You've watched our videos, you've searched around the Plumberparts Interactive and found Big G (then told us on Instagram and won a prize?) - now you need to put what you've learnt into action! But before you go turning the water off and changing that radiator, you're going to need a decent set of reliable tools.
I've been nice enough to create an Amazon shop where you can find all the tools mentioned below and more. Read on if you want a more in-depth drool over shiny new tools!
You can also watch the video below about the tools I keep in my bag.
Here's a quick list of plumbing tools. You can scroll through this article or click on each item to find out more.
- Tool Bag
- Screwdriver set
- Adjustable spanners
- Tape Measure
- Plastic pipe cutters
- Radiator ratchet uni spanner
- Wire strippers
- Long nose pliers
- Side cutters / wire cutters
- Stanley knife
- Junior hacksaw / hacksaw
- Bahco mini socket set
- Hex allen key set
- Spirit level and boat level
- Electrical tester
- Bleed key
- Silicone Profilers
- Silicone Caulk Gun
- Pipe Slice
- Pipe Benders
- Plumbing soldering tools
- Power tools
I use Veto Pro Pac as they’re really tough and strong, but allow easy access to my tools plus the little bag is AMAZING for call outs and is always the first one in on the job. They’re not cheap, but believe me you will not regret the investment. Top bags!
Get yourself a standard screwdriver set. You can pay a hefty sum of money if you're more advanced in the trade but there's nothing wrong with paying around £20 for a set. Let's face it, if you're going to lose all of the slot head screwdrivers anyway and the ones you do have left will be used as chisels.
Make sure the 'Pozi' of crosshead screwdrivers are not inadvertently used to stab open a tube of glue...I've done it many times!
A very important part of your kit and worth spending a bit of money on. Make sure you get a set of adjustable spanners with roughly 3 sizes, from 8 inch up to 18 inch. Also buy two 10 inch adjustables - you'll thank me later!
They're going to get wet so buy some WD40 lubricant to go with them, or even better, spray grease. You'll find all of this stuff in our Amazon shop here.
Another important addition to your tool box that will literally work hand in hand with your adjustable spanners are 'The Grips'! Get a few different sizes. One really small pair (about 6 inch), one medium (about 12 inch) and one MASSIVE pair for things like immersion heaters and larger pipe.
If you're working on steel pipe you're going to need stilsons. They also come in handy for loads of other little jobs so make sure you get a decent set. Maybe just one size will do...but the bigger the pipe, the bigger the size. I once had a set of 42 inch stilsons for 6 inch pipe. BEAST!
An obvious addition - but which hammer to get if you're a plumber? I have three types: a standard 14 inch type hammer, a lump hammer (for blockwork or removing wall tiles) and a little hammer (like the one on our shop - made by OX Tools). The little hammer is a must in your hand tools as this beast can remove floorboards but is also small enough to fit in your tool box (or tool bag). My mate Jamie is always trying to steal it!
Spend good money on a tape measure. The one I use has a large curve in it meaning you can span a long measuring distance without it 'snapping'. Also, it's got a huge clip on the side and has a very easy to read display. This is another tool my mate is always trying to pinch!
A little more specialised - if you're gonna be installing kitchen waste pipes, bathroom waste pipes or ANY waste pipes you're going to need these plastic waste pipe cutters. They will save you a load of time, plus they cut much more neatly than a hacksaw (which is what I used throughout my Apprenticeship).
Again, more specialised but will get you out of trouble when removing the various different types of radiator insert we come across. Not used everyday but I won't leave home without it!
Truly changed my life when installing Y Plan and S Plan heating systems, wiring boilers and changing pumps. Gone are the days of gauging how much to pinch with wire cutters when removing the insulation. Also very handy for crimps. Great tool and highly recommended.
Will get you out of a dodge every time! Very hand for wiring in tight spaces and getting the wire into a connecting block or terminal. They will also help when you drop a screw into a boiler casing. We've all been there...
You are going to need to cut wires in this job - mainly because electricians don't know how to wire up heating systems (JOKING!). But, seriously, get a decent pair...mine have lasted for years.
It's going to be blunt after about 10 minutes because you're going to use them for everything. From removing silicone to cutting new radiators out of packaging and even scraping cement off a pipe (that's how you blunt them). You'll never need another sharp knife in your bag - just make sure you keep some spare blades!
The junior hacksaw is just a handy smaller version of it's big brother hacksaw. Pop it in your bag - if you're a plumber you'll use it at least once a week. Also really handing for cutting olives on pipe.
OMG! How many times has this kit saved me?! Sits nice and snuggly in my tool bag and is ALWAYS there. From undoing boiler casings to using the inserts in my impact drive, this set does it all. Plus Bahco always make good tools.
You're going to need these. I kept losing mine all the time so I invested in a Wera set that is so colourful I don't want to break any up and lose them! They also have a handy locking ball on the hex end, so if you're feeding a screw into a difficult location the screw won't drop off.
Don't skimp on the cash when it comes to spirit levels. These are the difference between getting paid for a job or being made to look foolish. I always have used Stabila levels and have a few different sizes. I keep a boat level in my tool bag - a 600mm that I can use for radiator uprights, and I also keep a 1200mm spirit level in the van for anything longer. We aren't bricklayers so don't really need a 2000mm spirit level...but get whatever suits you!
So important for safety. I've always used Fluke and have owed them my life on a few occasions! Also grab an electrical tester pen. A nice thing to pop in your pocket, just if you're unsure about a wire. Always double check with a proper tester (like the Fluke electrical tester in our Amazon shop) and never do electrical work if you're not happy and confident!
Have a few in my tool bag and always one on my keys. Radiator bleed keys are essential when emptying, filling and venting a heating system. It also helps to file off the taper in the end too.
Great for smoothing out wet silicone and ensuring you have a good looking water tight seal. Come in a range of different shapes and sizes. Every DIYer and Plumber should have them. Your fingers will never do as good a job, and can cause mould.
Spend decent money on a silicone gun. If you do you’ll always get a controllable bead and be able to stop the flow when you’ve completed an application. There’s nothing worse than a silicone gun that keeps on spewing silicone out onto the floor!
Obviously a tool I use everyday, the pipeslice or pipe cutter comes in a few forms and sizes. You’ll use a mini screw type for pipes of 8 and 10mm. You’ll also have a large screw type for anything above 28mm. 15mm, 22mm and 28mm are all catered for in a single size unit we call a pipeslice. Make sure you buy some spray lubricant to keep them going and a spare set of cutting wheels. You’re going to need them!
Unlike carpenters we use chisels to notch out joists and wood for our pipe runs. Some of us (me included!) also use them for literally anything else you can think of…including a spoon! Keep them sharp and they’ll always be handy!
Pipe benders are an essential tool and require a great deal of practise to master. I’ve done a full page and video on their use here. I prefer Hilmor but we’re all different.
**COMING SOON** I've done a separate page on plumbing soldering tools. You can find it here!
**COMING SOON** I've done a separate page on power tools. You can find it here!
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