Nothing's worse than turning up at a job and finding out you don't have the right tools. So we decided to put together a list of essential tools that should be in every plumber's toolbox so you can focus on the job at hand:
(All products are available to buy from our online store. Click the image or heading to be taken to the product page.)
What plumber doesn't have at least a couple of these in their toolbox? Made for cutting through copper tube, Tube Cutters (also called Pipe Cutters or Pipe Slicers) are absolutely an essential tool that every plumber needs in their toolbox.
As well as your trusty Tube Cutter, a Telescopic Tube Cutter can be adjusted to cut between 3-28mm tubing with the same clean cut. They're also great for when pipes are just that bit out of reach.
A standard tool for any workman, Adjustable Wrenches are a handyman's best friend when it comes to working with nuts, bolts and fastenings. For working with pipes, we'd recommend getting hold of a pair to help avoid twisting pipework when tightening compression joints.
Also known as Slip Joint Pliers, Water Pump Pliers are easily adjustable and are great for dealing with grip jobs in tight spaces, making them a fantastic choice for any plumber's toolbox.
Nuts and bolts that have become rounded have to be one of the biggest pain in the arses on the job. Keep a pair of these Mole Grips on-hand to help deal with pulling rounded nuts and bolts out. Their locking mechanism also means you can grip things together while keeping both of your hands free.
When pipes, nuts, bolts or screws just do not want to come apart easily, turn to your trusty hacksaw. If it's a tight squeeze and you can't get your hacksaw in place, remove the blade and use it by itself to cut stubborn fittings.
An even better option for cutting in tight spaces is a Junior Hacksaw. While not as heavy duty as a full-size, Junior Hacksaws are fantastic value for money and are a staple in any workman's toolbox.
Another toolbox staple - Spirit Levels are used in almost all trades and are a great way of checking the angle of a surface. Whether you're checking how close to horizontal a pipe is or need to check how straight you've installed that new radiator, a good Spirit Level is an essential tool for any plumber.
Keeping a set of Allen Keys handy means that when you come across a bolt that needs one, you'll be well equipped with the right size key to hand (also great for those post-IKEA furniture building sessions).
Noone wants to shove their arm down a J-bend to unblock a toilet, so pick up a set of these Drain Rods. They clip together end-to-end and will allow you to unblock pipes quickly and easily.
Save risking burning your customer's skirting board, walls or floors by using this asbestos-free Soldering Mat when using naked flames around pipework.
A small but useful tool for opening bleed screws, releasing trapped air from radiators.
As well as a radiator key, you'll also want to arm yourself with a couple of Radiator Spanners. Used for removing radiator valves, they're a handy and cheap tool that will come in useful for most plumbing jobs where radiators are involved.
Another small and cheap but useful tool to keep handy in your toolbox - If you're working for a forgetful customer who's lost their gas meter box key, this key acts as a universal service cabinet unlocker.
Possibly one of the most misplaced tools ever invented. Tape Measures need no explanation as to why they are useful, just pick one up and stop improvising with offcuts!
Everybody hates health & safety, but unless you take a particular liking to walking frames and knee replacements, get a decent set of Knee Protectors.
Don't end up with soggy boots and a flooded customer's house, get your hands on a Stop Tap Key, the right tool for turning off water mains.
Stanley Knives always seem to come in use when on the job. Even if it's just to sharpen your pencil, Stanley Knives are always handy to have on you.
If you don't already have a decent Claw Hammer that won't leave your hands with blisters (or leave your grip altogether!), pick one up. A standard tool for any worker.
At some point in every plumber's career, there will be crawling inside a dark and dusty cupboard to find the leaking pipe. Arm yourself with a Head Torch now and prepare for that dark, damp day.
As well as a head torch, you'll also want to pick up a couple of Handheld Torches, ideal for closely inspecting pipes for leaks as well as general everyday use.
Keeping a complete set of Spanners to hand will reduce the need to spend time hunting for the right size one for the job (just remember to put them back in the right place afterwards!!).
Working with water can be a massive pain in the arse. Every plumber has had to deal with burst or leaky pipes. So be prepared and get yourself some buckets of varying sizes and save yourself trying to find the nearest container that isn't the customer's favourite china dish when you are in those situations.
Unless you want hair like Einstein, pick up a Mains Tester. These are useful for checking if a wire is live before cutting pipes willy-nilly.
Drilling holes and driving screws is easy with a quality Cordless Drill. Keeping 1 battery fully charged will allow you to quickly and easily swap when the one in use runs down.
Useful for removing excess material or cutting through and polishing pipes, a quality Angle Grinder can make your life that bit easier.
A simple and cheap tool used for extracting immersions from cylinders, an Immersion Heater Spanner doesn't take up much room and should be in every plumber's toolbox.
Last but not least is a Holesaw Kit. Designed especially for plumbers, keeping a holesaw kit handy will make cutting through trunking, conduit, pipe, kitchen/bathroom Hardwood, Softwood, Metal Mild Steel and Aluminium a lot easier.
Any suggestions? Feel free to leave a reply with your go-to plumbing tools below.