Today, crimping tools are made in many different shapes to fit all sorts of wires and pipes. Many professions utilize them, from networking to electrical engineering occupations. But plumbing remains one of the most popular fields that require the use of crimping devices, most notably PEX tools.
The wiring is often placed in toilets or floor heating but must be properly secured to copper or steel clamps. To avoid the hassles associated with getting professional work done, many people in recent times have begun to fix plumbing issues themselves, and crimping tools will likely be utilized when repairs are needed.
Below are five of the best PEX crimping appliances you’ll find anywhere, so consider them if you’re in need of plumbing work that can be done on your own.
IWISS Combo Angle Tool – Good Crimp Tool For Additional Accessories
Quick Switches and Great Accessories
Sometimes, more tools in better when you want to avoid the hassle of replacing jaws every time a different clamp size is utilized. The IWISS Combo Angle Head Tool contains two devices, with them being specified for 1/2 and 3/4 clamps.
There’s also the same cutting tool that was sold with the fist IWISS product. And similar to that one, you won’t find yourself rushing to get more tools once it’s purchased. The gauges are calibrated and handle maintain grip well when you must use force to get clamps to shut tight.
If you have big hands, nothing should hurt when you’re working on the PEX pipe. But for anyone that’s small, you’ll have to work harder to get the 3/4 clamps to shut closed. Fatigue is likely to occur when the workspace is tight, and that means longer time needed for fixing the plumbing. Still, if you’re used to working with PEX tools, you’ve probably become used to it by now. Furthermore, make sure that the gauges are correct when you measure, as the one provided might be slightly tilted.
- Cutters are added with the package; no need to buy additional tools
- Gauges are properly calibrated and the tool can be used right away; no need for inspection
- The handles have provided a solid grip when held and won’t cause the hands to sweat
- The handles are better for people with large hands and may cause fatigue when working with many clamps
- The 3/4 crimper could be off by 1 millimeter, which could result in crimps that are slightly looser than expected
- Easy to incorrectly measure crimps with the go/no go gauge, as the piece is slanted
IWISS Angle Head F1807 Kit – Best Crimp Tool For Confined Spaces
The Right Crimp Tool for small Work Areas
While going through the different PEX crimpers available on the web, you may notice that some of the tools are sold by themselves, meaning that no carrying case is included with the main product. This isn’t the case for the IWISS F1807.
There are copper rings, a go/ no go gauge, and even a PEX cutting tool provided. Smaller dimensions mean better control when you crimp.
Use it in places where the larger tools cannot go without causing frustration from the lack of room given. With this, it will make even the tightest of space much easier to crimp around. You won’t have to place yourself in any awkward positions, and work duties should be accomplished in record time.
Pre-Calibration and Inspecting
If you’re trying to get everything you’ll need to work on your home or RV plumbing without having to buy other accessories after it arrives, this is the right set for you. Everything is pre-calibrated before it leaves the assembly floor as well, so you can begin work immediately after unboxing.
You’ll probably want to stay away from stainless steel rings though, as the crimp is built for copper use. And do check to calibration after it has been used a couple times just to be sure that nothing is loosened. Overall, the IWISS F1807 earns points for being easy on the hands and small enough to get into tight corners that larger crimping tools can’t reach.
- Hardly any pressure needed to crimp as normal
- Both handles are calibrated to 1/2 and 3/4 before being sold at retail; no adjustments required during initial use
- The size is small enough for users to work in areas with restricted movement
- Difficult to open the handles when readying to crimp; must be pried open with force
- Not suitable for stainless steel rings
- Will need to be recalibrated after just a small number of times being used
SharkBite 23251 – Best Crimp Tool For Watertight Crimps
Work with the Best
The SharkBite is a well-known crimping device that’s often cited as the primary tool to judge all others. That’s saying a lot, as the mechanism is very straightforward and minimal.
That means you’ll be able to finish your crimps quickly with its weighted steel handle, outfitted with grips that allow the hands to remain dry for longer duties.
As you work with it, the chances of you needed to refit the crimps from bad connections is small. But in the off-chance that you do, a handy little gauge is included with the packaging that should tell you whether or not the PEX clamps are secured.
Learning to Work With its Size
If your work area is small though, you may have issues maneuvering around the pipes are getting the tool the bend the steel clamps as required. It’s pretty big, to ensure that the area contains enough space before you settle with this one. If there is, then you’ll be satisfied with how quickly you finish multiple PEX pipes.
This brand is lauded by both professional and at-home plumbers, which gives the SharkBite top recommendation out of all the other products reviewed further down. So as long as you have the room available to work with the 23251, but this one on your must-have list.
- Holds the rings to PEX piping securely without leaking
- Weighs approximately 3.15 pounds, which eases the grasp and allow crimps to fasten without excess pressure (from the hands)
- Includes a small go/no go gauge that helps to secure a tight connection
- The tool is significantly larger than what it appears to be in photos
- Difficult to work with in confined or small areas (due to its size)
- There are no additional tool included (other devices, such as wire strippers, must be purchased separately)
IWISS PEX Clamp Cinch Crimping Tool – Best Universal Product
Works With all Common Clamp Sizes
Another IWISS product, the Clamp Cinch Crimping Tool doesn’t come with the fancy carrying case that the other one features, but don’t take that as a regression. There is a lot provided to get excited about, and it starts with its universal ability to accommodate all clamp sizes.
That means you’ll be able to work with more than just plumbing, if necessary. But if your PEX pipes do require clamps with a larger diameter, there are no other crimping devices that you’ll need, because it’s all here.
How to Use the Larger Clamps
However, there is a slight issue when working with the 1-inch clamps. They are extremely difficult to crimp in place, as the handles are on the short side. If they were longer, this wouldn’t be a big issue but you’ll likely end up having to use your own weight just to get them to properly close, which may result in a higher chance of fitting them on incorrectly.
As a result, your wrist may end up hurting when the job is finished. If you’re disabled or succumb to pain in the hands easily, you might want to try nothing product if you know the clamps needed are larger than 5/8 inches. For everyone else, have a look at it.
- Sold with twenty 1/2 and ten 3/4 stainless steel clamps
- Can crimp additional clamp sizes of 3/8″, 5/8″, and 1 inches
- A switch is housed in the center of the handles that releases the clamps when jamming occurs
- The handles, while functional, aren’t long enough to crimp 1-inch clamps without using a large amount of pressure
- May cause pain in the wrist, particularly when working on the larger sized clamps
- While the tool is calibrated before being sold, some models may require it due to some of the screws loosening during shipment
Apollo PEX 69PTKH0015K – Perfect Crimp Tool For Sensitive Hands
Pain-Free Operation that’s Easy to Use
Except for 5/8 clamps, the Apollo PEX Crimp Tool can handle all other clamps. There are four attachable jaws that come with the product and quickly detach when you’re ready to clamp different sizes.
There’s also a surprisingly sturdy carrying case provided, so you’ll have something to put everything in to keep it from oxidizing when not in use.
The big advantage is pain prevention; you should have hardly any troubles with getting clamps secured without the need to put all of your energy behind every squeeze. Because of this, the rate to which you’ll finish crimping could surpass the number in which you would normally do with other competitive tools that are harder to work with.
But big hands might have a hard time getting the grip to cling as they work. The padding is pretty short and the finger will likely protrude forward and dig into the skin. And after several clamps are done, this could cause irritation. It’s recommended that you use work gloves if you are set on this one though.
With them, none of the pain will happen and the handle will feel like any other good crimping tool. The Apollo PEX Crimper is suggested for people who need one that’s universal but won’t result in painful wrists after a handful of clamps are set.
- Has four jaws total (of different sizes) that detach from the wrench quickly
- Comes with a heavy-duty plastic carrying case
- Will work for all clamp sizes
- In tight corners, the handles are hard to fit around PEX pipes when the clamps are set
- The grip padding is quite short, which might feel awkward to hold and clamp for people with large hands
Top Pex Crimp Tools in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide
PEX Crimping tools are simple but can have major differences between each brand and type. While they usually operate in the same way, some are easier to use than others. This could prove how fast you end up finishing the jobs required to use the tool.
Good crimpers will allow you to work fast and avoid using the gauges on every crimp fastened. They are also better for certain clamps over others. The information provided below will help you narrow down the tools that will provide to best of what you need, factoring in all aspects that may not have been considered. Once you’re done, you should have a better idea of which brands you like from those shown in the reviews.
The first thing you’ll want to know how to do before using any crimping tool is re-calibrating the device itself. Although it may sound more difficult than it really is, you shouldn’t have too much trouble doing it on your own. The purpose of calibration is to make sure the jaws you’re using are set to the right measurements. For example, if you’re working with 1/2 clamps, you should check that the calibration is set to a specific number or indicator on the tool.
Most often, they utilize screws with points set at certain areas that must be turned towards. So if you’re calibrating your crimp tool and notice a 1/2 symbol near one of the calibration screws, just turn it toward the point specified and everything will be set. Of course, you’ll need to get a screwdriver in order to turn the screws.
The most common are Phillips’ heads, but there could be some that require wrenches instead. Check the device you’re interested in to see what kind of screwdriver (or wrenches) will be needed so that you’re not stuck with a tool that can’t be used. You don’t want to wait for anything when your crimping PEX clamps, so be sure that all is prepared!
Handling is something that’s either hit or miss with PEX crimping tools. By that, you could have a tool that’s small but doesn’t contain enough space around the handles for people with large hands to work without having irritation or fatigue settle in quickly. The wrists are usually the most common areas that pain develops in. But there are some things that you can do to minimize the discomfort.
One of them is wearing a pair of work gloves. With gloves, the pressure that would otherwise go directly to your wrists will spread more, and the handle won’t dig into your palms too much.
If you continue to experience issues, then you may want to go at a slower pace. Or you could try crimping the clamps with the weight or your body instead. This is one of the most popular ways of easing irritation but can also be hard if the room you’re in is small.
- Type of Clamps Needed
There are generally two types of clamps used with crimping tools. You could have one that takes either aluminum, copper, or stainless steel, with the latter two being the most popular. Although there are specifications that list the type of material any given crimping tool is able to work with, the easiest way to know is by simply referring to the product’s description.
It will list whether or not copper or steel can be used, or both. Most of the time, the tools will work with stainless steel, which is most often preferred. Although there are exceptions, it shouldn’t matter too much on what material you’re using, especially if the work you’re doing is something simple and not at a professional level.
Again, to know if the tool you’re looking into purchasing is compliant for a specific type of steel, just contact the brand or see what’s listed for it’s ASTM.
- Additional tools that Prove Helpful
A crimp tool isn’t the only device that you must rely on to work with PEX pipes. In fact, it will usually be the final one that you’ll need. Some brands will include shears for the pipe, which are made to give a smooth and even cut to the tubing before the crimping begins. But not all products may include them.
If you don’t have a pair already and the product you’re thinking of buying doesn’t include it, getting one is highly recommended. You won’t be able to begin crimping without one, which could result in using a makeshift cutter that doesn’t leave an even slice for you to prop the clamp around. So if you don’t want to worry about finding any additional tools for crimping, look at the products above that contain the cutters.
- Your Work Area
While having already mentioned pain, another big part of how hard crimping will be is dependent on the work environment. Most of the time, space for which you must reach the PEX pipes are very small and difficult to move around without contouring your body in all sorts of awkward positions.
Professional plumbers are all too familiar with this. Bathrooms are the most common work area, so if you know that your is pretty small and not easy for you to move around in when on the floor, look for crimping tools that are small. In this situation, the fewer dimensions, the better.
Check the product of interest for their length and width, especially around the handles. The handles could be long and be hard to widen when you’re ready to crimp. Some tools are almost impossible to do this, so don’t forget to know your crimper’s size before you buy it.
- Where PEX Crimp Tools are Used
PEX crimp tools are mostly used for bathroom plumbing around toilets. Many newer bathrooms utilize PEX pipes for moving water to the bowl when it’s flushed. But they may also be used for insulation as well, especially in homes with a radiant floor or wall heating/cooling.
In this situation, the crimping may take place in areas that are easy for the user to reach. The PEX pipe would also be color-coded for the user to match specific types of heat provided. And then there’s RVs, which are often inundated with the pipe in their washrooms.
But no matter where you use a crimp tool, the biggest advantage is the amount of time (and funds) that will be saved from not having to rely on plumbing to fix things that can be done by yourself. Then if accidents happen in the future or pipes need replacing, you’ll have a handy tool to rely on.
Although there were only five products evaluated in the reviews section above, they make up some of the most reliable crimp tools that you’re likely to find, either online or in brick and mortar stores in your community.
And if you missed out on anything above, many of the products contain more than just crimp tools themselves; there are options that feature cutters are even multiple clamps. It’s likely that you won’t need to go out and buy anything else if you settle on the brands that provide the other necessities. Out of the five products shown, there are two which clearly come out on top in terms of durability, ease of operation, and clamp sizes that are compatible.
The first is the IWISS 3 in 1 Kit with its sturdy construction and outstanding weight, which could lower strain in the hands when it’s acquired for jobs that have adequate working room. The second is the equally impressive IWISS F1807, with no case be a very easy operation and clamp grasp. It’s a great choice for small spaces and won’t sacrifice crimping power for the lack of space in which they enable you to move and prepare PEX pipes in an efficient manner.
But maybe you’re sold on one of the other tools listed. If this is so, go with what you’re confident in, and check with the reviews and Buyer’s Guide (if you haven’t to ensure that you’re not left with any surprise issues later down the line when the tool is ready to use. If you do this, it’s a given that your crimp tool will be one of the best home improvement items you may buy all year.