16 plumbing tools every homeowner should have.


Owning a home comes with its fair share of responsibilities, and plumbing issues are one aspect that can easily catch you off guard. Instead of scrambling when a leak springs or a pipe freezes, be prepared by having the proper tools.

Here's a comprehensive list of plumbing tools every DIY enthusiast should have on hand. Check to see if you're missing any of the following supplies in your toolbox:

1. Wrench.

metal wrenchPipe wrenches are valuable tools to have in your plumbing arsenal, designed for your pipes and fittings. Wrenches provide a firm grip on pipes of various sizes. They allow you to tighten or loosen nuts and fittings, as well as open and close spigots and sillcocks.

Pipe wrenches come in various sizes. There are compact models for tight spaces and larger, heavy-duty options for more substantial pipes. Their versatility makes them suitable for an array of plumbing tasks, including installation, maintenance, and repairs. 

2. Adjustable pipe wrench.

adjustable pipe wrenchAn adjustable wrench's variable jaw width allows it to fit various nuts and bolts, providing flexibility for different plumbing applications. 

These wrenches, also known as adjustable spanners or adjustable crescents, are handy when dealing with connections of different sizes.

3. Basin wrench.

vintage basin wrenchUse a basin wrench to loosen or tighten nuts in hard-to-reach places — particularly those beneath sinks or in tight spaces. The basin wrench is especially handy for tasks like installing or removing faucets. It's an essential tool for plumbing projects where space is limited.

4. Cup plunger.

cup plungerA classic but often overlooked tool, plungers are a must-have in every homeowner's plumbing kit. There are two main types of plungers. The most popular one is the standard or cup plunger. This type of plunger is suitable for flat surfaces like sinks.

5. Flange plunger.

flange plungerThe flange plunger is designed for toilet drains. It has an extra rubber flap to accommodate different drain shapes. A reliable plunger (or two) is your first line of defense against common plumbing challenges.

Related: How to unclog a toilet — with or without a plunger.

6. Pipe cutter.

pipe cutterWhether installing new fixtures or tackling plumbing repairs, you need a tool to create clean and precise cuts in pipes and tubing.

These tools come in various types, including traditional pipe cutters and tube cutters, each designed for specific applications. Traditional pipe cutters are ideal for cutting through aluminum, steel, or copper pipes. They feature a sharp cutting wheel that rotates around the pipe to provide a clean and even cut. 

Tube cutters are typically used to cut through soft materials, like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other plastic pipes. The ratcheting mechanism ensures a smooth cutting action, and their compact size allows for use in confined spaces. 

Related: How to cut a metal pipe.

7. Plumber's tape.

plumbers tapeSometimes called thread seal tape or Teflon tape, plumber’s tape is a crucial component in any homeowner's plumbing toolkit.

This thin white tape, typically made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), creates a watertight seal between threaded pipe connections. Applying plumber's tape to the threads of pipes and fittings helps prevent leaks. The tape lubricates the connection and provides a secure, tight seal. 

Plumber's tape is especially useful when installing a new shower head, connecting pipes, or replacing a faucet.

8. Plumber's putty.

applying plumbers putty to sink drainPlumber's putty is another useful tool for sealing gaps and preventing leaks in plumbing applications. You can use this pliable and malleable substance (which is usually a blend of clay and oil) to create watertight seals around fixtures, including sinks and drains. 

It fills gaps and smoothes out imperfections, preventing water from seeping through. It also remains flexible over time, ensuring a durable and long-lasting seal. 

Get free estimates from top-rated plumbers.

9. Hacksaw.

yellow hacksaw

Perfect for cutting through metal pipes, a hacksaw is crucial for plumbing projects that involve pipe modifications.

With its fine-toothed blade, a hacksaw provides precision when cutting metal, plastic, or other materials. Whether you need to resize a pipe, remove a damaged section, or make custom cuts, a hacksaw’s compact size and maneuverability make it suitable for different cutting angles and positions.

10. Pipe insulation.

pipe insulationPipe insulation is critical for maintaining a well-functioning plumbing system, especially in regions prone to freezing temperatures. 

This material, often made of foam or fiberglass, wraps around pipes to prevent them from freezing during cold weather. By safeguarding pipes from freezing, insulation helps avoid costly damage and potential bursts. It also ensures the consistent flow of temperate water throughout your plumbing system. 

11. Plumbing snake.

plumbers snakeWhen a plunger can't clear a clog, a plumbing snake comes to the rescue. Also known as a drain auger or drain snake, this tool fixes clogs and blockages within pipes.

A plumbing snake is flexible and elongated. So, it can navigate twists and turns, reaching deep into drains to dislodge and clear obstructions. With a coiled or spiral metal wire at the end, the snake can physically break up and remove debris to restore water flow. 

Related: How to fix a clogged sink.

Compare prices from plumbers near you.

12. Adjustable pliers.

adjustable pliersAdjustable pliers should be a staple in your plumbing toolkit. These pliers feature an adjustable pivot point, allowing you to shift between different jaw widths and tackle a range of plumbing tasks with ease.

They come in various types, including:

  • Wrench pliers for turning bolts without stripping.
  • Pipe-gripping pliers for screwing and unscrewing plastic pipes.
  • Tongue-and-groove pliers with large, serrated jaws for tightening metal pipes. 

13. Faucet aerator key.

faucet aerator keyIf your sink tends to become clogged with mineral deposits over time, you may have issues with erratic or slow water flow. A faucet aerator key is a handy tool for resolving these problems.

This specialized tool is designed for the removal, cleaning, and installation of aerators. Aerators are the small devices attached to the tip of a faucet. They regulate the flow of water, reduce splashing, and conserve water. But over time, these aerators can become clogged with mineral deposits or debris, affecting water flow. 

A faucet key features a unique shape that corresponds to the aerator's design. Unlike conventional wrenches and tools that may scratch or damage the faucet housing, the aerator key is designed for easy, non-abrasive installation and removal.

14. Water pressure gauge.

water pressure gaugeWater pressure is integral to a healthy plumbing system, and a water pressure gauge helps you keep it within a safe range.

Excessive water pressure can lead to various issues, such as pipe leaks, faucet damage, and appliance malfunctions. By regularly checking and adjusting water pressure with a gauge, you can prevent potential damage to their plumbing infrastructure and appliances. This can help promote the longevity and efficiency of your entire water supply system.

15. Pipe clamps.

pipe clampsPipe clamps are useful tools for a variety of plumbing tasks. They provide a secure and adjustable means of holding pipes in place during repairs or installations. In other words, pipe clamps keep pipes in position for precise and controlled work.

Leveraging a clamp mechanism, these devices can be easily tightened or released to accommodate different pipe sizes, ensuring a stable grip. You can use them while working on repairs, a soldering job, or other plumbing projects.

16. Press fitting system.

press fitting system toolsYears ago, plumbers would connect pipes by welding, brazing, and soldering. But now, there's a more efficient method that utilizes hydraulic pressure for metal and plastic pipe connections: press fitting tools.

According to the Building Press Journal, "Press fittings have been able to fill a gap in the workforce by reducing the time for installation of a pipe joint by as much as 60 percent."

Should you hire a professional plumber?

While all the items on this plumbing tools list are valuable for DIY projects, some plumbing jobs require expert intervention. If a problem seems beyond your capabilities — and you don't have the correct tools and equipment to fix it — reach out to a local plumbing business

The Thumbtack app connects you with top-rated plumbers in your area. Download the app today and start requesting price quotes from pros near you. They can address your plumbing concerns promptly and effectively.

Find local pros for your project

Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you pros right for the job, with prices.