The Must-Have Plumbing Tools for Your Toolbox

The average cost to hire a plumber for a home repair in this country runs between $291-$417, according to Keep these tools in your toolbox to tackle common plumbing problems yourself and save money.


Snakes, also called plumber's augers, will help break up a clog further down a drain pipe. Snakes are easy to use and only require you to turn the handle crank to push the snake into the drain, find the clog and break it into pieces.

Snakes come in varying thicknesses, from 1/4-inch to more than 5/8 of an inch. For a pipe up to 1-1/2 inches, a 1/4-inch snake will work. For a pipe more than 3-4 inches, a 1/2-inch snake will work. For anything in between, use a 3/8-inch snake. Measure your pipe's diameter to select the best product. If the snake you choose is too thin, it can become wrapped around itself in the pipe, causing a larger problem than your clog.

Cost: $12 and up

Leak Sealing Tools

Leaks develop when pipes don't fit together properly or seals are broken. They waste water, increase your water bill and can cause water damage. By keeping plumber's tape and various-sized o-rings in your toolbox, you can fix basic leaks in a matter of minutes.

Also called thread seal tape, plumber's tape helps to seal plumbing threads. It's available in specific widths to fit the thread of your pipe, so keep a variety of common sizes on hand, such as 3/8 of an inch, 1-inch and 2-inch.

Over time, o-rings can degrade or break. Keep a mixed pack of o-rings in your toolbox to easily fix a leaky faucet. Visit for a sizing guide.

Cost: $2 and up for plumber's tape; $0.10 and up for o-rings

Solder, Soldering Paste and a Propane Torch

With these three tools, you can solder copper pipes together. The solder itself bonds the pipes together, while the soldering paste melts and flows into the pipe joints. As it cools and reforms, it creates a leak-resistant barrier. The propane torch heats up the soldering paste and the solder, so you can make the repair.

If you are working with plastic or PVC pipe and not copper, use plastic pipe glue to fit the pieces together and create a leak-free bond.

Cost: $5, $7 and $25, respectively, for soldering equipment, and $10 and up for pipe glue

Small Hacksaw and Pipe Reamer

A small hacksaw enables you to saw through pipes. It operates well in tight corners, where you don't have room for a large tool. As you use the hacksaw, you'll leave behind rough edges on the pipes. A pipe reamer shaves these off so you can have a smooth edge again.

Cost: $8 and up and $20, respectively