksaws to cut new pieces of pipe to the correct size when replacing old or damaged PVC pipe. To make clean, level cuts, plumbers also utilize a pipe cutter.

  • Hacksaw
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • Metal file and brush
  • PVC primer
  • Pipe glue

Plumbers use a metal file to smooth any rough edges and a brush to dust off residue. Additionally, plumbers can create a water-tight seal around the mouth of a PVC pipe with pipe glue. Though easier to install and repair than copper or galvanized steel pipes, plastic plumbing pipes still require a support system to minimize vibration and help distribute the weight of passing water. Generally, plumbers support PVC pipes with strapping, clamps, and anchors.

Corrosion from rust or mineral deposits can damage metal parts, and replacement is often necessary to ensure a proper fit and resolve leaks. In addition to tools, plumbers should have a variety of spare parts available, including:

  • Fittings
  • Washers
  • Valves

Lastly, if a plumber uses a propane torch to sweat copper pipes and fittings, a fire extinguisher should always be nearby for safety.

Interested in learning about the plumbing trade? Check out the plumbing program at Apex.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.