Product picks of a professional plumber
“Plumbing is a dirty job and my tools have to be able to stand up to jobsite conditions.”
Donald Shultz, Adams Plumbing & Heating in Evergreen, Colorado is a journeyman plumber, a highly skilled tradesman, but he’ll tell you with a smile when he got out of the Marine Corps 25-years ago, and began learning his trade, he couldn’t even read a measuring tape.
Shultz isn’t impressed with flashy, high-tech tools. He says for him, it’s all about quality and durability. Find out which are the product picks of a professional plumber.
Working for Adams Plumbing is a pleasure, he says, because the owner was a tradesman before he became a businessman and he knows the value of quality tools and outfits his crews accordingly.
Bucket Boss 12-inch 56-Pocket Bucket Tool Organizer, #10056
“When I started in the trade we always installed copper tubing. That required a lot of tools and fittings, so I wore a tool belt. These days we run more PEX than copper, and I’ve traded my bulky tool belt for a couple of Bucket Bosses. I’ve included this in my list of product picks of a professional plumber, because they’re durable, made from heavy rip-stop polyester.
“I have one for rough in and another for finish. The 40 outside pockets and 18 inside keep my tools and fittings organized.”
Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw, #XRJ03Z
“I’ve tried several cordless reciprocating saws; most of them have been a disappointment, but the Makita 18V works very well.
“The Lithium-Ion battery charges quickly, lasts a long time and provides plenty of power for the saw. When you have to crawl 30 feet under a house to make a cut, it’s nice to know your saw is up to the task.”
Bernzomatic TS8000KC Premium Torch Kit, #336638
“The Bernzomatic torch’s small size makes it ideal for working in tight spaces and the MAPP/MAP-Pro Gas heats a fitting to working temperature much faster than propane.
“The TS8000KC has an automatic igniter, so you don’t need to carry a striker. Not only is the auto-igniter convenient, it’s also safer. I used to leave my torch on, so I didn’t have to relight it. That was a hazard.
“Guess I’m lucky I didn’t burn anything down before I discovered the TS8000KC.”
RIDGID 151 Tubing Cutter, #31632
“The 151 tubing cutter makes quick, clean cuts on aluminum, stainless steel and copper tubing. The spring action cutter arm adjusts to tubing diameter in a snap.
“It features a foldaway reamer tool and its ball detent wheel pin design allows for tool-less cutting wheel changes. It’s designed for real-world use.
“I’ve dropped mine off ladders, accidentally buried it in mud, and soaked it in solvent and it still works perfectly.”
RIDGID 300 Power Drive Complete NPT, #15722
“The 300 Power Drive Complete comes with everything you need to cut, ream and thread pipe.
“It has a set of wheels that attach to make it easy to move around the jobsite and it even ships with a gallon of cutting oil. The 300 is dependable, powerful, and portable.”
Channellock 12-inch Tongue and Groove Pliers, #440
“Channellock Tongue and Groove Pliers are made with high-quality hardened steel. The tongue and grooves are cut at a bevel so they lock together, as opposed to simply sliding across each other, as some other tools do.
“I have Channellock pliers I’ve used for more than a decade. I tell people, ‘You can buy pliers for less, but you only have to buy Channellock pliers once’.”
Hercules ¾ inch x 520 inch TFE Pipe Joint Tape, #15176
“If I need pipe tape, I want ¾-inch Hercules. It’s strong, I can pull it snug without breaking and at ¾ inch, I can wrap the threads on a 2-inch gas line in two turns. A must in my list of product picks of a professional plumber.
“I don’t know why anyone makes ½-inch pipe tape. If it’s something that small, I use pipe dope. The ¾-inch tape is a bit more expensive, but it gets the job done much faster.”
General Wire Pipe Tubing Cutter, #ATC 12
“The ATC 12 is my first line tubing cutter. It’s small, lightweight and easy to use. When you close the tool around a copper line, the spring-loaded cutting wheel presses against the tubing.
“Turn the cutter a few turns to produce a clean cut. For remodeling, it can cut existing copper line with as little as 1 inch of clearance.
“I’ve had great luck with the AutoCut. It stands up to oil and dirt and works perfectly, cut after cut.”
Coast HL5 6 Chip LED Headlamp, #TT7041CP
“You can’t do good work in the dark and holding a flashlight creates problems of its own. For hands-free light in a crawl space or dark building, I like the Coast HL5.
“It’s a quality headlamp that produces 175-lumens of light. Having the battery pack in back helps balance the weight and the adjustable headband keeps the light stable on my head.
“The LED light is energy efficient and will run for more than three hours on three AAA batteries.”
HDX Internal Diameter PVC Pipe Cutter, #67516
“The internal PVC cutter is ideal for cutting shower and tub drainpipe stubs below floor level. Place the cutter onto a ⅜-inch drill, insert it into the PVC pipe and cut as deep as 3 inches from the surface.
“It takes a little practice to control the tool and get a clean cut, but I don’t know of a better tool for finishing drains.”