Gift Guide for the DIY Plumber

Plumbing Hand Tools for the DIYer

Sure, they sometimes have to saw or drill through metal, wood or drywall, but plumbers really have just one problem area to contend with: pipes.

While typical handymen have to divide their attention among all manner of potential trouble spots, everything a plumber does is directly or indirectly related to (not surprisingly) plumbing. Therefore, it doesn't matter if your DIYer is fixing a leaky sink or unclogging a toilet, his tools are going to be job-specific. You can't just buy him a hammer and assume he'll be able to use it.

Let's start this gift list with some hand tools every plumber can use:

  • Slip-joint pliers - Remember, your DIYer is working with pipes, so he's going to need an adjustable pair with grooved teeth that prevent slipping, even on wet metal.
  • Pipe wrench - Look for a sturdy product with hardened teeth to prevent slippage.
  • Basin wrench - This strange-looking tool gets into awkward, hard-to-reach spaces to aid in sink repair and replacement.
  • Toilet auger - This tool is a plumber's best bet for removing toilet obstructions -- just make sure you pick up a model with a vinyl porcelain guard to prevent potty scratches.
  • Propane torch - Plumbers use propane torches to solder and seal broken pipes.
  • Plumbers' tape - Plumbers' namesake tape is used to seal pipe threads and prevent leaks.
  • Plunger - Do we really need to explain this one? It's more of a gag gift, but it might come in handy for emergencies when your DIY plumber isn't around.

Any DIY plumber is also going to need a few tools that are specifically designed to cut tubes and pipes, so let's take a look at some of those:

  • PVC Cutter - This is a tool that cuts plastic pipe -- a must for any plumber.
  • Mini hacksaw - It's just like a normal-sized hacksaw, but it's miniaturized for pipes and spaces where a standard model would be bulky and unwieldy.
  • Cable saw - A great PVC-cutting tool for those areas even a mini hacksaw can't get to.
  • Copper/metal tube cutters - They look like vise grips, but these cutters are specifically designed to slice through copper and metal plumbing.

Hand tools are great, but what should you do if your DIYer has all the wrenches, torches and plungers he needs? Find out how to put his tool needs to the test on the next page.