Inside A Plumber’s Tool Bag

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Have you ever wondered what magic is stored inside a plumber’s tool bag? Plumbers turn up to your homes with all this amazing equipment in one bag, and easily solve problems that initially appeared so complex! Maybe you have your heart set on being a plumber in the making, or possibly you’re just sick of having to call someone in and pay a fortune every time you have a leak or blocked pipe.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to know the secrets to the plumber’s tool bag, our article is here for you. We have provided details of all the main tools you will need to build your very own plumber’s tool bag.

Only Got 5 Minutes?

If you are in a rush to get working, have a project in mind or maybe have some emergency DIY that needs completing, then this part of the article for you. We have compiled all of those most important tools that you really cannot do without if you are planning on completing any plumbing jobs using your plumber’s tool bag.

The Tool Bag Itself!

Before we can even begin to consider the tools that go in the tool bag, we need to look at the tool bag itself. A sturdy plumber’s tool bag that is going to be able to withstand the wear and tear of transporting your tools is crucial!

The most important thing to consider is a tool bag that is going to be waterproof – it goes without saying that your tools are going to get wet if you are working on a plumbing job, but not only this, the area that you are working in might also be wet. A tool bag that is not going to become stained or damaged by water is a must!

Stanley 20-inch FatMax Plastic/Fabric Tote with Cover
231 Reviews
Stanley 20-inch FatMax Plastic/Fabric Tote with Cover
  • Covered front pockets
  • Multiple internal and external pockets
  • Strong injected polypropylene frame
  • Six denier and ballistic nylon fabric

We would also recommend a tool bag with different compartments – smaller sections for those bits and pieces and larger sections for those main big tools that you need to carry around. It is also worth finding one with a small, plastic, multi-compartment store, for all those fiddly little pieces that you need when completing plumbing jobs.

Look out for a tool bag with rubber, comfort handles as this will make the tools easier to carry and reduce fatigue.

Most Important Tools For Your Plumber’s Tool Bag

These are the tools you need to stop off for first when building up your plumber’s tool bag…

Tube Cutter

Sale
MASO 3-30mm Mini Tube Cutter Adjustable Copper Pipe Tubing Cutter Aluminum PVC Tubing Cutting Tool
38 Reviews
MASO 3-30mm Mini Tube Cutter Adjustable Copper Pipe Tubing Cutter Aluminum PVC Tubing Cutting Tool
  • ★High quality:This mini tube cutter is made of alloy steel which makes it durable, blade and more easy to cut.It is convenient for your home handy man, plumbers, electricians, and vehicle mechanics.
  • ★Adjustable to the following dimensions: 3mm to 30mm (1/8" to 1-1/8").More dimensions than a normal cutter can cut.
  • ★Used widely:Highly effective for cutting through copper, brass, aluminium, thin-wall steel, and plastic.
  • ★Easy control of cutting:Grooved guide rollers ensure square cuts, even if close to flared pipe end.
  • ★100% Quality And After Sales Service:We offer you a one-year warranty.If you do not like the package, please contact us in time, thank you very much, our after-sales service is very perfect, I believe you will be satisfied.

A tube cutter is a handy little tool that does what the name suggests – cuts tube! Made to cut through copper tubes, these vital tools are often known as pipe cutters as well. They are small tools with a blade inside that slices through the piping.

If possible – it may be worth opting for a telescopic tube cutter which is a bigger version of your standard tube cutter but allows you to adjust the size of pipe that you are cutting from between 3 to 28mm so they will be able to support you in many more types of jobs.

Water Pump Pliers

Sale
WORKPRO Water Pump Pliers, 40/52mm Wide Jaw Capacity, Quick Change Adjustable Plumbing Grips and Slip Joint Plier Set, 200mm (8-Inch) and 250mm (10-Inch), 2-Piece
589 Reviews
WORKPRO Water Pump Pliers, 40/52mm Wide Jaw Capacity, Quick Change Adjustable Plumbing Grips and Slip Joint Plier Set, 200mm (8-Inch) and 250mm (10-Inch), 2-Piece
  • 【Easy adjusting】Tongue & groove adjusting jaws for different sizes of components.
  • 【Extra wide jaw opening】Extra wide jaw opening up to 40 and 52mm. Quick release with push button.
  • 【All purpose and multi usage】All-purpose jaw grips on round, flat, square and hex shapes, ideal for gripping, pulling, tightening & loosening nuts, bolts, pipe & fittings
  • 【Safety nonslip handle】Nonslip handles for secure, comfortable hold with low weight just 315g
  • 【Solid and sturdy】Forge from chrome vanadium steel for hardness and toughness. Blackening treatment body for rust-proofing and wear-resistant

Water pump pliers will be adjustable meaning that they can work with different sizes of pipework and materials that you are working with. Most of them will come with longer handles which makes it easier to get into tighter spaces – which is going to be well needed with many plumbing jobs as the pipework is never just there right in front of you!

Mole Grips

WORKPRO Locking Pliers Set, CR-V Steel Mole Grips, Quick-Release & Self-Locking with Soft Grip, 10-Inch & 7-Inch Curved Jaw, 6-1/2 Inch Straight Jaw, 3-Piece
173 Reviews
WORKPRO Locking Pliers Set, CR-V Steel Mole Grips, Quick-Release & Self-Locking with Soft Grip, 10-Inch & 7-Inch Curved Jaw, 6-1/2 Inch Straight Jaw, 3-Piece
  • High-quality chrome-vanadium steel jaw for maximum durability
  • Quick-release and self-locking design for easy use
  • Rotating screw for adjusting holding pressure to save labour
  • Non-slip ergonomic soft grip handle for comfortable use
  • Ideal for gripping, twisting & holding small components

Mole grips (also known as locking pliers) are amazing tools that we would suggest every DIY’er has – regardless of whether you are doing plumbing jobs or other DIY. Although they are definitely something that you cannot do without in your plumbing tool bag! They are similar to pliers or a wrench but have a grip around the “mouth” of the tool so that they can grip on to fastenings that have been rounded. The fact that they lock into their grip as well means that they can basically be used as an extra pair of hands, as they can be left gripping onto pipework while you work in other areas.

Drain Rods

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Silverline 273193 Drain Rod - Set of 12
1,024 Reviews
Silverline 273193 Drain Rod - Set of 12
  • Includes 10 x 920 mm rods, 1 x 100 mm rubber plunger, 1 x 50 mm double worm screw
  • Flexible easy-screw rods
  • Crimped and pinned end connections
  • Manufactured from polypropylene
  • Full range of compatible Silverline drain cleaning and chimney sweeping accessories available

Drain rods are there to do the one job that you really won’t want to do – unblock drains and toilets! As pipework, particularly toilet pipework, is often bent in all kinds of directions, if you end up with a blockage then it can be difficult (plus disgusting) to put your hands down the pipework to try and remove the blockage. This is where your drain rods come in, as they can be clipped together to make a long but quite flexible rod which can then be pushed down the pipework to push the blockage through the system.

Many drain rod kits also come with a hook end that can be attached to your rods, this way if you want to pull the blockage out of the pipework, instead of sending it on through the system, you can use this to do that.

Radiator Spanner

Neish Tools 1/2' Radiator Spanner with Slotted End
1 Reviews

A radiator spanner is similar in look to allen keys, but can be used to remove radiator valves. You won’t tend to use them for general plumbing unless you are working with heating systems so you will only need one of these in that situation.

Other Tools Needed in Your Plumber’s Tool Bag

There are some tools that you may already have lying around your home or in the back of your garage, but that are well worth adding to your plumber’s tool bag.

Adjustable Spanner

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OX PRO Series Adjustable Wrench, Extra Wide Jaw - Adjustable Plumbing Spanner with Dua Grip Soft Grip Handle - Multifunctional tool - 6 inch
313 Reviews
OX PRO Series Adjustable Wrench, Extra Wide Jaw - Adjustable Plumbing Spanner with Dua Grip Soft Grip Handle - Multifunctional tool - 6 inch
  • EXTRA WIDE JAW: The OX PRO Series Wrench has an adjustable jaw that can expand up to 34mm in width.
  • DESIGNED TO PERFECTION: The head of The OX Pro Extra Wide Jaw Adjustable Wrench is slim, and the tips are pointed so that it can be used comfortably in narrow spaces as well. The jaw has a measurement scale engraved for precision.
  • TOUGH AS AN OX: The OX Pro Extra Wide Jaw Adjustable Wrench is precision hardened for extreme durability.
  • DURAGRIP Handle: The wrench is fitted with DURA GRIP Soft Handle to give you an anti-slip grip - giving you better control.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL TOOL: The adjustable jaw with a slim head and measurement scale makes the OX PRO Series Wrench suitable for plumbing sanitaryware, wash basins, tube nut disassembly, gas industry work, etc.

Adjustable spanners are really handy tools for completing plumbing work as they will allow you to change the size of the spanner depending on the size of piping or fastenings that you are working with. They will massively help to avoid any damage to either the pipework or the fastenings when you are completing plumbing jobs, which is so important if you are wanting to avoid creating a fountain in your bathroom.

Hacksaw

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Bahco  239 Junior Saw
208 Reviews
Bahco 239 Junior Saw
  • Complete with 150 mm (6'') metal cutting blade
  • With orange powder coated steel wire frame
  • Teeth per inch (TPI): 32

Most DIY nuts will have a hacksaw lying around in their shed! They will be able to work on various different types of materials and are usually small enough to be able to get into tighter places. If you are working in a particularly tight to reach area then opt for a junior hacksaw which will be cheaper and perfect for those really hard to reach areas.

Allen Key Set

Draper 33894 Metric/ Imperial Combined Long Pattern Hexagon Key Set (30 Pieces)
545 Reviews
Draper 33894 Metric/ Imperial Combined Long Pattern Hexagon Key Set (30 Pieces)
  • Manufactured from correctly hardened and tempered chrome vanadium steel
  • The long arm is particularly useful when working in confined spaces
  • Packed in plastic case

Almost every home will have random allen keys lying around in their home (usually found in the “man drawer” or the “DIY cupboard”. In our opinion, that just isn’t enough for if you are wanting to complete plumbing jobs around your home. You are going to need a set of allen keys so that you always have one available that is going to work with the radiator or bolt size that you have in front of you.

Allen key sets usually come with a fastener that secures them all together, meaning that they won’t become lost or misplaced when you are on the job. These handy, little tools will most definitely give you your money’s worth over time!

Spirit Level

A spirit level is perfect for making sure those pipes are all straight and ensuring that they are fitted at the correct angle. This is crucial when completing pipework as you need to make sure that the water is going to flow the right way and that there is not going to be a buildup of debris in the pipes. Not only this, but if you are taking your plumbing abilities that one step further and fitting radiators then you will need your spirit level to make sure that your radiators are fitted straight! They are not easy to fit so the last thing you want is to go through all that effort and then realise that it isn’t straight on the wall!

Radiator Key

This tiny tool can solve so many radiator problems that you might be facing! Heating systems will always become filled with air over time – your radiator key is there to remove it. Known as “bleeding” the radiator it simply opens the bleed screws to remove the trapped air from the system. Then as soon as a trickle of water starts to come through, you know the radiator key has done its job and you turn the bleed screw the other way again (remember to make sure that it is nice and tight).

Tape Measure

For obvious reasons, you are going to need a tape measure if you are working with any plumbing or pipework jobs. This will be crucial to measure the length of pipes that you are working with, or the rooms that you are sending the pipework through.

Stop Tap Key

As this name suggests, a stop tap key is used to switch off water at the mains if you are struggling to access the internal stop tap. This is a crucial tool for any plumbing emergency!

Plunger

Sale
T&B Powerful sink Plunger and Unblocker – Heavy Duty Tool to Easily Clear All Blocked
106 Reviews
T&B Powerful sink Plunger and Unblocker – Heavy Duty Tool to Easily Clear All Blocked
  • Suitable for unblocking and cleaning shower, sink, drain, toilets etc
  • Ideal small size clog remover cleaner for toilet,kitchen sink drain,bathroom shower tub
  • 4 Inch TPR cup plunges most drains clear of nasty clogged mess,9 Inch handle stows easily under mos
  • Durable pump plunger in 100% new plastic material for many years' long use;Easy to clean & store

We would be surprised if you don’t have a plunger in your home, but if not then this is definitely something that you need to invest in. They are only relatively cheap but you will be able to sort a number blockages with a simple plunger, without even needing to get out your drain rods and other tools. 

Extra Items Worth Considering

If you are wanting to be prepared for any plumbing job that might come your way then here are some extra tools that it may be worth adding to your tool bag:

  • Set of spanners for working with all types of fastenings
  • Mains tester – crucial to check any electrical wiring around the plumbing job that you are working with. It goes without saying that you should never mix electricity with water – well this is the tool to make sure that you stick to that rule!
  • Cordless drill – this will make securing pipework a much less time-consuming chore.

Angle grinder – this won’t be a cheap investment but if you are planning on cutting up a lot of pipework you will want to purchase one of these. Looking After Your Plumbing Tools

Going to the effort of putting together your own plumbing tool bag is something that is well worth doing. It leaves you ready for just about any plumbing emergencies and could save you a fortune on call outs and repairs. But, this is only going to be the case if you look after your tools after you have purchased them! Otherwise, you could find it costing you even more money in the long run!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I use if I am soldering pipework?
If you are planning on refitting or adding to a heating system for example then you may find that you need to solder different pipes together so that they connect together, and then again to the area that you are working with. Make sure to purchase a decent quality soldering kit (blowlamp) to complete this, and also a soldering mat to avoid damaging skirting boards or flooring in the area that you are working.

What safety precautions do I need to follow when completing plumbing work?
The first two things that you need to do in a plumbing emergency is to make sure that the electric is switched off to the area and also to switch off the mains water so that you can minimise any water damage to the area. Make sure when completing plumbing jobs to wear gloves and possibly safety goggles if you are going to be working with waste pipes as you will need to protect yourself from all that dirty water.

Do I need any qualifications to complete plumbing work?
You can do all your own plumbing work at your home without any qualifications, providing it is not going to affect any other houses in your area (such as switching off whole street water mains, which can sometimes happen if you live in an older home). But it is important to remember that if you are hoping to work with the boiler in your heating system (or basically any of the gas elements) then you will need to be a member of the Gas Safe Register to do this. It is very different to electrical work (where you can just get it certified afterwards), as you are not allowed to even start work that involves gas if you are not registered.

Can I use a torch when completing plumbing jobs?
Yes you can, as the small amount of electricity that is passing through the torch will not cause you damage if it becomes wet (although it could damage the torch beyond repair). We would recommend opting for a head torch, as this will leave your hands free to be able to do the plumbing jobs. It will also avoid the torch falling into the water and becoming damaged as it will be strapped to your head!

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Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 178 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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