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Published Sep. 15, 2021

The plumbing in our homes isn’t something most of us think about often—until something leaks or bursts. Home plumbing systems are made up of cold and hot water pipes, drain pipes, vent pipes, and multiple fixtures, including sink faucets, showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines. This complex system is primarily responsible for helping you to keep yourself and your home clean, and to dispose of waste in a sanitary way. There are many different issues that prevent the plumbing system from working correctly and doing its job, so it’s important to have a basic plumbing supply kit to fix these problems when they occur.

A collection of the best plumbing supplies would need to include a few key tools, like a plumber’s snake and pipe wrenches, as well as certain products that are made for plumbing repairs, like plumber’s tape, fire-resistant cloth, and MAPP (methyl acetylene propadiene propane) gas to fuel a blow torch if you want to get into soldering. We rounded up some of the essential things to look for when shopping and made recommendations for the best one to consider for your home.  

How We Picked the Best Plumbing Supplies

Methodology

Over a decade of experience as a technician and project manager for residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional plumbing operations, as well as substantial research into the individual plumbing products has helped me to select the top plumbing supplies from over 50 potential items. Key factors that were taken into consideration included the versatility of the products, their suitability for specific tasks, and the overall quality of the items that were researched.

Versatility was an important factor when deciding between similar products because plumbing doesn’t just involve wrenches, washers, and buckets. Often plumbing jobs can incorporate a wide variety of tools and parts, including screwdrivers, blowtorches, pipe cutters, and caulking guns. The suitability of each product to various tasks helped determine what situations the specific plumbing supplies could be used to manage or mitigate. It was also important to take into consideration the number of plumbing supplies in a kit and the various types of tools it contained. A product may have been excluded from this top list if it was found to have a poor design or quality, because there are few things more frustrating than having a tool break while attempting to complete a repair, especially in emergencies where significant water damage could occur.

Best Plumbing Supplies: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: KOTTO 4 Pack Set Heavy Duty Pipe Wrench

Heavy-Duty Pipe Wrenches

This set includes four different pipe wrenches to take on a range of plumbing projects from shower head replacement to valve repair. KOTTO

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Why It Made the Cut: The heavy-duty wrenches in this four-piece set are heat-treated, and the handles are wrapped in soft-grip plastic for enhanced comfort and control.

Specs:

  • Plumbing Supplies: 8-inch pipe wrench, 10-inch pipe wrench, 12-inch pipe wrench, 14-inch pipe wrench
  • Purpose/Function: Use pipe wrenches to tighten or loosen nuts, tailpieces, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
ProsCons
  • The pipe wrenches come in four different sizes
  • Steel and iron construction is vulnerable to rusting
  • Heat-treated steel can be used with a blow torch
  • Soft-grip handles offer improved control
  • Sharp metal teeth grip smooth pipes with ease
  • One of the best tools for any avid DIYer to have on hand is a pipe wrench. These tools are specifically designed to deal with seized tailpieces, fittings, and valves. This KOTTO four-pack includes an 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 14-inch pipe wrench, so that users can choose the most suitable size for the project. In many cases, more than one pipe wrench is necessary to loosen or tighten fittings because while one wrench is responsible for tightening or loosening, the other must grip the plumbing assembly to ensure that the force is only being exerted on the targeted plumbing. Undue force exerted on the nearby plumbing system could pull pipes down from the ceiling or break fragile connections, leading to flooding.

    These pipe wrenches are made with heat-treated steel and iron, so they’re safe for use with a blow torch. However, the steel and iron are susceptible to rusting if the wrenches are exposed to water and not properly dried after use. The soft-grip handles improve the user’s control, but the real benefit of these wrenches is the sharp metal teeth, which are made to bite into smooth metal so that the tool has a firm grip on the material.

    Best Value: Hi-Spec 33 Piece Beginner Tool Set

    Complete Starter Toolkit

    Start building a home plumbing and repair kit with this 33-piece set of basic tools. Hi-Spec

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    Why It Made the Cut: The Hi-Spec 33-piece tool set is an excellent option for new DIYers who want to start taking on more projects at home.

    Specs: 

    • Plumbing Supplies: Six screwdrivers, a bit driver with 10 bits, a utility knife, a pair of channel locks, a pair of needle-nose pliers, an adjustable wrench, a hacksaw with five replacement blades, a claw hammer, a tape measure, a plastic level, safety glasses, a glasses bag, and a metal toolbox.
    • Purpose/Function: Assortment of basic tools that are useful for a wide variety of projects.
    • Difficulty Level: Beginner
    ProsCons
  • 33-piece set for home repair and maintenance
  • Kit lacks some common plumbing tools and supplies
  • Multiple hacksaw replacement blades for cutting pipes
  • Durable metal toolbox for convenient storage
  • Channel locks are an incredibly versatile tool in this kit
  • Everyone needs to start somewhere, but there’s no reason to start with just one tool when it’s more affordable and effective to invest in a tool kit with an assortment of tools and accessories, like this Hi-Spec 33-piece toolset. The set comes packaged in a durable metal toolbox for easy organization and storage. One of the key components for plumbing repairs is the pair of channel locks which can be used in place of a pipe wrench and are also commonly used in soldering. This plumbing toolset also includes a small hacksaw with five replacement blades that is ideal for cutting through pipe when a standard pipe cutter doesn’t fit. 

    Additionally, the set also comes with many basic tools for household DIY projects, like six different screwdrivers, a bit driver with 10 different bits, a utility knife, a pair of needle-nose pliers, an adjustable wrench, a claw hammer, a tape measure, a plastic level, safety glasses, and a small bag to store the safety glasses in when they’re not being used. Despite this array of tools, however, there are still several common plumbing tools and supplies missing from the set, such as a plumber’s snake, a pipe wrench, and plumber’s tape.

    Best For Clogs: 5 in 1 Sink Snake Cleaner Drain Auger Hair Catcher

    Shower and Sink Drains

    Remove hair, dirt, and other debris from the tub, shower, and sink drains to clear clogs and allow water to drain properly. Forlivese

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    Why It Made the Cut: Improve the flow of water and clear clogs with this 5-in-1 set of drain clearing tools.

    Specs: 

    • Plumbing supplies: Three 20-inch hair removal tools, one 24-inch spring-loaded grabbing tool, and one 40-inch handheld plumber’s snake
    • Purpose/Function: Clear clogs by hooking, grabbing, or puncturing the build-up inside the drainpipes.
    • Difficulty level: Beginners
    ProsCons
  • Suited for multiple types of clogs
  • Plumber’s snake may not be long enough for deep clogs
  • Better for pipes than chemical solutions
  • Easy to use with included instructions
  • One of the most recognized plumbing tasks around the home is clearing the sink when it becomes clogged. This isn’t just because modern media tends to depict plumbers working on sinks, it’s also because grease and food are regularly washed into the drain where they build up, congeal, and create clogs that stop the flow of water into the main drainpipe. This 5-piece set of drain-cleaning tools includes a 40-inch plumber’s snake or auger that can be used for this exact task. Just feed the line into the drain until it comes in contact with the clog, then rotate the handle to create friction against the clog, puncturing it and forcing smaller pieces of the clog into the larger drain pipes. However, this snake may not be long enough for clogs that are more than three feet away from the nearest drain.

    This set also has a 24-inch, spring-loaded grabbing tool that’s best for retrieving items that have been dropped down the drain such as lost rings and other valuables, or toothpicks, chopsticks, and ear swabs that may be causing recurring clogs. If hair clogs in the shower are a problem in your house, the three, 20-inch hair removal tools can help snag hair clogs and pull them out of the drain to restore the flow of water.

    Best Blow Torch: BLUEFIRE HZ-8388B Self Igniting 3′ Hose

    Versatile Lighting and Control

    People experienced with soldering can use this blow torch repairing pipes around the home. Bluefire

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    Why It Made the Cut: With a flexible, 3-foot hose and a self-ignition switch, this blow torch is a versatile tool that’s easy to control and maneuver while soldering.

    Specs: 

    • Plumbing Supplies: Self-igniting blow torch with a 3-foot hose, MAPP gas canister
    • Purpose/Function: Heat metal pipes and plumbing parts to solder joints, tailpieces, and valves.
    • Difficulty Level: Experienced users
    ProsCons
  • Flexible, 3-foot hose allows for greater maneuverability
  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Built-in self-ignition switch saves time and effort
  • Adjustable flame control to decrease or reduce flame intensity
  • DIYers who have experience with home plumbing can get great use out of this Mr. Torch blow torch and MAPP gas combo pack that’s ideal for soldering. MAPP gas burns hotter than propane, so it’s a better option for heating plumbing pipes quickly and effectively without damaging the materials, which can occur if the flame is held on the metal for too long. The blow torch connects at the top of the MAPP gas canister and can be used to control the flow of gas with an adjustable knob. By increasing the flow, the intensity of the flame grows. It may be more difficult to maintain control over the flame at very high levels, so it’s better to solder at a low flame intensity in order to target specific parts of the plumbing.

    The torch handle is connected to the tank and adjustable knob by a 3-foot hose, which gives the user more freedom and maneuverability. The torch can also be ignited with a simple push of the self-ignition switch, instead of requiring a lighter or striker. However, it needs to be noted that beginners and DIYers who are inexperienced with plumbing should not attempt to solder without some prior training because the interior of a home is filled with very flammable material, like insulation and carpet, which is all too easy to accidentally ignite.

    Best Soldering Kit: Oatey 50684 Safe-Flo Silver Plumbing Kit

    Lead-Free Soldering

    Fix leaks, replace valves, or install water supply lines with this modest, lead-free soldering kit. Oatey

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    Why It Made the Cut: The soldering kit is made up of the essential consumable plumbing supplies necessary to successfully solder a joint, tailpiece, or valve, with the exception of a gas canister.

    Specs: 

    • Plumbing Supplies: Roll of lead-free solder, lead-free flux paste, flux application brush, grit cloth
    • Purpose/Function: Use with a blow torch to solder joints, tailpieces, and valves.
    • Difficulty Level: Experienced users
    ProsCons
  • Multi-piece set to ensure successful soldering
  • Small kit is only suitable for minor repairs
  • Lead-free flux paste and solder
  • Specifically formulated for use with potable water lines
  • Meets ASTM and Safe Drinking Water Act standards
  • While it would be a struggle to use this small kit for a large plumbing project, it is suitable for fixing leaks around the house, installing refrigerator water supply lines, replacing valves, and many other minor repairs or updates. The Oatey kit includes a roll of lead-free solder, a container of lead-free flux paste, a flux paste application brush, and grit cloth. The lead-free status of the solder and flux paste is important because these substances are used on the water lines that bring drinking water to the home’s sinks and appliances. This kit is specifically designed for use with potable water lines, and the materials in the kit meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard, as well as complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    Use the abrasive grit cloth to clean the surface of the metal pipe, then apply flux paste to the metal pipe with the flux application brush. When the pipe is ready, slide the fitting onto the pipe, then begin to apply heat with a blow torch. After a few seconds, touch the tip of the solder to the metal near the opening of the fitting and wait until it begins to liquify and flow into the gap between the fitting and the pipe. Move the solder around this gap to ensure that there’s a good seal, then remove the heat from the pipe and allow it to cool. This method of cleaning the pipe and treating it with flux makes it easier for solder to flow around the joint and form a strong, leak-free seal.

    Things to Consider Before Buying Plumbing Supplies

    Simply heading to your local plumbing supply store and picking up the most common plumbing supplies can provide you with the beginnings of a kit, but a better method for finding the best plumbing supplies is to consider the versatility of the individual products, as well as the home repairs that you’re experienced enough to take on. This can help you to narrow down the types of tools and plumbing supplies that could be necessary for your next DIY plumbing project. 

    Versatility

    There are a variety of different ways to address a problem with your home plumbing system, so it’s important that the plumbing tools and supplies are equally versatile in order to properly resolve any issues within your capabilities to repair. For this reason, a home plumbing supply kit needs to include several different tools, as well as some important supplies. 

    Channel locks, adjustable wrenches, and pipe wrenches are incredibly useful when it comes to plumbing because they’re necessary for loosening and tightening nuts, and may also be needed for (carefully) removing a faucet aerator or even opening a seized valve. Similarly, a blow torch, solder paste, solder, grit cloth, and pipe cutter come in handy when the water pipes need to be updated, adjusted, or fixed. Even screwdrivers and hammers can be useful in some circumstances, so it’s important to find versatile plumbing supplies to take on these tasks.

    Common Home Plumbing Repairs

    There are many different plumbing repairs that can be completed by an experienced DIYer. A few of the most common home repairs are listed below.

    • Toilet replacement may be necessary if the toilet in your home is out of date, damaged, or if you simply want to upgrade to a more efficient, low-flow model. This is a surprisingly easy home repair, though it may seem intimidating to inexperienced DIYers.
    • Faucet replacement is one of the most frequent plumbing repairs around the home because faucets are used regularly and are susceptible to aerator clogs and leaks. 
    • Showerhead replacement rarely requires more than your hands and some plumber’s tape, though you should have an adjustable wrench available if the old shower head is seized.
    • Clog clearing can be undertaken with short, hair removal wands that are ideal for tubs and shower drains, or the job may be more difficult, involving a hand auger or plumber’s snake that needs to be inserted into the drain system to clear large clogs in the line. Common clog problems in the shower are caused by hair and dirt, but in the kitchen, the issue is typically because liquid grease has been dumped down the drain where it cools and congeals into a sticky, semi-solid substance.
    • Shut-off valve repair or replacement is a more difficult job that requires someone with enough plumbing experience to be comfortable handling a blow torch and solder. Some people prefer to use pipe wrenches and compression fittings to get the job done.

    Types of Plumbing Supplies

    Even experienced DIYers can look at a new tool and have little idea about how it should be used, which is why it’s important to educate yourself about the various tools, parts, and other supplies used to maintain or repair a plumbing system. The list of tools and consumable supplies below contains just a few of the most frequently used plumbing supplies that avid DIYers should have on hand for home plumbing repairs.

    Tools:

    • Plumber’s snake
    • Pipe wrench
    • Channel locks
    • Blow torch
    • Hacksaw

    Consumable Supplies:

    • Plumber’s tape
    • Solder
    • Grit cloth
    • Flux paste
    • MAPP gas
    • Fire-resistant cloth

    FAQs

    Q: What tools and equipment do plumbers use?

    Plumbers use a surprising number of tools and equipment to address a wide variety of issues inside and outside the home. Some of the most common tools and equipment used by plumbers include a pipe wrench, pipe cutters, a blow torch, a plumber’s snake, a metal file, plumber’s tape (seal tape), a bucket, a plunger, and a flashlight or headlamp, but there are many more tools that they may have on hand for various situations.

    Q: Can you do most plumbing repairs yourself?

    Just like any other task around the home, plumbing is something that you can take on by yourself. However, it does require significant knowledge about plumbing supplies, plumbing systems, and other home systems that may come into contact with the plumbing or interact with the system in some way, such as a furnace that commonly drains directly into the main drainpipe or a branching drainpipe. Start with small projects to build up experience before tackling more difficult tasks.

    Q: Do I have to drain the hot water tank to change a tap?

    No. In most situations, a tap or faucet will have isolation valves located directly under the sink that can be used to turn off the water only to that specific faucet, allowing you to replace it without draining the hot water tank.

    Q: Is it difficult to change a showerhead?

    A shower head is relatively easy to replace and doesn’t typically require a plumber. Unscrew the old shower head from the existing plumbing. Use an adjustable wrench to help loosen the old shower head if it can’t be removed by hand. This will expose the threads on the shower arm so that you can add plumber’s tape, then screw the new showerhead onto the threads. 

    Final Thoughts

    The KOTTO Pipe Wrench Four-Pack provides the user with four high-quality pipe wrenches for various plumbing tasks, like replacing a faucet or installing a water softener. If you’re relatively new to DIY projects, though, then the affordable Hi-Spec 33 Piece Beginner Tool Set is a great choice to start building your home plumbing supply kit.

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