Tools, Home Tips,

Basic Plumbing Tools Every Homeowner Should Have: Your DIY Essentials

As a homeowner, dealing with plumbing issues is almost a rite of passage. It’s not just about the occasional clogs and leaks; it’s about knowing the nuts and bolts of what makes your home tick—or should we say drip?

Gaining basic plumbing tools isn’t just practical; it’s empowering and can save you money and time. Imagine not waiting for a plumber for a simple faucet leak or a slow-draining sink. All it takes is a little know-how and the right set of tools in your arsenal.

Building your basic plumbing toolkit is easier than you think. You’ll need a mixture of classic hand tools like wrenches and pliers and specialty plumbing items like a sink auger and a toilet plunger.

Whether tackling a simple repair or bracing yourself for a full-blown bathroom emergency, these tools are your first defense. Think of them as your plumbing first-aid kit, always ready and within reach when a pipe starts acting up.

Key Takeaways

  • Equipping essential hand tools helps with common repairs and maintenance.
  • Pipe working tools are crucial for tackling plumbing-specific tasks effectively.
  • Don’t overlook safety gear to protect yourself during plumbing repairs.

Essential Hand Tools

When tackling plumbing issues, your toolbox should have a few hand tools to turn a potential disaster into a manageable task. Let’s get your hands on the right gear!

Adjustable Wrench

An Adjustable Wrench is necessary for tweaking nuts, bolts, and fittings. This versatile tool lets you adjust the grip size to work with different hardware without scratching or damaging the finish. Keep a couple of sizes on hand because you’ll find them indispensable for tightening and loosening various fixtures.

Pipe Wrench

The Pipe Wrench is the quintessential plumber’s tool. It’s designed specifically for gripping and turning pipes, providing the leverage needed to handle those stubborn pieces. You’ll want to have a large and a smaller pipe wrench to accommodate different pipe diameters and work in tight spaces.


The Plunger is your first line of defense against clogs. It’s not just any tool; it’s the hero you need when your drain puts up a fight. A good plunger with a strong suction can clear blockages in sinks, toilets, and drains with just a bit of elbow grease.

Toilet Auger

Finally, the Toilet Auger is like your plunger’s tough sidekick, stepping in when heavy artillery is needed. It reaches deeper than a plunger and navigates through the curves of your toilet to dislodge those stubborn clogs that a plunger can’t defeat. With a toilet auger, you can conquer even the most tenacious toilet troubles.

Pipe Working Tools

When tackling plumbing tasks, you need the right tools for working with pipes. It’s like having the right guitar for that rock solo—you need the best fit!

Tubing Cutter

If you’re going to slice through metal or plastic tubing with immaculate precision, then a tubing cutter is your go-to. Think of it like a ninja’s katana for copper or PVC pipes—swift and clean.

  • Best for: Copper, Steel, PVC pipes
  • Why You’d Use It: To achieve a smooth, burr-free cut.


Your trusty hacksaw is the Arnold Schwarzenegger in your toolbox. It flexes its muscles on nearly everything: pipes, nuts, bolts—you name it. Just make sure to have the blade tight and let ‘it rip.

  • Best for: Metal, plastic pipes, nuts, bolts
  • Why You’d Use It: Versatility to cut through various materials.

Thread Sealing Tape

Lastly, don’t forget your secret weapon: thread-sealing tape. This little wonder will help you prevent leaks by sealing pipe threads. Wrap it like a present around the threads, and voilà—no more drips.

  • Best for: Sealing pipe threads
  • Why You’d Use It: To ensure a watertight seal on fittings.

Measurement and Layout Tools

A table with a tape measure, level, and pencil. Nearby, a wrench, plunger, and pipe cutter

Certain measurement and layout tools are absolute game changers if you’re gearing up to tackle some home plumbing. You’ll want to measure twice so you only have to cut once, and ensuring everything is level and lined up will save you heaps of trouble down the road. Let’s get into the essentials that’ll have you measuring and laying out like a pro.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is your best friend in precise measurement and a must-have in your plumbing toolbox. Whether you’re cutting pipes to size or figuring out the space for a new fixture, a good old tape measure takes the guesswork out. Look for one that’s durable, easy to read, and has a standout feature that keeps the tape rigid when extended.

  • Durability: Get one encased in a tough rubber shell.
  • Ease of Reading: Opt for bigger, bold numbers.
  • Standout: The longer the standout, the easier it is to measure alone.


Everything needs to be on the level regarding plumbing; a wonky pipe or fixture is a recipe for disaster! You’ll mainly use levels to ensure pipes and fixtures are perfectly horizontal or vertical. A torpedo level is ideal for those tight spots under the sink, while a longer level is great for bigger projects.

  • Torpedo Level: Compact and handy for small spaces.
  • Longer Level: Best for checking the level over longer distances.

Inspection Mirror

Now, this tool is like having superpowers! An inspection mirror helps you see around corners and in those nearly impossible-to-reach spots. It’s all about getting a visual of what you’re doing without having to perform mental gymnastics. Make sure to grab one with a telescoping handle and a swivel joint so you’re not stuck doing plumbing yoga.

  • Telescoping Handle: Extends your reach where your hands can’t go.
  • Swivel Joint: For that perfect angle to eyeball your work.

So there you have it. Armed with these measurement and layout gems, your plumbing projects became much more manageable. Happy fixing!

Safety and Protection Gear

A toolbox open on a clean, well-lit workbench, with various plumbing tools neatly arranged. Safety gear such as gloves, goggles, and a hard hat are also visible nearby

Safety first, my friends, before you dive into the pipes and fittings! It’s not just about keeping the water inside the pipes; it’s about keeping you unscathed, too.


Hand protection is paramount when you’re working with tools and pipes. Look for gloves that are:

  • Durable: to protect against cuts and scrapes
  • Water-resistant: because plumbing can get wet and wild!


Your peepers need protection from unexpected splashes and debris. Go for goggles that are:

  • Anti-fog: so your vision stays clear, even in steamy situations
  • Full coverage: to keep all angles safe from flying particles

Knee Pads

Plumbing often means getting down and dirty, and your knees will thank you for:

  • Thick padding: to cushion against hard and uneven surfaces
  • Adjustable straps: so they stay put while you’re on the move

Remember, gearing up with the right safety equipment is just as crucial as having the right tools for the job. Stay safe, and keep that DIY spirit high!

Additional Useful Items

When diving into a plumbing project, a few extra items can be true lifesavers. You know, those little champions that turn a tough job into a smooth-sailing gig. So, here’s the lowdown on the must-haves that will make you the DIY hero of your own home.


Whoa, it’s a jungle under that sink! You’ll need a steady light source to navigate the depths of your home’s plumbing. A flashlight, preferably LED, will be your guiding light, ensuring you never miss a beat—or a leak! Go for one with a hands-free operation to shine light while you tackle the job with both hands.


Think of a bucket as your plumbing sidekick. This simple vessel is invaluable, whether it’s catching drips, holding tools, or bailing out water. Keep a sturdy one around—multipurpose is the game’s name here.

Plumber’s Putty

This is the seal-deal wonder you never knew you needed until now. The plumber’s putty creates a watertight seal around faucets and drains. Mold this pliable friend to fit where traditional sealants can’t.

Just remember that it’s not suitable for plastic materials—keep that in mind to avoid a sticky situation!

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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