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Plumbing tools buying guide

Your tool kit for the most common plumbing jobs

Plumbing comes with a whole catalogue of specialist tools. If you're going to do the job, make sure you get the right ones.

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A brief guide to the tools you'll need for the most common plumbing jobs.

Basin wrench (or crow's foot spanner)

Has a pivoting jaw that can be set for tightening or loosening tap connectors.

Bending springs

You can bend copper pipes up to 28mm in diameter by hand. To stop the pipe kinking, insert a bending spring, available in 15mm and 22mm sizes.

Cranked spanner

Double-ended wrench, also for use on tap connectors.

Epoxy putty

For patch repairs to all types of leaking pipework.

Freezing kit

When you want or need to do plumbing work without draining the system, use a freezing kit to create temporary ice plugs in the pipework.

Half metal file

For removing burrs inside the ends of cut copper pipe.

Lavatory auger

Insert the wire and rotate the handle to clear the blockage.

Mini pipe cutter

Works like a pipe cutter but circular-shaped, and so ideal for working in confined spaces.

Pipe bending machine

If you're running a lot of new copper pipes, this tool is invaluable. Its levers make easy work of bending pipes to the profiles you need.

Pipe cleaning rods

Flexible metre-long polypropylene rods that screw together so you can reach blockages in drains and inspection chambers. You can get a range of cleaning heads, from scrapers and plungers to corkscrews.

Pipe cutter

It's possible to cut copper pipe with a hacksaw, but for a more accurate and neat job, use a pipe cutter. Some come with a built-in reamer to remove burrs and rough edges from the inside of the pipe.

Pipe or Stillson wrench

Designed for gripping pipework, the jaws of the wrench self-tighten as you apply force.

Pipe repair clip

For instant but temporary repairs to pipes, clamp this rubber-lined collar over the leak and tighten the screws to seal it.


The traditional device for clearing a blocked sink, basin or bath. Pump it up and down to create pulses of air and water.

Radiator bleed key

For releasing trapped air from a radiator.

Slip-joint (or water pump) pliers

With long handles and an easy-to-adjust slip jaw, these pliers are a useful tool for undoing fittings. To avoid damaging the finish, use a precision spanner instead.