Power Tools for Plumbers - What's the Best to Buy
Posted by Mark Hunter - January 24, 2017
Whether you're a budding apprentice plumber or a gnarly, wisened veteran plumber, having the right power tools in your van will ensure your day goes smoothly; unpack them, use them, get the job done with them.
On top of that, everyone knows that plumbers like to push their power tools hard, so it's also important that you have tools that'll take the abuse!
WHAT ARE THE BEST POWER TOOLS FOR A PLUMBER?
Let's be honest, it can be easy when we're feeling flush to load up our shopping basket with loads of new tools, some of which we might hardly ever used. However, this guide is deliberately limited to the absolute "must have" power tools for plumbers, which we feel are:
- cordless twin pack: combi drill & impact driver
- SDS+ hammer
- oscillating multi-tool
- circular saw
- dust control system
Why go for a twin pack of cordless tools? The main reason is they're typically a bit cheaper than buying each tool seperately.
Equally, the temptation can be to opt for two tools on different battery platforms. But we're being pragmatic here. Buying a twin pack ensures that both will share the same battery, and going forward this means you can add to your kit by buying body-only versions, which won't come with a battery, but are a fair bit cheaper. Read our guide to body-only tools here.
For this guide, we've chosen Makita's 18v LXT twin pack. Part of the reason for this is that the two supplied 5Ah 18v batteries will work in literally dozens of other Makita cordless tools, so as you kit expands and grows - or you simply replace older cordless tools - you'll be on a battery platform that will more than likely have the tools you need.
Both tools in the pack are brushless, which means the motors are more durable, they can take a knock and you'll get better performance from them, especially when you push them hard.
The impact driver - DTD153- puts 175Nm of torque in your hand, while the combi-drill - DHP459 - offers you up to 22,500 blows per minute.
The right tools for the right job; hence the need for a good quality SDS+ hammer drill. It'll be ideal for the times you need to punch big holes in masonry, or even chip or chisel concrete.
Choosing an SDS+ hammer that will perform as you want it, when you want it is also key. So for that reason we've gone for the DH26PX from Hitachi.
With it's 3 modes (hammer, rotary hammer, drilling) it punches into masonry with 3.2 Joules of impact energy and a 830W motor. In terms of what it delivers with this spec, put a core bit on it and it'll make holes up to 50mm in diameter.
These tools are virtually a pre-requisite these days thanks to their flexibility. There isn't much you can't do with them, and they're ideal for little jobs that other tools are either too much for, or too big for.
Obviously it comes down to whether you need cordless or not, and of course the accessories you have with you. Click here to see all the cordless oscillating multi-tools in stock, and click here to see the corded versions.
This is one of the aforementioned body-only tools. You'll save cash, and all you need to do is use one of the 18v LXT batteries already in your kit, such as those supplied with the Makita twin pack above.
It has a big oscillation angle of 3.2º which allows for fast cutting applications, and the accessories will oscillate in the OIS shoe at up to 20,000 OPM.
Plumbers typically need a circular saw with a blade of around 165mm in diameter in order to quickly cut through floorboards, for example. However, the issue of nails in the wood often comes up!
So, what about a circular saw that takes blades of 185mm and will cut through nails as if they weren't there?
This is the Evolution RAGE-B, it comes with 3 blades, and it's a monster. For us, this is the perfect circular saw for plumbers as it'll handle virtually any cutting job you throw at it!
It cuts steel, aluminium, plastic and wood with nails in with the same blade. It's a pure no-nonsense tool that you'll have in your kit for quick cutting jobs, no messing around.
Are plumbers the messiest tradespeople on site? We'll let you guys argue that out, but the reality is, we all create dust and debris when we're working. And with more and more jobsites making the possession of a dust extractor a requirement, it makes sense that we look for the best one on the market.
For starters, the V-TUF Dustex M is, of course, M-Class rated, so you're ticking one massive box right there by having this as your dust control set up. It features power take off with thermal protection, so you'll be able to hook up your SDS+ hammer and circular saw to it while you work.
The internal filters are washable and the whole thing is light and easy to transport, but also pretty tough in to the bargain.
And once you've finished at the end of the day, it doubles as a vacuum cleaner, so you've no excuse for not leaving the place pristeen before you pack the van up.
So that's our suggestions for the best power tool kit for plumbers. What would you add to the mix? Let us know in the comments section below.
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