Pipe Cutters, Pliers and Plungers for Plumbers

As mentioned before, a plumber needs a lot of different tools in order to do his job. In this article I will mention three of these tools: cutters, pliers and plungers. The first tool is the pipe cutter.


This is used when you need to make neat cuts to a copper pipe and it is by far the quickest and easiest tool to use. Unlike a hacksaw, a pipe cutter does not cause metal filing and sharp marks on the outside of the pipe and it also creates a very neat and square finish to the end of the pipe you are working on. A pipe cutter can sometimes cause slight marks on the outside of the pipe but if this is the case, most pipe cutters have a tapered reamer at the end or in the middle of it, allowing you to smooth the pipe after cutting it. I hope this goes without saying but all pipes and fittings are to be smooth on the inside. There are special pipe cutters for pipes in difficult to reach places or for pipes close to walls. These are called pipe-slicers or mini pipe cutters.



There are several different gripping wrenches on the market and that can be very useful for a plumber. The second type of tool that I will mention is pliers. Personally, I find that a pair of general purpose pliers always comes in handy and my choice of pliers is what normally is referred to as an electrician’s type. As these come with rubber handles, it makes it easier to grip and more comfortable to use, especially after an extended length of use. The easiest tool to use when removing floorboard nails is a pair of pincers.



Now, the third tool I am going to mention is what a lot of people might first think of when it comes to plumbers and plumbing works. It is also a tool that most people already have in their homes, just in case of an emergency: the plunger. Depending on the seriousness of the drain or waste blockage, specialist equipment is sometimes needed or you might even have to use a specialist drain clearing firm. However, very often you can sort out the blockage by using a normal plunger. As I mentioned, most houses will normally have one of these but in any case, it should definitely be part of any professional plumber’s tool kit. It is cheap and cheerful and it can definitely save your day!

Different Types of Spanners

As a plumber you will need a wide variety of tools in order to do your job properly. I find that spanners are one of the most useful ones. They come in of lot of different varieties and sizes and which one to use depends on the job at hand.

Immersion Heater Spanner

Immersion heater spanners are often used to deal with electric immersion heaters that need to be screwed to the top of side of a hot water cylinder. They have very large nuts, often around 89mm, hence the need of a very large spanner in order to tighten or loosen the nuts. Even if you try to use the largest adjustable spanner you can find for this job, it will not be large enough but look to further as this is where the immersion heater spanner comes in. They can be purchased rather cheaply but can also be hired if needed.

adjustable spanner

Adjustable Spanner

However, the most useful type of spanner is probably the adjustable spanner. These spanners are always the best choice for doing up and undoing nuts as using pliers and various gripping wrenches will not only damage the nuts you are working on but can also cause damage to the tool itself. When it comes to adjustable spanners you normally put them in one of the three main categories: auto-pattern, crescent pattern and girder pattern spanners.

open ended spanner

Open-Ended Spanner

Another common type of spanner, and a type that is very handy for a plumber, is the open-ended spanner. These are often used for compression joints, providing that you can fit the right size spanner with the right size joint. In these cases you will normally need two open-ended spanners: one for the actual nut and one to prevent the fitting from turning. The bath (or basin) spanner is another useful spanner and these are used when dealing with the nuts and joints that hold the taps in place under baths. The basin wrench falls under this category as well and this tool allows you to get into the most inaccessible corners underneath the bath.

For the novice plumber, it might seem like there are a ridiculous high number of spanners on the market and it can be difficult to know which ones to get. A solution to this problem could be the universal plumbing spanner that is now available on the market. They will allow you to deal with most sizes and this includes dealing with angled basin-nut jaws. Many plumbers find this a very useful and cost-effective tool, especially if you are only just starting up. Personally, I think you can never have too many spanners and the only type of spanners you will most likely never use in plumbing are ring spanners and socket spanners.